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'The Bisexual' Arrives at Hulu
November 16, 2018  | By David Hinckley  | 1 comment
 

Hulu’s wry comic drama The Bisexual doesn’t leave viewers guessing about its subject matter.

Desiree Akhavan (top), who cocreated The Bisexual with Rowan Riley, stars as Leila, who somewhere in the middle of her adult life “takes a break” from her long-time relationship with a woman and ends up seeing if it might work out with a man.

The six-episode series, which becomes available Friday, spends considerable time on the awkwardly amusing aspects of Leila’s sexual journey.

Underneath keen observations about the foibles and quirks of both straight and LGTBQ persons, however, it also tackles a question that remains a topic of considerable and heated debate: Is there such a thing as a bisexual?

One traditional answer to that question is, no, there are only people who are lesbian or gay and don’t have the courage to admit it. They feel it’s more respectable, or something, if they can tell themselves they have one foot in the straight door.

The flip side of that concept pops up early on The Bisexual when a group of women at a lesbian bar dismisses the notion that straight people who come in looking for a pickup have genuine same-sex feelings.

“They’re just sex tourists,” one woman says.

The question gets more nuanced for Leila, and at times more troubling, after she and her partner Sadie (Maxine Peake) decide to take that break.

It’s Leila who wants to take it. Sadie counters by proposing they get married, which in its own way underscores their lack of romantic alignment.

To get a physical separation, Leila moves into a place also occupied by Gabe (Brian Gleeson, top), a one-hit-wonder novelist who now teaches writing in college. He and Leila don’t fall into an instant rom-com embrace, which would be too easy, but their mutual insecurities draw them together and in an odd way push Leila toward her own new sex adventures.

Despite lots and lots of awkward, her first time with a guy does open a door through which Leila becomes curious to peek.

Adding to the awkwardness, Leila and Sadie co-own a business, so they have to work with each other all the time. Leila’s emotional insecurity is further fueled by her good friend Deniz (Saskia Chana), who has a habit of interrupting Leila’s long rationalizations with clear and blunt summations of what’s really happening.

The show’s title correctly suggests that there’s a lot of graphic sex talk. There’s not all that much graphic sex action, but little about the anatomical aspects of straight and gay sex is left undiscussed.

We root for Leila without liking everything she does, and the same is true to some extent for almost all the other characters. The exception, at least at first, may be Gabe. Cruel as it sounds, viewers may find themselves whispering “Yes!” when a young female student he has been seducing tells him she was disappointed because “You don’t [have sex] the way you write.”

Straight people can be so catty.

In any case, The Bisexual doesn’t offer definitive answers on bisexuality, other than to suggest it’s like any other shade of sexuality. Sometimes really hard to figure out, but it’s almost always enticing enough to keep trying.

 
 
 
 
 
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1 Comments
 
 
George
I found this to be unwatchable, mostly because of Desiree Akhavan.
Nov 22, 2018   |  Reply
 
 
 
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