During a panel last Thursday, the team behind the hit FOX series Tree House announced plans to make the show more diverse this season by introducing a no-nonsense lady character who they hope you’ll assume is a lesbian.
“No, we won’t ever confirm, follow up, or explicitly deal with the character’s sexuality,” reported showrunner Alex Booth, “But we will make her super sensible and stern. So, yeah, that seems like queer representation to me.”
The creative team went on to explain that the character will work in the same office as the lead character, will smile very rarely, and will frequently roll her eyes at the show’s male characters.
“And in that way, don’t you think she may be a lesbian?” announced Booth.
“We’re committed to representing queer stories,” continued Tree House’s director Cameron Glilch, “And by that we mean, stories that may be queer but also may not be. We don’t have time to flesh that out. But we’re going to have the character wear a lot of button downs under sweaters. So the audience can be the judge on that.”
“We believe in this push for diversity so strongly that we made it a point to cast an actress who — true to character — also may or may not be queer,” continued Glilch. “That’s another thing we certainly will not confirm or deny but hope that you will wholeheartedly assume she’s gay. She has lots of pictures on social media with a man but who knows what that could actually mean.”
The series’ fans quickly reacted to the show’s announcement.
“I know they’re just queerbaiting and trying to check a box,” said fan Lexi Pausche, “But having a character that might be gay makes it one of the queerest shows on network TV. I know we shouldn’t fall for this kind of representation but I’m already ‘shipping’ her and another female character. I can’t help it, I have to.”
Fans were particularly inspired to write fanfiction online about a moment in the first episode of the season when there’s a scene where her eyes linger on another female character for just a half second too long. The aggressively imaginative fan generated fiction about this single fleeting gaze temporarily shut down online forums dedicated to the show despite there being no dialogue or any intentional character development in that moment.
At press time, the character was promoted to a series regular and, totally coincidentally, was also given a serious boyfriend story line.