So, the other day Netflix released their trailer for the new and upcoming adult-animation-show Q-FORCE, and I’m confused. I look at it and wanted to share my thoughts here, but if you don’t know about it, it’s a show about a spy force that is queer… Like all the agents are part of the LGBTQIA+ community and I feel like this is weird. It will come out on September 2nd and I’m most likely not gonna watch it for a bunch of reasons. If you wanna see it for yourself, take a look at the trailer right here and more importantly, look at that like to dislike ratio: 4.8K likes to 27K dislikes. It hasn’t been well-received and there are a bunch of reasons for that.
Now, when it comes to Adult Animation it’s always a bit tricky. South Park, American Dad, Family Guy, Archer, Drawn Together, and the list goes on. A lot of shows have mature topics in them and feature a lot of stereotypes, which is fine because it’s meant to be satire. It’s meant to provoke. You hate it or you love it. Admittedly, I haven’t seen much of all of those shows but I’m a huge fan of BoJack Horseman and I know that it’s very hit or miss. While I love the show and its themes, others hate it because it’s super depressing, and I’d lie if I said that it didn’t affect me at times.
Q-FORCE tries to get into the niche with a queer cast of writers and voice actors that… I don’t know. They created something offensive. They have a lot of bad stereotypes and depictions that don’t seem to be pro-LGBTQIA+ but I don’t know if straight people or anti-LGBTQIA+ people would like the show either.
Who is this show for?
The trailer starts off by having one person greet another, saying “Hey, Twink”. Already, the stage is set for people to get offended, triggered and potentially hurt. Lines like “Don’t get me hard right now” or “My little butthole went ‘Boop'” don’t make the matters worse. It’s cringy and nobody’s like that. Stereotypes are fine when it’s a few of them and I guess there is some form of truth to them… at least they come from somewhere but it’s about how you handle them and how often you use them and the trailer makes the show look bad,… really bad. It’s like Satire but very committed satire. It’s kind of like that whole thing with #allesdichtmachen where the actors were trying to have a message but they didn’t really. It was about mocking conspiracy theorists but it also played into their hands. It was about criticising the government and media but it failed at doing so. It was cynical at best and not sarcastic or satirical. It was a failed attempt for sure and Netflix’ show here is basically just that.
How did this get approved?
It’s Pride Month and Netflix says “never hide who you are, unless you’re undercover” and I have a huge problem with that. Sure, I get what they’re trying to reach with this slogan… but if you’re not safe in your environment, then hide who you are. You don’t have to come out unless you want to and nobody should tell you to. My parents are homophobes, so I’m not gonna tell them that I also like men. I mean, I even had an issue with some dev when he found out that I’m queer. Stay true to yourself, sure, and you’ve been born this way, so it’s fine to be different, but don’t come out if you’re not safe where you are and be careful about it until you can truly be who you are aka when you move or when you have a good “Plan B” if things go south. Sure, it’s 2021 but there’s still plenty of countries (sadly, mostly Muslim countries) where you can get arrested or killed for being gay.
And lines like “Hey, Twink” or “That’s my job-daddy” just re-enforce stereotypes that are bad… really bad. There were people in drag in the trailer and people that act very “quirky” and “fabulous” and it doesn’t help the community. It makes things worse.
Should I laugh or cry at this?
I mean, in the end, we can laugh about the stereotypes and think about it as satire. Really bad satire. We can laugh about how bad the show is. We can laugh about how stupid people think that queer people really are this flamboyant and how every queer person is portrayed that way. There’s probably going to be a fair share of stereotypes like “bisexuals are unfaithful” in the show itself, now that I think about it… And Pride Parades are kinky… and every queer person is kinky. And asexuals can’t feel anything or can’t have sex or don’t know how to love. All of the stuff that isn’t true is probably gonna show up in the show and is probably gonna hurt more people than it makes people laugh. “All the gays are the same” or whatever. It sucks. It’s bad. It’s harmful.
The show is harmful in a way and many people feel attacked by this. Netflix tried to pander to someone here but I don’t know who they’re trying to pander to. “You can’t pander to the gays, they can smell it” as the show says itself. Well, they’re trying to, I guess? But they’re failing… or are they pandering to homophobes and other bigots? They wouldn’t watch this, would they?
My main issue is that if this was the B-FORCE with only black people that would act on stereotypes, people would obviously hate it and Netflix would have to make a statement but there’s no statement yet from their side. The A-FORCE about Asians or AAPI characters that all know kung-fu and that eat “strange food” or whatever would also not be received well. The Q-FORCE was written by a gay man and it features a gay cast so it surely isn’t meant to be homophobic… but it certainly feels like a big f-slur in the community’s face. It’s unintentional homophobia? Is that a thing? It feels weird and bad… really bad.
But in the end, time will tell. Maybe the show will be good actually, who knows? Right now it just looks incredibly awful and anti-queer. What are your thoughts on it? Should this idea have stayed an idea? Is this art? Is this satire? Who does this pander to? Let me know!