Tag: South of Nowhere

Interview with Gaby Christian at Love Fan Fest 2018

Interview with Gaby Christian at Love Fan Fest 2018

At Love Fan Fest, I was able to talk to Gaby Christian for a few minutes. We talked about Love Fan Fest, traveling, and, obviously, South of Nowhere. This interview was not planned, so it was not very structured or anything. We just chatted and since I was slightly nervous, I may have rambled a bit 😉 Below, I have written down what we talked about but if you just want to see the impromptu interview for yourself, you can find the video below this image.

‘Interview with Gaby Christian at Love Fan Fest 2018’ At Love Fan Fest, I was able to talk to Gaby Christian for a few minutes. We talked about Love Fan Fest, traveling, and, obviously, South of Nowhere. Want to know what it was like for her to visit Love Fan Fest without Mandy Musgrave to talk about the couple they brought to life together? Find out here: http://bit.ly/GabyChristian

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Traveling before Love Fan Fest

On her Instagram page, Gaby Christian has shown us some beautiful travel pictures before Love Fan Fest started. Therefore, I want to know what it is like for her to come to an event like Love Fan Fest after spending much time in nature. She says that Love Fan Fest has been great so far. Visiting Barcelona is rather “wild” after visiting small villages and nature. She has done some Gaudí sightseeing and gone to the beach.

I respond that I have gone to the beach as well because, in The Netherlands, summer is usually rather bad (it turned out not to be bad at all, by the way!). I ask Gaby Christian if she has ever been to The Netherlands, given the fact that she travels a lot. She tells me she actually has and as it turns out, she has spent some time in The Hague, which is where I live. That surprises me because tourists usually stick to Amsterdam (if you ever visit my country, I urge you to look beyond Amsterdam!)

Most likely… not…

Things become quite funny when Gaby asks me if I know her friend. One specific person in the country’s third biggest city? I do not… She starts laughing and tells me how she hates it when people do that to her when they find out she lives in LA: “Most likely… not…”

South of Nowhere

I ask Gaby what it is like for her to have people still come up to her and talk about South of Nowhere, even though it has been over a decade that the series was on TV. She tells me the show is fourteen years old now. I try to remember when I first watched it and I say it was probably around 2006.

She indicates that they shot the series from 2004-2008 so that 2006 is possible. She asks me whether it was on TV or something. I cannot remember where I watched it; I know it was not on Dutch TV but I remember searching for any lesbian storyline and finding SON. When I think about it now, it must have been when I was studying in the States (late 2005) or when I visited again shortly after. So, it might have been on TV after all…

Anyway, Gaby explains that more people find their way to the show now because it was on a small network back then and it is now digitalized. That makes sense! Also, that is kind of funny, to have a few years pass and then people rediscovering you.

Relevant

As you may know, I have rewatched South of Nowhere right before Love Fan Fest (because why not?):

When I binge-watched the show, I noticed that so many things were happening at the same time: Spencer’s coming-out, the high school shooting, Clay finding out what it means to be black (including in a white family), Chelsea’s teenage pregnancy, Glen’s addiction to painkillers, marriage problems, and so on and so on…  I noticed that, unfortunately, all these things are still relevant today. Maybe they are even more relevant given the political climate we are in? I ask her if she feels that way too.

What Gaby thinks made the show so special is how simple and real everything was. Now, with CGI and all the technology, everything is enhanced and sensationalized but, in that time, the show felt gritty and real to her. She feels its simplicity was beautiful and she is not interested in the glitz and glam. Even the romantic moments between Spencer and Ashley were relatable. An example she mentions is La La Land, where everything is perfect; in real life, things are “not perfect, ever.”

LA high school

This makes me think of another question I have. Growing up in the Netherlands and going to a particularly nerdy high school, I was always wondering whether things I saw on TV were actually the ways things happened in the USA. Yes, some of the things I saw on TV happened in my environment as well but not everything and certainly not to the same extent. So, I ask Gaby whether the high school in SON is a clear representation of a high school in LA.

She thinks so. Similar things would happen at her high school. She does say LA has the added bonus of wealth and celebrity parents, like Ashley’s dad being a rockstar. That certainly makes things more entertaining but probably not so relatable.

Gaby Christian without Mandy Musgrave

Speaking of Ashley, Mandy Musgrave could not come to Love Fan Fest. She was supposed to come but she had to cancel. My heart broke a little when I heard the news (but I am fine now, you guys, thanks!)

I am curious to find out whether Gaby misses her on an event like this. After all, it focuses on a couple they brought to life together. Gaby starts laughing and admits it is weird being at Love Fan Fest without her. She thinks Mandy is great at this stuff, being the extrovert. Gaby claims she is the introvert who usually just cheers Mandy on. Thankfully, she has found a pseudo-partner-in-crime in Rhiannon Fish. Well, Gaby, I can tell you that you are great at panels and interviews all by yourself too!

Still, I would not mind seeing both Gaby Christian and Mandy Musgrave on a panel, amirite?

Watching South of Nowhere Again 10 Years Later: What I Realized

Watching South of Nowhere Again 10 Years Later: What I Realized

South of Nowhere aired in The States from 2005 to 2008. I thought it would be fun to watch the show again since Gabrielle Christian is coming to LOVE Fan Fest. Here are the three things that stood out to me rewatching this show ten years later.

‘Watching South of Nowhere Again Ten Years Later: What I Realized’ South of Nowhere aired in The States from 2005 to 2008. I thought it would be fun to watch the show again since Gabrielle Christian (Spencer) is coming to LOVE Fan Fest in Barcelona this weekend. Here are the three things that stood out to me rewatching this show ten years later: http://bit.ly/MMSoN10

1.      In South of Nowhere, Spencer and Ashley seem to be apart from each other longer than they are together

South of Nowhere is often applauded for putting a lesbian teenage couple at the center of the storyline back then. Indeed, I was very happy about that ten years ago. Since then, the LGBTQ community often chuckles about how little affection was actually shown between them. The infamous scene of Ashley getting kicked out of the Carlin house was confusing to me at first. Were they even doing anything?

Later, when I saw Mandy Musgrave (Ashley) and Gabrielle in an interview about Girltrash, they stated they were happy that they were finally allowed to show the same degree of affection a straight couple would in a relationship.

Watching that infamous scene again now just made me laugh because a few weeks ago I watched Anyone But Me again, which aired 2008-2012, and as was said during the Anyone But Me panel at ClexaCon, Aster and Vivian had so many kisses and bed scenes, unlike Spencer and Ashley.

Are they together now?

That was not even what stood out to me now. I remembered their relationship but watching those two now made me realize how short the time is that they actually are together. Maybe it is precisely because they hardly show affection? Many times I was wondering about the status of their relationship: is this a friend phase, is this a friends-with-benefits phase, or are they together now?

I feel they faced more struggles apart from each other than together. Also, they hardly ever had to work things out together. This is often explained as Ashley pushing everybody away. To me, it is also an excuse for not showing the nitty gritty that every lesbian relationship faces just like any other real relationship faces. It would have been a great chance to show good queer representation but this writing did not allow for that. I can hear Deadpool saying: ‘Now that’s just lazy writing.’

First date

In season three, Ashley said that the day at the beach felt like their first date. Wow. Yes, they took a break from school together. However, when Spencer confesses she is into girls, Ashley invites a couple of dudes that pass by to join them for the day. Her intentions, we learn later, were to protect Spencer from homophobic comments every single day. Still, turning that day into a big romantic gesture two seasons later just felt sad.

In short, I think it is safe to say that yes, showing that lesbian relationship was great but South of Nowhere did not delve deep enough into it nor did it allow enough time for good representation of an LGBTQ couple.

2.      With respect to Ashley’s sexual orientation, South of Nowhere was afraid to discuss the topic of bisexuality.

As I have become more aware of bisexual representation after ClexaCon, I was left wondering whether Ashley was a bisexual rather than a lesbian, as claimed.

In season one, she specifies that she had feelings for Aiden but that she is now into girls. That indicates some kind of a choice. In season three, Aiden is angry with Ashley and yells that she is a lesbian when she wants to be and straight when it is convenient.

The entire concept of bisexuality (or pansexuality!) does not seem to exist in the minds of the characters. So what if Ashley feels attracted to men and women? Why does there have to be a judgment in Aiden’s comment? After all, Aiden is portrayed as the more open-minded person, even though his male gaze is clearly shown in nearly every South of Nowhere episode. A different, more open-minded approach could have been taken.

3.      South of Nowhere addressed many issues that are still relevant today

South of Nowhere showed me a whirlwind of issues that still seem relevant today. Some of those issues are more relevant in the US than in my own country, though.

Obviously, it discussed issues within the LGBTQ community but then there were also the teenage pregnancy and miscarriage of Chelsea, Paula and Arthur’s marriage struggles, Glen’s prescription drug abuse and addiction, the high school shooting where Clay passes away, Aiden’s PTSD, the racial profiling Clay faces in LA as well as Clay’s struggles with what it means to be black (and what it means to be black in a white family).

Please keep in mind that the three seasons only consisted of episodes of 22 minutes. So many bad things seemed to be happening all the time! No wonder the creators did not have enough time to delve deeper into Ashley and Spencer’s relationship.

Ready for South of Nowhere at LOVE Fan Fest

I know this article sounds as if I do not like South of Nowhere. I do! These are just some things that stood out to me now, ten years after the context in which those episodes aired. All I can say is that I am glad that we have seen progress in queer representation.

I was stoked to see the announcement of Mandy and Gabrielle coming to Barcelona. Can you imagine my disappointment when I found out Mandy could no longer attend? It would have been so cool seeing those two talk about the show again. Still, I cannot wait to see Gabrielle discuss the show this weekend! You can follow me on my YouTube channel. As I did at ClexaCon, I hope to be able to film much material and talk to the guests.

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