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Debbie Novotny is a supporting, heterosexual fictional character on the Showtime television series Queer as Folk. The mother of main character Michael Novotny, Debbie plays a major role in her son's life, is a strong supporter of gay rights, and an active member of PFLAG. She is usually found either at her house or at the Liberty Diner, where she is a waitress.
During the second season, after discovering a dead male prostitute in the garbage bin behind the diner where she works, Debbie attempts to find out his name, actually beating the police force in discovering it. In this season, it was also discovered that her high-school sweetheart, Danny Devore, could be the father of Michael. They never married and she later took on the last name of Novotny after reading the name of a soldier who died in Vietnam. She also plays an important role in the campaign against Chief Jim Stockwell, the anti-gay police chief running for mayor of Pittsburgh. Her efforts appear to pay off, as he loses the election.
In the fourth season, her relationship with her brother Vic sours when he moves out. It is known that before the storyline began, Debbie nursed HIV-positive Vic back to health. She feels that he is not grateful for it. Soon after they have a big fight, Vic dies (of a heart attack), leaving her feeling very guilty. Eventually, she forgives herself.
At the end of the fourth season, Debbie's on-and-off boyfriend, Detective Carl Horvath, asks her to marry him, and she accepts. However, she later tells him she cannot marry him, not as long as Michael and Ben cannot legally marry in the US. So, they decide to live together for the remainder of the series.
In season 5 she gives up her job at the Diner, and trains a woman named Loretta Pye to take over from her. However, Loretta falls in love with her after she saves her from her abusive husband. Eventually Debbie tells Loretta that she is not a lesbian and Loretta leaves town. She then starts to feel very ill and sees that the Diner isn't coping well without her when she realises she is bored and misses her job. With the support of Carl she eventually goes back to waitressing at the Diner.
The character of Debbie Novotny is parodied in the teenage film Another Gay Movie, where the mother of one of the central characters (Nico, a flamboyant teenage boy) adopts Debbie's 'out there' style of clothing after Nico comes out to her.