I’m hunkering down for the night to prepare to watch Critical Role. It’s by far my favorite show: it’s an incredible show, with rich stories, fascinating characters, and a thriving community of fans—we are the Critters.
The cast of Critical Role (In the image above, Top Row: Matthew Mercer, Liam O’Brien, Laura Bailey, Ashley Johnson, and Travis Willingham. Bottom Row: Sam Riegel, Taliesin Jaffe, and Marisha Ray) has maintained an active commitment to activism and encouraged their fandom to participate by spotlighting charities as a whole show and as individuals.
They began last week’s show with a message about the deadly shooting in Orlando in the early hours of June 12th. Mercer’s words and the gesture the rest of the cast made before the start of the show were moving and was a reminder as to why I’m so proud to be a Critter.
As I’m sitting here waiting—well it’s more like pacing after the cliffhanger they left us with last week—I’ve been thinking about why this was so touching a gesture to me. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the ways that media platforms impact the way that queer narratives are told—and to keep that short, that the end result is often Queerbaiting, a practice which creates homoerotic tensions between two characters without ever intending to realize a relationship between them (Brennan, 2016). Queerness is often silenced and relegated to the subtext of narratives.
When Liam O’Brien “outed” Vax as bisexual (who is a badass, and good luck tonight ❤ ), when Grog and Scanlan had a playful moment that was made canon, and every moment when Vax and everyone’s favorite character Gilmore (please, please, please don’t be dead…) meet, the cast has brought characters’ sexualities forward both thoughtfully and playfully in the creation of well-rounded characters.
In the beginning moments of last week’s episode, Matthew Mercer and the rest of the cast of Critical Role made a thoughtful gesture acknowledging that they felt the pain of the tragedy in Orlando, but that they stood with the families affected and the community the attack was targeted against. It was another moment where this show refused to allow queer voices, LGBTQ people to be silenced or left behind.
So, as a queer critter, thank you.
Now… let’s see what happens!!!!!!!!!
But seriously, please don’t let Gilmore be dead…
Brennan, Joseph (2016). Queerbaiting: The ‘playful’ possibilities of homoeroticism. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 1-18