Bi Media Watch: April 2019
The first season of BBC Three’s Fleabag let careful viewers know our anti-heroine was bisexual, but in the kind of subtle way that seems to have passed pretty much every non-bi viewer by.
It returned in March and this time we got a more explicit message for viewers as the Fleabag (pleayed by Phoebe Waller-Bridge; the character’s real name is never spoken) finds herself in a bar with another woman, Belinda (Kristin Scott Thomas), who asks whether she’s a lesbian.
Fleabag gives a fine bi answer, “not strictly. You?”, but her further advances are rebuffed as the older lesbian she’s talking to declare that while having sex might be fun, “I can’t be arsed to”: that she is exhausted and to just want a good night’s sleep. It was good for a yell of I told you she was bi at the telly though.
Over to Netflix, and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
This returned at the start of April and the show is slyly growing more and more like Buffy the Vampire Slayer with Sabrina’s circle of friends bonding into something of a gang taking on… well, not evil in the way Buffy did as morality here is a little different. Just like Buffy, there’s a Xander-like straight guy pal with no superhero powers. I can’t quite work out if that means TV producers still think they have to put a ‘regular guy’ in for the show to appeal enough to male viewers.
But where the first season relegated bisexual warlock Ambrose Spellman to the sidelines this season he takes much more of a foreground role and we see him canoodle both men and women.
He’s not the only one either. Indeed it is a little weird how Sabrina’s heterosexuality is never questioned on screen given the sexual variety depicted all around her.
On to television gossip from across the pond where Abby’s has started on NBC, starring Natalie Morales (the cop next door from Santa Clarita Diet) as titular lead Abby, a woman who runs an illegal bar in her back garden. It all sounds a bit Cheers ish as an ensemble of regulars prop up the bar. Morales has talked about relationships with people of varied genders and Abby is bi: are we starting to see more people who ‘get it’ on the nuances of multi-gender attracted people on screen?
Will & Grace returns for a tenth (no, really) season and after dropping hints from years that Karen is bisexual we finally saw her announce herself to be in a same-sex relationship. But it’s under a lot of pressure from a girlfriend who talks firmly in terms of gay and straight and ultimately that seems to be too much. One last “I’m a lesbian now” is followed by a “and now I’m exactly who I’m supposed to be. I think.”
Only too quickly “I’ve realised that… I am… why can’t I just say the word, why can’t I just say it… Nicky, I’m straight.”
Damnit, when the show began all those years ago bisexuality as a punchline might have been a thing. We should be better than that by now.