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The Queer Horror of “Chucky”: Episode 2.05 – “Doll on Doll”

Each week, Joe Lipsett will highlight a key scene or interaction in S02 from Don Mancini’s Chucky series to examine how the series engages and contributes to queer horror.

With episode 2.05 “Doll on doll”, “Chucky” transitions into the back half of his second season; oddly enough, this is a relatively lighthearted episode. So instead of an obvious topic, let’s take this opportunity to look at an unusual case of queer equality.

To get the ball rolling, let’s take a look at Jake’s litigious state (Zackary Arthur) and Devon (Bjorgvin Arnarson) the relationship. In previous editorials, I’ve explored just how groundbreaking pre-teen romance is, primarily because of its sweet, age-appropriate, and grounded portrayal.

While Jake and Devon expressed their romantic interest in each other relatively early on in S01 and stayed pretty solid, S02 was… rockier. First because of Jake’s home situation and more recently thanks to a disagreement over how to handle the appearance of new Chuckys at the School of the Incarnate Lord.

Things kind of come to a head in “Doll on Doll” when Devon protests Jake’s suggestion that Good Guy Chucky is in fact reformed after his aversion therapy in S02E03. Devon is frustrated that Jake is unaware of their history with the doll, which is a fair statement considering Chucky has they single-handedly killed everyone in their respective families. Jake’s turn to forgiveness has also happened very quickly this season, so it’s a little easier to side with Devon here (it has to be said though: in Jake’s defense, Good Guy Chucky has them). saved from Hulk Chucky).

Still, the small disagreements and sniping this season felt a little forced; at times, it felt like the pair were fighting just because the narrative demanded it. This friction between the pair has certainly produced some interesting results, especially here when Devon and Lexy (Alyvia Alyn Lind), two characters who rarely spend time alone together, go solo to explore the woods.

So what’s weird about it? Nothing really… and that’s what makes it interesting. The tension in Jake and Devon’s relationship actually feels more like an endless number of straight sitcoms and dramas when the writers introduce artificial conflict into a previously happy relationship. This is often done out of fear that audiences will lose interest in a couple once they reunite and usually follows a season of “will/won’t they” false starts. The prevailing belief seems to be that the public cannot accept a happy couple; according to traditional storytelling techniques, couples are only of interest if there is conflict in the relationship (no happiness please!).

Ironically, this somewhat frustrating narrative development between Jake and Devon can also be seen as a strange kind of queer equality. For too long, queer representation has been mean, predatory or inflammatory. More recently, the morality dial has shifted to the other side, where queer representation must be immaculate, perfect, and without any flaws.

Consider the queer outrage over Netflix’s use of the LGBT label on Netflix’s “Dahmer” that has emerged because a gay serial killer is not “the portrayal we want.” This protest is uncomfortable not only because it seeks to erase the fact that Dahmer is intrinsically part of queer history, but also confuses representation with “good” or “positive.”

Obviously, if the historical portrayal of a marginalized community is pervasively negative, damaging, and/or stereotypical, it’s worth keeping an eye on. But we live in a time when there’s no shortage of diverse and nuanced LGBTQIA text to consume on screens large and small, which means there’s absolutely room for flawed and messed up characters that don’t don’t always do good. thing.

Which brings us back to “Chucky.” Rather than worry about embodying the perfect pre-teen queer romance, “Chucky” is content to let Jake and Devon get a little messy and dramatic about their relationship. While Devon and Jake’s recent rocky patch may not be the happy fairy tale we hoped for the first season, their behavior is a) appropriate for kids their age, and b) adheres to the approach traditional (admittedly formulated) which is frequently used in stories of heterosexual couples.

Given “Chucky’s” media savvy, audiences probably should have expected the show’s writers to steer the relationship in that direction.

Despite this, it still has to be said: pull yourself together, boys! You have much bigger issues to worry about!