Good People In Love Takes on Gay Marriage and Wins
Robin | On 28, Mar 2013
From the outside the entertainment industry is often perceived as shallow and all surface, but people within, be they writers, directors, actors or even producers, love a BIG subject. The problem with handling BIG subjects is that, while audiences are open to them, they don’t like them to be shoved down their throats. People can be contrary, and if you tell them what to think then they will happily think the opposite, even if they don’t really believe it, just to spite you.
Good People in Love is set in New York hours before the approval of gay marriage. Certainly that is a big issue, but it’s also a very divisive one, one in which it would be arguably impossible to present both sides and not make a decision. But lecturing (or worse still sermonizing) at your audience is not a good thing, and if the decision is foregone then where is tension in watching? What Good People in Love does is therefore very clever, the big serious subject of gay marriage is merely a backdrop to a drama about various interconnected relationships, gay and straight. The drama addresses the issue by subtly inferring (but never saying outright) that all relationships are the same; bad or good, hard or simple; the same joys and the same disasters.
Another thing that Good People in Love does differently to most big issue dramas is that it is almost willfully small scale and focused. It is a taut five episodes, with the longest only 10 minutes. More importantly it takes place almost entirely within one house, during one dinner party, and involves only the six guests. Such a situation screams of Abigail’s Party but there is no comedy of awkwardness here, no comedy at all really. Good People in Love presents a view of love which is never rose-tinted and at times teeters on the edge of depressing. Infidelity, jealousy, spite and other negative emotions rear their heads. At times it seems like that title is bitterly ironic.
But it’s not. The point (or at least what I took away) is that good people in love do stupid things; sometimes those things are good and sometimes they are wantonly self-destructive. It should be hard to like these people, but thanks to some sharp writing and recognizable situations it is in fact hard to dislike them (much as you may want to). They are after all good people, but being in love can make you crazy.
What you might expect from Good People in Love is a drama about gay relationships, what you get is a drama about relationships. And for all society’s progress, the most controversial thing you can do with a gay relationship onscreen is to portray it as normal. That’s Good People in Love’s triumph in dealing with its a BIG subject, its triumph as entertainment is how it slips that message in without you even noticing.