Let’s face it, 2016 was tough, and 2017 doesn’t look to be much easier. So let’s delve into some of our favorite geeky romantic pairings to help us cope! Yep, it’s Valentine’s Day, that sickeningly sweet holiday when our authors nominate and then vote on ships for our Top 20 Romantic Couples in Geekdom (10 Canon/10 Fanon) list. It is now my duty to present to you the super cute and sexy ships of 2017!
Representation is weird, readers. Since some people that enjoy a level of privilege also contend with marginalization, it’s difficult to say where we need to get better in our media. Despite men enjoying incredible amounts of privilege, we still have the task of dismantling toxic masculinity. While we are slowly but surely destroying the “no homo, bro” narrative of friendship, I would like to see more well formed male friendships in media that actually explore friendship and aren’t just used as passive plot traits.
For much the same reasons as Moe explained earlier this summer, I have kind of grown away from Adventure Time. While an eleven minute episode once a week isn’t a huge time commitment, I felt that the show had lost its idea of who its audience was and had abandoned the latter half of its “here’s a weird premise with a good message” mentality for utter absurdism and often unpleasant conclusions. Also, I’m still pissed that Finn’s arm grew back.
Because of this, I didn’t know about the Stakes miniseries, which comprises several episodes out of the still-ongoing Season 7, until after it had finished airing. Thankfully, a Bubbline blog that I still follow on Tumblr reblogged a rash of posts about it, or I’d still be in the dark. I began watching it out of loyalty to Marceline more than anything—she’s always been my favorite character—but I finished it unexpectedly excited to see what will happen next in the Land of Ooo.
If there’s one thing Tumblr (or at least the people I follow) is obsessed with, it’s making fun of the deeply ingrained heteronormativity that people force on their children from a young age. I’m sure that at some point in your life you’ve heard someone refer to a male two year old as a future ladies’ man for smiling at his female babysitter, or another female two year old close by, or some similar nonsense. This is so problematic because it teaches children from before the time they can form words that boys are supposed to marry girls, girls are supposed to marry boys, and that’s all there is to gender and romance.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Adventure Time, but the last episodes of this past season were showing things I’d never think I’d see on Cartoon Network outside of Adult Swim. It’s exciting to see the network getting back to more serious animated shows (like the short series, Over The Garden Wall), but there are ratings for shows for a reason. I can’t tell if the writers are genuinely trying to make a more developed world with complex characters, or if they’re just twisting the story into whatever they desire. By the end of this season, I questioned whether this show meant to use depression as a joke, and how much of an element of horror they were willing (or were allowed) to use.
I basically live for representation of LGBTQ+ characters. As a bi person, I’m especially starved for good bi representation. Unfortunately, such characters are especially difficult to come by. Then there are wonderful characters who could be great bisexuals, and that’s where headcanons come in. A headcanon is something that is not explicitly stated in the text, but doesn’t contradict it either, and you like to imagine it’s true. It’s not as great as actual representation, but it can be great fun and provide comfort when actual representation isn’t there. So, today I want to share with you my Top 10 characters whom I like to imagine are bisexual and who would make excellent representation if they were made canonically bisexual.
I tend to fall in love most with a certain type of character, and those characters are usually assholes. Oh yes, sometimes there are exceptions like Scott McCall in Teen Wolf, who is practically a literal Disney prince, but most of the time I love the asshole characters. Usually this is because I find them hilarious and I love that they don’t seem to give a fuck about what anyone thinks of them.
And let’s be honest, there is a reason that we love characters like this. To some extent we all wish we could get away with saying exactly what we are thinking, no matter how awful it is, and not give a fuck about any of the consequences that comes from that. But we still want to be liked, and we certainly do not want to be evil (not necessarily anyway) and thus we get the Lovable Asshole trope. The character who doesn’t give a fuck and makes hilarious quips about people they don’t like, but everyone still loves them for the most part, even if they know they’re a bit of an asshole. Characters like Deadpool, Jayne Cobb, and Iron Man fulfill this trope to a tee. I usually think these characters are awesome and they certainly have an interesting amount of complexity to them. Sometimes, though, this awesome trope can be used for evil. And by evil I mean that writers can use these characters to make prejudice and bigotry seem cool and acceptable.
There is so much great geek media out there to enjoy: movies, video games, television—the list goes on. It is my solemn belief that these are art forms, and deserve all the discussion we give them, from the critical (like representation) to the mundane (shipping). The range of topics shows how much these art forms resonate with audiences. But to more effectively have these discussions, I think it is important not to dismiss shows with a younger target demographic.
There’s a slow but exciting change occurring in popular media, these days: lots of creators are finally beginning to show female friendships in their works. That’s not to say that there have never been friendships between ladies in the public eye before the last few years—Wicked comes to mind, among other things—but the message seems to finally have gotten out to the world at large. We want more than one lady in things, and we want those ladies to understand each other, not for them to antagonize each other.
Recently, there has been some fantastic news for Bubbline (Princess Bubblegum/Marceline) shippers everywhere! Olivia Olsen, the voice of Marceline the Vampire Queen and a contributing author for the The Adventure Time Encyclopaedia, said at a book signing that Marceline and Princess Bubblegum totally used to date.
In case you are unable to listen or can’t hear the video, this is the full text of what Olsen said:
I was at the studio on Tuesday and Pen was actually there because he was recording for Lumpy Space Princess [crowd goes wild!] and I wanted to ask him a lot of questions, because he’s trying to write the book and stuff, so I wanted to pick Pen’s brain a little bit. And he says, “Oh, you know they (Marceline and PB) dated, right?” And I said, “Wellll, that’s what I figured from all the creepy fan art.” [crowd goes wild again!] And I said, “Are they going to do it on the show at all, or can we say anything about it in the book?” And he’s like, “I don’t know about the book, but in some countries where the show airs, it’s sort of illegal.” So that’s why they’re not putting it in the show.
After hearing this statement I, along with many other fans, rejoiced that Bubbline was now canon, but I was also feeling disappointed. My disappointment stems from the fact that still more queer characters in children’s shows and movies are still basically being forced into the closet. While Adventure Time is not without its issues, for the most part it has been a pretty progressive show, especially in its portrayal of female characters and various feminist issues. I had hoped beyond hope that maybe, just maybe Bubbline would soon be canon and that Adventure Time would go down in history as the first children’s cartoon to predominantly feature a queer relationship.