Jan 7, 2013

Suburgatory Beefcake

Suburgatory (2011-2012), a "fish out of water" sitcom about a hip Manhattan teenager trapped in the cookie-cutter conformity of suburbia, is not particularly gay-friendly.

For one thing, the premise is backwards.  Manhattan architect George Altman (Jeremy Sisto) relocates to suburban Connecticut with his daughter Tessa (Jane Levy) because he thinks suburbs are safer, more moral, better than big cities.  But all gay people know that big cities are safe havens, much less homophobic, much better than soul-deadening suburbs.

For another, gay people exist -- this isn't Middle America -- but they are presented with the same homophobia as on Will and Grace.  The word "homosexual" is used to evoke every stereotype about gay men being stylish, emotional, high-strung, obsessed with show tunes, etc., etc., etc. ad nauseam.

The flamboyantly feminine guidance counselor Mr. Wolfe (Rex Lee) comes out in season 1 (though his character bio on ABC.com doesn't mention it).  His partner  insists on calling him a "roommate."  Really?  In 2012?

There's also a homeless transgender prostitute, one of Tessa's friends in Manhattan.

Nor are girls left out. When Tessa arrives in suburbia, her failure to obey fashion strictures get her labeled a lesbian.

At least there's ample beefcake, even more than on contemporary shows like Raising Hope and The Middle.  Jeremy Sisto, who was in White Squall and a number of gay-friendly works (such as Six Feet Under), often showers, or goes into the steam room at the club, showing a pleasantly hirsute chest.

Alan Tudyk, who plays George's best friend Noah, is somewhat more muscular, with a dazzling smile.  He played the Gay German Dude Who Kept Referring to His Package in 28 Days (2000), although he is neither gay nor German.

We even get some black beefcake.  Maestro Harrell (left) as Malik, the only black kid in Tessa's school, has given us some shirtless and semi-nude shots.

But the standout beefcake star is Parker Young, who plays Tessa's friend and sometimes boyfriend Ryan Shay.  None of the other characters seem to notice his amazing, sculpted physique, maybe because his character's schtick is to be dimwitted.

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