This clusterfuck of a final season for W13 has me trying to think of series finales that really worked for me—that gave closure in a good way. So far, the only one I can think of is Leverage, and maybe Primeval (if you don’t include PNW.) Sanctuary was OK, but felt a little off the whole final season. Any others?
I know enough about the W13 finale to know I don’t want to watch it. Have been horrified by how shitty this season has been. It’s like it’s not even the same show as previous seasons. The ship thing isn’t even all that big to me. It’s just the dingleberry on the shit sundae. I absolutely adored almost every ep of previous seasons, but this has been just awful. It’s like a version of the show from an evil alternate universe or something. Like maybe Jack Kenny got angry at being cancelled and decided to shove the show in the disposal on his way out the door. I really don’t get it. Breaks my heart.
Other TV reax from the weekend
Just don’t have the time/brainmeats to get to them in any detail, so some short, non-spoilery notes:
-Grimm: Still heavily invested in Trubel. They HAVE to keep her on as a regular next season. HAVE to. Amusing to see Bernard on there. And the key!
-H50 finale: Kind of a letdown, TBH, though that clown-car chase scene was funny.
-Da Vinci’s Demons: I find it hilarious how steampunk this show is considering it’s set a couple hundred years earlier than that era. I think that’s its greatest asset, though. Well, that and Tom Riley walking around being fuckable all the time and having at least two muff-diving scenes so far. I’ll be upset if Leo and Zo never fuck, though. It should happen. Also: Nico remains adorable.
-Warehouse 13: Continues to disappoint me this season. It’s just painfully bad. The only redeeming aspect has been Mark Sheppard, who elevates anything he’s in no matter how shitty. I plan to watch the final ep, but I’ve already decided that I won’t consider this season part of canon.
Still on the DVR: Continuum and Orphan Black. Will get to those tomorrow.
Tonight’s TV reax
Warehouse 13 and Agents of SHIELD spoilers below!
Tonight’s TV reax: Warehouse 13 and Agents of SHIELD
Spoilers below the cut!
On to other topics
I’ve not yet watched the episode, but apparently, last night’s Warehouse 13 became Exhibit A for why I try very hard to avoid ship-related discussions in that fandom (despite backing one of the major two.) Egad.
Just saw this on Syfy.com’s W13 page.
Holy shit. If this really is endgame, I’m going to cheer.
April 2014: My month of fangasms
Ongoing Arrow and Vikings
Da Vinci’s Demons s2
Game of Thrones s4
TDOS DVD release
Warehouse 13’s final season
Orphan Black s2
Plus shit (finally!) going down on SHIELD and Grimm and also my usual amusement with H50 and Criminal Minds.
Almost every day this month is filled with candy and toys for me. I am one happy little fanthing. :)
Is it “queerbaiting” if queer people are doing the baiting?
I’ve seen a lot of talk on my dash about this in the last few days, but I’d genuinely like to get your opinions on it.
Obviously, the catalyst is the most recent episode of “Sherlock,” where quite a few lines and actions could be considered by some as queerbaiting, which is where media makes you think something romantic or sexual might happen between two same-gendered characters (usually attractive white males), but then in the next instant, it is solidified that nothing would ever happen. In other words, the show or movie gives you a big “no homo lol” and moves on.
Now, I strongly dislike that tendency, since I really really want ACTUAL representation in media. But with that said, this problem isn’t as black and white as I think a lot of us would hope. That episode of Sherlock was written by Mark Gatiss, who is openly gay. One of the biggest scenes features Andrew Scott, an openly gay actor. These things may be irrelevant to some, but I, as a queer person, find it difficult to accuse queer people of queerbaiting. If I was in Gatiss’ position, I would inject queerness into my work, too, as much as I could. What if Gatiss was simply taking it as far as he could without getting in trouble with Moffat or the producers or whoever?
I don’t know for sure, but I think it’s worth considering.
Another example would be Bryan Fuller, the creator of the TV version of “Hannibal.” Fuller is also gay, and while the show does not go nearly as far as Sherlock does, there is a clear and obvious attempt at cultivating sexual tension between Hannibal and Will, which Fuller has confirmed, along with Mads Mikkelsen, a straight actor who plays Hannibal Lecter. Is it queerbaiting to dangle this unresolved sexual tension in front of us, knowing that the person behind it is gay?
And moreover, if we, as queer people, buy into it or allow ourselves to like it, are we subject to the accusations of “queer fetishism” that I see flying around? Of course not, right? We can’t fetishize ourselves, can we? But isn’t it the exact same content and a very similar reaction to it? (The intended reaction, I might add, of excitement at the possibility.)
I ask these questions genuinely, without defending what we’ve seen and what’s been produced. Queerbaiting has largely been perpetrated by straight writers and creators. But as opportunities open up for queer voices, I wonder if we shouldn’t think a little deeper about this issue. Is it still queerbaiting—a sort of internalized torch-carrying for the straight forefathers of the medium—or is it a subtle way to bring in queer voices in a time where plotlines featuring queer characters still almost unilaterally focus on their sexual orientations and not on good storytelling?
I think it’s worth discussing. Thoughts?
This is an interesting concept.
On the one hand, it’s 2014, high-profile celebs are out, married, and raising kids, and still having healthy careers right along with it. The number of queer characters in mainstream entertainment is steadily rising. Overall public opinion is finally majority queer-positive.
On the other hand, homophobic audiences still make up a very large portion of potential viewers, and even people who aren’t necessarily anti-gay may still not be interested in watching something with queer protagonists, or so conventional studio wisdom goes. Audiences are conditioned to see straight, white males as default protagonists, and when someone else steps into that role, it can theoretically be seen as “niche” and not something intended for general audiences. So if you’re making something, especially something expensive, that you need to get a broad audience for, you can’t afford to gamble on a non-SWM protagonist. Studios just don’t go there as a business decision.
Some of this conventional wisdom is being proven wrong, as movies and shows with PoC and/or female leads are doing considerably better these days, across all demographics. I think queer protagonists aren’t far behind. But something common to most of the successful properties with non SWM leads is that these other leads just “happen” to be other. There’s very little that defines them as something besides the straight, white male mold. They’re like ethnic Barbies: same mold, different color plastic. They have to put on the SWM costume in order to pass as a believable protagonist, or people start assuming that the story in question is intended only for audiences comprised of those that share the lead’s non-SWM-ness. There are definitely some exceptions cropping up. I think Katniss is recognizably female, for instance, even with the usually SWM action-hero thing, and also without being a tiresome female stereotype. Likewise for many of the prominent female characters in Game of Thrones: they are definitely female, and definitely not just accessories for the male characters. We also have a few PoC leads here and there who are recognizably so and yet still getting broad audiences.
But it’s still slow going, and queer folk still have yet to really establish themselves as mainstream at the level women and PoCs have (which is still, to be clear, pretty darn low.) I think we’re therefore still some time off from non-queer audiences being interested in a recognizably queer protagonist, much less something with a same-sex couple as its core romantic story. Obviously, interest in this is already fairly high and growing, and I also think audiences are actually ahead of where studio bosses think they are on this path. But it’s just not a gamble that the bean counters want to take, yet.
All that to say: No, we’re not going to get canon Johnlock, or canon same-sex romance from protagonists in much of anything mainstream just yet. Queer and queer-interested folks are still a large part of potential audiences, however, and when the noise from this corner becomes too loud to ignore, then creators are kind of stuck having to address it somehow. Hence, queerbaiting, which is damned annoying because we know we’re not going to get a payoff from it.
But then, there’s the issue you bring up about whether queer creators are themselves doing this not to throw a bone so we’ll shut up, but as Easter eggs for those in the know. I think you’re probably right that queer writers and showrunners like Gatiss, Fuller, Jack Kenny, Drew Greenberg, etc. have tried to slip in some subtext (or even plain text) in a way that lets us out here know what they’re “really” thinking about, while still paying the obligatory lip service to the suits and non-queer-friendly audiences.
But is that more frustrating than satisfying? Personally, I think so, yes. I think these queer creators are well-intentioned, and likely trying to soothe their own frustrations, but I think it would actually be more useful to cut the subtext entirely, and let people ship as they will without it. What’s happened with Warehouse 13 and Bering/Wells, for instance, is absolutely ridiculous. They’ve basically established that relationship as canon in all but the exact words, and that’s becoming preposterous. I think that’s a show that really could get away with turning that relationship canon, without alienating audiences (especially since they’ve been cancelled and now have nothing to lose in their last few episodes.)
I’m realistic enough—and have enough experience in the entertainment industry—to know that the queer-protagonist thing simply isn’t going to happen for the near future in mainstream entertainment. We’re at least another 5-10 years off from that. But I don’t think slashbaiting is the way to push the envelope to make that happen. I’d much rather have canon queer characters/romances as well-realized sidekicks and B stories than an endless protagonist tease that’s never, ever going to get paid off.
And in the meantime, I’m going to write my own damn books with queer protagonists and same-sex romance because fuck subtext. ;)
crossover fanfic request
A high school teacher friend wants to do a fanfic-inspired creative writing exercise with her English class and is looking for good GEN or (clean) TEEN rated crossover fics to give out as examples. The more well known the two sources in the crossover the better, but they can be any book, movie, comic or TV show.
Do you have any favourite crossover fics that fit this bill?
Here’s my Primeval/Warehouse 13 one, freshly uploaded to AO3: Warehouse 12
Also, there’s this, though it might not fit the bill: Lord of the Anomalies.
Singer of classical stuffs.
Shameless fanthing.Queer/Genderqueer. Feminist. Progressive. Gen X. Northwest snob. Journalist and media-deconstruction nerd. Happily married and an adoptive parent of a most excellent little boy. Endless pontificator on topics both sublime and ridiculous. Expect both breathless pop-culture squee and wordy rageflails about social justice.
My "home" fandom is Primeval, but these days I'm most heavily into Vikings, Game of Thrones and Arrow. Check my fandoms masterlist to see the other stuff I usually post about. If it has a kickass chick, a charming rogue, and/or an adorkable nerd in it, I probably like it.
I'm an incurable OT3 shipper, particularly of the alpha male/beta male/alpha female flavor, but I ship some pairs, too (het, slash and femslash.) See my ship list for details.
I don't have much time to make fanworks these days, but I have a few fics up on AO3 and some vids on YouTube (under Talea100.)
Fun fact: I had crushes on both C-3P0 and Data.