I love television. I often joke that when my husband and I started dating I asked him one night if he wanted to go out somewhere and he said “Well, I’d like to but we just have so much TV to watch,” to which I replied, “That’s the most romantic thing anyone has ever said to me.” And you know what? I kind of meant it.
I’ve never bought into the idea that TV rots your brain. I feel like TV taught me how to write. I paid attention to shows I was watching. To how long segments on sitcoms were. How there were usually two plots in an episode. I saw this before I knew they were even called an A plot and a B plot. I learned that what characters reveal about others could be just as important as what they reveal about themselves.
Today, my husband and I watch so much TV we’ve exhausted American television, British television and have moved into a lot of Canadian and Australian television. Seriously, check out Back to Life, Frayed, Back in Time for Dinner, and Kim’s Convenience if you can find them. (Kim’s is on Netflix)
Most families that belonged to the church I grew up in did not watch television on Sundays. In my house, we did. And that was because my dad loves TV, just like me.
When I came out to my parents they had a hard time with it. I often felt like we were growing apart and didn’t have a way to relate to each other any more. When I would visit, they’d pick me up from the airport and I’d be overwhelmed with a certain sense of dread at the time we were about to spend together at their home in Boise Idaho. I’d joke and complain to others about my visits home. Today I’m sad that this year, I wasn’t able to visit my parents in the summer like I have for the past five years.
Because of the visits we’ve had, I realized that where my dad and I could come together was TV. We’d watch Star Trek together and old Disney movies. The Haley Mills Parent Trap is a favorite of ours because it reminds him of his parents who were divorced. Witnessing this taught me that TV and movies were a gateway for emotion and understanding. It was then I decided that every time I came to visit, I’d expose my parents to a movie or show that they likely wouldn’t have seen had I not recommended it to them.
I remember showing my dad Harry Potter. He liked it but complained that he didn’t like that Harry was referred to as a wizard.
“They should just say he’s a magician."
My dad’s religious, so while that sounds funny, it was still a concern for him. I said:
"Well dad, he’s doing magic. He’s not doing tricks. He’s not pulling a rabbit out of a hat with sleight of hand. This story is good because this kind of magic is dependent on yourself. Finding strength in yourself and not relying on it coming from some unseen source.”
He watched all of the remaining films.
When I showed him the Hunger Games, he complained any time Katniss faltered or made a mistake. He’s a retired colonel, so I reminded him, “Dad, Katniss is a 16 year-old girl. She’s not a military man. She still won the Hunger Games."
And that was when I realized I could begin sneaking feminism into what I showed him. And that I could also do this with LGBTQ issues.
One of my favorite memories is putting on the movie Connie and Carla for my parents. If you haven’t seen it, it’s sweet. Do yourself a favor. Nia Vardalos created a heartwarming story about love and acceptance set in a down on its luck drag bar. In the film, there’s a drag queen whose brother is struggling to accept him. By that point in the movie my dad was invested in the characters. I could see him struggle not to show emotion when the character told his brother,
"You can’t pick and choose the parts of me that don’t make you sick to your stomach. you can’t have half a relationship with me…"
My dad was visibly angry when Charlie Price was verbally abusive to Lola in Kinky Boots and excited when she showed up to save the day.
I roped my mom into this experience. She’s a bit like me, or rather, I’ve become a bit like her now, where I can’t watch TV without doing something else. Computer work, drawing anything really. My mom was always ironing or cleaning something but I put on Coco for her and saw her relax and transform. Usually, it’s my dad who barely explains things to her if she has a question while watching something since English isn’t her native language. She speaks it well but movies all move fast now. This flipped that experience and my mom was singing along to La Llorona and explaining things to my dad. We ended up watching it in English and in Spanish.
A few years ago I sat them down and put on Season 1 of One Day at a Time. Never in my life did I think there would be a show about a military, religious, Latinx family. They devoured the show. My dad made some comments about immigration that were annoying to me, but what that did was start a conversation between us about the topic. Those conversations rarely go well, but if he connects with someone’s story, it’s harder to be against them and what they represent. When Elena came out he was already invested in her character and seeing Penelope struggle with it helped my dad understand his own feelings about me. Seeing Elena be abandoned by her father in Season 1 infuriated him and made him sad. It showed me that he loved me and wouldn’t do that to me. When Elena sat on the couch watching Buffy he couldn’t stop laughing and saying, "That’s you! Ha! I can’t believe it!” He would never have compared me in a positive way to a woman before. This warmed my heart in ways I can’t express.
For some reason, my mother has always been interested in the British royal family. Specifically, Princess Diana. When I told her about The Crown she practically jumped in excitement and after the first episode she asked “When does Diana show up?” I laughed and said, “You gotta watch three seasons first, Mom.” She’s seen the first two now and binged the first season with my dad when they came for the first time ever, to visit me and my husband for Thanksgiving last year.
I can’t wait to show them The Queen’s Gambit.
My parents don’t have Netflix or Hulu or a roku or an Apple TV or anything. They’re in their 70’s and it would be a whole thing to try to get them to set that up over the phone. It just wouldn’t happen. The next time I’m able to visit, I’ll set something up for them because I want them to continue to realize what I discovered a long time ago: TV and movies are just stories. But stories aren’t plot and events like many people think. They are emotion and connection. They serve a great purpose: to make us feel less alone. To help us feel understood and represented. It’s a powerful medium and something that has brought my parents and I closer together in a way I don’t think anything else could have.
I drew Sophia from @kalynnbayron ‘s book, Cinderella is Dead. More art coming soooooon. 🙂
So I drew #poisonivy because I’m loving the new #harleyquinn cartoon. Not sure which version I like better. What do you think?
The #legendofkorra will always be a special show to me because of how amazing it is and because of how special @thejvclub is to me as well. So I drew a new #Korra and have been binging it all day. Happy Korra Day! #avatarthelastairbender (at West Linn, Oregon)
Please go follow @sobreamorserie and support my friend @danczorrilla ‘s new series with @letto_garmassi . It’s going up on YouTube but currently not in the states. Maybe soon. Hopefully soon! I’m the meantime get excited for it! I drew this inspired by the series. #sobreamor 💗💗💗 (at Pearl District Downtown Portland)
As a gay, Latino, former resident of The Bronx, it’s no wonder that when I see this face I feel hope. I feel my heart swing open like a door and sense possibilities and positivity rush through. Not much else does that for me right now. So I had to draw @aoc - Thank you for your support of so many communities I belong to and care about.
Very excited for the new direction that @pvponline is going in and already love Katie! Check out the comic at PvPonline dot com - it’s done by my Good Judy, @toonhound !
I have been inspired by @misscocoperu ever since I saw her in #towongfoo so I wanted to draw her look from that movie. I’m so grateful to be able to call her a friend and to have done art for her in the past. #cocoperu
Just binged @daybreak on #netflix and I loved it. Who gave it permission to be that good?!! Anyway, I wanna draw the characters so here is @sophiesimnett as Sam Dean. #daybreak (at Portland, Oregon)
Morning sketch of #jeangrey while I watched The #Xmen #phoenix Saga.
Wanted to finish this on the off chance that my favorite @divinadecampo ends up winning @dragraceukbbc tonight. No spoilers! About to watch it. #teamdivina
I will have standees of my Aztec #wonderwoman at @mexamericon this weekend! And then I’ll have them for sale online after that. I’ll keep you posted here.
I will have copies of my new mini comic, You Say LatinX, at @mexamericon Nov. 9th in Austin!
Little thing I made for my favorite movie. Put this sentence on my tombstone. #romyandmichelle
I really can’t stop.
I’ve been a fan of @divinadecampo for a while now and love her on All Together Now. So glad she is on @dragraceukbbc and she’s been consistently amazing on it.
Just a little sketch of @bagachipz from @dragraceukbbc - She’s hilarious and she makes me smile. #dragraceuk #muchbetta
Updated my #captainmarvel art.
Another Roger from @americandad #americandad This time dressed up as Ru! #dragrace #dragraceuk Who else do you think he would dress up as? Let me know in the comments!
It’s probably sacrilege ( Sorry #fridakahlo ) but I had to. Roger is one of my favorite Drag Queens and I love @americandad #americandad