Check out this illuminating graphic from Vulture showing the percentage gains and losses of viewers for TV shows that returned this past season. (2013-2014). Of special interest is Glee, which earned a 45% loss of audience this past year. This includes, of course, the season 5 finale, Glee’s worst rated episode ever. As Heather Hogan says, “it’s time to say goodbye to Glee.”
It’s also pretty cool that coming out of their 10th season, Grey’s Anatomy managed a slight bump up in viewership.
While it is important to represent a broad spectrum of what it means to be queer, including representations that transcend definitions, it seems that these stories are relegated almost exclusively to female characters. Meanwhile, queer male characters are never found in these positions and are considered revolutionary for being unapologetically, out, proud gay. This seems like a double standard to me, one that I don’t know what to make of.
Buzz Feed posted an article about “Faking It” and its forward-thinking nature in portraying queerness with less focus on labeling. While I agree with several of author Louis Peitzman’s points, particularly about the confusing nature of queerness in high school, he seems to think that having a full-blown, established lesbian character is outdated. Peitzman says of women who only love women and define themselves as lesbians, “Those rigid lines, in fact, are exactly what now feel dated.”
I happened upon a brilliant thesis by Jasmine Ing at the University of Calgary titled, “Queervisions: Queer Women Speak About Their First Experiences of Queer Representations in Film and Television”. For a great read check out the full thesis here.
The line that caught my attention was this:
“In short, popular culture depictions can allow the isolated to view characters who have managed to successfully integrate their queer sexuality into their daily lives.”
This line right here advocates for the fact that we need TV characters whose sexuality isn’t an issue; where they are just living their regular lives like everyone else. In teen-centric shows, such as Pretty Little Liars or Glee, the coming out story is important because of the age of characters. But beyond that, beyond what is organic to the character’s story, TV shows need to move past the coming out phase of a character’s life.
How does a show know their fans are engaged? Seems that the more dynamic the emotion, the more successful creators consider a show, even if it means fans are burning mad.
Bones just aired their season finale in which (minimal spoilers) a huge obstacle was thrown into Temperance “Bones” Brennan & Seeley Booth’s relationship. It was heartbreaking and left a lot of fans feeling a lot of different emotions, few of which included “happiness”.