Sugar Rush Recaps: SS1E6/7

by thethreepennyguignol

Phew. It’s been a while since I’ve gotten around to these recaps and I’m going to spare you the excuses, because it’s Pride month and there has been a dissapointing lack of gay-ass content on this blog. Let’s remedy that in an eventful Sugar Rush double-header, shall we? Catch up on the last recap right here, and let’s get to it!

Because this time around, Kim’s comin’ out, and you better get this party started! Yes, that’s right, after somewhat scamming a kiss out of her crush a few episodes ago, Sugar has finally caught on to the fact that Kim is in love with her – and what follow is perhaps some of the most relatable explorations of coming out as a queer woman that I’ve ever seen on TV.

I’ve been dithering on whether or not I actually think Sugar Rush is a good show on a rewatch – there’s been some fucking questionable content, let me tell you – but it’s these two episodes that seal the deal for me on why it’s endured in my head for so long. Because I haven’t really seen a story that’s spoken so much to my own coming out experiences as this one.

I’m going to focus in on the Kim plot here, because the ongoing family drama subplots (Nathan struggles with his masculinity, Stella decides to return home) just don’t interest me as much as this one (that said, watching dad Nathan explain to his son why a wet dream is not menstruation is kind of inspired and I will give it the hat-tip it deserves).

Coming out in that weird nether-world between outright homophobia and active attempt at acceptance that was the early-to-mid noughties (at least in the world that Kim lives in) is a strange experience: Kim basically flees the scene when Sugar figures out her crush on her, and retreats to her bed in terror at what she has revealed. But Sugar doesn’t seem to mind – in fact, Sugar seems pretty into the idea. She holds Kim’s hand on the beach. They share a tab of ecstacy at the club. They dance, they kiss, Sugar tells an onlooker that they’re both lesbians. Kim has finally gotten what she wants, it seem. Right up until the moment that she spots Sugar snogging the bloke who asked them about their lesbianism, and it becomes clear that Kim’s feelings aren’t reflected in Sugar’s.

Exploring your sexuality is a difficult, confusing road to navigate, and it can often result in collateral damage. Even though Kim is the one to come out this week, she’s also been sure of her sexuality for a long time – for Sugar, the thought of being with a woman is new. Her experiments feel genuine and sometimes even intimate – she really is considering the reality of this, and if she could share Kim’s feelings with her. While the show makes it clear that Sugar may be attracted to women, or at least to the idea of being with Kim, lesbianism is an experiment for her the way so many things have been in this story so far. While Kim is new to sex but not to her sexuality, Sugar is the complete opposite, and that’s where things start to fall apart. These are dual coming out stories that happen to be intertwined, but with both parties approaching sex, attraction, and intimacy in such a wildly different way – and with their options limited by small-town choice-lack – it’s only going to end in tears.

Beyond the way these episodes explore these concurrent coming-outs, I think one of the things I dig so much about Sugar Rush is how much it embraces the inherent grottiness of a lot of teenage sexual exploration. Forget Skins, I want to see a broken-hearted teen lesbian vomiting on to her cork wedge heels outside a nightclub after she catches her crush snogging a man. That’s fucking realism. It’s distinctly unglamorous, but coated in that rose-tinted glow of the certainty that this is glamour, this is love, this is romance, that comes with so many teenage relationships. Especially when you pile on the hyper-intensity of being involved with someone of the same sex after so long trying to avoid your sexuality. Projecting my own experience, you say? Me? Never.

I’ve got to say, maybe it’s just how much I relate to the show, but these couple of episodes really impressed me. They feel real in a way that little LGBT media has to me – relatable and almost offensively accurate. As we round out on the end of the season – just a couple of recaps left after this one – I’m keen to see where they take the story from him now that the plot is in full, gay, heartbroken bloom. And just how much we’re going to see of Krim before this season is out.

If you watched the show growing up like I did, let me know the impact it had (or didn’t have) below in the comments below. And if you haven’t seen it yet – what are you waiting for? Get on that! If you enjoyed this article and want to see more stuff like it, please consider supporting me on Patreon.

(header image via BBC)