Chernobyl, Boris Scherbina, and The Five Love Languages

tongue placed firmly in cheek

Chernobyl is a television show about how dangerous not using the right love language can be. If you speak the wrong love language during a safety test in an RBMK nuclear reactor, the graphite will start to feel underappreciated and stop suppressing nuclear flux.

Boris Scherbina’s love language is Acts Of Service, which is why it means something when he gets you all of the liquid nitrogen in the Soviet Union but will never just say, “I appreciate you, Jared Harris.”

Valery Legasov’s love language is Words Of Affirmation, which is why he’s so often misunderstood by Acts Of Service type – the helicopters full of boron and salt are useful, sure, but what matters is that at least one person tells the truth about the AZ-5 button. If you want to determine a person’s primary love language, you have to analyze what they complain about most often/what they request from their partner the most often, and what Valery wants from his partner Boris is to speak the truth and admit that nothing is ever going to be okay.

Lyudmilla Ignatenko’s love language is Quality Time (“I just want to see my husband”). She just wants to see her husband!

Anatoly Dyatlov’s love language is Words Of Affirmation; he uses his words to affirm how stupid he thinks everyone is and how quickly they can go throw themselves into the exposed reactor core if they tell him one more time that the reactor core is exposed.

Vasily Ignatenko’s love language is Physical Touch, which is…poignant!

Viktor Bryukhanov’s love language is receiving gifts, I think, because all he really wants throughout the entire show is to not have to do stuff, and anytime someone tells him something has been taken care of so he doesn’t have to do anything, he seems really happy, or at least as happy an affect as Con O’Neill is capable of adopting.

Those sexy transmasculine miners led by that one incredibly aggressive guy with a Roseanne haircut and a fridge-shaped head, whom I immediately and instinctively worshiped with every thrilled fiber of my being the second he appeared onscreen and made demands for all of his miners, his boys, because he’s the KING BOY, and he’ll scuttle around in the earth like a real-life Ms. Pac-Man to save the people of the Soviet Union, but he won’t do it for any of you soft-handed, soft-headed fools who got us into this mess, ACTS OF SERVICE, deeds or get out of here with my king boy. He’s compact, mighty, hard-working, got a low center of gravity, works with a lot of loyal male companions in a womblike environment under the earth – he’s trans, he’s my best friend, and his love language is ACTS OF SERVICE.

I went back and forth on Bacho, the main dog-shooting soldier – is his love language Quality Time (spent shooting dogs)? Or Acts Of Service (towards the suffering dogs by shooting them)? Or Words Of Affirmation, as he instructs that one really scared kid on the most humane way to shoot dogs? Anyhow, it was a very silly show and I’m not sure I learned much about either Soviet history or nuclear safety from it, but I did learn a hell of a lot about how I want grizzled old apparatchiks to provide one another with emotional security (specifically, gradually, and against their better judgment, because I’ve been poisoned by a lifetime of fan fiction).