First and foremost I want to say that this TV show you’ve created is incredible. It’s irreverent and comic and tragic and deeply, deeply felt; and that’s why we love it. It deserves the following it’s developed.
But there is something I would like to say - an appeal I would like to make. And it’s not for you to change anything you have planned, because I do have faith that you are going to deliver the story your story deserves.
There’s been a lot of talk about “Sterek”, the pairing of Derek and Stiles. And your show has been pretty unique in showing respect for the fandom and engaging with it free of contempt, and it’s been most marked in your response to this pairing, since slash interpretations are usually the most mocked. I know I appreciate that, and I’m sure a vast majority of your fans do as well.
The thing is, though, that all these references, these mentions and hints - a “Sterek scene” here or there, a quip or two about its relative likelihood - they are only any good if the intention is to follow through. If there is no intention of showing Sterek as we mean it - as a fully formed romantic relationship, moving from antagonism into the friendship we see emerging in Season 3B, and on into the romance so many of us can genuinely believe in - then I would plead with you to just stop flirting with it as a possibility.
The reason is this. I am a eighteen-year-old girl who loves girls. I watched this show and I saw in Derek and Stiles the exact same seeds for a relationship that I have seen in so many heterosexual pairings, in so many TV shows. The world of Teen Wolf is an equal one - you’ve tried to create a world where all those petty discriminations just don’t happen, and your track record for representation is amazing: Danny is a brilliant character (one I wish we saw more of!), and his and Ethan’s relationship is lovely. It’s never been treated any differently for it’s being between two men. Likewise, we’ve seen a lesbian relationship and Kaitlin’s bisexuality was presented just as calmly, honestly and sensitively as we’ve come to expect.
But - it’s been hinted that Stiles is bisexual with little moments: jokes, which have never coalesced into anything. He still chases girls exclusively (apart from the occasional joke about Danny sexing him up). And although Sterek has been joked about routinely outside the show, although we continue to get intense scenes between the two, the general feeling is that this isn’t going anywhere - and to a young queer person, that feels terrifyingly like there’s a joke being made somewhere, and it’s on me. The joke is that such a relationship is unthreatening enough to be joked about and toyed with, because it’s so impossible that it will ever happen. The joke is that the writers and cast can keep fans - a huge proportion of whom support Sterek as a romantic relationship - watching by baiting them with a hope which they have no intention of gratifying - and we’re just silly enough to fall for it.
I hugely appreciate the representation in this show - it bears reiterating. No other show that I’ve seen has offered this many relationships and identities with so little mockery, fanfare or separation. But the fact remains that every one of these relationships has remained - to use a lacrosse metaphor - on the bench. Danny and Ethan are both minor characters - their relationship will never have the kind of screen time or depth Scott and Allison, or even Derek and Jennifer’s doomed S3A romance, have merited. Likewise, Kaitlin and her girlfriend were the weekly victims - her reappearance was only fleeting. It’s all brilliant - except that Stiles and Derek exist. They exist as a pair of men suited to each other, a pair of major characters suited to each other. And if the writers and the cast continue to admit that they would suit each other, and yet they continue to remain secretly off the table, it starts to raise fears in the minds of those of us who see the potential - if they are so suited, why is it that they won’t get together, other than the obvious?
And the message that sends to people like me is not the frustrated anger of an obsessed teen with their fantasies ruined. It’s the same fear, the same insecurities we have been given by watching endless TV shows and films where no-one is like us. It brings up all those parts of us which still worry that we are good enough for jokes, postulation, hints and teasing, good enough for minor characters and secondary plotlines, but not good enough for a real, genuine, fully developed major romance, which just happens because there are two people who fit together better than they did on their own. It says there is a place for us in the world of Teen Wolf, but only on the bench, watching the game be played: never scoring the winning goal.
I don’t want to preach about how you should write your story; as I said, I have absolute faith that you will do it justice. What I am asking is that promises aren’t given which will never be made good; that you don’t claim Sterek is a possibility if it is one you don’t intend to fulfill. I don’t enjoy being cynical, but every time I see another hopeful reference to a quote by cast or crew, I become a little bit more hurt, a little bit more resentful.
If you’re going to follow through, please, tease away. We’ll lap it up. But if you’re not, please don’t. Then we can learn to be content with the heartfelt representation we have, rather than taking poisoned bait.