A journey into my engagement with due South.
There is discussion of slash in this post, but no actual slash.
I first watched due South when I was twelve. It was shown incredibly late at night considering it’s a G to PG rated show (10.30pm, huh?) I was in love with Diefenbaker and this Mountie, and Ray Vecchio amused me. I thought Paul Gross was pretty and I enjoyed the action. They stopped showing due South altogether and I forgot about its existence. Until one day, I was researching on IMDb and came across a reference to it. I went to search it out and thought it would be something to help distract me. I was in need of distraction (this was October 2004.) I got hold of the first series and I watched several episodes straight away. I have a post about it here.
I took a break for a while. Quite a long while, actually. I came back to it several months later, intent to get series 2, 3 and 4. I acquired series 3 and 4 before 2 and fell head over heels for Ray Kowalski. But even more than that – I became a rabid slasher. I have a post about that here. Now, it’s hard to survive in due South fandom without seeing slash between Vecchio and Fraser or Kowalski and Fraser, maybe you could get by being a Frannie/Elaine shipper? But I haven't seen it done. Gen exists, it’s a much loved subset of the fandom, but so much of dS fannish squee is made up of how these boys love each other – in all ways. It’s hard to escape. And in July 2005, I was very much learning that this was something I agreed with wholeheartedly.
And I won’t lie – it confused me. I’d written drabbles about Archie’s love for Horatio in the Hornblower telemovies, but I didn’t think that was exactly slash because I was pretty sure it was canon. The only other slash I had come into contact with was in Harry Potter fandom, and it didn’t really appeal to me. It wasn’t something I wanted to write, anyway, and that’s important, because I’m not much of a reader – I always write before I read. I do read fan fiction, and I enjoy doing so, I just don’t seek it out. I read what’s made immediately available to me – and usually only for texts that I write for myself.
due South fired my creative synapses. I won’t say that I wrote anything remotely good at first, because I don’t think I did. And, as of now, I’ve written maybe... 5 due South fictions that I really like, which I think are cool - 5 - out of 30. But that’s okay, I don’t mind, because I was writing again! I had taken a big break from creative writing, I felt like I had no creativity left. I made lamenting posts about how I could no longer write and I felt like part of me had died. due South brought that joy back for me.
I could love due South just for that, but there’s so much more. The actual show is fantastic. It is flawed, but ultimately, it is great. It’s got all of these elements which work so well together. I adore the magical realism and the goofiness. I’m a goofy person by nature and even though there are some moments which are too over the top for my tastes, there are others which I think hit at just the right spot. To combat the goofiness there’s also an emotional resonance which gets you right in the pit of your stomach. The characters are complex and as you grow to know them, your opinion flexes and changes. The acting and various production values are superb.
I love Fraser deeply as a character. I relate to him. I am interested by him. He is the embodiment of two types of hero – the ordinary hero and the extraordinary one, and I love that. Yes, he can sometimes leap off tall buildings, but he irons his shorts. He’s nervous around women! He flirts with his partners! He has many personality traits, and they’re very real. He can be confused and naïve, but he is also extremely clued up, and he knows more than he ever lets on. He has an amazing sense of what is right and what justice should be.
I adore Ray Vecchio in much the same way. He is a good man trying to be a better person. Sure, he grumbles and he gripes, and when we first meet him, he has a questionable dress sense, but he is open, warm and amazingly generous. He gives Fraser the gift of friendship, and I love that about him, I really do. He isn’t driven by an innate sense of ‘what is right’, not in the same way Fraser is, but he still fights to help other people and searches for justice. He’s got his demons and he hides them away. He is loyal and protective and wonderful.
Ray Kowalski also gets my adulation. He’s so broken. He’s gone to live someone else’s life because he really doesn’t know what his own involves anymore. He can be spikey, but once he likes you, that’s it, he will treat you so good. He loves passionately and that love will make him do crazy things, like - maybe - stalk you - or go crashing through a window on a motorbike. You get the feeling he knows things, deep down in his core, but he’s too afraid to show the world that side of him.
So yes, due South. One of my many fannish loves. I haven’t even gone into how much I adore the fandom, either. The fandom rocks. I haven’t met one due South fan who I haven’t thought was intelligent, witty and, all in all, made of awesome. dS is the caring, sharing fandom. It’s been remarked that in dS fandom, even the wank is polite. Which, you know, rings true. The enthusiasm ripples in waves and bounds – mostly because it’s dS - YAY - and dS is brilliant.