Bisexuality is extremely underrepresented throughout Hollywood and media, and when it is portrayed, it’s usually represented using blanket phrases or terms, like “I go both ways,” rather than just explicitly stating that the character is bisexual. However, Brooklyn Nine-Nine changed that when a pivotal character, Rosa Diaz, came out as bisexual and actually used the word.
Now, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has a record of constantly adapting Hollywood’s standards for representation, which is evident with just the show’s immediate cast — which is mostly actors of color, and now two of those characters of color are members of the LGBT community — and their adamance to stray away from misogynistic, racist or any homophobic storylines or tropes and instead focus on addressing contemporary societal issues (some of which are detailed in this thread).
What fans adore about the show so much is its ability to be a comedic escape without making offensive or derogatory jokes at the expense of the group targeted by the joke; instead of targeting any disadvantaged groups, the writers manage to bring attention to taboo issues, like the thriving institutional racism within the judicial system, while still remaining true to their comedic roots. As a result, Rosa Diaz coming out as bisexual just adds onto the myriad of issues Brooklyn Nine-Nine tackles within every episode, and this specific storyline is possibly one of the most important stories told in 2017.
The episode begins with one of Rosa’s colleagues (Charles Boyle) quizzing her about her personal and romantic life by asking her if she “has a new boyfriend,” to which Rosa responds to by squeezing a lemon in his eye, and eventually Boyle — and the audience — discover the truth about Rosa’s romantic life, which you can watch in this scene. Moreover, the subsequent episode tackles Rosa now coming out to the rest of her colleagues and her “traditional” family, which you can see in these scenes.
These scenes are exponentially important, because, most of the time, TV shows and movies may introduce an LGBT character, but they will never properly explore that identity and the difficulties they may face. However, Brooklyn Nine-Nine dedicated two whole episodes (one of those episodes being the one-hour special) to addressing Rosa’s identity and her difficulty coming out to her friends and families with the fear that “everything may change” now they know the truth.
These episodes particularly resonated with the young LGBT fans of the show, as they can not only relate to the fears that come with coming out, but they also can appreciate and feel represented by their favorite character aligning identities with them. Consequently, it’s clear that this storyline is exponentially important to underrepresented audiences, but it’s also extremely important to Rosa’s actress, herself, Stephanie Beatriz.
Stephanie Beatriz is a bisexual Latina actress who plays a bisexual Latina character in mainstream TV. Words can’t emphasize how important it is to have the actress’ identity align with the character’s; it allows the taboo story the writers are attempting to tell to become so much more raw and honest when the actress herself understands the struggles that come with being bisexual. Furthermore, the fact that Rosa Diaz is such a vital character in the show’s ensemble allows fans never to have to worry about her succumbing to any typical LGBT character tropes — just completely being written off the show — and is also one of the reasons why this particular coming out story resonated with fans so deeply.
In conclusion, I could go on and on about how important this specific storyline is, but I would have to write several articles just to discuss them all. Moreover, all television and movie writers should aspire to be like the Brooklyn Nine-Nine writers, because it’s so important, in this day and age, to tell stories about contemporary struggles and issues that your audience may face. It’s vital that writers begin to listen to the criticisms and suggestions given to them by their audiences, because listening and genuinely taking note of what audiences believe is best for your story can help develop a more honest and appreciated show.
(Sidenote: also watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine after its hiatus on Tuesdays on FOX at 9:30/8:30c, because it’s an incredible show, which properly addresses so many contemporary societal issues.)