Fangirl Pandering – You’re Doing It Right

How did a show that had everything going against it become the one I watch in repeats and crave to know when the DVDs are coming out?

I’ll start this way. I like Sasha Alexander and Angie Harmon. I do not have massive girl crushes on either of them (I have a enormous one on Sara Ramierez however). Point being, last summer I caught all these advertisements for this new show, Rizzoli & Isles and the commercials seemed to play up a whole level of lesbian fangirl pandering.

I did a bit of research and found out they were based on books, so I checked out the first three books from the library and found they were kind of Jeffery Deever-ish in their level of GAH! Squick! I read them, thought ‘Well … okay, they’re dark, depressing, and Angie Harmon’s character is pregnant and married by book three…’ Strike one. Then we got info about the first episode being really dark and possibly having rape in it (which is a no-no in our house). Strike Two, and at this point, Mrs. Ipstenu informed me she was not going to watch the show.

On the Monday night it airs, I have the TV on mute and I’m reading Closed Captioning. Opening scene has dark humor, squick, and then suddenly I realize ‘Wait a second, they’re not following the book.’ I sit up and start paying close attention to Angie Harmon’s hard edged, Italian, detective (Jane Rizzoli – Jane is second only to Kate in the most common names given to lesbians in fiction) and Sasha Alexander’s perky, uber-intelligent, socially inept fashionista, coroner (Maura Isles). I start laughing at the show, and Mrs. Ipstenu snarks that I need to keep this show to myself. I rewind the DVR and show her a couple scenes that are ‘safe.’ She’s interested, but doesn’t want to watch a dark show that talks about rape all the time.

This is fair, and I try really hard not to make my normal running commentary. Except … well, there’s so much HoYay! going on in the show that I can’t. “But they’re IN BED together! And Jane’s asking Maura if this means she likes her! I mean, they’re putting it out there!’ and ‘Look! she got her a pet!’ But no. This show was goign to just be for Ipstenu. Okay.

Then the second episode airs, and I read reviews early. No rape, no nasty, would Mrs. want to watch? She doesn’t really and goes back to her computer, except then she sees what Sasha Alexander’s wearing. “Is that a skin-tight body suit…?” Why yes, yes it is. I rewind. I need to point out that the Mrs. has a thing for Sasha, and finds her attractive. Now she gets to hear the dialogue, where Sasha’s brainiac Maura GoogleSpeaks all the time, and she’s laughing. The episode is a tentative win.

The third episode we get the obligatory ‘Ma Rizzoli sets up Jane on a date, Jane blows off the date to hang with her best girl friend, who tells her she looks gorgeous.’ Fourth episode, the girls go back to college. Fifth we meet Maura’s ex-boyfriend, and Jane is so very jealous. Sixth episode and Jane and Maura go undercover in a lesbian bar. Go read Dorothy Snarker’s recap if you haven’t seen this. That screenshot on the left there is, indeed, Jane staring at Maura’s boobies. We all got distracted at that point.

The episodes continue on to pander to us. The girls are besties, like Xena and Gabrielle. There’s a website called RizzlesGirls, dedicated to the gayness of it all. The author, Tess Gerritsen, knows about it and approves of fanfiction and Rizzles! (Just please don’t try to make money off her characters, thanks, that’s illegal.)

Then, suddenly, we find out there are official Twitter accounts for the whole crowd. And the @JaneRizzoli and @MauraIsles accounts are so hugely subtextually friendly, it blew my mind. Here, this is from last night:

It goes on and on like this! The writers are behind the accounts, and they tweet back to you (calling the show a ‘Documentary’) and it’s hilarious.

Part of me is annoyed that it’s 2010 and I’m settling for subtext, but I suspect they didn’t really expect the gay to latch onto the show as quick as we did. So while I can wish they’d just give it up and have the girls gay it up, I can accept this isn’t going to happen. Yet. Who knows what’ll happen down the road, but today we get a show where the writers know we love the gay, and they’re not going to make it happen, but I have a feeling the girls won’t be dating Jorge or Joan of Arcdia‘s VP very often anymore.

Keep it up, TNT. This is the best show of 2010, and please get us those DVDs soon. With extras. Like bloopers. And maybe explaining what Maura’s really looking at here: