Jul 10, 2013

50 Ways of Saying "Fabulous"

Speaking of Unfabulous, it evoked gay potential because the word "fabulous" has been gay-coded since the 1990s, keying in to the stereotype of gay men as overly-enthusiastic and overly-emotional.

On Seinfeld, George compliments Jerry's jacket: "I say this with an unblemished record of staunch heterosexuality -- it's fabulous."

50 Ways of Saying Fabulous (2006) is about a boy learning to handle same-sex romance in 1970s New Zealand. 

The children's picture book, The Boy Who Cried Fabulous, by Leslea Newman, is about a boy who is delighted by everything around him:
What a fabulous coat, is it silk or wool?
What a fabulous bell, can I give it a pull?
What a fabulous door, does it open wide?
What a fabulous store, can I come inside?
The adults try to squash his enthusiasm as overly feminine, but finally he shows them how fabulous the world is.

There are many gay subtexts in the popular Disney Channel animated series Phineas and Ferb (2008-) about brothers in a blended family: the endlessly inventive American Phineas (voiced by Vincent Martella of Everybody Hates Chris, left, with his brother Alexander), and taciturn Brit Ferb (voiced by bisexual actor Thomas Sangster, top photo).

The relationship between the stepbrothers, for one.
And their dad, voiced by Richard O'Brian, Riff Raff in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  

Reformed bully Buford and former victim Sanjeet are now inseparable partners, endlessly shipped in fan fiction, a throwback to the white-Indian couples of the 1960s, like Jonny Quest and Hadji.

Secret agent Perry the Platypus constantly tries to prevent mad scientist Dr. Doofenschmertz of Evil, Incorporated from taking over the world, or at least the "tri-state area."  The villain-nemesis bond is overtly portrayed as a romance, complete with love song.  When Dr. Doofenschmertz finds another nemesis, he "breaks up" with Perry, explaining "I didn't plan on it.  It just happened."

They've been subject to intense shipping too, usually with a teenage human Perry and Doof.  Here are some images on Deviant Art.

But the most obvious gay subtext comes when Phineas and Ferb set out to reunite Love Handelz, a pop group from the 1990s.  Former lead guitarist Bobbi Fabulous is now a hairdresser.  He believes that he is too old and "unfabulous" to perform again, but they convince him (in rap) that he's still attractive:

Phineas: The other guys play their instruments fine, but next to you, their looks are a crime!

Bobbi: Well, they say true beauty, it comes from within, but you have to be comfortable in your own skin!  So I exfoliate with this exotic cream. Just look at me: I look like a dream!

Phineas: You have to admit, he looks pretty darn good.

Bobbi: I'm fabulous!

See also: The Boy Who Cried Fabulous.

1 comment:

  1. I think fabulous began as a thing in fashion magazines and tabloid media: "He looks fabulous in this number by Armani and those Bruno Maglis." Since this same subcultures were stereotypically gay, you see where this is going.

    Dubya lIked the word as much as the Orange Devil likes beautiful.


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