It’s been a while since I’ve talked about this fandom. I have to admit that sometimes I don’t think BBC One’s Merlin is very good, but it was certainly captivating, and I couldn’t stop watching it. Unfortunately, the show decided to engage in queerbaiting, which did nothing to lessen all the other issues I had with it—and there were many issues. Even without the baiting, I knew there would be slash fanfiction everywhere, but I had already been turned off to the Arthur/Merlin pairing by that point. I don’t find anything wrong with the pairing, and I would have loved to see something like that in the show, but the baiting is what did this couple in for me. Of course, being a glutton for punishment, I waded through dozens of fics to not only find one without slash, but one that was very well-written and true to the characters. Major fic spoilers after the jump.
Tag Archives: Merlin
Sexualized Saturdays: Queerbaiting
Queerbaiting happens when The Powers That Be (TPTB) of a show or other work openly acknowledge that their text could have a queer reading, but don’t ever actually make any of their characters queer. It’s when TPTB try to satisfy the slash-loving part of fandom’s need for shippy content by allowing their characters to engage in long, heated stares, share dialogue that could be read romantically, and be physically affectionate with each other—without alienating their straight audience and pigeonholing their show into a ‘gay and lesbian thing’. It’s the showrunners placing suggestive things into the text and then yelling “No homo!”
This creates a couple of problems.
First, this plays into the assumption on the part of TPTB that fans who want to see real queer relationships on a show are simply fangirls who fetishize gay relationships. They pay lip service to the idea of the ship in question, but don’t take it seriously, because they assume that the people who want it to become canon are just in it to see two hot guys (or girls) make out. This is patently not true. Although gay-fetishizers will always be a part of slash fandom, a large part of the fandom is queer, and we read these characters interactions as queer because we are desperate for shows that represent our own experiences.
Second, whether intentionally or unintentionally, queerbaiting perpetuates the idea that queer relationships are not important and that they’re not worthy of representation. It’s like, “Sure, we’ll give you some suggestive dialogue, but actually spend time telling a story about you in a thoughtful and complex way? No, we can’t be arsed. You don’t matter enough for that.” Continue reading
Trailer Tuesdays: The Adventures of Merlin Season 5
This is a show I got into the other day, and I was surprised at how popular it is. It’s so popular that there are currently rumors of a trilogy of movies for it in the works.
This was one of those shows that I had never really been interested in until my friends made me watch it. Merlin is a British fantasy-adventure show based heavily on Arthurian legends. It first premiered in 2008, and like all beginning shows, the first season was rather episodic. It also clearly didn’t have the same budget as the following seasons. Each season is thirteen episodes long, and I remember when the second one came out, the dragon was much more detailed and the show started featuring side characters more often. Don’t ask me why, but I was particularly excited about the latter. That was the season Sir Leon was introduced, and I didn’t know his name, so ihazstew and I just kept calling him Mr. Cameo.
The fifth picks up three years after the fourth. The time jump doesn’t surprise me too much. Apparently a full year passed in the story between seasons two and three.
The show is pretty good, and the dynamic bromance between Arthur and Merlin always makes the episodes more enjoyable. The cast is, unfortunately, at current, mostly male. This is something I can forgive it for. The original legends were also mostly male, which doesn’t surprise me, and most of the characters are knights. Regardless, the female characters that do appear, namely Gwen and Morgana, are pretty well developed.
Check it out.