Jan 18, 2014

Two Broke Girls: Gay Guy Creates Homophobic Mess

I heard that Two Broke Girls was created by a gay man, Michael Patrick King, so I watched an episode to see if there were any gay characters or subtexts.

The Two Broke Girls are street-smart, sex-obsessed Max (Kat Dennings, left)) and elite, sex-obsessed Caroline (Beth Behrs, below).  They work as waitresses in a restaurant, where they talk about sex all day.  Max jokes about the 100,000 men she's been with, and Caroline jokes about how sexually frustrated she is.  Usually in graphic terms.

Ordinarily such discussions would be inappropriate in the workplace, but all of their coworkers and all of the customers are equally eager to tell everyone exactly where their penises and vaginas have been.

Oleg, the head chef spends most of his time making inappropriate propositions to Max, Caroline, and every other women he sees: " I have a new town car service and slogan: 'Lie back and I will ride you until you tell me to stop.'"

Sophie, a wealthy Eastern European immigrant who runs a cleaning service, is dating Oleg, but his penis is very small, so she is not sexually satisfied.  Not to worry, she has an alternative:

Caroline: What about sex?
Sophie: Nobody does me better than me.

The cashier, Earl (Garrett Morris), is elderly, and his penis doesn't work anymore, so he can't have sex as much as he used to.

The manager, Han Lee (Matthew Moy), is a throwback to the Asian stereotypes of yesteryear, constantly being ridiculed for his height, small penis, and lack of sexual attractiveness.

My disgust factor went through the roof after only a few minutes.  I didn't have time to wait around for Nick Zano (left) or Ryan Hansen as the duo's love interests.  Or to see if they have a lesbian subtext.

But I understand that some homophobic stereotypes swish in from time to time,  including a gay guy named Big Mary.  Really?

Ok, I'm confused.  Was this a program created by a racist, sexist homophobe in 1968?

Because I'm sure no one today, except maybe Seth MacFarlane, could possibly create this mess.

See also: The Amish Teenager

Jan 17, 2014

All About Eve: The Gayest Movie Ever Made

The Four Friends
All about Eve (1950) is gayest movie ever made with no "real" gay characters.

Bette Davis stars as Margo Channing, a renowned theatrical actress who just reached age 40.  She is dating director Bill Sampson (Gary Merrill), who is 8 years younger, and playing a 24-year old in a Broadway play written by Lloyd Richards (Hugh Marlowe).  Lloyd is married to Margo's best friend, Karen (Celeste Holm).

They're so very close that they're like a family.  Or, rather, a group marriage.  Each seems completely in love with each of the others.

Margo and her Lesbian Assistant
There are such strong, and obvious, homoromantic links between Margo and Karen, and to a lesser extent between Bill and Lloyd, that I was certain that all of the performers were gay in real life.

I didn't find any evidence, but Bette Davis's campy, over-the-top delivery made her a drag queen icon, and she was a gay ally in real life.

Margo also has a "companion," a protective mother hen named Birdie, obviously played as a lesbian by character actor Thelma Ritter.

Eve glares at Marilyn Monroe
And a colleague, the snarky, elitist theater reviewer Addison DeWitt (George Sanders), who is not only gay-coded himself, but frames the entire close-knit, insular world of the theater as queer:

"We all have abnormalities in common. We're a breed apart from the rest of humanity, we theatre folk. We are the original displaced personalities."

Into this close-knit, insular world comes Eve Carrington (Anne Baxter), an ingenue who presents herself as a naive fan, and so enchants the theatre folk that Margo offers her a job as her assistant. Eve's feigned adoration of Margo is overbrimming with breathless lesbian desire.

You know what happens next --it's been remade, revisioned, parodied, and ployed a hundred times since.  Even cannily works behind the scenes to take Margo's place, lying, cheating, manipulating, blackmailing, seducing, betraying.  She ends up in the starring role in Lloyd's new play, and achieves stardom.  But at what cost? She's lost all of her friends among the theatre folk.  She's an outsider among outsiders.

Enter Phoebe (Barbara Bates), a devoted fan who ingratiates herself into Eve's life....and so the cycle repeats itself.

Charles Busch as Bette Davis
Upon rewatching All about Eve, I was surprised by a moment of blatant heterosexism.  Margo has devoted her life to her theatrical career, but mourns "the things you drop on your way up the ladder so you can move faster. You forget you'll need them again when you get back to being a woman."  Being a woman -- that is, defining herself through her relationship with a man.

Otherwise it's a marvelously bumpy night, with witty dialogue,  gay subtexts everywhere, an overarching gay symbolism... come on, somebody involved in this production must have been gay! Maybe director Joseph L. Mankiewicz? Producer Darryl F. Zanuck?  Cinematographer Milton R. Krasner

See also: Whatever Happened to Baby Jane

Jan 15, 2014

David A. Gregory: Shirtless for a Cause

Gynecomastia is a swelling of men's breasts caused by excessive estrogen production, usually occurring during puberty or old age.  Sometimes it requires corrective surgery.  And it can cause confusion, anxiety, and shame, especially in adolescent boys who are already concerned about their bodies.

They may be subjected to homophobic or transphobic bullying.

Aspiring actor David Gregory developed gynecomastia during college, and  and now works as an advocate to spread awareness of the condition.

It didn't stop his shirtless career.  The summer after he graduated in 2008, he was cast in a production of The Full Monty -- wait, I thought those guys were supposed to have mediocre physiques.

Then a series of commercials for Airborne Immune Support as a Fabio-like Latin lover.

That fall he played a gay ex-hustler on an episode of Law and Order.  

His biggest roles to date have been in soap operas: reality tv producer Robert Ford on One Life to Live (2009-2012) and Kyle Farrell on Deception (2013).  (His characters were straight, but in this shot he's being hugged by a gay man).

He won lots of soap awards for his physique, including Hunkiest Newcomer, Best Hunk, and Sexiest Man (and he was nominated for a daytime Emmy).

He's also appeared in How Do You Know (2010) and Excuse Me for Living (2012).  

I don't know if he's gay in real life or not.

Jan 13, 2014

Rufus and Joel, the Gay Couple of Gasoline Alley

When you search on "Gasoline Alley" and "muscle" in Google Images, this is what pops up.  I don't know why, but I never pass on beefcake photos.

I already posted on Skeezix, Walt Wallet's adopted son in the long-running Gasoline Alley comic strip, who was something of a gay icon in the 1930s -- thirty years later, my father took to calling me "Skeezix" when I failed to express adequate heterosexual interest.

So I felt it was my duty to read some of the more recent Gasoline Alley strips.  I picked an anthology from 1963-65, when original cartoonist Frank King handed it over to Dick Moores.  Who presumably tried to modernize the plotlines.

I knew it wasn't a humor or adventure strip, more soap opera like Mary Worth.  But come on, there wasn't even any soap opera.

The stories were mostly about Walt Wallet's innumerable children and grandchildren getting bank loans to start a new business, introducing new products to the sales team, putting additions on their houses, buying a replacement valve at the hardware store, and balancing their checkbooks.  I'm not kidding.

No beefcake during the two year period -- there were some cute guys around, like Chipper, Walt's college-age grandson, but the days of Skeezix ripping off his shirt were over.

And everyone was aggressively heterosexual.  When they weren't discussing finances, they were discussing who was in love with who.

With two exceptions: Rufus and Joel, outsiders in this aggressively "normal" universe.  Drawn in caricature instead of the empty-eyed stylization of the Wallets, lower-class where everyone else was well-off, and quirky.

Other characters age normally, one day at a time -- Walt Wallet is well over 100 now, and Skeezix over 80.  But Rufus and Joel do not. They have no jobs, houses, wives, or children, so nothing connects them to space-time.  They are eternal outsiders, like the Wandering Jew of the Middle Ages.

The two live together, vacation, and embark on crazy schemes together. They are treated as a couple by the other characters: when one appears alone, they always ask about the other.

A gay couple in Gasoline Alley?

To see what they were up to lately, I checked the always reliable Comics Curmudgeon website.  And found a continuity in which Rufus must marry to get an inheritance, so he marries Bessie, Joel's donkey.

Sounds like a parody of the "slippery slope" argument against gay marriage.

Maybe Joel and Rufus are still a gay couple.
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