Sunday, May 8, 2022

REVIEW: 'The Great North' - Ham Questions What He Wanted From Coming Out to His Family in 'Say It Again, Ham Adventure'

FOX's The Great North - Episode 2.20 "Say It Again, Ham Adventure"

With Crispin's help, Ham tries to re-create a more theatrical version of his coming out. Hoping to record their first true crime podcast, Wolf and Honeybee investigate a local cold case and are shocked by what they uncover.

"Say It Again, Ham Adventure" was written by Charlie Kelly and directed by Paul Scarlata

Coming out wasn't a dramatic experience for Ham. He told his family and they weren't surprised at all. It had no impact on how much they loved him. They didn't even have to take a beat to process their own emotions to the news. This is simply who Ham has always been. It wasn't surprising. It's no big deal whatsoever. That was such a privilege afforded to Ham. That's especially true in a world where LGBTQ+ rights are constantly under attack in this country. The community is continually told this experience is meant to be dramatic and intense. They are revealing information that will drastically alter people's perceptions of them. They have to do so as boldly and proudly as they possibly can. So many pieces of entertainment depict this moment as incredibly serious and full of emotions. And yes, that reaction certainly happens a lot of the time. It doesn't define the experience for everyone. Sometimes people come from loving and nurturing families that don't care who a person loves. That's such a freeing experience. It's what the community should strive for. All the struggles we've endured have been to make the world a more welcoming and accepting place for the next generation. Our suffering is to spare others from going through the same pain. Crispin deduces that Ham continually came out to his family because he wanted more from them. He would come out, they would reaffirm their love and then go back to whatever routine they were doing. Ham is told this is an atypical response. And so, he strives for something more conventional. He wants people to be shocked. He wants to face judgment. He wants to endure offensive questions. He sees that as what this experience should be like. It's not aspirational whatsoever. However, he equates this news to being just as dramatic as learning a distant cousin is a bank robber. The Tobin family is more than accommodating when it comes to trying to give Ham the response he believes he needs. In reality, Cousin Danica quickly steals the spotlight. She is a woman who loves brown because the other colors are all trying too hard to stand out. She has something to say about everything. Yet she still gets a thrill from robbing banks. That fulfilled her in a way she never experienced before. She takes the family hostage in order to evade capture for as long as possible. It's all shocking. The focus never drifts away from Ham and what he wants though. He is reflecting on what he needs and what he is told to accept. Moreover, his family can profound him everything he needs without having to look elsewhere for that drama.

Of course, Ham doesn't think it's dramatic when he breaks out into song detailing what he wants from coming out. Crispin can see that clearly. They are in love. They strive to uplift each other no matter what they face in the world. That strength has been abundant ever since they got together. After Wolf and Honeybee, they are the strongest couple on the show. That visibility is so powerful as well. It's treated as just another deserving dynamic onscreen. It doesn't have to be the predominate focus either. It's powerful when the storytelling shifts in that direction. It has importance. The show carries the responsibility of this depiction. It must do so with respect. It never loses the humor either. That's a tricky balance. It aspires to tell something new and important while also being funny. It does that in so many ways. It's not solely dependent on Ham either. Wolf and Honeybee are immediately concerned that the police didn't bring their guns when confronting Danica. It seemed like they would all be taken hostage. She would get what she wanted with no one being able to stop her. These police officers are too incompetent to do the job effectively. And then, the expectations shift as the story showcases them disarming Danica without having to rely on their weapons. They could safely de-escalate the situation without threatening the lives of anyone in the area. They are willing to take those risks. That's the job they signed up to do. They are excited to do it. They are eager to record each other to send to their mother for support. That love is apparent as well. It's also an incredibly progressive response. It's one that highlights the importance of police while challenging the expectations of policing. That makes this show willing to engage in complicated subjects without ever losing itself to various issues. Everything is simply part of this world. All the characters strive to make it better. That requires handling changing moods as well. Ham's family thought they were doing everything right in not being surprised he's gay. They may have been too casual. Ham doesn't need more from their reactions in order to feel loved. He still likes to see it. Crispin has an entire checklist they can cross off. They can do all of that in song too. It's absolutely delightful. It's a performance but it's fundamentally encouraging because it's the family actually listening to one another. They have that powerful insight even though Wolf and Honeybee forgot to scroll to the bottom of the Wikipedia article in their unsolved serial killer case. That too is a solid joke that doesn't undercut all the other emotions present in this circumstance. It's heartwarming while being a proud expression of love and acceptance amongst a truly wonderful family.