Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Buzz about Buzz and Good Man Frank Cooper

Ok, this is not going to be popular among Otalia cheerleaders, but here goes: Buzz was 100% justified in the way he spoke to Natalia. I love Natalia as much as the next person. And I'm Team Otalia 100%. That doesn't mean it's ok to use people and lead them on the way Natalia did with Frank and, by default, with his family. She knew she didn't love him. She knew. All along, she knew. Buzz is just being a concerned father. Anyone who had to sit back and watch his son be humiliated that way, and then proceed to watch his son walk around like a depressed robot afterward, would be angry at the person who had caused the pain and humiliation. That person is Natalia. And, really, I felt Buzz addressed it in a very real and sensitive way: you hurt Frank, you hurt my family, you made promises that you didn't keep...you can't just do that to people. And you know what? He's right. You can't. Not even pretty women who love other women are allowed to rip apart other people's lives without having to face the resulting hurt and anger.  

Again, I think this whole exchange is another brilliant example of the writers pointing to how insane the whole situation is, just because people can't or won't face the fact that love is fluid, and that the heart wants what the heart wants. I think the writers are saying: See? Because the world is so phenomenally screwed up and judgmental, Natalia found herself backed into a corner where the only possible solution to her problem, the only remedy for her shame, was to pretend to be in love with Frank. If the world would just buckle up and be ok with women loving women, this would never have happened. It's also a nod to the fact that when hate and prejudice and fear of the new and different exist, human hearts end up as collateral damage. In this case, Frank is a victim...and Buzz is a secondary victim. Not a victim of same sex love...but a victim of society's narrow mindedness about same sex love.

Justin Deas, one of the most sadly underused actors on Guiding Light, does a great job with the confrontation scene. He manages to seem both angry and hurt. It is to his credit that the genuine love and affection Buzz has for Natalia shows through this hurt and anger. When he puts his hand on Natalia's face, it's out of love and heartache.

I know a lot of viewers are sick to death of hearing about what a good man Frank Cooper is, but I'm not. Few words are wasted by the writers of this particular story line. Coming out can be really difficult. So difficult that lots of people never come out - to themselves, or to the rest of the world. Instead, they tell lies, set up facades, enter loveless marriages of convenience. The idea that romantic love always looks the same, that it must be between a man and a woman....this idea is harmful to everyone. If the writers are hitting us over the head with the message that Frank Cooper is a good man it's because there's a more universal message, aimed at bigots: when hate and intolerance and xenophobia are the order of the day, people get hurt...not just faggots, who you have no use for, anyhow, but Good Men, like Frank Cooper.

 © 2009 Lana M. Nieves

Limited Licensing: I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby publish it under the Creative Commons Attribution license, granting distribution of my copyrighted work without making changes, with mandatory attribution to Lana M. Nieves and for non-commercial purposes only. - Lana M. Nieves

1 comment:

Rikita said...

I agree that Natalia got off pretty lightly with both not having to tell Frank that there will never be a marriage and the confrontation with Buzz. Buzz is a loose cannon and I'm sure Nat took his tirade with a grain of salt but, geez, she might not have meant to but she really took the whole Cooper family for a nasty fall off an emotional cliff.
I agree this was done to illustrate how much pain can be generated when real love must be supressed because it doesn't meet social norms. The great thing is that the show doesn't shy away from the collateral damage. To do so would be missing an important opportunity to tell the story from all sides of the Springfield community.