QAF 513: They came for the Queer, they stayed for the Folk

Well, folks, it's all over. I managed to get through the "Saying Goodbye" special and the final episode without crying, though I must admit I came pretty damn close a couple of times. And while I'm still disappointed at the lack of Kinney-Taylor nuptuals, I've got to admit, I don't think they could have given us a better series finale. So, let's wrap up our show by taking a look at our guys (and girls!) one at a time. We'll start with my favorite:


Ted: From a boring accountant to a porn king to a crystal queen to a singing waiter to...an accountant; seems like Ted has come full circle. But really, this Ted it drastically different than when we first met him. He's confident, self-assured, poised, fuck--guys think he's hot! I was seriously concerned last episode when we met Creepy Tad (who turned out to be Borderline Personality Disorder Tad), but all was put right last night. I told Jen once that my ideal ending for Ted would go something like this: Ted is walking down Liberty Avenue, ther are people all around, and from within the crown a familiar face appears--Blake. He catches Ted's eye, they smile at each other, and the audience is left with the tacit understanding that this time, their timing is just right. Well, QAF gave me an even better ending--Ted and Emmett run into Blake, and not only does the audience realize these two belong together, but Emmett does, too. He gives them his blessing, and I barely blink back the tears.

Emmett: So maybe Drew didn't have his 21st birthday, but I think Emmett is going to be okay. You know, it occurs to me that Emmett is the only character that hasn't undergone a major transformation. While he's dealt with some pretty serious shit (See the Light, George's death, Ted's addiction), he's always bounced back, flame as bright as ever. To me, Emmett has always represented resilience and pride--he might be the swishiest of the bunch, but he's also proven time and again he's got bigger balls than most. So, while he's not exactly paired off at the end (unless his former high school crush, Calvin Culpepper, counts), you know he's going to be okay.

Lindsay and Melanie

Melanie & Lindsay: I know I said one at a time, but you can't really talk about one without the other, right? I have to admit, I've never been a huge fan of these two. I don't know if it is the actors (who lack the chemistry to make me believe they are actually a couple) or the fact that they were so obviously tacked on (the British series had no Mel/Linds counterparts), but I just ever latched on to their storylines. But, I'm glad they are back together, if only because their personalities when apart are so grating! The move to Canada makes me jealous because I wish I could just pack up and go to Toronto. But, Brian loves his Lindsay so I guess that means I must as well, so it was a good ending for the lesbians--together, with the kids, off to start a new life. Good for them!

The Novotny-Bruckners

Michael/Ben/Hunter: Wow, an entire episode where I actually liked Michael! I've always liked Ben, though, even when he was Steroid Mary, so any ending where he gets a loving husband and son (they're going to adopt Hunter, yay!) is good in my book. I read that originally the show was supposed to center around Michael, but when test audiences responded strongest to Brian, the focus shifted. That's probably a good thing, as I most likely wouldn't be writing this recap right now...because I wouldn't be watching the show! But, to be fair, Mikey's grown up a lot in five years, from being Brian's biggest fan, to Dr. David's boy toy, to Ben's husband and Hunter and JR's dad, and while I still can't stand the guy, I think the whole Brian fight this season was instrumental in making Michael a decent person. He stopped idolizing and idealizing Brian, and now he can be an actual friend. And Brian really needs a friend right now.

Brian and Justin

Brian and Justin: Oh, these two. I wanted nothing more than to see them married, and while that didn't happen, I'm shockingly okay with the way things ended. Maybe it's just wishful thinking on my part, but it didn't feel like the end for them, rather just another one of their many breaks--like with the fidder or LA. Brian is giving Justin the room, and the time, to be the best homosexual he can be, and you just know that he'll be waiting for him when he's done. After all, Justin might always be the one walking away, but Brian never hesitates to take him back. The final scene between these two was one of the most beautiful (both in terms of emotion and cinematography) that I've ever seen on QAF, and it nearly made me break my promise to myself not to cry over a damn TV show! I'm pleased that they didn't cheat us out of one last time with these two, even if it didn't follow matching tuxes and bull dyke minister.

Can I also add that I was not thirty seconds into the episode before I realized there would be no wedding? The opening song was "Sleep" by The Dandy Warhols--the same song that was playing at the end of episode 102, the first time Brian sends Justin away.

And finally...

The Brian and Mikey Show

Michael and Brian: Ugh, it pains me to say it, but for all the talk about Brian and Justin, it is Brian and Michael who are truly at the center of this show. Think about it, how has every season ended:

Season One Michael and Brian in the hospital waiting room after Justin gets bashed.
Season Two Michael conforts Brian after Justin leaves with the fiddler.
Seaont Three Brian gives up his last wordly possession, the Corvette, so that Michael can run away with Hunter.
Season Four Even as Ben and Michael get married and Brian and Justin embark on a new course in their relationship, the real story is Brian and Mikey crossing that finish line.

Season Five is no different--Michael drags Brian to what remains of Bablyon for one last dance (cue 101 flashback, the song is "Proud" by Heather Small, the same song that played during the hospital rooftop scene), and Babylon resurfaces from the ashes so that our boys can all dance and live and love one more time.

The only diffence this time is that, at the end, Brian is alone. But maybe not... He's dancing on a platform, with green laser lights shining above the crowd, but he's raised up, cutting through the lights. I kept thinking that this scene looked so familiar, and it finally hit me. The only other time we've seen Brian dance alone was in Season Two, when he went to the White Party, rather than attend Melanie and Lindsay's wedding. He was dancing through those same lights, and what was in his hand? A wedding bouquet. Maybe it's not over for our favorite couple just yet.

I'm not sure how I am going to spend my Sunday nights from now on, but I am pleased that QAF went out with class, even if it wasn't a happily ever after fairy tale ending (no pun intended!). Okay, I'm ready to let go now.

Of course, I still have a huge fangirl crush on Gale Harold, so I'll be spending the next few weeks renting all of his movies. What, you didn't think I was going to let go completely, did you?


annamaria at 3:04 PM

4 spoke


at Monday, August 08, 2005 5:02:00 PM Blogger person x said...

I'm sorry, but I do not all all agree. I'm horribly disappointed. This felt like a season finale, not a series finale.

I feel like I should be tuning in next week to get the REAL series finale.

After being so invested in the B/J storyline for five years they end up with Justin moving to NYC to paint? What about painting in the Pitts and going to various cities for shows? What about Brian opening Kinnetic NYC? I just sat through the whole thing in shock, thinking "they are seriously not going to end it this way -- are they?"

Even at the end, during the dance sequence, I was holding my breath for Justin to walk in and dance with Brian. Give us something. Anything.

I feel so disappointed.

1) What happened with Prop-14?
2) Who bombed Babylon?
3) What are Mel/Linds going to do when they realize that you can't just up and move to Canada on a whim, and that there is proceedure. And what about Mel practicing law there?
4) Justin moves to NYC because of one article in a magazine, and the whole world is waiting with baited breath? That's crap. And he just up and moves without a place to stay and paint, and without testing the waters by having an exhibition there first? Right.
5) Where is Drew? Why did they even bother to bring him back if he and Emmett didn't end up together.

Overall, I think that Ted was the only one with closure. What he said before he made his birthday wish showed that he was truely happy with himself, and he didn't need anyone else to validate his life. Only then was the timing right to be with Blake. Ted grew so much over the course of this series.

But leaving Brian as the old club boy? I don't know what will happen with Justin, and I am mad that they left it up to interpretation. That's not supposed to be what you get with a series finale. Justin just seemed so cold - he's just been an ice queen lately. And if others can watch Justin literally disappearing from beneath Brian, never to be seen again, and find happiness in deciding they saw a happy ending, I don't know what to say. I just think it's Justin showing his age again, and giving up on Brian when he finally has everything that he wanted.

I am just going to pretend that this show ended several episodes ago, with the "I love you." Everything since then has just played out like crap.

at Monday, August 08, 2005 5:58:00 PM Blogger annamaria said...

I guess I'm not disappointed because I wasn't really expecting them to tie up all the loose ends--they never do!

I think the leaving Prop 14 story unfinished makes sense--it would be disingenious to have it fail, because, let's face it, given American politics today, it would absolutely pass. And that's not the way to end the series, with all of their rights going away. So, by failing to end the story, they seem to be signalling that the show might be over, but the fight for full citizenship isn't.

Same thing with who bombed Babylon--extremists will always exist. Even if they found out who planted the bomb and sent that person to jail, what happens then? Is there suddenly peace and happiness all around? It doesn't matter who did it, because there will always be another person ready to do the same thing. I'm not particularly happy with their interpretation of American politics (I don't think all straight people are evil, mostly because, well, I don't think I'm evil.), but it's absolutely true to what they've said all along during this series.

As for Drew, yeah, it sucks that he didn't make it back into the final episode, but I don't think his entire storyline was a wash. Drew, for me, has always been about testing Emmett's limits--will he stay in the closet and be Drew's secret fling, or will he be the out and proud man he's always been? Will he put up with Drew's tricking, or will he demand the respect he deserves? His presence in this season was just another example of that.

Melanie and Lindsay--bah! Do you really care?? :)

As for Justin...I'll admit this one took some getting used to, and maybe it's only my wishful, they'll be together again, thinking kicking in, but I'm honestly okay with the lack of wedding. Because as much as Brian has changed, he's not going to let anything get in the way of Justin going after his future--even him. I would have loved to have seen Justin show up at the end, or even Brian *hint* at a move to NYC, but I didn't really expect that. I guess I set my expectations low for the finale, and that's why I'm not as disappointed as you.

And I don't necessarily see this as a happy ending for Brian and Justin, but rather as the only ending that doesn't completely subvert who those characters are. I wish they didn't leave it up to audience interpretation, I wish they had spelled it out--yes, in five years once Justin has taken the art world by storm, he's going to move back to Pittsburgh and they will live happily ever after. But this show sucks for cleaning up loose ends! It's my biggest complaint, so I've just learned to ignore it! :)

at Tuesday, August 09, 2005 12:03:00 AM Blogger ID said...

I have to side with Jen. And not because of the matrimonial obligation bill of 1975.

I thought the show reeked of season finale and not series finale. While it wasn't like them to wrap things up, just do it. There will never be another show to address the lingering concerns and questions of viewers. QAF is/was a great show, but its not arty/intellectual enough to leave blank canvases everywhere, so we the viewers can paint our own endings.

I agree that we should have seen Justin at Babylon:rebirth. Obviously time has passed, (thanks blank canvases) and are we to think that Justin has become some huge egomaniacal artiste who can't return to Pitt in time for his love's club reopening. I mean fuck, the place almost killed you and you can't stop in for a few seconds? Drew Boyd's return was a terrible cock tease. If you weren't going to give him and Em the happily ever after angle, just leave him be. His only post=return impact was showing Hunter that you can stand up to naysaying assholes with strength and conviction.

I thought the final ten minutes of the show delivered the best line of the entire series. Michael's "God damn it, you are Brian Kinney, you will always be young, you will always be beautiful.." was some powerful shit. If there was any indication that Brian Kinney had slipped away from himself, this utterance fully secured him in the Hall of Gods.

As a whole: Im a better person for having watched this show. And as a hetero-male, apparently a noticable minority in viewer demographics, I never found myself uncomfortable with grapic male sex scenes, and will readily admit that Brian Kinney is god. Then again, I fucking love Morrissey and would die for a piece of his shirt.

As a finale: D+.

Our showtime subscription is now officially cancelled.

at Tuesday, August 09, 2005 2:20:00 PM Blogger just sayin' said...

My gosh, what wonderful reviews. We haven't followed the series on a weekly basis for a couple of years now but instead have opted to get the DVDs and watch a whole season at once. I can't wait to see some of the things y'all have described but I'm very sad to learn that it's over. We didn't know.


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