So that happened.
SNL’s “Should You Chime in on This?”
You guys like heaps of oblique references to First Contact, right?
I’m not really sure what the message for this episode is. Love trancends…something? Also, Zefram Cochrane: bisexual. I’d see John Barrowman play the role. You?
The storyline’s over, and now that it is, I wanted to talk a little about it. But, you know, in a general storywriting sense versus yesterday’s stroll down awful childhood memory lane.
I’d written previously how, years ago, before Becky had been reintroduced into the strip as a main character, I knew Becky couldn’t be shuffled offpanel forever. She had to stay. We couldn’t get our pathos out of her and discard her. But I knew her dad would be following her, and he’d have to be dealt with. He’d have to be dealt with definitively. I didn’t want the threat of him to be always hanging over her – she has enough to worry about already – and so I knew he’d have to do something terrible, enough to put him solidly in prison.
That was the genesis of everything, but I think it’s really wonderful how it all worked perfectly with what the story needed. Joyce needed to feel betrayed by her family and her community. Amazi-Girl needed to face a threat that was leveled up from the previous showdown her own father. Dina… needed to be in the best strip ever.
And I could do it all without sacrificing Becky. Often in fiction, bad stuff happens to gay ladies, and then the narrative just gives up on them. That’s the end! That’s it! Buh-bye. Meanwhile, stories bend over backwards with supernatural zeal to keep straight folks happy and together with whatever love interest they met five minutes ago.
I wanted to subvert the shit outta that.
So bad stuff is happening to Becky, but the narrative says Fuck No. Her dad’s attacked by her girlfriend in the woods. Her dad is followed by her best friend and somebody else on a friggin’ motorcycle. Her dad is hunted down by a goddamned SUPERHERO. And they all work together, somewhat unwittingly, to shut that jackass down. Physics is bruised a bit, but that’s the point. That’s the subversion. Becky’s not going down. The universe will melt in the face of her. And she will get that shining final moment with her father where she backs away, all grins, double birds. The last word. Because goddammit, she gets to win this time. Fuck you, dad! God answers lesbian prayers.
Ultimately, Joyce gets her Moment of Brokenness that her arc demands at this point, and – very importantly – without sacrificing Becky. It’s the betrayal of her family and community that breaks Joyce. Fridging Becky would be superfluous.
And for both of them, life goes on.
Thanks for this, Willis. Representation means the world to those of us unused to it. And Becky going through terrible shit and defying it, living and loving and being happy despite her father’s betrayal, is a story a lot of people needed to see.
fun tip for the holidays:
- respect retail workers
Dude, I’ve been thinking about this question too. Thanks for asking it.