YouTube star Kaitlyn Alexander, best known for their role in the Carmilla series, has put their talent into a new YouTube series, Couple-ish. The storyline sees bisexual, Canadian illustrator, Dee (Kaitlyn Alexander), in desperate need of a roommate. Their sister, Amy (Mercedes Morris), who is openly pansexual, leads them to the internet where they find Rachel (Sharon Belle), a gay, British bartender. After eight months of living together, Rachel secretly claims that she and Dee are in a common-law relationship so that her visa will get extended. The pair set up a couple’s YouTube channel to ‘prove’ their relationship.
Sharon and Kaitlyn worked together on Carmilla, as well as on Kaitlyn’s YouTube channel, and the chemistry is apparent from the earliest episodes of Couple-ish. But the series is not without its flaws. Sharon Belle’s British accent is at times like nails down a blackboard, and Rachel’s fashion sense is far from any Brit I’ve ever seen. The acting is shaky in places, and the plot is pretty far fetched, but if you can stick with the series, it tackles some very important subjects.
The cast really step up in Episode 11: “We Are Going To Have So Much Fun”, where Dee and Rachel film a video, discussing tips for couples after a fight. Kaitlyn Alexander’s character in Carmilla, LaFontaine, is a non-binary biology student, who uses the pronouns they/them. Playing this character changed Kaitlyn’s life, allowing them to realise that they too identify as non-binary. Dee in Couple-ish also uses they/them pronouns, a subject which is first addressed in Episode 12: “It’s NB Deal”.
The episode is dedicated to explaining what being non-binary means, and how to address someone that identifies as this gender. Non-binary can be used as an umbrella term, to describe any gender on the spectrum besides male or female, as well as being a specific gender, such as agender.
This sensitive subject is then addressed again heavily in Episode 19: “Meet the Warsons”, in which Rachel and Ed (Dee’s boyfriend posing as Amy’s boyfriend) get to meet Dee and Amy’s parents. However, things quickly turn sour when Dee’s parents insist on misgendering them, causing tension amongst the characters. Opened with a warning to all viewers about the nature of the content, the Warson parents display both transphobia and homophobia during this episode, and the audience get to see the emotional toll that this can have upon a member of the LGBT+ community.
Episode 18: “One Time In Portland” also caused a stir. Dee, Amy, Rachel and Ed all play a drinking game to allow the fake couples to get to know one another, which originally ended in Rachel being carried back to her room by Amy, and the pair ending the episode with passionate, drunken kissing. Fans responded with concern for Rachel’s ability to consent to what might have happened after the episode ended, and the Couple-ish team responded quickly, releasing an alternative ending with the footage they had recorded which omitted Amy carrying Rachel to bed, and the pair stopping after a quick peck on the lips. They tweeted the new video with the words “we apologize for making anyone feel uncomfortable or unsafe”, as well as Kaitlyn releasing this tweet.
The Couple-ish team have taken on an incredibly controversial project, and overall have been pretty successful. The show has a pretty substantial social media following – with over 6,500 followers on Twitter, 19,000 subscribers on YouTube and over 9,500 views on the latest episode. The cast and crew are sensitively covering all sorts of current and delicate topics such as gender, sexuality, abuse, addiction and relationships. Everyone behind Couple-ish deserves a lot of credit – especially with their small yet considerate choices, such as trigger warnings at the beginning of episodes and being prepared to respond to the concerns of their fans almost immediately.
I would definitely recommend anyone to watch Couple-ish. Whether it be for entertainment, or to learn more about non-binary genders. Episode 19 was not only shocking, but incredibly moving. Despite the trans and homophobic displays, the the series was clearly made in support of the LGBT+ community. I can’t wait to see what the series brings next. The best thing about this series, as with the Carmilla series, is how it fearlessly represents members of the LGBT+ community, who otherwise are invisible in the media.
Watch Couple-ish here. Episodes are released every Wednesday and Saturday at 10pm.
Sharon Belle – Twitter
Nicholas Potter – Twitter
Mercedes Morris – Twitter