2008 Year in Review: Television

 
 

Fox produced a steamy promo ad for the October 21 episode (“Lucky Thirteen”) showing Thirteen in a torrid
embrace with another woman. But when the episode actually aired, a crucial 20
seconds from the promo didn’t make the final cut.

Even before the episode aired, House executive
producer Katie
Jacobs
suggested that Thirteen’s red-hot scene with another woman was, more than anything else,
a symptom of her reaction to the fatal Huntington’s
diagnosis.

When you don’t know how many years you have left to live, you might
exhibit some reckless, risk-taking behavior. And she doesn’t express it through
her work, but after hours, she’s leading quite a life … Thirteen’s sexual
involvement with this woman is not really about this other woman. It’s about
Thirteen’s reckless behavior. It’s not the first time she’s done it, and it
won’t be the last time.

Thirteen’s colleague, Foreman (played by Omar Epps)
expressed concern at her wild behavior, and she later confided in him about her
feelings about having the disease. At the end of the episode that aired last
week (“Joy to the World”) the two were seen kissing passionately.

AE contributing writer and blogger Dorothy Snarker followed
the development of Thirteen’s bisexual storyline
, and noted, “Look, we have so few examples of gay women in sexual relationships on TV in
the first place, must this one be shown as a symptom of her reckless behavior?
…Intentional or not, this sets up the dynamic that Thirteen is ‘unhealthy’ and ‘unstable’
when she is with women and ‘healthy’ and ‘balanced’ when she is with men.”

Regardless of how revolutionary House might aim to be in their portrayal of the unabashedly
bisexual Thirteen, playing into the oldest of stereotypes regarding the
stability of heterosexual relationships when compared to their queer
counterparts is a definite step in the wrong direction.

It will be interesting to see how the show continues to
navigate Thirteen’s bisexuality if she is coupled with Foreman for any length
of time, or if their relationship might be just the dose of “health” needed to
stave off Thirteen’s disease.

Fox was home to yet another supporting female character whose bisexuality was explored this season. On the quirky crime-procedural Bones,
series regular Angela (Michaela Conlin) reunited with her ex-girlfriend Roxie (In
Plain Sight
‘s Nichole Hiltz) when she became a suspect in a murder
investigation.

Angela (Michaela Conlin), right, with Roxie (Nichole Hiltz)

Though paired with a male love interest since the second
season of the show, Angela’s bisexual past was hinted at as early as the first season of Bones,
then brought up again last season when a private investigator made a comment to
Angela about "a girl named Roxie, whose heart you broke in second-year art
school."

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