When you thought 2021 couldn’t get any gayer, Q-Force is here to prove you wrong!
Q-Force starts in 2011 at the end of “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Introducing Agent Steve “Mary” Maryweather, who is graduating at the top of his class in the American Intelligence Agency. He has the entire world before him, and then he comes out to his graduating class and teachers. His superiors quickly change their mind, taking away his valedictorian status and sending him off West Hollywood to waste away. But, to their dismay, he assembled a ragtag team of top-notch queers. Deb an expert mechanic, Twink a master of drag and disguise, and Stat, a terrifyingly talented hacker.
However, a decade later, because of homophobia, they are still waiting for their first actual mission. Steve, tired of waiting for permission from the agency, goes rogue. All to prove that his team is capable enough to be in the field. They almost all get kicked out of the A.I.A. But they solve the case and get to continue working in the field with the A.I.A.’s reluctant approval. Unfortunately, to continue working, they have to be supervised by token straight guy Buck. Who is as straight and toxically masculine as can be. The show continues with them going through different cases, having adventures, uncovering secrets within the A.I.A. Taking down heteronormativity, one pop culture reference at a time.
When I first saw the trailer for this show, I was admittedly a little worried. Any member of the LGBTQ+ community can tell you that gay does not necessarily mean good with television. The trailer made me weary for many reasons, especially with a character whose actual name is Twink. However, I gave this show a shot because I love gay cartoons and think there is a lack of them on television, especially for adults. I was surprisingly happy with this show. I had a good time watching it and thought a lot of jokes were hilarious and well written. The jokes don’t make fun of us, but more so the world around us. How close-minded homophobes are and how see-through their fake shows of acceptance are. It shows what many people still think about queer people but can no longer say outside their bigot-safe bubbles.
This show has many stereotypes and is not necessarily politically correct, but that is not entirely bad. Initially, Steve “Mary” Maryweather looks like what I like to call a “Love Simon” kind of gay. A guy who everything is “normal” about except his sexuality. Unlike Love Simon, Steve is a pretty refreshing character. He has his moments of weakness, but he is very proud of who he is; even though cishet people are more likely to accept or tolerate him, he does not see himself as better than other queer people because of that.
He stands up for his team and the LGBTQ+ community when he could easily use his privilege and not do so. Twink is also an interesting character. While he does not defy the “twink” stereotype, we see that he does not have to. Twink is a useful addition to the squad, and his knowledge of drag often saves the day. He is often used as comedic relief but not at his own expense. All the characters, besides Buck, are lovable and make the viewer want to root for them. Everyone has distinct personalities, and sometimes those personalities overlap with stereotypes but disproving stereotypes for just the purpose of proving someone wrong does not help the queer community which Q-Force gets.
Throughout the show, we see that disproving someone’s idea of you only gives that idea power. The characters often decide not to explain themselves to those who willfully misunderstand them, which is beautiful to see. Q-Force always wins the day by being Queer and not changing because those around them think differently.
Q-force also does well with body diversity and gender expression. Nobody on the show has the same body type, and to see that in a show about queer people is a pleasant change of pace. Gender expression is also done well with all the characters, especially Twink and Deb, playing around with their femininity and masculinity through fashion. Sadly, where Q-Force does well with certain aspects of diversity, it fails at others. The show is called Q-Force, with Q being for queer, yet there is not much diversity in sexuality and gender identity.
In the main cast are two gay men, one lesbian, and one queer person. No one is outwardly trans, and there are not any other sexualities in the main cast. In addition to that, only one character in the main cast, Deb, is visibly of colour. Stat might be Latinx and trans, but the writers do not confirm it in the show. Deb is hilarious and a literal ray of sunshine, but her being the only Black character in the main cast in 2021 was disappointing, even more so with her wife being white.
It is not surprising, but it is upsetting, especially when some more people of colour are exactly what this show, which constantly almost ironically brings up issues with lack of diversity and needs. It is harder for the viewers to empathize with a group of mostly white queer characters who do not even acknowledge their white privilege. Having only one visible character of colour may be more “realistic” for a show about queer people in West Hollywood, but considering that show is about a queer spy squad, I think what is considered “real” could be bent.
While this show definitely has its issues, I enjoyed watching it. This is not a show that will take down homophobia and radicalize anyone, but that’s the best part about it. Sometimes queer people need a break, some time to watch something funny and not critically think about the world around us. Q-Force offers us this. It is funny, raunchy, and ridiculous. Everyone can enjoy this show, but it has jokes for queer people, characters we can relate to, and a well-thought-out plot. Q-Force is not political; it’s not here to discuss think pieces or hot topics. It is just here for our enjoyment, and now and then, we deserve to enjoy a show.