Let me start with stating that I don’t watch Polish tv series AT ALL. Especially the ones that run for ages, The Bold and The Beautiful-style. But it couldn’t escape my attention when Internet informed me that another popular prime time tv series is going to get a queer storyline.
This “another” sounds like there have been so many before, which isn’t true. Poland has a lot of catching up to do, but obviously the problem is wider and doesn’t involve only entertainment. Being one of the very few European countries that don’t recognize same-sex couples in any way, it is incredibly important for the topic to have as much visibility as possible. A positive one, preferably.
I’m not going to go into the topic of gays and lesbians in Polish tv. There have been some, also on very popular shows. Some of them have even been written in a very good and thorough way which is crucial in a country where so many people believe LGBT community to consist solely of freaks of nature and degenerates. Another crucial thing to mention: most of those characters were gay men. Internet tells me there have been only 2 or 3 lesbians on Polish tv shows that were recurring characters, important for the storylines. (As I said, I’m not an expert in Polish tv, so if I’m wrong, please correct me!)
The tv channel that is probably most keen on diversity and provides most positive visibility to LGBT people is TVN. They not only had both lesbian and gay characters on their shows, but also made them very likeable for the public. And this spring, they have decided to do that again on one of their flag series Na Wspólnej (in it’s 13th year of airing already…). Don’t ask me what this show is about, it’s enough to say that it follows the stories of countless people living in Warsaw. It’s like Coronation Street (UK), but in a bigger city.
So, one of it’s younger characters, Ola, is a girl that haven’t had much luck in love. With guys at least. When a new student, Klaudia, joins her classes at the university they become fast friends. Klaudia is being “courted” by some of their male friends, but rejects each of them without any second thoughts, so it becomes quite clear early on (for the viewer) that she just doesn’t fancy guys. The friendship between Ola and Klaudia develops and we arrive to the episode that aired tonight (but has been a topic for most online gossip sites for months already) when this happens:
Basically there’s a party, where everyone gets pretty drunk and the girls begin slow-dancing with each other. The closeness encourages them and they kiss in front of their friends. At this point it’s difficult to say how it will progress and I’m a bit afraid that the whole thing might be the show’s strategy to bring more viewers. However, I have read and watched some interviews with the actress that plays Ola (the blonde one) and she claims that the whole relationship (so there’s a relationship!) is shown with subtlety and is basically about love between two people, genders aside.
Now, I don’t really know whether this is the first kiss between two women on Polish prime time TV. I’ve done some research, there appears to be another one on a show that aired on the same channel (Wawa Non Stop), but it is hardly a comparison since it was mostly to be a shocking factor there (also the show itself is not worth mentioning to put it nicely).
Also, according to press releases, Ola and Klaudia are going to end up in bed, which for sure will be the first time for Polish public tv (remember: I am only referring to Polish shows on Polish TV). For now I am going to trust the words of the actress and hope that the whole thing is going to be shown exactly as the on-screen straight relationships. I admit that I watched this episode and other scenes that involved Ola and Klaudia and to be honest, I think the actresses have good chemistry which is already a promising thing, since it doesn’t happen so often.
One way or the other, this storyline is definitely going to make history due to the lack of such in Polish TV series. And if the writers follow it with the same carefulness they apply to straight characters, I will be that much satisfied. No doubt those kinds of TV shows are supposed to be a mirror of the society in a way. People get involved with them to a point where they confuse actors with the roles they play. Thanks to that positive representation of queer community they might also finally understand that LGBT people are not some aliens that live somewhere far away, but are part of the society, live and love like everyone else, because – after all – they are like everyone else.