Throughout Pride Month 2020, I’m aiming to speak to as many people as I can in the LGBTQ+ community to hear what representation means to them. If you want to read the first feature, it be seen here, but today’s is all about Morgan! Morgan has chosen the show ‘Dare Me’, specifically focussing on the show’s key characters, Addy and Beth, and how they’ve helped her.

Who are the couple you chose and why do you love the show that they are apart of?

The couple I’ve chosen is Addy Hanlon and Beth Cassidy, also known as Addybeth from Dare Me. I think the best way to explain to you why I love Dare Me is to tell you a little bit about myself. In the terms of what kind of life I’ve had, it definitely hasn’t been the easiest.

My mother was non-existent, and my father was in the military. They got divorced when I was entirely too young, which in a way, heightened the distance between us, my mother’s especially, who was always distant, and withdrawn much like Beth’s. There are reasons as to why I feel drawn more to Marlo’s character than the others. Always being the captain. No, I wasn’t a cheerleader, but I did every other sport you could possibly think of; and I was good, great even. Much like Beth I had the self-destructive nature, a lack of impulse control I always struggled with. So much so my parents took me out of my current school when I got caught kissing a girl and with some vodka in the trunk of my car, resulting in forcibly transferring me to a private Christian school, hoping to pray the gay away. That however, never happened. I’m 28 now, and lead a career as a servicewoman. Which probably leads to your biggest question; of all the shows to get invested in, why ‘Dare Me’?

Trust me, I’ve asked myself that same question. Surely there comes a point in your life when you grow up, when you stop holding onto fictional characters like your life depends on it. Yet, there was something about Dare Me, even down to the very first scene, that just drew me in. Maybe it was the fact that I’ve looked at coaches, much like Addy looked at Colette. Holding her on a pedestal where she could do no wrong. You trust them and they inspire you to be someone, to be better, to always strive for excellence.

The plot is breathtaking and truly takes you down every twisted turn of female with female friendships, with subtle and not so subtle clues of something more (where sometimes the lines blur, which you can see even in the pilot). Beth’s desperation to be reassured that she still has Addy like a piece of her, needing to have that solace. That peace of mind. Their relationship is the most exquisite thing to me.

I always come back to something Marlo said in an interview once; she was talking about how dependent both Addy and Beth are with each other, how they don’t even know where one ends and the other begins. Which I think is something we don’t see represented in many shows. I honestly can’t recall ever seeing an onscreen friendship quite like theirs. There’s this web and flow of nonverbal communications of subtle aggression as if they’re fighting for the crown. Fighting for their dominance.

Megan does a splendid job of bringing her book to life. There’s so many subtle quotes from the book, and yet there are also just as many differences. She really does have a gift with bringing her vision to light. Not only that but when I’m watching it, I can recall the Addy I had. I can see myself in everything they do, the hidden feelings for your right hand, the lack of ability to give proper love since it’s one of the few things you’ve never been shown.

The thing I love the most about this show, is there is no clear line on who is the protagonist and who is the antagonist. Sure, most people might say Colette, though to me it isn’t so cut and dry. The lines between coach’s and players have been blurred long before this book was even an idea. Beth is flawed beautifully so, but in everything she does, she does it to protect Addy. Even if it makes things worse. And Addy, sweet Addy is so conflicted by these feelings Coach is showing her. It’s chaotic, but that’s what is so beautiful about it. When have you watched a show where each character could be loved and hated at the same time?

How is this show different from anything else ?

I can recall countless times where I flip flopped who I didn’t like and who I loved. However, that’s life, real life. It’s chaos, and at times, you make the right decisions, and at others, you make the wrong ones. However, Megan and the showrunners take you on an intricate experience through the lives of not just one but all three women. Not to mention the topics that she hits on, sexual assault, depression, substance abuse, and even suicide. They are real topics, that need to be talked about especially right now with what the world is going through.

Dare Me is a show that we should have more of, a show of essence, and integrity, a show that paints you a real picture of what life is like now, and depending on your age when you were there. It’s a show that no matter the age you can relate to. No matter your gender or sexuality, you can find qualities in each character that you relate with. Let’s not forget to mention, how many shows are there around right now that have strong female leads? Everything about this show is so perfectly balanced, I can’t see how anyone could watch it and not love it.

Do you remember how you felt when you first discovered this pairing?

Oh man, it feels like it was just yesterday when I was watching Dare Me for the first-time, seeing Addy and Beth ride along in Beth’s jeep without a care in the world. The innocence, the chemistry that they both immediately had right off the back. I’m not the type to ever really get invested into a set pairing, I’m actually more of what they call a “multishipper”, where I ship multiple people with the same fictional character. Yet, with this one, the way both characters were portrayed, the way that Megan wrote them…At least in the beginning that was the dream for them to eventually be together or to at least explore their relationship a bit more than just the cover up friendship that pretty much everyone knew they were.

I remember the very first scene where Beth calls Addy ‘babe’ and they run from the gas station like rebellious teenagers, hand in hand. They get in Beth’s jeep and then there’s the subtle kiss that Addy gives to Beth’s hand. It’s so pure and innocent hand happens before all of the chaos erupts.

Is there a certain scene that pulled you in, if so why?

There are too many scenes to name, I’ve already gone over a few but I think the biggest one for me was in episode 7. The scene right before they took the mat at regionals and Beth pulls Addy aside to essentially tell her that she has always loved her.

The raw performance that both Herizen and Marlo gave in that scene alone was astounding. Though that’s not the reason this scene sticks out the most. Beth and Addy have always been so in sync with each other, they don’t even have to use words. Beth always keeps her feelings buried deep in a place that no one can get to, no one except for Addy. In that one minute they had before they were supposed to perform Beth laid it all out there and you could see the pain. Years of suppressed feelings rising to the surface, even if deep down she had always known that in a way Addy never felt that way. Then the soul crushing ‘she isn’t you’ came out and you could just feel your heart break into a million pieces.

The amount of emotion that one scene pulled from all viewers was something I’d truly never felt before. It was ‘oh my god she admitted it’ quickly followed by ‘crap, nevermind.’ Their whole relationship is a rollercoaster, but that for me was the most heartbreaking and vulnerable moment. Even right after their performance you can see the regret that Addy has, wondering if she said the wrong thing. The way that she stares at her on the bus and then changes her wallpaper back to her and Beth, crawling back into denial. Where none of it had happened, where Beth hadn’t confessed that to her, where she hadn’t broken her heart like Beth had predicted before.

Out of all the couples out there why does this one mean the most to you, and do you think this pairing provides positive LGBTQ+ representation?

Absolutely, for me it’s the most realistic one I’ve seen on screen, there dynamic is like a constant chess game. They are always strategic when around each other even when they know something is bothering the other. For example, the scene in the hallway at the locker after the party, Addy knew something happened deep down even if Beth hadn’t said anything. She knew deep down and it’s the same in the cake scene in the nurse’s office, where Beth knew something was going on with Addy and started digging.

They both have this sixth sense about each other and yet continue to live in this world of denial. That’s the most realistic pairing I have every seen. You also see that when Beth is mad at Addy, she still wants to be around her, still wants her attention. No matter how much more she wants, she’ll settle for whatever she can get.

Their dynamic had so many different sides, so you can identify with so many sides of their relationship. The constant need for attention, control and reassurance that only that one person can give you. You know you’ll never truly get what you want, and will likely do more harm, but you can’t stop yourself.

It means the most to me because I can relate to them, I am both Beth and Addy. Feeling that connection to both characters in a wlw ship is rare. The show revolves around the love triangle between Beth, Coach and Addy. Honestly, I wish more show were formed around strong female LGBTQ+ leads, rather than the wlw ships being sidelined. I know that has a lot of that has to do with Megan, her vision and the showrunners that made it possible.

How has this show helped you?

I actually first started watching Dare Me in a really difficult time in my life. I had just gotten home from a deployment, was in the process of going through a pretty rough divorce and then my friend recommended Dare Me to me, and I was like sure, why not? Also, I saw that Willa Fitzgerald was in it and I knew her from MTV’s Scream which I loved, so I started watching it. I was expecting the show to help me through that difficult time and that’s exactly what it did. It hit such real issues, issues that unfortunately happen every day to countless people. It changed my perspective on a lot of things to be truly honest.

I am a lot like Beth and I saw the parts of me that I didn’t necessarily like it, so it challenged me to reach out to someone rather than holding in my feelings. Dare Me helped to heal me in a sense. It was an aid, but also an escape and a lesson which is something I’ll truly never be able to thank the cast, showrunners, and Megan for.

Dare Me was recently cancelled but if they were to have a Season 2, what would you hope to see in it?

Ah, season two— which, hopefully, will be brought to life. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t still hopeful for Addy and Beth’s romance. There’s so many stones left unturned there. From my perspective of the show and looking at Addy’s actions, I think she had (or still has) underlining feelings for Beth which are hard to read at times because of Colette. Though, I doubt even if we do get that it’ll have a very happy ending; maybe some scenes from the illustrious cheer camp we so subtly keep hearing about. There was an interview Willa gave where she mentioned the surveillance footage from Will’s apartment would come into play. Also, everyone wants to know where the Hamsa is.

Personally, there’s a few things I would love to see. Marlo and the writers have done such a good job with the aftermath of what happened with Kurtz and Beth, but I would love to see Addy’s reaction to finding out the truth about that night. If it would change her demeanor towards Beth, or if Addy is just so done it might not even matter. I would love to see Addy admit that she’s conflicted, because in its core it is a love triangle. It couldn’t be that unless Addy had feelings for both women.

I’d also like to see more interactions between Addy and her mother. Not to mention the underlining characters such as Tacy Cassidy, Josie, Emily Diaz, Brianna Bradley, Cori Ross and the other cheerleaders. The finale also left us with her mom finding her cheer shoes which she refused to wear after that night. I think there’s just so many questions left unanswered.

That closure is what we want, we want to be taken on the journey Megan wants to take us on. This is her story and we just want to be there for the whole ride. Personally, I hope we get a third season as well. If we can get a third season there would be room to really delve deep into each character and their Achilles’ heels. Delving into each trauma that somehow has all intersected one way or another.

Thank you Morgan for your very honest and open perspective. Hearing what this show and these characters have meant to you speaks volumes. We need more diverse characters, especially LGBTQ+ characters, because not everyone relates to the same one. Dare Me is a show that definitely deserves to be renewed and you’ve helped show people why.

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