Pop Culture Thoughts from a Lady Gay

I consume a lot of pop culture. I'm also a gay lady, so some of the things that might annoy me or make me happy might not be the same for you. I'll talk about that as well.

The End of the F***ing World and the Lesbian Police Spin-off We All Want

I stumbled onto The End of the F***ing World, a road trip/romance comedy, complete with a psychopath, while wading through my Netflix account. The series is based on a comic book turned graphic novel of the same name (minus the polite asterisks) by Charles Forsman. This show is deeply dark and has many great moments but let's start with one of the most wonderful. The relationship between the two lesbian detectives. They are the secret stars of this series and I want more.

Yes, the young actors do a great job, but those detectives...

The two leads are definitely also doing a wonderful job here. I don't want to undercut their work. James, played by Alex Lawther, believes he is a psychopath, and Alyssa, played by Jessica Barden is a scrappy and rebellious teen. Both of them have parental figures in their lives that range from ineffective to destructive. The plot unfolds as a funny and poignant, coming of age story that is destined to not end well and it is deeply dark, comical, and poignant. That is the perfect three in a series for me. I like my comedy based in deeply complicated worlds with a ton of heart and this series nails that. But those lesbian detectives stole my heart and I am now waiting on the edge of my seat to hear that they will be doing a spin off series. If no one is thinking of doing this then someone please get the show's producers on the phone because I have a wonderful proposition that the world will thank us for.

Darego & Noon, an action packed lesbian buddy cop show about a stern lady-killer and her awkward, idealistic partner. Will there ever be more between them than a couple department issued guns? Find out this fall. This is clearly a hit and dare I say, might just be the show that saves America? Please watch this Netflix Series and then write a letter to Netflix requesting this buddy cop series that we all need. You won't regret it.

British shows have more diverse female cops and it's wonderful

I am certain that this hasn't always been the case and I don't want to forget America's Cagney and Lacey, but in the current TV lineup, I find that British shows do a better job at depicting diverse women in detective/police roles. Off the top of my head, DS Miller in Broadchurch, Sergeant Cawood in Happy Valley, Detective Glaspie in Collateral, all exist in police enforcement without having to be sexy, heavily made-up, tight clothes wearing cops, or love interests. They are just different types of police women out policing. It's perfect and it's something that the world needs. The two cops in The End of the F***ing World, are DC Eunice Noon (Gemma Whelan), and DC Teri Darego, (Wunmi Mosaku) and they have regular body shapes, they are in their thirties, they have complex lives beyond work, and one is a person of color which adds to the levels of representation. The subtleties of their relationship are played out beautifully and concisely through the show with subtle moments and facial expressions that manage to cover paragraphs of dialog and backstory. This is one of the best and most nuanced lesbian relationships that I've seen on television in a while and I want more.

After watching this I looked into the graphic novel to find out if it also included the lesbian cop duo. Although there is a female cop, the characters were otherwise developed for the Channel 4, UK show. I find it interesting that one of the great elements of this show was an addition of homosexuality and a biracial relationship not present in the original. Hollywood on the other hand, almost always makes the opposite choice, stripping queer relationships and diversity from comics and novels for a whitewashed result as though America couldn't possibly handle it. This show proves out how much more depth diversity adds to a show and Hollywood would be greatly served if it begins to examine its lack of queerness in their comic-book based properties. I'm looking at you Wonder Woman and Black Panther. 

Comic Books and Graphic Novels, can be a gateway to diversity

Comic books and graphic novels are an excellent source of content and have become wildly popular in current television and in the movies. This is why it is vital to consider what is adapted and edited out. The comic book world can be filled with white male gatekeepers who define the rules of a world that they consider theirs but comic books can also serve as a gateway to diversity.   This is a medium that allows for a broad and diverse world where an author can tell their story without needing to win over production companies, and readers can see themselves in these stories, not just through words, but drawn depictions. I came late to the world of comics in part because when I was growing up, girls weren't steered towards comic books. It wasn't until I happened to work at a desk adjacent to a wise woman and excellent curator of culture that I finally picked up a graphic novel. She also was an insider at a local comic book shop, and it was through her that I got to see another side of that community as well--the good and the less good. She opened up my world to Maus, Y The Last Man, Persepolis, Ghost World, WatchmanThe Walking Dead, and Alison Bechdel, whose graphic novels and comic, Dykes to Watch out For were a huge part of my "who am I" lesbian formative years.

The diversity that is possible in comics needs to make it to the screen every time. Comics can be a white male world as can Hollywood. Both have been long secure that people of color, women, and the queer community will continue to watch white men do things, whereas white men would never go to see anyone else do anything. That is learned behavior and it's time time to tear it down. If young boys went to the movies to see a black superwoman in an awesome movie where she fought evil and jumped over buildings and somehow could disguise herself just by putting on glasses then the only people who would lose their minds would be the men's rights groups and they are on the wrong side of history. And also crazy. Go figure out why you're so angry men's rights groups. That kind of rage is murder on the heart health. There are starting to be cracks in the walls and those cracks need to be widened. When I see characters added to a show aimed at teens like Derego & Noon (coming this fall), I can see a better future. Now it needs to radiate outward. Get on board Hollywood. 

Jess Sutich