Wednesday, June 29, 2022

QR22 Day 29 - Dickinson

 


There's no shortage of literary criticism and historical evidence suggesting the poet Emily Dickinson might have been queer. You can read her poetry, biographies, criticism, or whatever you want and decide for yourself, but the case is compelling.

The Apple TV show Dickinson takes that premise and runs with it in tumultuous mash-up of history, humor, poetry, modern slang-injected dialog, and drama. And it's freaking great. It's like A Knight's Tale meets Jane Austen in antebellum America. Hailee Steinfeld shines as Emily Dickinson, and Ella Hunt (from Anna and the Apocalypse!) plays opposite her perfectly as Sue, Emily's best friend and chief love interest. Jane Krakowski is in it. Wiz Khalifa plays Death. Billy Eichner has a cameo as Walt Whitman. Like???

So that's the penultimate day of Queer Representation! One more to go! 🏳️‍🌈

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

QR22 Day 28: The Unspoken Name


 

Day 28 of Queer Representation (only two more days left after today!) and today I’m talking about the novel The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood. Listen, who doesn’t want to read a book about a young orc girl who was raised for the explicit purpose of being sacrificed to her dark god, only to be given an option to live at the last moment by a powerful wizard, and to then go on to be a badass assassin, and do tons of crazy awesome things, yada yada yada, and there’s tons of queer content, including said main character orc being queer. It’s real good, ya’ll. Peace. 🏳️‍🌈

Monday, June 27, 2022

QR22 DAY 27: Hacks

 


Queer Rep day 27: Hacks is easily one of my favorite new series--maybe one of my favorite series of all time. A washed-up and nearly cancelled comedy writer is enlisted to help write jokes for a once legendary now-on-the-way-out comedian, and hilarity and antics and drama ensue. The acting and writing is top notch, and the show is SO funny and also tuggy on the heartstrings, as it were, and it has some of the best bisexual representation I've seen in...anything, honestly. I can't overstate how great that casting and acting are in Hacks--Jean Smart, Hannah Einbinder, and Carl Clemons-Hopkins SLAY. It's so good. 🏳️‍🌈

Sunday, June 26, 2022

QR22 Day 26 - Crush



Crush is a brand new teen romcom on the scene, and what I'm plugging for day 26 of my Queer Representation challenge! And what Love, Simon is for male/male queer teen romcoms, Crush is for female/female queer teen romcoms. Engaging characters, and a solid, fun story. Rowan Blanchard is perfect in the lead role, and it was awesome to see Auli'i Cravalho (Moana!) do something a bit different. And they both crush it (pun absolutely intended). 🏳️‍🌈

 
 



Saturday, June 25, 2022

QR22 Day 25 - The Haunting of Bly Manor

 


Day 25 of Queer Rep is The Haunting of Bly Manor, a gothic drama/romance with a fair shake of horror thrown in. The creator, Mike Flanagan, is also behind The Haunting of Hill House as well as Midnight Mass, both really fantastic horror programs in their own right. But while Hill House is certainly scarier, and Midnight Mass dives into some fascinating metaphors and philosophical ground, imo Bly is the best of the three--and there's a really well done queer relationship at it's heart. 🏳️‍🌈

Friday, June 24, 2022

QR22 Day 24 - Little Girl


For day 24 of my Queer Representation list I'm talking about the French film Little Girl. This is a very tight, focused documentary about Sasha, a young child who was assigned the male gender at birth but from a very early age insisted she wanted to be a girl. It's just a segment of her journey, but it's tender and intimate and while it may not answer many questions about the trans community, it certainly conveys a powerful trans experience.

In all honesty I'm feeling too sick and heartbroken over the Supreme Court ruling today to say much more. Just...be good to each other. And fuck the patriarchy. 🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍⚧️

Thursday, June 23, 2022

QR22 Day 23 - Our Flag Means Death


Day 23 of Queer Rep: Our Flag Means Death.

"Queerbaiting" is an unfortunate trend in which possible relationships between same-sex characters are teased, but never fully realized on the screen or page. Sometimes this is just ignorant writing, but more often than not it's more insidious than that, a marketing technique to attract LGBTQIA+ audiences and allies without expressly committing to a queer story. (If season 2 of Warrior Nun doesn't have any queerness in it, for example, it would be an egregious queer baiting offense.)

A recent Atlantic article called Our Flag Means Death "the opposite of queer baiting" and I 100% agree--it's a really well done, slow-burn queer romance with a payoff, ensconced in an always brilliant, often hilarious comedy about pirates. Also Taika Waititi is attached.

The show is delightful and you should watch it! 🏳️‍🌈



 

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

QR22 Day 22 - Warrior Nun

 


Ah, Warrior Nun. Weird, imperfect, and awesome. Imagine if demons were real and the Catholic Church had an entire warrior sect devoted to fighting them off, including a divinely-powered superwoman called the Warrior Nun, and you’ll have a pretty solid grip on the series premise. It’s fun, if overly serious sometimes, and a little too reliant on mediocre CGI, but it has some strong elements. It certainly fits the mold of a BtVS successor, and while it fits a little better than a lot of other contenders out there, it falls far short compared to TBH.

I questioned whether to include this one in my Queer Representation list too, honestly, because the queer is…subtle. Barely textual, honestly. But it is there, and has so much promise. The good news is that it was renewed for a second season and it should be releasing later this year! And based on the recently released trailer, my hopes are reasonably high that they’ll embrace the show’s queerness instead of sweeping it under the rug—but we’ll see. Anyway, that’s day 22!

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

QR22 Day 21 - TEENAGE BOUNTY HUNTERS

 


Ya’ll I have been waiting ALL MONTH to talk about this one. For Day 21 of Queer Representation: Teenage Bounty Hunters!

But first, a rant.

I mentioned Buffy the Vampire Slayer yesterday, and there’s no denying that BtVS has progressed beyond cult classic into legitimate classic in its own right. Classic enough that I’ve often heard people talk about “spiritual successors” or “heirs” to the BtVS zeitgeist. (If your response to that is “Chris I’ve literally never heard people talk about 'successors to the BtVS zeitgeist' or whatever,” my response to you is in two parts: 1 - you admittedly sound like a normal person so that’s fine and I’m happy for you, and 2 - you obviously need to watch more BtVS and read more about it and study it and discuss it in person with everyone you know and online with random people on the internet a lot more. Because you are living half a life.)

Anyway. Let’s be honest, BtVS left a big throne to fill, as it were. There are a lot of things that made Buffy so iconic. Quick, whippy, creative dialog. Grungy, indy rock and pop sprinkled perfectly throughout. Creating cohesive season- and series- spanning stories at a time when TV was almost exclusively week-by-week. Metaphor: using supernatural drama as a lens to examine teenage drama, and using both to examine universal fears, questions, and social issues. Characters—heroes and villains and everything in between—that were complex, multifaceted, and experienced growth and change in step with the series-spanning plot elements.

There have been a string of pretenders to the vacant Buffy throne over the years, all of them trying to replicate the above. The Vampire Diaries was an obvious candidate (and a show I acknowledged years ago when it was airing). An interesting new contender is First Kill, a vampire series that does have queer representation as well as a decent story and characters, but also falls short in a few areas. There have been many others, including one I’m mentioning tomorrow for Queer Rep, but none of them quite manage to lock down the throne.

The problem with most surface-level, failed “successors” to BtVS is that they focus too much on the teen and supernatural aspects of the show, and honestly they can't even get that stuff right. They hammer the supernatural without metaphor and nuance, creating stories that are admittedly dramatic but overwhelmingly hollow. They cram pop (and pop-adjacent, or pop-alt-rock, or indie-pop-whatever) music tracks into every possible scene that could remotely (or don’t remotely) call for music, and shamelessly stitch pop-culture references and the latest urban dictionary entries into otherwise uninspired dialog. What follows isn’t something that genuinely feels youthful, or current, or like it has something to say, but rather something that feels more like a Frankensteinian pop-culture monster crafted by a bunch of executives who googled “what do The Youth like these days?” and went with whatever was on the first page of results. Don’t get me wrong—teens (and really anyone remotely interested in pop culture) often still like these shows. They’re popular! And I’m not saying they shouldn’t be. I liked The Vampire Diaries and First Kill, for the most part. But they aren’t remotely in the same arena as BtVS.

No, my friends. The truth is, that throne sat empty and unoccupied since BtVS ended in 2004. 

Unoccupied, anyway, until 2020, when Teenage Bounty Hunters was released on Netflix.

Teenage Bounty Hunters (TBH) is the One True Heir to Buffy. Let’s go down the list of things I mentioned earlier:

  • TBH’s dialog is innately delightful and hilarious, but it also feels current, creative, and effortless.
  • They don’t smash you on the head with the music, but there are tracks that have recurring importance and other moments where the music fits perfectly for humor, drama, or really whatever else the story needs.
  • TBH executes the monster-of-the-week/season-spanning-arc hybrid approach flawlessly. (“Skip”-of-the week in TBH’s case, because they’re bounty hunters, but it’s the same idea.)
  • The show weaves teen drama, metaphor, and the bounty-hunter plot elements perfectly. It has heart, because instead of empty teen drama or supernatural nonsense, it’s full of meaning on multiple levels.
  • The characters are wonderful. Sterling. Blair. Bowser. April. Ellen. Terrence. I need them on a t-shirt. And the casting and acting is really phenomenal. Also Method Man is in it. Like??? It’s so great.
So it’s as good as—and in some cases better than (YES I SAID IT) BtVS on almost every level. And there’s more:
  • Crucially, TBH is not a supernatural series. Admittedly the premise (two teenage twin girls start working for a local bounty hunter while dealing with family and high school drama) is so ridiculous it’s almost supernatural, but it’s actually implemented seamlessly, and the show still uses elements of the premise to explore metaphors, social issues, etc.
  • It’s incredibly sex-positive and empowering. Sex is always a choice in the show, and when characters make mistakes in the sex arena—which happens often—they learn from it and grow. When they have positive experiences, they see and acknowledge the positive. It's really well done. (Which also means the sexual content is reasonably mid-to-high in this show, so if that’s not for you, you’ve been warned. But trust me, if you can get through the first five minutes of the first episode, you’re going to be fine, and you’re going to love the show.)
  • It’s gaaaaaaay! I won’t spoil anything but it’s gay and it’s great. I will say the series makes you work for the gay, though, so be prepared for a lot of…I don’t know, not-gay for the first few episodes. But when the gay hits, it’s like wait this show is SO GAY and it’s amazing.

There’s really only one problem with Teenage Bounty Hunters: Netflix cancelled it after it’s first season.

I know, it’s horrible. And story elements and questions are left unanswered. And I can only imagine how great the series might have become if it had been allowed a few more seasons of life. But the lone season is so good that it’s absolutely worth watching. And I’ll be honest, if I were given the chance to resurrect one TV show from the grave of cancellation, it would not be Firefly. It would be Teenage Bounty Hunters. I know those are fighting words for just about everyone I know, but they're truth.

So, Teenage Bounty Hunters. It’s…so, so good. It inhabits the zeitgeisty throne of BtVS with august majesty. Watch it. Love it. Live it. Or whatever. 🏳️‍🌈

Monday, June 20, 2022

QR22 Day 20 - Buffy the Vampire Slayer

 


For day 20 of Queer Representation I’m going to talk about Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (If you know me at all you had to expect this at some point, right?) And honestly, there’s a lot to say. But I’m also going to try to keep this short. So, the highlights: 

Willow Rosenberg is one of the best characters in the entire series. She’s smart, she’s funny, she’s brave, she’s compassionate, she’s a witch, and she’s also gay (or, arguably, bisexual, but I personally think she’s solidly in the lesbian camp). Her relationship with Tara was really wonderful (with one big asterisk), and they shared one of the first lesbian kisses on television as well as the first lesbian love scene. So, BtVS has a few strong gay characters whose characterization goes beyond their gayness, and it was willing to take some risks at a time where things like this were risky. So that’s good!

But also, the lowlights. BtVS falls into some harmful tropes for the LGBTQIA+ community. “Bury your gays” (there’s the asterisk) and “gay panic” (namely: Xander) are the first ones that come to mind, but I imagine there are others. I won’t go into detail about what those tropes mean for the sake of time and spoilers, but you can follow the links to find out more.

What I’d like to point out is that even though BtVS was a very good series in a lot of respects, and even though in some ways it pioneered queer representation, it didn’t come without issues and without problems. Honestly it makes films like But I’m a Cheerleader and Saving Face, and books like Annie on My Mind (all contemporary or predating BtVS) even more impressive because they manage to have strong representation without furthering problematic tropes. So, kind of a mixed bag here, but I think it’s worth acknowledging that just because a piece of media might have good representation or further a cause in a specific way doesn’t mean it’s completely unproblematic. 🏳️‍🌈






Sunday, June 19, 2022

QR22 Day 19 - Love, Simon



Look, for Day 19 of Queer Representation we’re going to keep it simple. Love Simon is great. It’s just a really, really good romcom where the rom in question happens to be gay. Characters are likeable, the story is fun. Honestly I don’t know what else to say about it! Except: you should watch it :-D. (And that the spinoff series on Hulu, Love, Victor, is also very very good!) 🏳️‍🌈

Saturday, June 18, 2022

QR22 Day 18 - But I’m a Cheerleader

 


If you’re looking for an OG gay cult classic, look no further than But I’m a Cheerleader, the 1999 teen romcom with a bit of a satire-y streak. But I’m a Cheerleader follows Megan, a—you guessed it—high school cheerleader whose parents send her to a form of conversion therapy camp. The film’s cast is first rate. Natasha Lyonne, now a gay icon largely because of this film, is both hilarious and sincere as Megan. Clea DuVall, who has since come out as lesbian, does delightful work as Graham. RuPaul is in it, as is Melanie Lynskey, and even Michelle Williams has a small role. 

But beyond the cast, the film is kind of mind blowing for how it manages to weave humor, drama, and satire, making gay conversion therapy* seem both laughably ridiculous and horrifically insane at the same time while also making me root unabashedly for the central couple. All in 1999. It’s quite phenomenal. And that’s why it’s Day 18 of Queer Rep. 🏳️‍🌈


* While this film once again does a surprisingly good job of treating this topic, and I love it because it is, ultimately, a romcom, it’s worth mentioning a few other movies and their source material, namely The Miseducation of Cameron Post and Boy Erased, both of which take a more serious approach to the reality and consequences of gay education therapy.

Friday, June 17, 2022

QR22 Day 17 - Marlon Bundo

 


Alright, for Day 17 of Queer Rep it’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents: A Day In The Life Of Marlon Bundo. This one has a lot of backstory behind it involving Mike Pence, John Oliver, and others, but what you need to know is this:

  1. It’s a children’s book about two boy bunnies who get married despite ignorance and opposition.
  2. ALL proceeds of the book go to the Trevor Project (nonprofit organization focusing on preventing suicide in LGBTQIA+ youth) and AIDS United (nonprofit organization focusing on ending the AIDS epidemic in the United States).
  3. It’s ultimately a great resource for teaching acceptance of ourselves and others, and inclusion of all.
  4. Also the audiobook is amazing, cheap, and has a phenomenal cast. (Jim Parsons, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, John Lithgow, Ellie Kemper, and RuPaul among others!)
So yeah, you should read this book, buy this book, check out the story behind it! 🏳️‍🌈

Thursday, June 16, 2022

QR22 Day 16 - Continuum by Chella Man

 


For day 16 of Queer Rep, I’m pointing you towards Continuum by Chella Man. It’s part of the “pocket change collective,” a group of small and short books written by today’s activists and artists. The whole series seems pretty great, but today I just want to talk about Continuum. Chella Man is deaf, Asian, Jewish, and a trans man. “All of who I am lies on a continuum,” he writes, and his book explores what that means in terns of gender, religion, race, how to process discrimination, and more. It’s fantastic—and it’s honestly very short, and would not take much of your time to read. I highly recommend it! 🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍⚧️

(Ongoing list of Queer Rep recommendations here!)

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

QR22 Day 15 - Just Juliet

 


Day 15 of Queer Rep—we’re already halfway through the month!—and today I’m talking about Just Juliet by Charlotte Reagan. It’s another delightful romcom, this time with a bisexual lead. Bisexuality can be tough to represent accurately and in a meaningful way. The tendency is to either let a bisexual main character fall into a heterosexual relationship and basically treat them as straight, or to let them have a homosexual relationship, and all but label them gay or lesbian (do a quick search for “bisexual erasure” and you’ll scratch the surface of this problem).

But Just Juliet doesn’t do that! While it does have a strong central romantic relationship, it still manages to represent bisexuality intentionally and in a well-rounded way. It’s a really solid book and deserves a read! 🏳️‍🌈

Ongoing master list for Queer Rep here!








Tuesday, June 14, 2022

QR22 Day 14 - Everything Everywhere All At Once




Okay, so Saving Face is a queer Asian-American rom-com ahead of it's time. Everything Everywhere All At Once is a queer Asian-American drama turned mystery turned insane sci-fi multiverse romp that is (probably?) also ahead of its time. And just like Gideon the Ninth is my favorite book I’ve read in the past few years, Everything Everywhere All At Once is probably my favorite movie from the past few years.

This movie is so out there but I love it. Actually I love it because it is so out there. No no wait actually I love it because of how it is so out there. Yep, thats the one. This movie makes the mundane seem exciting, the grotesque feel whimsical, and the absurd exude meaningful truth and significance. It has exciting, well-produced action, heartstring thrumming (snapping?) drama, and scenes of two rocks literally just sitting on a cliff for minutes at a time. I’m not kidding. And it’s beautiful. And it’s Day 14 of Queer Rep. 🏳️‍🌈

Monday, June 13, 2022

QR22 Day 13 - Saving Face

 



Day 13 of Queer Rep!

Saving Face is a queer Asian-American rom-com ahead of it’s time. It came out way back in 2004, written and directed by Alice Wu. (Alice Wu also wrote and directed The Half of It, another queer Asian-American rom-com that came out in 2020 that didn’t quite make my list but is also awesome and really good; and she helped write Over the Moon, a delightful musical fantasy film that also came out in 2020. I think what I’m saying is this: even though she’s only been involved in three major projects over the past 18 years, Alice Wu has produced some really strong stuff.)

And there’s something really refreshing about seeing older films (yes a film from 2004 is now classified as old, I’ve worked through it and apparently now you need to as well, don’t @ me) with queer characters that let them (a) just…be queer, (b) go through a believable arcs and conflicts (i.e. let them be queer and a person at the same time), and (c) perhaps most importantly find happiness. This film does all of those things, and it does them well. If you haven’t seen it, you should. 🏳️‍🌈

Sunday, June 12, 2022

QR22 Day 12 - The Last of Us (and sequels)


Okay, so for Queer Rep Day 12, we're jumping into video games with the survival horror franchise The Last of Us.

Most of the queer in The Last of Us happens in the Left Behind downloadable content and the sequel, The Last of Us Part II. But the first game is worth mentioning because (1) one of the queer characters is present even if it isn't exactly textual that they're gay, (2) in order to play the Left Behind content you have to at least own the first game anyway (and actually playing it provides a lot of helpful context), and (3) it's almost universally acknowledged as one of the greatest games ever made.

That should put some oomph behind my words when I say that I think Part II is even better. Which is a controversial opinion, by the way. Few video games have been more polarizing than The Last of Us Part II, and there is some valid criticism out there about the game as well as some really off-the-wall crazy nonsense that tries to pass as “criticism”—and a lot that falls somewhere between those two extremes.

As for me, I think Part II is beautiful, if harrowing. Hopeful, if haunting. An examination of revenge and forgiveness (of others and self) that somehow manages to be too heavy-handed, too light-handed, and incredibly deft all at once. I genuinely think the games are high quality and tell compelling stories. And I love the queer. I love the sheer weight of potential between Ellie and Riley in Left Behind, I love the genuine, simultaneously well-worn and honeymoonishly new relationship between Ellie and Dina in Part II, and I love the introduction of Lev, a trans character who became one of my favorite characters overall in the series, in Part II as well. Basically, there’s a lot to love about the Last of Us franchise, even if there’s a lot to dislike, but I think it’s worth checking out. 🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍⚧️

And of course check out the ongoing Queer Rep list here.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

QR22 Day 11 - Happiest Season

 



For day 11 of Queer Rep we're hitting the holidays and another sapphic romance with Happiest Season!

Kristin Stewart is amazing. Aubrey Plaza is amazing. Mackenzie Davis is...really great in this role but I'll be honest I shipped Stewart and Plaza more than Stewart and Davis (you'll have to watch the movie to find why, won't you?).

And let's not forget Dan Levy. For me the real piece de resistance is 100% Dan Levy's speech about the process of coming out towards the end of the film. Seriously, that monolog alone makes it worth it. But it's also a really fun film! So check it out! 🏳️‍🌈

(And check out the ongoing Queer Rep list here!)

Friday, June 10, 2022

QR22 Day 10 - Kelly Quindlen

 




You'll notice a lot of romance and rom-com recs on my queer representation list this month. Part of that is a new appreciation I have for the romance genre, admittedly, but another part is the fact that romance stories--usually--have happy endings! And as much as I love exploring the darkness, sometimes I just want to see characters just, like be happy. Especially when their stories may not have historically ended that way. So that's why you'll see a lot of romantic comedies on my list!

And Kelly Quindlen can write a rom-com, ya'll. Queer ones, in point of fact. Late to the Party and She Drives Me Crazy are perfect exampless with super fun and believable characters with engaging and delightful arcs.

In contrast, her first book, Her Name in the Sky, is definitely a little rougher around the edges (that cover though), and it's a more serious approach to a sapphic romance in a very religious southern community (I...wouldn't exactly classify it as a rom-com, even though there are funny moments--this one is more of a drama) but it has so much heart, and I think I love that book the most because of that heart.

But seriously, they are all so good, and whether you're into a fun rom-com or a more serious take on sapphic romance, you can't go wrong with Kelly Quindlen. So that's day 10! Check out the master list here! 🏳️‍🌈

Thursday, June 09, 2022

QR22 Day 9 - If I Was Your Girl




Day 9 of Queer Rep! (Ongoing master list here.)

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo is a YA romance novel where the main character is trans, and not only does it present a teenage transgender experience in an informative, nuanced, and hopeful way, it's also a really wonderful romance story in it's own right. I can't wait to see more stories that build on books like this one! 🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍⚧️

Wednesday, June 08, 2022

QR Day 8 - Rothaniel




Day 8 of Queer Rep: I wasn't really aware of Jerrod Carmichael until early this year, but he's quickly become one of my favorite people in comedy. He was definitely my favorite SNL host of the season, and his HBO special Rothaniel is fantastic. He's funny, insightful, raw, and honest. 🏳️‍🌈

Tuesday, June 07, 2022

QR22 Day 7 - Gideon the Ninth


There honestly aren't a lot of books out there that I wish I'd written. I love a lot of books, but mostly...I write what I want to read, because it isn't already out there, yeah? But for Day 7 of Queer Rep I've chosen the first two books in a series that I 100% wish I had written because I love eVerYtHiNG about them.

"Lesbian necromancers explore a haunted gothic palace in space!" If that tagline isn't enough, these books somehow found a direct line to my type of funny because I think they are hilarious (think all your favorite memes somehow smashed into science fantasy books in a way that...really works?). And fascinating (I love discovering more and more about the necromantic magic system). Also heartrending. And so, so good. Gideon and Harrow and Ianthe and Camilla and Palamedes and...I adore them all. Hands down these are my top two books I've read in years--years!--and I eagerly await book three in Tamsyn Muir's series this fall. In short, the queerness is strong with these books, and also I truly love them. 🏳️‍🌈

(Link to ongoing QR22 list here.)

Monday, June 06, 2022

QR22 Day 6 - Severance

 


QR Day 6: the Apple TV series Severance. (This one includes a single very mild spoiler about two people who start a relationship on the show.)

Severance is delightful on so many levels. The central premise is simple (people getting “severed,” i.e. partitioning their brain between work life and home life) but with far-reaching consequences, and the show really digs into some fascinating (and sometimes frightening) possibilities. It’s incredibly well produced, from the creepy opening credits sequence to the cinematography to Ben Stiller showing a deft directorial hand. But, as is the case with most things I truly love, the characters run the show. The entire cast is phenomenal, but I’ll give particular props to John Turturro and Christopher Walken as Irving and Burt respectively. Irving and Burt’s relationship is lovely. And also gay. Severance is an incredible show, and you should totally watch it if Apple TV is something you have or are considering.

And, of course, here’s the ongoing master list for QR22.

Sunday, June 05, 2022

QR22 Day 5 - The Wilds



Think Lost meets Lord of the Flies meets...Gossip Girl? Or something. Look I'll be honest this show is kind of insane but that's kind of why I love it. Also a lesbian relationship emerges that I consider the heart of the show, and more queerness shows up in the second season. Basically, if you like your crazy with a healthy sprinkling of more crazy but also some genuinely compelling characters, you should check out The Wilds! 🏳️‍🌈

Saturday, June 04, 2022

QR22 Day 4 - The FEAR STREET Trilogy!




This should be old news, but I love horror films. And I went into this trilogy with pretty low expectations--I never read the Fear Street books growing up, but I read plenty of Goosebumps, and, I mean, those were great when I was twelve or whatever, but I wasn't expecting a lot here.

But to horribly mix metaphors, these films were firing every cylinder at an eleven. Solid jump scares, oppressive sense of dread, characters that weren't just believable and likable but also smart and capable...I was surprised by how good the first film in the trilogy was, and just sort of expected the other films to go downhill, but they didn't. They form a cohesive triptych that tells a complicated, interesting story, and they do it in a compelling way.

Also, some of the main characters are gay! A trilogy of really fun horror movies with some really good characters who happen to be gay. You should watch these films. Assuming horror is your thing, anyway, because the trilogy is Very Horror and I'd take the rating seriously. :-) 🏳️‍🌈

Friday, June 03, 2022

QR22 Day 3 - Annie on My Mind


For day three, let's go back in time forty years (uh-yeah). Annie on My Mind was written by Nancy Garden in 1982, and it's credited as being one of the first teen books to feature lesbian characters in a positive light. I can't decide what's crazier, that a book portraying lesbians in a positive light was already circulating in 1982, or that it took until 1982 for a book that portrayed lesbians in a positive light to circulate. There were some very vocal people who were unhappy about it (it was banned and even burned in several cases), but there were also a lot of people who were finally reading about characters like them for the first time in print. It's an important book.

But it's also a good book! It's a testament to Garden's writing and the story she tells (and, unfortunately, to how little some aspects of society have changed sine the 80s) that it really feels timeless. It honestly felt very contemporary while reading it--perhaps not as plausible in NYC proper, but in plenty of other settings in America. Liza and Annie are delightful, endearing, heartbreaking and heartwarming. As an advisory, there is some sexual content, but not so much that I think it's inappropriate* for most teenagers (although it depends on the teenager, you know?).

In short, it's quite good, and if it remotely strikes your fancy, you should read it! 🏳️‍🌈




* That said, your standards of appropriateness may be very different from mine, so don't take my word for it. There's your disclaimer.

Thursday, June 02, 2022

Queer Representation MASTER LIST 2022

As previously noted, I've decided that for each day of Pride Month I'm going to talk about my favorite queer books, TV shows, and films (and some other things). (Hereafter referred to as QR22!) If any of this stuff sounds good to you, check it out! I think more *quality* representation is only a good thing.

  1. Heartstopper (2022 YA romance series on Netflix)
  2. She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (2018-2020 children's--and adult!--sci-fi cartoon on Netflix)
  3. Annie on My Mind (1982 YA romance novel)
  4. The Fear Street Trilogy (2021 horror film trilogy on Netflix)
  5. The Wilds (2021- thriller/survival series on Amazon Prime)
  6. Severance (2022 psychological thriller series on Apple TV)
  7. Gideon the Ninth/Harrow the Ninth (2019- sci-fi novel series)
  8. Rothaniel (2022 comedy special on HBO Max)
  9. If I Was Your Girl (2016 YA romance novel)
  10. Kelly Quindlen (YA romance author)
  11. Happiest Season (2020 holiday romcom on Hulu)
  12. The Last of Us (and sequels) (2013- survival horror video games on PS3/4/5)
  13. Saving Face (2004 romcom)
  14. Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022 absurdist comedy/drama)
  15. Just Juliet (2016 YA romance novel)
  16. Continuum (2021 short nonfiction book)
  17. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents: A Day In The Life Of Marlon Bundo (2018 children’s book)
  18. But I’m a Cheerleader (1999 teen romcom satire)
  19. Love, Simon (2018 teen romcom)
  20. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2004 horror/drama/comedy series)
  21. Teenage Bounty Hunters (2020 teen comedy/drama on Netflix)
  22. Warrior Nun (2020 fantasy drama on Netflix)
  23. Our Flag Means Death (2022 periodic romantic comedy series on HBO Max)
  24. Little Girl (2020 French documentary)
  25. The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020 gothic drama/romance on Netflix)
  26. Crush (2022 teen romcom on Hulu)
  27. Hacks (2021 comedy-drama on HBO Max)
  28. The Unspoken Name (2020 fantasy novel)
  29. Dickinson (2019-2021 historical comedy-drama on Apple TV)

QR22 Day 2 - She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

 


For Day 2 of Queer Representation, it's She-Ra and the Princesses of Power! (Click here for the in-progress full list.)

While technically a reboot of the 80s She-Ra cartoons, the two series have little in common other than some character/location ideas and names and the general science-fantasy premise. But that's okay, because this series is amazing.
  • The story is genuinely good, the characters well-rounded and entertaining, and it deftly navigates the comedy-drama fault line.
  • The entire cast might be queer! Or at least a huge portion of it. Seriously, characters are gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, non-binary, asexual, etc.
  • It's an animated series for both kids and adults. I watched it with a 5yo who ate the series up. There is some fantasy violence, and the series treats deeper themes like abuse sometimes, but it does it all very well and in an appropriate way for children imo.
  • It's created by ND Stevenson*, who is awesome.
Basically if you're looking for a show that normalizes same-sex relationships, they/them pronouns, neurodivergence, does it all in a kid AND adult friendly format, and is also just really really good, this is the show for you.  🏳️‍🌈


* I hadn't realized they had changed their name, so I've edited the post to reflect that!

Wednesday, June 01, 2022

QR22 Day 1 - Heartstopper

Hey alls! I've decided that for each day of Pride Month I'm going to talk about my favorite queer books, TV shows, and films (and some other things). If any of this stuff sounds good to you, check it out! I think more *quality* representation is only a good thing. (You can find an ongoing master list of everything I recommend here.)

But first on my list is Hearstopper! Netflix recently released a really great adaptation of Alice Oseman's graphic novel series. Both are really good. If you're looking for a really fun, gay, angsty yet heartwarming teen romance, look no more. Also there's bi representation, which can be tough to come by (more on that later), and the soundtrack SLAPS. All around it's a win. 🏳️‍🌈