Aug 31, 2015

My Babysitter's a Vampire

When you're a gay kid, the adults want desperately to believe that you don't exist, and they'll try their hardest to make you believe it, too. So the tv programs, movies, books, comics, and toys that the adults produce for you will proclaim it, loudly and incessantly.

The Disney Channel program My Babysitter's a Vampire (2011-) tows the heterosexist party line: every boy drools and pants over attractive girls, every girl moans with longing over attractive boys.  Conversations constantly return to "Do you think that girl's hot?  Or that one?  Or that one?"

But like many Disney Channel programs, from Even Stevens to The Wizards of Waverly Place, there are plenty of subtexts if you know what to look for.

The title is misleading; the vampire Sarah (Vanessa Morgan) is actually hired to babysit the baby sister of nerdish Ethan (Matthew Knight, left).

But then she discovers that he is a Seer, able to have visions of paranormal disruptions.  Not only that, his best buddy Benny (Atticus Mitchell) is a witch (aka a spellmaster).

Soon they become a paranormal investigation team, assisted by two other teenage vampires, Rory (Cameron Kennedy) and Erica (Katey Todd).  There's a lot of paranormal disruption going on:

A pack of demonic dogs is unleashed
A demonic doll sucks the life energy out of mortals
A demonic scout leader tries to kidnap all of the town's children
There are werewolves, zombies, mummies, Frankenstein monsters
And a gang of evil vampires.

Defeating the baddie of the week leaves little time for romance, so the "Do you think that girl's hot?" interrogations become merely window-dressing.  The most intimate emotional -- and physical bonds come between Ethan-Benny and Sarah-Erica, who often split up to investigate separately.

Not to mention the gay symbolism of the vampire, noticed by scholars as long ago as Dark Shadows: the vampire's bite is a type of sexual congress, and the teenage boy vampires who populate Whitechapel don't even try to hide the homoerotic portent of their desire.

And the constant beefcake.  Who knew that vampires take off their shirts all the time, or re-morph from weird transformations completely nude?