Sunday, September 14, 2008

Okay, So I'm Responding

I know, I haven't forgotten that the main goal of this blog is a "response to pop culture". Although since I don't have cable and movie tickets are more than $10, I sometimes don't witness as much pop culture as I'd like to. However, I've found something to respond to right here on network TV:


I've been known to watch Gossip Girl on occasion. Unlike many other shows that require you to have the grasp of a complicated backstory, this is all you really need to know about Gossip Girl: Rich teens who act about 40 scheme A LOT and wear outlandish (okay, very cool) clothes. The show is based on a series of young-adult novels by the same name. Like many viewers, my favorite character on the show would have to be Chuck, pictured above. He's evil, wears pants embroidered with whales, and seems to suffer from some kind of nostril-flaring condition.

Although I haven't read the books, thanks to the wonders of the internet, I learned that while Chuck is heterosexual in the show, he is bisexual in the books. (Apparently, he's also much more evil in the books, which would definitely not be appropriate for young teens, but anway...)
Upon learning this, I just felt so cheated! The show's creators had a chance to take a bisexual character, make him less evil (apparently, a rare thing in film portrayals of bisexuals) and they blew it.

If queer adult characters are rare, queer teen characters are even rarer. I racked my brains trying to think of some-- the conversation in my head went something like this:

I could have sworn there was a gay person on Gilmore Girls...didn't Rory have a gay friend?

Uhh...no. The only queer teen character I could think of was Marco from Degrassi: The Next Generation. While it's a popular show among those that love it, it's on a specialty channel and can't be all that widely watched. While I can think of adult characters that seem asexual (Withnail, Dexter, Jessica Stein), I can't think of any teen characters. And how many shows involve teens, and how many teens are the ones watching these shows? I find that I can often relate quite closely with gay, bi, or trans characters, especially if they go through some sort of tribulations related to their sexualities. Like I said before, who we're attracted to is only one (minor?!) difference between us all. Maybe that's a little too kumbaya for you, but I think that an increase in queer characters of all stripes would be good for all of us minority sexualities.

Maybe Chuck will discover an attraction to men later in the show, but I won't be holding my breath. Until then...nice ascot.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I believe the TV show South of Nowhere has some queer teens in it...

Coleslaw said...

Grey's Anatomy, after FOUR FRICKIN' YEARS, is introducing a lesbian couple. One of the girls in said couple is bi, or, at the very least, heterosexual with a thing for one, and only one, girl.

But four years? FOUR YEARS?! And all we get is a last minute teaser in the finale of Callie kissing Haun?! Who knows where it'll go, or if it will go!

Long rant short, I agree! More queer people in popular television, please!

Sea said...

I'm coming out of lurkdom (hello, everyone!) to say that Willow and Tara in Buffy the Vampire Slayer are gay teen characters, but since that was a while ago I don't know if they count... But I simply had to point them out because they are my favorites. :)

Monica said...

Buffy the Vampire Slayer had Willow (and Tara and Kennedy) representing the lesbian/bi woman portion of the population! Willow, one of the main three characters, started out heterosexual (seriously dating a boy in high school/early college) and then met a girl after her hetero relationship ended and, apparently, never looked back.

It's possible I'm dating myself, bringing up a show that's been off the air for several years now, but. Lesbian main character. Just sayin'.

rian said...

The only good example of queer teen characters on tv that comes to mind is Jessie and Katie on Once and Again. They were portrayed by Evan Rachel Wood and Mischa Barton. The show was canceled before their relationship went very far, so I like to view it as more asexual than sexual. That season of the show isn't on dvd but youtube has a compilation of their scenes together.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wK0dhYbb6k

Shockwave said...

Rickie Vasquez of "My So-Called Life" was an openly bisexual teenager, in the mid-90s no less.

Ily said...

I saw a few episodes of Grey's Anatomy-- my friends got mad because I said it seemed "slow" to me. Hopefully the new characters will liven things up! I've actually never watched any of these other shows which you are all very kind to point out...which really seems odd, as it seems like I did watch a lot of TV as a kid. Then I have that problem of usually not understanding what's going on in TV shows...maybe I should get that looked at. I attempted to watch Ugly Betty once, and was just all, "I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IS HAPPENING!"

Ily said...

Also-- I always like to see someone delurk! Hi!

edgeofeverywhere said...

Another de-lurker here. Hi! It would be cool if Chuck ended up being bi, but I'm really enjoying his storyline with Blair! And Serena's gay brother Eric seems to be the show's designated queer character. South of Nowhere is definitely worth checking out - the main couple on the show is a lesbian and a bisexual girl.

Ily said...

Yay, hello! Ans Serena has a brother? Do they keep him in the attic?
Anyway, maybe I should stick to books...
;-)

edgeofeverywhere said...

Haha. Yeah, he had a coming-out episode last season when Jenny was fake-dating his secret boyfriend to improve her status. Drama!!

Sasha said...

Degrassi also has a gay girl (Alex) and a bi girl (Paige).

As for Buffy, they had lesbian main characters in the 90's!! Kudos to them for getting on the bandwagon early.

Ily said...

Ahh, how could I forget Alex and Paige? I actually saw some of those episodes!