So was everyone who watched this past Wednesday’s Angel as irritated by the ending as I was?
Don’t get me wrong, it was a fun episode. And I like the basic idea of showing that Andrew has actually grown up a bit.
But what’s with the ending, in which the visual representation of Andrew’s growing up is that he’s going out for a night on the town with two gorgious babes (female variety)? The implication is that “growing up” consists of a movement from not-very-closeted homosexuality to the adolescant vision of heterosexuality represented by James Bond – and, in the sixth season of Buffy, represented by Warren.
As my housemate Charles ponted out, Andrew wasn’t overtly sexual with the two women; so the creators left themselves an “out” (as it were). Andrew hasn’t turned straight, and the point of the ending wasn’t to imply a three-way; he was just getting dressed up to go bar-hopping with two model-looking female friends of his. But that isn’t how most of the viewers will read the scene, and the creators of the show know that perfectly well.
Would it have killed them to show Andrew going out with a young man who seemed to treat Andrew decently? No, no – two hot blondes is much more mature.
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In a completely unrelated rant, I just watched an episode of My So-Called Life. It was a pretty interesting episode; all the plotlines – even the English class reading The Metamorphosis - converged on being about girl’s and women’s insecurities about their appearances.
My favorite part was a scene in history class, which had no dialog aside from a video of a Malcolm X speech, which the class was watching. As the camera panned across the room (which seemed to have more black students than other classes in this episode) and settled on the main character, obsessing over a zit on her chin, Malcolm X’s speech said:
It was a very effective moment; what had been presented pretty much as personal hang-ups among the girls suddenly became politicized. Who taught these girls to hate the shape of their noses, the shape of their lips?
But then I got to thinking: Why is it that we can’t seem to get away from viewing the black civil rights struggle as the Platonic civil rights struggle, the struggle that all other struggles must resemble or else be illegitimate?
Think of the debate, in recent months, over if same-sex marriage is a civil rights issue. It’s almost always presented in the same way: as a question of if the gay rights movement is similar to or different from the black civil rights movement (those who are pro-SSM say “similar,” those who aren’t say “different”). It’s rarely presented as a question of if justice and equality are being denied to same-sex couples, taken on their own terms.
It’s like a perverse variation of the “model minority myth,” which is so often used to attack blacks (e.g., “if Jews and Asians made it despite discrimination, why can’t blacks?”). This time, it’s the “model civil rights movement” myth. We need to get over it.