Jul 29, 2021

Randy Cunningham, 9th Grade Heterosexual


Continuing my review of Disney Channel programs, I came to the animated series Randy Cunningham, 9th Grade Ninja (2016-2018), about...well, a 9th grade ninja (voiced by Ben Schwartz).  There are a surprising number of famous names among the voice cast, including Tim Curry, Ben Cross, Simon Pegg, and Robert England.  Some of them are gay-positive, so maybe the show is, too.

Or not. The episode "Sorcerer in Love" has the plot synopsis: "All the boys at Norrisville High are smitten by the new girl."  

All the boys?  Heteronormative erasure of LGBT people from the universe!  This won't be good.  But I made a commitment.  

Intro: "For 900 years, Norrisville High has been protected by a ninja."  That's impossible.  There were no high schools 900 years ago, or any places named Norrisville in North America.  "Every four years a new hero is chosen."  This time around, it's Randy Cunningham, naturally.

A montage of Randy and his red-haired, chunky sidekick Howard fighting random students who turn into monsters.

Scene 1:   On the school tv, a girl announces that tonight is the "Magical Night under the Stars Dance.  So this is your last chance to get a date."

Randy complains to Sidekick Howard, "We have to get dates!"  They they laugh: "Dates are for dudes who don't have bros to play video games with." So they assume that "date" always means boy-girl.  No LGBT people exist.  

Suddenly a new girl walks through the door in slow motion, her hair blowng in the wind.  Every boy does indeed stare in hetero-horny rapture; one even drools.  She introduces herself as  Amanda Levay (no doubt named after Church of Satan founder Anton Levay). 

Scene 2: Howard and Randy discuss how beautiful she is, and rush to get in the line of awe-stricken boys trying to ask her to the dance.  It's a very long line; no boys are shown who aren't lining up.    Howard, Randy, and several other regulars  -- the bully Bash, the Goth Julian, and the band leader Bucky each present their case, but she rejects them.  She'll only date the boy who shows her something in the school that is "truly beautiful."

The boys turn into mind-dead zombies, repeating "something that is truly beautiful."  They try to rush out of the classroom to find something, but are stopped by the teacher: "No one gets out of this room without a hall pass, and I hate writing hall passes.  Fortunately, the Missus got me an automatic hall pass writer."  He had to throw the Missus into it, didn't he?  Writers can't miss any opportunity to point out that everybody in the world is heterosexual. 

All of the boys get passes except for Randy and Howard.

Scene 3: We switch to The Sorcerer, a cadaverous guy in chains.  He smells Amanda's scent and exclaims "It's her!"  Flashback to Norrisville, 1200 AD., which looks like a town in Medieval Japan. But this isn't Japan.  All of the students depicted in this episode are white, except for a single black kid in the background.   

The Sorcerer and Amanda, then an adult sorceress, teamed up to pester the townsfolk: "Together we were nearly invincible."  But the 9th Grade Ninja defeated them.

The Sorcerer helpfully informs us that the Sorceress has one weakness: she cannot see true beauty, she can only smell it.

Scene 4: The boys present their entries for Amanda's "true beauty" contest: a band trophy, a canned ham, a bat "sculpted from ear wax."  Don't they have classes to go to?  

Randy and Howard concoct a fake nose bleed to get permission to leave the classroom, and then separate to look for beautiful things.  Randy looks in the backpack of a boy who isn't in the competition.  Otherwise they encounter only girls, since all of the other boys in the school have already found their entries.).

Suddenly Randy's Nomicom calls.  He has to go talk to a Japanese goddess.  Howard laughs at him: "Now I'll find the beautiful thing and win the girl, and you won't!"

Scene 5: The Japanese goddess tells Randy: "The eyes may be deceived, but the nose always knows."  Very helpful!  Then she spits him back into the school.  

Randy finds a truly beautiful thing: the eye of the carp mosaic in the floor of the central hallway.  Howard points out that it contains an ancient bird demon who possessed him in an earlier episode, but it will be worth it to win the Girl.  They rush into the classroom and drag her out to see it.

Yep, that's what Amanda was looking for -- or rather, sniffing for.  She kisses each of the boys to get them out of the way -- they have explosive 9th-grade orgasms, then turn into mind-dead zombies.  Randy walks off with a comatose Howard in his arms.

Amanda turns into the ancient Sorceress and starts throwing her energy at the carp eye, to release the Sorcerer from his prison under the school.  Every evil sorceress has an evil sorcerer beau - it's heterosexuals all the way down.

Scene 6: Randy and Howard notice that they are in an intimate position and jump away, screaming in homophobic panic.  They realize that Amanda never said which of them she chose, and rush back.  Uh-oh, she's the ancient Sorceress!  Randy puts on his ninja costume to fight her.

But she turns back into Amanda, and Randy stops, frozen by hetero-horniness.  As soon as he can think again, he reasons that since his eyes are deceiving him, he should go in blind, and find her by the smell of rotting flesh.  

This works, but Amanda calls for the other boys, who attack Randy.

Ok, time to fight fire with fire.  Randy kisses Amanda!  The other boys jump them in a jealous rage, distracting her enough for Randy to defeat her.

The boys were under a spell, of course, but I can think of several other attraction-spells in animated media that attract both boys and girls.  This one was entirely heteronormative.  But just in case, let's see what happens at the Big Dance.

Scene 7: 
 The Big Dance.  All boy-girl couples except for a trio.  Julian the Goth and fellow Monster Club member Dave look at each other, embarrassed.  Could Julian be gay, and embarrassed because the spell made him do heterosexual things?

Randy and Howard vow to never let a girl get between them again.   Then a girl asks them to dance, and they fight over who she actually asked.  I get it -- same-sex friendships are temporary and trivial, placeholders, guys to hang out with while waiting for The Girl.  When she appears, you will drop your male friend, instantly and without hesitation.  I heard that a lot growing up in the 1970s, but this was written in 2016.

On the off chance that Julian is gay, I fast-forwarded through a few more episodes.  He doesn't display any heterosexual interest elsewhere, but no same-sex interest, either.  He appears to be extremely unpopular: only Randy and Howard come to his birthday party.  I'm going to guess " heterosexual by default."

My Grade: F


  1. The Disney Channel plot synopsis says 2016-2018, but the episode was actually written in 2012.

  2. Boomer you might want to check out "A Remarkable Tale" (2019) on Netflix a charming comedy The remote mountain village of Fuentejuela de Arriba, Spain, is at risk of disappearing forever, but the mayor's wife comes up with a shocking plan when a group of strangers arrives.

    1. I think I have already reviewed that movie.

  3. Amanda, Latin for "she must be loved". A spell?

    The first bisexual love spell in children's media was probably Teen Titans, and you really REALLY don't want to go through the Team Titans era, with sons killing their parents and killing everyone, a Terminator knockoff who raped Dick Grayson because they date in the future despite her being only 16, the whole team, including his girlfriend, siding with said Terminator knockoff even after she confesses to the aforementioned rape, Raven kissing people to corrupt them, Raven crashing Dick's wedding and essentially raping the bride's mouth, and Marv, what do you even call this arc? And Marv Wolfman replied simply, the Aristocrats!

    Norrisville doesn't even sound Japanese. ノりスビル is nonsense even in katakana. And yes I know it's a Chick Norris reference.


No comments that use abusive or vulgar language or point out that a character is Not Wearing a Sign. DO NOT use the term "homosexual." Don't worry if a photo does not depict the person mentioned; beefcake is beefcake.

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