So my partner and I borrowed all of Avatar: The Last Airbender from the library and pretty much binge watched it. That was fun. It’s one of the kids shows that I really liked as a teen and I liked it just as much when we watched it together. Korra is a totally different situation though.
Korra is a big show. It’s a kids show that doesn’t talk down to kids. It has some real issues in it that don’t often make it into kid’s shows.
I’m gonna do a little list.
- Platonic relationships being just as valid as romantic ones. Mako dates Korra and Assami and then he decides to find out what he’s like without a girlfriend. He winds up building a great relationship with Wu and it’s shown to be equally important to him. (While I really appreciate this, I honestly think that Wu is gay and a little bit in love with Mako. I mean, pretty much everyone is in love with Mako at some point, so I don’t think that’s much of a stretch.)
- PTSD, recovery, and self-worth. Korra gets really fucked up. She shows a lot of classic signs of PTSD. She gets help recovering from it, even though she tries to ignore it for a long time (which is a typical reaction to mental illness). She learns that people can help her, but they can only do so much. She learns that whatever thing is holding her back, she can learn from it and grow stronger. She openly says it’s not something she will forget or move on from. But she discovers that she has the strength to turn this horrible thing into an overwhelming compassion for others.
- Family ties. Was I disappointed that Assami and her father grew closer even after he fucked her over? Yes. Was I annoyed that Junior was accepted back into the family after he fucked everyone over? Totally. Was I frustrated that Korra’s uncle was the only family member who fucked somebody over and wasn’t immediately forgiven, probably only because he was evaporated into spirit dust??? Omg, yeah. But I guess one of the themes of the show was how your family helps you. The cool thing is, nobody puts biological family on a pedestal over adopted family. Tenzen is arguably there for Korra more than her real dad. Ginora takes care of Korra like she does her biological siblings. Bolin takes Kai in immediately, without expecting anything at all from him. Adopted family ties are shown to be just as strong as biological ones. That’s pretty rad.
- Gay stuff. There is not much of it. I know that as a queer individual, I jump onto every queer thing (real or imagined) in any media ever. Call me desperate. I don’t care. The ending with Assami and Korra blew me away. There was no doubt about that one! A totally clean cut, obvious ending where the girl gets the girl! Just kidding. It was mildly ambiguous. If you didn’t already expect them to get together because you think everyone is gay, you might’ve just assumed they were two “gal pals” (shudder) going on vacation together. If they had wanted to make it 100% clear, they would’ve had Korra and Assami kiss. They’d never shied away from having all the heteros kiss. But aside from that, every gay person saw it for what it was. The happiest gay ending ever.
There are faults. There are things in this show that, were I watching it with my children, I would have to contradict. But there are so many things that aren’t even broached to children. The opportunity never even arises to have a conversation about those things because kids aren’t exposed. I think that’s the big deal for me. It opens up an avenue for parents to talk to their kids about some stuff that’s sensitive. I dig it.