We all know that Whiskey loved Jack. Like, idolized him. We see it when he gets his jersey signed by Jack and it’s the only time he smiles (other than when he’s kissing his lax bro bf). We see it when he inquired after Jack. We get it. Connor looked up to Jack.
And Whiskey was probably attracted to Jack not just because of the hockey, but because they have queerness in common. Even before Jack came out, I guarantee Whiskey knew. Jack and Kent were pretty obvious if you knew what to look for (“there were rumors about their rumors”) and Whiskey, being a closeted hockey player himself, certainly did.
But now Jack is no longer a closeted hockey player. He’s an openly out hockey player, kissing his boyfriend on national television after winning the cup. His positions has changed drastically. And for Whiskey, for whatever reason, being out isn’t an option.
So now the largest reason Whiskey related to Jack has been negated. In fact, Jack is a million times LESS relatable now, because instead of being in a similar position as Whiskey, he’s in a position Whiskey can never be in.
But I think Jack will want to help Whiskey. He’ll want to do what he can to make Whiskey feel not so alone. And honestly? I think he’ll put Whiskey in contact with Kent.
Because Kent is now the only person in a similar position to Whiskey. Kent, with all his years of playing in the NHL under his belt, has still not come out, and we see no indication in the comic that he’s planning to. For Kent, for whatever his reasons are, coming out like Jack did, or even coming out at all, isn’t an option.
Whiskey and Kent have the same ambitions, the same drive. The same guarded personality. The same unfortunate position. The same sense of being abandoned and being alone. Being misunderstood and misinterpreted. Turning to hockey as their sole focus and sole coping mechanism, their sole way of finding purpose and of proving themselves worthwhile and successful.
But together? Maybe they’ll help each other grow. Maybe they’ll help each other not feel so alone.
Do you ever wish that the Bitty & Whiskey arc had some actual character development on Bitty’s side?
Like, when Whiskey told him, “I appreciate it… you keeping my business to yourself,” Bitty had actually gotten the guts to say, “Connor, that means a lot, but I can’t accept it- because you deserve to know that I didn’t keep your business to myself. I didn’t tell any press- but I did tell Jack. And that isn’t fair to you- and I’m sorry.”
Because that’s what happened.
We know that’s what happened.
Bitty 100% did not keep Whiskey’s business to himself. After Whiskey didn’t immediately bond with Bitty over being not-hetero, Bitty’s first action was to run to Jack, tell him that Whiskey wasn’t straight, and then complain about Whiskey’s reaction to being outed. For days.
Keeping Whiskey’s business to himself didn’t just mean “not blabbing to the press”. It meant everyone.
Whiskey didn’t tell Jack that he wasn’t straight. Whiskey doesn’t know that Jack knows.
Bitty outed him.
Bitty outed him to an active NHL player that Whiskey looks up to.
And that isn’t okay on several levels…. and I also can’t help but think that if Whiskey knew Bitty had done that? He sure as hell wouldn’t be thanking him for anything.
It would have been such an amazing moment of actual character growth on Bitty’s part for him to be able to own up and say, “I made a mistake, I fucked up. And telling you this could very well result in you not liking me, possibly permanently, but it’s more important to me that I tell you, because it’s the right thing and you deserve that.”
For Bitty, who has spent the entirety of the comic so far prizing ‘being liked/adored’ above everything else, who has spent over a year complaining to anyone who will listen that Whiskey doesn’t like him and he can’t work out why, (hint to Bitty: stuff like this, like ignoring his boundaries, is why) to make a choice that would likely result in permanently ending a friendship, because that choice was genuinely the best thing for someone else…. that would have been a huge character development arc. And imho, one that is needed. The only times we see Bitty make a choice that isn’t all about him, is when he’s making choices that are all about Jack.
To see Bitty do that for Whiskey would have shown me how much he’s grown as a person, and as a captain- that he actually cares about Whiskey, instead of just the Performative Affection of unwanted labor (i.e. his baking) that repeatedly crosses boundaries. It would have shown that finally, finally, he’s listening to Whiskey and actually doing what’s right for him, instead of what’s best for himself.
It would have shown me that so much better than six (6) panels of Bitty in stereotypical Hockey Captain/Sports Movie Power Poses™ with a voiceover about “Teamwork and Spirit and Every Step™” ever could.
Lol, so it took me a while to answer this… so this is not from the most recent notes anymore, and I’m sorry about that. But I am getting to it!!!
Bitty and Whiskey are foils in certain ways- but tbh, I think that Whiskey is the better choice here. And that Whiskey has made better choices as a character.
Ngozi said in these notes that Bitty is “open and expressive”… and while I’ll agree with the expressive part, I take issue with the statement that Bitty is “open”. Because he’s really not. He talks a lot, and he bakes for everyone out of performative affection, but we’ve seen that when he is not shown adoration in exactly the manner he expects or wants, he gets upset and petty and salty. While drunk, he overheard half a conversation between Jack & Kent, and drew his own conclusions… instead of being open to the idea that maybe there was more here than he knew about, that maybe Kent was hurt by confessing his feelings, that he missed Jack and had instead been rebuffed with “You always say that”. Bitty refused to be open when it really counted.
Bitty also has refused to be open to the idea that literally anyone might not find his food the literal Best Thing In The Universe. He refuses to accept that someone not eating his food might mean they aren’t hungry, or that they’re allergic to something in it, or they just don’t want to eat it…. he immediately decides that they must hate him, and often, pulls White Woman Tears™ and cries or goes into hysterics so that whoever didn’t eat his food winds up showering him with compliments and telling him how amazing he is.
Ngozi tells us that he’s eager to bring new people into his life…. but he really hasn’t made a new friend in 4 years. Not without Jack’s help, or without baking them something and going into hysterics if they don’t tell him how much they love it.
For my money, Bitty is only eager to bring new people into his life in exactly the way he wants to, when he wants to.
Whiskey is definitely different than Bitty….. for one thing, he doesn’t seem to be all that upset if people aren’t his best friends. And he does seem to be pretty well put-together mentally. Ngozi tells us that it’s hard for Bitty to “wrap his head around” Whiskey being less than friendly, but it appears that Bitty has come to the opinion that Whiskey entire personality is closed off…. when I would argue that Whiskey is just that way around Bitty.
We see Whiskey smiling and laughing with Tango & Ford- with the Lax Bros, and even smiling at Jack when Jack signs his jersey the first time they meet. Whiskey is only closed off with Bitty. And I’d also argue that this is entirely Bitty’s fault. Bitty has spent 18 months ignoring every single time Whiskey has asked him to stop doing something, or asked him to hold a boundary. If it was me, I would also be pretty closed off around someone who did that to me.
What I think Bitty has trouble wrapping his head around is just the fact that Whiskey doesn’t want to be his friend.
As far as Bitty wrapping his head around being closeted? The way I see his actions in the past, Bitty 100% believed that he was completely closeted in GA, but the reality is that he never managed to pass for straight. He was bullied all those years because he was perceived as gay (never mind that he actually was). Bitty has also never had to juggle Being Out with Playing Pro Hockey…. and that’s definitely something Whiskey would have to juggle. His freshman season, he was putting up numbers like Jack… and Whiskey wasn’t 21 years old and coached by Wayne Gretzky with a legacy for a father… Whiskey was that good on his own.
And y’know, the thing about those LGBT athletes? They’re not a Samwell LGBT athletes group. They’re officially the Varsity Captains. We only have Shruti’s word that “a lot of the varsity captains are also in Samwell LGBT Athletes”, which is a club we never actually see. Never.
I truly think that line was 100% reactionary. I think Ngozi wrote it because there was finally enough critique about this supposedly queer comic having virtually no queer characters…. so she tossed in a line about how Ackshually There Are A Lot Of Queer Folks At Samwell, it’s just that the hockey team hadn’t bothered to attend meetings with them.
Which….. actually creates a whole other problem.
Because you cannot convince me that Justin “I am canonically friends with literally every Samwell Student on Facebook” Olruansi and Adam “I am canonically a lexicon of pop culture knowledge and love parties” Birkholtz would have completely ignored the chance to hang out with other athletes and essentially have a party.
You also cannot convince me that any of SMH’s coaching staff would have actually allowed them (or Jack, for that matter) to skip those meetings.
Those meetings would be alumni magnets, and funding magnets too. Those are the kind of things that NCAA Charters mandate, and that colleges love to have, because athletic alumni in particular love those kind of events- they get to hang out with the current crops of jocks, and tell stories of the Good Old Days, and are usually hit with enough waves of nostalgia that they give very large amounts of money to whatever program they used to play for.
There’s no way in hell that the SMH coaching staff would have let Jack fucking Zimmermann skip those.
Every time Ngozi talks about hockey, or writes her notes, I keep getting hit with a wave of realization that she has done nowhere near as much research as she claims.
Thanks for the ask, friend! As always, feel free to send in more!
I know there’s always speculation about why Kent has as many fans as he does and what it means about the state of the fandom, but honestly, I think the reason is pretty simple: in a world that can still be pretty damn homophobic, especially in its media depictions of queer men, we stan a competent queer character.
There’s been some improvement over the years, but most straight-aimed media doesn’t let queer characters be the athletes who are breaking all of the records, or the ones who every other character wants to be around, or even a character who’s widely respected.
Kent got to be all of those things. He was a queer man who went first overall in the NHL draft. He was a queer man who was leading the League in both points and assists and on a 31-game point streak, putting his name in the record books as 4th highest point streak in the history of the game. He was a queer man who Ransom, Holster, and Shitty had nothing but respect and admiration for, and who all of the Frogs and partygoers wanted to take photos with.
From Kent’s debut in 2015 to Shruti’s introduction in 2018, Kent, Bitty, and Jack were the only known queer characters in the comic. And of the three of them, Kent was the only one portrayed as steadfastly successful in hockey. He’s still undoubtedly the best hockey player we ever see in the comic.
And in a world filled with media that still seems reluctant to both give us gay characters and show that they can be the best, that they can be judged by standard metrics and still succeed above any of the straight characters, that sports are not reserved for straight men.
If there’s one main takeaway I have from the fandom love for Kent Parson, it’s that fandom was starved for queer chance who were not just competent, but depicted as elite in their skills and abilities, and latched onto Kent when they found it in his character. The angsty backstory and tortured, now-unrequited romance with Jack was just icing on the cake.
That’s a really good point. Much of the main story of both Bitty and Jack is focused much more on the struggles many young queer people go through. Being afraid of being out. College life, college sports, both from the perspective of being closeted and from being out. When Jack finally makes it to the NHL, he enters a field Kent has been established in for years.
Kent isn’t just a professional hockey player, he’s an exceptional, successful hockey player. Sure, he isn’t out. But in some ways, it’s sadly more easy to imagine that somewhere out there, there are queer, successful hockey players who are closeted, instead of the fever dream fantasy the main pairing’s story turns into. And I’m not saying the sappy main story isn’t valid entertainment. Just that when people come to love Kent, it’s for what he symbolizes for the queer people who exist now. Who can’t come out, but who desperately want to succeed. Who not just want to succeed, but be exceptional themselves.
I just really hate how much this fandom treats word of god as canon.
“god tier how she made Ollie and Wicks canon at the last possible second.”
A) No, it isn’t. they are background characters who she couldn’t even keep separate in her head because they have absolutely no personality or impact on the story at all to the point where she either drew the wrong character or put the wrong character’s name. An error she didn’t correct for the professionally published books. She just decided to turn it into a meme and y’all ate it up. She also didn’t manage to remember their numbers and gave one of their numbers to a Waffle in Year 4. They are literally just part of the other 15 people on the team any given year that we don’t get to see because she didn’t want to deal with a cast of that size. We know more about Dave Cohen and Alex Berger than we do about Ollie O’Meara and Pacer Wicks.
and more to the point
B) She didn’t make them canon. Ask-A-Wellie isn’t canon. It’s not in any of the books, kickstarter or trad pub. It’s not in with the comics on the website. It’s word of god. It’s illustrated word of god. It’s… hey wait, almost exactly like the blog posts which are also word of god. It’s not canon. You can believe it’s true if you want. You can incorporate it into your headcanons. But it has no more weight to canon than anything any of us comes up with wholesale.
She’s said it herself.
The author is dead.
Her interpretations don’t matter more than anyone else’s.
What matters is what’s in the comic and Ollie/Wicks is not in the comic. It is not canon.
normalize creators replying to fanon shippers with “that’s great that you’re inspired to write your own version of things. keep doing that! but please respect our version of our story.”
normalize fans being reminded that boundaries between fandom and creators exist for a reason.
normalize fans recognizing their own creative potential without seeking canon validation
normalize the idea that fandom is a hobby, not an identity to threaten and fight and harass people over
normalize a healthy understanding of the boundaries between fiction and reality
normalize just chilling the fuck out lmao
Person: you shouldn’t like Kent Parson because he’s mean and-
Me: did you know Kent Parson once tried to convince Lardo of going pro at beer pong.
Person: well yeah but
Me: did you know Kent Parson flirts like a dork with this girl who didn’t know anything about Hockey
Person: okay, cute but-
Me: did you know Kent Parson is said to need therapy and he’s been pining and hurting for 6 years and he shows realistic signs of being mentally ill and while that doesn’t really excuse his actions, we still have so much to learn about him from Jack first hand.
Person: okay I didn’t know that.
Me: did you know being nice to someone about their favorite characters cost exactly 0$ and if you don’t like said character you can also choose to remain quiet on said topic instead of being determined to hate a nonexistent person
Person: damn u right. I was so immersed in a fictional universe I didn’t understand the importance of safe spaces in fandoms. Next time I will try to analyse and look at a character in a different pov and try to understand that people are different and can relate to characters in ways other people probably can’t understand because we aren’t the same people. I should learn to respect that. Thanks.
“did you know being nice to someone about their favorite characters cost exactly 0$ and if you don’t like said character you can also choose to remain quiet on said topic instead of being determined to hate a nonexistent person”
I really feel this way about the Kent critics, TBH. The determination to virtue signal and make all kinds of insinuations about his fans instead of just accepting that sometimes people like different characters than you gets really old really fast.
The bus stops on my campus have signs that scroll lines of poetry with the author and then “provided by the university poetry center” and my brain sees that and immediately tries to spin it to somehow fit nurseydex
So here we go.
Dex takes the bus a couple times a week and he noticed that the sign scrolls little lines of poetry (they might just do this at night? or only a couple stops? I’m not sure) and one day he sees a line that he really likes! So instead of just looking up the author, he asks Nursey about it because obviously Nursey will give him something more tailored to him than just a general google search (and if he also secretly wants to see Nursey talk about the stuff that he’s passionate about because he has a huge crush, that’s his business).
After that it becomes A Thing, every time Dex gets off the bus, Nursey asks what he thought of today’s verse, Dex talks about what he liked about it, and Nursey tells him about the poem/poet.
At some point Dex realizes that it hardly ever happens anymore that they scroll one that he doesn’t care for. This goes on for a while and eventually Dex figures out that NURSEY is the one/one of the ones who pick the poems for the bus stops. This could happen one of three ways:
a) Nursey flies too close to the sun and the poem is too specific, like they did a line from the W.B. Yeats poem Nursey and Dex were talking about the other day (because Dex doesn’t know how it happened but now poetry is a thing he can actually participate in conversation about and not just quietly listen)
b) Nursey decides to go for broke and straight up puts one of HIS OWN poems up and Dex is like “I guess they started doing student stuff? That’s super cool that you’re up there! Did they ask? You should’ve told me!” And Nursey is like This Is It and tells him.
OR c) Nursey straight up asks Dex out or to Winter Screw on the sign and instead of “provided by the university poetry center” is says “provided by Derek Malik Nurse” or something
((Does this make sense? Probably not. Do I desperately want someone to write a fic? Absolutely.))
The Bitty/Jack relationship is so unsatisfying after the kiss because there is no conflict. They don't disagree on anything. Nothing goes wrong. Jack has a complete personality transplant. His moodiness and insecurities disappear. Like the Falconers have a losing season after winning the cup, which would be a BIG DEAL and ultra competitive Jack who wears an A doesn't care? And the Kent chapter really makes no sense. These characters have not spoken so why do they need to have a heart to heart?
Hey anon! So sorry I haven’t replied to this earlier, I just got SO exhausted by this comic that I needed a break.
I don’t at all believe that Jack would be so happy about Bitty and Samwell winning the NCAA championship in the same season that the Falcs aren’t doing so well. You’re right in that he’s super competitive, and we’ve seen how he reacts to losing/not being the best at hockey. It would’ve been nice to see some growth where he realized that Bitty is more important to him than hockey, but going by the proposal speech, Jack is really only into Bitty because of hockey, and one can argue that that’s only as long as Bitty isn’t a perceived threat to Jack’s career.
The Kent chapter really is pointless and makes no sense to me. I would’ve been happier if Kent was never shown in the comic again rather than the useless scraps that we got 🤷♀️.