BiMediaWatch: December 2018

Bohemian Rhapsody (film still) / YouTube

It’s been bisexual season in the media for the first time in forever. So much so it’s hard to know where to begin!

The Queen film Bohemian Rhapsody, bi-focused TV shows The Bi Life, The Bisexual and Sally4Ever. And the growing roster of programmes where there are regular bi characters. We’ve been waiting for this kind of moment for years: now it’s just keeping up the momentum.

A film about Freddie Mercury and rock band Queen, Bohemian Rhapsody is a delight, with surprisingly good bi representation: it’s not the idealised version of being bi where you can confidently use the word about yourself and be respected, it’s the reality of being bi and the stigma of HIV and of being queer in the 80s. Freddie comes out to his girlfriend (“I think I’m bisexual,”) and is immediately put right back in his box (“You’re gay.”)

The nuance of “was he gay or bi?” isn’t given an explicit answer in words but character interactions show a consistently biromantic life. The film-maker’s narrative imperative kicks in changing the order of things, and we finish on the band’s triumphant Live Aid performance – skipping later LPs and the final days of Freddie’s life, but that’s storytelling.

The Bisexual continues in the vein of Desiree Akhavan’s film Appropriate Behaviour as a tale of a young woman working her way from one hookup to another, but with more time than a film to explore things it’s looking promising. As we go to press though there are more episodes to go: anything could happen…

Sky Atlantic’s Sally4Ever has felt like the “also ran” of the unintentional bi season, but I’m finding it the most fun. Sally isn’t the most sympathetic of heroines, though the boyfriend she summarily dumps in the first episode for fear of commitment isn’t the greatest catch either. Two episodes in it’s already a rollercoaster of queer cliché, with the new lesbian girlfriend moving in on the second date.

Elsewhere Atypical is the story of Sam, a high school boy with autism looking for love, but the second season has brought a bi plotline for his sister Casey (Brigette Lundy-Paine – out as bi in real life). There could be more to come as Netflix have just announced a third series of the show.

And Netflix have announced Orange Is The New Black, a show we love and hate for its bi representation, bi cliches and lack of the B word… will have one last season.