Julie and the Phantoms’ Charmingly Cute Queer Romance

The musical comedy drama series follows three teen musicians, Luke, Reggie, and Alex who died in the ‘90s after eating some bad hot dogs just before they played the biggest gig of their lives. In 2020 the three appear as ghosts to teen Julie and together they form a band, the titular Julie and the Phantoms, and whenever they perform the ghosts can be seen by the world. It’s a charmingly wholesome series that features a serialized plot across its nine-episode first season.

One of the main stories running throughout follows Alex (played with much charm by Owen Patrick Joyner), the bands drummer, who’s also gay. His band mates are 100% accepting of it but the show wisely establishes in the second episode that before he died Alex’s parents hadn’t accepted him. There are many valid stories to be told about queer kids dealing with unaccepting parents but Julie and the Phantoms simply uses this to acknowledge the reality of many queer kids in the ‘90s before moving on to something far more sweet and uplifting. Giving Alex a crush.

In episode three, ‘Flying Solo,’ Alex is on his own in Hollywood when, after passing through living people, he collides into a teen skater boy. As the boy takes his helmet off in slow motion, Alex is immediately smitten and it’s not subtext. A sick guitar riff plays, which Netflix’s subtitles describe as “seductive rock music,” and Alex’s mouth is agape. The skater boy introduces himself as Willie (Booboo Stewart, turning in an endearingly warm performance) and the whole scene is a perfect meet cute. The two share some awkwardly sweet introductions, Willie casually revealing he died in a skating accident, Alex sharing his nagging questions about why he became a ghost, and they even share some jokes about Alex dying by hot dog.

In this sweet and adorable exchange, filled with longing looks between the two, Willie explains the upsides to ghost life.

“Being a ghost lets me do my favorite thing… skate anywhere I want without getting busted. I mean, bro, when I’m not skating here or the beach, I’m skating Justin Bieber’s empty pool.”

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