A Force to Be Reckoned With
Netflix recently released it’s new cartoon, Q-Force. People have called it a gay James Bond. I like to think of it as a gay(er) version of Archer. With a number of LGBTQ+ voice actors on the show, including big names like Sean Hayes and Wanda Sykes, the show definitely does a lot to hold true and support the group of people that it is targeting. The show starts with Steve Maryweather graduating at the top of his class as a spy which he uses as a platform to come out. The homophobic director renames Rick Buck the new valedictorian and Steve (a.k.a. Mary) ends up in West Hollywood with other LGBTQ+ agents in a group that gets nicknamed Q-Force. The series is 10 episodes long and was all released at once so everything is available to watch now. I’ve seen some people say that the stereotypes in the show were offensive. Personally, I found the show funny and see that the stereotypes they portray are actually their strengths. If anything, I’d think the full frontal cartoon nudity would be more shocking. I’ll go into more details below, but if you haven’t watched this, give it a try. Ten half-hour episodes goes by very quickly.
Steve Maryweather (voiced by Sean Hayes of Will & Grace fame) is the standard pretty boy who is good at everything sort of guy. He gets sent to West Hollywood where he pulls together other gay agents who have been relegated to there. Deb (voiced by comedian Wanda Sykes) is their butch lesbian tech guru who is married to her wife who, early on at least, thinks Deb just works at Pep Boys. Twink is a drag queen extraordinaire. He can mimic just about any female he puts his mind to which comes in quite useful at times. Lastly, we have Stat, the resident goth hacker. (Her hair was the one thing that annoyed me about the show.) The team sat around for 10 years without a case which is where the show picks up.
The team reports in with V, a high ranking female agent who seems to support them but really doesn’t seem to be doing anything to help them do any real spy work. Everyone on the team seems to be just be acting under cover with jobs that they don’t actually do as far as I can tell (other than Twink who does actual drag performances). Steve is an interior designer who has an office, but I doubt he’s ever had a customer. The team decides that if they aren’t going to be assigned a case, they are going to look for something on their own. This leads to them actually uncovering some criminal doings and getting a good name in the agency for the work. They are put on following up on where everything is going with an actual budget this time. The only problem is that they get assigned another agent, Rick Buck, who still has a rivalry with Mary and is straight unlike the other agents.
With the team working out of a hidden area behind Steve’s office, Steve ends up running into the Benji who works in the office next door. Benji (pictured to the right) is a slightly flamboyant bear. Given how it is in just about any gay movie out there, you’d expect someone like Steve to get together with someone like himself, but it’s good to see the show connect the popular, muscular, handsome guy and a chubby bearded bearish guy. They even end up in bed pretty quick too so there’s definitely chemistry. Sadly, Steve had to keep the fact that he’s an agent hidden from Benji including how the death of one of Benji’s friends was indirectly his fault. The last episode ends with Steve about ready to spill the beans though. There hasn’t been any news yet on whether there’s a second season. I hoping there will because it’s a great show, but I also want to see Benji react to all of this and see where things go with the two of them.
Another recurring character is Princess Mira Popadopolous of Gyenorvya. (There’s a name that’s a mouthful!) She is a young and super bubbly girl who is very pro-gay which is cool. She even has World Pride in her country. Somehow, this event seems to draw in people from all over the world that the team knows including Benji. The princess is always there to help out the team. She is also helping herself to Agent Buck as well for some reason tho he is quite gullible and not too bright. As the whole cast starts coming together at the end of the series, I suddenly realized that she’s actually a bad guy right before I was proven correct. The team is joined by a bunch of older gay agents who they found brainwashed. This just showed how much the agency hadn’t wanted out gay people around for a long time. Among all the other good the team does, they rescue all these people and get their memories back. I loved seeing Steve flirting with Andrew, one of the older agents with a Sean Connery-ish look. (Or, as Steve puts it, “You’re like King Triton with shorter hair and legs instead of a tail.”) It’s good to see one gay stereotype that’s missing in the show is that someone needs to be young and buff to be attractive to gay guys.
There are a lot of great moments in the show both in terms of humor and personal connection as everyone on the team (Agent Buck to a lesser level as he’s more the comedy relief) has some great points throughout the season. As I said, the character stereotypes in the show are used to make the characters good and relatable instead of cliche. I hope this is the start of more shows like this. Variety in terms of the types of shows that are gay centered would be nice. Gay representation in general is good but there are few shows outside the every day normal person’s life (whether comedy or drama) for gay people. A gay spy show is definitely a nice change. At least we have a gay super-hero one with Batwoman. Let’s see what other unique ideas we can come up with.