HBO’s hit video-game adaptation series The Last of Us took an unexpected detour into gay territory in its most recent episode, focusing on a budding romance between the characters played by actors Nick Offerman and Murry Bartlett. In a recent interview, the episode director said viewers sometimes need to be tricked into watching a gay love story.
Director Peter Hoar, who is openly gay, spoke to the science-focused site Inverse about making the show.
“Sometimes you have to sort of trick the rest of the world into watching these things before they’re like, ‘Oh, my God, it was two guys. I just realized,'” he said. “I think then they might understand that it’s all real. It’s just the same love.”
The Last of Us is adapted from the zombie post-apocalyptic Sony video game of the same name that follows two survivors of a major global pandemic. The third episode, which debuted last week, has become a much-talked-about departure from the rest of the series, focusing on the two supporting characters Bill (Offerman) and Frank (Bartlett), who find themselves falling in love.
Corporate media have lavished praise on the episode, with some calling it one of the most important storylines in TV history. But some detractors have questioned the storyline, criticizing it as a non-sequitur designed to score social justice points rather than advance the plot.
Hoar directed the recent British miniseries It’s a Sin, which followed the lives of a group of gay men at the height of the AIDS epidemic.
“The community was so wonderful about the whole show,” he said referring to It’s a Sin. “Now, it’s happening again, not just with the LGBTQ community, but The Last of Us community, which I also belong to.”
The Last of Us already has ample opportunity for queer “representation” from its source materials; the video game series depicts main character Ellie Williams as a lesbian.