Though simple in its concept – boy falls for boy who betrays him for homophobic classmates – It’s Complicated is a touching and heartfelt story that’s all too familiar for many queer youth. By playing with time, we get a great view into the adorable flirtatious sparks of a budding relationship and the nerves of a newly out kid’s first kiss contrasted with an aggressive betrayal and subsequent regret. We get a perfect picture of the self-hating gay that I think many of us were (even if only briefly) when we first starting coming out – something that, thankfully, most of us have moved past.
The decision to have no dialogue, but rather tell the story solely via text messages, emails and flashbacks is a great choice – and makes the one line of dialogue we’ve seen so far that much more poignant. Many real life love stories start with online flirting, and the pangs of seeing that “read” notification without a reply are all too real – as is the subtle art of flirting via text without actually flirting in case they aren’t flirting back even though you know they are but you’re still nervous about it so don’t want to be too overt. This story of young gay love is so true to life – right down to the moment in the theatre where they subtly touch legs, just to test the waters – but, sadly, so is the homophobic side.
While three episodes in we haven’t seen much of the bullies, we can tell that their influence over Zac is a major factor in this story. They’re strong and aggressive and just the kind of homophobic jerkwads that pick on the gay kid in high school and then come out years later. Zac is a perfect example of this – he’s afraid to be picked on for being the gay kid (presumably), so he sides with the bullies picking on the gay kid – and then regrets it forever. I think everyone does things in their youth that they later regret – I guess we don’t fully understand the idea of consequences? But guess what, shame and guilt don’t really ever go away – they hide deep down inside and pop up from time to time just to ruin your day. So I hope that Zac holds onto that shame forever – don’t take him back Cale! …I guess I’m hooked.
(NOTE: While I wasn’t a bully and never particularly picked on anyone, I maybe didn’t step in when I should have and maybe laughed along at some poor unfortunate soul and for that, I’m still filled with shame and regret – not kicking my boyfriend in the face level of regret though. I wasn’t that big a jerk.)
I have high hopes for the rest of this series and hope that everyone, not just LGBT youth, can see it and gain some perspective. Nothing is worth hurting the people you care about. Yeah, standing up to bullies is hard, but a bruise will fade faster than regret – especially when it’s a mark of pride.
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Graeme's Review of It's Complicated
Its Complicated is a beautiful and important story about love and regret that has a lesson to teach to every viewer – whether you’re a homophobic garbage-pile or the person falling for one. We all have regrets, what’s important is what we learn and how we move forward.
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