PLAYWAVE CREATIVE REVIEW: FAG/STAG
Reviewed by Zack Lewin
FAG/STAG vaguely explores an idea that probably isn’t true, but has been imposed on me my whole life through sitcoms:
You don’t want to be single in your late twenties - because you will somehow become obnoxiously depressed no matter how much money or how many friends you have.
The idea of this bothers me a lot. I value gratitude and humility and I find that often these narratives of young loneliness are perpetuated by a conceited and ungrateful higher class. So it bothers me quite a lot, until I realise that I’m 17 and I’m probably going to inevitably experience the same thing.
Initially I found the direction of FAG/STAG quite challenging, because of my own personal vendetta against the narrative I thought it was telling. But I soon realised there was something more unique about FAG/STAG, it’s down to Earth.
Obviously it has the added layer of being told both by a gay man (Jimmy) and a straight man (Corgan) with that stark cultural comparison, but what was most refreshing was seeing the commonalities. It was very clear that although they might communicate in slightly different ways, have sad and defeated hookups using different apps, etc, these men were both men, with the same kind of hypocritical judgements of others that most men have.
Although a lot of the plot was outside of my demographic so I couldn’t relate to a lot of what actually happened, I do think that the relationship between Jimmy and Corgan was one of the most true and respectful depictions of the gay/straight male relationship that I have seen.
I think what made it that way was that, while they were unaware of their own faults, they knew the flaws of the other like the back of their hand. There was a balance in their interactions. And most of all, a voice for audience members like me.
I found them each, although particularly Corgan, so very infuriating, and the other would voice that annoyance. This show breached the usual complete and utter self absorption of most young loneliness narratives and grounded it, took it right back down to Earth where it belongs.
And most of all, it showed characters that despite their cultural differences could still find meaningful friendship, or rather partnership in one another. It questioned the true need for our society’s established lust for romance, implying that in some ways a friendship can be infinitely more fulfilling.