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Version Française

The Finale: Analyse and Impressions
By Yarlung

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 in confusion.
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 time.
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 boring.

 

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 one…”
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 at all.
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.

 

Yarlung

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.



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