May 3, 2013

Lab Rats: Bionic Brothers

Of the three major children's networks, The Disney Channel wins the prize for the most beefcake and for the most explicit gay subtexts.  Kids in the 1990s and 2000s could watch same-sex couples and references to same-sex romance on Even Stevens,  The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Hannah Montana, and The Wizards of Waverly Place, and today they have A.N.T. Farm, Kickin' It, and Lab Rats.

Lab Rats stars Tyrel Jackson Williams as Leo, an average, rather nerdish kid whose new stepfather, billionaire inventor Big D (Hal Sparks of Queer as Folk), has created three bionic teens: Adam (Spencer Boldman, left, one of the Top 10 Hunks of Disney Summer Movies), super-strength; Chase (Billy Unger), super-intelligence; and Bree (Kelli Berglund), super-speed.  Marcus Davenport is their main antagonist.

While they test their superpowers and try to keep their secret safe, Leo tries to introduce them to the "normal" world. 

The gay subtext comes between Adam and Chase, inseparable bionic "brothers" who display little heterosexual interest (Leo gets all the crushes), but often compete with each other or rescue each other.

Spencer Boldman has several previous acting credits, including a heartthrob in I'm in the Band (2011) and the guy who plays Peter Pan in the school play on 21 Jump Street (2012). 

But Billy Unger's acting career extends all the way back to 2007, when he was 12 (and a modeling career that began long before that).  His gay-subtext or gay-friendly projects include:

Troy on No Ordinary Family (2011), who buddy-bonds with J.J. (Jimmy Bennett).

Brody on Kickin' It (2012) asks a girl to the big dance as part of a martial arts initiation. 

Neville on ANT Farm (2012) is an Australian outback-adventure specialist who actually knows nothing about the wilderness, but has to rescue Fletcher anyway.

Sammy's Great Escape (2012) is an animated movie about two male turtles, Sammy (Billy) and Ray (Carlos McCullers II), who apparently are raising a family together.  They must rescue their hatchlings from evil poachers.

An anti-bullying PSA (2012).

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