first roll of film i ever developed!

No Bryke Just No......

You can celebrate it, embrace it, accept it, get over it, or whatever you feel the need to do, but there is no denying it. That is the official story. We received some wonderful press in the wake of the series finale at the end of last week, and just about every piece I read got it right: Korra and Asami fell in love. Were they friends? Yes, and they still are, but they also grew to have romantic feelings for each other.

I’ve been watching the show ever since it first premiered back in 2012, I’ve seen every episode but for the life of me I cannot seem to find the moment between Korra and Asami that didn’t feel badly written and forced. The car scene in the opening of Book 3 comes to mind because I’m sorry but Korra stole Mako from Asami and kept it a secret from her at the end of Book 1 and yeah I know that time heals all wounds and all that but Korra’s half assed apology to Asami in the car was horrible and the fact that Asami didn’t call Korra out on her crap during that moment really pissed me off. Also going back to the original series the reason why Aang and Katara worked so well was because we actually saw their relationship develop over the course of the series, Katara may have started out having a crush on Aang but as the series went on and they got to know each other better Katara started to like Aang for who he was and not just for being the Avatar. In Legend of Korra the interactions between Korra and Asami are so few and far between that it’s impossible to even think of them as friends let alone lovers, I mean hell Asami’s role in Book 2 was pretty much nonexistent so how could Korra and Asami possibly fall in love when there was little to no interaction between them during Book 2?

Was Korrasami “endgame,” meaning, did we plan it from the start of the series? No, but nothing other than Korra’s spiritual arc was. Asami was a duplicitous spy when Mike and I first conceived her character. Then we liked her too much so we reworked the story to keep her in the dark regarding her father’s villainous activities. Varrick and Zhu Li weren’t originally planned to end up as a couple either, but that’s where we took the story/where the story took us. That’s how writing works the vast majority of the time. You give these characters life and then they tell you what they want to do.

What spiritual arc? Korra’s character is pretty nonexistent and bland that it’s embarrassing, she was cocky as all hell in Book 1 and when Amon took away her bending I thought for sure she would finally understand what it meant to be the Avatar and strive to beat Amon with only her air bending but nope Aang shows up gives her back all her bending and gives her access to the Avatar State thus making what little development she goes through in Book 1 pointless. In Book 2 when Unalaq destroyed the past Avatar lives and took away her bending what did Korra do? She mediated inside a giant tree to get enough power to grow giant and fight Unalaq and even then she got her ass handed to her until Jinora came and saved her. The only time Korra went through anything resembling character development was when Zaheer poisoned her and she had to deal with the trauma of almost getting killed, but this arc was rushed and was wrapped up by the end of the fourth episode of Book 4.

I honestly would have liked for Asami to be a spy that would have been an interesting premise but instead you just kept pushing her to the back in Books 2 and 3 to the point where she became a background character at best.

Also the only reason Varrick and Zhu Li ended up together was because Varrick was the breakout character of Book 2 and the fans liked him so much that you decided to give him and Zhu Li their own arc because you love to pad out the show with as many subplots as possible.

I have bragging rights as the first Korrasami shipper (I win!). As we wrote Book 1, before the audience had ever laid eyes on Korra and Asami, it was an idea I would kick around the writers’ room. At first we didn’t give it much weight, not because we think same-sex relationships are a joke, but because we never assumed it was something we would ever get away with depicting on an animated show for a kids network in this day and age, or at least in 2010.

I call bullshit on this because we all know that Legend of Korra was supposed to be a 12 part miniseries and I know the original plan was to have Korra end up with Mako because you wrote Book 1 as a miniseries without the intent to continue but because the premiere ratings were so good Nickelodeon ordered a full series and you had to figure out a way to continue Korra’s story.

Makorra was only “endgame” as far as the end of Book 1. Once we got into Book 2 we knew we were going to have them break up, and we never planned on getting them back together. Sorry, friends. I like Mako too, and I am sure he will be just fine in the romance department. He grew up and learned about himself through his relationships with Asami and Korra, and he’s a better person for it, and he’ll be a better partner for whomever he ends up with.

You broke them up because fan reaction to the Mako character was so fucking negative that people have written entire essays on how much of a douche Mako really was and the break up in Book 2 was just as bad as the “romance” in Book 1 i.e. forced drama that’s shoved down our throats because you guys have obviously forgotten how to write compelling characters. And no Mako learned nothing during the start and end of the series he stayed the same cocky asshole he always was ever since he was first introduced.

Once Mako and Korra were through, we focused on developing Korra and Asami’s relationship. Originally, it was primarily intended to be a strong friendship. Frankly, we wanted to set most of the romance business aside for the last two seasons. Personally, at that point I didn’t want Korra to have to end up with someone at the end of series. We obviously did it in Avatar, but even that felt a bit forced to me. I’m usually rolling my eyes when that happens in virtually every action film, “Here we go again…” It was probably around that time that I came across this quote from Hayao Miyazaki:


“I’ve become skeptical of the unwritten rule that just because a boy and girl appear in the same feature, a romance must ensue. Rather, I want to portray a slightly different relationship, one where the two mutually inspire each other to live - if I’m able to, then perhaps I’ll be closer to portraying a true expression of love.”

And yet you forced the Asami and Korra scene down our throats in the finale, if you’re that against romance then don’t fucking do it! It’s that simple, you could have had the entire series be about Korra and Tenzin bonding like a father and daughter or Korra and Jinora or you could have had the entire series be about Korra living up to the high expectations put on her by Katara and Tenzin.

A forced romance is still a forced romance Bryan it doesn’t matter if its boy/girl or girl/girl if it’s forced then it’s forced. Like for example the How I Met Your Mother Finale did this as well by forcing the Ted and Robin relationship down the viewer’s throats that it just became downright infuriating.

 I agree with him wholeheartedly, especially since the majority of the examples in media portray a female character that is little more than a trophy to be won by the male lead for his derring-do. So Mako and Korra break the typical pattern and end up respecting, admiring, and inspiring each other. That is a resolution I am proud of.

Oh yeah I remember watching Buffy back in the day and being disgusted by the fact that Buffy was just a prize to be won by Angel. I mean she never accomplished anything on that show that’s why Angel had to always save her whenever she got in trouble.

Are you for fucking real Bryan? Just because you see a lot of relationships in TV shows between men and women doesn’t mean that the women are just there to be the main character’s love interest and nothing more, look at Starfire from the Teen Titans cartoon she’s a competent superhero and is part of a team not once did the writers ever imply that she was just there to be Robin’s love interest and nothing more. And if you need proof go watch the episode “How Long Is Forever” and then come back and tell me female characters only exist to be prizes to be won you stupid SJW twat.

However, I think there needs to be a counterpart to Miyazaki’s sentiment: Just because two characters of the same sex appear in the same story, it should not preclude the possibility of a romance between them. No, not everyone is queer, but the other side of that coin is that not everyone is straight. The more Korra and Asami’s relationship progressed, the more the idea of a romance between them organically blossomed for us. However, we still operated under this notion, another “unwritten rule,” that we would not be allowed to depict that in our show. So we alluded to it throughout the second half of the series, working in the idea that their trajectory could be heading towards a romance.

And you did that by giving Asami a smaller role in Books 2 and 3, good job Bryan!


But as we got close to finishing the finale, the thought struck me: How do I know we can’t openly depict that? No one ever explicitly said so. It was just another assumption based on a paradigm that marginalizes non-heterosexual people. If we want to see that paradigm evolve, we need to take a stand against it. And I didn’t want to look back in 20 years and think, “Man, we could have fought harder for that.” Mike and I talked it over and decided it was important to be unambiguous about the intended relationship.

Yeah sorry not buying it Bryan you knew you had a shitty finale on your hands and the only way you could possibly salvage it was to pander to the fans that wanted to see Korra and Asami get together. And you knew you were gonna get in good  with the “progressive” crowd if you did an ending with Korra and Asami getting together, because fuck the loyal fans that got you to where you are now pander to the SJW’s because those people will defend your show if it panders to their stupid ideologies.

 We approached the network and while they were supportive there was a limit to how far we could go with it, as just about every article I read accurately deduced. It was originally written in the script over a year ago that Korra and Asami held hands as they walked into the spirit portal. We went back and forth on it in the storyboards, but later in the retake process I staged a revision where they turned towards each other, clasping both hands in a reverential manner, in a direct reference to Varrick and Zhu Li’s nuptial pose from a few minutes prior. We asked Jeremy Zuckerman to make the music tender and romantic, and he fulfilled the assignment with a sublime score. I think the entire last two-minute sequence with Korra and Asami turned out beautiful, and again, it is a resolution of which I am very proud. I love how their relationship arc took its time, through kindness and caring. If it seems out of the blue to you, I think a second viewing of the last two seasons would show that perhaps you were looking at it only through a hetero lens.

Funny how you only tell people to watch the last two seasons and not the ones that came before (gee I wonder why?) also I don’t care what you say the moment still came off as forced because like I said before Korra and Asami’s interactions where so poorly written that they came off as laughable. Also how are we supposed to root for them when it’s Asami who constantly had to play second fiddle to Korra? Oh yeah did I mention Korra stole her boyfriend in Book 1? And oh yeah Asami’s father fucking died! Shouldn’t she have more time to grieve before she plays handmaiden to an ungrateful Avatar?

 Was it a slam-dunk victory for queer representation? I think it falls short of that, but hopefully it is a somewhat significant inching forward. It has been encouraging how well the media and the bulk of the fans have embraced it. Sadly and unsurprisingly, there are also plenty of people who have lashed out with homophobic vitriol and nonsense. It has been my experience that by and large this kind of mindset is a result of a lack of exposure to people whose lives and struggles are different from one’s own, and due to a deficiency in empathy––the latter being a key theme in Book 4. (Despite what you might have heard, bisexual people are real!) I have held plenty of stupid notions throughout my life that were planted there in any number of ways, or even grown out of my own ignorance and flawed personality. Yet through getting to know people from all walks of life, listening to the stories of their experiences, and employing some empathy to try to imagine what it might be like to walk in their shoes, I have been able to shed many hurtful mindsets. I still have a long way to go, and I still have a lot to learn. It is a humbling process and hard work, but nothing on the scale of what anyone who has been marginalized has experienced. It is a worthwhile, lifelong endeavor to try to understand where people are coming from.

Ah yes there it is! There’s the homophobia card! Yeah because the people criticizing your shitty writing skills must be homophobic!  It couldn’t possibly be because the show is poorly written and the characters are unlikable, no all the people who have criticized Legend of Korra MUST BE HOMOPHOBES!

Its SJW’s like you that make me lose faith in the entertainment industry Bryan.

There is the inevitable reaction, “Mike and Bryan just caved in to the fans.” Well, which fans? There were plenty of Makorra shippers out there, so if we had gone back on our decision and gotten those characters back together, would that have meant we caved in to those fans instead? Either direction we went, there would inevitably be a faction that was elated and another that was devastated. Trust me, I remember Kataang vs. Zutara. But one of those directions is going to be the one that feels right to us, and Mike and I have always made both Avatar and Korra for us, first and foremost. We are lucky that so many other people around the world connect with these series as well. Tahno playing trombone––now that was us caving in to the fans!

I hate to break it to you Bryan but even if you pander to one side of your fanbase it still is considered pandering! Not to mention you’re pandering to the SJW’s and “progressives” by having a same sex couple in your show because you knew that once that finale aired shitty sites like The Mary Sue, The Verge, Huffpost etc. where all gonna line up and write a shit ton of articles praising your shitty show by talking about how “progressive” it is. Also the “It’s my show I can do whatever I want!” excuse never gets old does it? I hear the HIMYM writers used that same excuse when their shitty finale aired.

   
But this particular decision wasn’t only done for us. We did it for all our queer friends, family, and colleagues. It is long over due that our media (including children’s media) stops treating non-heterosexual people as nonexistent, or as something merely to be mocked. I’m only sorry it took us so long to have this kind of representation in one of our stories.

Translation: LOOK AT HOW PROGRESSIVE WE ARE YOU GUYS! LOOK! LOOK! WE HAVE TWO FEMALE CHARACTERS GETTING TOGETHER AND WE VOTED FOR OBAMA DON’T YOU LIKE US YET?

I’ll wrap this up with some incredible words that Mike and I received in a message from a former Korra crew member. He is a deeply religious person who devotes much of his time and energy not only to his faith, but also to helping young people. He and I may have starkly different belief systems, but it is heartwarming and encouraging that on this issue we are aligned in a positive, progressive direction

“I’ve read enough reviews to get a sense of how it affected people. One very well-written article in Vanity Fair called it subversive (in a good way, of course)… I would say a better word might be “healing.” I think your finale was healing for a lot of people who feel outside or on the fringes, or that their love and their journey is somehow less real or valuable than someone else’s… That it’s somehow less valid. I know quite a few people in that position, who have a lifetime of that on their shoulders, and in one episode of television you both relieved and validated them. That’s healing in my book.”

And I’ll wrap this up by saying Bryan and Mike fell into the trap of putting their own personal feelings into their work and took what was once a great universe and put it through the meat grinder to satisfy the SJW crowd.

Good job guys bravo!