Why are the slashier tv shows so rarely slashed?

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Title: Why are the slashier tv shows so rarely slashed?
Creator: Clio
Date(s): early 2000s
Medium: online
Fandom:
Topic:
External Links: Why are the slashier tv shows so rarely slashed? by Clio, Archived version
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Why are the slashier tv shows so rarely slashed? is an essay by Clio.

I know the title sucks some, but it was the best I could come up with to describe this head scratching little phenomenon. What I am talking about here is. Why when a show has gay characters or same sex relationships in it do we see so little slash centered on it?

We have all, maybe, wondered about this at one time or another. I have even heard it mentioned in posts on mailing lists several times. No one was ever able to come up with an answer for it, however. Well, I've been pondering it a little from time to time and have come up with a few possible reasons.

Part of a Series

Excerpts

The first thing that popped into my head was the constraints of canon. Take the new Showtime version of Queer as Folk. The whole show is centered around gay characters and relationships. I have seen all the eps and trust me this is the most graphic and accurate slash I have ever seen on tv. You would expect slash to be flying across the net based on the show, but there isn't. Now this could be attributed to it being on a premium channel, but Showtime airs in countries all over the world, it is bound to reach plenty of slashers. I have found 4, count them 4 stories based on this new series and one of them was a crossover, which wasn't very good at all.
So I got to wondering why when a show had slash in it, there were so few stories floating around based on it. Then it hit me, the constraints of canon. When a show has characters who are gay and in relationships with "other" gay characters (don't you hate it when they wimp out and stick a gay character in a straight relationship) we are limited to what we see on screen. We are limited by who they are dating on the show and how that relationship evolves/developes over time. We are stuck in canon. If we stick them with anyone else then we could be going a little AU or maybe alot. We are stuck within the confines of how their relationship progresses on the show. If they stay together, if the break up we are stuck with it. We are at the mercy of the TPTB (The Powers That Be) and how they decide things should be done. Now if they were to wimp out and not go far enough, we'd have something to work with. If they go to the extremes like they are on the American OAF, then we don't have anywhere to take them that the show hasn't already.
The constraints of canon can often burn us as well. Take the immensely popular Beecher/Keller relationship from Oz. There has never been a more electric combo. Chris Meloni and Lee Tergesen have better chemistry than any other couple I've ever seen on tv. The two practically vibrated around each other on screen from the first glance. Energy literally crackled around them. Now hold onto your hats because I'm about to reveal some spoilers. The relationship was fucked up from the start, but they managed some forgiveness and worked things out. Then suddenly Keller is a serial killer, did the writers ever even hear of profiling. I'm a fucking natural profiler here and I have met several others like me out there. I can profile your average Joe in minutes, I first realized my ability when I was found myself profiling Jeffrey Dalmer (may he burn in hell forever) along with the news coverage. Keller did not fit the profile of the killer they established. He was much to secure in his own manhood and sexuality to do those things. Plus, he was fucking sane. This completely through the whole fandom for a loop, no one knew what the hell to do with the guys after that.
I mean why the hell slash them, when TPTB have done it for you? I mean part of the challenge is making a slash relationship between the two characters seem believable. Finding the subtext and presenting it to state your case and then making the reader fully believe through the beauty of your prose that this is possible. That these two really are hot for one another and/or are actually in love. What's to prove if it is stated as canon? Where is the subtext, where's the mystery of are they or aren't they? Would they or wouldn't they? The only reason to slash them would be if the show frustrated us immensely with teasing and never even let the guys even kiss. I think slash is about fulfilling the possibilities we see in characters that TPTB either don't explore or are to cowardly to delve into. Fulfilling our desires to put two beautiful men together when we see an attraction there, even if it is hidden behind subtext. Letting out imaginations soar and letting our desires run free.

Why when a show has gay characters or same sex relationships in it do we see so little slash centered on it?

We have all, maybe, wondered about this at one time or another. I have even heard it mentioned in posts on mailing lists several times. No one was ever able to come up with an answer for it, however. Well, I've been pondering it a little from time to time and have come up with a few possible reasons. They are simply my own little 'hmm, maybe that's it' ponderances, by no means all the reasons. There are so many reasons why we read and write slash, there must be plenty of reasons we don't slash some characters. These are a couple of possible reasons that popped into my head.

The first thing that popped into my head was the constraints of canon. Take the new Showtime version of Queer as Folk. The whole show is centered around gay characters and relationships. I have seen all the eps and trust me this is the most graphic and accurate slash I have ever seen on tv. You would expect slash to be flying across the net based on the show, but there isn't. Now this could be attributed to it being on a premium channel, but Showtime airs in countries all over the world, it is bound to reach plenty of slashers. I have found 4, count them 4 stories based on this new series and one of them was a crossover, which wasn't very good at all.

The second reason I thought of why we aren't slashing these characters was, it's just too easy. Or perhaps the show has done such a good job of slashing them it actually fills our slashy little desirous hearts to content.

I mean why the hell slash them, when TPTB have done it for you? I mean part of the challenge is making a slash relationship between the two characters seem believable. Finding the subtext and presenting it to state your case and then making the reader fully believe through the beauty of your prose that this is possible. That these two really are hot for one another and/or are actually in love. What's to prove if it is stated as canon? Where is the subtext, where's the mystery of are they or aren't they? Would they or wouldn't they? The only reason to slash them would be if the show frustrated us immensely with teasing and never even let the guys even kiss. I think slash is about fulfilling the possibilities we see in characters that TPTB either don't explore or are to cowardly to delve into. Fulfilling our desires to put two beautiful men together when we see an attraction there, even if it is hidden behind subtext. Letting out imaginations soar and letting our desires run free.