a tender moment on the show Our Flag Means Death, between Stede Bonnet (played by Rhys Darby) And Edward Teach, Blackbeard (played by Taika Waititi) Stede is tied up and blindfolded on a ship, Ed gently removes his blindfold

Our Flag Means Death is the Queer Pirate Rom-Com You Need to Binge this Pride Month

We all love a good pirate comedy, it ain't new. From the classics: The Princess Bride and The Goonies, to modern hits like Pirates of the Caribbean and Black Sails, there is something inherently funny and weirdly wholesome about these swashbuckling rogues. However, in 2022, a new pirate comedy series emerged that took the genre to a whole new level. Our Flag Means Death, created by David Jenkins and starring Rhys Darby and Taika Waititi, is a hilarious and original queer spin on the pirate comedy genre that you didn't know you needed. Packed full of gooey gay love, adorable comedy, and just a splash of good 'ol piratey violence, Our Flag Means Death is the perfect treat you need to binge this pride month.

How do I love thee, Our Flag Means Death? Let me count the ways...

There's a reason Our Flag Means Death has a vibrant, ever-growing fan base. I mean, there are like, a lot of reasons. So I'll break down the top reasons I'm going to cover in this blog. Think of this like the thesis on my term paper but imagine it's very academic and proper instead of just a list: It's basically historic (fan)fiction, costumes, costumes, costumes, it's hilarious and heartwarming, queer love. Are you convinced yet? If not, walk the plank and read my extremely academic analysis (read: silly little musings) below.

An Historical Fiction Period Piece With A Twist

The fact that it was inspired by real events makes it even more fascinating and entertaining and also helps me trick people into watching it under the pretense that it's historical fiction. It also means sales for the book “The Gentleman Pirate: The Life and Tryals of Major Stede Bonnet” by Jeremy Moss were seriously boosted, so congrats to that guy. 

The show centres the true story of Stede Bonnet, a wealthy landowner from Barbados who decided to become a pirate in 1717, despite having no experience or skills for it. Stede Bonnet was a real historical figure who actually bought his own ship, hired a crew, and sailed the Caribbean seas as a self-proclaimed “gentleman pirate." He also crossed paths with the infamous Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, who became his friend and mentor. Our Flag Means Death asks: What if that fateful summer when Blackbeard took control of The Gentleman Pirate's ship in 1717 was actually a classic meet-cute, leading to a full-blown steamy romance?

Oh, and here's a bonus tidbit for you: Blackbeard's right-hand man (sorry), Izzy Hands actually was a real person as well! And not only that, when the show is set in 1717, Izzy is only 17 years old! So when you're watching the show just imagine real-life Israel Hands actually being like that, and looking so old and haggard from the trials of pirate life. Haha!

Beauty, Artistry, and Leather Daddies

The series also has a unique visual style and soundtrack that adds to its appeal and humor. The costumes and sets are colorful and detailed, creating a contrast between the elegant and lavish lifestyle of the aristocracy and the gritty and chaotic world of the pirates. The costume crew clearly had fun on this show, with some fans drawing attention to the choice to have Blackbeard's crew in leather and Stede's crew in ropes. We'll let you come up with your own fan theories on that one.

Also, Taika Waititi with a luscious beard. Image Copyright: HBO Max and BBC

The music was composed by Mark Mothersbaugh, who also worked with Waititi on Thor: Ragnarok and The Lego Movie. The soundtrack featured a mix of classical, folk, rock, and pop songs that matched the mood and tone of each scene. We'll go ahead and tell you now, you'll never think of Fleetwood Mac's The Chain the same again.

Queer Love and Identity on the high seas

Perhaps the most groundbreaking and refreshing aspect of Our Flag Means Death is its queer representation and romance. The show features an ensemble cast of dynamic characters with different experiences of gender and sexuality, and are accepted as they are by the people around them.


Our Flag Means Death stars Rhys Darby (Stede Bonnet) and Taika Waititi (Blackbeard) share a tender moment and Blackbeard removes Stede's blindfold

I mean, you could fry an egg on the heat coming off these fellas! 
Image copyright: HBO Max and BBC

Creator David Jenkins had a clear vision for the show: a romantic comedy that followed the classic tropes and timing of the genre, but with a twist- the main couple was two historical male pirates. He expected audiences to watch the show as they would any other rom-com, rooting for Stede Bonnet and Blackbeard to overcome their obstacles and find their happy ending. However, he was surprised to discover that it took audiences so long to see the blossoming relationship between Stede Bonnet and Blackbeard, or if they did, they thought they were watching yet another example of queerbaiting. Perhaps this shows how mainstream media still has a long way to go in representing queer relationships in a respectful and realistic way, without resorting to outdated and crass tropes or using queerbaiting as a cheap trick to appeal to LGBTQIA+ audiences without committing to explicitly queer characters.

Bonnet and Blackbeard's romance is hilariously wholesome. It is the main focus and driving force of the series. It is a genuine and heartfelt love story that overcame obstacles.The chemistry between Darby and Waititi is undeniable and captivating. They paint a complex and realistic portrait of two men who loved each other despite their differences. Ultimately the portrayal of their relationship is organic and tender, and funny for the right reasons.

The ensemble comedy also features other complex queer characters, whose identities are not their defining traits. That's enough spoilers on that, I'll let the characters tell you their own stories.

AND!!! The crew just wrapped filming season 2! So pretty soon, we'll have even more swashbuckling stories to binge.

Ok, Ok, I can't stop talking about how good it is. 

So here's your TL;DR:

Our Flag Means Death changed the pirate comedy genre by being original, hilarious, diverse, and queer. It is a breath of fresh, salty air in a sea of cliches and stereotypes. It is a rare gem in a treasure chest of mediocrity. It is a feast for the eyes, ears, and heart.

If you haven’t watched Our Flag Means Death yet, you should definitely give it a try. You won’t regret it. And if you have watched it already, you should watch it again. You’ll love it even more.

Of course, this is a shop, so, check out this fabulous booty I'm hawkin'! 


Perfect for your daily rewatch of the whole entire first season, or to show off at your season two watch party! Check out our entire Our Flag Means Death collection here!


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