Best. Lesbian. Week. Ever. (April 27, 2007)

 
 

SOS FOR SON?
An AfterEllen.com reader named popcrash who reportedly wrote for South of Nowhere last season posted a comment on one of our articles last week that included this info:

The reason the affection between the girls was dialed back comes directly from the network and [series creator] Tommy Lynch. They would only let us go so far with it. Yes, there was a double standard in terms of what could be shown between straight couples and gay couples. But when we pointed it out, we were over-ruled. The network’s Standards and practices dept. will only allow so much on a network that is specifically geared to 14 to 18 year old girls. Any other audience is gravy for them. And, honestly, the show was never intended to be a "gay show." We just got lucky that the Spashley storyline resonated so well with viewers.

The reader went on to add that the show’s openly gay showrunner, Nancylee Myatt (who guested on last week’s episode of She Said What? and made our Top 13 Lesbians in Hollywood list earlier this year), "was not asked back to the show for 3rd season, as the network told her they wanted to ‘open up’ the show. Which translates to not as much gay content — and someone there who was fighting for it."

The show’s creator, Tom Lynch, apparently responded to the comments a few days later to a fan through his MySpace account (it was then posted it on spashley.com), stating: "I think whoever wrote that, that most of it comes from a true place. The few sentences that made you upset are only their opinion. The showrunner Nancylee was not brought back for Season 3, but not for any of the reasons that they said. And with her not being present and working on the show, does not mean that there will be ‘less gay content.’"

Lynch went on to add:

We ask that you watch the show when it comes back. We hope you will love where the show is going. Don’t give up on it. It is, and always will be Spencer and Ashley’s show. They are the stars. And their relationships and sexuality will always be present. We want our show to be authentic, but you can’t do or say or show the same things that "The L Word" does. But we hope that The N and it’s audience (you), enjoy the message, acting, storylines, etc. of this show on The N.

Hmmmm. I was able to confirm with Nancylee Myatt that she’s not coming back next season, but she wouldn’t comment on the other issues raised by popcrash.

While it’s not clear yet whether there’s going to be "less gay content" next season, it looks that way to me. Nancylee’s departure isn’t exactly a great sign, and from the comments made by everyone involved so far (Lynch, Mandy Musgrave and Gabrielle Christian at the GLAAD Awards, popcrash’s comment and Tom’s response to it), my best guess is that Spencer will stay gay and possibly have another love interest, and Ashley will get back together with Aiden or otherwise explore her (bi)sexuality. But I don’t know this for a fact — I haven’t seen any scripts, or talked to any of the writers — so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens in October.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with breaking up the two girls — breakups and makeups are the hallmark of good TV drama, and exploring a character’s bisexuality can be a good thing, too. But it depends on the reasons behind it, and how it’s handled — and de-gaying a show is another matter altogether, especially if it’s done to appease network concerns. Choosing to focus more on the “straight” storylines also threatens the show’s success, in my opinion: The relationship between Spencer and Ashley has provided some of the show’s best moments and is one of the things that sets South of Nowhere apart from all the other teen shows out there.

Still, I’ll reserve judgment until I see the final product in the fall. If Spencer must date someone new, I vote for Madison, just to shake things up. I’ve always wanted to see those two brushing each other’s hair …

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