The role played by the TV show Queer as Folk (the US version) in the untitled Sanne project is that the first lines of "Clean" are composed after the dialogue that introduces Hunter, a teenage male prostitute adopted by two of the main characters in the series, Ben and Michael.
I felt a kinship with the words that formed a part of Hunter’s sales pitch to Ben, "You like young dick?" because of the way they compelled me into his situation as a homeless teenage hustler pulling tricks in front of an apartment building in the dead of a Pittsburgh winter. I was forced to reflect on how he came to be a prostitute: where were his parents? Was he abused, abandoned? Was he forced into prostitution? Is he ever physically harmed? Does he have HIV (he propositioned Ben, giving him the option of having sex without a condom)? How long could he survive, physically and mentally? Drugs? How bad were the other means for survival that made prostitution the best option?
However, although that Sanne’s character is divorced from Hunter’s reality, I felt beginning the first piece of the series with similar provocative language—"You like to fuck young girls, don’t you?"— would serve as a device to draw readers into the story by giving glimpses into her reality, which will unfold in the subsequent pieces of the series.
Both the questions by Hunter and Sanne reflect the circumstances in which they live and at the same time are evaluations of what they think the world is, and in that form a kind of medium to lessen the cognitive dissonance between what they feel, who they are, who they want to be, and who they can’t, for whatever reason, help being.
As the remainder of the story unfolds, you’ll find out what Sanne wants to be, who she thinks she is, how she feels, and what she can’t help being, and the same goes for her passive partner; because the pieces are as much about the struggle for identity as they are about sex.
If you haven’t already read the first two pieces, follow the links and catch up.
For more information on Queer as Folk, click this