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My take on Vicious...,
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This review is from: Vicious - Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
I've watched the current 4 episodes that have been aired of Vicious, and I thought they were brilliant. However, I've noticed that many people have mixed feelings and there are several things that people haven't been happy with. Of course, this is all just my opinion...
The most prominent upset was about the joke whereby Violet thinks Ash is going to come out of the bathroom and rape her. I'll admit, I was a little shocked by the joke too. But people seem to have jumped to the conclusion that because Violet isn't "attractive", that is the reason why Freddie assures her "no-one wants to rape you". I disagree. I think it's more that Freddie doesn't immediately assume Ash to be capable of rape just because he is a young man. Violet is the one to jump to this conclusion, and I think Freddie's reassurance is more angled towards the fact that he doesn't immediately assume because Ash is male, he's going to run out of the bathroom and rape the first woman he sees.
Yes, the rape joke was a bit startling, and I understand completely where some people are coming from in their analysis of the joke, but that's my take on it. I wouldn't disregard the show as a good programme just because of it.
The second thing I noticed was people being angry that they sometimes refer to each other as "she". Now, I can understand why this irritates some people. The stereotype of women's behaviour when presented by men leading to them being given female pronouns is something that can be considered offensive. However, I know gay men who refer to themselves with female pronouns on occasion. So, to each their own on that front I guess. You have to remember, they're portraying two gay men, who probably would categorise certain behaviour as particularly feminine and thus refer to each other as "she". For example, when Stuart is upset by Freddie's harsh words and gives him the silent treatment. Also when Freddie feels threatened by Ash's success and acts in a more loving manner. They refer to each other as "she" because they are each acting in decidedly feminine ways according to them. And as a woman even I can admit, they're fairly accurate. I don't know any guys who use the silent treatment. But again, to each their own.
The other offence people are taking is that the characters are very stereotypically gay. I agree wholeheartedly. Despite this, I think Stuart and Freddie are awesome characters. Freddie is a bit eccentric and talks with his hands a lot. This could be seen as a result of him being a gay man, or alternatively because he's an actor who has worked in theatre. Maybe he just talks with his hands. Stuart fits the stereotype a little more. His voice is occasionally high pitched and he does a lot of the stereotypical "gay" hand gestures.
But some gay men ARE like Stuart and Freddie.
I think the fact that the programme portrays two gay men as the protagonists, with the focus not primarily being on the fact that they're gay but two men who've been in a relationship for a long time should trump the fact that yes, they're a little flamboyant.
But surely having a programme about two gay men who have been in a long term relationship and none of the typical "dead, evil, or unfaithful" characteristics have appeared, this should surely be deemed a success by the LGBT community?
So many gay couples on TV don't have a chance to develop their relationship because one of them dies, or turns evil, or cheats on the other. This programme shows a faithful old couple, whose only negative trait is that they take the piss out of each other. But the love between them is evident. Vicious is showing us what an old gay couple can be like.
It's hard to create gay characters that fit everyone's ideal since all gay people are different. So yes, this show has fallen into the stereotype a little, but that's better than nothing, right? And I don't think the two actors Sir Ian McKellen & Sir Derek Jacobi would play the roles of Freddie and Stuart if they felt they were damaging to the LGBT community.
I think the show is awesome: it shows two men who've been together for a long time, acting like a relatively normal old couple. Obviously, certain things are exaggerated for entertainment, but if they weren't it wouldn't be interesting. But it presents us with the norms associated with a couple who have been together for a long time. I know my grandparents are similar.
And I think THAT is the focus. The normalcy of an old couple. Not the fact that they're a bit stereotypical.
If anything, I think this show is giving us something we've not seen before.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 12 Jun 2013 01:07:06 BDT
I completely agree with you and I find the series very funny, 2 things however trouble me about it. When does teasing in a relationship become verbal abuse and this relationship for me, come dangerously close to the latter, it's called 'vicious' so I'm not surprised, although I do wonder if they are great role models or media standards of 'look gay relationships do work' they certainly do love each other, I think it's easy to forget that the way they speak to each other. My other point is a lot more clear to me, if VIOLET was an older man, incessantly coming onto a younger women and forcing himself on her, most people wouldn't find it funny and would class it as sexual harassment, I don't think it's any different here, which shows as a society we still have double standards. Apart from these points, it's generally a cracking comedy with some great one liners
In reply to an earlier post on 12 Jun 2013 07:51:47 BDT
Hello, I think you raise some very good points. However, the viciousness between them doesn't amount to verbal abuse. You can see that they both know they don't mean it, apart from the few times Stuart gets upset but that's always resolved. I don't think they're trying to be role models, they're just showing two men who have been together for a long time, and they just happen to be men. I can't really expand on your first point since you've more or less answered it yourself, but if you feel it's been left unanswered let me know and I'll try to expand!
Your second point, I completely agree with. I think Violet is fabulous, but I agree that if she were a man I wouldn't have positive feelings towards her character. I think that the show maybe WANTS to show us that we have double standards, by making us consider these things. I don't want to say too much in case you've not seen the finale, but I think if Ash were truly disturbed by Violet's behaviour, he wouldn't have gone to "dinners, pubs and stonehenge" with her and Freddie & Stuart.
Posted on 14 Jun 2013 17:02:29 BDT
Last edited by the author on 14 Jun 2013 17:03:04 BDT
Sharon Woodward says:
I caught this show because I saw Sir Ian McKellen on TV talking about it. Both my wife and I enjoyed it very much indeed, and we agree 100% with this part of Toni Wiltshire's post...
"And I don't think the two actors Sir Ian McKellen & Sir Derek Jacobi would play the roles of Freddie and Stuart if they felt they were damaging to the LGBT community."
As 1) two of Britain's most well known actors 2) gay men themselves 3) Sir Ian being one of the Gay Rights movement's strongest and most vocal supporters for most if not all of his life this is a show that would not have been made if either of them thought that it was derogatory or demeaning in any way. I think they play Freddie and Stuart brilliantly. It's good to see life from the 'other side of the fence' from time to time and I have seen enough old couples in my 50 years to know that they can be like that if either straight or gay.
It's also rather refreshing to see a heterosexual young male character, Ash, interacting with Freddie and Stuart as his friends with no hint of feeling threatened or with the overstating of 'these are my gay friends' obviousness. To him, they are his friends and that's that.
It's a great series and I hope it comes back for a second season.
In reply to an earlier post on 14 Jun 2013 17:10:59 BDT
That last point was one I hadn't thought much about, but you're very right! I think it is refreshing. I hear so many people talking about "gay" people and "gay" friends. Why can't they just be your friends?
I'm also glad you pointed out that the viciousness between couples applies to gay and straight couples. This adds to my belief that 90% of the negative reviews for Vicious are just thinly-veiled homophobia, and that if the couple were straight, everyone would think it was hilarious.
Roll on the Christmas special!
In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jun 2013 17:39:54 BDT
Thinking about it most couples and families have a difficult dynamic with each other on most sitcoms, people getting on isn't that funny and I can't off hand think of a single sitcom where people do get on. Toni I think it's a big MAYBE about the show highlighting Violets double standards, I'm not sure the show has this amount of depth to it.
In reply to an earlier post on 15 Jun 2013 18:44:48 BDT
Maybe, maybe not. That's just the justification that comes to mind. Regardless of Violet's character, I think my point about Ash's character clearly not being TOO uncomfortable still stands. He wouldn't spend as much time with the group as he does if he were really put off by her behaviour. While it's a double standard, I don't think it's portrayed as anything too serious.
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