This is a perfect example of writers who had all of the best intentions, but thanks to censorship and current policies, it devolved into some good old fashioned queerbaiting.
Indeed, it’s true that the original intention was to have PB and Marceline romantically involved, eventually. The people behind Adventure Time have said as much, but somewhere along the line, someone said, “whoa, whoa, whoa. Not in a children’s show!” So, the storyline got dropped and all that’s left is the occasional hint and a massive fallout of fan headcanons.
I know I should feel happier that the notion was even pitched, let alone nearly realized, but instead, I just feel cheated. Not only is it a very public example of queer characters still not being “acceptable” for children, it’s also another instance of characters’ “secret queerness” being paraded around as actual representation.
It’s not. That’s queerbaiting.
Harry Potter did it, Sherlock does it, Teen Wolf, Torchwood, Supernatural, Doctor Who, and countless others all use winking hints at queerness amongst their main characters without, y’know, actually having to make or show them as queer in any way.
(Pictured above: irony, but no actual queerness.)
As much as I love Adventure Time and will openly applaud them for touching on very mature and downright edgy topics, I just can’t muster any genuine enthusiasm for PB and Marceline’s “secret” and/or “past” relationship in the show. That benefits no one and only serves to tell the queer, impressionable kids watching that their identities still aren’t good enough for television.
Instead of getting excited for the scraps popular media tosses us now and then, let’s all hope for some real, visible, and open representation, one day. We have to start demanding it as consumers and generating it as creators. Queer folk deserve it.
^^^This, this, this.
Even Hannibal does it, to a certain extent. (See Season 2 finale…. as well as numerous other scenes from previous episodes)
It’s also important to know that it’s perfectly okay to enjoy watching these shows while at the same time acknowledging their issues regarding poor representation and similar problems. But if you enjoy these shows and lash out at people who raise these issues to light, you’re part of the problem. Outright ignoring these problems and defending the creators just because they give you characters you like to fantasize about only proves that you don’t actually care about representation.
So I work at target now and one of my favorite things to do when I hear something in the next aisle fall is to drop what I’m doing and stand at the end of that aisle like so:
walking into the wrong class
THAT OWL LOOKS SO FUCKING
nail polish on fingernails: 2 days
nail polish on toenails: 200 years. ur ghost will have glittery toes. ur descendants will come out of the womb w/ revlon 791 midnight affair perfectly applied. infinite