Judy in Disguise (with Glasses)

Monday morning in New Orleans.

I’ve been awake for an hour, yet don’t feel awake yet. Second cup of coffee is helping, though; I can almost feel the caffeine moving through my body inside my veins. I have a short day today; only five and a half hours, and am having dinner with my friend Stuart this evening. Tomorrow and Wednesday are both twelve hour days at the office, complicated still further by meeting with Wacky Russian early on Wednesday morning. I don’t have to go in until late on Thursday, which will also be rather lovely; I am sure I am going to need the extra sleep to get over the preceding days. And of course, Friday is Good Friday, so—three day weekend! I am hoping that if I spend about three hours on each day of that weekend cleaning I can get the Lost Apartment back under control. It’s a horrifying mess, quite frankly, and it’s more than a little appalling. The ceiling fans, for example, are disgusting.

I’ve gotten further along in Underground Airlines, and I am really enjoying it. With the three day weekend coming, I hope to get it finished this week, finish The Nest over the weekend, and maybe move on to something else. I didn’t get any writing done this weekend, but I did do some brainstorming–which, to me, counts, and if you don’t think it does FUCK YOU–and came up with some new characters. The problem I am having with Chapter One of Crescent City Charade (which I really want to finish this week) is that already the chapter is too long and it’s not even finished yet. This isn’t a bad thing, of course, and rather than resisting how long the chapter is I should just make it as long as it needs to be to get to the transition into Chapter 2 and worry about editing it down–or splitting it into two chapters, if necessary–later, rather than worrying so much about it now; similar to how I have almost five thousand words of “Quiet Desperation” already written and haven’t even gotten to the meat of the story yet. (That story, obviously, is going to require a ridiculous amount of editing.)

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate editing myself? The only thing worse is rewriting. Heavy heaving sigh.

Friday night I finished watching a television show on Hulu; Faking It, which originally aired on MTV. It only lasted three seasons, and it’s actually kind of clever (the second season was twenty episodes; the third and final was only ten, which makes me wonder how that played out). MTV has long been a progressive force, yet we really no longer hear about MTV being controversial. MTV ran the first HIV/AIDS PSA’s to air, and continued to do so for years before other networks caught up. MTV also originated reality television–The Real World model is still copied and imitated to this day; any reality show where everyone has to share a living environment is copying it–and also put a face on HIV/AIDS with Pedro Zamora back in the early 1990’s. I often have held that a lot of the shift in public/social perceptions of the LGBTQ community had a lot to do with MTV’s influence on youth; I also think MTV has shifted public perceptions on many social issues by exposing young people to them and helping them to see the systemic unfairness in so much of American society. But that’s an essay for another time.

Faking It has a ridiculous premise, but it’s actually kind of clever at the same time: Hester High School, in Austin, Texas, is every conservative’s nightmare about political correctness raging out of control in public education. The show could have easily been called Politically Correct High; because Hester High School is just that: sensitivity to other races and cultures are foremost. The most popular kid at Hester is the openly gay kid, whose best friend is the high school lothario; but the primary focus of the show is the friendship of Karma and Amy, two best friends who accidentally get outed as a lesbian couple. Amy wants to correct the record, but Karma enjoys the corresponding rise in their popularity and she wants to ride that wave; plus, the school lothario–played by Gregg Sulkin–is now interested in her because he’s never had sex with a lesbian before. The show frankly and honestly takes on a lot of social issues–everything from intersex to transgender to sexual fluidity–and the catch to the ‘pretending to be lesbians’ schtick is that Amy actually is in love with her best friend Karma–who doesn’t return the feelings. The young cast is quite appealing, and while some of the adventures they have strain credulity, the show’s message of tolerance, acceptance, and understanding is handled very well.

Gregg  Sulkin also has achieved teen heartthrob status.

 

gregg sulkin

Not hard to see why.

But young, out actor Michael J. Willett as Shane Harvey pretty much steals the show. Shane is depicted as a scheming. snarky, but funny kid with a lot of insecurities who really just wants to find a boyfriend, and Willett plays the part to perfection. He also played gay in the movie GBF, which was actually a lot better than I thought it would be (think a John Hughes teen comedy with a gay main character instead of Molly Ringwald), and the two characters couldn’t be any more different–showing that there are a range of gay characters; we aren’t this monolithic ‘all the same’ that some people seem to think we are–which goes along with the concept of inclusion: we’re not all finger-snapping sidekicks with a great sense of snark, fashion sense, and with our fingers on the pulse of pop culture. Just as it would be cool for books, TV shows, and movies to include gay characters for the sake of diversity; within the gay community there’s a huge range of diverse characters. The key to writing gay characters is to make them human.

homerot1_willett

Here’s hoping Willett can find more work as an out gay actor.

And now, back to the spice mines.

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