Saturday, February 23, 2008

Knight Rider for a Queer Generation??

As I mentioned a couple posts ago, I recently watched the TV movie remake of Knight Rider. I loved this show as a kid, but really, didn't everyone of my generation? When they first released the show on DVD a couple years ago, I had to race out and buy the first season. I was sad to discover that it didn't really hold up as well as I had hoped. The shows were a little redundant, but not in a cool Scooby-Doo kinda way, and the other cinematic elements felt much more stale than my inner-eight year old remembered. Although, one of my all-time favorite TV bloopers is an episode in which you can see the Psycho house in the background of a car chase scene (the entire series was shot on the back lots of Universal Studios).

So, I have to admit, I was terribly curious as to how the show would fare with an update. Honestly, it was not that bad. The new car is pretty awesome (it even has Val Kilmer for a voice) and the story was actually pretty well put together. It still had a bit of that '80s style of acting, but somehow that seemed acceptable for this project.

But, that brings me to my query. There is a cop in the film, played by Sydney Tamiia Poitier (above image, far right), who is trying to help the protagonists. We first see her at her home within the first 15 minutes of the flick. She comes into her apartment after a beach front work out and wakes a person that is still sleeping in a nearby bed. This person is a young, blonde, attractive, nude woman. They exchange a banter about whether or not Poitier is worried about leaving someone she just met the "night before" in her house alone. She replies, "not really" as she loads her gun and the scene cuts to a new location.

Please challenge me if you feel otherwise, but I can't imagine a reading of this scene in where Poitier's character is anything but a queer woman. However, the scene or her sexuality is never addressed in any way again throughout the rest of the two-hour movie. At first, I was excited by the inclusion of queer female content, but became confused as to why it was never brought up again. I considered it for a moment and then found myself wondering why. After all, if she had woken up a man when returning to her apartment and we never saw him again, would I have thought anything of it? I suddenly realized that I'm so use to queer content being depicted as "an issue" that when it wasn't, I became confused and felt let down. Now, I find myself wondering if this low-expectation, somewhat cheesy, remake of an '80s TV show just provided one of the most progressive and inclusive representations of a queer female character I have ever seen on prime-time TV. Thoughts???

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