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Emmett is notable for his wry witticisms and flamboyant fashion sense. He has a wide variety of jobs throughout the series: working in a clothing store, becoming a porn star for Ted's website, running his own catering business, and delivering television news segments as the "Queer Guy."
He is best friends with Ted Schmidt, with whom he becomes romantically involved later in the series. The relationship is short-lived, however, as Ted faces serious problems with drug addiction that place enormous strain on him and Emmett.
Through Ted's website, he gains an admirer in George Schickle, a wealthy old man who owns a pickle company. They fall in love despite their significant age difference, but George suffers heart attack and dies on the eve of a six-month tour of the world with Emmett. Emmett is shocked and touched when he learns that George has left him a significant amount of money, but is heartbroken to find out that he can only claim it if he publicly denies his affair with George. Emmett gives up the money, because he wants the world to know how much he truly loved George.
On a catering gig, he meets Pittsburgh Ironmen quarterback Drew Boyd. After Drew makes some homophobic remarks to his friends, Emmett confronts him. When Emmett drops by Drew's house to pick up his paycheck, Drew becomes aggressively flirtatious and he and Emmett have sex on the floor. Although Drew is engaged to a woman, he and Emmett begin an on-again/off-again relationship that continues even after Drew marries. When his wife discovers the affair, she leaves him and Drew turns to Emmett for solace. He comes out to the public by sharing a controversial on-air kiss with Emmett, causing each of them to lose their jobs. Their relationship ends bittersweetly when Emmett sees him kissing another man and concedes that, as a man newly out of the closet, Drew needs the time and freedom to sow his oats.
Although at first glance Emmett seems to be a gay stereotype, even a stock character, throughout the five seasons his character becomes quite dynamic and complex. This complexity is enhanced by frequent anecdotes concerning his childhood in Hazlehurst, Mississippi and other references that hint at the challenges he has overcome.