Two rules of thumb apply to today’s woke culture.
The first is something Hollywood ignores at its own peril -- “get woke, go broke.”
The second is equally true. “You can never be woke enough…”
The latter proves true once more with a scathing IndieWire story about Netflix’s “The Haunting of Bly Manor.” The new horror series hit at the right time, delivering well received chills as Halloween approached. The show boasts an 87 percent “fresh” rating at RottenTomatoes.com and regularly appears on Netflix’s Top 10 content list.
That didn’t satisfy IndieWire, a Hollywood site as woke as its competitors. Maybe moreso.
Consider the site’s brutal think piece on the film’s lesbian storyline published earlier this week. The series, from horror maestro Mike Flanagan (“Doctor Sleep,” “Oculus”), continues the Netflix franchise which began with “The Haunting of Hill House.”
The gothic romance features a significant gay relationship, one that ties inextricably into the story’s finale. To say more would enter spoiler terrain, which is precisely what IndieWire does (along with the appropriate warnings).
The site moans that the lesbian love story isn’t fresh enough. Even worse? One of the actresses in “Bly Manor,” Katie Siegel of “Hush” fame, is not a lesbian in real life and celebrates the production’s creative spirit. That gives the IndieWire scribe an excuse to recall Scarlett Johansson’s “infamous” line that actors should be able to, you know, act.
That’s a paraphrase reminding us how the industry, and media, savaged Johansson for sharing a simple truth. And it helps explain her furious, insincere backpedal.
Scarlett Johansson clarifies recent Rub & Tug remarks were ‘widely taken out of context’ https://t.co/BXVi6fsbTG
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) July 14, 2019
Here’s a sample of IndieWire’s ire against “Bly Manor”:
This kind of self-congratulatory approach to inclusive storytelling — all too rampant in Hollywood — never works; it assumes one can simply write a queer or non-white character without doing any of the work to contextualize them or flesh out their differences. What remains is a hollow nod at “diversity” that leaves its characters floating weightlessly in an otherwise straight white universe. It’s hard to make an impact without being grounded in anything.
Feel free to read IndieWire’s tirade against the show in toto. What’s more noteworthy is the reader response. Remember, this is a liberal movie news site with, presumably, a large liberal reading base.
And they are furious.
The reactions to the article proved nearly unanimous. What was IndieWire thinking?
Really? Are you f***ing serious? They f***ing changed the original love story to be more inclusive and you have the nerve to write this s***ty article. I guess you’re the type of person who has a problem to every solution.
Hi, gay here. You realize we’re just normal people too right we aren’t all in a box of easily identifiable flaming rainbows proclaiming our sexuality in every conversation. We’re just people and it’s refreshing to see characters like these who just exist first and foremost without using every single context of their conversations to explain to the viewer that they’re indeed gay. I’m honestly very annoyed that there’s still people like you that expect every gay character to be a caricature of flamboyance and bombastically queer so straight viewers can comfortably identify them. Wouldn’t want us looking and acting too much like the straights otherwise they might realize we exist without their knowledge in their circles and families and work places right.
“Add more queer representation! No not like that!” As a queer person I am tired of pristine queer representation. We are human beings too with flaws and demons. Jamie had to face hers and was the “hero” of the story.
I’m gay and I don’t appreciate being treated like some kind of precious diamond that must live through a horror story. It’s a horror story, get it right.
This article is ridiculous! The love stories brought me to tears. Such a wonderful show. With diversity to boot! Some people will always find something to gripe about and I’m betting the author of this article is one of them. Oh, btw I’m queer, because I’m sure that matters to the author. Maybe you should find another career…
Imagine watching an entire show and COMPLETELY missing the point as much as this. Wild. This is a straight-up garbage take and I wish I could un-read this atrocity.
The most myopic take I’ve read on this amazing series. It’s so bad even the writer doesn’t seem convinced of what he’s saying