Jul 9, 2013

The Mostly Unfabulous Adventures of a Middle School Heterosexual

In 2006, researching an article on gay subtexts in children's media, I watched several episodes of every program airing in the early evening hours on Nickelodeon, the Disney Channel, and the Cartoon network. I found the most on Fairly Oddparents, Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Drake and Josh, and The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy.  Some of them were so well-written, witty, and gay-positive, that I became a fan, watching them after my project ended.

I found the least on Nickelodeon's Unfabulous (2004-2007) which sounds like it was named after the gay comic strip The Mostly Unfabulous Adventures of Ethan Green, and keyed into the use of the word "fabulous" as code for "gay," but actually was entirely heterosexist.  It starred future superstar Emma Roberts as Addie Fischer, an unpopular middle-school student who liked Randy but ended up with Jake (Raja Fenske, left).

Raja Fenske made my list of 12 Unexpected Nickelodeon Teen Hunks, but his fabulous physique never appeared on Unfabulous.

She had two best friends, Geena and Zack (Jordan Calloway, left), who began dating each other, plus an older brother, Ben, who had a girlfriend, and a coterie of geeks, nerds, mean girls, and popular kids.

Sounds bad on paper.  When I watched four episodes, the minimum necessary to conduct the research, it got worse.

Addie tries to get Duane back together with his girlfriend.
Addie doubts that Randy is the right guy for her; meanwhile Zack tries to date an eighth grade girl.
Addie tries to reveal her feelings for Jake; meanwhile, Geena falls for a boy, and Ben tries to get back with his girlfriend.

In order to get on a list of girls who have been kissed by boys, Addie tries to get Eli to kiss her.

I missed this episode with a homoerotic arm wrestling scene.

Oddly enough, many of the stars of this heterosexist mess are gay-friendly.  Emma Roberts supports gay marriage.  Jordan Calloway has played a gay character.  Dustin Ingram (Duane) and Carter Jenkins, left (Eli) are both rumored to be gay in real life.

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