Once Upon A Time Fails on LGBT Storylines Again, But Adds A Little Tongue

Posted by Tara G on

Once Upon A Time, a show famous for its snow white casting and general lack of racial and sexual diversity, has made it's second run at introducing an LGBT storyline into the mix after writers made a sub par effort at introducing some sexual diversity by having Mulan (Jamie Chung) fall in love with Princess Aurora back in season three, only to deal Mulan the ultimate of all twat swats: Aurora getting knocked up by her husband.

Since then, Mulan has popped up once or twice - most recently in Sunday night's episode where every lesbian and their cat could have sworn that she was going to shack up with Ruby/Red (Meghan Ory) as they have apparently been off adventuring, Xena and Gabrielle style, for the better part of the last season.

However, instead of building on an already established bisexual character, and an established (albeit weak) story arc for her, the writers decided to toss yet another character into the ensemble with the reintroduction of Dorothy Gale (Teri Reeves), in adult form:

Now, I for one am not about to complain about an episode which involves three gorgeous women running around the forest having adventures.

However, about mid-way through the episode it became apparent that Mulan had been friend-zoned, at which point the writers proceeded to create the shortest courtship in the history of television, which ultimately led to Ruby saving Dorothy with 'True Loves Kiss.' 

 And there were munchkins:

Now, I'm all for LGBT representation in the media, but having two attractive women meet at arrow point, go for a stroll, have a single civil conversation ending in pet names does not a relationship make. Not to mention that having one of them bolt minutes after said conversation, and then be saved by the other with 'True Loves Kiss' all in the space of less than 24 hours is a bit of an extreme example of the U-Haul stereotype.

What makes this all the more ridiculous is that the writers have managed to do a trifecta on pissing off their audience. Their queer viewership feeling pretty duped that the showrunners big tease of an 'upcoming same-sex relationship' was just a poorly written one-shot episode, featuring characters who are barely series regulars and likely won't be seen again; the conservatives they generally appease with their white-washed heteronormative narrative won't be happy about the quality lady snogging on ABC Prime Time; and those who are neither here nor there on LGBT issues will just be pissy that the episode achieved absolutely nothing in moving the series arc forward other than establishing that yes, Regina will continue to wear that ridiculous hat this season: 

And yes, Henry is an illustrator as well as an author:

What is disappointing about Once Upon A Time is that it can't decide what it wants to be. It's consistent attempts to be a catch-all for all demographics has been working against it for some time now, beginning with the sidelining of characters represented by actors of colour - and now the blatant attempt to curry favour with the LGBT community which has likely done little but give the last remaining viewers waiting in vain Emma and Regina to get together the excuse they needed to finally pull the plug.

At the end of the day, if you're going to do something, at least do it well - something Once Upon A Time has failed to do for far too long.

Tara G is a jack-of-all-trades history graduate with a New Zealand accent. She has a penchant for beer, wandering and incessantly talking. 50% of the Bobo Academy BlogSquad. Currently based in Kyoto, Japan. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram.



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