Jan 27, 2013

Ryan Potter: Asian Gay Superhero

Ok, he's half-Asian, and he hasn't actually made a public "coming out" statement, but he's definitely a superhero.

Supah Ninjas (2011-) is a Nickelodeon teencom about a boy, Mike Fukanaga (Ryan Potter), who learns from the hologram of his dead grandfather that he's a supah-ninja.

He recruits his friends Owen (Carlos Knight) and Amanda (Gracie Dzienny), and they try to juggle lives of ordinary school problems with battling super-villainy.  Including heterosexism.

1. Mike and Owen are scripted, according to teencom tradition, as absurdly girl-crazy.  But they have a strong, overt, amazingly physical buddy bond, behaving precisely like boyfriends.

2. Mike is obviously being played as gay, regardless of the girl-craziness the script calls for.

3. The boys tacitly acknowledge the existence of gay people.  When they are assisting a woman, Mike asks "Is there anyone you could call?  A husband or a boyfriend?"  Owen adds "Or a life partner?"

4. You're not going to find many teenage actors who are more aggressively gay-friendly than Ryan Potter (here voicing his opposition to California H8, the ban on same-sex marriage).

5. For a change, there's a lot of Asian and Black beefcake.

6. Grandpa is played by venerable gay icon George Takei.

7. Dad is played by Randall Park, a busy comedian who starred in the gay Asian-themed movie The People I've Slept With (2009).  He's not actually gay, according to the article "Randall Park's Coming Out Story" in The Korean-American Experience (he came out as an actor).

8. Brandon Soo Hoo has a recurring role as Cousin Connor, who is scripted as even more obnoxiously girl-crazy than his older cousin (writers seem to think that barely-pubescent boys making graphic sexual propositions to older girls is hilarious).  But he has also been involved in several gay-friendly projects, such as the buddy-bonding movie Everyday Kid (2010).

And the upcoming Ender's Game (2013), based on the science fiction novel by Orson Scott Card (a homophobe who for some reason specializes in homoerotic buddy-bonding).

So maybe some buddy-bonding is in the cards for Cousin Connor.