May 18, 2013

Garrett Clayton: Disney's Next Big Thing (So to Speak)

The Huffington Post, a liberal-slanted online magazine, is not usually heterosexist.  But when Jackie K. Cooper reviewed Holiday Spin (2012), he couldn't help gushing over Clayton Garrett as Blake, a teenage martial artist forced to live with his estranged father after the death of his mother.  Christmas-themed hetero-romance follows, but that still doesn't warrant the heterosexist mantra: "if there are any young girls who watch this movie, they will be more than thrilled with him."  Apparently Mr. Cooper is unaware that gay boys exist.

Garrett Clayton and his six-pack abs have been heavily promoted as "the new Zac Efron," the Disney Channel's wunderkind.  But how heterosexist is his work to date?

1. Holiday Spin features Ruben (Ralph Macchio), who has a gay-coded job running a dance studio, and has a boyfriend. . .um, I mean protege, Rob (Benji Schwimmer, who is gay in real life). But then he dumps Rob to coach Blake (Garrett), the son he hasn't seen since he was a baby.  Meanwhile Blake gives up his macho martial arts aspirations to become a dancer.  Lots of gay symbolism there.

2. Love, Gloria (2011) is about a washed-up child star Gloria who is kidnapped and held in a basement, along with an annoying female fan.  The two women buddy-bond and work together to escape.  Garrett has a minor role as Tad, but still, there's a nicely done gay subtext.

3. Garrett's character romanced a girl on Days of Our Lives, but not on Shake it Up.

4. In the summer of 2013, the Disney Channel's Teen Beach Movie featured two teenagers (Ross Lynch, Maia Mitchell) who are zapped into a 1960s beach movie. Garrett will play Tanner, the Frankie Avalon character.  The original beach movies were full of buddy-bonding and gay-vague characters.  This one, not so much, but both of the male leads are extremely feminine.

5. He has no problem with 10,000 gay blogs and websites photographing him while skateboarding, jogging, or otherwise showing off his trademark abs and bulge.

6. He changed his name from Gary to Garrett.

7. He played a dancer in The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure, so apparently he doesn't mind saying "Oogieloves."

Doesn't sound heterosexist to me.


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