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I know the growth of the slashiness in S3 has been remarked upon before... [May. 23rd, 2005|09:43 am]
Starsky & Hutch Fans
starsky_hutch
[ex_iocaste2]
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....but it really is fascinating to me how explicit it becomes.

What just struck me is how in earlier seasons, girlfriends - even serious ones like Gillian and Terri - were not portrayed as "competition." That is, the guys could date, even date seriously, without the other partner feeling threatened.

Compare that to I Love You, Rosey Malone and A Body Worth Guarding. In each of those episodes, you have prominent moments where the fact that one partner is in a relationship means that the other partner is left out in the cold. In Rosey Malone, that moment comes when Hutch asks Starsky to join him for lunch, and is clearly deflated when Starsky refuses the invitation in favor of spending time with Rosey. In Body Worth Guarding, Starsky seems pretty hurt throughout the entire episode, but his competition with Anna for Hutch's attention becomes very clear when Huggy remarks on the fact that Starsky seems incomplete without Hutch, leading Starsky to remark that Hutch is spending time with a woman instead of with his partner.

Anyway, it's just so interesting how the show seems to have made a real, deliberate choice to change the tenor of the relationship here.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: ginalin
2005-05-23 02:16 pm (UTC)
I guess you could look at it two ways. The slashy way, where something has changed dramatically in their own personal relationship that's making them jealous of the time spent with other people(women), because as you point out, now all their personal relationships with women are divisive and problematical. Or unimportant. The casual short term ones seem to work, because they don't interfere too much. Easy come, easy go.

Since I'm pretty sure that the original writers didn't intend for the characters to be romantically interested in each other, I think they were trying to show how difficult it is for someone with this job to have a personal life, and that they'd often have to choose between it and the partnership and the job.
It is interesting how that ended up looking like they were jealous of each other's relationships in a sexual way. Maybe because possessiveness and jealousy looks the same no matter what it's about.

There's also no getting around the fact that when you couple up, other relationships become somewhat secondary most of the time. If you have a very intense same-sex friendship, it's very rare for it not to suffer. I've seen that happen with male and female frienships and the person left out can feel very rejected, jealous and bitter about the marriage, even if they're happy for the other person on some level. Emotionally, it is being dumped for someone else, there's no other way to look at it, even if there's no sexual jealousy involved.

I'd think that a relationship with a woman simply wouldn't work unless she was completely accepting of the idea that the partnership was equally important and had to have equal time. The partner would have to literally become part of their family too.
The only person either one of them had a relationship with where that was really evident was the Terry/Starsky relationship. She WANTED Hutch to be with them all the time, and obviously loved him(albeit in a different fashion) and it was reciprocated.

After that the women were distractions and caused problems with the partnership, even became a point of contention to the point of breaking up the partnership by "Starsky Vs. Hutch".
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From: ex_iocaste2
2005-05-23 02:44 pm (UTC)
Since I'm pretty sure that the original writers didn't intend for the characters to be romantically interested in each other, I think they were trying to show how difficult it is for someone with this job to have a personal life, and that they'd often have to choose between it and the partnership and the job.

I don't know that I agree that the writers so definitely didn't intend any subtext. I mean, the contemporaneous media coverage had plenty of speculation about the nature of their relationship, and quite frankly, I find it literally impossible to understand Starsky v. Hutch unless you assume sexual jealousy between the partners -- it makes absolutely no sense otherwise. So I don't think the writers really intended that everyone believe they were secretly shtupping, but I think the writers _did_ understand that there was some ambiguity coming through, and may very well have molded the writing to match.
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[User Picture]From: ginalin
2005-05-23 03:13 pm (UTC)
I think the ACTORS acknowledged some ambiguity(in a humorous or playful way, for the most part), because they were getting hit with it in the press. I think they were cool with it, even found it funny, but TPTB couldn't afford to be.

I think sometimes the writers may have played with us too, although when the two leads have a lot of imput into their own series, it's hard to say where most of it was coming from. But, writers do know how to keep us intrigued by using things that titilate our curiousity, and in entertainment, this is actually a common one, probably used more than some viewers would like to think. Homoerotic subtext is fun to play with, no doubt about it.

If you watch interviews with the producers, directors, TPTB, their public stance was "We don't know where people are getting this, no, no, they're two normal healthy guys who like girls!"(the "healthy, normal" part was their words, not mine, BTW)

I mean, in the late 70s, what other public statement could they make? If they admitted homoerotic ambiguity, they'd have had some serious sponsor/audience problems, to say the least.

However, I think homoerotic subtext is so incorporated into the buddy scenario, you can't avoid it, it's part of it, and most men have had to deal with it at some point, it's familiar territory.
It's been played around with through the whole history of this genre in movies and TV and literature, whether humorously or seriously. I mean, the buddy scenario plays exactly like a romance, the only step missing is the sex scene, and of course, even with m/f screen romance, many times we cut to the fireplace and are left to use our imagination. Why should it be a surprise when some do that when viewing m/m plotlines too? We've been set up by years of watching romantic plot formula to do just that.



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From: paristrudy
2005-05-23 06:35 pm (UTC)
If you watch interviews with the producers, directors, TPTB, their public stance was "We don't know where people are getting this, no, no, they're two normal healthy guys who like girls!"(the "healthy, normal" part was their words, not mine, BTW)
I mean, in the late 70s, what other public statement could they make? If they admitted homoerotic ambiguity, they'd have had some serious sponsor/audience problems, to say the least.



I remember one of the producers making that "normal healthy guys who like girls" statement in an interview given pretty recently...not in the 70s...and thinking 1) normal and healthy means heterosexual?...which led me to think 2)this guy thinks that normal and healthy means heterosexual. And because he seems to think that way, a discussion with this guy about whether or not Starsky and Hutch could be "gay" is really pointless. He'd refuse to acknowledge the possibility since he doesn't seem to think it's "normal" or "healthy".

That certainly doesn't mean that people who wrote the scripts didn't play up to that POV once the media began to wonder about S&H's relationship. I would love to hear one of the actors actually say that once they were aware of how some of the media and public felt re: the character's sexual orientation they played into to it to provoke the audience or tease the audience or play with the audience. Why wouldn't they?

As for season 3, the ep that really makes me see a slash relationship in the offing is The Heavyweight. Hutch really seems to be annoyed with Starsky's girlfriend. He is constantly rolling his eyes at her comments, and he seems to take pleasure in keeping Starsky away from her. When she finally tells Starsky she has gone back to her fiance, Hutch is unabashedly amused by the news. What is that all about? His friend's been dumped. Shouldn't he pretend to be moderately sorry about that? Either you conclude that Hutch is a complete jerk (which I sometimes think) or you have to ask why is he so happy? What's it to him?

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[User Picture]From: ginalin
2005-05-23 08:04 pm (UTC)
I thought so too. The tag of The Heavyweight is one of the slashiest in the series, in my opinion.

Hutch is so jealous of the time and attention Airhead Sharon is getting, it's pathetic. And the pouring the cold beer in Hutch's lap is something I've only seen mean to "cool off" sexually speaking.

Remember, the tags were often stuff that was ad-libbed, so they maybe it was the actors teasing us, not so much the writers.
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From: ex_iocaste2
2005-05-23 08:21 pm (UTC)
That's a good point about the beer -- in the grammar of film, the trope of pouring cold liquid into someone's lap usually is a symbol of telling someone to cool off sexually.

I still think it could just as easily have been a writer's choice, though. I mean, once the publicity started, that meant the writers would have to have been aware of the implications of what they were writing, if they weren't before. And there was certainly enough sexual joshing on the set to make it clear. I don't necessarily take it seriously that anyone might have denied it publicly; they'd have to have done so. And, of course, there were several writers and directors - different ones might have had different views.
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[User Picture]From: ginalin
2005-05-23 08:41 pm (UTC)
I do know that some writers who were gay or sympathetic to gay characters would often inject a little homoerotic subtext into a character or a scene. Just enough to tell those in the audience who were looking for it that this is what you think it is, but not enough to freak out the censors or Mr. and Mrs. Suburbia.

A movie that did that quite effectively was Ben Hur. Heston was apparently oblivious that in the novelization, Hur and Masala were lovers, because that happened all the time in Roman society, bisexuality in particular was considered the norm.
But, the director refrained from letting Heston in on that fact, because he knew him well enough to know Heston might walk away from the part because he was as uptight as a conservative then as he is now, apparently. But, they did tell Stephen Boyd, who had no problemo with homoerotically subtexting all over the damn place about it. He was told that Hur and Masala were lovers in the past and to react accordingly in their scenes together.
There's a scene where they entwine arms like lovers do and drink out of each other's cups of wine and Boyd is looking adoringly into Heston's eyes and Heston is Mr. Oblivious. I guess they told Heston it was an old Roman custom. Too Funny!

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From: ex_iocaste2
2005-05-23 08:50 pm (UTC)
I love The Celluloid Closet too :-)
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[User Picture]From: lamardeuse
2005-05-23 08:40 pm (UTC)
Yes, agree it was the actors who I think had the most input into changing the nature of the relationship by the way they played scenes. There's just no reason for PMG to play the morning-after scene in the hotel room in "A Body Worth Guarding" the way he does - there's a bit of mano-a-mano teasing, but that's tinged with this undercurrent of utter sadness that just rips my heart. He should be happy his buddy had a great night with a beautiful woman, and instead he seems quietly broken. It's hard to read it any other way, or to imagine the director or writers told him to play it that way.
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[User Picture]From: kimberlyfdr
2005-05-23 04:20 pm (UTC)

Changing Times

I definitely see a change in their relationship as we move from season to season. For me, I think it has to do with the slow realization that there is more to this than just friendship and they're left to deal with what it all means. Plus, with Gillian and Terry, the need to feel threatened wasn't there because both acknowledged the depth of the partner in the entire overview. Other one-shots weren't a threat because they were just that, one-shots, but then you're moving more towards what if the partner finds a forever girl and what will that mean in the long run and yes, I think some jealousy and competitiveness came out as the seasons progressed. I love the development and changes in their relationship through the series because it does seem to make them more human, showing how the pressures of both personal and professional work constantly beating down on them causes rifts and tears in their lives.
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