Since I started this blog, I’ve been mostly focused on writing as class preparation. Hence, if I was teaching about global media, all posts shifted to that subject. Now, I’m stoked about what lies ahead for Pop Matters. I will not be teaching this quarter, so I’m basically free to write about anything I want.
Still, there should be a point. In the next few weeks, there will be more about my research on Ugly Betty. For example, what’s up with Justin? now that the show is coming to an end, will Silvio Horta be able to develop the character as he said he wanted? Horta, the show runner, has always been ambiguous about Justin’s sexuality. During the first season of the show, every interview he gave regarding Justin was an opportunity to state that the character was too young to come out. Horta himself didn’t until he was 18, so it was fairly obvious to anyone that followed the behind the scenes working of Ugly Betty, that Justin is like a miniature Silvio Horta.
As a fan, I’m stoked about Justin, and I can’t help feeling sad because the show, which finally started to get interesting again, is heading to its end. As a media critic, on the other hand, I see characters like Justin, and Glee’s Kurt as complex departures from typical gay representations. I’m actually reminded of a course I took, a couple of years, ago, and of a classmate who tried to argue that Will & Grace had done wonders for the representation of gays on television. Beg to differ! just because GLBT characters are there, it doesn’t mean an improvement. And don’t get me started on the L-Word! The alternate lesbo-only universe never satisfied me. Quite the opposite. It told me that you couldn’t have gay characters that could live in the real world like normal people. Instead, they happily thrived in these “separate but equal” spaces, and had lots and lots of sex and drama.
You can’t do that with teenagers, though. Not on network television. If you were to plunge Kurt and Justin into homoland, you’d have to deal directly with their sexual experiences. It’s fine when you have someone like 13, on House, in a steamy scene. Jack McPhee? no way! characters like him get to go out on dates, and to kiss boys very awkwardly. Justin, btw, just got kissed by a boy, but his suitor freaked out and ran away. If Ugly Betty doesn’t bring him back, it will be a huge disappointment.