How The Following is Changing How We View Bisexual Relationships

the-following

Is everyone watching what’s happening on Monday at 9pm on Fox? Who knew that along with a spine tingling cult mystery from the creator of Scream and The Vampire Diaries that we’d also get one of the most comprehensive and complicated looks at bisexuality committed to screen. The love triangle on The Following between Emma, Will and Paul has become just as fascinating as the premise of the show. To catch everyone up to speed, Will (Nico Tortorella) and Emma (Valerie Curry) were dating before they met serial killer mastermind Joe Carroll. Eager to help him catch a victim that got away, Sarah Fuller, Emma convinces Will and fellow acolyte Paul (Adan Canto) to pretend to be gay lovers in order to ensnare her. However, in last week’s episode, it was revealed that the act had turned into a genuine relationship, which has complicated the threesomes present day dynamic.

Now before we go into any further analysis, it’s important to note that there may be a screw loose with these people considering how far they’re willing to go please a serial killer. Furthermore, that mental instability could certainly lead to some heightened emotional states, making it easier for the “Act” of playing gay to feel real. But creator Kevin Williamson and the actors embodying the characters are smarter than that, tapping into the confusion of someone torn between the sexes. They let us see the shifting power dynamics, Emma is clearly the ringleader and often leaves Paul to feel like the third wheel, while managing to comment on the nature of the twisted relationship. In a revelatory scene in Monday’s episode, Emma finally admits to Paul that they both love Will. It’s a delicate scene that announces that the show understand that in everything, let alone sexuality, things might not always be as clean cut as one thinks. That it comes on the heels of Paul and Emma committing a murder together and before Will, dejected that he couldn’t kill a woman, comes into the shower for a threesome, just adds to the complexity. What any of their true natures are is never put up for debate, nor are they judged for their actions.

Television has proved an amazing way for LGBTQ characters to seep into mainstream consciousness. From Kurt, Santana and Brittany on Glee to Thomas on Downton Abbey to Walton Goggins transgender character on Sons of Anarchy, there’s been a wide range of portrayals. You can add The Following to the list of shows trying to break down barriers.

- Terrence Johnson

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By Terence Johnson

When he's not enduring Shade Samurai training from Victoria Grayson, you can find Terence spends his time being an avid watcher of television, Criterion film collector, Twitter addict, and awards season obsessive The former Bay Area native now resides in Houston, working as an engineer by day and TV recapper by night. He would list all the TV shows that he loves here, but for fear that you might think he's a hermit. But here's a few: American Horror Story, Homeland, Teen Wolf, and True Blood. You can also find him waxing poetic about film and the awards season over at AwardsCircuit.com.

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8 Responses to How The Following is Changing How We View Bisexual Relationships

  1. John February 13, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Actually, Paul and Emma didn’t kill the hostage – it was only a flesh wound, as she clarified in the script, and they tied the girl up and put her back into the basement. Presumably to pressure Jacob to ‘finish the job.’ Tough love, I guess…

    Reply
  2. Mike February 13, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    Bisexual? LOL! The show runner has already stated that the three characters have no sexual identity. They are psychotic and have been playing pretend for so long they have no idea what reality is.

    Reply
  3. Tia February 13, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    A bisexual is attracted to both sexes. That does not mean that bisexuals have 3=way relationships. The vast majority don’t. So I don’t see this TV show as particularly enlightening. BTW, as described above, only 1 of the 3 parties to the relationship, Will, would appear to be bisexual.

    Reply
  4. jason February 13, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    I also have to say that bisexuality is NOT about threesomes. This notion that bisexuality is about threesomes is crazy stuff put out by the sleazy porn industry. Repeat after me – bisexuality is NOT about threesomes.

    I’m not saying that people don’t engage in sex with more than one person simultaneously but this falls under the category of fetish. It is NOT the definition of sexual orientation.

    Reply
  5. jason February 13, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    I think it’s important that male bisexuality – as opposed to female bisexuality – is looked at and depicted. There are a LOT of males out there – including those who identify as straight – with grades of bisexuality. Some are more strongly attracted to women, some more strongly attracted to men.

    I find that female bisexuality is largely fake, frankly. Female bisexuality is often an extension of female sexuality as a whole. It’s designed to market to men. I’m sorry but that’s the truth.

    Reply
  6. Chelseas February 13, 2013 at 8:39 am

    I agree with Dawn. I’m bisexual…and I don’t kidnap, murder, have threesomes because being bi means being a part of a confusing love triangle or any of the things portrayed on the show. Also, the show (which I have since given up on) seems to be about shock factor. As if the writers make it as disturbing as possible in order to be as disturbing as possible. Whether it is their actual intent to break down barriers – which I don’t think it is, I think they’re just trying to add to the shock factor, which could be deemed offensive, honestly – the lack of real substance or merit detracts from any noble efforts they may be putting forth.

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  7. Katherine February 13, 2013 at 1:31 am

    “To catch everyone up to speed, Will (Nico Tortorella) and Emma (Valerie Curry) were dating before they met serial killer mastermind Joe Carroll.”

    Actually, no. Carroll introduced them while he was in prison, remember?

    Reply
  8. Dawn February 12, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    Repeat after me: making characters bisexual is not progressive if you only make them the villains. It happens time and time again, and when the lgbt* characters are the bag guys it serves to separate them from the rest of society even more than they already are.

    If The Following was really looking to be progressive and break down barriers, it would be the heroes that are bisexual. As is, this is just another bad trope. See also the Black Drug Dealer and the Mexican Illegal.

    Reply

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