Cutest TV Couples (or not) of 2011
After Ellen is running a poll on the site’s readers’ favourite TV couples. There were a few I recognised, and plenty I didn’t (there are shows out there I just have to start watching!) but I was a little bit jarred to read Rizzoli & Isles were included.
Don’t get me wrong. My initial forays into TV fandom included subtext couples: Xena and Gabrielle before they were canon and Alex and Olivia/Liz and Casey in Law & Order SVU (file this under “will never happen outside fanfiction“). But the other thing this list tells me is that there are actually quite a few bona fide lady-loving-ladies on television now, who actually do more than go shopping together, or work together or eat together. You know, like make out and … other stuff … together.
My love affair with subtext couples had a lot to do with the lack of actual lesbian couples on television. It was fun and validating to choose two characters who don’t hate each other (and hey, those worked too) and find a way to fit a relationship into a show that would often totally contradict that idea (often by liberally adding “manvils”: male dates who served no narrative purpose but to assert the female character’s heterosexuality). And it was fun to hang with other people on the internet who did the same.
More and more, though, I find subtext depressing. You know, the way I find the UK’s new “You only have to not have sex for a year” relaxed gay-blood-ban depressing. A large part of making those relationships work in my head was explaining why the characters may feel they have to hide their sexuality/relationship. And more and more, there are fewer comfortable reasons for strong female characters to do that. Also, there are actual shows out there with actors playing actual lesbians on television and we’re still watching these shows that taunt us with two straight girls who are highly unlikely to ever actually fall into bed with each other (for any reason other than exhaustion)?
So, subtext fans, I have a question: what keeps you coming back to shipping gay couplings of straight characters? And do you watch shows with maintext lesbian couples too?