Okay, I’m part way through season 2 of the original US version of Queer As Folk. So if you have never seen it and have a desire to watch it unspoiled, this is your spoiler warning right here. Turn back!
Okay, I’m not sure where to even start at this point. First I’ll be honest, I’m still waiting to like Brian Kenney. On one hand, he’s a loyal friend and it’s clear he came from a terrible family dynamic. But on the other, he just feels like someone I would not want to be friends with. Then again, I can remember a few friends across the years who other friends told me were annoying, so maybe reality is not what I think it is?
Interests wise, Michael would still be the one I could sit and talk with, as the resident geek of the show. However Michael is not one of my favorite characters. I can’t even say why. Ted and Emmitt are probably the two characters I like and relate to more.
I was so sad for Emmitt when George died. The airplane lavatory scene… oh my god… I watched that dying for someone to discuss it with. How horrible! I knew it was coming too. Not because I had looked ahead just because I was sure Emmitt wasn’t leaving the show less than halfway through and I figured George was about to make an exit. I expected him to die on the trip but not the way he went. His sudden death hit me all the worse because of George’s coming out later in life feeing so relevant.
I haven’t said much about Justin. The attack at the end of Season 1 was brutal to watch, even today. If I had seen that 20+ years ago… yikes… The memory of Matthew Shepard would have been so fresh then… I give Brian credit for helping Justin recover from the trauma but at the same time I don’t like them as a couple. Which leads me to this music classroom scene between Justin and Ethan in the episode I watched today.
Ethan: I thought you were the maintenance guy. There’s no heat.
Ethan: It’s okay. Maybe things will warm up now that you’re here.
Justin: [laughs] I was, uh, I was cutting through the music building and I heard someone playing. I thought it might be you. So I popped my head in.
Ethan: Well, now you found me. You want some tea?
Justin: I wanted to say thank you for the CD.
Ethan: You listen to it?
Justin: Six times. You’re incredible.
Ethan: I know. How was your birthday? Did you have a big party?
Justin: Uh, not really. My boyfriend doesn’t think being born is a reason to celebrate.
Ethan: Oh, that sucks.
Justin: I didn’t really want one, anyway.
Ethan: No, I mean that you have a boyfriend.
Ethan: Cause if I were your boyfriend, I’d give you a birthday you’d never forget.
Justin: Like what?
Ethan: Like, first… I’d bring you breakfast in bed. And then I’d play for you. One of Ravel’s Valses Nobeles et Sentimentales because that’s how I picture you. Noble and sentimental. And then we’d make love a couple hundred times.
Justin: [laughs] All that before lunch?
Ethan: Yes. But I’m not your boyfriend.
Justin: I… uh… I’ve got to… back to class.Queer As Folk – Season 2, Episode 16
The linked video doesn’t have this entire conversation and I’m not sure the text carries the same feelings as the actors delivering the lines but I literally melted watching this scene between the two of them. So damned romantic… I don’t know if Ethan is a good person or not from the small amount of screentime so far but Justin deserves someone who can be that open and romantic. It’s clear that he is trying to emulate Brian’s vibe but doesn’t really feel the same way.
It occurs to me writing all this that I don’t relate to any one character. I see bits and pieces of myself across the Queer as Folk characters. In fact I think on reflection that Brian may grate on me because of the parts I relate to. Part of what held me back so long was my inability to really connect with what I was feeling. That may be the reason Brian rubs me the wrong way. At the same time, I don’t relate to his apparent alienation from feeling. I think even when I was disconnected I wanted to connect with feelings but didn’t know how. Not that I simply rejected their existence which seems to be Brian’s path. Regardless, I look forward to seeing if Brian’s character arc redeems him in my eyes.
But that reminds me of a conversation I saw online the other day where people were commenting about which Fellow Travelers character they related to, Tim vs Hawk. Neither? Both? I don’t know. It’s hard for me to see myself in any one other person most of the time. Maybe I’m too literal minded sometimes? LOL Here I am trying to drag another recent queer TV show into the conversation. But I don’t really think I’m going to write a whole separate post about Fellow Travelers. It was powerful but sad. It’s definitely the missing history that so many of us need.
I’ll bet in school you might have heard of the red scare but not the lavender scare. Honestly you were probably lucky if you heard either. When I had history in k-12 school we barely made it through WWII. Even though there was already close to 20 years of history after that before most of my generation could even remember, it was like we won WWII and we’re done! Nothing new to talk about. If you’re lucky we might breeze over civil rights for a few days. Maybe it was different outside of the American South?
So a spoiler alert again if you haven’t watched Fellow Travelers. I was in tears for most of the last episode. I knew Tim was dying. There was no question in my mins since episode one that this was coming. But then when Hawk stood in front of Tim’s panel at the AIDS quilt and told his daughter that Tim was not his friend but was the man he loved, I absolutely dissolved into tears. I was already crying but Hawk saying those words was so moving and represented so much growth.
I think that’s enough of an update for the moment. I swear I’m in full queer TV and movie mode lately. It’s not all I watch but it’s the core at the moment. Anecdotally I’ve heard others recently out say the same thing. I started with Love Simon and Heartstopper and others before I came out to others but since coming out it’s just been full steam ahead. Anyone else have that experience?