Apr 11, 2020

"The Core":Has Something No Other Disaster Movie Has

We're running low on post-Apocalyptic zombie movies for our "Stay Inside" film festival, so last night we went with The Core (2003) instead.  Wow, what a bomb: ludicrous, silly, and immensely boring. But it had one thing that most disaster movies don't have, that most Hollywood movies of any sort don't have, that makes it worth a watch (or at least a fast-forward). I'm going to go through it scene by scene for the first 15minutes, and then fast-forward.

Scene 1: A fair, with rights, clowns, kids, the works.  Obviously this is going to be...no, we move into the building next door, where suit-and-tie Dave (Christopher Shyer)  tells his coworkers, "Let's go make $30,000,000!"

He must be the protagonist!

Nope, he goes into the board room and drops dead.





Scene 2: Ludicrous Indiana-Jones-style swashbuckling geophysics professor Josh (Aaron Eckhart, above) is teaching his class, when government suits sweep him away to a facility to look at some corpses.  He runs into his old boyfriend, famous geologist Serge (Tcheky Karyo).  Seriously,they do everything but French kiss.  Serge has to mention his wife and kids back home every five seconds, to keep audiences from reading them as a gay couple.

Turns out that everyone with a pacemaker in a 10 block radius of the fair dropped dead. Pacemaker malfunction.  But don't worry, that never happens again.

Scene 3:  Trafalgar Square.  Dad (Bart Anderson) is filming his wife and kid amid the pigeons at the Nelson Monument.  Suddenly the birds start flying into buildings, cars, people, as if their internal nagavation system has gone haywire.  In the resulting chaos, Dad and company run into a building to hide.

Surely they will be important later?  Nope, they never appear again, and the birds never attack again.

Scene 4:   On a space shuttle, newbie astronaut Beck (Hilary Swank) begins her first descent.  Then the navigation system goes haywire, and she has to negotiate a crash landing in the L.A. River.

Ok, she must be The Girl, with whom swashbuckler Josh will fall in love. It happens in every disaster movie, without fail.


Fast Forward: Josh approaches ultra-effete, gay-stereotyped,, cigarette-in-holder, coat-draped-on-shoulders, "do you know who I am?"  celebrity geophysicst Zimsky (Stanley Tucci).  Together they figure out that the Earth's core has stopped rotating.  Huh?

This will result in electromagnetic disturbances, and within a year, the microwaving of all life on Earth.  Huh?

Fortunately, some controlled nuclear explosions at the Earth's core will get it moving again. Huh?

And Josh knows a crank living in the desert (Delroy Lindo, left) who is working on a ship capable of burrowing down that far.  It's built from a new experimental alloy called...get this...unobtanium.  Huh?




To avoid mass hysteria, they hire celebrity hacker/comic relief Rat (DJ Quals, one of my favorite actors) to delete any document on the internet that mentions the coming catastropheor the burrowing expedition.

Is that really necessary?  Lots of scientists have been telling us that the human race will soon go extinct due to global warming, and no one is hysterical. 

Regardless of how critical the situation is, every disaster movie -- well, basically every Hollywood movie -- always takes the time to ensure that male characters demonstrate that they are heterosexual by mentioning wives and girlfriends, double-taking at hot girls, and so on.  Here, nothing.  No one except Serge says or does anything. Rat says that he would like to have sex before the world ends, but doesn't specify with whom.  Completely lacking in heteronormativity!

Then...Beck joins the team, and has a standard "you're arrogant!"  pre-romance combat.with Josh.  I know where this is headed....

And they're off to the center of the Earth. The rest of the movie is set on a small, shaking ship zooming through magma.  Various gobbledegook technical problems arise: "we've lost the containment valve on the back oscillator, and it will flood the iodes with beta particles!".  The crew members heroically sacrifice themselves one by one, leading to long, sobbing eulogies. (Josh is particularly heartbroken over the death of his ex-boyfriend Serge).

Guess which two survive long enough to detonate the bombs and make it back to the surface, where they are located through whale calls?

Right -- Beck and Josh, sort of cuddling in an escape pod.

But they don't kiss, or ask each other out on a date, or anything heteronormative.  Beck does ask Josh to come work for NASA,but he refuses.  He likes being a professor.

Last scene:  Rat hacking into every computer in the world to reveal the truth about the expedition and its crew.

No fade out kiss!  No boy and girl gazing into each other's eyes forever!  This was a great movie!

Apr 10, 2020

Junior Durkin and Henry Willson: Hollywood's First Gay Romance

When 15-year old New York boy Trent Durkin was contracted by Paramount Pictures, his name was changed to "Junior" to make him seem more wholesome and All-American. 

The ploy worked: Tom Sawyer (1930) was the #1 box office hit of 1930, in part because of the palpable buddy-bond between Tom (16-year old Jackie Coogan) and rascallion Huck Finn (15-year old Junior Durkin).  

Huckleberry Finn followed (1931).







Then Hell's House (1932),  in which a boy (Junior) is framed for bootlegging and sent to juvenile hall, where he falls in love with the younger Shorty (Junior Coughlan).  

And Man Hunt (1933), in which a junior detective (Junior) and his boyfriend (Arthur Vinton) solve a murder.








Before World War II, boys were expected to become interested in girls at the end of adolescence, not at the beginning, leaving adolescent actors free to star in amazingly overt "two boys in love" or "boy in love with older man" movies.

But Junior wasn't just acting.  In 1933, the 18-year old met 22-year old Henry Willson at a gay bar on Sunset Strip.  Willson had just arrived from Pennsylvania, and was writing for movie magazines.  The two became lovers, and when Willson became a talent agent for the Joyce and Pollimer Agency, he hired Junior.

Or maybe he hired Junior before they became lovers.  Accounts vary.

Willson got Junior to leave Paramount for some meatier roles, such as Ready for Love (1934) and Little Men (1934), and suggested that he go back to Trent: a tough, masculine, single-syllable name.  He appeared in Chasing Yesterday (1935) as Trent.

On May 4, 1935, Junior was killed in an automobile accident near a ranch owned by his friend Jackie Coogan's family in San Diego.  He was 19 years old.  Jackie's father and three other people died in the accident as well.  Jackie survived to become a major box office draw, and near the end of his career, Uncle Fester on The Addams Family.

Henry Willson went on to become an important talent agent, creating the beefcake fad of the 1950s by signing on innumerable hunks and changing their names to something tough, masculine, and single-syllable: Rock, Doug, Chad, Nick, Van.  Most were gay or gay-friendly, and many knew their way around a casting couch.

There's a Jackie Coogan hookup story on Gay Celebrity Dating Stories.

Apr 9, 2020

Drake and Josh and Craig and Eric


Drake and Josh (2004-2007) was a Nickelodeon teencom about two high school stepbrothers.

The scheming underachiever, Drake (Drake Bell).














And the shy intellectual, Josh (Josh Peck).  He only started getting buff in the last season.

Like The Wizards of Waverly Place and The Suite of Life of Zack and Cody, the program was not shy about subtexts.  While both dated girls, Drake and Josh shared a physicality, an emotional connection, and an exclusivity that would elsewhere mark them definitively as romantic partners.

And there was an even more overt gay couple.












Network censorship forbade the nerds Craig and Eric (Alec Medlock, Scott Halberstadt) from being explicitly identified as a gay couple -- not on a program aimed at a teenage audience -- but they were as open as they could be without actually Wearing a Sign.

They danced together at a wedding.
They went on a double date with a heterosexual couple.
They bemoaned the loss of their pictures taken at Niagara Falls (a stereotypic honeymoon destination).
They broke up, realized how much they care for each other, and reconciled (while Drake sang “Beautiful Dreamer").
 In the series finale, the tv-movie Merry Christmas, Drake and Josh (2008), they were shown holding hands.

In a 2007 episode, Drake comes very close to saying the word "gay."   In a feeble, half-hearted attempt to Be Discreet, Eric tells Drake, “Girls are nothing but trouble.  That’s why we don’t have girlfriends.”

Drake stares at him for a long moment, a curious self-satisfied grin on his face.  He is obviously dying to Say  the Word.  The studio audience goes crazy with excitement.  Will they finally hear it spoken aloud?

It looks for all the world like the actor is trying to decide whether he should stick to the script or say something like "You don't have girlfriends because you're gay," and risk a reshoot.

But, in the end, he sticks to the script:  “There are a lot of reasons why you two don’t have girlfriends,” leaving the viewer the option of pretending not to know what those reasons are.

Juvenile tv programs are often loaded down with hints and innuendos -- Even Stevens, Hannah Montana, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, and The Wizards of Waverly Place come to mind.

But we're still waiting for a program aimed at teenagers or children to break the silence.

Experience the Heart-Pounding Thrills of the Greatest Legend of Our Time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"A science fiction event so big it's a phenomenon!!!!! Experience the thrills and heart-pounding suspense of the greatest legend of our time!!!!!!!!!!"

I've read a lot of movie blogs, but this one, from Vudu, wins the prize for over-the-top hyperbole!!!!!!!

I'll bet you are anxious to know what they are selling!!!!!! Lost?  Twin Peaks?  My Favorite Martian? 

Nope, it's The Triangle, a miniseries that originally aired on the Sci-Fi Channel!!!!!! Tbe home of shlock so bad it's not even laughable, like Sharknado and Stonehenge: Apocalypse!!!!!! Hardly a phenomenon: it aired on December 5-7, 2005, aired again in case you missed it the first time, got mixed reviews, and faded into oblivion!!!!!

Ok, I'll stop the gratuitous exclamation points.

And the greatest legend of our time?


The Bermuda Triangle.

A non-mystery of the 1970s based on a 1962 magazine article.  It claimed that a heavily-traveled triangle-shaped region just east of Bermuda was a portal to another universe. Many ships and planes disappear after reporting on strange sights: "Nothing looks right.  Those islands shouldn't be there. The water is green, not white.  What the hell is that?"

It was completely debunked: the region does not have a greater than usual number of missing planes or boats.  The disappearances are ordinary tragedies: ships go down in storms, pilots-in-training get lost.

But during the 1970s, there was a Bermuda Triangle buzz, with many patched-together books rehashing the same tired cases.  And a ton of  schlocky movies (The Bermuda Triangle, Beyond the Bermuda Triangle, The Bermuda Depths).  

Then it faded into oblivion exept for an occasional joke: "I lost my homework in the Bermuda Triangle."

Only to be revived with a horrible movie in 2006, which was revived with breathless exaggeration on a streaming service in 2020.

Aren't you anxious to watch?

The Plot: A disparate group of investigators played by has-been stars is hired to investigate "the mystery." They discover that it's manmade: a secret government installation has been conducting time-travel experiments.  But they manage to go back in time and stop the installation, so that the Bermuda Triangle never existed.  As collateral consequences, they discover that all of their dreams have come true.

Heterosexism alert: most of those dreams involve heterosexual marriage and children.  The investigators are:

Howard (Eric Stoltz, top photo), a paranormal debunker who works for a supermarket tabloid (they debunk paranormal stories?).  After, he is reconciled with his ex-wife, whom, true to tv tradition, he divorced just so they could get back together again.

Bruce (Michael E. Rogers,left) is a "thrill-seeking professor of meteorology"  I don't believe that such beings exist.   After,he gets a wife and kids.

Emily (Catherine Bell), an oceanic engineer of some sort.  After, she gets a boyfriend.

Meeno (Lou Diamond Phillips), a sailor who survived a Bermuda Triangle incident.  After, he has two sons instead of just one.

Two guys have non-heterosexist dreams coming true:

Eric (Sam Neill): a shipping tycoon who wants the mystery solved so he won't lose so many ships.  He also lost a twin brother in the Triangle.  After, they are reconciled. 



Stan (Bruce Davison), an eldery psychic.  He dies but gets revived After.

 Beefcake:  Surprisingly little for people on boats.

Gay Characters: Are you kidding?

My grade: D

Apr 8, 2020

What Happened to the Gay Subtexts in "Resident Evil"?

I sat through the first two Resident Evil movies, looking for gay characters or at least gay subtexts among the gratuitous female nudity, and came up empty.  We can go through the others on fast-forward.

Resident Evil: Extinction, the third in the franchise: the evil virus accidentally released by the Evil Corporation has destroyed the world, not only transforming most people into zombies, but destroying all the plant and animal life and "drying up the lakes."  That's one powerful zombie.

A caravan of survivors, like the Happy Friends Do-Gooder Club from Fear the Walking Dead, is traveling around, helping people. And in the head truck, ex-soldier Carlos (Oded Fehr) and ex-comic relief L.J. (Mike Epps) from the last movie.

Still together after all this time?  Could they be a gay-subtext couple?

Nope. Once they stop for the night,L.J. flirts with a woman. Then he gets bitten by a zombie and zombifies. Then Carlos gets bitten by L.J. and dies.

Resident Evil: Afterlife, the only one in the franchise that doesn't show Hot Girl naked every five seconds (must be a different director): Hot Girl and sidekick Claire Redfield are flying around, looking for survivors.  They find some at a prison in L.A., including former movie producer Bennett (Kim Coates) and his former intern Kim (Norman Yeung).  The two hang out together and sit at the same table at dinnertime. Could they be a gay-subtext couple?

Nope. Bennett turns out to be evil.  He steals the plane to fly himself to safety, leaving Kim behind.

Well, what about Chris Redfield, Claire's brother, a major character in the video games?  Many fans of the video games think he is gay because he never dates women.

Impossible to tell.  In the movie, he never interacts with a man.  Maybe intentionally, so audiences won't get the impression that he is...you know.


Resident Evil: Retribution, hopefully the last of the series, with gratuitous female nudity upped 3,000%: Hot Girl (well, it's been ten years since the first movie,so Hot Girl is now Hot Middle-Aged Mom).  Anyway, Mom destroys yet another  of the Evil Corporation's huge underground facilities while rescuing her clone daughter and fighting the Red Queen, who now wants to destroy all of humanity.

Wait -- the Red Queen is a security system who wanted to destroy the original base so the virus wouldn't spread and destroy humanity. And now she wants to?  The rules keep changing!

In this rehash of the first movie, Mom teams up with Leon (Johann Urb), Luther (Boris Kodjoe), and Barry (Kevin Durand).  Could any of them be a gay-subtex couple.  Nope, no pairing off of any sort in their interactions.

Gay, anyway?  Barry is killed before he can say or do anything, and Luther is interested in Mom.  Leon is my last best hope...until...in the last scene, he makes a sleazy come-on to one of the women.

I can hear the writer:  "Wait -- we forgot to demonstrate that Leon is heterosexual. Better add something.."

All of humanity dies.  Are we done yet?

No.  There were survivors after all, who appear in Resident Evil:The Final Chapter, released in the U.S. in 2017, 15 years after the first: Hot Mom has to destroy yet another Evil Corporation underground facility.  She hooks up with bff Claire Redfield, a lot of other women, and two guys: Doc (Eoin Macken) and  Razor (Fraser James,)/

Gay subtexts:  No.  No mutual interaction.  Razor is killed right away, and Doc turns out to be evil and spends his scenes trying to kill Mom.

Why was this series popular?  Every movie had the same plot,with sutpid plot holes everywhere, retconning everywhere, characters who die and come back to life, with or without explaining that the other one was a clone.

And absurd attention paid to the naked, prone body of Hot Girl/Mom Milla Jovovich.  Director Paul S. Anderson married her, so it's understandable that he likes seeing her naked, but why show the rest of the world?  "Honey, it is essential to the plot that you be naked in this scene.  And this one.  And this one.  Well, just keep your clothes off throughout."

And the utter absence of any gay characters or the slightest of gay subtexts!  Is Paul S. Anderson a blathering homophobe?

Maybe not.  Milla Jovovich has a gay best friend whom she calls her "gay husband," and she and Paul were guests at the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center's "Night of Women" in 2014.

He just directs what he likes, and assumes that everyone else in the world will like it, too.

Apr 7, 2020

"The Spy Who Dumped Me": I'll Bet You Can't Find the Gay Character

With an opening shot like this  -- a half-naked hunkoid and his boyfriend watching Alf in Russian -- I'm already hooked on The Spy Who Dumped Me.

Besides, I love movies and tv shos about civilians who are accidentally drawn into spy capers, and it will be a nice change of pace from the endless post-Apocalyptic zombie-fighting.


Audrey (Mila Kunis of That 70s Show and American Dad)  isn't really dumped by her boyfriend Drew (Justin Theroux).  He sort of ghosts her, so she dumps him via a text message.  Then he shows up, explains that he's a spy, and is murdered, but not before he tells her to bring the  maguffin (a fantasy football trophy) to a cafe in Vienna.

And the caper is on. Audrey and her best friend Morgan (Kate McKinnon) go to Vienna, then Prague, then Amsterdam, then Berlin (location shots in all of them, except Budapest filled in for Prague).

On the way, they encounter many more hunkoids.



1. CIA Operative Sebastian (Sam Heughan, left), an enemy turned friend, and Audrey's love interest.

2. His partner Duffy (Hasan Minaj), a friend turned enemy.

3. Family friend Roger (Fred Melamed), who is not family friend Roger.

4. Drew's Dad (James Fleet). Or is he?

5. Master spy Edward Snowden (Tom Stourton)

After a wild ride of crosses and double-crosses and things that aren't how they seem, we end up with the world saved and Audrey and Morgan waiting for their next spy assignment.

By the way, this sounds like a comedy, but it isn't.

But it beats zombies.

Beefcake: None.  Only the guy in the first scene,a nd I can't even find him in the credits.

Other Scenery: Quite a lot of establishing shots and street scenes in the European cities.

Gay Characters: Morgan is a lesbian.

Wait?  Where....? Oh, she doesn't say or do anything that would identify her as a lesbian. She's dumbledored in:  "She's playing the character as queer.  We don't need to say so.  Gay people don't go around announcing it all the time, right?"

I agree that most gay people don't announce it every second, and rarely do things that would explicitly identify them as gay.  But -- and this is a big but -- in mass media, heterosexual audiences go by the "not wearing a sign" rule: if there is any possibility, however unlikely, that the character can be read a straight,they cannot be gay.  So Morgan's gayness is going to be erased unless she says or does something that identifies her as gay.  And she doesn't.

My grade:  It was going to be a B, but making a character gay and then closeting her is a giant slap in the face.  D.

Apr 6, 2020

"Tales from the Loop": Black Gay Guy in the 1950s Does Stupid Things for Love

When Amazon Prime started advertising Tales from the Loop,  I expected a gritty urban drama about the gangs and drugs in Chicago's downtown Loop.

Nope.  It's science fiction, of the very, very light Ray Bradbury type, really more magic, set in the nostalgic Happy Days 1950s (which Ray Bradbury also idolized, come to think of it):  neighbors waving from front porches, housewives baking pies. salarymen with thin ties and briefcases, racism, sexism, conformity.

The stories are stand-alone but interconnected by character, involving a scientific facility where they are working on the Loop. No one actually explains what the Loop -- we're not supposed to know, it's magic -- but it can alter reality to make your dreams come true.  But be careful what you wish for!

I watched the episode with the gay guy, advertised as "A lonely guy goes to an alternate world in search of love."

Scene 1: Cute security guard Gaddis (Atoh Essandoah) in a booth says "Hey!" to employees as they leave. He opens a book and looks wisthfully at a photo of a guy playing the piano, probably a lost love.  Cute guy rides past on a bicycle.

I know what's going to happen: he's going to get his lost love back, but things will turn out wrong!

Scene 2: Gaddis is in a field, stealing a part from a gigantic scary tractor.  The ground at his feet starts to dissolve.

Scene 3: At a bar (I can't tell if it's gay or not).  Gaddis plays pool by himself.  Bicycle Guy stares with hostility, maybe because it's the 1950s, and Gaddis is black.

No, it was just Attitude, like we used throw in the bars.  Bicyle Guy tries to pick up Gaddis but insults his taste in music, gets glared at, and scrams.

Bicycle Guy is played by Brian Maillard, he one on the left in the photo below, but with a beard and glasses.

Scene 4:  Gaddis goes home to his run-down cabin..  Apparently security guards don't get paid well.  He takes off his clothes (nice bulge), reads a book about bird watching, and masturbates to the  photo of Piano Guy.

Scene 5: The next day, Gaddis talks to the lady who owns the field.  It's not her tractor, she says; it just appeared by magic.  He shows her the photo he found in it. She doesn't know him.

Wait -- Piano Guy isn't a lost love, just miscellaneous guy in a photograph?  I like photographs as much as anybody, but mooning over it?  Wacko!



Scene 6:  That night, Gaddis is having dinner with some white people, who criticize his weird interest in birds.  He says that birdwatching is a doorway into a different, perfect world.

Holy foreshadowing, Batman!

So why is Gaddis lonely?  He has friends;he gets hit on in bars.  What more does he want?  Rock Hudson to knock on his door?

Scene 7: Morning. Gaddis is sitting in his booth. Bicycle Guy walks by, smiles and waves.  Gaddis grimaces at him.  Take a hint, buddy -- he's not interested.

Scene 8:  Gaddis repairs the tractor,  turns it on, and the world blinks  out and back in again. Must be the parallel world!

He goes home, but his cabin is run-down and decrepit (how could he tell?, and all his stuff is gone. So he goes up to the main house (So he's living in, like, old slave quarters?)

He sees Piano Guy (Jon Kortajarena, top photo) playing the piano inside.

Gaddis knocks on the door.  Another Gaddis answers!  Gaddis 1 realizes what has happened and runs away, bu Gaddis 2 follows and tackles him.

Scene 9: They have coffee and do some plot exposition. Gaddis 2 (Kevin Harris) and Piano Man are boyfriends, and own the farm (Gaddis 1 is surprised -- there must be no racism or homophobia in this world!)

 They know about the Loop and the possibility of parallel worlds.  Unfortunately, the project was closed down in this world, so there's no way Gaddis 1 can get home.  They invite him to stay on, live in the cabin, and work as a farmhand.

What -- not a guest room in that big house?  That seems rather elitist .

I couldn't find any photos of Kevin Harris -- this is his only screen role, and there is too much competition on internet searches with the billion other Kevin Harrises.  But here's another one who's black and an actor.  And below, someone named Calvin Harris.

Scene 10 In the morning, the Gaddises fool around with the truck.  Gaddis 2 says  "I can't find the photo of my boyfriend that I keep here..  Have you seen it?"

"Nope, nope, nope, never saw it," Gaddis 1 says, planning to keep it to masturbate to.  Wait -- why does he need a photograph, when the real Piano Man is right there? I'm sure he wouldn't object to a three-way with his boyfriend's identical twin.

Scene 11.  I guess not. That night, Gaddis 1 listens to them while they're having sex (so loudly that he can hear it ontside the house).

Scene 12:  The Gaddises work together on the farm and listen to jazz music. Gaddis 1 flirts with Piano Man.

Scene 13: Gaddis 2 and Piano Man are having friends over, and they want Gaddis 1 to hide ("how would we explain it?).  Um...if everyone knows about parallel worlds, tell the truth.  Or else he's a friend who everyone thinks looks like Gaddis 2?  "I don't see the resemblance, but...).

Scenes 14-34: Gaddis 1 and Piano Man flirt.  Gaddis 1 spies on them, or on Piano Man alone, then goes back to his cabin and feels lonely and writes in his notebook.  On and on like that.

Scene 35: Gaddis 1 gives Piano Man his notebook, probably full of gushy love poetry, and tells him about his crush.   Then he runs away before Piano Man can respond.

This is all very junior high.  Remember when we used to rush up to a cute guy, say "I like you!," and run away?

Scene 36: Gaddis 2 drops by to discuss the crush.  He doesn't really mind -- Piano Man hooks up with a dozen men a week, so....

What would a normal person do next?
a. Say "Great! How about a three-way?"
b. Run away, crying.

Scene 37:  Gaddis1 runs away, crying.  I guess he wants Piano Man for himself or not at all.

He wanders around, goes into a diner for a glass of water (order a sandwich, cheapskate!).  And -- have you guessed it -- this world's Bicycle Guy is there!  And -- coincidence of coincidences -- he turns out to be a bird watching enthusiast, too!  Fade out.

Thank God.

We could have saved a lot of time and trouble if Gaddis 1 just had a polite conversation with Kent at the bar.  Or told Piano Man and Gaddis 2 that he wanted a three way.  Or anything a normal person would do.

Beefcake:  Piano Guy takes his shirt off.  Gaddis 1 in his underwear displays a bulge.

Other Sights:  No.

Gay characters:  They're all gay.

My verdict: I applaud the inclusion of black gay characters, but why is their behavior so utterly unrealistic?  It is infuriating to watch people do ludicrous things when the whole problem could be resolved at any time with one sentence.

See also: Something Wicked This Way Comes

Apr 5, 2020

What the Butler Saw: Crossdressing, Nudity, and Churchill's Penis

Your high school drama club won't be performing What the Butler Saw (1969) anytime soon.  45 years after it opened, the play by gay playwright Joe Orton is still scandalous, homoerotic, and very funny.

There's no butler in What the Butler Saw.  The phrase comes from a British divorce case in 1886, in which a butler peered through a keyhole to see his employer having an adulterous affair in the dining room.  It became a catchphrase for risque sex.







There's no sex in What the Butler Saw, either.  But there's a lot of discussion of sex.  It's a spoof of the 1960s medicalization of sexuality, "normal" heterosexual monogamy against "sick" perversions.  Lots of them.

A psychiatrist, Dr. Prentice, tries to seduce Geraldine, who is interviewing for a job as a secretary.  His wife, Mrs. Prentice, has promised the job to her lover (and blackmailer), the bellhop Nicholas.



Nicholas and Geraldine end up switching clothes.

A government inspector and a police officer arrive.

There's crossdressing, incest, mistaken identities, homoeroticism, nudity (if the production is particularly daring, full frontal nudity), and Winston Churchill's penis.  What more could you want in an evening at the theater?






Since Nicholas Beckett spends most of the play in his underwear, he must be played by an actor of substantial hotness: Hayward Morse in the original production, David Tennent (the star of Blackpool), Nick Hendrix (top photo), Parry Glasspool, and Ewan McGregor (left).

It's been filmed once, a 1987 BBC adaption starring Tyler Butterworth as Nicholas.

If you can't find a stage performance, there's always a print version.


Teen Idols and Teen Angst on "The Fosters"

I've never seen The Fosters, but I understand that it was an evening soap opera featuring a lesbian couple, Stef and Lena Foster, who foster a bunch of kids (it's a good thing their last name isn't Slaughter).  They also adopt some. 

Imagine the dramatic possibilities: the fosters and the Fosters can have problems with each other, plus their boyfriends, girlfriends, and exes, plus an assortment of biological parents and visiting biological siblings!  They can mix and match in endless combinations!

The fosters and the Fosters endured an absurd amount of heartache, even for a soap opera.  In 104 episodes, they faced abusive foster fathers and mothers, abusive biological fathers and mothers, homophobia, transphobia, racism, a life-threatening injury, ADHD, death, a deadly disease, mental illness, statutory rape, non-statutory rape, divorce, drug addiction, a miscarriage, custody battles, and various life-shattering secrets, and dangerous decisions.

  Sounds fun.  I'm so glad I haven't watched.  But apparently a surprising number of the adopted/foster/miscellaneous boys grew into teen heartthrobs.  Let's take a look:

1. Brandon (David Lambert), Stef's biological child. 

He dates Callie, one of the foster kids, even though it's forbidden by the terms of the foster home contract, and brings her half-brother Jude (#4) into the home.





2.-3. Jesus (Jake T.Austin, top photo, then Noah Centineo). He has ADHD, likes wrestling, and dates a lot of girls.

Weird -- Jesus was the only character I heard about before.  I thought he was gay.









4. Jude (Hayden Bylerly, maybe the guy on the left?), a quiet, shy boy who "questions his sexuality" (I hate that phrase; it indicates that everybody starts off straight, but some people turn gay.  How about "he comes out"?).  He dates:

5. Connor (Gavin MacIntosh, maybe the guy on the right?










6. While on-off dating Brandon (#1), Callie also dates cute boy Wyatt (Alex Saxon), who she is not related to or fostering with.

















7. Marianna, the sister of Jesus (#2-3) dates guitarist Mat with one "T" (Jordan Rodrigues with an "s" instead of a "z").














8. Mariana also dates Chase (Garrett Clayton).

That's it for the teen boys who appear in 7 or more episodes. 

Only one adult man appears in 7 or more episodes: former teen idol Danny Nucci as Mike Foster, Brandon's biological father.  I guess the intended audience is more into "dreamy boys" than adult hunks.






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