A few days ago, I said that I really wished Daley Wong had been allowed to have a boyfriend or husband. Sure, all the hints lead to Priss being a lesbian – who has no issue leading a man (aka Leon) along to get information she needs for her vigilante job – but she at least at some point gets a girlfriend, even if it’s only subtext. I think Priss is actually the only one who has any sort of relationship outside of the core characters, and even then, it’s just a plot point. Just think if just one of them had a romance that had nothing to do with the main plot? And their object of affection didn’t have to die to further the story???
I’ve been rewatching Xena: Warrior Princess as I do the same with Bubblegum Crisis and Bubblegum Crash, so the concept of culturally necessary subtext has been on my mind quite a bit. I’m not sure if Xena would have been as successful if it had just been outright, “Yep, they’s be lesbians,” and it’s not like sex is the only thing LGBTQIA+ people want to see. We just want to be seen. And the writers for Bubblegum Crisis could have gone a little bit further with Daley than they did, even if they chose to do it in a subtext kind of way. Give him, say, a roommate, who everyone knows is his live-in boyfriend. This guy could be in on the jokes between Daley and Leon, worries when Daley leads major AD Police missions, secretly knows that Nene is a Knight Saber but keeps her secret … I would watch the show for that alone!
To be honest, Daley having a boyfriend would not have changed much about the show, but dammit, I want to know more about him. I want to go beyond what he does at work, and I feel like the character deserves quite a bit more than he is given in the series. Obviously, the length of the series played a part in how deep they could go with characterization, and Daley is only peripherally involved with the Sabers. So naturally, the writers would want to focus on the four main women. But the reboot – all 26 episodes of it – dismissed Daley, as well, not even touching on his homosexuality and making his this prissy person instead of the badass that he is.
From a narrative perspective, an expansion on Daley’s life might have just been padding for the show, but for those of us who want to see better representation, it’s disappointing to see a character even more interesting than the male lead, Leon, just be passed on as, at best, extraneous. So I guess what I wish is less that Daley would have gotten a boyfriend and more that I wish he had a bigger role in the show, so in that they could have a reason to showcase his sexuality in a positive light. That would have been really nice, honestly.
Art Credit: FanPop