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Machinima / Openness

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Zara: Are... Are we all...
Scotty: Gay as hell?

Openness is a dramedy machinima series created using The Sims 2. First uploaded on October 9th, 2015 by SnapshotOfASoul, the series follows a group of Canadian high school students across the LGBTQ+ spectrum and their surrounding community. Each episode is around 45-60 minutes long, and while there's no set schedule, they're usually released once a month. The first episode can be seen here. The series has a heavy focus on varying experiences with religion, sexuality, and intercommunity politics.

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The series has seen praise within the sims machinima community for its entertaining representation of multiple sexualities and genders. Openness has characters identifying as the following; straight, gay, pansexual, asexual, aromantic, bisexual, transgender, cis, and non-binary.


Openness contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: A couple of examples:
    • Fiona's father is physically, verbally and emotionally abusive.
    • Berrie's mother is verbally abusive.
    • Zara's mother is implied to have been abusive, or at least neglectful towards her eldest daughter.
    • Though not his direct parent, Joseph can be construed as abusive to Erick.
  • Adorkable
    • Virgil, shown in his relentless love and support for Zara, fondness for cats, and overall personality.
  • Adoption Diss: Nikki to Emma, and Emma right back at Nikki. They're both adopted.
  • Adults Are Useless: The school's temporary guidance counsellor tells Jas they should try to act like everyone else and avoid expressing themself to fit in and avoid getting harassed.
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  • Apologises a Lot: Zara often internalises that she's fucked up and has to apologise.
  • Arranged Marriage: Fiona's family is forcing him to be with Erick, and is told the only way he can see his friends is if he formally accepts Erick's proposal.
  • Artistic License – Traditional Christianity: The main religious group is called the Traditionalists, and takes heavily from the director's own upbringing.
  • Asexuality: Jas is asexual and aromantic.
  • As the Good Book Says...: Joseph often quotes the Bible to support his own views.
  • The Atoner: Cal sees himself as this, having turned his attitude around after his parents almost died in a car accident that left his mother disabled physically.
  • Bath Suicide: Fiona attempts one of these at the end of episode seven.
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  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: Virgil is a novelist who writes stories about Bigfoot on a very old computer.
  • Be Yourself:
    • This can be construed as the main message of the series.
    • Jas tries to embody this message, even when other people tell them to do the exact opposite.
    • Virgil towards Zara, because Zara doesn't think she's cool enough for her new-found friends.
  • Beneath the Mask:
    • Zara. She has depression and anxiety, yet always tries to put on a happy face around her friends out of fear they'll hate her if she doesn't.
    • Fiona. Often very quiet about his struggles to the point nobody knew he was trans except for Jas for months.
    • Berrie often puts up an air of perfection when really she's constantly tired, verbally abused at home, and has her identity denied by her parents.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Berrie's mother has one of these when Berrie doesn't let her get her way.
    • Joseph, when his religious beliefs are challenged in any way, shape, or form.
    • Cal whenever Erick is even mentioned.
    • Fiona, when being told that Erick wants her to have his children.
    • Scotty, around Erick.
    • Everybody pretty much just hates Erick.
  • Blood Is Squicker in Water: At the end of episode seven, Fiona is shown to be attempting suicide in the bath. The bathwater slowly turns red...
  • Canada, Eh?: The entire series is almost aggressively Canadian, due to the creator being sick of people thinking his series were set in America.
  • Canadian = Hockey Fan:
    • Hockey jerseys, ice rinks, and All-Star Games in the background of scenes are often little easter eggs that most non-Canadians miss. The creator put this in despite hating hockey himself.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Jas constantly gets in trouble over anything and everything.
  • Child Hater
    • Erick, but only towards his half-sister, because she's mixed.
    • Fiona isn't too fond of children due to inexperience and fear, but would never harm one.
  • Chocolate Baby
    • Scotty looks nothing like his paternal grandmother.
    • Adam's younger half-sister is black.
    • Emma presumes she was abandoned because of this trope.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The main characters' names are coloured in using the flags of their respective identities in the opening.
    • Pansexual flag for Zara and Emma.
    • Asexual flag for Jas.
    • Straight flag for Cal.
    • Gay flag for Berrie.
    • Gay and bisexual flag for Scotty.
    • Transgender flag for Fiona.
  • Coming-Out Story: Most of the characters are open about their identities. Fiona, however, waits months to tell more than one person about being trans.
  • Crisis of Faith
    • Adam has one of these due to being both Catholic and gay.
    • Cal was raised Christian but lost his faith due to his parents being in a car accident.
    • Emma wonders aloud if the universe is out to get her.
  • Culture Clash
    • The Traditionalists lead life to a completely different set of morals and views than the rest of the town.
    • Zara grew up on a socially isolated goat farm and is completely baffled by half the things that people do.
    • What may be normal to the creator (for example, abortion being considered a valid choice or Jas' character as a whole) may confuse viewers from more conservative countries or areas.
  • Erick is implied to have felt this before falling in with Joseph.
  • Domestic Abuse:
    • Joseph towards his wife and daughter.
    • Berrie's mother towards her daughters.
    • Erick towards Fiona and his brother, Adam.
    • Erick often implies he'd neglect his infant half-sister on the grounds of her being mixed.
    • It's implied Zara's mother was fairly emotionally and physically abusive at times, as well as icing her ex-husband out.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Esther was implied to have attempted suicide before, at the start of episode seven.
    • Fiona tries to kill himself at the end of episode seven.
    • Cal almost ended his life before the series started.
    • Zara, too.
  • Family Business:
    • Nana Hat runs a bakery and wants Scotty to take the helm one day.
    • Joseph runs a church and wishes for Erick and Fiona to take it over when he gets older.
  • Forbidden Fruit: Fiona's friends are this. They represent everything that his father hates and forbids.
  • Free-Range Children: Because it's a small town, most of the cast is free to roam about without much worry. Lampshaded when Greg spots Scotty getting beaten up in an alley.
  • Freaky Fashion, Mild Mind
    • Zara dresses in wild, out-of-date attire but is actually fairly normal and self-aware.
    • Emma dresses like it's Halloween every day but is very kindhearted.
    • Most of the Traditionalists are the inverse of this. They have extremely conservative, old-fashioned, "family values" clothing, but most of them are pure evil.
  • Friend to All Children
    • Cal, due to having to be the parent to his younger siblings.
    • Jas, also due to an overload of younger siblings.
    • Adam, who takes care of his sister with a reverence unseen in most teenaged boys.
  • Friend to All Living Things
    • Virgil has seven cats.
    • Zara was raised on a goat farm and is implied to be incredibly good with animals.
    • Scotty, to the point of wanting to cat-nap one of Virgil's kitties.
  • Gender-Inverted Trope
    • Scotty and Cal often engage in stereotypically feminine pursuits like painting their nails and having sleepovers.
    • Scotty is a baker.
    • Nana Hat can't cook.
    • Virgil is a single dad, against his will, due to spousal abandonment.
    • Cal is dependent on his girlfriend, Emma, instead of the other way around.
    • Adam is the caretaker of his younger sister and loves her more than anything, ever.
    • Berrie's mother is the overbearing and abusive one, whereas her father just serves as backup to her plans and ambitions.
  • Gender-Neutral Writing
  • Happily Adopted:
    • Scotty's paternal grandmother adopted him to avoid him ending up in a Malaysian orphanage.
    • Emma and Nikki love their mothers and were both adopted as infants.
  • Harmful to Minors: A few examples:
    • Joseph's abusive behaviour around Ezra exposes him to violence he shouldn't have to see.
    • Cal's little sister Siobhan is being bullied.
    • Cal had to deal with breaking the news to his two sisters that their parents were nearly killed in a car crash.
  • Has Two Mommies: Emma.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Gay?:
    • Berrie, to her parents.
    • Emma, reminding people she's still pansexual, despite dating a guy.
    • Jas, reminding everyone they're ace.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Sexually Active Today?:
    • Berrie, describing sex with Zara to Jas.
    • Scotty is constantly teased for his flings on Grindr.
  • Het Is Ew: Scotty seems to think this, referring to cishet people as "breeders". He may have just been teasing, though.
  • Light Is Not Good: More symbolic than overt. Dark, cluttered, browner places are homey and generally happy to be in, whereas cleaner, lighter places are often toxic environments rife with abuse.
  • Mama Didn't Raise No Criminal: Inverted. Nana Hat seems well aware of what Scotty and Cal are up to.
  • Mandatory Motherhood
    • Emma feels that the universe is forcing her to have her child in exchange for giving her birth control to Fiona.
    • Esther was implied to have been forced into having Fiona and Ezra.
  • Most of the Traditionalist women are forced into this by their husbands.
  • Missing Mom: Zara's mother abandoned them for a new husband and family, suddenly and without warning.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong:
    • Erick towards Joseph, with an emphasis on "right."
    • To some extent, Esther towards Joseph, with an emphasis on "wrong."
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Scotty beats Erick into unconsciousness after he implies he will be marrying Fiona.
  • No Social Skills
    • Zara, due to growing up fairly isolated on a goat farm.
    • Adam, due to his ADHD.
  • Pass Fail
    • The temporary guidance counsellor tries to give tips on how Jas can pass as 'normal' more.
    • Berrie's mother desperately wants people to forget her family is black.
    • Fiona is a trans guy who is being forced into traditional gender roles.
    • Scotty is half-Malaysian. His name doesn't give it away at first.
  • Pet the Dog: Erick used to go fishing with his black stepfather.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Fiona's room was designed with pink as the predominant colour.
  • Played for Laughs
    • Scotty's cake being destroyed by a sudden snow.
    • Zara knowing next to nothing about other cultures. Or, you know, her own.
    • Adam's crush on Scotty can be seen as this.
    • Scotty's phone being stolen and locked out for the weekend.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Joseph and Erick are racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, and generally just shitty people.
  • Preacher's Kid: Fiona and his younger brother Ezra.
  • Promotion to Parent: Cal is a surrogate parent to his younger siblings due to his parents being injured in a car crash.
  • Proper Lady: Berrie's mother pressures her daughter into this.
  • Quirky Town: Arbutus Falls is this to some extent, housing everyone from Bigfoot novelists to lesbian police officers.
  • Relationship Reveal: Berrie tries to reveal her relationship with Zara. It doesn't end well.
  • Running Gag
    • Scotty and his Snickers bars. The boy will do anything to get his hands on some chocolate.
    • Grindr is consistently the butt of many jokes - in one case, a literal butt is used. The principal himself is implied as having a public Grindr profile for all to see.
    • Cal being increasingly done by Scotty's gay implications.
    • Virgil often wears cat-themed attire and adopted seven cats due to his wife leaving him.
    • Ms Westcott going to "the copy room" to make out with the principal.
    • Jas eating other people's food without permission.
    • Scotty's large stomach is often the butt of pregnancy jokes.
    • "The Lesbian Cause" is a common joke and phrase used to jokingly spur other characters into action.
    • The fact that they're the most hated group of people in the entire school is a joke in and of itself. Random insults are often flung.
    • Most of the group is not very athletic. Except for Berrie.
    • Jas is allergic to sports, fake jewellery, moss, and the colour taupe.
  • The Reliable One:
    • Scotty. He never sleeps, so he's always there for his friends.
    • Cal tries to be this for his family and loved ones.
  • Screw Destiny:
    • Emma absolutely refused to let Fiona get pregnant and gave Fiona her birth control to prevent this from happening.
    • Zara, to Emma, after Emma describes how she feels railroaded into having Cal's child by destiny.
    • Berrie is pressured into getting a nice, white husband and an entry to a prestigious university but mostly she just wants to be happy.
  • Berrie's family tries desperately to put up the ruse of being a normal, happy family.
  • Stop Being Stereotypical:
    • Broden Lemmings and his friends, to Jas.
    • Jas, to Scotty, despite it being affectionate.
    • Berrie's mother to her two daughters because her first daughter was a teenaged mother and her second refuses to relax her hair.
    • Cal's mother, despite being heavily religious, has a strong distaste for the Traditionalists.
  • Take Care of the Kids: Scotty and Cal after Cal's parents were nearly killed in a car crash.
  • Tangled Family Tree:
    • Zara and Cal are cousins through Zara's dad and Cal's mother. This makes Emma's child Zara's relative as well.
    • Adam and Erick are siblings, and their half-sister is the product of their mother and their father's best friend getting married.
    • Scotty was adopted by his paternal grandmother and has no interest in learning what really happened there.
  • Teen Pregnancy:
    • Scotty, after being criticized for calling straight people "breeders", meaningfully looks down the hallway, where a veritable gaggle of pregnant students are walking by.
    • Emma is pregnant with Cal's baby, due to her giving Fiona her birth control.
  • The Un Reveal: Jas is given an envelope containing their physical sex. They lose it, and freak out, knowing that the entire school will find out. It was found in a trash can, and nobody saw it.

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