Bisexuality is famously difficult to portray; the lack of a strict preference for one gender is difficult to visually communicate, but it seems that 2022 is the year of the bisexuals. At least on TV.
“A bit of both” says Loki Odinson in Episode 3 of his own Marvel TV series, Loki. Played by Tom Hiddleston, Loki has just revealed he’s had physical relationships with both men and women, officially making the character, who first appeared in Thor in 2011, canonically bisexual.
Hollywood, and the entertainment industry in general, isn’t where it should be in terms of LGBTQ+ representation, but there has been steady improvements in gay and lesbian storylines. Films such as Brokeback Mountain, Moonlight and Carol have enjoyed critical acclaim as well as a decent box office return.
But bisexuality remains a struggle for filmmakers. Cinema seems to be an either-or -medium, where it’s difficult to portray something in between, but it now seems that TV is the place to go for some quality bisexual representation. And maybe it always was! We’ve had Callie Torres in Grey’s Anatomy, Rosa Diaz in Brooklyn 99, Petra Solano in Jane The Virgin as David Rose in Schitt’s Creek.
Loki might have stated his bisexuality in 2021 but 2022 already has got two major TV shows with openly bisexual characters. The Staircase, the dramatised true story of Michael Peterson who may or may not have killed his wife, thoroughly covers Peterson’s affairs with men. While Anthony Campos’ series too often leans on the negative associations of bisexuality, it’s still refreshing to see a famous actor such as Colin Firth claim he fancies both men and women.
The other TV show currently airing is Conversations with Friends, based on a novel of the same name by Sally Rooney. The main character Frances, played by Alison Oliver, begins a steamy affair with married man Nick which in turn complicates her relationship with ex-girlfriend Bobbi.
They even say it in the first episode. “Frances is bisexual” Bobbi announces. That’s it. It’s a fact, nothing more. While it’s a crucial piece of information about the character, Frances isn’t questioned about the amount of romantic partners or if she has a preference. She just exists as a bisexual with unique tastes, needs and affections.
None of these TV shows treats bisexuality as something that requires explaining or proving. Frances doesn’t have to demonstrate her affections for both genders nor does Michael Peterson need to prove his love for his wife while also being attracted to men sexually.
In Conversations, Bobbi also remarks that Nick is treating bisexuality as “a stop on the way” to gay in relation to a play he’s performing. This is how many still see it and many refuse to believe bisexuality is a valid or long-term form of sexuality.
It was said by Carrie Bradshaw herself in one of the very poorly aged episodes of the iconic Sex and The City; “It’s just a layover on the way to Gaytown.” Bisexuality is often treated as a phase; maybe one simply hasn’t figured out what they like. Or perhaps we’re greedy, for wanting both sexes.
Conversations with Friends also treats sex between Bobbi and Frances with the same level of respect as sex between Nick and Frances. Both are filmed with equal amounts of passion and sexual chemistry as well as nudity, but the camera never objectifies either character.
Perhaps TV is the correct medium for bisexuality as it can be explored over several episodes and characters are allowed deeper development and depth. Loki, which is MCU’s most watched TV show, is set for season 2 and hopefully will explore Loki’s bisexuality more. You can also read our interviews with team Conversations with Friends here.