There are some shows and movies where there are two female characters so in sync, so amazing, so utterly perfect for each other that when a male love interest shows up, you just can’t help but say “What is that unnecessary boy doing here?” Sometimes a bisexual character is put in the position of “bisexual love triangle,” a lazy trope we’re used to seeing, sadly, where she’s forced to “choose sides.” Other times, a show will think their two women characters straight when it is so obvious they are denying the chemistry between “friends.”
Here are some of the most egregious examples of totally unnecessary male love interests in the past couple of decades.
Look, we all know that Maura and Jane are perfect for each other. The fashionable M.E. and the tough detective complete each other perfectly. That moment in the pilot when Maura goes over to Jane’s for a sleepover still gives me that warm fuzzy feeling. And yes, maybe a little bit of Maura and Jane’s perfectness for one another is due to the Queerbaiting. But still.
Sasha Alexander and Angie Harmon have all of the chemistry. And I cannot even remember a single male love interest’s name from that damn show. So why not just let Maura and Jane ride off into the sunset. Really. Why not?
I’m going to level with you: I stopped watching OUAT right around the time it took an unfortunate detour toward the second star to the right. But still: there has honestly never been a show so rife with gay lady possibilities. Emma and Regina. Ruby and Belle. Mulan and Aurora. But the show nonetheless felt the unfortunate need to throw a bunch of blandly pretty white boys into the mix.
Think of how much more fun it would be to see Emma and Regina’s morally ambiguous shenanigans, or Ruby and Belle running the B&B together, or Mulan and Aurora off adventuring somewhere. (Though I’ve heard that people are shipping Mulan and Merida now.)
On this show, it was not the queerbaiting. This show had (gasp!) a canonically bi female lead! And look: I do not at all object to the show exploring Bo’s relationships with men and women. It’s not even that I hate Dyson; I consider him to be an unnecessary male love interest because it seemed pretty clear to me that he and Bo were better off as friends. And we all know that, in the end, no one compares to Lauren.
Thankfully, Bo and the writers knew it, too. (And while I have no proof of this, I tend to suspect that the writers knew who their audience was, and decided to give the people what they wanted, for which I am eternally grateful.)
Speaking of shows that give the gay ladies what we want, OITNB is pretty much all gay ladies all the time. Gay ladies having rich, emotionally resonant backstories. Gay ladies having complicated/supportive friendships. Gay ladies having blasphemous church sex. And all of this just serves to underscore how unnecessary the men are. Like we all know that Larry is pointless.
In fact, I think it would be easier to list the men on the show who are not completely unnecessary: Poussey’s dad and the sweet redheaded hick Pennsatucky dated as a teenager. That’s it. That’s the list.
For all of its flaws, this show was incredibly special and important to me, and the thought of it ending in a way that leaves a sour taste in my mouth is difficult. But nonetheless, I must take this opportunity to say what we all know to be true. Liam is the worst. Felix is a good person but it is pretty clear that Amy will never love him like she loves Karma. Karma and Amy belong together. The end.
This movie is a totally awesome movie, centered on the friendship between two awesome girls. Jess is from a traditional Indian family who disapproves of her love of soccer; Jules is a teenage tomboy whose mom is concerned about her lack of interest in clothing and boys. They meet in the park, and Jules helps Jess join her soccer league on the sly, which is basically the set up for the cutest lesbian romantic comedy of all time.
Alas, according to the movie, in spite of what both of their families believe, Jess and Jules are both into their coach, King Henry VIII. The movie does, however, end with Jess and Jules flying off to America for college, where I choose to believe that they consummated their relationship with no soccer coaches to get in the way.
Buffy and Faith were kind of the OG femslash pairing for my generation. (Well, them and Xena and Gabrielle.) Seriously there are a ton of fanvids on YouTube and you better believe I have watched every single one of them. And even setting the potential for Buffy/Faith aside (which is hard to do), I had a lot of issues with Spike, and his relationship with Buffy.
And that whole Buffy-gives-in-to-the-darkness-in-her-soul-and-starts-sleeping-with-Spike plotline could easily be reimagined as a Buffy-gives-in-to-the-darkness-in-her-soul-and-starts-sleeping-with-Faith plotline. (Or, if we could not have that plotline, then Willow and Faith should have dated in Season 7.)
So I have to level with you guys: I still don’t exactly understand whether or not Xena and Gabrielle were canon by the end of the show. Like it was overt, but never entirely explicit. But they mattered to each other, more than anything else. Which is to say that Joxer, Ares and the rest of the boys can go away. Xena and Gabrielle fought for each other. Their future reincarnations were in love. They were soul mates, destined to meet again and again.
There are just so, so many great, or potentially great, lesbian couples who find themselves stymied by the presence of completely unnecessary, blandly pretty male love interests. Let us join hands and pray that this trend, along with other unfortunate trends on television, reverses itself in the near future. Who gets your vote for most unnecessary male love interest?