Shonda Rhimes and Russell T. Davies are teaming up, and I for one am nervous.
Davies, best known to Americans for his run on Doctor Who and, of course, Queer as Folk, also made a pair of short-series shows called Cucumber and Banana. The names of the shows were in reference to the penile hardness scale. There was also a documentary, Tofu. The plot of Cucumber was basically a gay man and the lives of his friends. Banana, however, was broader in scope and actually had a few lesbians.
Apparently Rhimes and Davies have signed Wonder Woman writer, Allan Heinberg, to write a script for their new Shondaland dramedy pilot. Adult Behavior. It’s being described as a “a sexy, multi-generational, comedic drama” and yes, it’s based on the series I mentioned above.
So why am I nervous? Well, Shondaland is not necessarily a safe place for people. Lesbians walk into parking lots and vanish. They lose legs. People die on those shows. And Davies is not perhaps the best either, not for lesbians at least. He centers his shows around what he knows: gay men. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it means it’s unlikely to be lez-centric.
But. Shonda is very LGBT friendly. Five years ago she said
I believe everyone should get to see themselves reflected on TV. EVERYONE.
She’s also aware of the Bury Your Queers trope, and while she did kill off someone on The Catch, Felicity was quickly brought back to life.
Last week, Tracy and I discussed things we hate ™ about TV, and we both agree that no one should get a pass. This includes Black Mirror, who killed but didn’t kill their queers. And it includes people who should know better, like Ilene Chaiken, who don’t get a pass on killing queers just because she’s famous for The L Word.
I worry about this show because I fear we’ll want to give Shondaland and Davies a pass for being good citizens of the TV Queerland. And no one should get a pass. If they mistreat queers, give us the big bad queers, or kill them, we should hold them up to the light.
Let’s just hope that they maybe give us some equal time as the gents, though. Because as Tracy and I admitted to each other at 3am, we’ll watch anything with queers in it. Even if it’s trashy.