Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

My .2 cents about the Heroes flip-flop

I was thinking about this whole Heroes "Is Zach gay?" for a bit. I like Zach a lot, whether he's a gay or straight character. I'll admit, my first interpretation of him was that he was just a standard geek sort with a crush on Claire. Then I read the interview with one of the producers which stated he was gay.

My first reaction was "Really, well...huh." The more I thought about it, the more I liked it though. It's so rare to see a gay character on television that's not really defined by his sexuality. People are more than their sexual partners, after all. Besides, genuine platonic male-female friendships tend to be incredibly rare on television and I was looking forward to the idea that Zach and Claire were definitely not going to hook up, at least unless she found a secondary mutation that turned her into a guy.

That said, I'm not at all surprised that the character was rewritten as straight. I'm ignoring all the background gossip and explanations offered, really, as I have my own theory for why Zach's concept changed.

Peter Petrelli.

Ever since Peter came to rescue Claire and had that impossibly cute "It gets better" scene in the high school, it seems like a lot of people have started picking up on a chemistry between the two characters. It's to the point that it even comes up in interviews. Personally, I don't see the couple at all (the chemistry feels platonic to me) but I can see where others would start to pick up on it. Heck, it wasn't THAT long ago that Milo Ventimiglia was still playing high school students himself.

So far, there's no sign that the creators are going to make it a romantic pairing. Every interview question I've seen answers with a sharp "Not going to happen". Still, the idea is very popular. The problem is though that previous roles aside, Peter Petrelli is definitely not a teenager. Claire, and more importantly, her actress IS. I think, even if a romantic pairing is on the horizon in the future, they would certainly shy away from it until the character is at least out of high school. (Not to mention, Peter is set up as one of the moral cornerstones of the show. Someone who believes in being good and helping other people for its own sake. It would look very strange for a character like that to turn around and date a young girl still in high school.)

What's the alternative though? People are always going to push for romantic hints and sappy idiotic teenage emotions are pretty much inevitable. And Heroes's pace and structure doesn't really allow for brand new characters to be introduced at the drop of the hat. And Peter is possibly the youngest male of the main cast, so there isn't really any help there.

But there is another option. Zach (who I doubt is gone for good...yet anyway) is witty, appealing, faithful and a very good friend. She can trust him and she interacts well with him. And really, for all the little hints about his sexuality, nothing's been confirmed. The hints can be read different ways, after all. And suddenly Claire has a possible relationship with someone her own age.

I'm sure the behind the scenes stuff is the real reason for the change over, but I wouldn't be surprised if this did end up factoring in on the decision. I'm hoping it is, actually, because that would mean there's a higher possibility of introducing a new, confirmed gay character in time.

How about the new character that apparently Christopher Eccleston is going to play? That'd be really neat!

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  • At December 21, 2006 7:01 AM, Blogger Willow said…

    Yah Know...

    I was one of those clueless people who didn't pick up on a damn thing with Zach until his pre-prom speech about being comfortable with who he was and Claire needed to know who she was and be comfortable with it too.

    And then I went 'Hot Damn! Gauy Guy! Whoo hoo! And heroic too! Even if he isn't a HERO'

    And then I heard/saw that there was some contention and the actor's agent had said no the actor wasnt' and neither was the character and now I see people talking about it more other than some slip of something in EW that my roommate mentioned to me.

    I also didn't see the Peter/Claire chemistry and thought it was more 'Wow you saved me' mixed with 'You're just like me - I'm not alone' with a touch of hero worship. After all he did die for her, even if dying is normal for her, she's seen it's not so for him.

    I've heard people say that if Peter/Claire did happen of course it would happen after she got out of school; all willing that Heroes lasted that long.

    But I still wasn't thinking about it all that hard. Now I'm miffed. There's an inter-racial couple of tv, with a child, and I'm extremely happy about that. I've spent years in America where that wasn't the norm and I felt pretty damn alienated, given a background where it was normal and part of my family. But the loss of a poetntially gay or bisexual character seems to hugely undermine the show. Zach's an everyday hero. And now I'm to believe that the Hatian apparently turned his sexuality all upside down when he erased the last couple of weeks from his mind?


  • At December 21, 2006 9:53 AM, Anonymous "Starman" Matt Morrison said…

    I don't think the Haitan had anything to do with it.

    And from what I heard, the decision had nothing to do with HEROES but the fact that the guy playing Zack is apparently playing John Conner in some Terminiator TV series coming out next year and that he wasn't going to be available to keep doing Heroes.

    In which case - well, how do you think it would be if the one openly gay/bi character on the show was effectively killed off?

    This way, they at least have a chance of trying to do something later on.

  • At December 21, 2006 10:22 AM, Anonymous Mark Engblom said…

    Really, there's so much going on in this show, the last thing they have time for is "Is he, or isn't he?" wheel-spinning. I think I can speak for most fans of the show when I say the mystery of the kid's sexuality isn't what gets me to tune in week after week. Maybe the producers realized they didn't need the novelty a gay character automatically garners.

  • At December 21, 2006 11:36 AM, Anonymous green with wheelpower said…

    And you guys are forgetting Peter/Simone which was actually the first lasting inter-racial romance on the show.

    I think the Peter/Clarie thing is hero worship/nightinggale/i'm not alone syndrome and think it will become a big brother thing.

    My question: what are Simone and Mohinder's special talents as, save them every character who has their name subtitle apear in their first scene of every episode has been a HERO.

  • At December 21, 2006 4:14 PM, Blogger Bill D. said…

    I thought the Zack/Claire thing was "geek crushing on popular girl," too. Even after the football players kept saying he was gay, because honestly, what dorky guy hasn't been called gay by a homophobic football player at some point in his scholastic career (even though the football players are the ones patting each other's asses all the time)? And even the whole "being comfortable with who you are" speech came off, to me, as a nerd acceptance sort of thing. But I'm a bit thick sometimes, so you can't go by me. It is too bad they backtracked on him, though, because as someone else said, TV is sadly lacking in gay characters who are defined by anything other that "He/she is gay!"

    My wife and I both picked up a little on the Peter/Claire vibe, though, but we agreed that it's a good idea if that doesn't happen for quite some time, if at all.

  • At December 21, 2006 5:04 PM, Blogger Racy Li said…

    I thought the Peter/Claire thing was reminiscent of the whole Wolverine/Rogue relationship in the movie.

    That's a shame that Zach is not gay. He would have been a great role model for alot of teenagers out there in the closet, as an example that THEY were not alone.


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