Gay-inclusion in another holiday movie? But are we happy to see it?
While we may be getting gay-themed holiday films from Hulu and Lifetime, there is also a holiday-themed, romantic comedy that will have a gay couple and a drag queen. Only this time, they’ll be the typical side characters. Should we count this as a victory?
More specifically, Netflix recently dropped the trailer for its upcoming series Dash & Lily. The Netflix series is based on the young adult novel Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by respected YA authors Rachel Cohn and David Leviathan. The story follows New Yorkers Dash (played by Austin Abrams) and Lily (Midori Frances) as they share notes to each other through a red notebook.
The 8-episode series’ official description reads, “A whirlwind holiday romance builds as cynical Dash and optimistic Lily trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations all across New York City, finding they have more in common with each other than they would have expected.”
But here’s the problem. These roles not only seem like more of the same, but they’re more of the same tired movie archetypes: the magical/all-knowing gays. In addition to the main couple, the trailer reveals that Lily’s brother Langston (Troy Iwata) is openly gay and dating. It also shouldn’t be missed that the trailer shows Dash has a Black best friend named Boomer (Dante Brown) who does the supporting for that half of the main couple. So Lily gets the supportive gay friend while Dash gets the supportive Black friend? How many times do we have to see this set up?
Don’t get me wrong, part of me is happy to see LGBTQ and Black inclusion within a holiday film. BUT if it’s just the supportive/all-knowing friend role, is it really anything the representation we want or deserve?
Perhaps I’m jumping the gun with this judgement. We’ll have to see if Dash & Lily can deliver inclusion AND interesting characters when it premieres on Netflix on November 10. Or, perhaps it’ll be just another nice but bland Netflix holiday project.