Feb 24, 2018

Episodes: Matt LeBlanc Discusses His Penis

Matt LeBlanc was easy on the eye as Joey on Friends (1994-2004), and he's still quite photogenic, even when playing "himself" as an insufferable jerk.

Of course, in Hollywood, everybody, without exception, is a jerk.

That's one of the takeaway points of the regrettably named Episodes (2011-2017), the British/American sitcom about a British couple, Sean and Beverly (Stephen Mangan, Tamsin Grieg), who produce sitcoms of breathtaking brilliance in Britain, only to find them dumbed down into drivel in America.

The second takeaway point: all Americans are idiots.

The fabulously brilliant sitcom about an elderly headmaster of a boys' school suffering through an unrequited love for the lesbian librarian is transformed into Pucks!, with Matt as the hockey coach at a school for teenage hunks with nice hair.

They're playing teenagers, but they're actually in their 20s, with wives and houses -- a fact which Sean and Bev find incredibly disconcerting.  In Britain, actors play their age.

The teenage hunks can't act, but they're immediately rich and famous, and wallowing in movie offers.  But paradoxically Pucks! is airing opposite a show about a talking dog, so it tanks in the ratings, and is quickly cancelled.

Not that Sean and Beverly mind.  They hate, hate, hate, America, where everyone makes fun of their accents and vocabulary, everyone is incredibly stupid, and everyone is morally bankrupt.

Matt sleeps with every woman in sight, including Beverly --- a transgression that Sean can't get over, because he is fixated with the size of Matt's schlong.

To be fair, Matt discusses his penis a lot.  So do many of the other male characters. 

They are also irked by the fact that their incredibly stupid, talentless former personal assistant, Andrew Leslie (Oliver Kieran-Jones), is a huge success, selling script after script.

They almost escape back to Britain, where no one makes fun of their accent and people are smarter than rocks, but then they are drawn into a new tv series based on their incredibly brilliant script about actors playing two different roles.

But that's destroyed, too.

And Matt becomes a game show host.  His incredibly popular show is about people who spend the whole season trapped in boxes, getting points to acquire comforts like beds and food, or to torture each other with bugs and Gilbert Gottfried.

See how stupid Americans are?  They actually like this drivel.

Meanwhile the bedroom shenanigans go on and on.  Network executive Carol Rance (Kathleen Rose Perkins) has affairs with each of her bosses in turn: Merc (John Pankow), Castor (Chris Diamantopoulous), Helen (Andrea Savage), and then back to Merc.  They all turn out to be cheating, sniveling scum or crazy as a loon.

Doesn't that affair with Helen means that Carol is coming out as gay or bisexual?  Nope, she's not attracted to women, just to bosses.

At least there's a gay presence.  Casting director Andrew Button (Joseph May) is gay, although he never actually dates anyone or discusses cute guys.  He's basically gay because he says he is.

There are also a lot of cute guys walking around in towels and talking about their penises.

The Police Uniform Fetish

When I was living in West Hollywood, police officers were the enemy.  When a police car drove past, everybody froze. You moved away from your boyfriend, hid your gay pride t-shirt, kept your eyes down. The slightest move, and you would be stopped, questioned, called "fag" or "fairy," and maybe arrested for "lewd conduct."

Today there are many gay and allied cops, and many police jurisdictions have non-discrimination policies, but still, police officers tend to be more homophobic than other social service workers.  They are more likely to believe that people "turn gay" due to "moral turpitude."

Sodomy laws in the U.S. were invalidated by the Supreme Court in 2003, but there are still "harassment" arrests.  Walk past a cop holding hands with your boyfriend, and you're still likely to be arrested for "lewd conduct."

Every year 7% of heterosexuals but over 30% of LGBT persons are stopped, questioned, or detained by the police.

Gender-atypical behavior is particularly likely to raise police hackles.  Some 75% of individuals with variant gender identities state that they have been arrested for the "crime" of being insufficiently masculine or feminine.

And nearly 30% of gay crime victims state that they have been further victimized by the police officer taking the report.

With that sort of gay-police antipathy, it's surprising that many gay men have a cop fetish.

Maybe it's the sense of danger, unpredictability.

Maybe it's a dominant-submission thing.  You fantasize about the cop taking charge in the bedroom.

More after the break

Feb 23, 2018

Zachery Ty Bryan: Home Improvement Also-Ran

Born in Colorado in 1981, Zachery Ty Bryan was hired to play the oldest brother on the TGIF sitcom Home Improvement (1991-1999).  As he grew into adolescence, he became more and more muscular, but his spectacular physique never made a splash in teen magazines -- they were all agog over Jonathan Taylor Thomas.  For most of the series' run,  JTT was the standout star, Zachery a background player.

But he never became bitter over his second-banana status; ZTB and JTT remained on friendly terms.  Instead, he used his free time to star in movies and tv series:

1. First Kid (1996), about a regular guy who lands a date with the President's daughter.

2. "Mr. Muscles," a 1997 episode of Promised Land about steroid abuse.
3. Principal Takes a Holiday (1998), about a teen operator who gets a drifter to stand-in as his school principal.
4. Held for Ransom (2000), which allowed his character to buddy-bond with Jordan Brower.

Afterwards he mostly played athletes whose plots involve winning the championship, not getting the girl.  The Game of their Lives (2005), for instance, is about the U.S. soccer team beating Britain in 1950.

Code Breakers (2005) is about a cheating scandal at West Point Military Academy, with no girls in the cast.

In Hammer of the Gods (2009), he played a man-mountain, the Norse god Thor, who wields a mighty hammer and saves his friends (there's a girl, too, but it's most about his friends).

Today Zach has moved into independent film production.

Feb 22, 2018

In Every Man's Life There's a Summer of 42

During the 1980s, as the gay movement gained ground, film producers tried every way they could think of to assure heterosexual audiences that they had nothing to worry about, that gay people did not exist.  One of their most annoying attempts was a spate of movies involving young boys having sex with older women.  It was not a statutory rape, however; it was presented with flowers and hearts and swelling music, and a voiceover of their adult selves crowing "I learned about life, and love, and being a man!!!!  It was most beautiful, most fulfilling experience of my life!!!!!"

What did the older women want with the young boys, anyway, when there were lots of men their own age around, and their dalliance with the jailbait was patently illegal?  The adult voiceover usually explained: the boys were so incredibly attractive that every woman on Earth wanted them. The one they slept with just happened to make her offer first.

The annoying trend probably began with The Summer of '42 (1971), which stars Gary Grimes as 15-year old Hermie, whose hotness causes an older woman to cheat on her husband (away in the War).  He never saw her again, but that night made him a man.  The tagline even universalizes the young boy-older woman trope: "In every man's life there is a summer of '42."

Jay North played a teenager who beds The Teacher (1974).

But the genre took off in the the early 80s, with countless "bedding the teacher/tutor/friend's older sister/miscellaneous older lady" movies: Private Lessons (1981) with Eric Brown (of Mama's Family),  My Tutor (1983), with Matt Lattanzi; Class (1983), with Andrew McCarthy; A Night in Heaven (1983), with Christopher Atkins; Gotcha! (1985), with Anthony Edwards. In Weird Science  (1985), the boys (Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Michael Smith) build an older woman robot of their own.

Why did I find these movies so annoying?

1. The promise of beefcake made them a must-see.  But the boys usually had a woman with them to ruin the swimsuit, shower, and underwear shots, and anyway they were overwhelmed by the endless breast shots of the "older woman."

2. So exuberantly hetero-horny were the boys that there was no room for men.  Sometimes men were completely missing; the cast consisted entirely of the boy and some babes.  Sometimes the boy had a best friend, but only as a sounding board, to strategize with and brag to; emotional intimacy was completely absent.

3. These movies loudly proclaimed that they represented all of male experience, that every boy who had ever lived or who ever would live longed to have sex with older women.  But they didn't just ignore gay male experience, they lovingly, emphatically, with elaborate detail, declared that no gay men exist.

Feb 21, 2018

The New Netflix Queer Eye Makes Georgia Boys Fabulous

I never watched the Bravo reality series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (2003-2007), which sent five screaming queens out to teach macho men how to get chicks by getting their femme on.  It pandered to stereotypes on every level. All straight men grunt and scratch themselves and are completely clueless about the finer things in life.  But all gay men -- aka "girls" -- are fabulous!

Apparently somebody liked it, as Netflix has produced a retread. It's rated TV-14, though nothing sexual occurs, because, of course, even in 2018, kids must never know that gay people exist.

The new Fab Five is a little more diverse, fewer screamers, some ethnic minorities: Bobby Berk (design), Antoni Poworski (food), Jonathan Van Ness (grooming), Tan France (fashion), and Karamo (culture).

Their new stomping ground is small-town and suburban Georgia, where, instead of macho men, they descend upon the scariest ZZ Top lookalikes who ever drove a red pickup truck down a country road while listening to "Sweet Home Alabama," escort them to clothing stores and barber shops, and display their new fabulousness to their friends at the American Legion.

1. A 57-year old dump truck driver who lives in a one-room apartment believes that you "can't fix ugly" until the Fab Five convince him to embrace his inner fabulousness.

2. A shy, reclusive guy with long hair and a longer beard lets the Fab Five draw him out of his shell.

3. A NASCAR enthusiast wants to become more likeable and connect with his family.

4. The "straightest gay guy in Atlanta" learns to be gayer.

5. A devoutly Christian redneck gets a home makeover to impress his new wife with.

6. A young entrepreneur gets a home makeover.

7. An aspiring comedian who still lives with his parents at age 33 gets a new pad and a new "brand."

8. A firefighter gives his whole firehouse a makeover.

Not much beefcake in these episodes --  even the firefighter is hardly the stuff of calendar shoots. But the whole point is that the straight men (and masculine gay guys) look rather undesirable, chubby, scruffy, and geeky before they learn how to dress and groom themselves.

I have to admire the Fab Five's courage -- I'd be afraid to even drive through those small towns, let alone pop into Jimmy's Bring-Er In Tavern and announce "We're here to do a makeover, girlfriend!"  I'm sure everyone who appears on camera has been extensively vetted, but still, it's rather enjoyable to see roomsful of shaggy guys in overalls and feed store caps displaying no homophobia whatsoever.

And no racism, for that matter.  Isn't rural Georgia Trump country?

But watching the Fab Five escort their subjects through getting haircuts, trying on shirts, and shopping for mattresses gets really boring.  I don't like doing those things myself -- why would I want to watch someone else do them?

And the number of takeaway points for at-home viewers is limited: don't wear a baseball cap unless you are going to a baseball game; buy matching furniture sets rather than individual pieces; cut down on salt while cooking.

And  I still disapprove of the definition of "gay" as "flamboyantly feminine" rather than "attracted to the same sex."

Feb 19, 2018

Will Hutchins: Gay Best Friend of 1960s TV

Nobody makes my gaydar go off more than Will Hutchins (1930-). A blond-haired, blue-eyed pretty boy, he got his start in Hollywood with a parody Western, Sugarlips...um, I mean Sugarfoot (1957-61). 

Then he played Paul Lynde's beatnik son-in law/boyfriend in the tv pilot Howie (1962)

A police officer/Elvis Presley's boyfriend in Spinout (1966).

A "prince and the pauper" water skiing instructor/Elvis Presley's boyfriend in Clambake (1967)

Sandy Baron's boyfriend in Hey, Landlord (1966-67).

This studio photo purports to show how macho Will is, working out withcowboy star Clint Walker.  But it actually shows him gawking at the muscular, hairy chest.

Here he's apparently dancing with Ron Ely, who played Tarzan.

He was also a best friend of Jocko Mahoney, another Tarzan.

There are worse ways to spend your retirement than befriending Tarzans.

Hutch was married to Chrissie Burnett (Carol Burnett's sister) for a nfew years in the 1960s, and in 1988, at the age of 58, he married Babs (Barbara Torres).  

Today Hutch is still active on the nostalgia circuit, and he writes a blog called "A Touch of Hutch"  in a "Howdy, pardners!" Western accent.

A very interesting blog!  Reminisces about W. C. Fields juggling at a party, Jack Benny claiming to have starred in Casablanca.  Lots of appreciation of masculine beauty, such as Clint Walker ("his abs have abs.  Cinemascope shoulders") and this practical joke he played on fellow Western star Ty Hardin:

Once, Warner Bros. put on a blacktie soiree at a snazzy hotel in Beverly Hills. We told Ty it was a costume party. There we all were in rented finery, and there was Ty in feather, loin cloth, and full body make-up—yahoo!   Boy, did he have fun that night. The joke was on us.

I hear you, Hutch -- I'd be yelling "yahoo!" at the sight of Ty Hardin in a loincloth, too.

Feb 18, 2018

An Old Steve Reeves Movie

20 years before Arnold Schwarzenegger personalized the bodybuilder, a decade before William Smith brought bodybuilding Western heroes out of the closet, Steve Reeves became an icon for gay and straight men -- but mostly in Italy, with his voice dubbed in by someone else.

Born in 1926 in Montana, Reeves developed a massive physique during the 1940s, when it was still considered a weird affectation.  After minor roles in U.S. movies and tv sitcoms -- and physique shots in Bob Mizner's pro-gay Physique Pictorial -- he moved to Italy, where the peplum or sword-and-sandal genre promoted Italian nationalism through man-mountains in togas who wandered around the ancient world, fighting oppressors.

Reeves' Hercules (1957) became a sensation, even after it was released in the U.S. in 1959, and spun Reeves into a sequel, Hercules Unchained (1959), as well as a Hercules fad in comics and on tv.

 Soon Reeves was playing every ancient hero the studio could dig up or invent, 15 in all: Goliath (not the Biblical Goliath), Glaucus (from The Last Days of Pompeii), Morgan the Pirate, The Thief of Baghdad, Agi Murad,  and Phidippides  (I've never heard of most of them, either).

The plots were similar: Hercules, or Goliath, or Agi Murad fights to help a civilization throw off the yoke of a tyrannical oppressor, gets captured and tortured, rejects the advances of an evil black-haired woman and rescues and marries a good blonde-haired woman.

His lines were dubbed in English in post-production, so no one heard his real voice except in two American movies, the bodybuilder-exploitation Athena and the police drama Jailbait.

There is minimal buddy-bonding, as in the original Hercules, where the demigod tags along with Jason and the Argonauts.  But both Hercules and Jason fall in love with women, and at the end of the movie they part.

In Romulus and Remus (Duel of the Titans, 1961), Romulus (Steve Reeves) and Remus (Gordon Scott) are raised as brothers, and fight the evil oppressors together.  But then one becomes good, and the other evil, and they must duel to the death.

Gay fans had to make do with Steve Reeves' superlative musculature, which was displayed extensively in every movie.

He retired in 1967 after an injury,  and devoted the next 33 years to promoting fitness and raising horses on his ranch in central California.  No information on whether he supported his gay fans, but since they were an integral part of his fame, one imagines that he enjoyed  the homage in The Rocky Horror Picture Show , where Dr. Frank-N-Furter tells Brad and Janet:

If you want something visual, that's not too abysmal,
We could take in an old Steve Reeves movie.

The Bodybuilding Villages of India

In West Hollywood, everyone went to the gym.  The dating game was very competitive, and if you had a partner, there were lots of guys eager to break you up.  So you had to be in shape.  We joked that you could always tell the sexual orientation of guys in their 40s: the gay men looked 30, and the heterosexuals looked 60.

But there's a village in India where nearly the entire adult male population, gay and straight alike,  is into bodybuilding.

Actually two adjoining suburbs, Asola and Fatehpur-Beri, about 10 miles south of New Delhi, near the airport.

They belong to the Gurjar, a Scheduled Tribe (historically disadvantaged) from Rajasthan, previously nomadic, relocated to Delhi to work in farming and low-paying government jobs.  But mostly unemployed until they discovered bodybuilding.

The bodybuilding craze began 15 years ago, by accident.  A wealthy businessman, driving past, saw some of the village men wrestling, and offered them 2,000 rupees apiece (about $32 U.S.) to be the security guards at a wedding he was hosting.
This was big money!  They jumped at the opportunity.

Soon professional bouncer agencies were placing the other muscular young men of the village.  The more massive, the better.

You can make a living through your physique?

 Everyone started hitting the gym.

Kids growing up looked to bodybuilders as role models.

Now over 200 villagers are employed as "hired muscle": bouncers at New Delhi's trendy nightclubs, private security guards, and bodyguards.

The jobs are temporary: once you reach your 30s, your attractiveness to potential employers declines.  But by then, most of the  men have used their connections to pursue other careers.  Some have become wealthy businessmen.

I assume that the standard proportion are gay; the gay dating services list a number of men from Asola and Fatehpur.

See also: A Bodybuilding Contest in India; and The Erotic Temple Carvings of Khajuraho

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...