After seeing the animated film Sausage Party, no one is going to say Seth Rogen's new movie is “just okay.” You’re either going to love it or hate it. The movie is graphic, vulgar, and completely over-the-top.
It also, surprisingly, depicts bisexuality in a realistic and brilliant manner.
When I first saw the movie, I erupted into laughter during the massive orgy scene between the foods. It was just so graphic, and seemed unnecessarily explicit. Once the shock value wore off, and I recovered from my side-splitting laughter, I had some time to think about it.
That’s when I realized it’s actually one of the most positive depictions of bisexuality I’ve seen in a mainstream film.
Sausage Party comically depicts sexual fluidity in a playful manner, and one that’s not offensive. Given that the movie, on a whole, is pretty offensive, this is quite a feat.
Let’s delve into the specifics. Teresa Taco (Salma Hayek) wasn’t depicted as a psycho lesbian or predatory lesbian, which are common tropes in films (e.g., the lesbian in Pitch Perfect), but was honest about her attraction to Brenda Bunson (Kristen Wiig). Brenda originally rejected her kindly, admitting that she was somewhat interested, but circumstances prohibited her from exploring her sexuality.
These circumstances were one: that she loves Frank (Seth Rogen), but also two: she believes in the puritanical values of their “food religion” that governs the foods of the grocery store. But when times changed, and they no longer believed in the gods and rules of that food religion, Brenda did explore her sexuality with Teresa. And boy, did she explore...illustrating that sexuality is fluid and also repressed when grown up in a religious community that deems bisexuality deviant.
And then there’s the feud between Kareem Abdul Lavash (David Krumholtz) and Sammy Bagel Jr. (Edward Norton), which was of course, was an allegory for the fighting between Israel and Palestine.
But when they started boning at the end, it was not only hilarious, but also somewhat expected. They had this hate relationship, which turned into a love-hate relationship, which lead to some sexual tension, which ended in sex. So it wasn’t actually that surprising when they started having sex, and we kind of hoped for it (whether or not we consciously realized it). This made the sex between them less for shock value, and more of a realistic depiction of how same-sex attractions can and do develop.
In the end, what made it so positive, was the overall air of nonchalance surrounding the sexual acts. It wasn’t a big deal. It was casual and all somewhat expected. It wasn’t this big exploration on behalf of the characters. It was simply fun sexual exploration, and that’s what sexual exploration should be: fun.
After years of being sexually suppressed, due to the rules set by their fictitious gods, (think about Frank and Brenda who so desperately wanted to be intimate but weren’t allowed to leave their packaging), they were able to shed themselves of their religious-based morals.
And when they did, they were able to explore their sexual fluidity and have some damn fun.
Note that it didn’t impact how they perceived their identity, because they were still figuring out their identities. All the characters in the movie were virgins, which was made clear early on when Frank said to Brenda that he might not be very good at sex, since he’s never had it before. To which Brenda responded neither had she.
So there was no talk of being gay, straight, or bisexual after the orgy. There was no talk of identity, and ironically, in not discussing identity, they were being more accepting of all sexually fluid identities.
Imagine if we could live in a world like that of Sausage Party. A postmodern world, where people have rejected their puritanical ideals imposed on them by a false religion, and instead decide to explore without labels or judgement.
That would be a hell of a progressive world to live in.