She wakes up with a face full of smeared makeup, she spills last night’s ramen on her sleeping boyfriend, she hovers over the bathroom vanity and hits play on a meditative audio app; but the morning’s events are soon pushed out of her mind when her boyfriend says, “Stella, we need to break up.”
Stella—a bisexual plumber who works for her family and is a go-go dancer in her free time—is like many other millennials living in Los Angeles, doing her best while she spins her wheels from one failed attempt at happiness to the next. Her best friend, Max—a gay struggling actor who takes on small jobs to keep the lights on—is always by her side, and there is little that they won’t do to keep each other afloat. New-age artist frenemies, unrequited love between roomies, and that certain type of existential dread turned into humor by millennials—THE FILTH is a five-episode TV series that includes not just queer characters, but characters who come with complex baggage.
Revry Makes Space for Often Unseen Queer Content
Struggling young adults making bad decisions with their friends isn't exactly a new concept in television, in this writer’s opinion. But what is new, and long awaited, is seeing this classic trope take on queer characters with real queer issues, such as societal perception and the struggle of coming out to your family and friends.
As if her day-to-day life wasn’t stressful enough as she battles crippling anxiety, Stella has a secret she keeps: her bisexual identity. The dual life she leads—being truly herself with her friends and being a shell of herself around her family—is an experience not foreign to many in the LGBTQ+ community. With quips from her mother about gay people such as, “You know I don’t care, it’s just I don't think I should have to hear about it all the time,” and similar homophobic comments from her family, the line between her identities gets thinner and thinner, ending with her almost outing herself in a moment of anger.
Similarly, Danny—Max’s questionably straight roommate—spends the entirety of the season unsure of what is right for him, or rather, who is right for him. You too might agree that the emphasis on queer people who don’t fit into society’s boxes—such as Danny or Jocelyn, a little person who becomes Stella’s love interest—takes the series from stereotypical to complex by showing how society’s pressures can be internalized. While this series plays into a lot of the genre tropes and recycles dialogue we’ve heard time and again, it almost doesn’t matter, because seeing people on the screen who aren’t just straight, cisgendered, able-bodied people is important, as is seeing characters at all stages of their queer experience.
Though this 2019 series has not been renewed for a second season, it doesn’t make the show—and its cliffhanger ending—any less worthwhile. This two-and-a-half hour series is perfect for queer people who long to see themsleves reflected on the big screen even if it is a cliche, or for anyone who enjoys mainstream, millennial comedy.
Jake Delaney (Max)
Paige Hoffman (Stella)
Katrina Kemp (Jocelyn)
Jay Lee (Danny)
Nican Robinson (Xander)
Alexandria McGaughey (Marica)
Lauren Holt (Lydia)
Jamie Holt (director, producer)
David D Aguilar (producer)
Harvey Guillén (producer)
Adam Tyree (producer)
Jake Delaney (writer, creator)
Cara Fano (writer, creator, executive producer)
Paige Hoffman (writer, creator)
Miles Alva (associate producer)
Harrison Lee (music)
Jonathan Brenner (music)
Jonathan Pope (cinematography)
About the Author: Margaret Smith ( Photo by Mike Rundle )
Margaret Smith is a multi-genre writer, editor, and Americano enthusiast based out of Chicago. Having recently achieved her B.A. from Columbia College Chicago, she’s now been granted the time to fully enjoy the arts and cultural offerings around her—as well as pursue hobbies such as swimming and reading her way through her bookshelf.