On Supergirl season 2, Lena Luthor was introduced to the show and became close friends with Kara Danvers. It wasn’t long before fans of their “relationship” began to emerge, mostly due to the natural chemistry between the two actresses.
This isn’t the fault of anyone, nor is it a bad thing, but people were still, of course, disappointed when the people who worked on the show — both writers and actors alike — said there would never be a romance between Kara and Lena.
Personally, I’m not invested in any of the couples on the show. Sure, there are some I enjoy more than others, but as long as both people are happy and the relationship isn’t toxic and unhealthy, I’m pretty indifferent. The reason I mention this is because a common rebuttal to this type of take — on LGBT fans being taken advantage of — is often just dismissed as diehard fans of a couple simply twisting dialogue and scenes to fit the narrative they want.
But that isn’t the case. Fans of Kara and Lena aren’t just grasping at straws. (And this is all coming from someone who truly doesn’t care who any of the characters end up with as long as it makes sense for the story.)
So if people who aren’t invested in this relationship, like myself, can interpret moments between “Supercorp” as romantic, then imagine how the LGBT audience, who want nothing more than these two women to be together, feels.
Like most people, I don’t think Kara and Lena were intentionally being written as anything other than friends when Lena was first introduced. No one who works on the show could’ve anticipated the strong reaction to the pair that they received. However, I do think that ever since Kara and Lena’s large fanbase surfaced, the writers do play them up for views, in spite of the fact that they’re supposed to just be friends.
Kara and Lena are frequently given scenes that would normally be shared between romantic couples (and have been shared by other couples, but we’ll get to that later). The most recent examples, which are actually what inspired this article, took place on Supergirl season 5, episode 3. First, Kara flew to three different countries — one of which being Paris (the city of love) — to pick up lunch for Lena, which was immediately followed by a heart-to-heart conversation where Kara agrees to break the law for Lena without a second thought.
Then, later on in the episode, Kara hovers over Lena’s balcony late at night and they gaze at each other way longer than you would with a friend. I don’t gaze at my friends like that at all, but I digress. The whole scene takes place with soft, and arguably, romantic music playing in the background and goes back and forth between them as an established LGBT couple. To sum that up: The same music that was playing over Alex and Kelly’s emotional goodbye was playing over Kara and Lena’s scene. How can the writers claim, time and time again, that Kara and Lena will only ever be friends, and then put them in a moody montage with the couples of the show?
— 𝕻𝖗𝖎𝖓𝖈𝖊𝖘𝖘 • 𝕾𝖆𝖗𝖈𝖆𝖘𝖒 (@abisexualperson) October 21, 2019
In the same episode, Lena and Kara’s relationship is verbally compared to Kelly and Alex’s not just once, but twice. At the beginning of the episode when Alex and Kara are discussing Alex’s fears about Kelly and Kara’s nerves about Lena, Alex says, “Lena wants your relationship back on track, too.” And then again at the end of the episode, after Alex has to say goodbye to Kelly temporarily, Kara says, “It worked out with me and Lena” to comfort her.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m giving my friends/family relationship advice, I don’t typically compare their romantic problems with their partner to problems I have with my best friend. Even if that wasn’t an uncommon thing to do, was it really necessary? If you truly want your audience to believe this is just a friendship, then equating their relationship to that of an LGBT romance seems kind of tone deaf.
You’d think that, knowing how fans feel, the writers would be careful about using any terminology or writing in scenes that could be misconstrued as even slightly romantic. But instead, they do the exact opposite. Rather than just having Lena say that Kara upset her, hurt her feelings, or betrayed her trust, they had Lena say that Kara “broke her heart” this season. Was there truly no other way they could phrase that? Plus, this whole season is centered around Lena spiraling in a desperate attempt to rid the world of liars and bad people, and what exactly sparked this emotional turmoil? Kara.
That’s been the storyline between so many heterosexual couples on every other TV show since the dawn of time. A woman breaks a man’s heart, he goes “dark,” and she has to bring him back. Is that not exactly what’s happening here? Kara broke Lena’s heart, Lena is now in a dark place, and it’ll be up to Kara to save Lena from herself. In fact, Melissa Benoist even said that this season will be a fight for Lena’s soul, and Kara would fight tooth and nail for Lena if she ever thought she was going down a path similar to Lex’s.
These aren’t isolated incidents either. All of Supergirl 5×03 read like a cohesive storyline between two love interests, not two friends. And there are countless examples of moments like this throughout the show. At this point, it’s no longer just Kara and Lena fans who are interpreting their interactions as amorous. People who are completely indifferent to the pair or don’t even watch the show are recognizing what’s happening.
The Supergirl writers are notorious for saying one thing and doing another. Throughout the years, people who work on the show will say that Kara and Lena are just friends and that Supercorp is “never going to happen.” All right, fine. That’s their choice. But then they turn around and write in very passionate — and borderline romantic — scenes between the two of them with soft, romantic music layered over them.
We know they’re capable of writing scenes that don’t come across that way because they do it for every other person the two girls interact with (along with all of the other friendships on the show that don’t include Kara or Lena). So, why is it such a struggle for them to do it with Supercorp? Unfortunately, it seems very intentional at times. They know those two characters bring in viewers, and The CW’s shows rely heavily on social media presence, which Supercorp’s fanbase definitely has.
What makes this situation even more baffling is that before or after these moments between Kara and Lena occur, one of the characters will state that Kara and Lena are friends. Whether it’s Alex commenting on how great their friendship is or Kara and Lena calling each other their best friend, it happens usually more than once throughout an episode. When it first started happening, truthfully, I just took it as the writers reiterating the fact that these two women are, in fact, just friends (and that very well could’ve been their intention in the beginning). But now it comes off as more of a way to cover their asses so they can continue to have more flirty and intimate moments between Kara and Lena without getting in trouble or labeled as queer-baiters.
They like to toy with the idea of putting them together to lure in their LGBT viewers, but make sure to have one of the characters say they’re just friends immediately before or after so they don’t ever actually have to commit and can’t be held accountable for any romantic undertones the scene has.
And, for the record, just because two people start out as best friends doesn’t mean that diminishes any chance of them being romantically involved. Lest we forget, Barry and Iris from The Flash started out as best friends and now they’re married. Speaking of Barry and Iris, they’re one of the many couples that Kara and Lena are constantly paralleled to on the show. Many of Supercorp’s moments mimic scenes between other DC shows, most notably Clark and Lois.
The writers can’t continue to have all the characters refer to Kara and Lena as friends whilst simultaneously evoking imagery that says otherwise. Additionally, there’s no need to constantly remind us that Kara and Lena are just friends if you simply write them as friends. There would be no need to overcompensate by having them repeat over and over again that they’re just besties if Supercorp was just treated like all the many other friendships on the show. You don’t see Kara flying to Paris for Nia for nothing other than baked goods, so subsequently there’s no need for them to tell us Kara and Nia are friends every two seconds. They just are. Actions speak so much louder than words, and hardly any of the actions/interactions between Kara and Lena seem platonic anymore.
It can be easy to dismiss these claims of queerbaiting and just chalk it up to Supercorp fans misinterpreting the dialogue and just seeing what they want to (which I’m sure has happened at times). And some of these moments could be explained away as the actresses having good on-screen chemistry, or these two girls just being very sappy, close friends, but it happens far too often for it to be accidental and for some of the responsibility to not fall back on the writers and directors. Especially considering that the cast and crew are very aware of the fact that their audience wants these two women together. Not to mention, that if a man was flying up to Lena’s balcony at night after breaking the law for her and flying to Paris, Milan, and Dublin to get her eclairs, that would be seen as textbook romance. The only reason Kara and Lena aren’t considered legitimate love interests by so many is because one of them isn’t a man.
If a man and a woman even breathe in the same room together on a CW show (or any show for that matter), they’re “shipped” by the masses. But when LGBT fans want two people together, who would actually make sense together and have been written suggestively like in Kara and Lena’s case, they’re seen as delusional and completely dismissed.
Explain to me why it’s all right for people to already want Kara and William together, when they’re practically strangers and don’t get along in the slightest, but not all right for people to want Kara and Lena together, who have known and loved each other for years. Why is one more viable than the other?
Also, if Kara is really just that good of a friend and there’s nothing more going on between her and Lena, why didn’t/don’t we ever see scenes of her like that with Winn, Nia, and/or Brainy? Why didn’t we see emotional and heartbreaking scenes between Lena and Sam? The scenes between Kara and Lena, and their other friends, are written to be very platonic, often in group settings, and never begin or end with longing stares and nervous giggling.
When I first started the show, although I could see the appeal of wanting these two attractive, entertaining characters together, I didn’t think it was on purpose. I assumed the writers would course-correct to make sure their LGBT audience didn’t feel that they were holding out for something that would never happen. But, as the seasons have progressed, it’s becoming more and more clear that, instead, the writers are taking full advantage of the fans who desperately want Kara and Lena together, and that they have no intention of actually putting them together.
If the show truly isn’t ever going to explore the two of them as a couple, then those who work on it need to stop toying with the fans and writing in scenes that could easily be mistaken as romantic. You can’t put romantic music over their scenes, compare them to the other couples on the show, write in parallels to DC’s Clark and Lois (among others), and then act surprised when Supercorp fans think there’s a chance they’ll eventually date.
It’s a shame that such a diverse show like Supergirl would even feel the need to do this when they offer such great representation within their other couples. On season 5 alone, there’s a relationship between two women, one of whom is a black woman, and another interracial relationship between a man and a trans woman. Rather than continuing to string along Kara and Lena fans, they should really just redirect their energy into the relationships they intend on genuinely pursuing.
The bottom line is the Supergirl writers need to stop saying one thing and doing another. The inconsistencies in Kara and Lena’s relationship come across as them enticing their LGBT audience without ever planning to follow through. If these two women are only ever going to be friends, which I suspect is the case, then they need to stop blurring the lines in their relationship on-screen. Whether they’re doing it intentionally or not, their viewers deserve better, and something needs to change.