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The Bisexual - Advance Preview

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The Bisexual is the latest offering from Desiree Akhavan (The Miseducation Of Cameron Post, Appropriate Behavior), who writes, directs and stars in the Channel 4/Hulu show which explores the so called 'last taboo': bisexuality. Whilst it's glaringly obvious from the title of the show that bisexuality is going to be explored within the first season's six episodes, the focus is in fact on a presumed lesbian who may not be as gay as previously thought, and that is our titular bisexual.

We're introduced to Sadie (Maxine Peake - who US viewers may recognise from Black Mirror's 'Metalhead' amongst other things) and Leila (Desiree Akhavan), a couple who have been in a professional relationship for 13 years and a personal relationship for 10. They're finally about to launch their business, but an ill-timed proposal in a bathroom stall drives a wedge between them and highlights how they're at different places in their lives. Leila, the younger of the pair, asks that they go on a break (and we all know how well those turn out) where they won't sleep with other people and will get back together in a few months time. As the show examines dating as a bisexual however, it can be presumed that this may not pan out as originally planned.

The majority of the show focuses on Leila, a self-confessed lesbian in the pilot. After her break-up however, her attentions seem to be diverted between her ex Sadie, and men. For the first time in her life she is feeling attraction to other men, and the show itself is a journey in figuring out what that means for the life she has lived and the life she can live. For a comedy, the funny moments are a little few and far between, and the show falls way more under a half hour drama even if that's not what it's trying to be. Deniz (Saskia Chana), Leila's best friend, is one of the highlights of the show both comedically and as one of the more fully formed characters we see.

I don't believe in the slightest that Akhavan meant to offend with this premise, but I know that some people out there will latch on to the idea of the show and take it the wrong way. A few years ago a similar thing happened with MTV's Faking It, which posited two 'straight' girls pretending to be gay for popularity. Whilst that premise is different, and almost completely opposite to this, it does still play in to some damaging stereotypes which can be likened to The Bisexual. Akhavan would not have written this show with the idea that lesbians can be turned if they meet the right man, but unfortunately this show may be written off by some people based on word of mouth/it's premise. That is not a show denying sexualities. The show does address biphobia, looking from the stereotyped viewpoint that some communities have; bisexual people aren't loyal because they can't decide who they're attracted to and the ever popular bisexuality is a myth. This show will rub some people the wrong way, I have no doubts about that, but I think Akhavan is trying to showcase the bigotry and biphobia that does go on even within the LGBT+ community itself and demonstrate how ridiculous and wrong it is.

It's hard to separate this show from the concept of sexuality. At the centre you have a woman in her thirties trying to figure out her identity as a bisexual, but you also have a woman who has just exited a long term relationship with someone she still has deep feelings for and who her life is still deeply intertwined with. Taking sexuality completely out of it though, this is a show about romance, about love and about second chances.

All episodes are now available on All4 with episodes airing weekly on Channel 4 starting October 10th in the UK. The Bisexual will premiere on Hulu on November 16th.

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