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"Panic": "Dawson's Creek" Meets "The Hunger Games," with Gay Characters

"In the forgotten town of Carp, Texas, Panic is the only way out. Every summer graduating seniors risk their lives competing in a series of challenges for the chance to win life-changing money."  

A scripted series about a reality-tv show based on The Hunger Games?  You have got to be kidding.  And I know that being desperate to escape small towns has been a standard trope for generations, but why not just get on a bus?  Is there like a wall around the town?  Who decided to subject their kids to life-threatening challenges instead of just funding a scholarship?  Why do the parents go along with it?  Why do the kids?  

The wikipedia page mentions heterosexual love interests and a boy who "gets the girl."  The icon shows a boy and a girl about to kiss; the trailer shows another boy-girl couple kissing."  Looks very, very heterosexist.  But just in case they sneaked a gay character in without telling us, I went through Episode 4 on fast-forward. 

Minute 8:
Tyler (Jordan Elsass), who has been injured, is sitting in a pickup truck with Ray (Ray Nicholson, top photo, shown with his father, legendary actor Jack Nicholson).  Ray is wearing pink sunglasses.  Tyler reveals that he got into some trouble with his drug suppliers down in Galveston, and they beat him up.  But he wants back in the Panic Game.

Ray: "You're in a lot of trouble.  Lucky for you, I know you so well.  I sent in your proof."  He shows him a picture on his cell phone.

Tyler: "Looks like a dick."

Maybe they are a gay couple?

Minute 14:
At the lake.  Bad Boy Ray grabs and hugs a cute guy...his boyfriend?  Nope, his brother, Luke Hall (Walker Babbington).

Luke: Did you miss me? 

Ray: No.   I missed borrowing your car, though.

Luke: The only way your dumb ass could get laid.  (Only straight people say "get laid," ergo Ray is straight.).

Minute 30: The "Players' Ball."  All the teens in town are there, dancing, smoking crack (or something out of clay pipes), and pouring beer on each other.  I don't see any couples dancing together.A fat guy, Drew (Cosme Flores), is playing cards with two girls and a long-haired boy (Troy, played by Stephen Dieh, left).  Could they be LGBTQ?  They don't say anything specific.

Dodge (Mike Faist) in the hot tub.  The girl on the other side of the tub asks "How come you never laugh?"  Constantly depressed is a gay trope, so maybe...

She says: "I think you're afraid."  Afraid to come out, maybe?

Nope, they start grabbing at each other.

Tyler, the drug dealer from Minute 8, is sitting with between two guys. Could they be the gay crew?  Nope, they double-take at a passing babe.

Troy, the long-haired guy from the card game, grabs Bad Boy Ray from behind.  They start dancing together.  Ok, these two have to be gay.  Wait -- is that Ray kissing a girl?  I'm confused.

Drew the Fat Guy gives central character Heather boyfriend advice.  Ok, he's gay.

Heather and Ray spend five minutes chatting and smooching.  The end.

  Just Dodge in the hot tub.  There are some buffed cast members, including Enrique Murciano (left) as the sheriff and David W. Thompson as a rich kid (wait -- why would a rich kid compete for prize money to escape from his small town?).

Gay Characters:  I'm guessing Drew and Troy, with his dance partner Bad Boy Ray as just nonchalant: "A gay guy flirting with me?  That's cool."  

Racial Diversity:  I saw black, Hispanic, Asian, and South Asian teens.

Cliches: Lots of pickup trucks, cowboy hats, small-town diners, and dusty streets.

The Game: I was fast forwarding, but I didn't really see anything life-threatening going on.  This seems to be mostly a teen angst soap opera.

Will I Keep Watching: Maybe on fast-forward, to see if Troy or Drew get boyfriends.

source http://everydayheterosexism.blogspot.com/2021/06/panic-dawsons-creek-meets-hunger-games.html

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