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July 08 2005

The Big Gay Picture: Coming Soon - The Gay Genre! "On television, both BtVS & Xena managed to incorporate some seriously gay characters into the fantasy/action-adventure genre."

Um, did I miss something on Xena? I know they flirted with the idea of Xena and Gabrielle possibly liking each other in that way but they never really followed through with it. Anyway, the article has a couple of Buffy references in it. Interesting article talking about a new Gay tv station that will have a wide range of genre shows with gay characters as the main characters.

I did put tags on this and the other article I linked to but they seem to have disappeared.

Edited to add that I just tried it again and it worked this time.

[ edited by Firefly Flanatic on 2005-07-08 07:30 ]
From what I saw on Xena it was clear they knew they had a big gay following who liked the 'slash' notion, but they always kept the pandering to that crowd rather ambiguous at best as I recall. I got more the impression that their relationship sort of went beyond those labels and gender/sexual issues and became more of an intense spiritual thing. Or something. But I do think that was the start of obvious nods to 'slash' at least.

Funny thing, both characters had several 'straight' relationships which would make them some shade of bisexual in my book tops, hehe. But then I still say that about Willow too.

I do think it was good couples like Willow and Tara (alright, and the ambiguously maybe-gay Xena and Gabrielle;-) were on TV and that they were serious couples whose relationship was treated like the rest. I always think shows like Will & Grace that toss every gay stereotype out there may not actually be doing all that much good for homosexuality in the american culture. Since the stereotypes are basically to laugh at, I can never shake that 'aren't those wacky gays funny?' feeling I guess...
I agree that Xena and Gabby seemed to have a strong spiritual relationship - as shown in the episodes from the future where they were reincarnated in different bodies but were still attracted to each other. I believe in one, Xena was in Gabrielle's body and Gabrielle was in Joxer's so it seemed to be more of a soulmate thing than an actual gay thing. But yes, they definitely flirted with it and it was serious and not the laugh track induced things you see on Will & Grace. And Willow's relationships were never done for laughs (and I also agree with you on her most likely being bisexual and not gay).
I think the gay community has to be careful of demanding gay characters simply for inclusion..."Will and Grace" always seems "forced" to me, I want my characters to appear "real" and I want to relate to their emotions. Willow and Tara hit every note for me, one of the most satisfying relationships I've ever seen; Willow and Kennedy clearly demonstrated the genius of Joss Whedon...they developed as a couple in the only way possible to maintain the integrity of the characters.
I only saw a few episodes of XENA but I did watch the last episode. I may not be remembering correctly, but doesn't she just flat out say with no mistaking watch she meant that she was in love with Gabrielle?
I haven't seen much of the later Xena, so I can't really say. I think later on they Did just basically confirm the lesbian thing.

I have to say, I Never liked the Willow and Kennedy dynamic. It seemed like a watered-down femme/butch thing (which I have no problems with, but Kennedy was less butch and more Bitch). I understand that she needed someone to celebrate her strength, but Kennedy was such a spoiled, bratty, immature... boy I could go on all day.

Re: Will and Grace? I think of it less as "Those Wacky Gays" and more a celebration of fag-hags (which Margaret Cho says is inoffensive, even if it gives me little Ugh feelings). I know more homosexuals who have problems with Queer as Folk (the American version) than who have problems with Will and Grace.

I'd Love to watch a Gay TV channel. Sign me up!
Interesting...I liked the Kennedy character; sure, she was a spoiled little rich girl use to getting her way but she knew it and, more importantly, admitted it. She never seemed to take herself that seriously and was always willing to stick her nose in a fight. She genuinely cared for Willow from the beginning and stood by her when things got really weird! She was supportive and yet gave Willow enough space so that she could come to her on her own terms!
Fag Hag. As a gay friend told me recently, fag hag is not the terminology beautiful women who adore gay men should use. Fruit fly, he said. Much, much better.

And pixxelpuss, my gay friends all get a kick out of Will & Grace too, as do I (though I watch it much less now than I used to). I think the contrast between Will and Jack is a smart way to both embrace the stereotype that many homophobic men have (Jack) and then get the reality out there that not all gay men can be painted with the same brush (Will).
Angela, I disagree, as Will also seems to embody the majority of gay stereotypes as well, he's just not as annoying as Jack... has a female best friends, sings, likes musicals, shops a lot...

I think Will and Grace just reinforces stereotypes and I don't think that's very positive because it just makes people think that all gay people are the same. I also don't find it very funny, because it's usually brash, forced and often crude. It has its moments, but generally I think they could have made it more funny and the characters less stereotypical. And why do they always make jokes about Grace being fat or greedy? Ity's not very believable given how thin the actress is.
I can't believe there isn't a gay cable channel already. There's targeted channels for men, women, sports, history and buying useless crap with a credit card at 4 a.m. -- why not for this vastly underserved portion of the population? If TV is truly a universal medium through which we can learn about and come to understand one another's differences and similarities, then everyone should have the opportunity to see a reflection of themselves on it.

With very few exceptions so far, gay couples have been relegated to the margins of visibility, which certainly isn't a valid representation of the way things are. Subtext must become text eventually, and behind the labels and terminology are people who are just living their ordinary lives together. I loved seeing Willow and Tara together on Buffy for exactly that reason -- their relationship was as casually, honestly depicted as any heterosexual couple's was, joys, pains and all. Just like real life. And it was beautiful to see.

So-called 'gay' tastes are synonymous in many instances with what are considered to be educated, informed and intelligent tastes -- for fine foods, wine, travel, dance, off-beat humor, music and art, to name a few -- so a gay channel would appeal to many straight viewers as well (this one included). Bring it on!
Razor, I do hear what you are saying about Will. However, while I firmly believe that stereotypes should not be embraced as fact, they become stereotypes for a reason. Many times that reason is simply ignorance, and something that seems "common" gets branded stereotypical. Will is less flamboyant, if you will, then Jack. The difference between the two that I was pointing out was simply that straight men, sitting at a table with Will, may well not even know he is gay. There's no reason why he should have to hide it certainly, but I think there's something to be said for pointing out to the homophobic that they can comfortably hang with some gay men. As for Will's love of musicals, and singing - every gay male I know loves musicals. That's not to say that every gay man in the world does, but as far as I'm concerned, it (and a more common appreciation of decoration, fine food, wine) showcases the very, very good taste of those that do.
As a person who followed Xena from the begiining and only stopped watching the last season, I can deffiantly say they were bi, in my opinion. Infact a few weeks ago they had a special where the actress who played Gabby and the Executive producer, both said they new they had a VERY LARGE gay following and played it up alot. That they believed both ladies did love each other and were spiritually each other's soul mate if not physically. I think in the later season's they deffiantly showed this.

I have always watched Will and Grace for Karen, and it just happened to have a gay theme, but I never ever felt it was forced or to over the top. It is sitcom, so you do have to take their situations into consideration.

For Willow, i have always believed she loved the soul , not the body. I will to this day believe she loved OZ with all of her heart, and had he not left she never would have strayed to even think she might be gay. But he did. And she found Tara, but I deeply believe Tara was about the soul, who just happened to be in girl's body. She loved Tara. So when she was with Tara she was gay. But after Tara, if Oz had come back, I believe she would have felt the same love for him again.

Kennedy to me was forced. It was the she is gay, so lets give her another chick and make her all better. kennedy was the rebound chick, the fun sex, that you ahve that gets you over the hurt, but does not touch her soul.
I'd have to agree that after Tara died if Oz had come back and could refrain himself from wolfing out or have his curse lifted or whatever then their love could have been rekindled. Willow's thing for (and briefly with) Xander was genuine as was her love for Oz. So I always thought of her as bi and not gay.
But Willow definitely could show lust for women.

I was surprised they decided to give Willow another love interest out of fear that audience reaction would be they were trying to "make up" for Tara. But being one of the few people who doesn't hate Kennedy I thought their relationship was more than just a rebound for Willow. In my head they're still together. Somewhere in Europe.
Kennedy is at Taco Bell these days...
I'm not sure that Willow would have got back with Oz if he returned again, after she chose Tara over him. I think it would have been healthier for the two of them to move on.

Does anyone else think, in retrospect, it's funny how adverse people's reactions were to Willow's relationships? When Oz came on the scene, people were reluctant to embrace him and wanted her to be with Xander, but his good nature quickly changed people's minds, so when he and Willow split up and Tara came along, people were also reluctant to accept her beause it felt like she was replacing Oz. Then when Tara died everyone was upset and outraged, and again sceptical of Kennedy. I know the Buffster has generated some debates over her men, but I think Willow has developed the most!

Personally I have always been glad to see characters move on and grow and even though I really liked Oz and Tara I didn't mind Willow moving on, I mean did we expect her to spend the rest of her life in mourning? Given time we might have seen the Willow/Kennedy relationship develop more and we would have embraced it. I really didn't have a problem with it, and I didn't feel it was made to seem too important right away, like Kennedy wasn't immediately proclaiming that Willow was the love of her life. Maybe it wouldn't work it, maybe it would have.

With very few exceptions so far, gay couples have been relegated to the margins of visibility, which certainly isn't a valid representation of the way things are. Subtext must become text eventually, and behind the labels and terminology are people who are just living their ordinary lives together. I loved seeing Willow and Tara together on Buffy for exactly that reason -- their relationship was as casually, honestly depicted as any heterosexual couple's was, joys, pains and all. Just like real life. And it was beautiful to see.

I agree. To me, I think Joss's way of handling a gay relationship was perfect. I think we should see more believable gay characters and relationships onscreen, but I don't think we need to make a big deal out of it or make it seperate from anything else. It shouldn't be any different to anything else we see, and the Willow/Tara relationship was believable and completely charming.

As FallAngjl said, I suppose with Will and Grace we should take into consideration the fact that it is a sitcom but I thought they could have tried to completely go against stereotype with Will at least.
I loved Oz and Willow right from the start and when that ended I loved Tara right from the start and thought the relationship developed in a believable manner. The Kennedy relationship I felt was forced and didn't have the same sparkage that we saw with Willow and Oz & Willow and Tara. Both of those relationships were magical and sweet. Now, I didn't care for Kennedy when I first saw the show but I appreciated her more when I got the dvds and could watch the show uninterrupted. But I still never felt that connection between the two characters that I felt with Willow and her other partners. I did feel that Kennedy was a rebound type of relationship, possibly brought on by the dire circumstances of everything that was going on and a need to have someone in your life.

The amazing thing about Willow and Tara, for me, was the fact of how natural it seemed. I didn't see a gay couple when I watched them - I saw two people very much in love struggling with their issues and trying to work things out. Before things starting going bad for them I'd say Willow and Tara had the best relationship of all on BtVS and the most normal. Willow and Oz were still teenagers and never really had a grown-up relationship whereas Willow and Tara did get that far and they even were parenting a child in Buffy's absense. Even after Buffy came back you sensed that Dawn still needed Tara who became like a surrogate mother to her. So BtVS not only had a very realistic (if you skip over all the magical stuff) relationship with two lesbians but they were also "parents" to Dawn for quite awhile and seemed to do a good job raising her.

I think that having Willow get into a new relationship so early with Kennedy was where I had a hard time buying it. Willow had come off these two phenomenal relationships that each could've been described as the "love of her life" and with the way Tara died and Willow's ultimate destruction at her death it just seemed implausible to me that she would rebound so quick. But, in hindsight, I think Willow may have needed just to have someone in her life to make her feel alive again and normal again. I don't think Kennedy is a lasting love - maybe more than a fling - but not the intense love that Willow felt for Oz and Tara. That would've been an interesting tale to follow, to see where Willow went and the problems that would develop in her relationship with Kennedy. Kind of like Riley realizing that Buffy would never love him like he loved her. I could very well have seen that happening with Willow and Kennedy. I think Willow would've loved Kennedy as much as she could have but Kennedy would sense that there would always be a third person between them who she could never compete with.

As for Willow and Oz reuniting, I wouldn't have seen that happen either. They both had gone through a lot of changes and have become totally different people. Yes, I do think that Willow is bisexual but maybe she really felt more comfortable being with a female. Willow was always self conscious and insecure with both Xander and Oz and was always seeking reassurance. She became very confident with Tara and that continued with her relationship with Kennedy. I could possibly see years later Oz and Willow meeting up again and rekindling their feelings for each other but they would not be the same cute couple they were.
Willowy said:
Kennedy is at Taco Bell these days...

And Morena's roommate has a Secret. Though in her defense, that's old news. . .

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