Dec 27, 2020

"Theo and the Professor": If You're Looking for Collegiate Beefcake and Buddy-Bonds, Keep Looking


Most people, including most tv writers, think that the term "professor" means "a smart person."  No, it means a person who has a job teaching classes and conducting research at a college.  

And they are an expert in one field, not a general know-it-all.  

And no one ever calls them "professor": it's "Professor ___" or "Dr. ___."

So when Amazon Prime suggested the webseries Theo and the Professor, I groaned interally, expecting another polymath professor with no visible measns of support.  Surprise, this person actually works at a college.

Turns out it's about an actual professor and his graduate student sidekick, who moonlight as paranormal investigators.  Surely they have a gay subtext bond, and they're probably academic hunkoids. 

I watched Episode 1, "The Lilitu," because I'm not sure what a liltu is.  Something Sumerian?

Scene 1:  Extablishing shot of a British university, with lots of students sitting under trees reading books (must be from an earlier generation; students today do all their reading online).  Two profs complain about having to go to a conference in Oklahoma.   A student runs across campus, yelling "Professor!"  (You know there are several hundred professors at a large university, right?)

He delivers an envelope to Professor Ravenwood and his graduate student sidekick Theo -- both the same age, about 20 years older than I expected, and immensely unattractive. 

So much for academic hunkoids.

But, on the bright side, the opening credits are in a groovy retro font.  I feel like I'm watching Nanny and the Professor from the 1960s.

Scene 2: The doddering, absent-minded, tweed-coated professor stereotype is packing a valise with an umbrella, a notebook, some books on UFOs, and some booze. 

 Theo accosts him: "What bullshit did you get us involved with this time?  You know I hate you, and detest the idea of spending the weekend with your wrinkled old ass!"

The Professor pretends to take "ass" literally, and retorts: "I am not elderly disheveled livestock!  I hate you, too, but we have a job to do for the Moonlight and Brimstone Society, so let's get on with it!"

So much for buddy bonding subtexts.

Some construction workers digging for a new mini-mall or highway or something uncovered a lilitu, one of the early vampires created by Lilith (not Adam's first wife, an "ancient and powerful demon").  The Society wants Theo and the Professor to kill it.

Scene 3:
They arrive at the construction site, where the lilitu , a pale person with stringy hair, is frozen in mid-pounce.  The Professor tastes the soil and judges that it has been here for about 500 years/  Since the Elizabethan era?  I would have guessed 6000 years, since ancient Sumeria.

They can't destroy it while it's in stasis, so the Professor will perform a ritual to awaken it, and Theo's job will be to stab it with a magic sword.

Unfortunately, the ritual is in an anciet book written in a language that they can't read.  Um...they didn't have books in ancient times, they had scrolls and clay tablets.

Meanwhile the poor guy playing the Lilitu is standing there, obviously struggling to stay in "grabbing" position.  Suddenly he says "I've had enough!  I quit!"  

No, sorry, that's the Lilitu re-animating.  Fortunately, it staggers like a zombie, so they have a chance to run away.  

Scene 4:  They run to the construction company warehouse. The Professor tries to magic the door open ("What's the Elvish word for friend?"), but Theo just picks the lock.  

The Lilitu follows them in.  Theo, muttering "Asshole!, gets the Lilitu to chase him to where the Professor has cast a containment spell.  Scooby-Doo-type shenanigans ensure: is the monster chasing me, or am I chasing the monster?  

The Lilitu knocks Theo down and then  goes after the Professor.  Theo rushes to the rescue, jumping on the monster and trying to restrain it.    He stabs it with the magic sword, and when that doesn't work, pummels it to death.

 I'd call this a homoerotic buddy-bonding rescue, except that Theo is grumbling and complaining the whole time, and the Professor doesn't respond with any sort of gratitude.  He just says "That was unexpected." 

Scene 5:  Theo and the Professor walking away.  The Society will take care of cleaning up and wiping the construction workers' memories.  

Theo suggests that they go to a bar and get drunk.  No hugging.  No touching.

Beefcake:  No. The leads are Matthew Schultz, with 6 credits on his IMDB filmography (he's also a singer and a banker), and Lance Pankin, a British author best known for  Doctor Who novelizations.  The monster is played by Umar Faraz, whose day job is either artist or mechanical engineer.

Gay Characters: Neither mentions an interest in women, so I assume that they are both gay.

Scenes Where It's Too Dark to See: 5

Stereotypic Polymath, Absent-Minded Professors: 1

My Grade: D

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