Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Media Studies

Reader 1

Jennifer Friedlander

Reader 2

Carlin Wing

Rights Information

© 2024 Isabel Suchoff


In this paper, I seek to navigate and understand in a deeper context the conflict that arises when desiring the traditional “happy endings” for queer relationships while simultaneously understanding that the ideological conventions and structures of the traditional “happy ending” are problematic. I first examine the origin of queer portrayal in media, specifically looking at the Bury Your Gays trope, which is a literary trope that originated in the 19th century where representations of same-gender couples must end in some type of tragedy. I then examine and define the traditional Hollywood “happy ending”, understanding exactly how this convention is ideologically conservative and constrained. Then looking at how the deprivation of happy endings for queer characters still persists today, I analyze two recent film endings where the queer relationships end in heartbreak and conclude the paper with a discussion of understanding and navigating this conflict of desire as described above. While many academics have looked at the history of queer representation in film and their lack of happy endings, few have discussed the desire and longing for happy endings for queer characters; and further, the problem that we run into when knowing that these happy endings are ideologically problematic. By exploring this topic, I hope that I can facilitate a discussion that challenges existing ideology pertaining to the traditional “happy ending” and how queer endings in film deserve more than the tired, overused, and harmful narrative convention that they have been confined to.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.