I know the title sucks some, but it was the best I could come up with to describe this head scratching little phenomenon. What I am talking about here is. Why when a show has gay characters or same sex relationships in it do we see so little slash centered on it?
We have all, maybe, wondered about this at one time or another. I have even heard it mentioned in posts on mailing lists several times. No one was ever able to come up with an answer for it, however. Well, I've been pondering it a little from time to time and have come up with a few possible reasons. They are simply my own little 'hmm, maybe that's it' ponderances, by no means all the reasons. There are so many reasons why we read and write slash, there must be plenty of reasons we don't slash some characters. These are a couple of possible reasons that popped into my head.
The first thing that popped into my head was the constraints of canon. Take the new Showtime version of Queer as Folk. The whole show is centered around gay characters and relationships. I have seen all the eps and trust me this is the most graphic and accurate slash I have ever seen on tv. You would expect slash to be flying across the net based on the show, but there isn't. Now this could be attributed to it being on a premium channel, but Showtime airs in countries all over the world, it is bound to reach plenty of slashers. I have found 4, count them 4 stories based on this new series and one of them was a crossover, which wasn't very good at all. (The writer of the x-over totally had no grasp for the characters or what they were about. Went against who they were in fact, which made it worse.)
So I got to wondering why when a show had slash in it, there were so few stories floating around based on it. Then it hit me, the constraints of canon. When a show has characters who are gay and in relationships with "other" gay characters (don't you hate it when they wimp out and stick a gay character in a straight relationship) we are limited to what we see on screen. We are limited by who they are dating on the show and how that relationship evolves/developes over time. We are stuck in canon. If we stick them with anyone else then we could be going a little AU or maybe alot. We are stuck within the confines of how their relationship progresses on the show. If they stay together, if the break up we are stuck with it. We are at the mercy of the TPTB (The Powers That Be) and how they decide things should be done. Now if they were to wimp out and not go far enough, we'd have something to work with. If they go to the extremes like they are on the American OAF, then we don't have anywhere to take them that the show hasn't already. We would either be stuck doing behind the scenes shots of when the cameras stop, the POV's of what was in a characters head in a certain ep, or god forbid fixit's. There is nothing I hate worse than a fixit fic. They end up being entirely to sappy and lose characterization quickly. After all it might be out of character for the two people to get back together or for the situation to have had a different outcome.
The constraints of canon can often burn us as well. Take the immensely popular Beecher/Keller relationship from Oz. There has never been a more electric combo. Chris Meloni and Lee Tergesen have better chemistry than any other couple I've ever seen on tv. The two practically vibrated around each other on screen from the first glance. Energy literally crackled around them. Now hold onto your hats because I'm about to reveal some spoilers. The relationship was fucked up from the start, but they managed some forgiveness and worked things out. Then suddenly Keller is a serial killer, did the writers ever even hear of profiling. I'm a fucking natural profiler here and I have met several others like me out there. I can profile your average Joe in minutes, I first realized my ability when I was found myself profiling Jeffrey Dalmer (may he burn in hell forever) along with the news coverage. Keller did not fit the profile of the killer they established. He was much to secure in his own manhood and sexuality to do those things. Plus, he was fucking sane. This completely through the whole fandom for a loop, no one knew what the hell to do with the guys after that. Basically, the show wimped out and Meloni had a better deal staring on Law & Order: SVU, so they let him off the show. The damn series took a downward spiral this whole season and hasn't recovered much. The fans and especially slashers got burned. Things got majorly fucked up and we were stuck with it. The only way to work it was to go AU and pretend it didn't happen. It was fucked. You get burned once, you don't want to be again. Canon can suck sometimes. Sometimes all that is left is a fixit, trying to repair what the show's writers and producers absolutely screwed up. It can be hard to do right and I haven't seen a story out there that managed it. The best stories I've seen in the Oz B/K fandom lately are complete AU's happening in different time frames.
The second reason I thought of why we aren't slashing these characters was, it's just too easy. Or perhaps the show has done such a good job of slashing them it actually fills our slashy little desirous hearts to content.
I mean why the hell slash them, when TPTB have done it for you? I mean part of the challenge is making a slash relationship between the two characters seem believable. Finding the subtext and presenting it to state your case and then making the reader fully believe through the beauty of your prose that this is possible. That these two really are hot for one another and/or are actually in love. What's to prove if it is stated as canon? Where is the subtext, where's the mystery of are they or aren't they? Would they or wouldn't they? The only reason to slash them would be if the show frustrated us immensely with teasing and never even let the guys even kiss. I think slash is about fulfilling the possibilities we see in characters that TPTB either don't explore or are to cowardly to delve into. Fulfilling our desires to put two beautiful men together when we see an attraction there, even if it is hidden behind subtext. Letting out imaginations soar and letting our desires run free.
The stories I like the most, the pairings I like the best, are the ones where the relationship isn't easy. Admitting how they feel and that they do care about or desire each other is best to me when there is a little angst involved. I don't like their coming together to be to easy. I want to see a little evidence of want coming from the guys. Show me some proof.
What is the point when the proof is already there? When you don't have to prove to the reader how they feel, why the feel it, or that they want each other at all? When it's done for you it's just too simple. Also, where is the freedom of writing a first time story (always a fave or mine, I like to know how they came to get together, either in love or lust). Coming up with a scenario of what their first coupling or first 'I love yous' could be like. I don't like a relationship starting to be easy in a story, they so rarely are in RL, why in prose either.
In the category of slashy desires being fulfilled. I'll admit with Oz they teased the shit out of us and all we ever got was some male full frontal nudity (that I sing a praise for every time I see it, well when the guys aren't fat and ugly, that I could do without) and a few kisses here and there. I got frustrated enough that I wrote a damn story taking it further. Plus, I felt some emotional shit really needed to be addressed so I did it. Now with the new American QAF, however, my favorite relationship on there is Michael/Dr.Dave. It hasn't disappointed me yet. They've fucked things up between them a few times and had some challenges, but dammit they fixed it and conquered the challenges just as I would have written them almost exactly. So what the hell is the point of writing anything about them. I don't have any pent up slashy little desires there, no frustration here. I get to see men kissing, hugging, fondling, groping, making out, more of that happy male frontal nudity, and men fucking. Dammit they've left us nothing to write about. You can even get your fill of women getting it on if you are so inclined with the relationship between Linsey/Melanie. What is left to write about I ask you? I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth and complain. I'm going to record every damn episode and watch them happily like a good little slash slut. Thank you very much. No complaints here. If the show went any further, it would be labeled porno. I'm good with what we got and for once a show fills up my slashy little hearts desires. I'm good.
Those are the reasons I came up with about maybe why we avoid slashing the slashier relationships and characters. What do you gals (or guys) think? My theories sound like they hit a little of a mark? Got anymore ideas on the subject? I'd love to hear them. Others might too.
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