Sep 28, 2019
1. Amazing Age: "Sam Charleston is a normal kid who likes hanging out with his best friends Mike and Violet. However, a tragic event drives the trio apart and they navigate their high school lives without each other. That is until one day when one of Sam's old childhood comics mysteriously appears and brings the friends back together in an unexpected way."
Opening scene: they're writing a superhero comic. Mike wants his character to "get a lady." Not a good sign!
Then Sam's Dad dies, and he goes over to the dark side, becoming a juvenile delinquent. Five years later, Violet is a punk, Mike is a jock, and they hate each other.
Sam passes out in class, and awakens as a character in his comic book, Amazing Age.
The end. Why are these comics so short? You barely get the premise.
Gay characters: None specified. Mike wants "a lady." I assume that Sam wants one, too.
The older teen's shirt reveals half of his chest on thecover, but nothing inside - a deliberate attempt to draw in readers with the promise of beefcake.
The kids lost in the woods fight troll-monsters who have a problem with personal pronouns: "Find own meat! This mine!" It gets old fast.
I'm much more interested in the Pied Piper than some dumb monster-battle, but he doesn't appear at all.
Gay characters: None specified.
First scene: We open in media res at a Breakfast Club-like detention. A discussion of nose-picking. It can only go downhill
The five kids, bookworm Simon, jock Matt , and three girls (Alex, Ren, Sarah), are performing required community service as their punishment, when they are zapped into the ancient world and fight an tentacled monster.
Yawn. Not another monster battle!
Gay characters: Matt gets a girl. I can't figure out if Simon is gay or just sophisticated.
Next Issue: Booker and Jim rescue a missing dancer, but end up being betrayed. The cops hand Jim over to a local mob boss who offers to free him in exchange for betraying Booker -- who mounts a daring raid to rescue his new friend."
I was sold by the promise buddy bonding, but it was all a tease. Jim is obsessed over his girlfriend, Booker has a wife, and they inhabit a world full of strippers and hookers.
I chose Issue #4 because of the naked jock on the cover (top photo): "Feeling like misfits in 2019, the thawed-out jocks from the '80s hatch a plan for revenge on the rich and powerful nerd who froze them."
No, they don't. They break into his house, only to be stopped by his private security guards.
The cover picture does not appear in the story: the thawed-out jocks are staying with Steve's ex-girlfriend Jennie, who has aged 30 years, but Steve still feels that it's his duty to have sex with her (she refuses).
Fortunately for him, because he can now come out as gay (which is ok in 2019). That's the end of the nudity.
I like the jocks' horror at the dystopian society they've awakened to: We have Nazis again, Donald Trump is president, Prince is dead, Kirk Cameron is a religious cultist and Bill Cosby is a felon.
Postscript: In Issue #5, they confront the evil scientist cum Nazi who accidentally froze them, and Steve gets a boyfriend. Fade out kiss and everything.
Gay characters: Two
So Jonny Quest without Dad's life partner Race Bannon, or his own life partner Hadji. Sounds awful.
Rex does seem awfully mature for 11; I would have guessed 16. But he has no friends his own age, and the adults are almost all women: Mom, his aunt, and Dad's companion: a cavewoman who doesn't know how to use personal pronouns "Been long time since Tharga ate dinosaur."
Come on, personal pronouns are easy. Repeated after me: Ego, yo, eu, je, Ich, wo. And everybody knows that humans and dinosaurs never co-existed.
Gay characters: None specified.
1 out of 6, not a great score. I think I'll stick to Kevin Keller.
See also: Welcome to Wanderland
And he wants to be President. Oh, sorry, he will be President, he says repeatedly; it's not a dream or even a goal, it's a simple fact. He tells the Harvard admissions board, "After my second term in office (which I will win by a landslide), I can build my presidential library here in Cambridge or in Palo Alto. It's up to you." Strangely, the board admits him.
Payton is a textbook sociopath, experiencing no empathy but good at pretending to, with grandiose visions of his own importance, willing to do anything to reach his goals.
This season's goal is to be elected school president, a necessary step en route to the White House. His campaign staff (he already has some) suggest someone who is disabled. He latches onto Infinity, who has cancer.
Problem: she really doesn't. Her grandmother has been making her sick in order to get attention and free stuff.
Another problem: Payton's best friend/occasional sex partner River throws his hat in the ring. But then River commits suicide. Problem solved.
That's right, there's a suicide in the midst of the first episode of a "comedy" series.
One of the tall, statuesque blonde girls throws her hat in the ring. She may also be his girlfriend: they're both tall, statuesque blondes. So are his campaign manager and River's girlfriend. And they all have the same manipulative, self-serving, sociopathic personalities. I can't tell any of them apart. For all I know, they could be the same person.
I understood from the early reviews that Payton is gay, but he actually straight. His only same-sex relationship is with River, and that quickly becomes a menage-a-trois with the girlfriend.
The show's attitude toward gay people is paradoxical. Payton also threatens to out River unless he drops out of the election, implying that being gay is something scandalous (um...wouldn't he also be outing himself?). But characters throw terms like "heteronormative" and "nonbinary" around, Payton actively courts the gay vote, and a gay slur in one of Infinity's old tapes is enough to derail his campagn.
Oh, well --- there are lots of plot twists, the sets are amazing, and the plot calls for lots of shirtless, underwear, and swimsuit scenes:
1. Payton (top photo), played by Ben Platt.
2. David Corenswet as River. Dont worry, he may commit suicide in the first episode, but there are a lot of flashbacks.
4. Benjamin Barrett with blond hair as Ricardo, Infinity's dimwitted but well hung boyfriend.
5.-6. Trey and Trevor Easton as Martin and Luther Hobart, Ben's older brothers, who hate him because their mom likes him best.
7. Luis Avila as Amir, the gay kid who Hobart tries to woo by claiming an interest in the musical Hamilton. Because all gay men are into musical theater, right?
9. Koby Kumi Diaka as the school's only Haitian student, wooed by the other side to become vice president after the nonbinary African-American lesbian fell through.
10. For #10, no one in particular comes to mind -- the woods are full of hunkoids. So I just picked a name from the cast list at random: Brian Nuesi as a miscellaneous student.
And I haven't even gotten to the adults yet.
Sep 26, 2019
Whether he was playing cute kids -- in Secret Admirer (1985), Silver Bullet (1985), Lucas (1986) and The Lost Boys (1987) -- or horny teenagers -- in License to Drive (1988), Dream a Little Dream (1989), and Fast Getaway (1991) -- Hollywood censorship decreed that his characters could not be gay. Yet he often played them as gay anyway -- subtly, cautiously, with a leer at a passing hunk or an intensely emotional buddy-bonding moment that stood out like a beacon in the midst of the "fade-out kiss" plotlines, telling gay kids "You're not alone. You're ok."
During the 1990s, fame -- and his draconian workload -- hit him hard. Like Tommy Kirk 30 years before, Corey abused drugs and alcohol; his teen idol dreaminess vanished, and he became haggard, craggy, and tattooed. His movie roles grew sleazy and sinister. He died of pneumonia in 2010.
To the end, Corey was welcoming and gracious to his fans, both gay and straight.
I've got a free hour, and maybe he's gay, so why not?
It's one of those pieces advertised as a tv program, but there's only one episode, an hour and six minutes long.
First scene: Bixler High is not his name. He's Xander DeWitt, played by Jace Norma, unrecognizable from his role as the uber-swishy gay-coded superhero sidekick on Nickelodeon's Henry Danger (2014-).
So far, so good.
Here Xander tries to grift a very attractive car salesman (Eddie Aguirre) out of information that may lead to his missing father's whereabouts. He almost gets away, but in the end the police escort him home.
I'm not liking Xander. He's got one of those smarmy, smug, borderline-sociopathic personalities that make you want to take him down a few notches.
However: his well-stocked room contains no photos of girls. A good sign!
Xander discovers that Dad (Rick Peters) was visiting his hometown, Bixler Valley, on the morning of his disappearance.
Coincidentally, Mom is concerned about his slipping grades and frequent truancy, and suggests a change: how about going to live with Grandpa in Bixler Valley?
So Xander heads out.
Bixler Valley is a ridiculously depressed old mining town in the mountains, and Grandpa (Ed Begley Jr.) a ridiculously curmudgeonly geezer ("How can I tell kids to get off my lawn when one is living here?). He also happens to be a retired private eye.
Here's an idea: Have Grandpa investigate his son's disappearance.
Xander tries to hug Grandpa, but the geezer pushes him away. Men don't hug! How about a handshake?
Xander is obviously gay.
All he has to do is enroll at Bixler High and find a boyfriend.
Or a male friend.
Or a group of friends, some male....
He teams up with school reporter Kenzie (Ariel Martin).
Time to fast-forward, looking for beefcake and incidental buddy bonding.
Lots of hunky actors, like Eddie M. Myrick (standing behind his boyfriend) as a cop. But no one even fumbles with a button.
And there appear to be no boys at Bixler High, just female cheerleaders with pom poms. Xander never even talks to a boy his own age.
Grandpa: When are you two going to kiss?
Xander: Grandpa! We're partners (apparently they have opened a private eye business). Partners don't kiss.
My final hope: Xander means it. He's not into girls. Kenzie is a friend and business partner. They won't....
They lean in for the kiss. Fade out.
Ugh! Another gay tease!
He divided his time between Honolulu and Hollywood, where he appeared in 14 movies, playing a lifeguard, an Indian chief, an Arab, a pirate, and a "devil-ape," most notably as a Pacific Island chief in Mister Roberts (1955). Later in life he appeared in the surfing documentaries Free and Easy (1967) and Surfari (1967). He died in 1968.
He knew all of the athletes and beefcake stars of the day, including Buster Crabbe (top center), Wallace Beery, and Tyrone Power. He was a particularly close friend of fellow Olympian and 1930s Tarzan Johnny Weissmuller (left, the one with the bulge).
It ain't the waves you catch
It ain't the drugs you do
You'll never be as cool as Duke Kahanamoku
See also: Jack London and the Gay Surfers.
Sep 24, 2019
When American filmmakers want to set their horror movies in someplace remote and scary, they choose Appalachia. Apparently the British choose Sweden. First I saw Midsommer (2019), where some unsuspecting college students stumbled upon an ancient human-sacrifice cult in rural Sweden. Now, in The Ritual (2017), four unsuspecting middle-aged men stumble upon an ancient human sacrifice cult in rual Sweden.
The men are:
1. Luke, played by Rafe Spall, who gave us a frontal nude scene in The Lady Chatterley Affair. Have you ever noticed that ugly guys tend to be gifted beneath the belt?
2. Phil, played by Arsher Ali, who gave us a nude scene in Beaver Falls. I'm not sure if this is him; there were a lot of nude guys, and none of them really looked like Phil.
3. Hutch (Robert James-Collier). James-Collier agreed to play a gay character in Downton Abbey because he needed a job, without realizing how horrible it would be -- people thought he was actually gay in real life! Plus it ruined his career. He's relegated to roles in trash like...um...The Ritual.
4. Sam Troughton, who has played gay characters several times, as Dom.
The difference from Midsommer?
1. Instead of midsummer, it's a bleak, cold autumn with washed -out colors. Why would anyone want to go hiking in such an environment? I kept thinking "I could be watching Roman Holiday, with Gregory Peck on a moped in the hills of Tuscany. Why am I watching this?"
2. Instead of college students overbrimming with hope and optimism, it's four depressed middle-aged men, beaten down by life, trying to recapture their lost joie de vivre.
3. Everyone is singularly unattractive, even the cultists. And there's nudity to speak of. Even when they strip down to be sacrificed, they're in flannel underwear.
4. It's all men, with the women in their lives barely mentioned or not mentioned at all. That sounds like a good thing, but one gets the uncomfortable feeling that the hugging and "We can get out of this together!" are acts of desperation rather than affection. No gay subtexts to speak of.
5. There's nothing sexy about the movie. Some of the men die before they reach the cultists; one is beaten to a bloody pulp, then sacrificed to a monster that looks like a giant elk with antler hands.
Spoiler alert: one survives.
I disliked this movie in spite of the buddy bonding, or perhaps because of it. It's 2017; why not just make one of the guys gay?
Spoiler alert: one survives.
I disliked this movie in spite of the buddy bonding, or perhaps because of it. It's 2017; why not just make one of the guys gay?
Sep 23, 2019
Cloud 9, first produced in 1979, was originally advertised as about "sexual confusion," but now it's about gender fluidity. There are two acts, set in British Africa in 1879 and London in 1979.
Colonial administrator Clive has a perfect relationship with his wife and children, until forbidden desires disrupt things.
He has an affair with Mrs. Saunders, a visiting widow.
His wife Betty (played by a man), is having an affair with his friend Harry Bagley, and is also approached by the governess for a lesbian fling.
Harry has also seduced Clive's10 year old son Edward (played by a woman), the manservant Joshua (black, but played by a white man), and Mrs. Saunders. When he makes a play for Clive himself, things fall apart.
Fast forward 100 years, but only 25 years have passed for the characters.
Betty (now played by a woman) is recently divorced.
But he also has an affair with his younger sister Victoria (a doll in 1875).
Victoria is separated from her husband Martin (who played Harry in 1875), and involved with Lin (who played Mrs. Saunders in 1875). She has a 10-year old daughter (played by a man)
This time everything resolves happily, with both of the gay couples on "Cloud 9."
I didn't actually like the play -- weirdness for the sake of weirdness has never been my thing, and I'm not as shocked by same-sex relationships as the author intended.
But I liked it more than anything by Ionesco, and it's nice to see two gay couples in the forefront, "sexual confusion" or not.
That seems a little thin for an entire series. I assume there's a big twist coming, and some additional characters, but until then we'll have to make do with just 8 hunks and 2 non-hunks, all with some gay connections.
1. Conor Donnally as Eddie, one of the aerobics students. He previously starred in Hooked (2018), about two gay teens trying to make a living on the street.
2. Deron Horton, who you know as the cute gay nerd of Dear White People, plays Ray, the black counselor. Traditionally the black guy is the first to get sliced and diced, but he sticks around through the fifth episode.
You may remember Trevor as Will Sylvester, the choir director on gay fave Glee.
5. Cody Fern, who played the Antichrist last season, as Xavier Plimpton, the rich party boy counselor. Cody, who is gay in real life, is set to appear in the remake of the pre-Stonewall classic Boys in the Band.
6. Lou Taylor Pucci in a 1960s outfit as the hiker the counselors run over (I Know What You Did Last Summer homage). I think he was already a ghost. Lou played a bi character in the short A Good Dinner Party.
7. Gus Kenworthy as Chet, the jock counselor. Gus was the first gay-identified Olympic athlete before moving into acting.
Sep 22, 2019
The premise: On a far-off space station (but only about a day's flight from Earth), United Federation of Planets is assisting the planet of Bajor, which has just won its independence from the brutal Cardassians. Meanwhile a wormhole opens up to the other side of the galaxy, bringing new possibilities for exploration, plus the threat of the Dominion.
The politics get complicated, and rather boring. And all of the characters, bar none, are heterosexual:
Odo (Rene Auberjonois) is a changeling, a liquid in his natural state, capable of adopting any form he wishes. He usually adopts the form of a humanoid male -- who is attracted to women.
Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell) is a trill: a symbiont named Dax "joined" to a humanoid host. Dax has lived in seven hosts before; its last was Curzon, an elderly man very, very interested in ladies. Now that it's living in a female host, however, it's very, very interested in men.
The possibility of same-sex desire intrudes in a few episodes, briefly:
Later "he" grabs and kisses Quark. They are interrupted in media res by aliens, who assume that they are a same-sex couple.
Quark responds to the same-sex advance by ignoring it.
Pel: "I kissed you."
Quark: "No, you didn't."
2. Dax and her boyfriend Worf (the Klingon from The Next Generation) go to the pleasure planet Risa, which seems to be a gigantic tropical brothel, with scantily clad women walking around saying "Everything we have is yours." Dax reunites with a woman "he" dated as Curzon. They get altogether chummy, even though Dax is now female, and Worf suspects that they are involved.
3. In a parallel mirror universe, the counterpart of Bajoran Major Kira Nerys is slinky, seductive, and predatory, hinting that she's bisexual.
And some gay-subtext bromances.
Robinson later stated that he played the character as bisexual and in love with Bashir, but it was "a family show," so he couldn't be open about it -- can't let those kids know that gay or bi people exist!
2. Jake, son of the station commander (Cirroq Lofton), and Nog, Quark's nephew (Aron Eisenberg), are teenage best buds who have a quasi-romantic relationship.
By the way, after Nog joins Star Fleet, take a look at him in his uniform. You'll soon find out why they generally film him from the waist up.
Lieutenant Manuele Atoa (Sidney Liufau) performs a Hawaiian fire-dance at Dax's pre-marital party.
Of all the Star Trek series, I like Deep Space 9 the least. Instead of exploring strange new worlds, it's internecene politics. Instead of boldly going where no man has gone before, it retreads the same old tired "no gays in space" mantra.