This Has Gone Too Far

I had assumed that Jason Ralph taking a hiatus from The Magicians was because he’d decided to pursue another job, perhaps a cinematic film role. Let’s get real. For what other reason would an actor leave a hit show except to achieve an even greater role to advance his or her career? Some of them pull both, a tv show and a movie part. Roll the dice and see which comes up seven.

This week I read that this might not be the case here. Quentin Coldwater (Ralph’s SyFy doppelganger) could well be the victim of sexual/racial politics. Follow this link for more information on the mystery.

The British version of the Academy Awards, BAFTA, was awash in speeches in favor of inclusion. I’m in favor of inclusion but not at the expense of honoring what’s best in awards ceremonies and a hit tv show I love. Was Joaquin Phoenix the right guy for the Best Actor award? I don’t know. I’ve watched Joker but haven’t gotten around to all of the nominated films to cast my vote. And the powers that be don’t care. I’m not on the nominating committees and I don’t get a say in who wins either a BAFTA, Oscar or Golden Globe.

I think Denzel Washington richly deserved his Oscar win for Training Day over Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind but I didn’t see Halle Berry’s performance in Monster Ball as all that earth shaking. She’s done better. That’s just my opinion. Show me a gay actor nominated for a major award and I’ll tell you whether I think they should have won or not. Jodie Foster in Silence of the Lambs? Oh, hell yes. Marlon Brando, who was bisexual, won twice. I didn’t know Kevin Spacey was gay and I don’t care. He’s a great actor but I think he turned in a better perfomance in Seven.

Two very good movies have been made about gay rock stars and the question was asked: Why weren’t gay men cast in the roles? I’ll tell you. Can you imagine anyone better for the part of Freddie Mercury than Rami Malik once the no doubt painful orthodontia was put into his mouth? And need I remind everyone Malik got the Oscar that year? I knew he would because he deserved it. Playing a gay man had nothing to do with it, or at least I hope not. Indeed, the film downplays Mercury’s sexual preference. In one scene reporters are hammering the band with questions about Freddy coming out. He asks, Can’t we get back to the music, people? That’s what Mercury was about. His music.

Taron Egerton was cast as Elton John in Rocketman because he looks like John. And sings like him, too. Yes, that’s Egerton doing the vocals and he studied piano so his playing would look realistic even though David Hartley is the one we hear banging the 88s. The guy worked his butt off for this part. It was a casting decision based on what was best for the production, not political correctness. In the one love scene Egerton throws himself at Richard Madden (Game of Thrones) with all the gusto of a man releasing his true nature. While neither man is gay, that I know of, they did the scene with convincing lust. They call it acting, folks. You don’t have to be it to play it.

I’m getting off-point a little bit. The brouhaha over Quentin Coldwater is that the character is too white, too heterosexual and too normative. (Is that the new way to say normal? Just asking.) The gist of the issue is that we need to explore other ways of being, such as female, LGBTQ, and people of color. But wait! Quentin has had more than a fling with Eliot. So the real issue here is that Quentin is white. It must be.

Who do we have left in The Magicians? We have Penny, a character of East Indian extract, Eliot, a gay man, Josh, another heterosexual man but with sexaully-transmitted lycanthropy, and the women, Julia, Kady, Margot and Alice. (Hey! None of them are black!) I love all these characters and don’t give a damn what they look like or who they sleep with. I love them for who and what they are and the wiz-bang of their spells. That’s what’s up but the producers and writers are bowing to the objections of the Hollywood left.

Boo. Booooo!

Can’t you just let us sit back and enjoy the show? Why does politics have to enter into it at all? I know, I know. Without an aggressive push nothing would ever change and media is the best way to get new ideas over since, as a nation, we all have our heads down staring at our cell phones or our attention on the television screen. The Magicians has a pretty varied cast even though Penny (Arjun Gupta) and Dean Fogg (Rick Worthy) are the only main splash of color.

Hale Appleman, bisexual onscreen and homosexual off, plays Eliot, possibly my favorite character on the show. They’re all so well-portrayed it’s hard to pick just one to be at the top of my list. I love Margot (Summer Bishil) for her bitchitude. Kady (Jade Tailor) is absolutely going to do what she has to in order to pull off the next big thing. Josh (Trevor Einhorn) is endearingly lovable and an enthusiastic cook. Alice (Olivia Dudley) is downright deadly. Penny is funny as hell and the one guy that can teleport. Julia (Stella Maeve) is, in my eyes, the top magician in the group. But, come on folks, Quentin is the main character. He’s who the Lev Grossman books are based on.

Quentin is the heart and soul of the stories, a flawed, insecure man who was ready to cut his wrists until Brakebill’s University for wizards showed him he wasn’t crazy, he was a damned magician. He was obsessed with the mythical world of Fillory, which he just thought to be a fictional book realm, until he found it and took all the other main characters there. He’s at the heart of the show and they want to cut him out because he’s not politically expedient. That’s more than just wrong.

Although Quentin—spoiler alert here—sacrifices himself to save the world of magic, does that mean he’s not coming back to the series? Penny did. They managed to make a plot arc involving multiple time lines and brought Penny over from one of them when our Penny was already dead and employed in the underworld library. Will the writers of this wonderful show find a way to do the same with Quentin? Or is he too white bread?

Shouldn’t inclusion mean everyone gets to play kickball on the playground? Bring Quentin back to the game. The viewers miss him. We’re what it’s all about.

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