jennifer hanigan

a pinch of this and a dollop of that


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Finding Ourselves in Fiction: One Mississippi

(note: some of what I discuss may be considered spoilers)

I will never not be sad that One Mississippi has only 12 episodes.

If you aren’t familiar with Tig Nataro, my advice to you is to call in sick to work, cancel all your social engagements, order some Chinese takeout, and begin streaming all the things.

One Mississippi is fiction, but it’s based on Tig’s real life experiences with breast cancer, the death of her mother, and her relationship with her wife, among other things. As you can imagine, there are some dark themes running throughout. The show is quite serious about them, but it is also full of humor and laughter and love.

There is so much about this show that delights me, from the shared misery of navigating dating and romance as a queer woman* to Tig’s relationships with her brother and stepfather. (Her stepfather’s life could serve as an entire show on its own.) I’ve watched it twice through and will never tire of its understated humor.

There is, however, once annoyance: bisexuality doesn’t exist in the universe of One Mississippi. Even though multiple characters are clearly bisexual, the word is never used once, and instances of being attracted to multiple genders are greeted with confusion. The very idea of being bi+ is so foreign that a chief storyline involves one character repeatedly insisting she can’t want a romantic relationship with Tig because she’s “not gay.” While simultaneously falling in love with her, and spending her nights watching “The L Word” and drinking wine.

Bismuth

What happens when a chem major is bisexual? Yeah.

More than half of queer people identify as bisexual (or pansexual or non-monosexual, etc.). Ignoring the existence of bi+ identities leads to the very confusion that people experience when they find they’re attracted to more than one gender that the abovementioned character experiences. One Mississippi could have done a great service for the queer community by exploring this idea, but instead it reduced each character to being either Gay or Not Gay.

Nevertheless, it is a wonderful show and I cannot recommend it enough. (Be aware that there are some adult themes, a set of fake breasts, and various profanities throughout.)

*Dating women is both easier and more difficult than dating men, in my somewhat limited experience. I have no explanation for this, and can only surmise that being bisexual gives me the power to violate the laws of both physics and reason.

 

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