Welcome to 2018, EOJ. YASS, I am talking to you, not the reader. It has been ten years and we have lots of catching up to do. For those of you who lost a year and then some, take special notes. I am also sharing some subjects that can potentially shape the way the media portrays the gay community.
But before we can play catch up and listing 5 things EOJ need to know about 2018, we need to travel back through time, 10 years ago when EOJ was actually living and understand exactly its environment. For those of you that can recall, 2008 was the year the Mystery Blog Series: Episodes Of Jaden (EOJ) emerged to the public eye, but it was also the year Barack Obama, one of the most momentous in the history of US, became the first black President. Some other stuff happened; OJ Simpson finally went to jail, Taylor Swift received her first-ever Grammy nomination, and above all that, the world was going through a rough patch, a global financial crisis, thanks to the US that started it all. Companies collapsed and many were being laid off work. Not to get too specific, but more than 500,000 jobs were lost in the United States alone. We seriously got hit bad and for sure, something was needed to help us deal with it all. Then by October 2008, where we spend most of our time trolling the internet (before DragRace ever started), we have come face-to-face with a new blogger/writer, it was actually through Twitter where I first discovered his blog and started to read something about someone being stalked.
To be perfectly honest, I thought this blogger is making up stories, but I looked it up (because who doesn’t look someone up online) and come to find out, the story and everything is legit. I’ve heard stories of exes going crazy before, I dealt it with it too, in my early 20s as a gay man, but never actually come across someone sharing their experience about the Ex of an Ex to the extent and have that ‘Ex of an Ex’ actually going EXtremely crazy banana in real time, which intrigued me right away (cause who doesn’t love a little gay drama and all the jazz. Anyone?) It was also because I fear for him and what this psychopath is capable of.
The fact that the story as a whole also provide a dark appeal and does hit a little close to home, might be the reason why Gen-Y gays like me was hook on it. For the most part, the content is accurate and very relatable (characters like Jake Bryan and Wilmer Parker are the ones to read about), but there’s also something shady going on behind the scene and the mystery surrounding Jaden Harrington. Who are these people after him and why? And what is going on with him? Why can’t he remember what happened to him? Suddenly, I was kind of obsessed with the writer and his life, with his sort of reality show, but not too realistic because as the writer explained, the blog/book is a mixture of fact and fiction and the characters are based off of real people. Now if the characters are based off of real people, wouldn’t that mean their stories is also based on facts? One has to wonder.
Now I have to say, the novel/mystery blog series is nothing remotely comparable to TV shows like Pretty Little Liars or Queer As Folk (too focus on group of friends dealing with personal drama) as it stands out uniquely on its own. It is from a first person perspective, which I like better because I get to feel what the main character is going through. Although, the foursome group aspect (Jaden, Nolan, Jake, & Wilmer) that Mister J. Hamilton is trying to serve needs to go away. Many television shows these days suffer in portraying the gay community, and instead, stereotype gay characters which does not always have a positive influence to LGBT community. Not every gay character is flamboyant or having trouble coming out or have a total of three friends as an ally.
With that being said, Episodes Of Jaden do speak true volume and does not leave anything out, it express different characters that matters and not too dependent on the gay scenery which I applaud, but at the same time, a bit nervous. Since I heard about 2018 Revival of EOJ Series, I feared the continuation of the series will be a cliche’ and somewhat predictable. In my opinion, I will much rather prefer the loner perspective that 2008 brought, it had depths and strength fo a potential gay television show.
Because I truly enjoy the series, I am sharing 5 pointers for EOJ on the upcoming 2018 Revival of Episodes Of Jaden. Not that the story can’t go on without these pointers, which I am sure it has its own storyline already picked out, but we gay millennials like to see these subjects in a television show/book:
1. Same-Sex Marriage – Really love to see some storyline about same-sex marriage. Although there are comedies about it, like Modern Family. It will be interesting to see it in a more serious topic.
2. Gay Social Networking – This should be obvious because technology is changing everyday, but sharing stories of how gay people meet in this day and age is hardly expressed. In 2008, you actually had to get up and go to a bar to meet someone and if you don’t click with that person, blocking was not an option.
3. Drag Queens and Transgender – We definitely hear more about Drag Queens (thanks to the famous RuPauls Drag Race) and the trans community lifestyle and I think adding some of this to the blend puts a bit more of perspective to the world we currently live in. Oh, and LGBTQ is now LGBTQQIP2SAA. Trust me, we keep adding more letters, we’ll just end up using a barcode to identify someone.
4. The Best Competition Show – Shows like ANTM and RuPauls Drag Race represents the world we live in and it’s no wonder we can’t get enough. We love to see competition after competition because the struggle is real. To see someone suffer or deal with the consequence, keeps everyone in check. In order to make it to the top, you have to work hard.
5. PrEP Talk – We are so advanced now that when PrEP came in 2012, suddenly a person’s HIV Status is no longer a concern factor. Maybe its just me, but we now live in a world where taking precaution doesn’t exist anymore in the gay community. Not to get all preachy, but a topic such as this will be very informative to gay guys, especially Gen-Y gays, about the true risk and the misconception it presents. We often don’t hear about this topic in today’s television shows because maybe its too real, but then again, maybe its time to Get Real.
The 2018 Revival of Episodes of Jaden Mystery Blog Series will be interesting to read since the world we now know focus on too much politics, gun violence, same-sex marriage (its now trending), and just too many hateful drag queens. So EOJ, I hope you bring your A-Game when the time finally comes, not Pretty Little Liars style, because we all know how that show went.
Ryan Jones is a Journalist for a local Seattle Newspaper. He is a lifelong advocate for the LGBT Community with a love for TV and Independent Films.