When you come from the LGBT side of the spectrum, there’s always the desire to see something like you on the television, in movies, or in the books that you read. I mean that’s one of the reasons that I wanted to become a writer in the first place. The ability to not only experience in your own life but to view from others, that the life that you are living is a wonderful thing. When you’re isolated because of something like your sexuality, that isolation can lead you down two paths – either down the lighted path where you see others like you and you realize that you’re not so different after all, or the darker path that some take that closes them off from society even further.
There’s a wonderful, compact snippet that explains the appeal of queerbaiting by the media, and how it’s used. And while the original source has been removed from the Internet, thanks to wonderful sites that archive off entire websites, it’s been preserved. Originally from an article called “Please Do Not Bait The Queers“, it goes:
Queerbaiting works on its audience because it offers the suggestion that queer people do have a vital place in these stories, that they might even be the defining figures, the heroes. The suggestion—but not the reality.
There are many examples of queerbaiting out there, from the never-ending examples on Supernatural to Sherlock to the new series Riverdale. Even small series aren’t immune from it. TBS has a half hour comedy show based on ABC’s “Lost” called “Wrecked” that had a genuinely large, funny cast, and lots of diversity. They punched through stereotypes, like having a female character be the one who was the hunter, supplying everyone with food. They had a good mixture of characters and were never too afraid to let a character lead a scene, even if they were a minor character from another episode. And yes, they seemed to even allude to a queer romance between Danny and Owen; from Danny saying, “Thanks, hon,” in one episode, to being recalled as a queer couple in a dream sequence, to picking out a spot to (platonically) spend their nights together, to being referred to by other characters like, “Do it. Do it for your lover,” when one of the two was endangered.
But season two of Wrecked took a decidedly different turn, even though the queerbaiting continued, albeit one-sided. Danny and Owen, who were pretty much in each scene together during season one, were more separated in season two (which was quite reminiscent of the Hawaii Five-0 fandom between season one and season two in which they walked back from queerbaiting, and lost a good percentage of their audience). Danny still acted out his side of the “romance”, but Owen had a new love interest in Florence. But it wasn’t just Owen’s new romance that changed; it was Owen’s attitude towards Danny. His attitude went from one of mutual teasing and affection to something closer to disdain, like the gif in this tweet shows. And it only got worse as the season continued.
Last night was the second season finale for Wrecked, and indeed, they went full “No-Homo” on the show. There was no doubt, either from Owen or Danny’s character, that everything between them up to that point was all just a joke, and that whatever happened during season one wasn’t how they’d meant it at all. Even Danny’s one-sidedness devolved into, “I mean it’s not like I want to touch your butt or anything.”
It’s all so tiring.
Wrecked itself is a cute show and a cute 22-minute diversion from reality. But if I would have known I was being baited into watching it at the very beginning, I probably would have passed.