tv show: the originals

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Hollywood Is Getting Outsized Credit For Seriously Small Moments Of LGBT Inclusivity
Power Rangers has gotten attention for featuring the "first queer superhero," and Beauty and the Beast was heralded for its "exclusively gay moment." But these scenes feel so sl...
By Alison Willmore

Power Rangers:

So, here’s how the sequence actually goes: Trini and the other Rangers are sharing personal stories around a fire, and Trini explains how she’s preferred to keep her family out of her day-to-day life and her relationships. “Boyfriend trouble?” Black Ranger Zack (Ludi Lin) asks. “Yeah, boyfriend trouble,” Trini says — maybe sarcastically? It’s hard to tell, as Becky G delivers 99% of her lines with a sardonic lilt. Zack squints, then asks, “Girlfriend trouble?” Trini doesn’t respond.

Beauty and the Beast:

The Gaston-adoring sidekick LeFou (Josh Gad) shares a two-second dance with another man in the movie’s finale. It’s a scene, as Pop Culture Happy Hour panelist Glen Weldon put it when he tweeted, that’s “exactly the kind of throwaway gay joke Hollywood’s always churned out.” It wasn’t the only one either — LeFou’s dance partner is a character who, in an earlier scene, is shown being unexpectedly pleased with the women’s clothing he’d been forcefully clad in by a combative Madame Garderobe.

And Star Trek Beyond:

Then there was last year’s Star Trek Beyond, which, also before its release, made the reveal — one treated as a bigger deal in interviews than it ended up being onscreen — that its incarnation of Lt. Hikaru Sulu (John Cho) was gay. It did this by introducing a never-named-on-screen husband, played by screenwriter Doug Jung, who Sulu was shown pulling into an affectionate but not especially nonplatonic embrace during a visit as they strolled away with their daughter. “If you blinked, you missed it,” said George Takei, who played Sulu on the original Star Trek television show. “There are others who are dealing with LGBT issues much more profoundly.”

All three studios made a big deal out of making LGBT characters textual, but they still assume their audiences are just as narrow-minded as they are.

In a world in which How to Get Away With Murder plunked a scene of implied rimming between Jack Falahee and Conrad Ricamora onto primetime network TV two years ago, it seems particularly eyerolly to give a studio movie a pat on the back for including a shot of two men with their arms around each other, in a totally gay way, they swear.

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I’ve been hearing a lot of things about 13 reasons why lately, mostly bad which definitely makes sense. I’ve yet to see it and probably won’t but I can understand why so many people are upset with it. 

But if you are looking for a show that handles the the subject of suicide well without romanticizing or misrepresenting it then may I suggest In The Flesh? 

“But isn’t that the show about gay zombies?”

Technically, yes. But it’s so much more than that. In The Flesh covers the topics of mental illness and suicide better than any show I’ve seen to date. I first saw it when I was in a very rough place and it definitely had a lasting impact on me. 

The show takes place in the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse, the undead have been treated and assimilated back into society. The main character is a boy named Keiren who reunites with his parents and sister after committing suicide. He’s given a second chance at life and gets to see how his death effected his family and community. More importantly, he also gets his own character development and learns coping mechanisms and that suicide is never the answer.

I can hardly do this show justice just by writing a few sentences about it. It’s beautiful, interesting, devastating, and it’s one of the only shows I will say has changed my life. 

(While the series never shows graphic depictions of suicide there are trigger warnings for the following: scars, blood, body horror, death, homophobia, and discussions surrounding suicide)