Sep 13, 2021

Fafhrd and Grey Mouser

When I was in college, the Bookstore Gang was all wild over Fafhrd and Grey Mouser, a sword-and-sorcery duo that Fritz Leiber had been writing about since the 1930s.  Their adventures were being collected in a series of anthologies:

Swords against Wizardry
Swords in the Mist
Swords and Ice Magic
Swords and Deviltry
Swords against Death

Fafhrd is a 7'0 Conan-style barbarian, and the Grey Mouser is a 5'0 sneaky thief.  They wander the barbarian world of Nehwon (i.e., "Nowhen"), stealing cursed jewels, fighting evil sorcerers and renegade gods, exploring strange new lands, brawling, drinking, and wenching.

Yes, they go "wenching."

It wasn't Tolkien.  There was no Dark Overlord to conquer, they didn't spend a lot of time singing mournful songs, and there was sex.  Or whatever stood in for sex in those days.

Eventually they both settle down with wives and kids, become domesticated, and their adventures end.

But in some of the stories, at least, they were a homoromantic pair.

At least, that's how I read it.

Fritz Leiber also wrote Conjure Wife (1943), about men in a small college town who discover that their wives are all witches, and out to do them in.  Nuff said.

"Clickbait": Gay Representation on the "Non-Stop Thrill Ride" about a Kidnapped Family Man


My viewing schedule is rather crowded with Korean soap operas, Disney Channel teencoms, and awful action-adventure movies, so I'm leery of giving the Netflix thriller series Clickbait (2021) a try.

The description immediately turned me off: "family man" Nick (Adrian Grenier) is kidnapped.  I hate the phrase "family man."  It's used to claim that heterosexual men who have reproduced are more moral, more industrious, infinitely more valuable than the rest of us.  So you've had sex with a woman.  How does that make you a saint?

But one of my Facebook friends, who is gay (like all of my Facebook friends except for a few relatives), called it a "nonstop thrill ride."    So I conducted some research.  Quite a lot of research, actually.

Beefcake:  According to the Parents' Guide, there is no male or female nudity, but several scenes where men and women kiss, and a woman takes her bra off.

Gay Characters: A search on "Clickbait," tv, and "gay" revealed numerous copies of an interview with Abraham Lim, who plays the reporter working on the case: "as a gay man," he feels marginalized whenever he goes into a gay bar, and faces anti-Asian racism.

Yes, but is his character gay?

A search through the cast list reveals that Family Man Nick has a wife and two children.  The older is played by Camaron Engels, who has a TikTok video labeled LGBT and "gay."  But I don't get the connection: it shows a space alien dancing.

Nick's younger son is played by Jaylin Fletcher, who definitely has something nonbinary going on, and has played gay characters (or the little brothers of gay characters) in Snowpiercer and Sunday Church.  Little Bro could be queer.

Phoenix Raei (Roshan Amiri, the detective investigating the case) is an Iranian-Australian actor who played a gay character on the soap The Heights.  It's refreshing to see someone of Middle Eastern descent play something other than a terrorist, but I doubt that any network suit will ok a character who is Muslim and gay.

An article on "10 LGBTQ Series to watch this fall" reveals that Nick's sister Pia is bisexual, and reporter Ben Park (Abraham Lim) is gay.  Ok, but do they actually do anything, or is it "bisexual but only dating men" and "gay means fabulous."?

Gay Representation:  Wikipedia has a much-too-detailed plot synopsis, which is why I didn't read it first..  I'm surprised it hasn't been flagged.  Of the 52 references to Pia, only one mentions her dating, and it's a guy.  There might be some female loves in the series, of course, but it is a very detailed plot synopsis.

Ben Park, however, gets a centric episode (#5), where he and his boyfriend Cameron (Jack Speer) argue over his callous handling of the case, and finally break up. Neither Cameron nor Ben appear in the plot synopsis after that.  

At least Ben is "ruthless" and "driven," breaking the stereotype that all gay men are fierce and fabulous.

Will I Watch:  Probably not.  I've already spent two hours on Clickbait, and I know about the surprise ending.

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