Mar 12, 2013

Welcome Home, Bobby: Homophobic Mess


Welcome Home, Bobby appeared on tv on February 22, 1986, shortly after I moved to West Hollywood.  It was  about a teenage boy who has sex with a male teacher.  It was just once -- apparently he was successful at fending the guy off after that -- but when his family and friends find out, all hell breaks loose.

At school, he is taunted, called names, beat up.  Constantly.  There's a petition sent around calling for his expulsion.

His father, played by Tony LoBianco, also calls him names and beats him up.  Finally despairing of reasoning with him, Bobby comes down to the dinner table in drag -- and is beat up again.

The movie implies that Bobby "turned" gay after being "recruited" by the older man -- just as Anita Bryant was claiming a few years before -- but nothing is explicitly stated.





I only watched about ten minutes of this exercise in homophobia, so I didn't recognize Timothy Williams when he showed up on Cheers (four episodes, 1985-1989) and the spin-off The Tortellis (1987) as Anthony Tortelli, Carla's teenage son who elopes with his girlfriend.

Or on Brothers (1984-89), the Showtime series about three brothers, one of whom is gay.  He played Mike, the teenage daughter's love interest (one episode in 1984, and then a regular 1985-89).








His theatrical work includes the gay-themed 10 Percent Review (1988).

He's written for the tv series Salute Your Shorts (starring David Lascher), Bobby's World, and Married People, among others, as well as novels, including Born to be Wild (1995), about a 15-year old boy and a gorilla.  As a playwright, he's won the Governor's Screenwriting Competition twice, in 2005 and 2007.

So how did he get involved in this homophobic mess?