The New Millennial Gay Experience
|Posted on February 7, 2014 at 2:10 AM|
This is the second edition of our Teen Wolf roundtable, in which six of our writers discuss questions relating to MTV’s super-hot beefcake extravaganza.
Today’s question: Sterek! Go.
Paul: I never got into the Sterek fandom. Back in the first season, I heard rumblings on the internet declaring them a couple - but that happens every time two male characters on TV look at each other. Besides, Stiles was supposedly 16 and Derek was supposedly 30, so it was too pedophilic to imagine them as a real couple anyway. By halfway through the second season, even the show's actors were candidly addressing and supporting this couple's staggeringly huge fandom.
As someone who got into Teen Wolf for Danny's canon "Bully's Gay Best Friend" status, I have never seen the necessity of taking two canonically straight characters the writers have no intentions of pairing, and spending years hoping they might someday get together. If I wanted that kind of tease, I'd just watch "Supernatural." Had Sterek's many fans opted to latch onto Danny in the first season, we might have gotten a much bigger role for him. Instead, we get the writers trying to please their audience with homoerotic dialogue while still writing the straight love stories they'd always planned for Derek and Stiles.
John: I am in no way a "shipper" and frankly look askance at the whole concept. That said, I have enjoyed the hell out of both of these characters and their interactions have been some of the highest points of the series. Derek has been isolated from the other characters so far in the back half of the season, so Sterek moments have been few and far between. Now that the Shadow Mafia has arrived and tagged Derek along with the others I expect Derek will move back toward the group.
I buy Stiles as bisexual or sexually fluid and would totally be on board with his exploring it. Derek as a character seems the type that, were he anything other than a Kinsey 0, we would already know it, so suddenly making him queer would feel a lot more forced.
Dean: I get why people like Sterek, but I don’t see it as the be-all, end-all of “Teen Wolf’s” ho-yay. I think there was some serious homoeroticism coming from Colton Haynes’s portrayal of Jackson, and his desperate attempts to be accepted by…SOMEONE. (Jackson’s scenes with Derek also had some serious crackle to them.) Isaac definitely gives off major ho-yay vibes in his scenes with Scott, and of course there was Danny’s tryst with one of the twins. (Considering they bumped off that lesbian girl last season, I’d say the show could do more for female ho-yay, especially with the number of fierce, tough women running around.)
Farid: Where do I start? I knew about shipping, but Sterek was the one that finally lured me in. Though the fandom is wonderful I also got to know about “queer baiting” in shows because of the Sterek phenomenon. Sterek is a big part of Teen Wolf, there's no denying it. The cast, Jeff Davis, everyone involved in the show knows about it and how passionate the fandom is. You can't deny their amazing efforts for “The Sterek Campaign” and the money they raise for charity.
If Sterek does become canon (some fans argue that it already is, and is on it's way to a slow build), it would do wonders for the LBGT community on TV and we need something like that to happen in order to have an impact. For me the show can go either way: Sterek or Stydia, and it will be Jeff's call to make the decision. He can give us a M/F ship with the development we have seen countless times, or he can give us an M/M ship that is something different and cements the fact that sexuality is fluid and love is love regardless of gender. Yes, TW is gay friendly. But right now that's all it is as there is no confirmed LBGT character that's in the main cast or has a direct impact on the plotlines. It has a long way to go before being really gay-inclusive, which I thought it would become it’s third year on the air.
Lane: I used to be all about Sterek, and Tyler Hoechlin and Dylan O'Brien have some pretty amazing chemistry, but honestly some of the shine has come off Sterek. If I had to pair Stiles with someone other than Lydia right now it would be Isaac all the way. But if the show gave me more Derek/Stiles interaction I'd probably be calling the all-aboard for that ship again. Really, Teen Wolf is the show that introduced me to the concept of ships and fanfic, and there is some really amazing fanfic out there. This is one of my favorites and has a really satisfying Sterek payoff.
Also, the Teen Wolf fandom is extremely gay friendly, and they love their M/M ships. Right now Scott and Isaac are huge, there's been some shipping of Sheriff Stilinksi and Chris Argent, the canon couple of Danny and Ethan are popular... I think the show incorporates a gay character and a gay friendly message without being a "gay" show. That's no doubt helped by out executive producer Jeff Davis.
Dennis: The whole Sterek phenomenon just flabbergasts me. And also flummoxes, stupefies, and confounds me. I just don’t see any basis for it. Stiles and Derek occupy two entirely different emotional worlds. I see no chemistry between them at all. It almost seems like the fandom just matched the two of them up because, gosh, we have to match guys up because that’s what we do, and we think they’re both attractive. Once someone planted the seed then people started looking for evidence, and, quite frankly, seeing things that aren’t there.
Further, Derek doesn’t show the slightest sign that he’s gay or bi or fluid or questioning or…. And I’ve seen no sign that either has the slightest genuine interest in the other. Derek seems actually dismissive of Stiles, as if he’s an inconsequential little kid. I could see Isaac and Scott, or Stiles and Scott, or Danny and any of those three. Oh wait, in the fandom world we want to match up two straight guys, not guys who might actually have some sort of chance of getting together. As often, I’m an odd duck here since I just watch the show for what’s there, not for what my imagination might manufacture.
Categories: Other Voices