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HBO Called Ellie & Riley ‘Best Friends’ & Gay Twitter’s Trolling

HBO Called Ellie & Riley ‘Best Friends’ & Gay Twitter’s Trolling

Bella Ramsey and Storm Reid in The Last of Us
Courtesy of HBO

“That best friend stare.”

rachiepants

The Last Of Us has featured not one but two truly epic (and truly doomed) queer romances already in its first season — and earned itself a loyal and passionate queer fandom in the process. That’s why when the official HBO Twitter posted a photo of Ellie and Riley (Bella Ramsey and Storm Reid, respectively) giving each other the eye, and captioned the post “that best friend stare,” fans had no choice but to call shenanigans.

Come on HBO, you know what you’re doing!

In all fairness, it’s likely the network trying not to spoil its latest queer twist — or if you have a more conspiratorial turn of mind, perhaps luring homophobic audiences into watching the episode. Either way, it offered Twitter a chance to do what it does best: roast.

“@hbomax @JohnOjajuni BEST FRIEND??”

“@hbomax the what now”

“@hbomax”

“@hbomax”

“@hbomax yup besties!!!”

“@hbomax best friends .. okay”

“@hbomax HBO bffr”

“@hbomax”

In truth, queerness is a major factor throughout the video game series on which the show is based. Ellie first reveals her queer identity in the add-on content for the original game, titled Left Behind, which this episode adapted and was named for. The second game makes her queerness not only more open but central to the plot. Ramsey has confirmed that she is especially excited to bring that relationship — sorry, friendship — of season two to the screen.

“I’m really excited, to be honest for the Ellie/ Dina story,” Ramsey Josh Horowitz on the Happy, Sad, Confused podcast. “I’ve watched a cut together, someone’s made a phenomenal — I don’t know how they do it — like an amazing edit of just the gameplay, like Ellie and Dina’s love story. So I’m excited to play that out.”

For now, both Ramsey and Reid are pushing back the homophobic trolls in the audience who are complaining about the canonical queerness of the series.

“I know people will think what they want to think. But they’re gonna have to get used to it,” Ramsey told GQ following backlash over episode three’s beautiful love story between Bill and Frank. “If you don’t want to watch the show because it has gay storylines, because it has a trans character, that’s on you, and you’re missing out.”

Reid agreed, getting ahead of the criticism their episode would likely receive from the same pearl-clutching bigots. “It’s 2023. If you’re concerned about who I love, then I need you to get your priorities straight. There are so many other things to worry about in life. Why are you concerned that these young people — or anybody — love each other?” she said to Entertainment Weekly. “Love is beautiful, and the fact that people have things to say about it, it’s just nonsense.”

In other words, why can’t we all just be friends?

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Rachel Shatto

EIC of PRIDE.com

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.