As I was channel-surfing last night I stumbled across an episode of Real World: San Diego. In-between commercial breaks of The Ultimate Fighter, I watched snatches of the MTV program. Taking the temperature of the pop culture.
From what I can tell, this is the set-up: the producer is trying to create a narrative to advance his political agenda. Zach is the foil. The stereotypical gun-tottin' redneck alpha male jock. A throwback to the caveman. That’s how the show depicts him. That’s why he was picked for the show. To play the villainous homophobe.
He pairs off with Ashley, a cheerleader type. They form the heteronormative couple. Of course, from the viewpoint of the producer, that’s bad.
Then you have Alexandra, who’s the embodiment of liberal enlightenment. Think Guinan.
Finally, you have the two queer characters. This is what the producer is trying to promote.
At least from what little I saw, which was more than enough, their behavior ironically subverts the political agenda.
You have Sam, who poses as the butch lesbian. And you have Frank.
Both of them keep assuring the viewer of how “proud” they are to be homosexual. Problem is, they spend far too much time trying to convince us–and themselves. Men and women who are truly at ease in their own skin don’t feel incessant need to prove themselves to others.
Despite their protestations, they dissolve into tears when Zach and Ashley refuse to participate in their “Gay Pride” event. But if they’re so sure of their alternate sexual identity, why do they feel so threatened by Zach and Ashley? Why do they so desperately pine for heterosexual approval? Zack and Ashley certainly don't seek validation from their queer roommates.
Fact is, both Sam and Frank crack under the strain of pretending to be something they are not. Sam’s body language is so tense, so rigid, wrapped so tight that she’s almost a mannequin. And Fred is a whiney, high-strung sissy.
While Zach and Ashley are secure in their identity, Sam and Frank are both a bundle of nerves. It’s hard to keep up the act 24/7. You don’t have to work at being normal. That comes naturally. But try to rebel against nature–now that takes effort. Practice all you please, it never becomes habitual.