Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Well Shoot

Here is a story about expectations, hope and crushing anxiety. No, don’t worry, it’s not about our presidential election cycle – this time. It’s about the return of “Person of Interest” for its final season. As I’ve mentioned before, I do not follow the show closely. I’ve watched on and off. But I care, unusually deeply, about how the series will ultimately handle Root and Shaw. Given the insane death toll for queer female characters this year and the ensuing LGBT Fans Deserve Better campaign, Root and Shaw (it’s Shoot, right, we’ve all decided on Shoot?) will have heightened attention on them when they return to our television tonight.

Look, like any red-blooded lesbian, I want them to hook up and live happily ever after. But what I’m most concerned about his how another fandom and queer women in general are pinning their hopes, dreams and then some on this couple.

Show co-producer Jonathan Nolan spoke about “The 100”/Bury Your Gays backlash to the site iO9:

“We’ve never shied from killing off our characters, and this season is no different. Our team does not make it out intact... We’re equal-opportunity killers… It’s a bloodbath.

There have been plans in place for where these characters’ stories would go for many seasons. And we’ve stuck with that plan… So [Root and Show is] a very cool relationship, and it’s one we’ve had a lot of fun writing to. But ultimately, the plan is the plan.”

He goes on to say that “there are some unfortunate tropes that play themselves out.”

So, yeah. Unless he is just trying to throw us all off, that sure sounds like Root or Shaw or both are goners. Damn. Just damn.

They go on to say things about respect and heroism and all that jazz. Stray bullets be damned. But, with all due respect to “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” that show is not in fact the originator of the Dead Lesbian Syndrome. You’d have to go back, way back, to pulp novels and the like. But on TV you’d have to go back to 1976. And tropes, no matter how they play out, aren’t “exciting,” They’re actually the exact opposite.

Look, I know this final season of POI was filmed a year before the LGBT Fans Deserve Better campaign was born. But may it be the very last show to claim ignorance – partial, full or otherwise – of the Bury Your Gays trope.

p.s. Yeah, I know I should be fuming. But those 1.5 seconds of Root and Shaw apparently tearing each other’s clothes have me, uh, distracted.


Carol A said...

I've been watching this show from the start and am really invested in Root and Show, together and as individuals. I love Root, she's a wonderful character.

This is one of those shows, like Jane the Virgin, where if a queer character dies I can accept that that is part of a show of this nature, other main characters have and will die.

But boy will I be gutted

Carmen SanDiego said...

I came here to say something but then I saw escort girls Dubai and totally forgot

Erin O'Riordan said...

I'm way too invested in this show. I already had one POI meltdown when we lost a certain presumed-straight female character in Season 3. I CAN. NOT. Deal with losing Sameen Shaw OR Samantha "Root" Groves. When Shaw went missing in Season 4, Root's crazed desperation to find her lover gutted me. Even if they survive but have to part ways, I'm going to be emotionally bereft. I'll be watching through crossed fingers and hoping for something more original than lady-lady heartbreak.

Anonymous said...

I'm tired of this show being judged and held to the same standards as t100. The writers and EPs have been nothing but incredibly kind to the show's queer fanbase and have never deceived us. The stakes are really high every season and while I don't want neither Root nor Shaw to perish (or anyone from Team Machine, really) I understand they might, and IF that happens it'll have nothing to do with an unfortunate trope, and all with the fact that these characters are fighting a war and facing very dire circumstances every episode.

Vicky Syred said...

Giving fans a heads up is the opposite of what The 100 did, where they hyped up Clexa and showed shots of them when shooting the season 3 finale, giving the impression Lexa would still be alive and well.
I don't want either Shaw or Root to die but the stakes are so ridiculously high that it'd be a miracle for the whole team to survive.
Saying that, calling what happened with Tara "exciting" does not fill me with that much hope that this will be handled well.

Anonymous said...

So sick of the concern trolling. Don't compare POI to T100!

Anonymous said...

Her name is not Samantha "Root" Groves.
You can just call me Root, bitch!

Anonymous said...

I watch POI and I didn't watch The 100, yet I am still worried about Shoot and I will be angry and upset if one or both of them die. I'm becoming bemused at how members of the POI fandom are automatically giving the writers a free pass inadvance and saying they're the exception to the rule if they do kill the queer girls.

No, they're not an exception if they use the buy your queers trope. If they kill either or both parts of Shoot then they are no less deserving of criticism than every other show who's done the same in the last year. A number of the shows who've had fallout after killing a queer woman have used the 'anyone can die on our show' argument, but that wore thin months ago. POI does not deserve defense if they kill Shoot. It's time a f/f couple were allowed to survive together when a storyline finishes.

Lily Mikesell said...

Killing any lesbians on any show at this point will put a black mark on that show. Even if the death is "part of the DNA" of the show. It will now overshadow the rest of the developments on that show. That is the beauty of what has transpired from the LGBT Fans Deserve Better campaign.

All these showrunners literally running for cover can say what they will about "excitement" and "no one is safe on our show" and we all know it is the laziest of dramatic writing rearing its ugly head again.

I loved The 100 and have been a huge fan of POI and I will be deeply disappointed if when one of those great female characters dies. I thought the death of Taraji's character was cheap, too. In service to Reese's manpain.

Whether veteran show runners like these or neophytes like the 100, write toxic tropes, they should be called out.

Leigh Lastname said...

Why don't we see if the show actually kills its lesbians before we castigate them for killing their lesbians?

And keep in mind that Nolan or Plageman are trying to obfuscate and rev up the viewers and make each of us turn in for every episode, and keeping fans guessing as to the fate of their favorites is the most tried and true method of accomplishing this.

Lily Mikesell said...

I'm not sure tipping your hand about using tropes at this time when everyone is stirred up would lead to increased viewing. I hope they don't go there. And after hearing a few of his recent interviews, I will probably binge it later just in case.

The POI fandom will certainly let us know.

Anonymous said...

I have been an out lesbian for over a decade and reading this blog for about 5 years. Sometimes all I can think is get over yourselves! Who f***ing cares? Every little thing should not become a huge issue. There are more important things in the world than our favorite tv character being killed. I was more upset by the ending of How I met your mother than lexa dying. Life is more than just our narrow world view.

Anonymous said...

Something else to keep in mind is the actual lives of the actresses. Taraji P Henson wanted to leave POI. True, they didn't have to kill her just to write out her character, but when we're criticizing them because we wish she was still in the show that's not really fair. And Sarah Shahi left to have babies. At this point, I'm just happy they didn't actually kill her off when we thought they did and brought her back so that her and Root could further their story line. Because they certainly could have (and that would have been typical...). I'm withholding judgement on their future actions until I see how they unfold...

Erin O'Riordan said...

I'm not sorry for having real feelings for fictional characters. That ship sailed in second grade the day the teacher started reading 'Charlotte's Web.'

Besides, representation really does matter. I really want the young lesbian/bi/pan/queer girls to see in the media that they can grow up to fall in love with a lady and, yes, have the story end happily and not in tears and death. I want the same thing for all our lgbtqia+ friends and neighbors. I want us to have hopes that aren't instantly crushed - especially our vulnerable young folk.