The Last of Us Tackles the Bury Your Gays Trope in the Most Healthy Way

The LGBTQ+ community rarely gets good representation on screen, which is why the "Bury Your Gays" trope has been maternalized. Bury Your Gays is popularized in pop culture as a presentation of deaths among LGBT characters to give the impression that queer characters are more likely to die than straight characters. Shows like The 100 and Killing Eve have implemented this distasteful arc, but HBO’s The Last of Us is about to be a game changer as it is expected to positively explore the narrative of gay characters.

The Last of Us' latest episode, "Long, Long Time," is by far the best, most bittersweet, and most moving interlude of the series. When it aired on Sunday night, fans couldn’t get enough of how the major changes in Bill's (Nick Offerman) and Frank’s (Murray Bartlet) stories were effectively and creatively told. Series co-creator Craig Mazin discussed writing the third episode and how he tried to avoid the infamous "bury your gays" trope.

“My feeling about that trope is that it's really about gay characters dying so that straight characters can mourn them and improve their lives and move on,” he said to GQ. “In other words, gay people are just an instrument for straight people. And this is certainly not the case here. Their relationship is self-contained.”

ALSO READ: The Last of Us Provides its Own Stranger Things' Running Up That Hill

expand image

Episode 3 takes a break from heroes Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) to focus on Bill, a lone survivalist who experiences a new way of life as he takes in another survivor, Frank, as they eventually form a romantic, hopeful relationship amidst the outbreak. After twenty years together, Frank suffers from a terminal illness and asks Bill to give them "one last good day" together before he takes his life. Bill agrees and decides to die with Frank rather than experience life without him.

Given the actors’ emotional and convincing portrayals, the episode received positive reactions from critics and viewers, as it also successfully turned the narrative originally presented in Naughty Dog's The Last of Us game from 2013. According to Mazin, he did this on purpose to explore a different aspect of the characters and the game's world.

“I had an instinct that we would probably need to take a breath as an audience after the first two episodes,” Mazin explained. “I wanted a way to show some of the passage of time between Outbreak Day and the current day of the show without doing more of the same, of the world falling apart.”

MORE LIKE THIS: The Last of Us Actor Wants to Take on a Major Star Wars Hero

expand image

The show’s co-creator wanted Bill and Frank’s story to play an integral part in the viewer’s perception. “The idea was to show these two people functioning in a relationship, two very different people who have different concepts of how to love,” he said.

Fans are expecting that the HBO adaptation of the action-adventure game will continue to wow its viewers with the well-thought-out execution of its narrative.

New episodes of The Last of Us drop Sunday nights on HBO Max.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Arya Stark Actress Almost Played The Last of Us' Ellie

This Article's Topics

Explore new topics and discover content that's right for you!

The Last of UsGeek Culture