The sitcom Heroes started off with an amazing first season. Each episode was climatic leaving viewers enthralled. Since that point, it has steadily declined with only the most devoted fans continuing to follow the series. Racialicious has kept a running discussion of the shows mystical usages of bodies of color. Race is an issue that Heroes continues to flounder with.
Heroes is desperate to repeat the success of the first season and apparently has decided to give Claire the character played by Hayden Panettiere, a female love interest. Depending upon how audiences react to the sudden change from the incestuous interaction between her and Peter to this new called desire to participate in the love that dare not speak its name, Panettiere might very well find herself involved in a full fledged affair.
In most cases I would be very excited with the fact that a mainstream television employing LGBT characters within their storyline because it lends credence to the concept of all bodies being deserving of equal representation. In fact, the more TBLG characters are shown in the media interacting with heterosexual characters and leading their lives; the easier it will be for society to accept the the fact that the BLTG community are no different.
I cannot say that I hold the same sort of hopes for the latest plot twist in Heroes. It seems evident that the producers are going for the titillation factor, considering that this is an attempt to raise ratings. Heaven forbid a lesbian relationship exist on television because <gasp > women actually engage in sexual relationships for pleasure and not to be a visual fluffer for some guy who wants to get off.
Even if they somehow manage to normalize this relationship, the impetus for its creation will always render it a form of exploitation. The idea that GLBT relationships can be affirmed when it suits the needs of heterosexuals only maintains the power imbalance. Heterosexuals should not be able to decide when expression of lesbian love is appropriate, when little to no such disciplining occurs between men and women.
How often has it been said that people are fine with homosexuality unless it is being flaunted? In this one statement alone, we can decipher the degree to which certain acts immediately come under censure, not because they are morally problematic but by whom the act is performed by. Deciding to advance the storyline only if it is well received by viewers means once again the LGBT community is waiting upon the acceptance of heterosexuals.
When one considers the repeated failure of Heroes to treat its characters of color with respect, I don’t hold much hope for the addition of a gay identity being treated as anything other than a sideshow. In this instance it may be necessary to save the cheerleader to save the world from its desire to perpetuate a hierarchy of bodies.