It’s been a long while since a gay relationship in a television show has affected me this deeply and lastingly — not since Willow and Tara’s in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But at least Ander and Omar of Netflix’s Spanish-language series Elite, despite their difficulties, arrive at a better and even more committed place than the two young witches did. Certainly, the boys’ relationship has shown a better chance of surviving.
That’s the reason I care so much — they have a shot, and they clearly love each other.
So, I can’t shake the emotionality of their multiple breakups, and, it must be said, the shitty and inconsistent way Ander has treated Omar. (I’m using the present perfect hoping that they will continue as a couple into the fifth season, even though Ander drove off into the sunset with his straight friend Guzmán at the end of the fourth.)
I’ve yelled at Ander on more than one occasion throughout my binge-watching of the show. I can forgive, and anyone should, the sexual indiscretions — that’s just dudes being dudes at exactly the wrong times — but the emotional cruelty I couldn’t forgive.
Nevertheless, in a show filled with fucked-up relationships, and that’s mostly about impunity (and guilt over it), Omar and Ander are the central couple, the one that keeps falling apart, but then rejoining, recuperating, and renewing. That’s something worth savoring.
Still, the most powerful moments for me occur in the fourth season when Ander breaks up with Omar to go… find himself, I guess. The act devastates Omar, who breaks down, but it’s equally hard for Ander.
He finds comfort in the couple’s mutual friend Samuel. Here, Samu stays with him and reaches out. Ander trembles, crumbles, and says, “I can’t breathe.”
This tender and emotional scene reminded me of a similar one I experienced in college after my very first boyfriend informed me on our first day back on campus that he had found someone else over the summer. My roommate Janet was there to keep me on my feet, if just barely.
What floors us most forcefully in moments like these, and why it feels like we’ve lost our balance or that indeed the world has dropped out from under us, is the sense that the future itself has been closed off.
Whatever source of nourishment and sustenance we relied on just seconds before has been ripped away or crushed, like a theft or a car crash.
Like a punch in the gut.