I would say I have been disappointed by the
finale, like most of the audience I guess, but yet, less disappointed
by the last moments of the story than by the moral tale underneath.
An unpalatable moral tale.
The show was depicted as “the show that chocked
the world and changed the image of gay people on television
for ever”; now it’s all over, the former teaser sounds bitter.
I must candidly say I wasn’t that surprised
of the ending considering the last two ineffective seasons.
I have been disappointed by instinct at first and then by reason.
Focusing on Brian and Justin, the most remarkably
stirring characters, as far as I am concerned, I tend to understand
the storyline through them, including the other characters circling
around their couple. The finale left me so unsatisfied; I try
to figure it out.
So what have the two unconventional boys
of the show come through, after five years of passionate and
sad love? Everything and nothing at all.
The last season has been a constant attempt
to make motionless a relationship deeply rooted in its contradictions,
contradictions that fuelled it while preventing any of the two
from growing up. They have revolved, as the others, around the
only topic: acceptability or unacceptability, monogamy or sexual
promiscuity. One needs a good natured mind to follow the course
of their relationship from bitter dialogues to heartbreaking
split then to Cinderella’s castle and eventually jump from prenuptial
magazines to Picasso’s studio, a dramatic bombing coming along.
Even the most imaginative fanfics didn’t
dare such a cocktail. The clichés were so tough that one was
left flabbergasted or hilarious, and I must confess I often
smiled and sneered watching the last episodes. But it wasn’t
that funny anyway.
The infuriating side has been
the rise of the heterosexual model, imposed throughout the last
season, and exposed as pinnacle of achievement, through Ben
and Michael, their kids and family, while Brian and Justin,
the unconventional ones, were to suffer again and again, until
the very end, because they didn’t fit in the right profile.
And what a panel of possible profiles we were given!
The girls are incoherent, Ted and Emmett
are never given the full of their possibilities, Michael and
Ben can face serious troubles; and they surely do, but they
still get the balance right. They are good people, nice neighbours
and reliable family.
Michael and Ben may be tedious; the worst
remains Brian and Justin are ridiculous and pathetic.
Not only Brian has been punished and humiliated
with a testicles cancer (a good symbolism for castration) but,
in the last season he gets idiotic and sex addicted. Obsessed
with time, and his own ageing, he destroyed his couple and suffers
bitterly, drinking like a fish and fucking his brains out while
Justin, suffering too, paints large post modern black canvasses,
very Soulage or Artung in style, achieving months work within
some weeks. Both feeling hopelessly and helplessly responsible,
they endure the pain of their “love versus sacrifice” motto.
Angels can only reunite after Apocalypse… the so long waited
“I love you” is whispered amongst firemen rattling.
The entire dilemma being the “invention”
of their own life against the good life lived by good people,
monogamous and respectable. There is no alternative, in Cowlip
world, between dance floor and cooking, Babylon or early night.
They even went as far as exposing this dilemma being crucial
nowadays for gay people.
I guess it was crucial for them not to develop
the alternative Brian and Justin incarnated. Thus the script
has been reduced to fit in the debate and their growth as individuals
or as couple has been censored. With such a basis, one cannot
build a storyline or a creation, for a writer should take the
path of imagination to produce something worthy of a creation.
Creation and TV reality do not match.
In the case of Queer as Folk, the mixing
up has turned soured. Even the Brian / Michael shippers haven’t
been satisfied, and most of the B/J shippers were left lost
A moral tale, dealing with moral and
morality, hasn’t been the centrefold of the show.
One of the main focuses was Brian’s growing
up and opening to himself, to Justin and then to the others.
If a moral tone was given, it was a kind of therapy, a tedious
one in its repetitive situations. And poor Brian made his therapy
the hardest way, there was so little left for him.
Once he has proposed to Justin and pushed
over his so-called principles, he had to face the fact Justin
couldn’t just let a lifetime opportunity vanish.
“Love is all about sacrifice”, we have been
repeated all through this last season, thus Brian had to suffer
the last sacrifice and send Justin to his awaiting glory. The
pathos couldn’t get worse.
Their last scene however, tender and sweet,
showed that they have managed to grow both (an untold miracle).
Brian is no longer afraid of time, and Justin accepts a bond
without conventions. “It’s only time” is the little line that
changed everything, and the “now and ever” of Justin echoed
it. They eventually get into one another’s expectancies.
Their forthcoming future depends of the eye
of the viewer. The good natured one would see them as a couple
for ever, the bitter one would fancy them split and the
neutral one would feel something is missing, and would be right.
The story is left untold: it’s a badly written story.
But, there was even worse than a bad writing
and old fashioned dilemma. There was shame. It’s a feeling I
experienced, mixed with melancholia, the first time I watched
the finale image of Brian dancing. Confused, and
“ashamed” of something. Thinking it over, I realised I do not
feel sad for Brian dancing, because there is nothing in the
image to tell the viewers if he dances as a heartbroken or
a serene man. My own “gay” nature sees him as the incarnation
of the gay spirit, the embodiment of the gay strength and power.
His image is half iconic. The whole reconstruction of Babylon
is more of a dream than reality; it’s a forthcoming resurrection
of the “sacred” place of freedom after barbarian destruction.
Brian as an icon dancing the answer to destruction : that is
fine with me.
Brian saying “it’s only time’” and Justin
saying “ever” without rings is fine with me too.
I don’t fancy them split at all, I keep seeing
them together. Justin has always proved trustful, he said “I’ll
be back”, and no doubt he will. Brian said “it’s only time”,
he has always proved trustful too; he will keep his faith this
It’s the hiatus between the two pictures
I call “shame”. Brian and Justin can celebrate their love crying
in their loft, alone. Brian can dance his pride, alone.
The finale curtain couldn’t fall on them
both, because their achievement is still to fight for. They
are following in cheap sentimental character’s footsteps because
their black romantic story gets outdated. They haven’t
suffered enough, but their sufferings, now, are outrageously
Then summing it up, there is pride and hope,
within the limitations society and moral tolerate. The trespassers
are not tolerated, not in public anyway. Cowlip, and some others
of the staff declared “there are still a couple, a non conventional
Good Lord, we were all big enough to get
the point. And still bigger we are to notice we
have been screwed up by a moralistic tale in which good ones,
like Ben, Michael or Emmett and Ted, are rewarded and danced
all together, and bad ones are to dance alone or not to dance
And many fans haven’t had a ball all.
No time for regrets now. Queer as Folk hasn’t
kept all its promises. It’s sad in many ways. Yet the show has
opened a path for a new ground of representation for gay people
and gay life style. I hope now this ground will be exploited
by imaginative and creative people, and that Brian and Justin
will keep an archetypal couple in our memories and musings.
Special thanks to “B/J beyond spoilers yahoo
group”, and regards to Nohabu, La Monica, Adrian, Julia, Shirley,
members of “Qaf refugee forum”, Randolph Randall,
Ethan of “Xale Slowly”, Mia and Lydia of “Too Lunatic”,
“Kinda Sweet,BrianJustin.net” , “B/J 4 ever”, “Moon Shadow Tribe”
, “What Love Means”; “Queer as Folks daily Newsletter” and all
the other great sites. Knowing such enthusiastic and entertaining
people through a show was a lovely experience.