Never has an American reality TV show given so much visibility to so many lesbian people. The Ultimatum: Queer Love on Netflix, however, leaves a bitter taste. This is the subject of Numerama’s chronicle in the show Le Meilleur des Mondes, broadcast on France Culture on Friday June 9, 2023.
The Ultimatum, it’s what ? This is the new unpublished reality show from Netflix which features a dozen participants, 5 or 6 couples depending on the season. The principle: within each pair, one wants to get married, the other does not.
To unlock all this, an amazing solution: the candidates mingle, flirt and will form new couples with the other participants. For three weeks, they and they will live together as in a “false marriage”, before finding their original partner.
We catch our breath. Now that you have the basics, you are all set and ready for the trailer in VF. With a twist: in the new season of The Ultimatumall the candidates are lesbians.
Showing lesbians to 230 million subscribers
I could make believe that I stuffed myself these 10 episodes for science. The truth is that I took great pleasure in seeing these candidates queer crash into my TV. Even though I find the concept inconsistent and the strings coarse.
Part of me was indeed delighted with such a level of representativeness for a historically invisible community. Growing up in the 80s and 90s meant having only a dozen films to watch on repeat to feel like you existed.
Today Netflix shows these 10 lesbians to 230 million subscribers and subscribers. The underlying message is clear: queer people are like everyone else, experiencing the same worries with just as much intensity.
I first saw a celebration there: the right of lesbians to be useless, heavy and ready to make a spectacle of their intimate life. A way to reject the injunctions to excellence, which minority people know well. Since they are not very visible, those who “succeed” (in terms of power or visibility) often have the pressure to be impeccable role models.
But after ingesting these 10 episodes, something sticks in my stomach.
Is it really a victory to have succeeded in bringing queer personalities into the mold of heterocentric reality shows – with a unique pattern, exclusive couples, home ownership and children’s projects? It could also be galvanizing to show other models, not necessarily perfect, but possible alternatives, which would allow society to think differently. Maybe that’s also what we expect from a better world.
Re-listen to the Brave New World program of June 9 on France Culture
To listen to the show again Social networks, new stars of reality TV? it’s here.
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