Jul 4, 2020

Jared S. Gilmore, the Top Teen Idol in the World in July 2020

 When I was growing up in the 1970s, a teen idol was really an idol, beloved by millions, splashed over every centerfold, with songs hitting #1 on the radio.  Today, it's whoever does something vaguely connected with mass media and posts a picture of himself with his shirt off on instagram.

For instance, here's the top teen idol in the world today: Jared Gilmore

Who, you may inquire, is Jared Gilmore?

He was the kid in Once Upon a Time (2011-2018), who discovered that his town was actually inhabited by fairy tale creatures with amnesia.  Turns out that he is the grandson of Snow White, who works as the local grade school teacher; his therapist is Jiminy Cricket; and his adopted mother is the Evil Queen who orchestrated all of this (she gradually gets redeemed)  Oh, and he ends up marrying Cinderella.

But Jared did not appear in the last season, and the show went off the air in 2018.  What has he been up to lately?


Well...er...no tv or movies except one voice role, in an anime called Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;surrection  (the semi-colon is part of the title).  HE plays Shalio, King of Zilkistan and Shamna's younger brother. He is a fierce opponent in a knightmare.  Want to know who Shamna is?

And, under the handle CowboyBeBANF, he has joined the Atlanta Reign team of the Overwatch League.  His position: a streamer.

The Overwatch League is a professional esports team playing the video game Overwatch






There are professional video game playing teams?

Yep.  It's a very big deal.  There are conventions, conferences, journals.  Here the team captain, BabyBae, is being interviewed about some point of strategy.

Jared is intensely dedicated to the game.  Here are his goals for 2020:
Get Twitch Partner
Get sub badges xD
Be a top level player in my game of choice
I’m ready, let’s go beyond!

But is playing on a virtual video game team enough to make Jared the top teen idol in the world?



Only if he takes off his shirt, too.

Jul 3, 2020

Mickey and Goofy, the Gay Couple of "Walt Disney's Comics and Stories"

Way to feel old.  In 2016, I bought the 75th Anniversary Edition of Walt Disney's Comics and Stories, the flagship of the Disney comics empire.

Back in 1991, I bought the 50th Anniversary Edition

I was five years old when the 25th Anniversary Edition was published in 1966 (I bought it much later).

When I was a kid, I loved the Disney Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge titles, with the ducks adventuring in exotic locales, in search of the Mines of King Solomon or the lost crown of Genghis Khan.







But I had no use for Walt Disney's Comics and Stories.

There was always a Duck cover, and the first story starred Donald Duck, but it was a slapstick comedy, not an adventure.




Then several stories involving minor Disney characters adapted from movies that came out before I was born:

1. The Little Bad Wolf, a "Casper the Friendly Ghost" who butted heads with his single father, Zeke, aka the Big Bad Wolf from The Three Little Pigs (1933).  Neither father nor son expressed any interest in girls, so that was a glimmer of gay subtext, anyway.  But also:

2. The patois-speaking Indian Little Hiawatha,who apparently starred in some cartoons in the 1930s.  f Offensive even for a 10 year old in 1971

3. Jiminy Cricket from Pinocchio (1940).  Who?

4. Scamp, the son of the two dogs who got together in Lady and the Tramp (1955).  He was rascally, adventurous, a gender-stereotyped "boy," with sisters who were gender-stereotyped sissy "girls."  Offensive even for a 10-year old in 1971.


5/ Then a text story, unreadable, just so they could ship the comic books at book rates.

6. But the worst was the last feature, a serial by artist Paul Murray (1911-1989) that paired Mickey Mouse and Goofy.  

They were usually detectives trying to solve a crime with science fiction elements, though there were also outer-space and historical stories.

The problem was, I never could read a serial straight through.  Buying comic books was always a gamble, based on what Schneider's Drug Store stocked, what was left by the time I got there, and how much money I had.  There was never an opportunity to buy the same title several months in a row, so instead I always arrived in media res, or in time for "the ghost was really your disgruntled assistant" Scooby wrap-up.



Here's what I managed to get:

November 1968: "The River Pirates," Part 3.

March 1969: "The Secret of Shipnabber's Cove," Part 1.

September 1970: "The Sign of the Scorpion," Part 1
.
February 1971: "The Mystery of the Counterfeit Masters," Part 3

September 1971: "The Viking Stone Mystery," Part 3

July 1972:  "Message in a Nutshell," Part 3

April 1973: "The Case of the Talking Tooth," Part 3.






There was no Minnie Mouse, or any women at all in the stories, and as far as I could tell, Mickey and Goofy lived together, so they could be read as a gay couple. 

But I never made the leap.  Goofy was too tall, gawky, and dopey to be a fantasy romantic partner when I could get Tarzan, Johnny Quest, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., David Cassidy, Peter Brady....










Undercover: Chunky White Men Make Drug Deals

I can't get to the article  it's blocked by pop-up windows asking me questions in Dutch -- but this is apparently Belgian bodybuilder Tom Waes, who won a bronze medal at a competition in Antwerp.  .

He's also an actor with a lot of credits on Belgian tv, most recently the Netflix series Undercover: Undercover agents infiltrate a drug kingpin by posing as a couple at a campground where he spends his weekends.

Sounds boring, and of course they will fall in lo-oo-oove, but the trailer did not show any bay-girl kisses.  Plus it looks like two guys are about to kiss.  And a bodybuilder is a draw, scrawny or not.  So I'm  in.

Prologue: Establishing shot of Limburg,a fictional province of Belgium known for its apples, girls (girls are a product?  sexist!), and Ecstasy.  Montage of Ecstasy being produced and distributed worldwide.  A girl gyrates in her underwear.  

1.28 minutes in, and I've seen two naked girls.  I am not happy.

Scene 1:  Two cute Asian guys in sleeveless shirts making Ecstasy.  A little better.  They fight over who gets the last hot dog, and one stabs the other.

Scene 2: The Agency Head decides on the undercover sscheme.

Scene 3: Tom is in a bar with his boyfriend.  Three thugs arrive.  One sits with the boyfriend, while the other two take Tom outside to inspect some guns.  The police arrive and arrest them all.  It was an undercover gig!

Scene 4: A trailer park in the woods, where I guess Belgians go to get away from the city for the weekend.  Looks very working-class.  Wouldn't a fantastically wealthy drug kingpin have a private resort instead?   

Drug Kingpin Ferry (Frank Lammers) and his boyfriend John (Raymond Thiry, below) are  yelling at two guys about the Scene 1 fiasco.  Maybe they could pay the workers instead of chaining them up.

Ferry storms out of the cabin and vents to the boyfriend, not realizing that he is under surveillance.

Scene 5: Tom agrees to the undercover gig. His partner will be a rookie named Kim.  "Pretty?" Tom asks.  Why is that relevant, you sexist pig?  She arrives -- she looks around 12.   Plot dump about Ferry and his crew.

Scene 6: The guys can't find the Chinese worker who killed his partner and ran away,so they hire a model, who takes off his shirt and pretends tobe dead ("This is a weird photo shoot").

Scene 7: Tom and Kim arrive at the crappy trailer.  The swishy manager shows them around. Hey, there's only one bed. Uh-oh.  Ferry and a woman 1/10th his age, probably his wife, discuss "the new neighbors>"

Scene 8: While John the Boyfriend checks out Tom at the hardware store, Kim goes next door and asks to borrow a screwdriver.  (Wait -- couldn't Tom pick one up at the hardware store?)/  Young Girl/Wife is all flustered and airheaded, and acts very much like she's attracted to Kim.'r
Meanwhile, Ferry and friend track down the model who played the Chinese worker -- thinking that he's the real deal -- and tie him up and shove him in the trunk.

Scene 9: A barbecue. Young Girl/Wife chats with a group of Young Girl/Wives who look identical; I guess drug dealers have a type -- 15 year old pom-pom girls.  The new neighbors arrive, and meet Ferry (who, of course, has already researched them, like any good drug kingpin).  

They give their weird back story:  Tom and Kim are having an affair, and using the cabin for a getaway.  Why all the mishegas?

Ferry excuses himself to take his crony Renco into the woods, confront him about the Chinese guy deception, and shoot him. 

Scene 10: In the morning, John the Boyfriend and the Model bury the body, and then Frank kills the model. 

Scene 11: Tom reports back to headquarters.

Scene 12: Tom goes back to his actual family: wife, teenage son, daughter.  Oh, that's why his cover story is about an affair-- in case Ferry checks up on him.

Meanwhile, Kim goes out, tokes up on Ecstasy, and has sex with a guy in the bathroom.  Geez, what if Ferry has some spies watching?

Scene 13:  Ferry and the Boyfreind meet with the crooked cop who has helped them a lot in the past.  Surprise -- it's Tom's boss!  Then why do the whole undercover thng? 

Beefcake:  Chunky white guys.  A cute Asian guy takes his shirt off to pretend to be dead.  

Gay Characters:  The drug dealer world is intensely homosocial, with women interchangeable prizes to use for bragging ("mine is so young, she still has a curfew!" "Well, mine is so young, she invited me to the junior prom!"). So just about all of the bad guys are gay-coded.

Definite lesbian subtext between Ferry's Young Girl/Wife and Kim.

Heterosexism:  Annoying in the opening shots: "Our chief export is GIRLS!"  "The Ecstasy is sold to GIRLS!"  Then it tones down a little. 

Will I Keep Watching:  Heck, no.

Jul 2, 2020

"Secret Identity Show": How Many Gay Teases Can One Show Have?

Secret Identity Show:  "Follow the exploits of a struggling yet idealistic Superman impersonator (Nathan Ferrier), his dim-witted brother, and a slew of less than super pals...a ridiculously large cast of pseudo-superheroes as they awkwardly meander through the darkened alleys of your heart."

Sounds like one of those gay-themed web series, with musclemen posing in bulging spandex superhero drag.  Especially when I look at the episode synopses:

"Scarlet Steele moves into the building"  A drag queen?
"Kal and Scarlet get naked." Gay guy dating a drag queen?
"Out of the Closet"  Nuff said.
"Dicky Lox has a plan to market Kal's penis bulge."  Definitely 'nuff said.

Prologue: Idealistic young Fred gets off a London double-decker bus -- in Las Vegas.   He's supposed to meet his brother Kal, but "The Director" picks him up instead.

Scene 1:  This is a mockumentary. Kal explains why he couldn't pick his brother up: he was dressed as Superman (nice bulge), and had to help a little boy find his father.

Scene 2: Comic book flashback to "Down  Under"(Kansas). the last time Kal and Fred saw each other.  It's Fred's birthday, so he gets a singing kangaroo.  Kal just broke up with C.K  (Clark Kent?)., so he's moving to Las Vegas.

Whoops, C.K. is a girl.  Kal is straight.

Scene 3: Kal's apartment.  Ben is filming everything for the mockumentary.  The brothes Kal and Fred reunite, and then Kal faints -- an allergic reaction to the cat hair in Fred's bag.

Scene 4:  Kal awakens in bed.  Fred apologizes -- his ex-girlfriend had some cats.

Fred is straight, too? WTF?

Ben is still filming everything.  Is Ben gay?  He's the only cast member left/

Scene 5: Comic book flashback to high school, where Kal is in lo-oo-ove with C.K.

Scene 6:  Kal's apartment.  He explains that he is a professional Superman impersonator, and he wants Fred to join the "family business," playing Spiderman.

Scene 7:  Switch to Kal at work, being Superman in a sombrero for National Nacho Day.  Wow, racist!   A Mafioso named Deniro Guy tries to get him to sign on, offering him Wolverine, Captain America, and Thor gigs, but he refuses.

Scene 8:  Fred doesn't want to do Spiderman because...well, because it's insane.  He storms off.

Scene 9:  Ben interviews Fred over the closing credits.  Flashback to Fred playing a talking kangaroo at a Down Under-themed restaurant, where he terrorizes a small child.   The end.

Wait -- the plot synopsis says that Ben saves a life and Kal makes the ultimate sacrifice for his brother.  Did I miss those parts....

Ok, I'm watching Episode 4: "Out of the Closet."  One of these guys better be coming out of the closet, or I'll be mad.

Scene 1: Ominous music.  Fred finds a secret room in Kal's apartment.  A shrine to his relationship with his ex-girlfriend.

Scene 2: Kal, in a swimsuit, gets oiled up for a photo shoot by his director,  Reggie

The director is called Reggie,but in the IMDB, the Reggie character is played by Arthur Loring.  This guy is obviously Melvin Fowler, listed as Wayne in the IMBD.

Scene 3: An operator is selling "original, fake Superman symbols" on the sidewalk.  Reggie/Wayne  the Director approaches him: "I'm looking for a man."

Operator protests: "I'm not into that gay shit yet.  I've been taking these classes."  How to Be into Gay Shit 101?

Reggie/Wayne explains: "I'm looking for a specific man named Tim Broderick, an old friend to spend the holiday with.  Totally not gay."

Scene 4: At the apartment, Fred is criticizing Kal's hair regiment.  They discuss Kal's crush on next-door-neighbor Scarlett.

Scene 5: Fred as Spiderman takes a break at the comic book store.  He and Katie, the proprietor, discuss fixing Kal up with Scarlett, so he will get over his creepy obsession with his ex.  They will all have dinner that night.

Scene 6: Reggie/Wayne finds Tim, now homeless and spouting conspiracy theories, and wants to help him get clean. Tim rejects him: "You were dead! "

Scene 7: Dinner with Scarlett, Katie, and the two brothers.

Scene 8: Tim the Homeless Guy awakens, tied to a chair, as Reggie/Wayne  helps him through withdrawal.  They discuss Reggie/Wayne's kidnapped son.

Wait -- so Reggie isn't gay for real? Then who the heck is coming out of the closet?\

Who the heck decided to make a gay-themed tv series with no gay characters?

Dead Man on Campus


Speaking of Mark-Paul Gosselaar, rent or stream Dead Man on Campus (1998).  It's a dark comedy about two college students, Cooper (Mark) and Josh (Tom Everett Scott) who attempt to cash in on the urban legend that when your roommate dies,you get automatic A's for the semester.






















Some beefcake, lots of shirtless shots, and check out the scene where Josh is in his dorm room, trying to get some sleep, when Cooper brings a girl home and jumps in bed with her.  The camera is focused on the consternation of the roommate, but if you look carefully in the top right of the screen, you can see Mark Paul Gosselaer rising to the occasion.

And you get two cute guys, a strong homoerotic subtext, and almost none of the casual homophobia endemic in buddy comedies. What's not to like?

Jul 1, 2020

Desperately Seeking Arkansas Beefcake

Gay Guide to Small Town America has only two posts on Arkansas, and both are about Catholic high school boys, with minimum beefcake.  Where are all the Arkansas physiques?

I've tried Fayetteville, Fort Smith, and about a dozen smaller towns, and nothing.  Now, out of desperation, I'm just plugging in "Arkansas" and some physique terms into Google Images, and posting whatever develops that is male and shirtless.

1. So far, so good.  A photo from the Arkansas Gazette, copyrighted by Spencer Tyree, showing some swimmers from the AINNWDGG Tournament.  I asssume that is an Arkansas thing.


2.  Gulp. El Dorado High School, in either California, Texas, or Missouri.  

Well, some of those states are near Arkansas.















3. Five Star Nutrition in Joplin, Missouri.  And he doesn't even have his shirt off.

If you want to see if any of the 10 photos turn out to be from Arkansas guys, check the full post on Gay Guide to Small Town America
















"Hanna": A Fairy Tale Ending

I don't know why Bob keeps adding movies about kick-ass babes to the Netflix DVD list.  Doesn't he know that they will be 50% closeups of naked girls, and 50% fight scenes with naked girls?  I guess some sort of feminist empowerment thing.  Well, I get to spend a lot of time studying languages on Duolingo, and it's sobering to realize how really rare gay characters and gay subtexts are.  So: Hannah (2011).

Scene 1: Surprise!  We don't begin with close-ups of a naked babe!   Hannah, dressed like a fairytale Snow White, is running through the icy wilderness of northern Finland, hunting reindeer and being trained in ninja killing techniques by her father, Erik (Eric Bana, left)  Not Prince Erik?  Then they sit by the fire in their hut, while Erik reads to her from a book of weird trivia.  There's a montage, with the two of various ages.

Scene 2: Cut to a super-secret lab, where the Evil Queen ..er,, I mean Head Spy Marissa gives us a Plot Dump:   Erik was an American agent who went rogue and vanished, with the state secrets of every country in Europe.  Oh, and he killed his girlfriend and stole her infant daughter.  Wait -- so Erik is an evil kidnapper?  Or is he the Huntsman in Snow White?

Scene 3:  The American agency sends men with guns and weird death's-head masks to shoot up the hut and capture Hannah.  Erik runs away (way to abandon your adopted daughter/kidnapping victim, dude).

Scene 4:  Hannah awakens in a scary underground facility, kills some guards with an eyelash and a paperclip, and escapes through a hatch -- into the desert!  (I don't think we're in Finland anymore, Dorothy.)  She walks away, with no food, water, or shelter.

Suddenly she encounters two English kids on a caravan (camping holiday): the 10-year old Miles and the teenage Sofia, who tries to flirt with her ("I think I'd like to be a lesbian, and date you, but then marry a man").  Erik has not taught Hannah any social skills, so all she can do is rattle off the details of her screen persona: "I live in Leipzig, population .9 million.  My favorite classes are history and sport."

The kids ask Hannah if she wants a ride, but she refuses.  You're in the desert with no food and water!  Accept the ride!

Scene 5:  Fortunately, there is a Berber camp right over the ridge, and then a full-blown Middle Eastern city drawn directly from  an Orientalist fantasy, with camels and everything.  Erik helpfully taught Hannah Arabic, so she talks her way into a hotel room, where she is delighted by electric lights but horrified by television.

Scene 6:  Hannah reunites with Sofia, her brother, and her free-wheeling hippie parents, who think that it's perfectly wonderful for a teenager to be traveling through Morocco alone.  When they move on to Spain, Hannah sneaks into their trunk for a free ride.  Apparently Erik told her that, if they are separated, they should meet in Berlin.

Scene 7:  The Evil Queen Marissa hires ludicrously over-the-top sadistic crazed, gay-coded Isaaks (Tom Hollander), who whistles the same annoying tune as he bashes your brains out, to track down Snow White -- um, I mean Hannah.  He brings along two skinhead thugs, Titch and Razor (no kidding).

 First up: he interrogates and then kills the Moroccan hotelier.

 Meanwhile, Erik takes off his clothes and jumps in the ocean.  I don't know why, but beefcake is beefcake.











Scene 8: At a gypsy camp in Spain, Hannah reveals herself to the family again.  They aren't suprised that she is heading in the same direction.  Hannah and Sofie go off to meet some local boys.  Hannah asks her boy, "Are we going to kiss now?"  He says "Sure, if you want to."  He moves his head in -- and Hannah decks him!  (Dude, not cool!  He was perfectly polite!)

I think Hannah's boy is played by Alvaro Cervantes (left).

Scene 9: Marissa does some recon on her own, and interrogates Hannah's grandmother, the mother of the agent Erik killed.  Then the Big Bad Wolf kills Grandma!

Another Plot Dump:  There was a secret experiment using genetic manipulation to create super-warriors.  When the project was terminated, they killed all the babies, except Hannah, whom Erik saved because he erroneously believed that he was her biological father.

Scene 10:  In bed, Hannah and Sofia hold hands, exchange friendship bracelets, and kiss.  It's all extreme closeups of eyes and hands.  Of course, the fans are all screaming: "Just because they kiss doesn't mean they're lesbians!  Hannah can't be a lesbian!  She's the hero!  And Sofia says that she would like to be a lesbian, meaning she isn't!  

Please -- Hannah refuses to kiss a boy, but kisses a girl.  Could you get more obvious?

Scene 11:  When Isaaks shows up, Hannah runs away, leaving the family at his mercy (way to abandon your friends!)  Marissa arrives to interrogate Sofie's 10-year old brother: "You like Hannah, don't you?  You must be sexually attracted to her, because you're a boy, and all boys are sexually attracted to girls, because no gay people exist.  So tell me where she is?"

Scene 12: Hanna goes to what is apparently a safe house in the midst of a fairy-tale theme park.  The owner, Kneper, keeps up the fairy-tale motif even in his bedroom upstairs, which presumably park visitors wouldn't be privy to. Flamboyant, creepy, crazy -- he dances to the tune of "The Hall of the Mountain King" from Peer Gynt.  I get it -- he thinks he's really living in a fairy tale. But he's nice to Hannah, which means he's doomed.

Isaaks and Marissa show up, and Hannah hides while the guy is being interrogated and killed downstairs (way to abandon your friends yet again).

Scene 12:  Hannah goes to her dead grandmother's house. Erik is there, and explains that he is the Huntsman who kept her safe from the Evil Queen...er, Marissa the Agency Head because he liked her more than the twenty other babies who were killed.  Isaaks and Marissa show up, and Hannah runs away.  She hears Erik being shot in the distance.

I'm getting tired of the trained assassin, who knows twenty ways of killing people with a slice of salami, abandoning her friends.

Scene 13:  Back at the theme park, Isaaks is dead, but Marissa is still alive, standing in the mouth of a Big Bad Wolf ride.  They shoot each other, but keep going and going like Energizer Bunnies.  Finally Hannah kills Marissa.  The end.

Wait -- what happens now?  The girl is alone in the world.  All her family and friends are dead.  She has no money, no social skills.  I guess she could move into Grandma's apartment and get a job as an Arabic translator.

Gay characters: Hannah, obviously.  Probably Isaaks: he only tortures/kills men.  When a woman or little boy has to be interrogated, Marissa takes over.  It must be in his contract.

Beefcake:  Not much other than that one Erik underwear shot -- here's one of Isaak's henchmen to tide you over -- but in a movie like this, the mere absence of girl bods is cause for celebration.

My grade: A+.

Jun 30, 2020

Michael Callan: A Gay Guy and His Pretend Wife



One of the most iconic beefcake moments of my childhood came in Mysterious Island, the 1961 adaption of the Jules Verne classic about some Civil War soldiers who end up lost on a mysterious island with giant crabs, prehistoric auks, and Captain Nemo.

The 1960s version added some women to up the hetero-romance, but made up for it by divesting Michael Callan of his shirt. 

The scene where he and his girlfriend get trapped by giant bees is still frightening today.

Michael Callan was the go-to guy for teenage beefcake in the 1960s, wandering between Disney, ARP, and anyone else who would put a shirtless scene.  I've seen him as a bulgeworthy circus aerialist in The Flying Fontaines (1959), a troubled high schooler in Because They're Young (1960), a gang member in West Side Story (1961), a teen dancer in Gidget Goes Hawaiian (1961), and a rascally cowboy in Cat Ballou (1965). 

He also took off his shirt in Bon Voyage (1962), The Interns (1962), The Victors (1963), and who knows what else?


Although he always seems to have his arms around a girl, many of Michael's early movies involve as much buddy-bonding as girl-kissing.  He bonds with Warren Berlinger in Because They're Young, Cliff Robertson in The Interns, and Dwayne Hickman (left) in Cat Ballou.  


The sitcom Occasional Wife (1966-67) seems to have been a sitcom about a gay guy and his "beard."  Businessman Peter (Michael Callan) knows that he can't get ahead without being married, so he convinces his gal pal Greta (Patricia Hartley) to pretend to be his wife.

Plots involve backstabbing coworkers, people suspecting their secret, and Greta's boyfriend suspecting that they're really involved, but no hetero-romance for Peter.  You can see some episodes on youtube.

In real life Michael was married three times, and doesn't have a lot of gay rumors attached to him, though Dwayne Hickman spends many pages of his autobiography describing their warm friendship.

Jun 29, 2020

"The Tick": Can a Man and a Boat Find Love?

I'm completely obsessed  over the relationship between a man in a moth costume and a talking boat.

The Tick. created by Ben Edlund in 1986, is a superhero parody that examines how being super might play out in the real world, where the rent is due, buildings you smash up have to be repaired, and you suffer from anxiety and depression over "being different."

The comic book, animated series, and tv series versions have all been slightly different, but the Tick and Arthur always capitalize on the superhero-sidekick homoerotic bond: they live together, share expenses, share a bed, bicker like a married couple.  The 2001 series, with Patrick Warburton as The Tick, was called "the gayest show on tv" for dealing with issues like coming out to parents and gay adoption.

The latest adaption, on Amazon Prime (2016-2019),is even more gay.  In previous versions, Arthur gets girlfriends to sort of diffuse the gay coding, but here, he (Griffin Newman) does not express any heterosexual interest.  Neither does the Tick (Peter Serafinowicz).  Everyone accepts them explicitly as a couple.  They are invited to parties together; Mom invites "the two of you" to dinner; they apply for official superhero status as a pair.

Of course, they are not actually lovers; the Tick is happy to see Arthur "getting out there" and dating new people.  Or new boats.

Fellow  superhero Overkill (Scott Speiser) has a sentient boat named Dangerboat (voiced by Alan Tudyk in a parody of Kitt , the talking car from Knightrider).  Early in the series, Dangerboat announces that he identifies as male.  This starts out a little discomforting, like a transphobic joke, but after the initial “identifies as” scene, everyone just accepts that Dangerboat is a male boat. Furthermore, he is gay, attracted to both male boats and male humans. He was in love with his previous owner,  Michael, and now he has a crush on Arthur.

He gets a  little frisky while Arthur is taking a shower (inside him).,but then he apologizes, and just asks Arthur out (or in) to movies.Arthur keeps blowing him off. (“Just date the boa!” I yelled at the screen.“You could do worse.” )

 Tick is enthusiastic about the potential romance,but Arthur isn’t sure – a man dating a boat? How would that even work?  (Gay human couples get the same response).  “”I don’t want to confuse him, or confuse me.  I’m already confused.  He’s just a boat, right?”

Thing come to a head when Dangerboat has a post-traumatic episode over Michael’s death, and Arthur talks him down from a "deep cleansing" that would kill them all: “I know what it’s like to lose someone you love”   Dangerboat admits that he loves Arthur, and Arthur responds "I know you do."

Darn.

Later, Dangerboat apologizes for losing it, and hopes that they can still be friends.  “We are friends,” Arthur affirms.

Darn.

So I guess they won't be dating.  But I still think Arthur could do worse.

By the way, this version also has a lof beefcake.  Arthur is nude frequently, and there are glimpses of other superheroes, like Superion  (Brendan Hines).  Not the Tick - Peter Serafinowicz doesn't look like that in real life, anyway.

Plus a Season 1 plot arc involves the Very Large Man, an ordinary guy zapped with a ray that makes him 200 feet tall.  At that height, he's no longer sentient, but he does have a 20 foot long penis.

The perennial question: smart but tiny, or dumb but hung?

See also: 10 Things You Should Know about "The Tick"

Jun 28, 2020

"The Woods": I Know What You Did Last Summer...Um, I Mean 26 Years Ago

The Woods, a 5-episode Netflix mini-series, gets a 97% rating in my recommendations, and the plot sounds intriguing: In 1994, four teens go into the woods, and never come out. Besides, I haven't heard Polish spoken in a long time.  So ok.

Prologue 1: A  balding, bearded middle-aged man is staring into a gun barrel, and thinking. "In 1994, the summer was coming to an end, and so was my childhood."

Prologue 2:  A scary, empty summer camp. As the police wrap up some bodies in the woods, Teen Hunk is watching from the trees.  When they see him, he runs away.  Uh-oh, he must be the young Baldy, a murderer!

Scene 1 (1994); Teeaage girls at summer camp acting like five-year olds.  One is swinging.  Another  blows on a whirligig and laughs in delight.  I don't get it -- are these special needs children?  At least the boys are doing teen things, drinking wine and playing foosball. 

Out on the lake, three boys, including Teen Hunk, are frolicking (bare chest shots) while a Girl photographs them.

They head back to camp.  Teen Hunk and the Girl grin dopily at each other.

Mom and Creepy Head Counselor yell at Teen Hunk for shirking his responsibilities to go grinning dopily at The Girl.  He's supposed to be "looking after them."

Scene 2:  Teen Hunk blows off his duties again to go out into the woods with the three from the lake. They helpfully introduce themselves, although they obviously already know each other -- unless this scene is outof sequence: Pawel (Teen Hunk), Laura (the Girl), Artur (left), and Daniel.  The boys take off their shirts, and Laura photographs them.

That night, in the cabin, Pawel and his Sister discuss how hot Daniel and Laura are, respectively.

Scene 3: Pawel is off to make his nightime rounds, shining his flashlight into dark trees and checking the locks on buildings.  Artur and Laura  join him, and they go joy riding in a  car thats been parked in the woods all day with the keys in it.  Suddenly they hit someone!  Uh-oh, I know what you did last summer, 26 years ago!

Scene 4 (2019):  The Adult Pawel and, I assume, his wife Laura, are watching their daughter in a diving contest. Another daughter sits beside them (this is turning into a very distaff-heavy show).  Pawel refuses to take pictures of the competition, because they could end up on the internet, where pervs could access them. Geez, this guy is broken!  What happened at that summer camp?

Scene 5:  Plot dump:  Adult Pawel is a widower with a daughter.  He works as the chief prosecuting attorney of his district, obsessed with bringing pervs to justice.  Laura, who is married to someone else, has come for a visit.  She asks Pawel to move back home,so things could be like they used to be, but Pavel insists: "Nothing will be like it used to be."


Scene 6:  Although it's the middle of the night,after the competition, Pawel goes to work, analyzing criminal case files in his office.   Suddenly a police inspector shows up (why would he think that Pawel was even there in the middle of the night?).  By being threatening and sinister, he convinces Pawel to drive with him to a huge, scary building.

Plot dump:  Someone named Marek was murdered last night.  It's a fake name, so they don't know who he really was.  But he was carrying a lot of newspaper clippings about the 1994 disappearances, and Pawel's name and address..

Scene 7 (1994);  The guys are playing basketball (one shirtless, and a ginormous bulge), while girls look on with annoyingly blatant horniness -- they're dying to get laid, right now!  Wait -- weren't they acting like five-year olds earlier that day?

Artur obligingly approaches one, and they swallow each other's tongues for awhile, until Creepy Head Counselor interrupts them. .

Scene 8:  Creepy Head Counselor goes into the woods with some girls and flirts with them (I guess they're so horny they'll take anyone with a penis.)

Meanwhile, Pawel and Laura go to the beach, play with each other's toes, and smoosh their tongues inside each other's mouths.

Scene 9 (2019):  Adult Pawel examines the clippings from the Dead Guy's car.  Of course Creepy Head Counselor, aka "The Summer Butcher," was convicted of "killing that girl."  And of course he didn't do it.  Of course Dead Guy knew what Pawel did that summer, so Pawel killed him to keep him quiet.  At least, that's what the inspectors imply.  (But after killing him, Pawel left his name and address and the clippings in the car?He's not an idiot!)

Scene 10: Back home, Pawel has a cute-daddy scene with his daughter.  Wait -- isn't it like 2:00 am?  And didn't her cousin stay over.  Is this the same night as the swim meet?

Scene 11 (1994); The teens are bouncing around idiotically in what is apparently supposed to be dancing.  Artur gets mad at Daniel (left) for kissing his girl, and attacks.  His friends pull him away.  They discuss how love is unending agony.

They take off their shirts and dance and almost kiss.  Some gay subtexts going on.

But then the girls show up, gazing with that annoyingly blatant "Sex me up right now!" look, and invade the party.

Scene 12: Pawel stumbles into the woods and throws up.  Why, did a girl try to kiss you?  Laura comes out to grin dopily at him.

Scene 13 (2019):  By now it must be like 5:00 am. Adult Pawel rummages through his bulging files about that summer (so I guess he didn't do it).  Adult Laura joins him.

Plot Dump:  Mom, who ran the camp, abandoned him after the incident.  Or did she disappear because she knew something?

Scene 14 (1994): Mom yells at young Pawel for having booze parties with hoodlum friends like Artur: "Pull a stunt like that again, and God knows what I might do!"  (an obvious red herring)

She then yells at/threatens Artur: "Stay away from Pawel!  You're no good for him!" (Definite gay subtext, in spite of the girl-smooching.)

Scene 15 (2019): Adult Pawel swimming (kind of dumpy).  Then he goes to work, where his assistant shows him risque photos of her!  (is it taboo to say someone's name in Poland?).  He calls her, a college student, into his office.  Two guys raped her and then pled not guilty.  These photos will be used to "prove" that she is a slut who wanted the activity.

This is interesting, but...what's it doing here?

Later, Pawel is sitting in a cafe, when one of the boys' fathers shows up. He offers to pay the girl 50,000 zlotys and donate to Pawel's wife's foundation if he drops the case.  Then he threatens Pawel: "Everybody's got secrets."

Scene 16 (1994): The teens are doing their idiotic jump-dance thing.  Pawel sits outside under a tree.  Laura convinces him to walk into the woods.  Close-up of tongue-swallowing, then sex for abotu five minutes of air time.  They are interrupted by a loud noise.  Laura runs away, and Pawel looks in horror at....

Scene 17 (2019): Adult Pawel swimming and looking horrified.  Later, in the courtroom, Pawel moves to keep the boys in the rape case in custody while they analyze the forensic evidence.  Their Dad is not happy.

Scene 18: Pawel meets with the police inspector. Plot Dump: Four kids went into the woods. Two were found dead later.  The other two, including Artur and  his sister, were never seen again.

He finally agrees to look at the body from Scene 6, the guy who died with all the clippings from the incident in his car. "Fuck me -- impossible!"  It's Artur!


Beefcake: A lot of bronze bodies glistening in the sun in the 1994 scenes.  Young Pawel doesn't own a shirt.  The adult Pawel seems to go swimming before work every day.

Gay Subtexts:  Pawel and Artur.

Heterosexism:  A lot of smooching.

Heavily Broadcast, Obvious Red Herrings: A lot.

Weird Age Conflations:  The teenage girls act like they're five years old one moment, and auditioning for a porn movie the next.

My Grade: B.
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