Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Silly Season?

So I'm noticing - and apparently, so are others - that shows popping up in the non-ratings season aren't so bad. In fact, is this season better than ratings period?

Look what we've been given: Futurama, Family Guy, American Dad, Veronica Mars, Will & Grace (which is partially back to its glorious original form)...Even the not-so-good stuff - Charmed (two seasons past its use-by date), Smallville (loving the man candy but otherwise not much else), Medium (I refuse to classify Patricia Arquette as an "actor" and would rather see Rosanna or, gawd, David any day instead), Two and a Half Men etc is still better at its worst than some of the reality TV crap we had to put up with during ratings season (Australian Princess, anyone? X-Factor? Anybody? No? Dust?) was at its best.

Of course, you don't need to search the clock too thoroughly to find the clue as to what's the secret to better television: NO F*CKING REALITY TV!!

Yes, TV shows that actually still use actors and writers. That actually have these crazy gadgets called "production values". Where overly-shiny nothings aren't given 15 minutes of delusion that they're talented or interesting.


Meanwhile - grr - I managed to forget to watch the final Queer as Folk.


Caught the last 5 minutes and loved Brian and Justin not actually ending up together. Not because I'm a bitter, cynical old bitch (shut up. Seriously), but because it made a nice change to other long-running US shows resolving with gratuitous and contrived coupling (Sex and the City, anyone? Friends? Dust?) when reality - ie, people can be successful and functional as singles (!!!!!) and focus on other things in their lives than getting partnered - is much more satisfying.

So here's my SX tribute to QAF. Monday evenings are going to feel a lot lonelier now.


I don’t think I’ll be the only person who misses the US Queer as Folk now that the final episode has been shown on SBS, never again to be introduced with the pornographic voice of Robbie McGregor as he warns us in his uniquely seductive tones of its “…adult themes”.

Sure, it’s easy to find fault with the more stylised and less realistic version of the original, gritty British product. Maybe it was a little too politically correct, especially in the final season. Maybe it was not wholly representative, particularly of queer women. Maybe Gale Harold, while undeniably handsome as Brian, didn’t quite have that raw, “I know you want me to fuck you” sexual magnitude to be entirely convincing as a guy who was meant to have rooted the entire gay male population of Pittsburgh.

But let’s not bash QAF too much – after all, if the show taught us nothing else, it’s that there’s a huge queue of homophobes and “family” groups only too willing to do that. Instead, let’s remember what the show did that was so ground-breaking and revolutionary.

Firstly, it took queer characters in television from the periphery and dumped them squarely in the middle. No longer were we just “nice” Matt in Melrose Place or camp comedy relief Jack in Will and Grace; we were queer folks in our entirety – political, promiscuous, crystal junkies, parents, artists, positive, sex workers, conservative and successful. It is unrealistic to assume only one show could encapsulate queer sexuality – but when you look back on all the characters and storylines covered, it came pretty bloody close!

Secondly, QAF developed a strong following beyond the queer community. For all its commentary on social and political issues, it was also good, solid soap that generated water-cooler gossip across the country’s greatest and straightest.

Thirdly, QAF educated the world on queers living beyond the pink ghettos. As the original was set in Manchester and not Soho, London, so too, was the US version set in industrialised Pittsburgh and not Castro Street or a New York village. OK, so it was filmed in Toronto, but let’s take a little bit of creative licence long enough to appreciate its message that queers are everywhere and sometimes even working class.

Finally, QAF brought buffed, leather-clad, cage-dancing young things into our living rooms at 10pm every Monday evening. When all politics is said and done, what’s a little gratuituous objectification between homo friends?

I’m now strongly hoping something new will spring up in QAF’s vacant place. I’m not keen on reverting to seeing my imaginary queer friends merely popping in and out as the wacky sidekick or snogging a bi-curious Neighbour moments before fleeing to the other side of the world.


At 20/12/05 9:51 am, Blogger cvm said...

There's always the l-word..

At 20/12/05 9:52 am, Blogger JahTeh said...

Thanks QP, I taped it to watch on Christmas Day now I won't have to worry if I didn't catch the end:P

I love the new SciFi shows that are sneaking in during the silly season now if they can just restrain themselves from the usual Christmas Day rubbish.

At 20/12/05 10:32 am, Blogger Desci said...

Futurama, Family Guy, American Dad, Veronica Mars, Will & Grace:

Yes, yes, oh god yes. (Despite the fact I've already seen every ep of the first three... still, nice to watch a non-crappy-downloaded version)

At 20/12/05 10:52 am, Blogger j(aded) said...

oh shoot! i knew i missed something. oh well, i was starting to get a bit shitted off with QAF towards the end so probably best i didn't see the end. although, from what you said it sounds like it retained some of those values we've grown to love about the show.

At 20/12/05 1:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kym says theres always "The L Word" but thats only if 7 ever bother to play the bloody second series. Given that they didnt play the "Ellen" coming out episode until two years after it aired in the States I wont hold my breath! Speaking of which, where is "Six Feet Under" channel 9??

I know that the all new "gay" cable networks in the US (Logo etc) are developing a few series populated with poofs and dykes so fingers-crossed SBS picks up a few of those! CW

At 20/12/05 3:45 pm, Blogger John said...

QP: you gave a couple of hints as to what is really missing from TV now - Little Britain!

That's my queer show.

At 20/12/05 5:44 pm, Blogger skander said...

Since when was Canal Street, Manchester, not the gayest street in the UK, Sam? There's nothing in London to rival it.

At 20/12/05 6:28 pm, Blogger mikey said...

What about an Aussie drama based around the lives of a group of mates who are also gay? Surely it's not just me who wants to see Sam Worthington and Kyal Marsh in soft-core homo-sex scenes?

At 20/12/05 7:58 pm, Blogger Sam said...

Writing about TV is my thing! Back off beeyatch!

At 21/12/05 8:03 am, Blogger Ron said...

Still can't understand why Summer Bay can't have a gay character (especially a male Aussie clone of Tom Wellings (I think I just creamed my shorts)).

At 21/12/05 11:28 am, Blogger Sam said...

True skander. I only vaguely remember Canal Street for the about 5 hours I was stumbling about there completely paralytic.

Mikey: fingers and toes. The Surgeon predictably got axed so Sam will be looking for new work, and I'm sure Kyal's ready to enter the "serious actor" world now (watch out, British pantos!)

Sam: nothing wrong with a little competition...Which is beside the point really, considering you'll never be any serious competition for me.


At 21/12/05 5:39 pm, Anonymous bazza said...

" Everyone loves Neighbours" AAAAAAAHHH!


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