Dec 11, 2019

Philip McKeon after Alice

Philip McKeon was one of the biggest teen stars of the 1970s, mostly for his role as Tommy Hyatt, son of single mom Alice Hyatt (Linda Lavin) on Alice (1976-85), and also because he was the brother of Nancy McKeon, the tomboy Jo on The Facts of Life (1979-88).   But he had a respectable career in buddy-bonding and gay-vague roles, without Linda and Nancy around.

Born in 1964, the tall, grinning blond got his start as a child model at age 4, and soon moved on to television commercials and theater.  Linda Lavin saw him in Jason and Medea, a retelling of the Greek myth, and recommended him for Tommy.

While working on Alice, Phil did the usual Love Boat/ Fantasy Island guest shots, plus Leadfoot (1982), a cautionary tale about a teen who drives too fast, thus jeopardizing his life and that of his best friend Murph (played by fellow teen star Peter Barton).

In an episode of Amazing Stories (1986), Phil plays a World War II solder who is saved, along with other members of his platoon, by the outcast Arnold (Larry Spinack), who may have been a ghost. There's some glimmers of buddy bonding.

In Red Surf (1989), a drug dealer named True Blue (Phil) is busted by the police, talks too much, and draws the ire of crime boss Calavera (Rick Najera).  So his two buddies, Atilla (Doug Savant) and Remar (George Clooney) must rush to the rescue.

He also starred in a few horror movies before moving into direction (Edge of Nowhere, The Young Unknowns) and production, including Where the Day Takes You (with David Arquette as a bisexual prostitute), Teresa's Tattoo (with a full contingent of 1980s hunks, including Matt Adler, C. Thomas Howell, and Lou Diamond Philips),  Murder in the First, and The Jacket. 

Both Phil and Nancy McKeon were the subject of gay rumors, but they never made any public statements.

Phil McKeon died on December 10th, 2019, after a long illness

Dec 10, 2019

5 Heterosexist and 5 Gay-Inclusive Christmas Specials

Have you ever noticed that most Christmas specials are annoyingly heterosexist.  Here are the worst examples:

1. Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol (1962): Why is Magoo/Scrooge so miserable?  He was so obsessed with money that he lost Belle, the girl of his dreams.  So he atones by helping a heterosexual nuclear family, Bob Cratchett, wife, daughter, and three sons.

2. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964):  Ok, it's about accepting difference.  The "misfit toys" are all adopted out, Rudolph uses his glowing red nose to save the day, and Hermey the Elf gets to become a dentist. But Rudolph gets a girlfriend, Clarice ("She thinks I'm cute!") and Hermey dances with a female elf at a party.

In the closing "Holly Jolly Christmas," Burl Ives sings that there's a girl waiting for you (a boy) under the mistletoe: "kiss her once for me."  When a woman sings that song, it becomes "kiss him once for me."

3. Frosty the Snowman (1969): only a subtle a hetero-romantic subtext about a little girl in love with the snowman, but the sequel, Frosty's Winter Wonderland (1976) is all about the snowman finding a wife.

4. Santa Claus is Comin' to Town (1970): a heterosexual love story between the young-adult Santa Claus (then known as Kris Kringle) and the future Mrs. Claus (a teacher named Jessica).  At least Kris (voiced by former teen idol Mickey Rooney) is a cute redhead.

5. The Year without a Santa Claus (1974). Mr.s Claus saves the day.  And heterosexual monogamy.

But not to worry, there are a few inclusive ones.  Here are the best:

1. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965): a reference to the Little Red-Haired Girl and Lucy's obsession with Schroeder, but otherwise about nurturing and friendship.

2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966): the Grinch is a green-furred outsider who dislikes Christmas, so he and his dog Max set out to ruin the holiday for the residents of Whoville by stealing all of their stuff.  When he discovers that the townsfolk are happy together even without stuff, he relents, returns everything, and joins in the celebration.

No same-sex plotlines, but at least there's no hetero-romance, and few if any heterosexual nuclear families.

3. Olive the Other Reindeer (1999): a dog (Drew Barrymore), a penguin (Joe Pantoleono), and a flea (Peter MacNichol) save Christmas, and no one falls in love with anyone.

4. Billy and Mandy Save Christmas (2005): the cast of The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy discover that Santa Claus has been transformed into a vampire. While looking for a cure, the Grim Reaper develops a homoromantic bond with a flamboyantly feminine, gay-coded vampire named Baron Von Ghoulish (voiced by gay actor Malcolm McDowell).  They even sing about how much they like each other.

5. Prep & Landing (2009).  Two high-tech Elves buddy-bond while saving Christmas.

Dec 9, 2019

"The Legend of Greg": Torn between Elf Boy and Dwarf Girl

The Chosen One is always the one you'd least suspect, born in a manger, living under a stairway, excluded from the reindeer games.

Or a pudgy, friendless 13-year old.

Greg, son of an eccentric organic-soap artisan, is the only scholarship kid at his fancy prep school, constantly being bullied and excluded.   He does have one friend, the uber-rich Edwin; they share a love of chess, bad puns, and taking off their shirts.

Gay-subtext best-buddies?  Ok, I'm listening.

But before I actually buy The Epic Misadventures of Greg, I follow my standard procedure:

1. Read the first 3 pages. Does Greg have a crush on the Girl of His Dreams?
2.Read the last 3 pages.  Did he meet the Girl of His Dreams during the adventure?
3. Do a word search for "kiss," "beautiful," and "girlfriend."
4. Check author Chris Rylander's blurb.  Does dedicate the book to "the love of my life, the light of my loins, the reason for my existence, the Eternal Feminine?"

No, no, no, and no.

Are you sitting comfortably?  Then we'll begin.

Greg's less than idyllic existence comes to an end when they visit the zoo, and a polar bear escapes and rushes toward him.  Edwin stands in front of him, and the bear suddenly turns away.  He claims that he was trying to sacrifice himself so Greg could escape  ("I couldn't live in a world without you") , but it looked like he was commanding the bear to stop.

After a few more mishaps, Greg discovers the truth:  he is a Dwarf, right out of The Lord of the Rings, except for the parts that Tolkien made up or got wrong ("I never saw those movies!" Greg protests).

For thousands of years, ever since the breakup of the Separate Earth, Dwarves have lived among us.  They tend to be short, hairy, and muscular, but poor, working in factories and as artisans, or shoveling shit for a living.  Only a few have achieved fame in our lifetime: Miley Cyrus, Dwayne Johnson.

Elves live among us, too.  They tend to be tall, slim, and androgynous, and rich.  They are the entrepreneurs and intellectuals. Nearly every famous person you can name, from Bill Clinton to Tom Hanks to Justin Bieber, is secretly an Elf (it's obvious with Bieber).

Dwarves and Elves have fought many bloody wars, and now they hate each other.  Greg is cautioned to never trust an Elf, never talk to one if he can help it; they are all duplitious, sneaky, underhanded, and evil.  All of the problems he has been facing, from the polar bear attack to the troll who kidnapped his father, were caused by Elves.

Greg's best friend Edwin? You guessed it -- an Elf.

Forbidden to see each other, they meet secretly, a whole Romeo and Juliet thing.

There's a girl.

Greg moves into an underground Dwarf community (literally underground, in caverns beneath Chicago) to be trained as the Chosen One.  At a Dwarven Hogwarts, he makes four friends, two boys and two girls.  But three of them are undeveloped placeholders; he interacts almost exclusively with Ari, a girl who is smart, pragmantic, and...beautiful. Uh-oh.

A clash between the modern world of same-sex romance and the traditional world of The Eternal Feminine.  Which will win?

I read ahead.  Greg and Ari don't become lovers. Not yet, anyway.  The first book ends with a climactic battle between The Chosen One and....Edwin.

All this time I thought it was just prejudice, that there were some fine people on both sides of the Elf-Dwarf divide.  But apparently Elves really are evil.

That's almost as disappointing as Greg's boyfriend turning into an enemy.  Same-sex romance fades away,but the Eternal Feminine -- well, Ari is still around in Book 2.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...