With it’s Pride Month 2023, now’s the perfect time to revisit the unexpected pirate comedy Our Flag Means Death. True, being proud of who you are is something to be celebrated no matter the month. But some fans of the special have taken that celebratory spirit to a new level.
Many people didn’t know what to expect when the series premiered, and even after a few episodes, some might think it was nothing more than a well-written comedy without much traction. But as the first season continues, Our Flag Means Death becomes a word-of-mouth marketing triumph, thanks to historical figures Steed Burnett (Rhye Darby) and Edward “Blackbeard” Teach (Tekca) Waititi) captivated viewers with its surprisingly tender and heartfelt descriptions. Suddenly, it became a poster child for LGBTQ+ representation, attracting a loyal following.
Many of those fans have now come together to animate a pivotal scene in the show, in which Stede and Ed share their first kiss in a fleeting moment of pure bliss between the two men. The Our Frames Mean Love website has brought together several artists from the LGBTQ+ community for this purpose, and the effects are powerful, with styles ranging from digital and traditional painting to embroidery and even beadwork. “We had 256 artists recreate the 310 frames that Ed and Stede shared in Season 1 of Our Flag Means Death,” reads the site’s description. “Their kiss meant a lot to us all and was a seminal moment in television history. There were a variety of mediums throughout the project, some of which were paint, digital, knitting, embroidery, paper, pearl beads, Fabric, etc. Each frame is a work of art, a labor of love from one artist, and when all the frames are put together in sequence, they form a complete kiss animation.
No wonder Our Flag Means Death was renewed for season 2 soon. Aside from its devastatingly gripping season finale, it won legions of fans with its proud and straightforward delivery and equally heartwarming and genuinely hilarious writing/performance. That’s how Our Frames Mean Love was born. “This project is a love letter to everyone who made this show possible : writers, crew, cast, and of course [series creator] David Jenkins himself,” the project description continued. “Our Frames Mean Love is a gift to show our gratitude for this important show whose humor and storytelling made us all feel more seen.” Thank you. ‘
One aspect of the show that is particularly refreshing is that there is no sexism in “Our Flag Means Death.” Not only does the series openly portray many relationships outside of the heterosexual ones commonly seen in media, but in an era when such issues tend to remain guarded in various other mainstream projects. This especially resonated with many viewers who rarely see someone like them portrayed like this without some important caveats. From the same-sex romance between Stede and Ed (and another couple in the crew), to the non-binary performance with crew member Jim Jimenez (played by non-binary actor Vico Ortiz), there’s a lot to love.
Our Flag Means Death’s incredible ensemble cast is just one of the many reasons fans keep coming back, and as it continues, the series seems poised to continue adding to that list of reasons. During Pride month, or any month, it’s a perfect example of the kind of presentation that other shows and movies can borrow from, and it’s funny enough to generate plenty of laughs. Hopefully Our Flag Means Death is as satisfying as the scene that inspired this project, but hopefully longer.
Season 1 of our Flag Means Death is available to stream on Max.