the take

Will the Gays Love ‘Bionic Woman’?

Katee Sackhoff and Michelle Ryan, locking up the lesbian market.Courtesy of NBC

This weekend’s Washington Post offers a surprisingly thoughtful piece asking how gay fans will respond to Bionic Woman, NBC’s gritty remake of the seventies TV show. Sure, prospective viewers may be upset about the casting of famed F-bomb-dropper Isaiah Washington, but writer Jonathan Padget points out that the fate of Bionic Woman was of great interest to the gay audience long before Ben Silverman baked Isaiah a cake:

te>Emotional connections to characters like the Bionic Woman can run deep for countless gay viewers who see isolation and repression reflected in heroes who must harbor secret identities and who can’t show off their fabulousness in their everyday lives.

Take, for example, a misfit child in 1970s Anytown, U.S.A., who doesn’t even have a name for his difference — homosexuality — but is deluged with cultural cues that whatever his true nature is, it’s wrong. The Bionic Woman, Jaime Sommers, was a bright spot in dark times: She could protect you; she knew what it was like to not fit in; she could pull off a velour tracksuit.

Padget misses one important aspect of Bionic Woman’s gay appeal, however: We’re inclined to think that the presence of lesbian-icon-in-the-making Katee Sackhoff — who also plays badass pilot Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica, and who has an extremely vivid supporting role in Bionic — will counteract Washington’s casting in the eyes of some gay fans.

Also, the show is freaking great.

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Will the Gays Love ‘Bionic Woman’?