Mar 2, 2019

The Other Two: Gay Siblings, Teen Idol Brother

The Other Two stars comedian Drew Carver as Cary Dubek, is an aspiring actor, well into his 30s and still aspiring.  He goes on auditions for "guy who smells a fart" while working as a waiter and as a street performer.

His sister Brooke (Helene Yorke) was a professional dancer, but now over 30 and broke, reduced to squatting in the apartments that she's supposed to be selling at her real estate job.

They have romantic problems too: Brooke's ex Lance (Josh Segara) keeps interfering with her current relationships, and Cary's roommate Matt (Andrew Riding) claims to be straight, but keeps grabbing, fondling, kissing, and going down on him.

At first Cary doesn't mind -- Matt is hot.  But sooner or later, when a guy goes down on you while getting ready for a "real date" with a girl, you're going to feel used.

But that's not what happens in the Comedy Central series The Other Two

Everything changes when their 13-year old brother Chase (who obviously aged at least two years between pilot and first episode) records a music video, "I Want to Marry You at Recess," and instantly shoots into stardom.  Everybody wants a piece of him.

Overnight he has a brand (ChaseDreams), a manager (Ken Marino), and a record label (won by Wanda Sykes).  He hires Cary and Brooke as his assi stants.  They finally get a taste of fame, and its price.

Since this is Comedy Central, one would expect the kid to be an insufferable, entitled jerk, and "The Other Two," to be roiling with envy and trying to sabotage him at every steop, but that's not what happens.  Chase turns out to be perfectly nice, although rather disconcerted by the strictures of his sudden fame, and his siblings seem to actually care about him, and each other.  The Big Bads are the entertainment industry suits eager to drain every dollar they can out of exploiting his talent, without giving a thought to how their machinations will effect the boy.

In "Chase Gets the Gays," Chase releases a music video, "My Brother's Gay and that's Ok," the sort of "I don't mind gay people" PSA you would see in the 1990s.

Cary is mortified at being outed, so he wants the video taken down; then a top agent calls, so he wants it back up; then the top agent tells him that he'll be great with "fag" audiences, so he wants it down; then a fan tells him that the video inspired him to come out to his parents, so he wants it back up.

Watching the management team at work is also enlightening:
"Ok, we got the gays.  Next we need something for Chase to reach normal people."
"How about singing to a kid with cancer?"
"Cancer and gays?  No, we can't have two sad things in a row."

This would be cringeworthy, except that Cary is cringing, too.

Later thanks to the video, one of his costars asks him out. 

"Why didn't you ask me out before?" Cary asks.
"I didn't know you were gay."
"Thank you."

Thank you?  As if there's something wrong with being gay? The guy angrily backs off, while Cary protests "I didn't mean it like that."

Very interesting takes on internalized (and not so internalized) homophobia.

Drew Carver came out as bisexual at age 26, and several other cast members are gay or bi.

The Other Two is currently airing on Comedy Central and Hulu

Feb 28, 2019

"You'd Be Perfect for My Daughter!" A Gay Character Revelation on "Fuller House"

When I heard that Neflix was rebooting Full House as Fuller House, featuring the second generation of the Tanners, a blended family in a gay-free San Francisco, I thought, why? Nobody I knew would be caught dead with the original series on, and this one is bound to be worse.

A gay-free San Francisco was annoying then, but now it will be downright offensive.

 But with the star, Candace Cameron Bure (DJ Tanner) being a fundamentalist Christian, she was bound to put the kibosh on any attempts at inclusion.  Besides, who was watching this show?  Elderly people wearing MAGA caps and reading church newsletters about gays trying to destroy society.  Surely they would not approve.

Well, it took a few years, but two of the show's writers were gay, and finally decided to go out on a limb and pitch a plotline with a gay character.  Candace reputedly "loved" their idea, and was happy to give it a green light.

Um...she wouldn't have to actually appear in any scenes with the little fairy, would she?

 So in Season 4, released in December 2018, Episode #11, "It's Always Open":

Kimmy (Andrea Barber), DJ's wacky, exuberant housemate (think Kramer on Seinfeld) hires 17-year old Casey (Ben J. Pierce, internet personality Miss Benny) as an intern in her party planning business.

She loves the boy's fashion sense and campy "in your face" femininity, and, being unaware that gay people exist, think he would be a perfect match for her daughter Ramona (Soni Bringas).

In spite of living in San Francisco in 2018, Casey agrees to a date with a girl.

Ramona instantly figures out that feminine=gay, so this is obviously a non-date.  But the two have a lot in common, mostly a dislike for their mothers, so they become besties.

In the B and C plotlines,  the buffed but stupid Jimmy (Adam Hagenbuch, top photo) wants to raise the baby in Nepal, which he pronounces "Nipple," and DJ and Stephanie join a dodgeball class.  Yeah, that's the problem with modern tv series -- if you don't watch in chronological order, you're lost.

Episode #12: "Prom."

Jackson (Michael Campion), dressed as a gorilla, asks Rocki (Landry Bender) to the prom. She is leery because "Prom is an embodiment of the heteronormative jock culture with a dress code that targets girls in order to control our bodies."

No one knows that gay people exist, but they know the word "heteronormative"?

At the prom, Jackson tries to impress the other football players by talking trash, which gets him in trouble with Rocki.

Casey and Ramona go to the prom together, too (gay-free San Francisco, remember?  No one else for Casey to ask).  While they are dancing, a cute boy gives him the eye, and Ramona the Helpful Heterosexual encourages him to strike out on his own and make a connection.

Casey then vanishes from the series forever, and Ramona gets together with her ex-boyfriend Bobby (Isaak Presley)

In the B and C plotlines, DJ is a chaperone at the prom (but she never interacts with Casey), and back home, some guys I couldn't identify have a cooking contest.

That's all.  Sort like a show from the 1990s, where revealing that someone is gay was enough, and the gay characters were usually gender-nonconforming.

What else do you expect from a Full House reboot?

I hear that Brian has been cast as the lead in the upcoming CW series Glamorous.  He plays a gender-noncomforming gay teen who disses a cosmetics company on his blog, and is rewarded with an internship.

It worked for George Costanza in 1994.

See also: The10 Hunks of Fuller House

Feb 26, 2019

Dan Byrd: Nearly Gay

For someone who is just over 30 years old, Dan Byrd has an enormous number of acting credits, including more gay, mistaken-for-gay, and nearly-gay roles than any actor in Hollywood.

Born in 1985, the Georgia boy arrived in Hollywood in at the age of 14, and was soon guest starring on tv, in Er, Camp Nowhere, State of Grace, Touched by an Angel, and The Nightmare Room.  

In his first starring big-screen role,. A Cinderella Story (2004), he played gay-vague best buddy of Cinderella Hillary Duff

Then, in Salem's Lot (2004), he reprised the homoerotic-subtext role that Lance Kerwin originated  in 1977.  Rob Lowe played his boyfriend.

 By 2005, the 20-year old had developed a pleasantly muscular physique, and, surprisingly for someone who often played victims or comic-relief sidekicks, he was not averse to showing it off with semi-nude shower or swimsuit scenes.

In Mortuary (2005), Dan played boyfriend of a girl who has a gay best buddy.

In The Hills Have Eyes (2006), a remake of the Wes Craven classic, Dan played a gay-vague teenager who is waylaid while traveling through Appalachia by a family of mutants.

In Easy A (2010), an adaption of Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter, he played a gay student who  pretends to be straight to avoid harassment, but ends up with a boyfriend -- older, and black, which has to be a first in American cinema.

 Suburgatory (2012): An undercover cop who infilitrates the school to check for steroid use, but is assumed gay due to his interest in muscles (which, as we know, Suburgatory specializes in).

On Cougar Town (2009-2013), Dan plays Travis Cox, the college-aged son of Jules (Courtney Cox), heterosexual, but often assumed gay, and fond of "fake coming out" to people.

In 2019, Dan is set to star in the Amazon series Utopia, about secret societies, conspiracies, and an underground graphic novel.  I don't know much about his character, but his costar will be Cory Michael Smith, who identifies as queer, so maybe there's a gay romance.  Or a subtext.

  Why is Dan so good at playing nearly-gay roles?  Maybe it's his deadpan wit, or his unimposing hotness.  Or maybe he's just lucky.
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