I respectfully disagree with both Simon Pegg & George Takei over Gay Sulu

So I just saw Star Trek Beyond. You know, the one with gay Sulu.

Not to spoil it; it’s super subtle. While on temporary leave on a star base, Sulu is able to meet up with whom we are led to assume is his partner and his daughter. His partner is a man. The only other shot we get is his partner appearing next to him at a party later on.

And so, everyone has been freaking out that Sulu is gay.

George Takei has stated that he is disappointed that the character he played on The Original Series has been changed so fundamentally. He agrees that it’s about time for an LGBT hero to show up in the Trek universe on screen, but feels that a new character should have been developed instead of changing one that Gene Roddenberry created as a heterosexual. He says that the interracial kiss that Star Trek aired in 1968 was about as far as they could push the envelope at the time, so excluding LGBT characters was “not some oversight by [Gene Roddenberry]; it was a conscious decision with which he grappled.”

Simon Pegg has respectfully disagreed. He claimed that in introducing a new character as gay, the character “would have been primarily defined by their sexuality, seen as the ‘gay character’, rather than simply for who they are, and isn’t that tokenism?” He argues that Roddenberry would have made Sulu gay himself, and “[i]f he could have explored Sulu’s sexuality with George, he no doubt would have.”

While I see both points of view, why is nobody considering the option of Sulu just being bi? Continue reading “I respectfully disagree with both Simon Pegg & George Takei over Gay Sulu”

The Devil Went Down to LA: Lucifer Review

As far as major network shows go, Fox’s Lucifer is pretty good. Its first season, which aired from late January to late April of 2016, featured thirteen episodes of varying quality. It was off to a shaky start, but finished out the season with a consistent tone and interesting characters.

Based loosely off of The Sandman and Lucifer DC Comics, the show’s titular character is depicted as a cheeky Englishman with supernaturally irresistible charm. As the fallen favourite son of God cast out of heaven for refusing to follow orders, Lucifer Morningstar (played by the dreamy Tom Ellis) has reigned over Hell for millennia. However, sometime before the beginning of the in-show timeline, Lucifer became bored with Hell and decided to move to Los Angeles to run a night club instead.

This remains one of my biggest problems with the premise. Of all of the places in the world, why would Lucifer pick LA? I can understand running a night club; the show uses the club’s setting as a scene for all sorts of debauchery that seems right up Lucifer’s alley. But LA? Not Amsterdam, Vegas, Hong Kong? There are so many more interesting settings, in my eyes.

Oh, and also, Lucifer is a police procedural. Don’t worry, you’re not the only one who is confused. Continue reading “The Devil Went Down to LA: Lucifer Review”

Finding Faith in “Unreal”

It’s no secret that there isn’t a lot of “gay” media out there. It’s why, if you’ve ever hung around lesbians or bisexual women, you’ll hear a lot about The L Word and Orange Is the New Black. Or you’ll hear us talk about shows that aren’t gay per se, but that made us feel better about being weird or different back before we knew why we were weird or different. In other words, we cobble together our own media history as best we can, looking for something – anythingthat looks like us.

And that’s why I was surprised to find myself in tears over my own reflection on a show that by all accounts is the most straight.

Last week I was looking for a new show to watch at the gym, and the writers on my favorite tv site, previously.tv, had been talking up a show called Unreal on – of all things – the Lifetime Network. Unreal is a scripted, fictional show about two women who produce a reality program called Everlastinga not-very-covert stand-in for The Bachelor. If you’re familiar at all with old reality staple The Bachelor, you’ll know the rumors that the program is heavily produced, that the women on the show are sometimes manipulated into saying and doing things they might not otherwise do at will. You know that they’re pumped full of alcohol at every opportunity. You’ll know that one is always picked to be “the villain” and another “the wife”. In short, if you’re familiar at all with the program, you’ll know that it might be hard to work as a producer while maintaining any semblance of self-respect.

That’s the battle that the two lead characters, Quinn and Rachel, fight each episode. Rachel in particular has a feminist past; she mentions all her friends from school who work for public television; she sometimes wears a shirt that says “This Is What A Feminist Looks Like”. A portion of her wants to believe that she’s painting the women on the show in a positive light. But she is constantly undermining her own dreams of purity by putting the ladies in situations she knows, deep down, are manipulative or unfair.

I knew the basic plot of the show when I began watching. I expected to see women portrayed in a way that was complex and interesting. I craved the complexity offered by a show where women could be strong, but not always right. I wanted to see Quinn and Rachel struggle with real, complex life decisions. I wanted to see them make mistakes. And I was not disappointed. the show contained all that and more. What I didn’t expect, though, was for the show to gift me with a gay woman whose story felt just enough like home to make me cry and punch me in the stomach. Continue reading “Finding Faith in “Unreal””

How Kelly Clarkson Made Me Gay

(Originally posted on August 27, 2012 at I Dig Your Girlfriend.)

10 years ago, in the summer of 2002, I started watching a new reality show called American Idol. I was somewhat late to the game; on the night I first tuned in, the preliminary “loser” rounds were over and we were down to the top eight finalists.

The production values were laughably low-budget back then. They had canned background music and a tiny octagonal stage facing a tiny audience. At the centre of this modest octagon stood a short, curvy girl with a microphone. She was wearing a necktie and what I believe is referred to as a trilby hat, and she was singing Aretha Franklin’s Natural Woman. It was 60’s Night.

I was recording the show (on VHS!) as I watched, because I was expecting a phone call and I didn’t want to miss any of the songs. I took my call, and then resumed the episode where I had left off. Once I reached the end, I hit ‘rewind’ and watched Kelly’s song again. I watched it a few times, actually, and I became thoroughly confused with myself.

Why was I re-watching this? What was it about this performance? What was it about this girl? How could I rationalize keeping this instead of taping over it? Continue reading “How Kelly Clarkson Made Me Gay”

CLEXA: The Best Ship That Ever Shipped

Arrr ye matey, tharr be spoilers ahead!

A quick recap:

It’s been 97 years since a planet-wide nuclear war. A very small percentage of humanity escaped into space, and has since been biding time in The Ark, a space station orbiting post-apocalypse earth. It is ruled with the iron fist of the democratically elected chancellor, and any rule breakers above the age of 18 are “floated” – sent out an air lock to their death, floating into frozen space. Under-age rule breakers are kept confined, awaiting a retrial on their 18th birthday, when they will either rejoin The Ark’s society, or be floated.

The air starts running out on The Ark. Dramatic, drastic measures are taken but little time is gained for the inhabitants of The Ark. There proves to be a chance that Earth is becoming habitable again, so the decision is made to send the juvenile delinquents down to Earth as an experiment. With futuristic FitBits locked to their wrists, 100 good-looking teens are shot down to Earth. The bracelets let The Ark know how their bodies react to the climate – and radiation – on Earth.

No surprise, it turns out to be habitable. The JDs get all Lord of the Flies and a primitive culture and leadership develops. One of these leaders is Clarke, a relatively goody-two-shoes who tries to maintain her moral high ground, but finds herself quickly devolving with the rest of the no-good kids.

But for a select number of people, it’s been habitable the entire time humanity has been waiting it out in space. In “modern” society’s absence, a primitive, tribal culture has developed. These are the Grounders. The JDs are the Sky People. Season one is basically Sky People vs Grounders. But then the adults from The Ark come to earth, and shit gets real. Continue reading “CLEXA: The Best Ship That Ever Shipped”

Out of This World

Go ahead and try to hit me if you’re able,
Can’t you see that my relationship is stable,
I can see you hate the way we intermingle,
But I think you’re just mad ‘cause you’re single!

Estelle’s rich voice moves effortlessly over a catchy synth track. The music is paired with animation of a curvy, three-eyed woman singing while she fights a tattooed woman with a gemstone nose. They also happen to be on a spaceship. This clip was my introduction to Steven Universe, and if that doesn’t make you want to watch the show already, then I’m not sure that we can be friends. (Full disclaimer: the show doesn’t always feature sweet musical numbers like this.)

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Jasper (left, Kimberly Brooks) fights the agile Garnet (right, Estelle).

The Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe might seem like a lot to take in, at first. Thankfully, the series takes it slow with its world building. The show’s namesake is a pre-pubescent human boy… sort of. He’s also the son of Rose Quartz (Susan Egan), leader of the Crystal Gems. Rose Quartz sacrificed herself so that Steven (Zach Callison) could be born. Since then, he’s been raised by the remaining members of the Crystal Gems: Garnet (Estelle), Amethyst (Michaela Dietz), and Pearl (Deedee Magno). His very human dad, Greg Universe (Tom Scharpling), is also an important presence in his life.

The Crystal Gems are a group of rebellious aliens who have been protecting Earth from their Homeworld for thousands of years. As the newest member of the group, Steven struggles to control the powers that he inherited from his mother. However, what Steven lacks in badass alien abilities, he makes up for in pure joie de vivre. He’s always asking questions, seeking adventure, and demonstrating an unmatched compassion for those around him. Steven is a grounding force for each of his super-powered guardians, and a deeply loving son to his bumbling father.

Of course, Steven’s not the only reason to love this show. All of the characters are charming and interesting in their own way, if not a bit perplexing at times.

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I’m talking about you, Onion.

On top of the stellar cast, the series is beautifully animated, well-written, and features an outstanding soundtrack. As if all of this weren’t enough, the Emmy nominated Steven Universe is also very queer-friendly. All of the full-blooded aliens in the show (both Crystal Gems and Homeworlders alike) present as feminine humanoids who use she/her pronouns – automatically making any romantic pairings between Gems queer. Warning: there be spoilers ahead.

Continue reading “Out of This World”

A Lesbian in Pine Valley

I grew up in a household with only three television channels, one of which was French. Daytime drama pickings were slim. You could watch Coronation Street (a solid choice for those who liked listening to British accents), you could watch Another World, or you could watch All My Children. Our family watched Another World. I only had a vague awareness of All My Children in the background of my life. If you’d asked me back in the day, I probably could have only named one character. She was played by Susan Lucci, and her name was Erica Kane.

As the nineties wore on, and my inner gayness started perking up its ears, I subconsciously sought out gay storylines on TV. It was a semi-ideal time for that. Sure, we still had advisory warnings on episodes with meaningful same-sex eye contact. We still had the camera panning away from Matt’s kiss on a particularly daring Melrose Place. But things were in motion, and there was no going back.

With Another World cancelled in 1999, and with Days of Our Lives failing to hold my interest (one can only watch Stefano lock Marlena up so many times), my soul was left wanting for its familiar sudsy goodness. What a perfect time for All My Children to introduce a lesbian character! Continue reading “A Lesbian in Pine Valley”

Flaming the (Buffy) Fan

Before the days of Facebook and MySpace, back when the Internet was a shiny new novelty, we had something called mailing lists. This was where fans of a particular television show, or more specifically, a particular character, could come together to nerd out. You would address the group with an email, and other members could answer you directly or also address the group.

I was a huge Buffy fan back in the day. I was the same age as the main characters; we graduated high school together. They helped me feel less alone at a pretty lonely, confusing time in my life. So when the Internet became a thing, I was drawn to like-minded people that I could talk and joke and bond over the show with.

The first group I joined was based around the character of Spike, a cocky British vampire with cheekbones that could cut glass. He was the typical bad boy villain; brash and sarcastic, long leather duster hugging his athletic body. He was definitely a favourite of mine. I joined the group (strictly female members if I remember correctly) in celebrating his sexiness and gushing over how hot and doable he was. At the time, I thought I meant it. Continue reading “Flaming the (Buffy) Fan”

Vampires and Werewolves and Queers! Oh My!

I would make out with almost every protagonist featured in Showtime’s Penny Dreadful. There, I’ve said it! Each and every one of them has their own delightfully unique appeal, once you’ve seen past their (usually numerous) faults. With the third season having premiered in Canada on May 3rd, I figured that it was a good time to review how the show has dealt with queer relationships up until now.

First, it’s necessary to say: this article will contain minor spoilers. With a cast as numerous as Penny Dreadful’s, there’s no way for me to explain any of these relationships without naming names. I’m going to do my utmost not to reveal any of the biggest twists of the series, but you’ve been warned! Spoiler-y content below. Continue reading “Vampires and Werewolves and Queers! Oh My!”