Apr 18, 2013

Lemon Popsicle: Three Boys, Three Sticks

The teen sex comedy, about a group of high school boys trying to get laid, is not an American invention.  Back in 1978, before Porky's was ever thought of, there was Eskimo Lemon (Lemon Popsicle), about three horny teenage friends in 1950s Israel: the nerd Benzi (Yftach Katzur), the jock Momo (Jonathan Sagall), and the obese Yudale (Zachi Noy)

They're called Benji, Bobbie, and Huey in the English subtitles.







They try various strategies to get laid, and Momo and Yudale always succeed, but Benzi is stymied.  He ends up still a virgin, but having to pay for the abortion of the Girl of His Dreams, who had sex with Momo instead of him (the same plot was used in The Last American Virgin, with Steve Antin)






A quarter of the population of Israel watched Lemon Popsicle.  The three actors soon became international stars.  Over the next decade (1979-1988), they starred in seven sequels, known as Lemon Popsicle or in Germany, Eis am Stiel.  Every sequel placed the boys in a different situation: in the army, on vacation in America, trying to revive a dying nightclub.  "Getting laid" and ogling nude girls remained an important theme, but as the boys grew older, wacky comedy predominated.



The series was not nearly as homophobic as American teen sex comedies. In Sapiches (Private Popsicle, 1983), army privates Benzi and Yudale pretend to be gay in order to get a weekend pass from their doctor -- they claim that Yudale is so sexually voracious that they need time apart -- but the plan backfires when the doctor strips, revealing ladies' underwear, and proclaims that he wants Yudale for himself.

Each installment featured many shirtless, underwear, and swimsuit shots, occasional rear nudity, and at least one scene of frontal nudity, not to mention endless discussions of male sex organs and tests to see which one is bigger.



And there's something to be said for same-sex bonds that last forever, while the girls come and go.

Of the three, Jonathan Sagall (or Sagalle) has the strongest gay connection.  He wrote and directed Drifting (1982), about a gay teen who wants to become a playwright, and Baba-It (1987), about two gay playwrights in love.  In 1999, he wrote, directed, and starred in Kesher Ir (Urban Feel), about an estranged male-female couple who become involved with a hunky drifter (Shmil Ben Ari).