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Modern Lesbian Subtext 101

  • Broadcast in Television



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F4F Radio rings in the new year with a discussion of lesbian subtext in modern television - a topic I’ve wanted to discuss since before the start of 2012!  Before the late 1990s, when fandoms began popping up with canon lesbian pairings on shows like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “Xena: Warrior Princess”, “Once and Again” and “Babylon 5”, gay characters typically lacked a screen presence beyond the “very special episode”.  Today, more network and cable programs seem to be recognizing the appeal of lesbian and bisexual women on the small screen. Yet for every canon lesbian couple with a fan following, it seems like there are many more pairings based on subtext.  Sometimes, it even seems like these are MORE popular.  As gay and straight audiences, rightly or wrongly, perceive subtext more and more on their TV, we begin to ponder questions like, how much subtext is REALLY there?  Are shows intentionally using subtext to pull in lesbian audiences without actually giving them maintext?  Can fan followings of subtext couples potentially shift storylines in a maintext direction?  We’ll be discussing these kinds of questions in a general context, but we’ll also focus on 4 shows in particular – “Rizzoli & Isles”, “Once Upon a Time”, “The Good Wife”, and “Warehouse 13”.  I’ll be joined by a panel of three past guests who between them have written memorable femslash fanfic for all four programs – Adm_Hawthorne, Heartsways, and Sweetjamielee.  That’s a lineup you can’t miss!