Opinion: At first, I didn’t want to watch ‘The Last of Us’

Editor’s Note: Hope Allison is a writer whose work has been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, Slate, and elsewhere. The views expressed here are her own. Read more comments on CNN.


This op-ed contains spoilers for “The Last of Us.”

I’m a lesbian, so it’s not every day that I have to greet two burly, middle-aged men.

I first noticed “The Last of Us,” the post-apocalyptic HBO show based on the PlayStation video game of the same name, when my eerie social feeds lit up about an unexpected episode. in which a gay couple stands out. (CNN shares a parent company with HBO.)

Hope Allison

Nothing in Description of the game or the show – a “ravaged civilization where infected and hardened survivors run rampant” – that sounds appealing to me. However, as a professional consumer of LGBTQ media, I felt the need to watch.

I endured the first two nail-biting episodes, but were extremely shallow, full of gore, guns, and no humanity. Then, in the third episode, the sun comes out.

As many of you may already know, Bill, played by Nick Offerman, is a self-described survivor who has managed to escape the forced evacuations of his town, looking for a solitary life that feels more normal – one of good wine and a backup generator – while the rest of the world turns into mushroom zombies or regime refugees dictatorship, militarism. Then he meets Frank, played by Murray Bartlett, who has actually fallen into Bill’s trap, a hole dug around the perimeter of the property to keep everyone – and everything – out.

The two fall in love and a decade-and-a-half romance begins, the only onscreen courtesy seen in a wandering and falling society. Their story and the episode ends when Frank chooses to swallow a bottle of crushed pills in his pocket. Beaujolais than fighting a degenerative disease. In a real ending to “Romeo and Juliet”, Bill also takes his own life, claiming that Frank is his purpose and that he is “satisfied”. Keep the tissue box handy.

It’s easy to see how groundbreaking “The Last of Us” is when it comes to focusing on weird love in such a hugely popular mainstream show. The love story on the screen is not only two men, but two men who are no longer young and impulsive. I never would have guessed I would see such a couple celebrated outside of Provincial Bear Week. Their love affair plays out on screen in frankly more tender ways than any opposite-sex romance can be.

Furthermore, rather than – as in many other narratives – the focus (or goal) of the story’s pain, the gay couple’s plot represents the film’s only joy in a world. perished. This is happening with increasingly mainstream treatment about life and strange experiences. Amazingly, we’re also seeing the juxtaposition of unidentified LGBTQ actors into LGBTQ characters – something that even a decade ago seemed so hard to imagine. It’s the kind of description that can help promote LGBTQ acceptance and it shows up Urgent time for equality.

We know that visibility increases our acceptance of life and equal rights. Many people assume that marriage equality was passed because more and more people know someone as LGBTQ, a fact confirmed by a 2009 Gallup Poll. If you accept that about 5-10% of people are LGBTQ (the latest estimate for us is 7.1%, according to a Gallup Poll 2022, but how many people might not feel comfortable sharing, it’s fair to say the number is higher), it’s no big deal to see LGBTQ people in TV shows and movies. It’s shocking to see us represented because we haven’t been in a long time.

There have been so many pivotal moments throughout history that would have benefited from the care of the third episode of “The Last of Us” — or shows like “Heart stops beating“or remake of “She-Ra” or “Our flag means death.” At earlier times in history, many of these things may have helped save lives – throughout scared lavenderafter the assassination of Harvey Milk, at the height of the AIDS crisis, in the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” and the passage of the Protection of Marriage Act and state constitutional amendments banning same-sex unions.

Too often, even in recent times, when we’re on screen played by A-list actors with big budgets, we’re the ones being abused – like Hilary Swank in ‘Boys Don’ t Cry” — or ravaged by illness, like Jared Leto in “Dallas Buyers Club.” Or we cringe inside unable to escape like Jake Gyllenhaal in “Brokeback Mountain;” or in other words an exponential repetition of all stereotypes about gay men, as in Nathan Lane and Robin Williams in “The Birdcage”. I don’t remember seeing an LGBTQ character on a TV show when I came of age in the late 1990s – except for the occasional transgender murder victim on an episode of Law and Order. ” or Ellen DeGeneres got her contract canceled when she finally showed up. outside.

None of this makes “The Last of Us” my favorite show – I’m not switching to apocalyptic horror any time soon. But I like my choice to watch it, mainly because it would be real fiction if the display of affection between the two men was met with mere fanfare by those who love the movie, especially in the context of the hot socio-political war that we are going through. The mismatch between the love for “The Last of Us” and the reality of the red status is real. There’s a toxic faction of once-homophobic trolls drop online ratings on the show with the claim that HBO “wake up” was trying to trick ordinary people into watching gay people. I wonder if all these weird directors and screenwriters are trying to trick us gays into seeing straight people. Nerve!

Watch “The Last of Us” with millions of others feels like we’re finally at the real party. Or perhaps more accurately, like everyone else who were finally allowed to join our big, weird party and be allowed a glimpse, albeit fleeting, of the ways our love can be delicate and beautiful – and just as important – theirs. Perhaps even more so. After all, what straight man would sing to his wife the right wine pairingperfectly grilled vegetables and rabbit, then Linda Ronstadt’s piano performance?


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