With this week’s 9-1-1: Lone Star getting a crossover with the 9-1-1 TV series, the creative team questioned Buck’s sexuality again. I don’t know about you, but I think the 9-1-1 franchise has a queerbaiting problem.
When fans got to know that 9-1-1‘s Buck will be spending time with 9-1-1: Lone Star‘s TK Strand, of course, there was excitement in the air. Certain fans had already come up with fanfic ideas involving how talking to TK (a canon queer character) would help Buck realize that he isn’t completely straight either. While I don’t have an issue with fans thinking (or hoping) that a particular character is queer, I do have a problem with creative teams fueling such theories by throwing breadcrumbs to queerbait the audience.
9-1-1: Lone Star season 2 episode 3 had a scene where Buck offered to hang out with TK. However, TK thought Buck was hitting on him and he politely refused the offer by mentioning his boyfriend Carlos. Not only that, but the scene also had TK walk away while Buck’s unable to state TK got the wrong idea.
So, why do I have an issue with such a scene?
In my opinion, the entire interaction was unnecessary. It was just another way for the creative team to queerbait fans by not stating Buck’s sexuality. This has happened before in the franchise. 9-1-1 season 2 had a random character think that Buck and Eddie (their popular ship name being Buddie) were raising Eddie’s son as a couple. Even then Buck didn’t deny being a couple.
Coming back to his scene with TK, seeing a canon queer character think that another character is also queer is nothing but queerbait, especially when the creative team knows about the fandom’s passion behind wanting said character to be queer.
The scene between TK and Buck made me remember the interaction Stiles (Teen Wolf) had with a bisexual young woman. The young bisexual woman, Caitlin, asked Stiles if he was bisexual and instead of Stiles saying that he was straight, the scene had him be distracted and not answer.
In the 9-1-1: Lone Star crossover episode, the scene had TK walk away before Buck could tell him he was straight… basically, dangling a carrot in front of certain fans to continue wondering about Buck’s sexuality.
Is saying, “Nah! I’m straight, bro. But you do you!” really that tough? As far as I know, actual straight men are very quick to state their sexual preference when they think someone queer might be getting the wrong vibes from them.
Co-creator Tim Minear did an interview with The Wrap to explain his logic behind having such a scene. It was because he wanted to take a moment to mention TK’s relationship with Carlos.
However, again, in my opinion, if the creative team wanted to mention Carlos, they could have decided to take a non-queerbait route, one that didn’t put Buck’s sexuality in question (again!).
If you ask me, there was another instance where Carlos could have been mentioned. After TK learns about his father being in danger, he’s shown talking to someone (I would assume it’s Carlos because TK says “I love you, too”) on the phone before Buck shows up to accompany TK on a mission to rescue his father and Hen.
That scene would have served as a better moment for TK to mention Carlos.
But, nopes. Queerbaiting shows have to continue queerbaiting.
Even Rafael Silva, who plays Carlos, tweeted about Tarlos being endgame and that Tuck (the weird ship name for TK and Buck) being nothing.
Why is questioning Buck’s sexuality a thing in the 9-1-1 franchise? Why is the narrative continuing to queerbait certain fans by making them hope that Buck ‘might’ end up coming out as queer one day?
I expect better from a GLAAD-nominated creative team.
Feel free to share your thoughts with us.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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