Monday, 2 March 2015

No queer surprise….

It's not like we didn't have enough to talk about in last month's gay television- with Beyonce's hair getting caught in a wind machine, and Madonna getting yanked down the stairs by her dancing minotaurs at The Brit Awards…

... but then add in Lance's death on Channel 4's "Cucumber" (by Russell T. Davies) and the drama hit new high levels on the Gay Richter Scale.

Was it a big surprise? Hardly, I suppose. The question I keep coming back to, though, is "Was it necessary?" It was quite an interesting story albeit slow moving as ever, but it kept me coming back, if only to see when and if Henry would get his shit together. I desperately wanted Lance to triumph, seeing as how he put up with Henry's ridiculous issues for 9 years and instead, he took a 9 iron to the head from his homophobic co-worker and bled out on a shitty Ikea sofa in some man cave where he didn't belong. Grim gay TV, once again.
Sorry if I just spoiled the ending for anyone who had it TiVo'd but hadn't watched it yet. Welcome to my world. Thanks to Facebook and 50 posts along the likes of "Oh my, Lance!" and "Wow, didn't see that coming, RIP Lance!" -- I, too, was forced to know the ending before actually watching it unfold. So, there. We're even. I wasn't planning on watching "Cucumber" right away as it aired because I was still catching up on my Facebook, scrolling the days happenings.
I just so happened to be reading an article in the news about two young lesbians in Ireland who had been victims of anti-gay bullying- more likely to be classified as a hate crime, in my opinion- and were beaten and left in the street. In REAL LIFE. I shuddered after reading the details and scrolled on to find all of the "Cucumber" spoilers, so I sighed, and sat back and hit "play" on the TV remote and began watching what I knew was NOT going to be the ending I had hoped for. 

And so, I watched it. Afterwards, it took me an entire day to process it. I knew I was feeling angry about it but it took me some time to figure out why. I was reading some tweets the next day -finding praise for "good gay drama" and kudos to Channel 4 and Russell T. Davies for the "twist". When I actually tweeted that the ending made me mad, believe it or not @cucumber tweeted me back and asked "Why mad?" REALLY?…. WHY MAD?  Maybe because you took a slightly entertaining script which was giving me a look at gay life from a TON of different perspectives with some interesting characters and you had to throw in some horrible violent act that forced me to think about what I already see and hear too much of in real life already instead of showing an ounce of positivity ANYWHERE. I had hopes. All along, I had hopes. Silly me. 

I understand it's television and with good drama sometimes you need some horrific act to get a reaction and to get people talking, which is exactly what "Cucumber" did but again, I have to ask, "Was it necessary?"  I mean, what would be so bad about maybe having Lance realising he was in a dangerous situation and a.) fighting back, standing up for himself and maybe causing his asshole coworker to end up in A&E or even in jail thinking about where his actions landed him, or b.) maybe having Henry be a hero somehow saving the day, instead of being a sorry sack of shit with a ton of issues he was no closer to figuring out than when we first met him or c.) having Lance choose safety over sex and getting himself out of the situation when he first got insulted. I mean, honestly, what would be the harm in NOT showing a senseless violent homophobic act on television? Would we talk less about the fact that it happens in real life? I don't think so. Would we be completely unaware that this kind of stuff happens every day to a gay person? Nope, I think the news would still report it. So, why do I have to turn on my TV and in a moment of being happy to see a queer series that just may make me forget about the horrible truths of every day homophobia for 30 or 45 minutes -have it take a shitty twist and throw in a reality that (unfortunately) I'm quite used to -right in my face again- when I was just looking for a bit of an escape. I'm not asking to escape from it FOREVER, I'm just looking to be able to find some humour, something likeable, something light hearted and relatable for just a mere 30-45 minutes once a week but instead I have to see a main queer character take a titanium golf club to the side of the head and bleed out. Just like I had to see Justin get gay bashed on "Queer As Folk" after his dream prom date. Maybe I'm just looking for something that doesn't have to include a gay character losing their life since it happens in every day REAL life all the time. 

Another response I heard when I said I was mad about "Cucumber" was "Well, it did get people talking.."  Oh, because we're not already talking about the overwhelming amount homophobia that's still out there? Or- what? Oh. We're talking about the actual show? We're talking about what happened on "Cucumber"? Yay for the writers. Yay for Channel 4 & the ratings. Yay for the actors. But- the viewer? Haha, made you look. 

In my opinion, it's a cheap, easy way for television writers to give viewers that High-Low kick that you get on the "Tower of Terror" carnival rides. They evoke a flood of emotion from good to tragic especially after you've invested hours into a series. Basically, that's the risk you take watching TV, but I feel extremely cheated when it happens. It's almost like, "There you go. There's your reward for the time you put in, hoping for more meaty story lines and possibly something positive for queer TV."
I'm just going to wait for a scripted queer TV show that surprises you with something good. 
It blows my mind that there are gay writers who get an opportunity to have their work put on television for all to see and they fucking blow it (not to mention any names, Sue Perkins, with your stupid "Heading Out" series). They blow it. For everyone.

For fuck sake, thank God that Lady Gaga brought her A game to the Grammys last month. Imagine that? Something for gays and straight people to cheer about for 3 whole minutes.

1 comment:

  1. Phew thanks, I felt uncomfortable about it too! It was like proving how bad things are for a straight audience, we know that, can't we have good writing about our lived lives and the ways we navigate and manage in a homophobic world