7 Jul 2014


Films have formulas and rules, but how well do films follow those formulas?  What about Lesbian Romance films, do they follows a strict formula and a set of rules?

DEBS is a light comedy about a squad of trainee girl-spies and a female super villain.  Based on the short film of the same name.

The following analysis may contain spoilers for

DEBS (2004)

"Love requires trust and trust requires honesty." ~ Mr Phipps

RULE #1 - A Coming Out Story

Trained in unarmed combat.
The film is mainly about trainee spy Amy Bradshaw.  Amy is dating a guy (Bobby) and is lined up for a "normal" life as a super-spy.  She wants to go to art school instead.

RULE #2 - There May Be T&A


Some skin but no actual nudity in a brief sex scene.  The director even admitted to digitally altering a scene to reduce an up-skirt shot.

Jill Ritchie (the only actor who was in the both the short and feature) actual showed more skin in the short (a bra scene).
With the underwear and t-shirts the DEBS were around their house and the small amount of skin, it's about Rom-Com level nudity.

RULE #3 - Unsatisfied
Hanging out with the ex.

Amy broke up with Bobby, "he's just so boring" and she's "just not in love" after 8 months of dating.
She's also unsatisfied with her life.  A career as a spy has been chosen for her, but she wants to go to arts school.

RULE #4 - Enter the Lesbian

Lucy Diamond, Super Villain.  Outsider because of the Super Villain.  Feminine looking.  Tough, independent, etc.  She is also out as a lesbian (although this is unknown to the spy community).
I Love Lucy.
Amy has a theory that Lucy has to be more ruthless to succeed in the male dominated world of the Super Villain.  It seems that Lucy isn't as ruthless as Amy (and the spy community) thinks.
With being an outsider/villain the only lesbian symbolism in the film, her trying to become normal/good near the end of the film becomes problematic.

RULE #5 - Just Good Friends

Happy together.
One's a super-spy the other is a super villain.  There's going to be friction.  Lucy was already the subject of Amy's thesis.  They do, however, get along well and after a brief kidnapping/date almost kiss.  When Lucy captures her again, Amy says she likes Lucy but doesn't "like like" her.

RULE #6 - Rejection By Friends and Family

DEB Janet is kidnapped with Amy and is upset about (and interrupts) the near kiss.  Janet is mostly upset about consorting with a villain, she does mention the homosexual aspect a couple of times, calling Amy a "Slut.  A gay slut."
Gay slut-shaming.
DEB Max (Amy's best friend) has a falling out with Amy because Amy's encounter leads to Max being replaced by Amy as squad leader, before she knows about the dating.
The entire DEBS team and Bobby reject Amy when they discover her in bed with Lucy.  This however more due to fearing for her while she was "captured," risking their lives and resources to save her and the lies and lose of face involved in front of the entire intelligence community rather than homophobia.

RULE #7 - Will They, Won't They/On Again, Off Again

Lesbian Sex Scene.
Amy rejects Lucy, both because they are rivals and because she's not yet ready to accept she's got feelings for a girl.  When Amy says she only likes Lucy, Lucy initiates a kiss and Amy says she has everything to lose.  However, they do go off together and hang out.  They have a brief fight over career paths, but end up in bed together.
When Amy returns to the DEBS she rejects Lucy to be accepted back into her "normal" life, including "Endgame" (spy-prom).

RULE #8 - Redemption/Acceptance
Friends learning to accept them.

Lucy changes her ways, returning money and not destroying Australia.  Amy accepts the award for being the best spy but during her speech admits her love.  They get together.
Max and the DEBS accept the relationship, but the intelligence community don't find out.

RULE #9 - Happily Ever After?

No sunset - it's night time.
Lucy and Amy drive off together (Max warns Lucy if she breaks Amy's heart she'll come after her.)
Even Janet and Lucy's henchman Scud look like getting together.

RULE #10 - No Sequels

No sequels, although there is on and off talk of the possibility of one.  I don't recall either of the leads appearing as lesbians in other films.  (This film is a remake/extension of the short film of the same name.)
Happily Ever After.


  • Rules that are followed in this film:  1; 3; 4; 6; 7; 8; 9.
  • Rules that are partially followed in this film:  2; 5; 10.
  • Rules that aren't followed in the film:  nil.

~ DUG.
Remember to do the survey to determine the fourth genre to be tested.
Check out the schedule for upcoming Film Rules films to be reviewed.
Also a question for the comments...  Do people prefer the alternating between 2 sets of rules or would they like to see one set finished before the next starts?

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