(Tip in Boy Form)
For fans of TG fiction, the best place to find it right now is on Emerald City embody in the character of Tip and watchable on Hulu and NBC. Now, everything that follows is a spoiler, so you may want to just go and watch! But, if you read on, just know I will be revealing a lot of Tip’s journey.
Thematically, one of the reasons I love this character is that he discovers he can only gain power by embracing his female self. It is a nice twist on traditional gender roles, and when I say embrace his female self it comes down to him accepting that he is a princess and magically dressing himself in a fairy tale dress, earrings, a fancy dress and an elaborate updo in order to command the loyalty of a group of witches.
Now, to back up, when we first meet Tip he is being held captive by a witch, who feeds him special medicine everyday and tells him she is protecting him from the dangers of the outside world. Right off, the situation is deliciously twisted, as Tip is being held in a tower sealed by brambles, and he is hoping that a male friend named Peter will rescue him from his captivity. Sounds like a traditional damsel in distress, right?
Well, Dorothy comes along– this is an Oz-based TV show– and she frees Tip, who runs off with his friend Peter to be free and explore the world. There’s only one problem: the next, Tip wakes up to discover he has turned into a girl. He hides from his friend and is appalled and embarrassed to have a girl’s shape, so he and Peter set out to find someone to make more of the medicine the witch had been feeding him.
(Tip in girl form)
All along, we get nice little crumbs of Tip’s struggle with his identity. At one point he is in a restaurant, his boobs exposed in his too small shirt, and a waitress tells him that unless he’s planning on making some money off his boobs he should probably cover them up. He is shocked and humiliated to realize men have been ogling him. He freaks out when he needs to use a restroom and can’t decide which one to use (very timely), and then he gets the greatest shock of all when he and Peter find a chemist to analyze and make more medicine.
The chemist returns and tells Tip he can’t make him the medicine because it is black magic and will turn him into a boy. “I am a boy,” Tip says, and the man says, “No. You aren’t. You were born a girl.”
This knowledge unnerves Tip, who is totally disoriented by the idea that he was born female. He refuses to believe it. This situation gets worse when his equally confused friend, Peter, tries to kiss him.
The journey continues on with Tip trying to join the army, but instead ends up at an all-girl orphanage run by Glinda, who wants him to be a nun. Then, the Witch of the West arrives and offers to let him join her and learn to be a slut, which causes him to say, “So, as a girl my choices are to be a virgin or a slut?”
He chooses to go with West, but only find himself forced to wear dresses and work as her serving girl, making her tea and performing other menial tasks.
(Tip as serving girl)
Now, this is all doled out very slowly over several episodes. Finally, he discovers that not only was he born a girl, but a princess, which is just the worst form of girl in his mind, but then Witch of the West asks him a question. “Do you want to be a boy who has nothing and no one, or a girl who is destined to rule Oz?”
This, to me, is where it starts to kick into high gear because he begins to understand his path to power only comes if he embraces his girlhood. It takes a couple of episodes, and he briefly even manages to regain male form, but then he is once again powerless, and it is only by going full on princess that he can advance and have any power and future.
The actress who plays Tip, Jordan Loughran, is extremely talented and does a almost too good job portraying his confusion and alienation as he struggles to figure out who he is and what he can be in the world.
I am looking forward to see what happens, and eagerly watching the ratings to see if there will be a second season. This is very cool stuff for a network TV show to explore.
Check it out!