Jul 1, 2019

"What We Do in Shadows": Everyone is Queer

What We Do in Shadows (2019) sounds like closeted gay men, who used to be called "shadow people."  It's actually about vampires, but aren't they sort of the same thing.  The vampire has always had a tinge of queerness, from the androgynous count Dracula through tortured femme Barnabas Collins to the pansexual gay-dad Lestat.

This iteration is a sort of Real World mockumentary about four vampires sharing a house on Staten Island.

1. Austere Nandor (Keyvan Novak, left), the oldest of the group, has been around since the days of Vlad the Impaler. 

2. and 3. Chubby aesthete Lazlo (Matt Berry, left) is devotee of the pleasures  of the flesh.  He has starred in thousands of porn movies, and enjoys pruning bushes into lady parts.  He is married to Nadja (Natasha Demetriou), but they both seek out other lovers. 

Nadja, for instance, turns Jenna (Beanie Feldstein) during a lesbian encounter, and is having an affair with Jeff (Jake McDorman), a reincarnation of a former lover.

4. Colin (Mark Proksch), an "energy vampire," feeds on the annoyance of humans.  So he has a cubicle-job, where he can annoy his coworkers with inane conversations.

5. Guillermo (Harvey GuillĂ©n, right, with boyfriend), Nandor's human "familiar" (slave, servant, apprentice).  He usually gets ignored or rejected, and then goes to his room to pout (think Willie Loomis to Barnabas). 

The humor comes from vampires engaging in modern urban activities like planning parties and going to nightclubs,with some plotlines about negotiating with enemies, forming alliances, and dealing with the Vampire Council.

The delivery is very understated, deadpan, with a lot of improv, which I find a bit dull.  Maybe, like, hire some writers to actually write some dialogue?

But on the bright side, everyone on the show is unreflectively pansexual; they don't seem to even be aware of the existence of sexual orientations.  For instance, Nandor orders Guillermo to invite his virgin friend Jeremy (James Dwyer) to the upcoming orgy to be eaten (virgin (infinitely attractive to vampires).  Guillermo tries to make Nandor think that Jeremy is not a virgin by discussing his "girlfriend," marking him as heterosexual.  But when Jeremy comes to the party anyway, he has energetic anal sex with a man. "This is a great party!" he exclaims. 

Well, not a great party, but a pretty good one.

My grade: B. 

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