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.