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Once Upon a Time: Ruby Slippers (2016)
Good intentions, not too great execution of plan
"The Hollywood Reporter" shared these quotes from the show-runners of "Once Upon a Time" about the storyline of Ruby/Dorothy, here: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/once-a-time-gay-storyline- 884653:
"...in a fairy tale, as in life, love is love," co-creators Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis said in a statement about the LGBT storyline.
"We wanted to tell it no differently than we would with Robin and Regina or Snow and Charming. We just wanted to tell a love story," Kitsis said.
Having served in the Navy, being very used to following strict Equal Opportunity guidelines, having worked with people from all over- I learned that you get more varied input and ideas from a diverse group. I believe that diversity is vital to our country being great. The more different we are; the more ideas and innovation will grow here.
As a mother of 3 girls-also step-mom of 4 more + 2 grandchildren-I've tried to share that philosophy with my children. Television, films & books are an opportunity for people to experience-vicariously- any things which are not common in day-to-day life. Ideas & ideals shown in the media colour our perception of the world. I've made a point of watching/reading subject matter that has women in strong, proactive roles to allow my daughters to become used to the idea that *they* can do anything. Multi- cultural & multi-racial casting allows children of all races & cultures to see themselves being represented. It also allows those who have never met people of those races or cultures to experience them-although at a remove. It can create awareness that people who look different truly aren't that different from you once you learn more about them.
I've been very heartened at the recent increase in shows that have more diverse casts & story-lines. I watch "Faking it" with my daughter on MTV &, because of story-lines on there, we've talked about gay friends, what being "Intersex" means and what it might be like growing up as an Intersex teen, the fluidity of sexuality (and that some people aren't sure as teens who they're attracted to)- & that that's OK- as well as whether the amount of drinking & sex on the show is practical- or smart at their characters' ages.
A show that creates that much dialogue, & models acceptance & diversity, is exciting. It's a fantastic way to give a teen & their parents a starting point for essential conversations.
(Spoilers for episode "Ruby Slippers" in this paragraph) I mention this because- although it's nice that OUAT tried to be "inclusive"- they did not do what they said they would do in this episode. They did not treat this relationship AT ALL as they've treated previous relationships on this show (and the subtext of the way this relationship was presented was just down-right disturbing.) We saw Ruby & Dorothy meet in the previous episode, & have a short conversation before going looking for Toto. In this episode they share a VERY short adventure-that probably covered all of 1-1.5 days in Storybook time- share at most 3 superficial conversations ...THAT was the extent of the "development" of Ruby & Dorothy's relationship. Compare this to the amount of time we watched Mary Margaret/Snow & David/Charming get to know each other & dance around a relationship (the whole first season, wasn't it?) Robin & Regina have also had some long term development. It's shown these characters *know* & like each other as people, before forming a romantic bond.
I could buy that, after 2-3 conversations & a short walk or two together, Ruby *might* realize she's attracted to Dorothy. (Ruby did previously have a boyfriend-wouldn't a real girl have had some thoughts about this? Wondered why she liked a girl now-other than a plot point?) (And vice versa) I could believe that a very superficial loyalty might have developed. I do NOT buy that either of them had a chance to care more for the other than attraction, interest & curiosity. They know each other well enough for a first date. (As in, the "I should ask you out, you seem nice", pre-date stage of a relationship.) However, we're told that, since Ruby's kiss woke Dorothy- they are in "True Love."
I didn't buy it when Princess Aurora fell for Prince Philip after one dance in "Sleeping Beauty", & I don't buy it here either. Neither did my daughter, who sarcastically stated, "Well, *that* was fast...I wonder if we'll ever see either one of them again?" Sadly, my guess is that we won't. Mulan could be an interesting character whose fighting skills would be very handy during group adventures...however, ever since she was "queer-coded" on this show, she's been rarely seen again. Also, the subtext in this episode is disturbing; the girl who is "part animal" is dropped into Hell by a cyclone after discovering feelings for another woman, then is immediately chased & attacked by her friends (& *nearly killed* by the "Saviour", whose killing blow is stayed when her mother, Snow, recognize that their "Monster" is Ruby.) ...and "True Love's Kiss" between these two women, somehow turns into making-out as an odd spectator event with a large group of Munchkins looking on with interest.
I'm glad that the equality and diversity matter enough for shows to *say* they're doing it. I hope the next step is actually doing what they say- having real story lines where a character's sexuality is incidental to the rest of their personality/journey.