Saturday, December 13, 2008

Oh, bee tee dubs, Gaeta's gay.

A main character on a pretty macho sci-fi war show is clearly the worse for wear. He's told he needs some rest, and that he should think of it as a gift, not a punishment. He protests, insisting that he's fine, but eventually relents and heads off for some well-deserved R&R. He limps all the way to the shuttle, because he's recently lost a leg--he took a bullet during a recent insurrection.

On the way, a man stops him, calls him by his first name. The man hands him some painkillers he's acquired--we're not told how. He's thanked, and kissed. Kissed the way you're kissed when you've been together for a while. They say their good-byes, and our man heads off for his week-long leave.

That's pretty much how nonchalant the outing of Felix Gaeta (and Lt. Hoshi, his hot BF) was in Part I of Face of the Enemy, the series of webisodes leading up to the final episodes of Battlestar Galactica.

Even though I've discussed my reservations about the outing happening outside BSG-proper, it is still pretty awesome that a show can deal with the homosexuality of a main character in such a "so what?" way. It wasn't "a very special episode," neither of the men are visibly conflicted over being gay, none of the other characters seem to care. This isn't Brokeback-in-Space, either, with an openly gay man in love with a closeted/"straight" man he can never truly have. That last scenario in particular has become an especially vexing cliché within gay cinema and TV, and it's a relief to see something that's so clearly not that.

And I always get extra-special-excited about gay characters on genre shows--think Willow and Tara on Joss Whedon's brilliant Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, the Captain Jack / Captain John / Ianto triángle-du-löve on Torchwood--partly because it's so rare and partly because, well, I effing love that ess. A gay action hero? So hot. I'm like leaping out of my fanboy skin to see how this is handled in Season 4.5*

I'd be a total lame-o at this point if I didn't give a major shout-out to Michael Chabon's Pulitzer Prize-winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, another major genre work that deals with gay themes. I think that Chabon, like most writers, is too cruel to his gay characters, but it takes place in the 1940s and 50s so he's kinda excused (history has been cruel-er than writers have).

*Before Gaeta was officially gay, I was on board with his being the final Cylon. But now that he's a 'mo, it would just be another "let's make the gay character weird/different/evil/non-human/sub-human" cop-out by the writers (cough, Admiral Cain: Turbo Death Dyke, cough). Please, writers, be smarter than that. I luvz you! Kthxbai.

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