In It’s A Sin, we’re reminded what can matter more than the right school or job is finding your people — especially if you’re gay men in the 80s.
|Creator||Russell T Davies|
|Writer(s)||Russell T Davies|
|Aired (Channel 4)||1/22/2021|
|Genre||Comedy, Drama, Romance, Young Adult, LGBT, Historical|
|Introduced This Episode|
|Colin||Callum Scott Howells|
|Harry Coltrane||Neil Patrick Harris|
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It’s 1981, and our lead characters, Ritchie, Roscoe, and Colin, are gay, with varying backgrounds. From the Isle of Wight, Ritchie, from a middle-class home, was initially supposed to study law but switched to drama after making a friend out of Jill – who encouraged his sexual exploration. As for Roscoe? Well, he is often in drag, and with a conservative Nigerian family, you already know that wasn’t going to work. So off to London he went to live his truth.
Leaving Colin. Unlike Ritchie and Roscoe, Colin is a quieter boy, making him a bit more vulnerable. Thus a man named Harry Coltrane quickly made sure to take Colin under his wing, since the vultures were circling. But as the AIDS epidemic spread to England, Colin finds himself having to find community beyond the small one Harry introduced him to.
While AIDS Lurks In The Background, This Isn’t A AIDS Drama
The heart of It’s A Sin to us is like most LGBT productions – it’s about finding your community. When your parents don’t accept you, or you fear they won’t, you go out into the world and find those who will not only accept you but love you, celebrate you even! And while, in the year 2021, we have out and proud gay people of all ages, races, body shapes, and expressions, that didn’t exist in the 80s. Recently Jojo Siwa came out, and a child star, or someone who mainly markets to children, being openly gay in the 80s? That was unheard of.
This is why each connection seems so important. From Jill clocking Ritchie and bringing him into the community she discovered, to Colin being taken under Harry’s wing, you can’t put a monetary value on that. For even in modern times, while it is always nice to know your favorite celebrity is gay and in some form loves you, it is partly for monetary reasons. They aren’t your personal friend. If you got kicked out, called something hurtful, experienced a hate crime, or anything like that, you could listen to their song(s), yeah, but not go to their house, get a hug, or anything like that.
What they often present is the dream, and so you have to find some people who live in a sometimes bleak reality with you. Which, at this point of the series, it seems each lead character has. Making the looming AIDS crisis surely a devastating cloud in the future, but at least they’ll have each other to weather that upcoming storm.
On The Fence
Feeling Roscoe Got The Short End of the Stick
All things considered, being that Roscoe is the only one that’s out to their family and the leap from having 120 bucks in his pocket to the life of the party, I feel there is more that needs to be explored. Because we see Colin and Ritchie get to find their communities and get a sense of how they found comfort. With Roscoe, we know his dad, or someone else, likely caught him with a man, but was it after coming from a club, being caught having sex, or a full-blown relationship?
Also, when he arrived in London (?), where did he stay, did he travel there before? It just seems like Roscoe’s story, all the bits and pieces that didn’t fit into the fun introduction, they were set aside. Either to be dealt with at a later time or to be omitted completely.
Hoping It Doesn’t Start On A High Then Keep Hitting Us Low
I must admit, between the sexual debauchery, in the best way possible, and partying, things are starting on a frightening high. Especially considering you know AIDS is encroaching on the community and with Ritchie spreading himself and others wide, there is a lot of fearful foreshadowing. I mean, Harry, we see die this episode, alone and isolated. So should we expect somber stories for everyone else?
Heck, just to throw a twist in, will Colin, our quiet boy, be the one who ends up with AIDS, even without messing around with too many men? Meanwhile, will Jill find herself with a house full of men, sick for reasons neglected by Thatcher’s government?
What I’m trying to say here is, I genuinely hope It’s A Sin gives us the Skins treatment of starting us off with the fun, the parties, the chaotic romances, and then by the end, just leaves us with one devastation after another. Almost making us wish we never got invested.
Initial Rating: Mixed (Stick Around)
It’s A Sin has potential. The question is, considering how free and wild some of the boys are, when AIDS becomes a more substantial part of the story, will it be treated as the punishment more conservative-minded people presented it as? Will it make us feel, after seeing everyone at their high, this is the low that goes far beyond what may feel necessary?
That’s why we’re giving the mixed label. With this being a UK series, it’s short, and that means, alongside very little filler, it could mean the fun times won’t last for long, and we’ll be hit with the painstaking reality sooner rather than later. And while we all know the history of when AIDS was ignored, as it still feels like it is today, so comes the question of what can It’s A Sin bring that other films, shows, even the biopics of queer icons, uniquely give?
It's A Sin Directory
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