May 30, 2020


In the early 1960s, before Google Maps, if you wanted to see southern Europe, you got on a plane for an expensive, once-in-a-lifetime trip, or you went to the movies.  Dozens of films had plots about glamorous, attractive people (except for an occasional comic relief lout) doing something or other that required them to drive mopeds through quaint hillside villages in Sicily or rush at breakneck speed through the Parthenon, giving viewers a bright technicolor Cook's Tour.  Usually you saw France, Italy, or Greece, but in Topkapi (1964) you got to see Istanbul.

Glamorous jewel thief Elizabeth Lipp (Melina Mercouri) invites us to tour the  Topkapi, the palace complex of the Ottomans during the height of their empire, now open to the public.  Many tourists are drawn to the Treasury, with its displays of Turkish opulence, especially the emerald encrusted daggar of Sultan Mahmud (1730-54).  It was actually crafted as a gift for Nadir Shah of Iran, but never delivered, but she tells us that it was a gift from his lover. And she plans to steal it.

The caper requires her to assemble a band of experts:

1. The dashing, cosmopolitan Walter (Maximilian Schell, right)
2. Mechanics expert Cedric (Robert Morley)
3. Acrobat Giulio (Gilles Segal, left)
4. Muscle Hans (Jesse Hahn)
5. Stooge Arthur (Peter Ustinov), who will take the fall for them.

Beefcake: Hundreds of shirtless hunks engaging in Turkish oil wrestling.

Hans, Giulio, and Walter all have their shirts off (Giulio is ripped!).

Buddy bonding: Walter and Giulio (they definitely look like they are going to kiss), Arthur and a burly Greek cook (Akim Tamiroff) who becomes his confidant:

Cook;  You foreign, no?
Arthur:  No, I'm English.
Cook: (Puts his arm around him).  Everybody out there -- Russian spies.  I kill.  I get medal.
Arthur: (Suspecting that he is a spy.) Are you here officially?
Cook: Fishily?  No, I give  English friend good meat.
Arthur:  Good meat, I understand.  (Cook kisses him.)  Well, I thought I understood.

There are complications, some humorous, some suspenseful, and of course they don't get away with it.  But not to worry, they are soon out of prison and on their way to a new caper: stealing  the crown jewels in the Kremlin!

No sex, no romance, no violence,some buddy-bonding, lots of oiled-up Turkish guys, and location shots in Greece and Istanbul.

Not a bad way to spend two hours.

May 29, 2020

200,000 Photos of Naked Harvard Men

From 1940 to sometime in the 1970s, all incoming freshmen at Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and some of the sister schools, including future presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, were photographed.  Naked.  Three shots: front, back, and side.   No black boxes -- penis in full view.

Some were told that it was to check their posture.  Others, to check them for rickets. But actually it was the pet project of Columbia University Professor William H. Sheldon (1898-1977) and Harvard University Professor Earnest Hooten (1887-1954), who said they were interested in somatotyping.

Classifying human bodies by size and shape, and determining how those shapes influenced personality.

They had already taken nude photos of 400 undergraduate men at the University of Chicago and 200 juvenile delinquents in Boston.  Hooten died in 1954, but Sheldon continued, photographing men in the military, in hospitals, in colleges, in prisons, until by the end of his life he had accumulated 200,000 photographs of men and 2,000 of women.

During the 1970s, Harvard was embarrassed by the study, and hid the photos away in a storage bin.  Eventually most were destroyed. See, you can't go around just taking pictures of random naked guys, even with a "scientific" goal.  It's a violation of their privacy.

But you can see some samples online, and several hundred in Sheldon's book, Atlas of Men (1954), with clever little taglines comparing them to animals: "paleolithic tiger," "dugongs and manatees."

Sheldon divided male bodies into three types: endomorph (fat), mesomorph (muscular), and ectomorph (skinny), and discovered that juvenile delinquents were likely to be mesomorphs, while Ivy League freshmen were more likely to be ectomorphs.

Also, ectomorphs are bigger beneath the belt.  Or at least it shows better.

Nice to know when you're cruising.

An obsession with taking nude photographs of young men.  Were Sheldon and Hooten gay?

Neither married women, but Hooten spearheaded the famous purge of Harvard "homosexuals" in 1920, along with his friend and roommate Lester Wilcox.

Maybe he was protesting too much.

May 28, 2020

Who is Doug Brochu, and Why am I Following Him on Twitter?

I just found out that I follow Doug Brochu on Twitter.  He tweets so rarely that I don't remember why I followed him, or for that matter who he is.

He's an actor, born in September 1990 in North Carolina, and he seems to have been a Disney and Nickelodeon kid, with roles on Sonny with a Chance, ICarly, Pair of Kings, and So Random.

I must have seen him on the Disney Channel and thought he was gay.

Not a lot of gay content on his twitter, facebook, or instagram, though, nor are there a lot of gay roles in his recent work.

He played "Handsome Lover" in the short film Winesburg: Death, an adaption of a Sherwood Anderson story,but it was a heterosexual lover.

He's friends with the gay-friendly former Disney kids Sprouse Brothers, but also with the non-gay-friendly former Disney kid Nathan Kress.

I probably should be following his older brother, Chris Brochu, instead.

1. More shirtless photos.

2. He's friends with Scott Eastwood.

3. He played a gay character in The Vampire Diaries.

4  In 2018 he starred in Tell Me a Story, a tv series with fairy tales reimagined into a "dark and twisted psychological thriller."  One of his costars was Disney boy Austin Butler.

See also: Missouri City, Texas: The New Gay Suburb of Hell-fer-Sartain

Jack Larson and other TV Jimmy Olsens

In an April 1940 episode of the radio Adventures of Superman, the Man of Steel helped a young boy named Jimmy Olsen protect his mother's shop from racketeers.  Sensing audience identification, the producers soon gave Jimmy a part-time job at the Daily Planet so he could follow leads on his own, snoop around abandoned warehouses, get into trouble, and require lots of nick-of-time rescues.

Jimmy arrived in Superman comics in November 1941, somewhat older, perhaps seventeen.  He was a redhead, like the cliche sidekick in boys' adventure novels of the period, and his v-shaped torso suggested muscleman potential.  But he was never a sidekick, like Robin to Batman, or Bucky to Captain America.  Jimmy never lived with Superman, he never learned Superman's secret identity, he only participated in the adventures by accident.  Was he homoromantic partner, or merely a coworker and pal?  

In Jimmy Olsen's comic book series, which began in 1954, it doesn't take a lot to find the romantic subtext beneath the boy pal text.  But in the tv and movie versions of the mythos, things are a little different.

TV first:

1. In The Adventures of Superman (1952-58), Jimmy Olsen (former teen idol Jack Larson, top photo ) seems mostly a coworker to Superman (George Reeves). We rarely see the two together, except on the job, and even then, Lois (Noel Neill) usually forms the third.  Jimmy requires rescue alone (without Lois or Perry present) just once, when he is kidnapped by a transvestite in "Double Trouble" (1953).  He bonds with editor Perry White (John Hamilton) more often.

 Jack Larson, who died in 2015, was gay, and stated in interviews that he was out on the set during the period; maybe that explains why he kept Jimmy carefully free of any romantic feelings for Superman.

2. Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993-97) starred Dean Cain and Terri Hatcher as the famous couple (yes, now a couple), with the standard antipathy turning into romance ("He's so...arrogant!").

Jimmy was played by Justin Whalin, a former child star (the child of lesbian parents in a 1993 School Break special). Given the hetero-romantic story arc, it would seem that Jimmy would be a third wheel, but he actually has an unrequited crush on the hunky Clark. And there are a few Jimmy-rescues.

3. Smallville (2001-2011) was about Superboy, the teenage Clark Kent, so Jimmy (Aaron Ashmore, left, with an unidentified hunk) was not introduced until Season Six, when Clark arrived in Metropolis.

Jimmy had at least two girlfriends during his three years on the program, and expressed any romantic interest in Clark or Superman.

Clark Kent (Tom Welling) did have a homoerotic bond with a young Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum), but not with Jimmy.

4. Supergirl.  Mehcad Brooks plays a grown-up James Olson, with no Superman around.

Not a very good record.  Where there is a gay subtext at all, it is between Clark Kent and someone else. Why has one of the most substantial and overt homoromances in all of comics failed to make it on the small screen?

May 27, 2020

The Best Half of "The Half of It"

Netflix gives The Half of It has a 97% match, based on what I usually watch.  Shy, lonely outsider Ellie agrees to Cyrano de Bergerac dumb jock Paul by writing love letters to The Girl, whom Ellie is secretl in love with, too.  The trailer shows Ellie staring folornly at the couple through windows a lot, playing the cello, bonding with Paul, and staring forlornly at the couple some more.  The tagline: "Not every love story is a romance."

Scene 1:  Ellie is,,, you know what?  I don't feel like wading through all the "shy, lonely outsider" gay teen angst.  Let's just skip to the beefcake.

1. Daniel Diemar as the dumb jock Paul. A Victoria native, he played Cole in the tv series Sacred Lies.

2. Dean Tierney, a  New York stage actor, as Paul's Dad or brother or something.  His only other screen credit is A Sip With Vodka: A Russian Guide To Becoming A Real Housewife And Making It In America  (clever if there's not a lot of acting roles on your resume, make sure that every title is extra-long to take up space).

3. Cronin Cullen as another of Paul's relatives.  Dumb Jock has a really hunky family.

4. Billy Thomas Myott guessed it.  Yet another of the Hunk Family.  Top photo: his appearance in Damn Yankees  (the one wearing a shirt).

5. Wolfgang Novogratz as Trig, the entitled snob  who the Girl is dating (does he have siblings named Geometry and Algebra?).   He's the son of Robert and Courtney Novogratz, the design team who host By Design and Home By Novogratz.

6. Actor/martial artist Collin Chou as shy,lonely outsider Ellie's cash-strapped father, who starts a sausage-making business with Dumb Jock.  He's been in some Matrix movies, Marco Polo, and a lot of movies where young martial arts students overcome tremendous obstacles.

7. Enrique Murciano as The Girl's Dad.  He was named #7 in People magazine's annual Sexiest Man Alive list in 2006.

8. Spencer Wawak, the co-founder of the stArt Theater project, as Hangout Dude.  It's not Ibsen, but it plays the bills.

9. Logan Riley Bruner  plays One Person.  He has a very impressive website, with dozens of pictures and video clips, but this is the only shirtless shot, from A Friend of the People (2015).

That's it for the beefcake, except for a few more Hunk Family relatives and some miscellaneous "Student in Hallway" types.  I guarantee that this was more fun than slogging through the shy outsider loner gay teen angst.

May 26, 2020

"Control Z": We Know All Your Secrets.

Control Z, on Netflix, is advertised as an old-fashioned whodunit: who is revealing the sordid secrets of the students at a high school in Mexico? Ten to one, the secrets include being gay.

Scene 1:  Creepy Girl )Ava Valeria Beceril) enters the beautiful glass-and-steel atrium of  her fancy, elite high school, where all of the students are busy on their cell phones. Their texts and websites appear over their heads; mostly sex and romance.

She notices a boy and a girl kissing; the boy is aroused. 
A girl sticking her tongue out for a selfie
A girl who dropped her Motrin (a pain reliever)

She saves the scarced, learning-disabled Luis (Luis Curiel) from some bullies by pointing out their secrets.  One gets his mom to cut his hair; another has herpes; a third has dandruff (are those really equivalent sins?)..

Scene 2: School Psychiatrist tells Creepy Girl that she's extremely intelligent but getting straight Cs.  She has problems with teachers and classmates.  She was in a mental hospital (wouldn't Creepy Girl know this already?)

Scene3: Class.  A tongue-swallowing session between Pablo and Isabela (Zion Moreno, Andres Baida, top photo), so theatrical and overblown that it looks like a parody (obviously neither of the actors have kissed anyone in real life before; you don't lick the other person's uvula). It lasts forever.

Finally the teacher arrives, and introduces the new student Javier (Michael Ronda, below).  His Dad is a famous soccer star,  so everybody wants to be his friend.  But she assigns him to Creepy Girl.  Finally we get her name -- Sofia.

Scene 4: The boys latch on to Javier and ask about his Dad ("Is he really ripped, or only on tv?").   He's upset by the attention and leaves.

Scene 5: The prim, retro-outfitted Natalia is addressing a group of adults about National Night, a big annual party (flashback to a girl having sex).  She assures them that there won't be a lot of sexual assaults, like last year.

Scene 6:  In the store room, Isabela is giving Pablo a blow job.  She finishes.  They do some more absurdly theatrical tongue-swallowing.  Then she suggests telling people.   She's only been keeping it a secret because of hPablo, and she's tired of lying.  But -- everyone knows they are together.  They were tongue-swallowing in biology class.

Scene 7: Creepy Girl is standing on the glass-and-steel roof.  Javier thinks she is planning to commit suicide, and tries to intervene.  But she just likes it up there because she can observe everyone down below.  She gives us a handy list of characters:
The bullies, Raul, Ernesto, and Dario, who have some sort of illegal business (drugs, no doubt).
Gerry, one of their customers
Natalia, the retro-outfitted girl planning National Night, who hates everyone
Pablo and Isabella, the tongue-swallowers.
Alex (a girl), who also hates everyone
Loner Luis
These will all become important later, when someone reveals All their Secrets.

Scene 8: Gym class in a beautiful, vast, glass-enclosed indoor soccer field.  Who goes to a high school like this?  Creepy Girl has special permission to read War and Peace (in English) instead of exercising. . Javier takes his shirt off, causing girls to squeal and swoon.  It's gym class -- aren't you used to it?  Coach fawns over him. 

Scene 9: The shy, learning-disabled Luis, who was bullied in Scene 1, is attacked again. This time the bullies pee on his backpack and tear uphis important pictures, while he screams in agony.  A very long scene, very unpleasant to watch.  The kid keeps screaming, the bullies keep hurting him.  

Scene 10: Finally the torture porn scene is over!  Time for a school assembly. What new hell is this?

Another long session of Pablo and Isabella tongue-swallowing (seriously, even if they 've never kissed anyone before, couldn't the director point out that you don't swallow the other person's entire face?).  Meanwhile Natalie the Retro Girl is being snarky, Luis is being tormented yet again, and Creepy Girl is being all Goth and "I'm too cool to care about anything."

Teacher Quintanilla (Rodrigo Cachoro, seen here with his --no sé) finally starts talking.  His lecture is on how bad cell phones are.  He asks the AV guy to start a video,but it's not about cell phones, it's about Isabela. And they can't turn it off, as we learn that...she is transgender!  (or, as the video states, "really a boy").

Why is the video in English?  For that matter, why is every text message we see in English? 

The students all laugh and jeer: "Isabella is a guy!  Show us your penis!"  Isabella runs away.  The auditorium empties as cell phones come out and the news spreads across Mexico.

Scene 11:  In the bathroom, the girls ask Isabela why she was hiding her transgender identity ('s none of their business?).  Meanwhile, the guys are razzing Pablo. He rejects Isabella so they won't think he's gay.  

In the library, Creepy Girl meets with Raul (Yankel Stevan).  He reveals that a hacker named All Your Secrets threatened to reveal his secret unless he ratted out a friend, so he chose Isabela (how did he know she was transgender?)  He wants Creepy Girl to help him track down the culprit.

Scene 12: Natalia is crying in the bathroom.  Creepy Girl and Javier interview her:  she was also approached by All Your Secrets, and named Isabela to avoid having her secret revealed.  

Scene 13: So who uploaded the video and hacked the system so it would play during the assembly? Creepy Girl deduces that it must be the only guy in the auditorium not paying attention while it was playing (since he already knew what was in it):  Gerry (Patricio Gallardo), the bullies' client.  All Your Secrets forced him to upload the video to avoid having his own secret revealed.

Scene 14:  At the end of the school day, Luis's Mom wants to know why he's so upset (um...being tortured repeatedly?).   Meanwhile, Creepy Girl flirts with Javier  (she looks much less creepy in this shot from later in the series).

Scene 15: At home, Creepy Girl lies down on her bed and has flashbacks:.

She remembers going to a bar and discussing War and Peace with some older guys ("it was your dad's favorite book").  

Then, in a wheelchair in the mental hospital, with a bandage over her wrist (obviously an attempted suicide).

 Creepy Girl's Mom interrupts to note that her new boyfriend is coming over with Chinese food.  Big reveal: It's the teacher Quintanilla!

Scene 16: Isabella is at home, being sad. All Your Secrets contacts her and promises revenge, if she will reveal one of her friends' secrets. (Geez, don't they have enough already?)

Beefcake:  Javier changing his shirt.

Other Sights: This is by far the most beautiful high school set that I have ever seen.

People in Mexico Speaking English All the Time:  Including extremely complex sentences that I could never say in Spanish, and I studied it for eight years.

LGBT Characters:  Isabela appears in 8 episodes, and I'm still betting that one of the secrets is being gay.

Whodunit:  Obviously Javier. Luis is a red herring, severely autistic, barely able to speak.  Every other named character has a secret of their own (unless the hacker made up a secret to throw off suspicion).

Will I Continue to Watch:  I heavily disliked the torture porn and the absurd tongue-swallowing, and I hated Creepy Girl.  But I want to know what the other secrets are, and how the handle the inevitable "being gay" secret.

Being Gay:  Turns out that all of the secrets are revealed at the beginning of Episode 2.  Gerry watches gay porn (told you!). He denies it.  Quintanilla says he doesn't judge, lots of people watch gay porn, it doesn't mean you are gay.

Why would you "judge" someone (look down on them) for being gay?  Oh, right, these people think of being gay as something shameful.  They may have cell phones, but their minds are back in 1963.

By the way, Pablo's secret: he has a large penis.

May 25, 2020

Fleabag: Britcom Filled with Hunks and Horror, but no Lesbi....

I've only heard the term "fleabag" in reference to a cheap hotel, but on Fleabag (2016=2019), on Amazon Prime, it's a woman (Phoebe Walter-Bridge) who addresses the camera and makes jokes to keep from crying. She has a lot to cry about:

She is running a struggling coffee shop, but can't get a loan to keep it afloat.

Her close friend/business partner Boo accidentally committed suicide by walking into traffic (planning to be injured and get attention,but ending up dead).

She hates her family:

Demanding,perfect sister

Brother in law who makes snarky sexual innuendos and then, when she gets offended, complains that she can't take a joke

Elitist artist stepmother who ha an exhibition of works devoted entirely to her sexual activity (I definitely want that penis wall for my living room).

Father who can't stand to be alone with her (and she instantly recognizes his penis from the penis wall.  What was going on in that family?).

Fleabag tries to fill the yawning void of guilt and pain in her life with sex.

1. Steady Boyfriend (Hugh Skinner, left, Prince William on The Windsors), who insists on slow, boring, "making love" instead of just doing it.  Fleabag dumps him regularly, which gives her an opportunity to get other sex partners (and he always cleans her apartment).  At the end of Season 1, he makes the breakup permanent.

2.  Arsehole Guy (Ben Aldridge), who suddenly stops being able to stay aroused during sex.  Fleabag informs us that this is a sign that he's in love, so all his blood is rushing from his penis to his heart.  He's in love, all right, but with someone else.

That's not why he's called Arsehole Guy. 

3. Bus Rodent (Jamie Demetriou), who has bad teeth.  This would be a deal-breaker, except that Fleabag is horny.  She gets angry when he won't put out on the first date,but gets revenge by introducing him to her family as "her new boyfriend," then dumping him (after sex).

4. Jack (Anthony Welsh), Boo's boyfriend.  Their affair made Boo decide to walk into traffic,which is one reason why Fleabag is such a mess.

5. Hot Misogynist (Ray Fearon, left)

6, Chatty Joe (David Hargreaves)

7. Hot Priest (Andrew Scott, left).  Fleabag spends most of Season 2 chasing him, even though she feels guilty about making him break his vow of celibacy, and seems to think that it's illegal.

Fleabag does not have sex with:

1. Her brother-in-law (Brett Gelman, left), although he tries to kiss her and then claims that she tried to kiss him.

2. Her possibly-autistic nephew (Angus Imrie), although he does spy on her in the bath.  When he begs her to ask his Mom to leave his Dad, one wonders what's going on in that family.

3. Boo (Jenny Rainsford), although the intensity of their relationship (in flashback) does suggest a lesbian subtext.

No gay characters appear or are  mentioned, except we are told that Hot Priest's mother "was originally a lesbi...."  What did she do, convert?

Oh, I forgot to mention: Fleabag is a comedy.

May 24, 2020

Paducah, Kentucky: Welcoming for Gay Adults, But What About the Teens?

Ok, Kentucky, this is your last chance.  I already checked Owensboro for gay-friendliness, and found nothing but homophobia and bluegrass. Now I'll try  Paducah, population 23,000, in the far west of the state, on the Ohio River across from Illinois (only about an hour's drive from Carbondale)

It's an old town, "steeped in history," according to the town tourist sight.  Within a few block radius, you can visit.
1. The National Quilt Museum
2. The William Clark Market House Museum
3. The Paducah Railroad Museum
4. The Lloyd Tightman House and Civil War Museum

As Mae West would say, tell me more about that Tightman.

The rest of the post and the tightmen are on A Gay Guide to Small-Town America.

"Young Sheldon": Gay Subtexts in East Texas, 1989

I was never a big fan of The Big Bang Theory: the gang of nerds was too obsessed with  stereotypic masculinity, loudly proclaiming "Aha!  You're really a woman!" when one of their crew (usually Raj) made the slightest feminine gesture.  And gay people did not exist, except for an occasional homophobic joke.

But I did like the character of Sheldon (Jim Parsons), a theoretical physicist whose eccentricities place him on the autism spectrum.  At first I thought he was gay; then he starts dating a girl,but insists on no physical contact, so I concluded that he was a hetero-romantic asexual.

The prequel, Young Sheldon (2017-)  cost an exorbitant $35 per season on Vudu (I won't even pay that much for Riverdale),but it just dropped to $15,so I plugged it in.  I've seen the first three episodes.

It's 1989, and 9-year old Sheldon (Iain Armitage) is living in East Texaa with his Dad, football coach George (Lance Barber) and his Mom Mary (Zoe Perry), who is a quasi-fundamentalist Baptist (there are wine and cards in the house, which a real Baptist would never permit).

 He also has a 9-year old twin sister (Reagan Revord), the standard pre-teen operator, and a jock older brother Georgie (Montana Jordan, the only one of the cast with beefcake photos available).

"Meemaw" Connie (Annie Potts) differs considerably from how she is described on The Big Bang Theory.  Here she is a chaotic presence, drunken, shady ("Shelly, can you use science to predict who will win the big game? Meemaw owes some people money...")  I'm surprised the parents let her babysit; she'll just get drunk, fall asleep, and leave the kids alone to get into mischief.

His parents can't afford to send him to a private school for the gifted, so Sheldon is going to high school with teenagers.  This would be a problem for any 9-year old, but Sheldon's quirks make it worse. For instance, he insists on pointing out the violationa of the school dress code and hygiene code, for both students and teachers.

After three episodes, it is obvious that this is no sitcom; it is a family warmedy, like The Wonder Years (with the adult Sheldon narrating), dedicated to demonstrating that, in spite of his intelligence and various quirks, Sheldon loves his family and will do anything to help them.

Mom: Who's going to church with me today?
Sheldon: I'll go.
Sister:  But you don't believe in God
Sheldon:  But I believe in Mom.

They get the church right, anyway, instead of making the Baptists Catholic. Pastor Jeff (Matt Hobby) is apparently a regular, stopping the service to spar with Sheldon about the six-day creation of the world:

Jeff:  There was no Big Bang, just the Word.
Sheldon: What word was that, "Kaboom"?

I was interested in the episode where Sheldon promises to demolish Pastor Jeff's belief in God "next week."  But then his Dad has a heart attack,so Sheldon finds the hospital chapel and prays for his recovery (to French philosopher Blaise Pascal, not to God, but still...).

Beefcake:  None.  There are some locker room scenes, but the entire football team seems to be comprised of 14-year olds.

Other Sights:  No.  There are some exteriors, but nothing impressive.  By the way, they drive through endless farmland to get to school, but the psychiatrist's office is walking distance.  Somebody check the geography of this town!

Gay Characters:  Like on The Big Bang Theory, gay people do not exist.  But like The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon's lack of heterosexual interest can give him a gay reading ("Cheerleaders hugged me!  It was dreadful!").  The other 9-year olds on the show, Sheldon's sister and the dimwitted boy next door, are hetero-horny.

The gay reading is particularly evident when Mom encourages the loner Sheldon to make a friend, using the same language you would use to promote romance ("you can't be alone -- you need somebody.").  When Sheldon finally finds Tam (Ryan Phuong), the family is so excited that they invite him over for dinner and pepper him with questions ("So -- how did you two meet?), precisely as if he is a boyfriend.

In the next episode, Tam shows up at the front door, wearing a suit, and asks "Is Sheldon at home?  I want to ask him to come wijth me to a party.").  It turns out that he is just using the newly-popular Sheldon to get into a popular party, where he can meet girls, but he acts precisely as if he is asking Sheldon out on a date.

I'm not even going to go into the gay symbolism of the scene where Tam is eating Red Vines, and Sheldon becomes fixated with his mouth.  He's actually just hungry, having had no solid food for several days, but still....

See Also: 10 Homophobic Things about the Big Bang Theory

What Happened to the Asian Beefcake?

On American tv, black beefcake is in short supply -- African-American actors with superb physiques are regularly censored, covered up.  But Asian beefcake is even scarcer.

During the 1960s, there were only five male performers of East or Southeast Asian ancestry in regular or recurring role on tv: the cook Hop Sing (Victor Sen Yung) on Bonanza, the valet Kato (Bruce Lee) on The Green Hornet, Sulu (George Takei) on Star Trekand two assisting detectives on Hawaii Five-O.  Mostly servants and sidekicks.  Only Sulu was ever displayed shirtless, and that was to signify that he had become mentally unstable.

In spite of Bruce Lee's influence in popularizing Asian muscle, the 1970s were even worse: Keone Young (right) as a science-nerd teenager on Room 222, the dissolute, hard-gambling dtective Yemana (Jack Soo) on Barney Miller, teen hangout proprietor Arnold (Pat Morita) on Happy Days, and Sam (Robert Ito), lab assistant on Quincy, M.E.  Hawaiian singer Don Ho had a brief daytime tv show.

There weren't even any Asians in commercials.  I remember one: in 1974, a laundry guy (Calvin Jung, left) claims that he gets clothes clean with an "ancient Chinese secret."  But the joke is: he and his wife both speak colloquial American English ("My husband, some hotshot!"), and he actually uses Calgon detergent.  According to Jung, just speaking with an American accent was a breakthrough.

There were some hunks among the sidekicks and servants, but again, not a button out of place.

A breakthrough of sorts came in the late 1980s.  On 21 Jump Street (1987-91), Ioki (Dustin Nguyen) was one of the detectives assigned to go undercover in a high school.  He didn't get quite the on-screen exposure of his white costars (Johnny Depp and Peter DeLuise), but lots of shirtless shots and artistic nudes appeared, and he bared it all in Playgirl. 

Dean Cain, Clark Kent in the Superman update Lois and Clark (1993-97), was a veritable sex symbol, shirtless or underwear-clad in nearly every episode, his massive pecs and shoulders a mainstay of teen magazines.

In the 2000s,  Daniel Dae Kim (left) and Ken Leung lent their sculpted physiques to Lost.  

But they were exceptions.  Today, Asian representation on tv is almost as bad as gay representation: less than 2% of regular or recurring roles, lots of servants and sidekicks, lots of humorously asexual nerds, without so much as a flexed bicep.

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