Reading too much

Why would I post something with that title just a day after putting my books online for free? Well, it’s because I’m not talking about that kind of reading.

I’m talking about reading more into things than is really there, particularly in regards to TV shows.

There has been tremendous uproar in the LGBTQ (I think I’m missing some letters, but they kind of keep getting added on so it’s hard to keep up) community over the deaths of some LGBTQ characters on some fictional TV shows. And you all know my opinions on getting uptight about fictional shows.

Let’s start with the flame that started a spark that ignited a brushfire faster than a cigarette butt tossed onto the dry Arizona grass: the death of Lexa, one half of the lesbian couple known as “Clexa” to The 100 fandom. (Dont’ know what “Clexa” means? See my previous post on shipping.) The Internet was abuzz with LGBTQ fans lashing out at producers, showrunners, writers, the network…pretty much everyone involved in the making of the episode. The majority of this outrage was over the perceived notion that the network had killed off Lexa because she was a lesbian. Now I don’t watch the show, but my husband clued me in to the gist of what happened and it sounded to me like there was a valid reason for the character to die. And even if there wasn’t, why does it necessarily have to have anything to do with the character being a lesbian?

It wasn’t too long before other fandoms got caught up in the inferno. Soon every LGBTQ death on a TV show was being called into question, with accusations of bigotry flying left and right. Suddenly every fan was an activist, and they all had one message: don’t kill off any more LGBTQ characters or else.

The irony here is, the fans got so caught up in spewing their hate that they didn’t realize they were rapidly becoming as just as bigoted as the accused–more so, in fact. Every time that anything bad happened to an LGBTQ character it became viewed as an act of war, an intentional slight against the gay and lesbian community.

Guys, seriously, I doubt that show writers and producers sit in their weekly meetings and pitch various ways to injure, maim, or kill LGBTQ characters. They don’t wring their hands and cackle maniacally. They don’t have a pegboard of LGBTQ characters that they throw darts at to figure out who they’re going to kill next. It just doesn’t work like that.

TV executives are concerned with one major thing: ratings. Those are fueled by the stories they tell. If the story requires a beloved character to die, then guess what? They die, whether they’re white, black, straight, gay, young, old, thin, fat, etc. Has there been an upward trend of bad things happening to LGBTQ characters? Maybe. I sure see a lot more about it on the news and in social media. But did any of you ever consider that maybe it’s a good thing?

Before you start sending me hate messages and death threats, let me finish. Maybe the reason that we’re seeing more gay characters being hurt is that there are more gay characters being represented in TV. Isn’t that a plus?

Personally, I don’t see the rate of LGBTQ deaths/injuries/etc as being out of proportion with the deaths/injuries of straight characters. Straight characters die a lot. It’s just that no one rages over those deaths the way they react to LGBTQ deaths. It’s the same with any minority: the minority gets better representation through casting and storylines, then when the increase in minority population there’s an increase in stories–good or bad–surrounding those minority characters. It just happens to be that the current fad is to kill off characters without warning.

Don’t blame the networks, or the producers, or the writers. Think before you explode, and calmly consider whether or not the treatment of the character was part of the plot or whether it was gratuitous…and don’t base that consideration on how much you personally like the character. Be rational. No network is going to stalk fansites and other social media just to find out what LGBTQ character is the most popular just for the purpose of senselessly killing them.

If you’re going to blame anyone, blame George R. R. Martin. I mean, he kinda spearheaded the “sudden death” fad. Ever since Ned Stark, no character is safe. No character, no matter their gender/race/age/sexual orientation/etc.

(Disclaimer: Do not seriously blame George R. R. Martin. It’s not his fault the viewing public eats it up.)

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