Why We Don’t Rant About The Fosters

I rant a lot about Supergirl and it’s problems, and Tracy pointed out that we sure don’t rant about The Fosters … and boy does it have issues.

Why Mika Doesn’t Rant About the Fosters

I don’t like it.

This is hard to say, but I don’t. I should, as it’s basically the only show on TV with lesbian leads, but it’s hard to muster up a good rant about a show that’s so pathetic.

It wasn’t aways like this. In the first two seasons, it was actually pretty fun and cute and the family was interesting. And yes, it was all about Callie and the family settling in to her with them, and then the precious Judicorn. I naively assumed that once everyone’s character was established, we’d have a bit more balance with the moms and the kids and wouldn’t it be nice to have a show with a happily married lesbian couple?

Drama, Drama, Drama

The problem is that the show fell right into that trap where ‘drama’ means ‘everything happens all the time!’ Callie gets into more trouble than anyone on Degrassi and makes worse decisions than anyone on a Fox or CW show. I get that drama keeps people interested, but it’s possible to have a drama and tension with a married couple.

Instead we have a married couple who don’t actually seem to like each other. Ever since the baby (which died, so yay, that’s fun) and the new Jesus, or maybe since Stef got shot, they’ve just been not happy together. In fact, they’ve been miserable.

The Actors Love Each Other

This is what makes it weird, though. The actors have so much damn chemistry and attraction for each other that they could tell a beautiful love story. They could have had this be about a family who has to deal with outside sources of drama, like Callie’s father suing them for custody and actually make it be because they’re gay. Actually address that elephant in the room, hello. But in the end because they’re family, they keep in going.

But as characters? Stef and Lena fight all the time. They don’t seem to love each other at all, they pick on each other and always doubt each other’s love for them. And then the drama is all about the straight kids, which is, y’know, okay, they do outnumber everyone, but …

It’s Just Not Fun

For all I want to like The Fosters, it’s just not a fun show. I’m basically hate-watching it at this point. I put off watching it on nights there’s baseball, and then pour a glass and grumble “The things I do for this site…” and press play on the DVR.

It’s not fun to watch, I don’t enjoy it at all, and I don’t rant about it because I simply cannot muster the energy to explain to anyone why it sucks so much. But it does.

Why Tracy Doesn’t Rant About The Fosters

My turn.

As a community, we are hard on Supergirl. This site included. However, I don’t share the same emotional investment in Supergirl as many others do. For me it’s a fun show with superheros, aliens and the best queer story in TV history. I am a HUGE Sanvers fan and that’s what keeps me watching. The Mon-El stuff, the erosion of some of the feminist principles and the stupid shit Jeremy Jordan pulled at SDCC definitely annoys me. I roll my eyes and my wife and I yell at the TV, but that’s where it ends.

What I don’t understand is why we, as a community, aren’t as hard on The Fosters? I’m a lesbian mom, so maybe this one hits closer to home. But The Fosters riles me up way more than Supergirl ever has.

Two Praises

There are some good things about The Fosters. It exists, there aren’t any other shows with queer mom leads. The show has Queer writers and creators. It is very inclusive and the work it has done to incorporate trans characters organically into the show is great. Also, I loved Jude’s coming out story.

…and a Push

My biggest complaint is Stef and Lena just don’t like each other. They are 2-dimensional parent characters with almost zero passion for each other. They had a Craftmatic Adjustable Bed at the beginning of the series for New Jesus’ sake! I know that turned into a joke and they got a new bed, but why has the show done this to these characters? The actors have ridiculous levels of chemistry off screen, why do they kill that on screen?

My wife and I have 1 kid and not, what are we up to now — 5 plus Brendan’s ex’s kid in the shed? I know having so many kids would be a challenge, but my wife and I are able to parent and like each other at the same time. We are still kind to each other. Stef and Lena barely even hug, ever.

Why would this show with queer writers strip away the main queer characters’ sexuality and make them co-parents who barely show affection for each other?

Next is the ridiculous levels of tragedy porn the show throws at us every week. Every kid has multiple bad decision plots going on at once and it’s just not enjoyable to watch. I know the show would be boring if it was the literal Gaydy Bunch, but that doesn’t mean the drama needs to be turned up to 11 every episode.

The Fosters is a show my wife and I watch out of obligation. We feel a sense of lesbian mom duty to watch it, but we yell at the TV way more than we do when we’re watching Suprgirl. The only character I identify with is the sad blue sponge. It has to sit and watch the shit show that goes down in that house every week.

Why We Don’t Rant About The Fosters

We rant about shows and things we like when they happen to be problematic or difficult to enjoy.

It’s hard to rant about this show because it’s just plain bad.

And that really should be a rant enough.

About Mika Epstein

Mika has been deep in the fandom world since she could say 'Trekkie.' With over two decades experience in running fansites and organizing communities, she's taken on the challenge of delving into the recesses of television for queers long forgotten. Making this site with Tracy is nothing short of serendipity. Mika lives with her wife and their cats in Southern California. Of course she has a hybrid, but she'd rather ride her bicycle.
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