Wednesday, March 19, 2008

South for Spashley

If “South of Nowhere” had existed while I was in junior high or high school, my how things would have been different. As is, the first show I saw about teenagers that dealt with gay issues was “My So-Called Life,” which started while I was in college. But a show with a lesbian teen couple that involved actual sexual tension and physical affection (even if we may grumble that it is too limited) was and continues to be a rarity. So I was saddened to hear late last month that the series is ending its run at the end of its third season this spring. The eight-episode second half to the season, which starts April 11*, will be it’s last.

Did I like everything (ugh, Glen, seriously ugh) about the show? Clearly, no. Did I sometimes fast-forward to the Spashley parts? Admittedly, yes. But regardless of its shortcomings, what the show helped do was normalize gay relationships. Gay teen couples flirt and fight and fawn over each other, just like straight teen couples. Gay teen couples face the same joys and pains, insecurities and desires, just like straight teen couples. And, most importantly, gay teen couples exist in practically every high school and deserve to be respected in the hallways and classrooms of America (and, of course, beyond). We’re here, we’re queer, can we copy your trig notes?

So, I’ll tune in to catch the final eight. And I’ll mourn the loss of the show even though it was so far out of my age demographic it bordered on embarrassing. And, heck, I’ll even sign a petition and send blog love to those troupers at the Save Spashley campaign. Hey, if peanuts worked for “ Jericho ” fans, maybe compasses can work for SoN fans. Though, if it were up to me, I’d send trench coats. Lots and lots of trench coats. Yeah. I am totally going to miss this show.

*UPDATE: Huh, well apparently The PTB and The N have decided to push back the final episodes premiere date to the fall because the network has “been absolutely overwhelmed” by the fan reaction to the cancellation and now want to “give South the proper send-off it deserves.” OK. So, delayed disappointment. I see. Very clever. Most people go for delayed gratification, but you just had to be different.

12 comments:

bekonia said...

I've loved watching SoN, even though it's out of my age demographic too, but I really don't think that matters because we all remember what it was like to be a teenager, coming out and all the crazy shit. And let's be real, lesbian themed tv shows are few and far between, and after the end of The L Word will probably never grace our screens again! If this show was on when I was a teenager, things would have been soo different for me. I'm glad it's out there for the younger generation. Spashley rocks!

TheWeyrd1 said...

I'm sure it's out of my age demographic way further than yours. But I do work with teens in schools in a big city and yes I deal with gay students and their issues periodically. So I like to pretend my interest in SoN is strictly professional. But really, it's very much a wishful fantasy that in my own teen years there had been a show like this one. It's a good thing we all learned to read between the lines with shows like "Family"!

jeagray said...

Gah. Thank you! It was wonderful to see you type up a blog about such a special show. I'm so out of their demographic too, but I find more and more people saying that. So much the question arises, was there really a demographic at all? This show reached out to not only teens and young adults, but to parents, aunts, uncles, and siblings. Heck, even my cat watched it with me on a few Friday's. Special thanks to the shout out for savespashley.com. We need anyone and everyone's help to spread the word, write letters, buy t-shirts, support the cause however. These gals have to many stories left to tell. I just hope we get to hear and see them! Great blog, thanks again!

goober said...

Dear lord, it's an honor to have Save Spashley mentioned on this blog - one of my favs. I'm out of the demographic, too, but the show has impacted me greatly nonetheless. The first season was so honest that there's no doubt it changed lives. Even if you didn't love the second and third seasons when drama overtook honestly, you have to at least admit that it changed people's minds about homosexuality. As someone who helped start SaveSpashley, I can't tell you just how many people have said that this show completely altered their impressions of gay people and gay couples. It's sad to see such a beautiful thing die.

Pyewacket said...

I don't think Noggin/The N ever really had a clue what they had with this little show that could. It transcended their target demo because of the honesty and respect which came through loud and clear from the beginning. Was the show perfect? No, but what show is? But I knew they had something when the young ones I know who are the show's target demo came clamoring to me to find out how they could see this series their friends were telling them about but weren't getting in the area they lived. I don't know where any of the actors or writers stand right now...if they have already moved on...but if I got my wish, Logo would pick up the show for 2 more seasons as well as buy the rights to the previous seasons so more gay, questioning kids would be able to see this show. Not only would the network get the ratings, they would be doing the public a great service.

Polly said...

Never watched the show. Pretty much all the pop culture I feel I ever need to "watch" is your blog, which I suspect regularly eclipses the entertainment value & wit of its subject matter. Not to dis pop culture (some of my best friends are pop culture!), but to prop you your due.

No, mostly I'm commenting because I wanted to highlight the most deathless line from your post: "We’re here, we’re queer, can we copy your trig notes?" The rallying cry of Generation Z queers. We heard it here first.

Anonymous said...

I can't help thinking that the real betrayal against this show was not the current cancellation but instead the fact that they DIDN'T let it end after season 1. Don't get me wrong, further seasons with the quality of the first would have been awesome, but when every episode felt like an mockery of the authenticity and honesty of those first episodes it only served to subtract from the value and impact of the show as a whole. The-N wants to pat itself on the back fo being "groundbreaking" but the treatment of SoN rather shows us how depressingly little has changed in the industry.

imthey said...

I'm right there with ya... although the demographic for the show is far younger than I am, I nonetheless can't help but tune in to a show that I also wish had existed during my hellish High school days!
As was mentioned here also... there are so few lesbian themed shows that we'll take what we can get or resort to subtext, fanfic, etc. to make something exist that doesn't on a show (ie: One Tree Hill really should just admit that the best couple on the show are Brooke and Peyton)!
I was sad to hear that SON was ending it's run so soon... I only hope that the writers behind this show will do the fans the kindness of not destroying the storyline in the end (as was done over on Degrassi with the Alex/Paige storyline). But then considering the people behind SON, I can't imagine that they would go this route.
I hope that SON will eventually make its way onto DVD, so that we can keep this show alive, even after it's gone!

Anonymous said...

guess you haven't heard...news dropped today that the last 8 episodes won't air until the fall, most likely areound September. BOO!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

and the general manager just announced that they are pushing back the final episodes to the fall. can you believe it? oh because they were so overwhelmed by the fan reaction. gah.

Anonymous said...

What a load of crap, they need time to make "podcasts" and "retrospectives". Whatever, they better give us a good last episode. All final episodes are judged compared to "Chosen" (Buffy)

yana said...

Can I just say that this video is too hot to post?! I have not watched the series at all, well, maybe I should just go and check it out NOW!