Jul 29, 2016

Homophobia and Gay Subtexts in Horrible Bosses

Last night I watched Horrible Bosses (2011) on Netflix.  I resisted when it originally appeared due to its reputation for extreme homophobia, but, strangely enough, I didn't find it particularly homophobic.

The premise, obviously, is that three best buds have horrible bosses.

Nick (Jason Bateman) works for David Harken (Kevin Spacey), who calls him a liar for saying he came to work on time when he was actually two seconds late, tricks him into drinking whiskey, then calls him a drunk, and holds a promotion over his head, only to give it to himself.

Dale (Charlie Day of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) works as a dental hygienist for Dr. Julia Harris (Jennifer Aniston), who sexually harasses him (and sexually assaults her unconscious patients), and tries to blackmail him into having sex with her.

Kurt (Jason Sudeikis, left) likes his boss (Donald Sutherland), but then the old man dies, leaving the company to his bigoted cokehead son Bobby Pellitt (Colin Farrell) who wants to make as much money as possible by cutting corners and ignoring environmental guidelines.

For reasons that weren't entirely satisfactory, they can't quit, or file complaints with regulatory boards, so they decide to kill their bosses.

First they answer an ad on Craigslist, but the "hit man" turns out to be a hustler who specializes in urinating on men.

They hire a man named "Motherf___ Jones," who eventually explains that he's never actually killed anyone.  He did jail time for illegally filming a movie.

Then David Harken, suspecting that Bobby Pellitt has been having an affair with his wife, shoots him.  The gang witnesses the murder, but how can they implicate Harken without getting in trouble themselves?

There are only two homophobic statements:
1. Dr. Harris calls Dale a "fag" for refusing to sleep with him.  But she's a horrible person.
2. Bobby Pellitt thinks that Kurt's relationship with his father was "a little gay."  But he's a horrible person, too.

In fact, Dale is engaged to a woman, and Kurt tries to pick up every woman in sight with lame come-ons (which always work), but Nick doesn't express any heterosexual interests.  He specifies that, due to a heavy work load, he hasn't "had sex with someone other than myself" for months.  He can certainly be read as gay.

Jul 26, 2016

Doug McClure: From Physique Pictorial to The Simpsons

One of the supporting characters in the "my secret" teencom Out of This World (1987-91), about a teenage alien, was Kyle X. Applegate (Doug McClure): a bumbling, dimwitted has-been tv star.  In 1991, a bumbling, dimwitted has-been movie star began appearing on The Simpsons with the schtick "Hi, I'm Troy McClure.  You may remember me from such movies as..."

Who was this Doug McClure, and how did he get typecast as a bumbling, dimwitted has-been?

A little research reveals quite a different character:

A fitness model who appeared in the gay-vague Physique Pictorial in 1957 (here pinning Clint Eastwood).

Appearances in nearly 100 movies and tv shows, playing cowboys, detectives, and adventurers, usually in gay-subtext buddy pairs.

1. Jed Sills, partner of Don Corey (Anthony George) in the swnging 1960s detective series Checkmate (1960-62).

2. Engineering student Chuck Manning in The Lively Set (1964), who teams up with young mechanic Casey Owens (teen idol James Darren) to build a jet-powered car.  He's not interested in girls, but his sister hangs around to provide Casey with the fade-out kiss.

3. John, brother to Beau Geste (Guy Williams of Lost in Space) n the French foreign legion adventure (1966).

4. Trampas, head farm hand on the Shiloh Ranch in Wyoming run by The Virginian (James Drury) (1962-71).  This was his most famous role.  Apparently he knew how to fill out a cowboy suit, especially with a rifle handy.

5. Cash Conover, partner of 19th century secret agent Boomer Cable (William Shatner) on Barbary Coast (1975-76).

Doug continued to play cowboys, detectives, secret agents, and adventurers through the 1980s, but he never had another starring role. Maybe that's where he got the "has-been" image.

 All of that buddy-bonding fueled some substantial gay rumors, even though he was married to women five times.

See also: James Shigeta.
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