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HBO’s The Last of Us review-bombed by angry homophobes

The show's co-creator says the gay relationship in the game “went over a lot of people's heads”.

By Emily Maskell

Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett in The Last of Us
Nick Offerman and Murray Bartlett in The Last of Us (Image: HBO)

The latest The Last of Us episode has seemingly angered homophobes and gamers with its depiction of a gay love story.

‘Long, Long Time’ dedicated time to two peripheral characters’ romance amid the show’s world-ending turmoil.

The post-apocalyptic drama stars The Mandalorian‘s Pedro Pascal as Joel and Game of Thrones‘ Bella Ramsey as Ellie. However, this episode was focused on the tender romance of Bill (Nick Offerman) and Frank (Murray Bartlett).

The episode is getting review-bombed on Metacritic; as of Wednesday (1 February) it has a score of 4.2 (scored out of 10), a much lower score than the show’s previous episodes. The first episode sits at 8.8 and the second at 8.9.

The episode currently has 453 negative reviews compared to 297 positive and 40 mixed.

Angry viewers and homophobes left comments on Metacritic, some apparently frustrated at the deviation from the original 2013 video game while others have simply been homophobic.

“It’s not about the game. This is about ideology,” one user wrote. Another commented: “enough of LGBT-agenda, just stop it.”

Bill and Frank’s relationship in the game “went over a lot of people’s heads”

“Disgusting rainbow washing,” another review reads. “It was so easy just to follow the game and they had to spoil even such a promising show.”

However, it’s not just on Metacritic’s platform. IMDb’s rating still sits at a reasonably high 8/10 but the score with the second-largest number of votes after a perfect 10, is a 1.

The show has an impressive 96% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes comparison.

Many fans of the show have aired their frustration at the review-bombing. One viewer wrote they are “sick” of seeing “waves of regressive homophobic backlash”.

Furthermore, they continued it’s particularly irritating “being told we have to “respect the opinions” of the people doing it when people (rightly) clap back at them and dismiss them for it.” 

Comments about not ‘following the game’ have been addressed by the show’s creators. 

In the game, this gay relationship is hinted at but never explored with the heart-tugging detail the show dedicates.

Nick Offerman as Bill in The Last of Us
The Last of Us review-bombed by angry homophobes, Nick Offerman as Bill. (Image: Liane Hentscher/HBO)

“It would have been controversial otherwise”

The show’s co-creator, Neil Druckmann, told The Hollywood Reporter that Bill and Frank’s relationship in the game “went over a lot of people’s heads”.

Also, Druckmann seemingly recognises the homophobia that still lurks in certain corners of The Last Of Us’ fanbase.

“At the time, [the subtlety is] what helped get it in,” he said. “It’s sad to say, but it would have been controversial otherwise.”

The Last Of Us has been celebrated for its inclusion of several LGBTQ characters. As well as Bill and Frank, Ellie is canonically a lesbian. She seems to be growing particularly close to Riley (Storm Reid).

As a surprise to nobody, The Last Of Us has already been renewed for a second season.

The Last Of Us is available to stream now on HBO Max.