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Slash Rant

Disclaimer: The thoughts expressed here are purely my opinions. I apologize in advance if I offend anyone.
I have absolutely no qualms with any sexual orientation. It’s fine to be asexual, bisexual, heterosexual, homosexual, pansexual, anywhere in between, and at either end of the spectrum.
I am also well-aware of the fact that many of the character slash pairings for which I read fanfiction feature canonically heterosexual characters, or characters whose sexuality isn’t stated in canon, meaning that they are not necessarily homosexual.
I also fully support close friendships between any characters, male, female, or otherwise, even if that closeness could sometimes be taken as them being in a romantic/sexual relationship, but they are not.
This is the part where I take issue. If a male and female character are in close contact on a show, it is assumed that there is a strong possibility, possibly even an inevitability, that these characters will, at some point, get physically intimate, romantically involved, or both.
What irritates me is that if two male characters or two female characters are in close contact on a show, where that closeness is similar to what might normally be featured between a male and female character, it is assumed that there is absolutely *no* possibility of them getting together.
This bothers me on two levels. One is the fact that this means that a strong, non-traditionally close friendship can exist between two males or two females, but not between a male and a female. The other is the fact that two same-sex characters getting together will be consistently hinted at, as much as, if not more than, opposite-sex characters getting together, but the same-sex characters will never get together.
/endrant

Comments

( 57 comments — Leave a comment )
lieueitak
Aug. 6th, 2013 01:24 am (UTC)
IA! I always think it's funny/depressing/irritating when someone says something like "Why can't two guys (or girls) just be friends? Why does there have to be an attraction?" As though we are so saturated with LGBT characters and couples in entertainment.
petitecuriosity
Aug. 6th, 2013 01:53 am (UTC)
Exactly!
sassyjumper
Aug. 6th, 2013 03:54 pm (UTC)
As though we are so saturated with LGBT characters and couples in entertainment.

WORD. Oh, man, so much WORD.

Sorry...I just really agree with that statement. :)
srsly_yes
Aug. 6th, 2013 03:33 am (UTC)
If I'm understanding you correctly, your rant is about television's queer-baiting? The topic cropped up on the internet around June and got a lot of attention.

Television is the last holdout. Off the top of my head I can think of a book, a play, and a movie that introduced seemingly hetero characters that had wonderful chemistry. By the end of the stories the audience/reader was paid off with a glimpse of a budding physical romance. Television, at best, makes it clear from the outset of a show whether a character is LGBT or not, as if it were a warning label for viewers, and will never diverge, except to have a character flirt with heterosexuality.
flywoman
Aug. 6th, 2013 04:07 am (UTC)
I can think of exactly one example from television: Willow in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It's very rare.
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daasgrrl
Aug. 6th, 2013 04:08 am (UTC)
Interesting article! I liked the point they made about Trek - back then, the show-runners didn't know. But now they do, and they could still just let it be, but they don't. I think House actually got worse when they started trying to "play up" the subtext rather than just letting the relationship be what it was.

As far as TV goes, I think Willow/Tara is an exception. Of course, eventually Tara gets killed, but the relationship part was nicely done. Also, the married Beecher falls for Keller in Oz, but granted, those are pretty extreme circumstances. It's true we're hardly overwhelmed with examples.
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menolly_au
Aug. 6th, 2013 06:21 am (UTC)
Callie from Gray's Anatomy was married to a guy and after that broke up she started dating a woman - I think from memory there had been no indication prior to that that she was bi.

And in the UK show The Bill a previously hetero Sergeant (male) fell for a gay constable - but that did not end well.
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hughville
Aug. 6th, 2013 04:01 am (UTC)
I totally agree with you. This just demonstrates the wide chasm between where TV is in relation to most of society.
petitecuriosity
Aug. 6th, 2013 01:33 pm (UTC)
This just demonstrates the wide chasm between where TV is in relation to most of society.

It truly does, unfortunately. *sigh*
flywoman
Aug. 6th, 2013 04:02 am (UTC)
This is one reason why I don't watch typical television. In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Willow dated a guy (Oz) for a while, and then, to everyone's surprise including her own, befriended and eventually established a romantic/sexual relationship with a girl (Tara). But I agree that it's rare.
daasgrrl
Aug. 6th, 2013 04:09 am (UTC)
LOL, I just said the same thing. And Beecher/Keller from Oz. But then I ran out :)
petitecuriosity
Aug. 6th, 2013 01:35 pm (UTC)
It is rare, unfortunately. Just out of curiosity, what do you consider to be "typical television" versus "non-typical television"?
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discofunction
Aug. 6th, 2013 07:59 am (UTC)
I agree with everything you all say! Just want to make the point that as well as the possibilities of any pairing (m/f m/m f/f) becoming romantic it annoys me when they so often write (most male/female relationships) with added sexual tension! Why can't a guy and a girl just be really close friends? Why do they always have to fall for each other? My best friend is a man and we are both married to other people and have no interest in each other like that! At the end of Law & Order criminal intent, Goren starts seeing this psychiatrist who starts going on about how perhaps after working with her 10 years his feelings for his police partner Eames might be more than just friends. I was like yuk! Nooooo they have a great friendship don't take it there! But then Goren was like "ffs, nooo she's my friend, nothing more- shut up you stupid woman" (well it wasn't in those exact words but you get my drift!!) so anyway id just like to thank Criminal intent for recognising that close friendship between and male & female can be just that: Friendship!
flywoman
Aug. 6th, 2013 12:07 pm (UTC)
I felt the same way about Brennan and Booth on Bones - why couldn't they just be partners and friends instead of getting together? But it was obvious that the show was going to go there, even if they took their sweet time about it.
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chocolate_frapp
Aug. 6th, 2013 03:05 pm (UTC)
You have excellent points and I definitely agree with you.
There was a gay character on Downton Abbey but he was a selfish jerk and there were two lesbians on Boardwalk Empire but they got killed (not because they were lesbians but because a hit man mistook one of them for another character and then killed her girlfriend so she wouldn't be a witness).
petitecuriosity
Aug. 6th, 2013 03:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you for providing two more examples.
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sassyjumper
Aug. 6th, 2013 04:19 pm (UTC)
I love your rants, because they're always more thoughtful and reasonable than rant-y :)

I agree on all counts. I will say, though, that with House, I did like that it ended with two male best friends as soul mates -- IMO, there was no ambiguity that they were (even if they are two dysfunctional souls ;) ). There are many TV shows I've never seen, so that may not be unique. But I think in most cases, male friends are portrayed as "buddies," and for one or both, a romantic relationship with a woman is the most important relationship in his life. So I like the acknowledgment that the most important person in your life does *not* have to be a lover.

And of course, we are free to imagine what happens with H/W after they take off on their motorcycles, decked out in leather and stubble, sharing hotel rooms and..... Yeah, that's all I'll say.
petitecuriosity
Aug. 6th, 2013 04:24 pm (UTC)
I will say, though, that with House, I did like that it ended with two male best friends as soul mates -- IMO, there was no ambiguity that they were (even if they are two dysfunctional souls ;) ). There are many TV shows I've never seen, so that may not be unique. But I think in most cases, male friends are portrayed as "buddies," and for one or both, a romantic relationship with a woman is the most important relationship in his life. So I like the acknowledgment that the most important person in your life does *not* have to be a lover.So I like the acknowledgment that the most important person in your life does *not* have to be a lover.

This is very true as well. Good point. :)

Edited at 2013-08-06 04:25 pm (UTC)
a_single_plum
Aug. 6th, 2013 09:01 pm (UTC)
I agree with all of your points, especially on friendship. It's a huge personal peeve of mine that media and even well-meaning ordinary people don't like to acknowledge that someone can have a happy, fulfilling life with non-romantic close friendships to both sexes (and no children/desire for children, but that's a different topic!).

I don't watch Glee, so I can't comment in detail, but I know there is (was?) a lesbian relationship between two of the characters, and I believe there are two male characters in a relationship as well.

I also want to add that with regards to House and House/Wilson, I agree with sassyjumper's comments above. :) But I always hoped they'd do a House/Simpsons crossover, because animation seems to be able to go farther than live-action TV. I've read that The Simpsons did the first network television male/male kiss in a Season 2 episode, which would have aired sometime in 1990, I think. Maybe it is just an animation thing, but it seems like Fox/the show producers/actors/etc. (I don't know much about the other big networks, so I won't compare) were much more willing to take risks and push boundaries 20+ years ago.

Edited at 2013-08-06 09:03 pm (UTC)
petitecuriosity
Aug. 7th, 2013 12:03 am (UTC)
Glee is a good example. Thank you for listing that.

That's a good point on animation as well. Animation seems a bit more willing to go where live-action TV won't.
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aeron_lanart
Aug. 6th, 2013 10:48 pm (UTC)
Torchwood has got to be a pretty big exception to the rule.

The lead character in Torchwood, Captain Jack Harkness, was basically introduced in Doctor Who as someone who was flirty with everyone. In his last appearance as a regular companion in the first series of New Who, he got to kiss both the female companion (Rose) and the male lead (the Doctor) before heading off towards battle.

In Torchwood, it was pretty much stated by the showrunner that all the lead characters were bisexual. There wasn't onscreen evidence of this from all of them, but one of the female leads had a brief relationship with a woman (who turned out to be an alien).

Here's a scene where the rest of the team are discussing Jack in the first episode of Torchwood.



The most enduring romance of the series was between Captain Jack Harkness and one of the other male characters, Ianto Jones (that's them in my icon). Ianto definitely wasn't portrayed as gay because he'd had a girlfriend in S1.

There's a smashing bit in one of the Torchwood novels with Ianto explaining that being bi isn't the best of both worlds, but the worst.

Have a vid which shows most of their onscreen kisses.



And then of course there was the ultimate doomed romance, where Jack ends up back in time in 1941 (temporarily) and meets the man whose name he took - Captain Jack Harkness.



Then sometime later (after another spell with The Doctor) he meets up with an old flame/colleague John Hart.




Here's happy, flirty Jack over the course of his Doctor Who appearances (he's a lot 'lighter' than in Torchwood)



And I think that's enough spam from this Doctor Who/Torchwood fan...

Edited at 2013-08-06 10:59 pm (UTC)
petitecuriosity
Aug. 7th, 2013 12:04 am (UTC)
Ooooh. Thank you for explaining in so much detail and for providing video examples! I've been curious to check out both shows.
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aeron_lanart
Aug. 7th, 2013 02:21 am (UTC)
What irritates me is that if two male characters or two female characters are in close contact on a show, where that closeness is similar to what might normally be featured between a male and female character, it is assumed that there is absolutely *no* possibility of them getting together.

There is an absolutely perfect example of this in Star Trek: Voyager.

Tom Paris and Harry Kim had an absolutely amazing relationship... as friends. Thing is, they had more chemistry together than either of them did with their female romantic partners, and I'm including B'Elanna Torres in this as I felt she always had more onscreen chemistry with Harry than Tom (who she ended up marrying). I think if ever there should have been a Triad on the telly, Tom, B'Elanna and Harry were it.

Right from the first episode Tom and Harry were looking out for each other

 photo pk_caretaker11.jpg

this is Harry being hauled out of trouble, even though they've barely met. Tom was the only one who expressed concern about Harry.

they always walked down the corridor together way closer than anyone else did

 photo pk_cloud1.jpg

and for two friends, they were very hands-y

 photo hkchute_friend8.jpg

 photo mib20.jpg

 photo 30days32.jpg

 photo pk_investigations3.jpg

 photo ng6.jpg

These are just a few examples. The good thing is that at least they kept that friendship right through the series from the first episode through to the final one, when it would have been quite easy for TPTB to downplay it, especially after getting Tom and B'Elanna together.

cuddyclothes
Aug. 8th, 2013 12:16 am (UTC)
There's a movie made in the 90s, "When Harry Met Sally," (the famous faked orgasm scene in the deli). The whole basis of the movie is that men and women can't be friends! So they are friends for years who finally admit they are actually in love. At the time, there was a lot of dumb entertainment debate about the "fact" that men and women can't be friends. It was utterly maddening. My two comedy partners were hetero men, and we were all great friends. Heh...that sounds like I'm saying defensively, "Why, some of my best friends are hetero males!".
petitecuriosity
Aug. 8th, 2013 12:42 am (UTC)
My parents love that movie. It infuriates me to try to explain to them that men and women can and do become friends. I have had the same best friend since I was 14, male, and they are aware of this, yet they still praise the movie as truth. I saw that movie when I was a bit younger, and it sort of turned me off of romantic comedies forever.
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