Why the Shadowhunters Malec Kiss Was So Important for TV &, Especially, Fans
If you’re like us, then you still haven’t stopped talking about the kiss heard ’round the world — the liplock between Magnus Bane (Harry Shum, Jr.) & Alec Lightwood (Matthew Daddario) on Shadowhunters. It’s been a couple weeks since the monumental episode aired on the Freeform television series, yet its profound nature and groundbreaking plot continues to be a topic of discussion across the Internet and in real life.
So when we had the chance to catch up with the cast of the TV show at the 2016 Freeform Upfronts in NYC, we couldn’t help but talk about the kiss’ importance in both the television landscape and, even more importantly, for viewers.
When speaking to Matt about the now-infamous makeout session, he said, “I was very happy with how it went. I had seen it previously; it was, like, the one thing I got to see early on. So I was very happy with how it was going to be, I was very happy with the response. Everyone was very enthusiastic, so I’m really happy.”
Was it necessarily the greatest experience of his life? Not entirely. “All instances of forced intimacy are difficult,” he explained. “You don’t like to smooch someone? You’re not gonna like smooching them, especially on camera when you have people telling you what to do. And then after, you know, the sixth time, you start to be like, ‘Okay, I don’t like smooching anyone this much. I don’t want to be doing it again and again and again.’ So, I’ve never really enjoyed the kissing scene, but I’m always happy if it comes out well.”
Nevertheless, the cast and fans alike were all about that particular moment. Leading lady Kat McNamara (Clary Fray) gushed, “The reaction to the Malec kiss [was] amazing. We finally have this moment when two people are actually happy; they’re falling in love, and this relationship that they’ve crafted is incredible. The way that Matt & Harry have done this… They really created two characters that are three-dimensional and don’t follow the stereotypes.”
Alberto Rosende (Simon Lewis) echoed her sentiments, saying, “It was a turning point in those two characters’ relationships. To see Magnus, now, accepting this love again — ’cause he said that his heart had been closed for a long time — and then Alec to kind of learn this new role that he has, as, like, a sexual being, something that he had been kind of suppressing for a long time… I’m very excited for Season 2.”
As far as its importance, Emeraude Toubia (Isabelle Lightwood) understands. “So much of society puts has pressure on who you should love, and how you should love,” she stated. “And I love that Freeform — as well as the books — teaches you how to be comfortable in your own skin, and it’s okay to feel what you feel as long as you’re happy.”
Dom Sherwood (Jace Wayland) further iterated the significance of this Malec moment, claiming, “It’s important to remember that we even had fans watching the episode and then coming out to their parents because the whole storyline, the whole importance of the Malec character in our season.” He added, “I can’t speak for anyone else, but it’s the importance of being comfortable with who you are and not being pressured into being something else.”
But if you think this means all sunshine & daisies for Malec, you’re in for a rude awakening. Matt said, “Alec is still governed by a set of rules, you know, he’s hardwired, so we’re not going to see a total change because people don’t just *snaps fingers* over night, and then suddenly everything is okay. He’s got a lot to work through. So, I think over the next season, while everything else is going on, we’re gonna see Alec working through those issues, and coming more to terms with who he is. That’s a long process. Some people it takes them a lot, some people only takes them a short time — I think Alec is somewhere in between.”
Considering other networks’ treatment of characters in the LGBTQ community — most recently, the double killing of The Vampire Diaries‘ only lesbians — MAJOR props to Shadowhunters, Freeform and the cast of the Cassie Clare book-to-television adaptation.
Want more? Take a look at the Shadowhunters cast members’ real-life parabatai: