Gypsy: Puttin' the "Why" in "Why Am I Like This?"
I watch a lot of TV. I'll be honest about that right up front. I mostly use it as background noise when I write because sometimes music is too distracting. I also will watch anything for LGBT representation. And I mean literally A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G. The only time in my life I have ever wanted to be straight is when it's 3 am and I'm watching some horrendous show that I only started watching because there were lesbians in it. Why, you ask? Because straight people get to see themselves in every single storyline. Say, you're a straight person and you wanna go into a medical career. Great. Please enjoy Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, E.R., House, Scrubs, Nurse Jackie, General Hospital.
What's that? A little too squeamish for medical shows? Here's a great list of sitcoms just about straight people livin' life: How I Met Your Mother, 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, The Office, Friends, Seinfeld, Fraiser, The Big Bang Theory, Full House, Black-ish, Arrested Development, and I could keep listing them off, but I truly think the world would end before I listed every sitcom.
And it goes on for anything you want. Space? Star Trek. Forensic anthropology (which who knew even existed)? Bones. Law and order? Law & Order. Everything you could possibly want.
Oh, are you a lesbian? Please enjoy The 100, a dystopian show with lesbians where one of them dies just after finally getting to have sex with the girl she likes. Oh, not your speed? What about being the heir to the Wyatt Earp family legacy where you have to kill the demon reincarnations of the people Wyatt killed? A little niche, but, hey, at least the lesbian remembered the bulletproof vest in this one.
There's nothing wrong with Wynonna Earp and it is a campy good time, but there's a lot wrong with The 100 and today is not the day for me to deal with that. For some reason, LGBT representation usually exists in more sci-fi shows. If you've learned anything from this blog, it's that I am not a sci-fi person. I am a 90210, The O.C., Gossip Girl type of person. Give me broody attractive people with an early 2000s soundtrack every day of my life. That's my ideal television show, but my ideal television show apparently doesn't have a place for LGBT characters. (Except Jane the Virgin. Guys, who let me live for this long without watching it?! It's truly a gift from the heavens.)
Here's the thing; I am capable of liking shows where an LGBT person isn't the lead. Like I will love Parks and Recreation until the end of time and Leslie Knope is one of the best television characters ever, but in all seven seasons of this show, there was one lesbian character. It was Leslie's campaign manager and we only know that because she had one throwaway line about it. We also had April's boyfriends and the people at The Bulge, but nobody who had a truly substantial storyline.
And that's the thing, all the shows I watched because there was LGBT representation, I watched for precisely that reason; because there was LGBT Representation. Not because I was genuinely excited about the show itself, but because I so desperately want to see versions of myself in pop culture that I will watch anything. The only exceptions to this are Schitt's Creek and Supergirl whose LGBT representation I found out after I was already invested. BUT they are not the standard. They are the exceptions.
Is this me just judging myself and my life for watching shows I don't even like because I can't find a tv show about lesbians in my genre of choice? You bet it is.
Which is how I found myself watching Gypsy.
Let's all be honest right now, Gypsy isn't a great show. Also, I will admit, prior to watching this show, I had no idea what Naomi Watts actually looked like. So, if nothing else, at least the show has brought me that.
The show isn't bad because there's an anti-hero lead character. That's fine. We've been watching unlikeable men for ages (see: Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Ted Moseby). I quite like when women are given depth in their characters and aren't just cookie cutter stereotypes. Jessica Jones, Sophia Amoruso (it is a CRIME Girl Boss got canceled after one season), Ruth Wilder. These are all examples of recent women that are multi-dimensional anti-heroes that I really like.
Here's the thing; Gypsy is just bad. Like, Naomi Watts' character is all secretive and she's got all these skeletons in her closet and she is the absolute WORST therapist I've ever seen, but all of that is fine...if they actually built it up to anything. By the end of the series, you haven't really gotten any answers to any of your questions about her past. What it all boils down to is Naomi Watts being afraid of commitment and really just wanting to bang ladies. It's lazy storytelling and the equivalent of watching a whole horror movie and then at the end they're just like well shit it was the aliens. (I'm looking at you 10 Cloverfield Lane, starring the criminally underrated Mary Elizabeth Winstead. See my other blog post about my love for her.)
But there I was, watching the episodes tick by all because there were lesbians. And, yes, part of the reason I watched it was because of Lucy Boynton who I really liked in Sing Street and The Blackcoat's Daughter, but she was so wildly underutilized. Speaking of not being utilized enough, the little girl was probably the highlight of the show. Give me a coming of age sitcom of little Dolly, not ten hours of Naomi Watts trying to bang a girl half her age while traipsing around trying to play God in all of her patients' lives. Also, where was the critique about Naomi Watts clearly not living her true life while her middle school daughter is out there kissin' girls and wearin' snapbacks? Where was the juxtaposition of those two storylines?!
The show could've redeemed itself if I was given a reason to care about Naomi Watts. They're called anti-heroes for a reason. The characters might be shitty, but there's something under that complex exterior that makes you want to root from them. Like Ruth in GLOW. We see her try and fail to become an actress and anyone that's trying to do something creative with their life instantly latches onto that feeling of wanting something so badly, but being shot down time and again. (Hi, have I mentioned I wrote a book. Plz make my dreams come true.)
So, there's something in Ruth that we like and understand even though she's kind of a mess. With Jessica Jones, she's all sharp edges, but she would probably literally die for her best friend, Trish Walker. That's the hero aspect of the anti-hero. You're not always going to support their actions, but there's something about them that makes them worthwhile of that 'hero' title.
There is nothing redeemable about Naomi Watts. She doesn't have a shitty home life that she needs to escape from. She actually has a husband that gives a damn about her. And yeah, maybe he's a little too flirtatious with his assistant who clearly has a crush on him, but he never crosses that line. Naomi Watts absolutely bulldozed that line with so little regard to him. She's just out there bangin' a barista in the apartment she couldn't bear to give up when she got married while her husband is at least being loyal. Also, why is Billy Crudup not insanely popular? Like, homeboy is a good actor.
An anti-hero without the hero is just a wildly unlikeable person and you don't want to spend ten hours of your life with someone you don't like. But that's what I did because I am desperate for lesbian representation. Please, somebody just give me the all queer remake of Beverly Hills, 90210 that I DESERVE so that I can finally be at PEACE.