Last edition, I talked about the shows/films that I enjoyed watching in 2019. From all that abundant content that I watched were some queer characters/couples who were my absolute faves.
So, here you go.
FAVOURITE QUEER CHARACTERS
1. Eric Effiong (Sex Education)
Can we say legendric? Iconic? Historic? Did any queer character on a mainstream show really have the impact that Eric Effiong did this year? I think not. Eric defies storytelling stereotypes and subverts expectations. My God, I love this character. Eric is bold, unsure, naïve, confident, black, African. Eric is the “black gay best friend” that outshines the lead and has his own poignant plot that is separate from the lead. Eric is the comic relief that brings the drama. Eric demands attention, commands the screen, draws you in and dares you to look away.
Eric is unapologetically himself. Eric is original. Eric is specific. Eric is the fucking supreme abeg.
Ncuti Gatwa plays him with incredible nuance and humility, and I am in awe of his talent. The second season of Sex Education premieres in January and I cannot wait to see what they do with this character next.
2. Omar Shanaa (Elite)
Omar is personal for me – well, all the characters on this list are. But Omar is specific in his family structure and upbringing. Omar is a gay Muslim, born to an immigrant family, surrounded by whiteness. Omar is constantly trying to navigate and balance these dynamics.
Growing up as queer person brought up in religion can be one of the most difficult things, and Elite does an extremely good job of depicting that in a character such as Omar.
3. Lionel Higgins (Dear White People)
Another character whose realities I can relate to in Lionel Higgins in Dear White People. Lionel is a black gay nerd trying to live at the intersectionality of race and sexual orientation. It can be incredibly frustrating trying to justify your blackness because of your queerness, and having your queerness fetishized or discriminated against because of your blackness.
As a black queer person, Lionel is constantly trying to find his footing in both worlds, and Dear White People does this incredibly well without hitting you over the head with it. The final season of the show premieres next year.
4. Ricky Wintour (Pose)
If you aren’t already watching Pose, what are you doing with your life? Pose features Black Transwomen and Transwomen of colour, as well as a litany of other queer characters, all with their individual stories. So, I was definitely spoilt for choice with this show.
However, Ricky’s story this sophomore season sticks out for me. Ricky as a character is fascinating to me, because you can clearly see that he has a good heart and wants to do the right thing, but he gets in his own way every time. Ricky is extremely talented but lost and in search of home. I am curious as to what his backstory is.
It is Ricky’s arc with his discovery of his HIV status and his subsequent relationship with Pray Tell that made me sit up and take notice. Love it or hate it, it sparked a conversation about ageism and power dynamics in queer relationships. I can’t wait to see what’s next for him.
5. Rue Bennett (Euphoria)
Rue never really declares what she is; it isn’t even really clearly stated in the show if she is bisexual or lesbian. To be fair, it would be odd if it was. Rue is an unreliable narrator, so everything she says and how she narrates the events of the show, should be taken with a grain of salt.
Rue is fucking loyal, and very few shows are willing to actually show how ugly depression can be. There’s an episode where Rue is stuck in bed unable to do anything but watch Love Island UK, and (lol) I felt so seen!
Seriously though, Rue is a magnificently crafted character, and Zendaya plays her remarkably. The Golden Globes ain’t shit for not nominating her. Here’s hoping she gets the awards love she deserves next year.
FAVOURITE QUEER COUPLES
1. Kena and Ziki (Rafiki)
Vulnerable. Beautiful. Poetic. I don’t watch nearly enough lesbian films/TV, mostly because gay content is what dominates the queer film landscape and I am guilty of actually not looking for lesbian stories as much as I do gay ones (I am fixing this). But this film is stunning. I don’t know if it’s the unflinching peek into Kenya or how the camera loves the actors; something about this film and this couple moved me more than anything I saw this year.
2. Ulysses and Isaac (Now Apocalypse)
This show didn’t make my list of favorite shows because, like most Greg Araki productions, they can be extremely weird, unfocused and erratic. Buried in the chaotic mess that is the show is my second favorite queer couple from this year.
The show features what is probably the best depiction of how scary and uncertain dating can be in the queer community that I saw this year. Makes sense as this was written by George Araki, a queer person. It’s raw, real and relatable. Ulysses and Isaac (played by Avan Jogia and Jacob Artist) have you rooting for them the moment they meet.
3. Johnny and Gheorghe (God’s Own Country)
I have already waxed lyrical about God’s Own Country in a previous episode; Johnny and Gheorghe are the anchors of this film and the arc of their relationship makes the film. It is brilliant. Simple as.
4. Omar and Ander (Elite)
My boys went through it this season, guys. Omar and Ander are a huge reason why I enjoy Elite; I mean, the other beautiful boys on the show will definitely keep your attention as well, but these two are it. They certainly had a rough go of it in the second season of the show. Both characters had their individual storylines, but their love for each other really echoes the sentiment of finding that someone that makes you feel like you’re home and holding on dearly to them.
5. Sam and Grizz (The Society)
A decent enough show, its plot is compelling enough to keep you going. However, Sam and Grizz were the highlight of the show for me. This couple are last on the list because, with very little screen time, they managed to be incredibly memorable.
Sam is a deaf gay boy, and there is something about the two characters falling in love without the use of much vocal communication that makes it more intense. Definitely the sweetest queer story I saw this year. I hope they get more screen time and focus when the show returns for a second season.
I’m interested in hearing your favorites from the year as well, and hopefully you find something for you on here that you can binge during this period!
Happy Holidays, you queers!
Written by Deola