COLUMN: Queer media, take notes on atypical relationships and love

Luke Taylor

Rob Le Cates is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at 581-2912 or [email protected].

Rob Le Cates, Photo Editor

 I’m not afraid to admit I sobbed uncontrollably at the third episode of “The Last of Us” “Long Long Time” on HBO, at one in the morning. Even a week or so later, I am still constantly thinking about how much this episode impacted me.

The first character we are introduced to is Bill (Nick Offerman) who is well-known for his appearance as Ron Swanson in Parks and Recreation.

Bill is your stereotypical “the government are all Nazis” and survivalist who has fleshed out a plan for when the world would inevitably end. He hid in the bunker below his basement while the military evacuated his town. 

After everyone is gone, Bill starts to set up a safe zone. After living in his comfortably lonely lifestyle for around 4 years, he stumbles across someone who fell into one of his pit traps outside his perimeter. 

Enter Frank (Murray Bartlett) known for his performance in “White Lotus.” After Bill ensures Frank is not infected, he helps him out of the trap and reluctantly invites Frank for a meal.

After eating, Frank is taken in by a vintage piano and starts to play “Long Long Time” by Linda Ronstadt and I can confidently say this will be 2023’s “Running up That Hill” by Kate Bush featured in “Stranger Things” season four. 

After Bill gets annoyed with Frank’s playing he takes the song from a softer, more sensitive tone, and not long after, the two share an intimate moment in light of the years of trauma and grief they have experienced.

The most touching point is at the end of the episode, Frank decides he has one day left. Frank tells Bill he wants to spend the whole day appreciating each other, get married, have one final good dinner together, and then to have his lover put pills in his wine so he will die. Bill is reluctant and tries to fight Frank on his plan but is convinced after the most heartwarming, sentimental quote I have ever heard.

“Let me love you the way I want to.” 

Hearing this, Bill abides and does everything Frank asks him to, and at the end of the day, drinks the same wine as his husband because he doesn’t want to live without him.

I have never, ever watched gay media and felt such a connection to gay media. As a young, gay man, I have struggled with understanding love and this episode gave me hope that love is something you will ultimately find no matter the circumstance or age. 

Several videos I watched, talked about how since the tragedy started in 2003, all laws which benefited LGBTQ+ individuals, like same-sex marriage, didn’t take hold.

But despite ‌prior-world legal restraints, Bill and Frank found their own love in the worst possible setting, and they didn’t need a piece of paper to ratify their feelings toward each other. 

The two are not young, ripped, or slim-bodied it is different and that’s why I like it. Other queer media needs to take notes on how to not only showcase socially-desired slim-bodied, muscular, young gay men.

The two appear to be in their mid-thirties at the start of the show and we see them develop into middle-aged men. The two aren’t the “ideal” physique, unlike others in popular gay romance media like “Call Me By Your Name,” “Heartstopper,” and “Love, Simon” and are able to drive such a powerful narrative on love.

Rob Le Cates is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at 581-2912 or [email protected].