“Mary + Jane” recap (1.1): Spark It Up

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High and welcome to Mary + Jane, the new MTV stoner comedy which has the unfortunate luck to feature a sexually fluid character in the immediate aftermath of Faking It. This will no doubt make its journey towards finding queer fans more difficult, however, despite sharing a network and a similar too cool for school attitude (an attitude MTV’s ratings haven’t earned it in a very long time), I would urge you right now to divorce these two shows in your mind. For one thing, as opposed to Faking It, whose own publicity labelled Amy first as a lesbian and then refused to label her at all, this show is upfront in owning Jordan’s (out actor Scout Durwood) sexual fluidity. In fact, it looks like we can expect her to have an ongoing hookup with a dude this season, so you’re going in to it with your eyes open.

BUT NEWSFLASH: bisexual people continue to be bisexual whether they’re fucking men or women, and the same rule holds true for pansexual people and for whatever ambiguous gray area the sexually fluid operate in (personally I have only ever heard people identify themselves as “sexually fluid” on television and at parties when everyone was too drunk to remember their own preferences, but I support their right to identify that way). At any rate, Jordan’s queerness and Paige’s apparently burgeoning sexual curiosity makes them fair game for discussion on this website, and this is the one and only time I plan on saying it.

Additionally, while Faking It made sexual identity the lynchpin of all its comedy and drama (an ambitious choice that was responsible for both its moments of brilliance and its undoing), Mary + Jane is much more laid back in its approach to sexuality. Much like its attitude towards weed smoking (basically legal, only squares are uptight about it), this show (or at least the painfully hip twenty-somethings to occupy it) takes for granted that every millennial in Los Angeles is either some flavor of queer or an ally desperate to prove how fine with it they are. (It’s also smart enough to recognize how privileged this assumption is.) What’s more we can take heart that this series is produced by Snoop Dogg (are we not calling him Snoop Lion anymore?), who had a memorable guest turn on The L Word, and created by the people responsible for the 2001 Josie and The Pussycats remake, aka the reason I can never fully give up on Tara Reid.

Finally, if you’re hung up on the Faking It comparison, you’re missing a much lower hanging fruit: Broad City.  The show has discouraged comparisons of M+J to BC, which is hilarious because I am SO SURE the pitch meeting was not just “think Broad City but in L.A.” However, despite the stoner + female buddy comedy + vaguely queer elements the two shows share, this one deserves to stand on its own merits. And, despite the fact that it’s clearly trying to replicate the success of that other show, M+J does have strengths of its own, most notably an affection for bizarre sight gags, like Turkey-Brad and Skeletongelina. Its two leads lack the immediate chemistry Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer built through their IRL friendship and web series, making this show feel a little like the Monkees to Broad City’s Beatles, but hey, the Monkees did “Last Train to Clarksville.”

unnamedWE’RE A NEW GENERATION AND WE’VE GOT NOTHING TO SAY.

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