Stuart/Vince Signs: Stuart’s Lies About Vince

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Stuart Alan Jones is Going Through Some Things in Queer As Folk UK s2. Specifically, he’s trying to figure out how to best keep Vince Tyler as part of his life, after nearly losing contact with him altogether after the Cameron-inspired-unfriending-debacle in s1. Stuart’s also dealing with new-ish romantic and sexual feelings for Vince, or at least feelings he wasn’t aware that he had during early s1. So boy is CONFUSED and TORN and SAYS A LOT OF SHIT HE DOESN’T MEAN.

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This is important because you can very clearly see how Stuart feels about Vince based on the things he says in s2 that directly contradict similar statements in s1. In s1, he wasn’t trying to hide anything. In s2, he’s lying.

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Lie 1: Stuart isn’t attracted to Vince.

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During Vince’s cousin’s wedding, Stuart threatens to try to sleep with the groom. He’s off flirting with the groom, and the groom calls Vince good-looking. Stuart does NOT handle it well.

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Groom: He’s a nice bloke. Good-looking.
Stuart: YOU think he’s good-looking? That’s not good looking. *Smirks*

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But let’s fact-check this from season 1, shall we?

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Vince: As a matter of fact, I’m dead good-looking. I was told.
Stuart (puts his hand on Vince’s shoulder): Well you are.
Vince: Oh.
Stuart: *lingering gaze*

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WHAT IT MEANS: Stuart using the same phrase to express opposite ideas draws attention to the fact that Stuart’s flip-flopped entirely. But the s1 thought is presented in a more truthful matter. Look at Vince’s s1 shock–this is not the kind of thing Stuart normally says to him; it means something more. Look at that lingering camerawork on Stuart’s adoring gaze. Remember that this occurs in e4, right after Phil’s funeral, and they’re both all sorts of vulnerable albeit in different ways.

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In s2, Stuart is 100% lying. Is it because he’s trying not to let himself be attracted to/emotionally compromised by Vince? Is it because he needs to get the groom to sleep with him to impress Vince, the way he arranged a threesome in front of Vince in s1?  I mean. This is Stuart looking at Vince about five seconds before the s2 flirting begins:

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And here’s Stuart with Vince after the groom implies Vince shouldn’t sleep with men. Please note Vince comes over to Stuart because he READS STUART’S EXAGGERATED BODY LANGUAGE ALL THE WAY FROM ACROSS THE ROOM WHILE AMIDST A TOTALLY SEPARATE CONVERSATION TO REALIZE STUART IS GONNA DO SOMETHING DRASTIC. Which, let’s face it. He kinda does.

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Yeah. So. Needless to say, Stuart finds Vince good-looking.

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Lie 2: Vince will hold Stuart back.

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When Stuart decides to leave Manchester, Romey naturally assumes Stuart is taking Vince with him. Stuart corrects her by disparaging his BFF:

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Romey: Still, Vince could get transferred. He could afford London. He’s on a good wage.
Stuart: He’d just hold me back. Standing there. Disapproving.
Romey: And you love
it.
Stuart: I’ve got things I want to do. And he’s just …he’s not…he’s just, he’s not good enough.

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If Stuart’s stuttered words saying that Vince isn’t “good enough” isn’t proof enough that he doesn’t actually believe this insult for a second, let’s remember that Stuart’s said the exact opposite phrase in s1.

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At the very end of the season, Stuart gives voice to Vince’s low self-esteem. He expresses all of Vince’s self-doubts, and Stuart shares his acceptance of every one of them.

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Vince: It’s not as if I’ve ever done anything.
Stuart: You’ve done nothing, Vince. You go to work, you go for a drink, you sit and watch cheap science fiction. Small and tiny world, what is there that’s so impressive about that? What is there to love?
Vince (soft): Yeah.
Stuart: It was good enough for me.

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WHAT IT MEANS: Again, Stuart’s s2 statement doesn’t negate the power and honesty of “you’re good enough for me” in s1. And if the audience doesn’t remember that moment based on the identical word choice alone, the QAF UK team  RECONSTRUCTED THE SAME CAFE SET so that Stuart contradicts himself while sitting roughly in the SAME SPOT in the SAME SPACE.

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s2:

s1:

s2:

s1:

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The QAF UK creators want you to remember the s1 conversation “It was good enough for me” as a hint that Stuart’s s2 statement is a lie.

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Why does Stuart lie? Stuart decides to leave Vince in s2 based around two concerns: 1) Is Vince holding him back from adventure and fighting against homophobia? (the opposite question answered by s1, where Cameron argues Stuart holds Vince back from being his best self) and 2) Will he and Vince consummate their extremely close relationship? Both lies/contradictions in s2 show Stuart trying to reconcile his fears with what he has always known to be true–aka the truths he presents in s1, as opposed to the lies of s2.

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Stuart struggles a lot in s2, but given that the series ends with Stuart and Vince a) on an adventure b) convincing a homophobic man to apologize to them directly c) spending all their time together d) moving in perfect synchronization and e) holding hands…. Um. I’m pretty sure that by the end of the show, they’re having sex and that Vince is only holding Stuart back  as much as Stuart wants Vince to.

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[more QAF UK meta]

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“We gave them a prom they’ll never forget.”
Me neither. It’s the best night of my life.
“Even if it was ridiculously romantic?”