Sep 22, 2021

Grading the Beefcake of "American Horror Stories"

 American Horror Stories is a horror-story anthology produced by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, whose American Horror Story series often has significant gay representation.  Here, after the first story, LGBT characters are mostly erased, so instead I'm going to evaluate the beefcake, on a scale of 1 (all girls) to 10 (sausage fest).

Episodes 1-2, "Rubber Woman":  Scarlett, a 16-year old girl, becomes involved with BDSM, which on tv always means that you like to kill people.  So she and her ghost-girlfriend start killing.  

Beefcake: Matt Bomer and Gavin Creel play the parents.  Bomer is ok, but Creel has ridiculous long shaggy hair.  We see them shirtless briefly.  Otherwise it's all girls. Grade: 2

Episode 3, "Drive In":
High schooler Chad (Rhenzy Feliz) takes his girlfriend to a drive-in showing of a movie rumored to be cursed: anyone who sees it turns into a vicious zombie-monster.  Since this is American Horror Stories, the curse is real.  

A transwoman has a significant role as the girlfriend's best friend, who is dating one of the high school hunks.  She is the last identifiable LGBTQ character in the series.

Beefcake: Rhenzy displays a little of his chest while having sex.  His best friend (Leonardo Cecchi) doesn't have any shirtless scenes.  Grade: 3

Episode 4, "The Naughty List" 
 Four social media influencers try to get more subscribers by filming someone committing suicide.  When that backfires, they try pretending to be attracted to each other while saying "No homo" (they're jerks, so the homophobia is expected).  That backfires, so they go to the mall at Christmastime and make fun of Santa Claus and his elves.  He puts them on the "naughty list."

Beefcake:  Nonstop!  Three of the influencers (Charles Melton, Nico Greetham, above, and Dyllon Burnside, left) are half-naked all the time, and the fourth (Kevin McHale) is shown briefly in the hot tub.  Plus there are some hunks at the boys' Christmas party.  Grade: 10.

Episode 5, "Ba'al": 
 A rich lady trying to get pregnant puts an ancient Babylonian fertility fetish under her bed (isn't Ba'al Canaanite? ).  She has a baby, but things go horribly wrong.  Meanwhile her husband (Ronen Rubenstein) has an agenda of his own.

Beefcake:  Rubenstein never unbuttons a button, not even during sex.  He has some cute male friends, but they are likewise beefcake deficient. Grade: 2.

Episode 6, "Feral": 
 While seeking their long-lost son, a heterosexual couple run afoul of feral humanoid creatures.  One of which turns out to be....

Beefcake: Dad (Aaron Tveit, left) is cute, but always fully clothed, even during sex.  The other male actors are not particularly swoonworthy.  Grade: 2.

Episode 7, "Game Over." 
A woman creates a video game based on the Murder House from Season 1 of American Horror Story and Episodes 1-2 of this series.  She and her son go to the real Murder House, and get involved in the tying up of loose ends.

Beefcake: Adam Hagenbuch, one of the characters in the video game, displays his physique. Dylan McDermott from Season 1 appears briefly.  Grade: 5.

Strange that the worst episode of the series, "The Naughty List," has the most beefcake, and the best of the series, "Ba'al," has the least.

"Doogie Kamealoha": A Fierce Doctor, a Gay Brother, and Lots of Hawaiian Hunks

 A show called Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. just dropped on the Disney Channel, an homage to the 1990s drama Doogie Howser, M.D.   Doctors were complaining about the ridiculous premise the first time.  No way a 16 year old will be admitted to medical school, let alone commence a career in medicine. I don't care how smart you are, you don't have the emotional maturity for the job.  Or the bedside manner. 

But it's set in Hawaii, so maybe there will be some shirtless hunks.  I watched the first episode.

Scene 1: I was right.  On her sixteenth birthday, Doogie (real name Lahela) and her hot dad go surfing. Dad is iconic 1990s hunk Jason Scott Lee, still reeling in the years!  And we see a lot more of his body than hers.  

Then, in a reversal of the standard boy staring in jaw-dropping lust at a girl walking in slow motion, Doogie stares in jaw-dropping lust at a boy walking in slow motion: Walter (Alex Aiono).  They have their first date Friday, to the big school dance. 

Scene 2: Doogie taking her driver's test, but driving so slowly that a speed walker passes them.   Helicopter parent Dad is in the back seat.  

Suddenly they come to the scene of an accident.  Doogie rushes out, shows her credentials to the cops, and rotates the victim's broken leg so he doesn't lose it due to blocked circulation.  "Who is this kid?" the driving instructor asks.  "My daughter."  Apparently she graduated from med school at age 14, and has completed her residency.  Now for a 70-year long career in medicine.

Scene 3: At the hospital, Doogie and her fiercely feminine associate, Charles (Jeffrey Bowers-Chapman), negotiate a patient who disapproves of being diagnosed by a kid.  He threatens to sue, but she points out that there's no federal or state law requiring doctors to be of a certain age. 

Scene 4
: The boss, who is also Doogie's Mom (nepotism alert!) calls her out, posting a risque dance on TikTok. Is she being a boss or a mom?  The hot Dr. Lee (Ronny Chieng) drops by to show his "Magic Mike moves"   (Lotsa Asian beefcake on this show).

Scene 5: Dad working at his Shave Ice and Lei Truck.  He explains that he gave up a high-pressure job in finance to "do what he loves," which is selling shave ice and flowers. I guess.  Mom drops by to talk to their other two kids: the "straight C' dreamy teen idol Kai and the "eats only pizza rolls" chubby kid Brian.   

Scene 6: Doogie visits an elderly hippie patient -- ahh, Brad from The Rocky Horror Picture Show!  Didn't I see him in his underwear, being cruised by Dr. Frank-n-Furter, just yesterday?  Suddenly he is  76 years old.  O tempora, O mores, O hell.   

He discusses the first time he danced with a woman and "tried a few other things."  Inapprop, dude!  But Doogie decides that she needs "a night of firsts," too., like her first date, her first kiss, and her, whatever.

Scene 7:  Doogie, hot Dr. Lee, and Boss Mom argue over the best course of action for treating the Hippie.  

Scene 8:
While dad cooks an octopus, Doogie talks to her podcast followers.  Her wacky best friend Stef leaps in through the window, and invites herself to dinner.  

Doogie asks Mom for a later curfew for tomorrow night's dance, since they're all going to Zippy's (the iconic Hawaiian chain restaurant).  Mom refuses.  They argue, and Doogie storms off.

Meanwhile, Stef throws herself at dreamy Kai, who ignores her.

Stef: "Who are you taking to the school dance?" Flutter, flutter, hint, hint.

Kai: "I'm going with some male friends.  It's more fun that way."  I hear you, brother.  Who needs a girl messing things up?

Scene 9: At the Shave Ice and Lei Truck, feminine Charles, hot Dr. Lee, and some other doctors joke around.  Mom discusses the problems of being a boss and a mother at the same time (then maybe don't hire your daughter?). .  

Scene 10: Walter from Scene 1 arrives to pick up Doogie for the dance.  Dad glares at him with distaste, but is mollified by a gift of Spam (you have to be from Hawaii to understand).  Walter's entire extended family arrives to meet his date and her family!

Steph talks her way into riding to the dance with Kai. She squeals "I got to apologize ahead of time for frontal grinding your brother."  Whew, this isn't your mother's Disney Channel!

Scene 11.  The dance.  Looks like all boy-girl couples.  Sreph keeps throwing herself at Kai, while he tries to ignore her and looks embarrassed.

Meanwhile, Doogie and Walter confess that this is their first date.  Really?  At age 16?   They start their first kiss, but then Doogie gets a text: she has to go to the hospital right away.

Scene 12:  Doogie rushes into the hospital, but it's too late.  Dr. Lee explains that the Hippie went into V-Fib Arrest. "We worked on him for an hour, but couldn't save him."  Did they call Doogie at the end of the hour, or did it take her an hour to get to the hospital?

Mom comes in and gives her a heart to heart about the first time she lost a patient: a family man who had been cooking dinner with his wife an hour before.  Dead husband instead of the cliche dead wife?

Montage of Doogie being depressed at breakfast and at the hospital, then getting comforted by her dad and Walter, while a sad song plays.  It keeps going on forever.

Beefcake: Lots.

Gay Characters:  Charles is "openly gay," according actor Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman, a former judge on Canada's Drag Race.  But being a minor character, I doubt that he will do any dating.

I'm not sure about Kai.  The utter lack of interest in girls (going to the dance with boys is "more fun") sounds indicative of gay identity, but more likely we have the standard sitcom trope of an unrequired love that turns requited in Season 3 (examples that come to mind: Joannie and Chachi on Happy Days, Niles and Daphne on Frasier,  Urkel and Laura on Family Matters, Thelma and the Reverend on Amen).

Kamealoha:  Interesting fusion of the two Hawaiian words that almost everyone knows: Kamehameha and "aloha"

Medicine:  I hate medical dramas.  I don't want to hear about blocked arteries and V-Fib Arrests for entertainment.

Will I Keep Watching: Not unless Kai turns out to be canonically gay.

See also:  Doogie Kamealoha MD: Is Kai Gay? Update.

Sep 20, 2021

"Reservation Dogs": Queer, Nonbinary, Quirky Delinquents on the Rez


Someone recommended Reservation Dogs, on Hulu.  I doiubt that there will be any gay characters, but I wouldn't mind seeing some Native American beefcake.

Scene 1: In Indian Country, Oklahoma, some Native  teenagers steal a truck hauling Flaming Flamers Potato Chip (flaming flamers? Gay reference?).  They drive it to a salvage yard overrun by "meth head zombies."  Kenny is waiting for them.  The leader  and a girl discuss what to do if things go bad: "I'll kick him in the nuts, and you grab anything nearby and throw it at him."

While Bear (D'Pharaoh Woon A Tai, left), Willie Jack, and Elora negotiate the payment for the truck heist (and ask to keep the chips), the remaining boy, Cheese (Lane Factor), introduces himself to a meth head, and gives his pronouns.

Scene 2: Carrying big boxes of chips.  Later, in class, Bear shows a video he made introducing the gang and their delinquent activity.  The teacher nervously cuts him off.

Scene 3: They're selling the bags of potato chips at 50 cents each.  Various colorful characters drop by.  A gang of three is watching them from across the street.  They decide to alert Whtie Dave.

Scene 4: Bear sneaks some of the money they made into his mother's purse (aww, the delinquent is helping out).  Mom is going out to night to find him a new Dad, someone better than that "low-down out-of-work Indian rapper." (Foreshadowing?)

Scene 5:
Back at the chip stand.  The tribal cop Big (Zahn McClarnon, left) drives up to interrogate them: "A chip truck was stolen earlier today, and last week we had two cars stolen, and someone pulled the copper out of 20 street lamps and stole the steaks from Patterson's Grocery."  

Flashback to Bear's gang doing all that, plus stealing marijuana edibles and spray-painting pictures of penises and boobs.  Very busy gang!  

There's also been a sighting of Deer Lady, a spirit of some sort.

Scene 6:  On their way to eat some catfish. Uh-oh, the gang from Scene 3 drives up and shoots then all!

While "dead," Bear has a vision: An old-style Indian warrior rides up.  "You've had a taste of the white man's lead."  "It's just paintball." 

 Turns out that he's no one famous, just an "unknown warrior" who fought at the Battle of Little Big Horn.  Well, actually, he didn't fight, he got squashed by his horse.   Anyway, he has a message: "You and your thug-ass friends aren't helping our community.  Find something to fight for."

Scene 7:
  They recover from the paintball attack.  Two rappers, Mose and Mekko (Lil Mike, Funny Bone), approach to tell them that it's a new gang run by a girl named Jackie.  They heard that Bear's gang ruled the rez, so they plan to take them out.

Scene 8: Rob n Cleo's Market to get the catfish.  Uh-oh, Miles, whom they stole the truck from, comes in.  They overhear him complaining about being fired.  Then his wife left hm, and took all the money, so he's bankrupt, so he had to eat sugar, and now he has diabetes.  That's a lot to happen since this morning.

Scene 9: Back at the hideout, Bear feels guilty, and wants to give the money back.  "Fuck that shit.  We got that money fair and square."  They argue.  They talk about Daniel, who died last year.  "This place killed him!  I'm not letting it kill me!" Elora storms out.

Scene 10:
Elora looking at a picture of Daniel (Dalton Cramer, left).  Meanwhile, Bear is on the way home, when he sees Daniel watching him.  

Scene 11: Morning.  Elora stops by with meat pies.  She's ok with buying the truck back from the meth heads and returning it to Miles.  

Scene 12: At the chop shop.  The truck has been stripped, but the meth heads give them what's left of it.  Not much.

Scene 13:  Daniel's memorial service.  The gang in suits, rubbing smoke on their faces.  They hug and say "Love you, bitch."

Jackie's gang drives by and threatens them again.  The end.

Beefcake:  Bear climbs out of bed in his underwear.  Daniel is rather attractive, but as a ghost he won't appear much.

Heterosexism: No one expresses any heterosexual interest, at least not in the first episode.

Gay Characters:  Apparently Willie Jack is nonbinary, and Devery Jacob, the actress playing Elora, is queer. 

D'Pharaoh doesn't reveal much about his personal life.  We know only that he's from Toronto, he's proud of his indigenous roots, and he's a fashion maven.  Maybe he's gay, too.

Charles Addams/The Addams Family

The 1950s was obsessed with marriage and reproduction. Movies, tv programs, presidential speeches, school textbooks, and Sunday morning sermons all pushed the heterosexual nuclear family with salary-man dad and cake-baking mom as the pinnacle of societal perfection, not only the way everyone should live but the way everyone did live (In the U.S., anyway).  But there were critiques, carefully-worded inquiries about whether everyone in every nuclear family was by definition deliriously happy, and every single person by definition miserable.

Cartoonist Charles Addams offered one of the most popular critiques.  He began publishing macabre cartoons in The New Yorker in the 1930s.  By the late 1940s, most were gently skewing the nuclear family experience.

On Christmas morning, two kids play gleefully with a guillotine.  Or they start a fire in the fireplace in anticipation of Santa Claus's visit.

A boy brings models his scout uniform, while his disgusted parents look on.  "He certainly doesn't take after my family," the mother exclaims.

A woman dressed in a black shroud dissects the mania for civic holidays: "I couldn't make it Friday -- I've so many things to do.  It's the thirteenth, you know."

Addams never intended for his unnamed characters to be taken as a single macabre family, but they appeared together so often, and in so many different contexts, that readers assumed that they were related.  Eventually he gave in and called them the Addams Family.

During the monster mania of the early 1960s, they spun off into a tv series, The Addams Family (1964-66).  Now they had names: Gomez (John Astin), Morticia (Caroline Jones), their children Wednesday and Pugsley, Uncle Fester, Grandmama, their butler Lurch, and "It," a sentient hand. They were not quite as homicidal as their counterparts in the New Yorker cartoons; indeed, many episodes involved them helping neighbors, friends, or strangers with their personal problems. They were as close-knit and supportive, and as aggressive in promoting heterosexual romance, as any sitcom family of the 1960s.  But still, they constantly blurred the boundaries between "normal" and "abnormal," making them a favorite of gay kids who felt "different."

By the way, if you remember the series, you might be interested in seeing Ted Cassidy, who played the Frankenstein-like butler Lurch, in a swimsuit (top photo).  Apparently he was quite a hunk.

There's a story about one of the cast members on Gay Celebrity Dating Stories

Sep 19, 2021

"Mortal Engines": Ridiculous Premise, Star Wars Rip-Off Plot, Heterosexism to the Max, and Beefcake

 We postponed movie night from Friday to Saturday due to a party -- social life is gradually returning.  It wasn't worth the wait.  Mortal Engines (2018) has the most ridiculous premise I have ever heard, plus a story that's combines the worst cliches from Star Wars and The Road Warrior,  The only thing that made it remotely watchable was a profusion of cute guys, but every one of them had a girlfriend. Heterosexism rules!

The premise: A thousand years after an apocalyptic event that moved the Earth's crust around, so China is now next to Germany, resources are scarce, so most people live in cities on wheels, roaming around to look for supplies. 

Ridiculous.   No way would you have the power to move an entire city on wheels, and besides, why would you ever?  Our ancestors discovered thousands of years ago that sedentary life is much more efficient than being hunter-gatherers.  And if you still must scavage for supplies after a thousand years, send small expeditions out. 

London has become a super-city on wheels, with St. Paul's Cathedral, Parliament House, and the British Museum, plus parks, residential neighborhoods, cars, and a subway!  It travels around, eating smaller cities to absorb their energy, and assimilate their residents.  

Uber-ridiculous.  If resources are scarce, why would you want to assimilate hundreds of new people?  

The plot: 
Robert Sheehan, who plays a gay character in The Umbrella Academy, but without the sleazy long hair and goatee, so he looks rather hot (top photo), plays Tom. a "you're late for work again" scalawag who sorts through ancient artifacts at the British Museum.  He chums up with the Beautiful Daughter of head scientist Thaddeus Valentine (Hugo Weaver, who played a drag queen in Priscilla Queen of the Desert, only now with a beard that makes him look rather hot, like Captain Nemo.

Things go wrong when a lady assassin sneaks in and stabs Valentine.  Tom chases her through some fiery factory sets, where she explains "He killed my mother" before jumping into a whirlpool thing.  Tom doesn't believe her for a second, but Valentine pushes him into the whirlpool thing anyway, just to be on the safe side.  

I  guess he took a short cut?  And being stabbed does not affect your ability to run?

Turns out that Valentine did kill Assassin's Mom, because she had uncovered an ancient part that he (and his girlfriend) want to use to recreate the Death, I mean the ancient weapon that caused the Apocalypse (so, thousand-year old buried, decayed, fused parts will still work?).  

Beautiful Daughter and her boyfriend Bevis (Ronan Raftery, who has never starred in Beavis and Butt-Head) sleuth out Valentine's diabolical plot.

Meanwhile, Tom and Assassin survive, and must make their way through the wilderness.  She takes off her mask, which apparently she wasn't using to hide her identity; she was self-conscious about a scar.

They fight slavers disguised as a ridiculous "have a cuppa" English village couple, and eventually reach a cloud city big enough to have fancy and ordinary restaurants, all suspended by giant balloons (presumably they're filled with helium, but the way they explode later, it could be hydrogen).

Lando Calrissian isn't around, but there's a nice substitute, Captain Khora (Rege-Jean Page of Bridgerton, who "wants to break down gay/ straight labels.").  His girlfriend is Yasmina Rashid, an anti-mobile city activist or something.  They want to meet Tom because he has insider knowledge of the layout of mobile London or something.

By this point I was barely paying attention.  I know that there's a  Luke Skywalker flying a spaceship moment, a "Luke, I am your father" moment, an exploding cloud city, and some more explosions.  The Londoners move to China.  And it's boy-girl couples all the way to the fade-out-kiss.  Let's just see the remaining beefcake.

Colin Salmon (of The Arrow) as the Deputy Historian of London, who helps Beautiful Daughter and her boyfriend research the evil scheme.

Kahn West of the teen-sleuth series Terry Teo as Toa Heke.  I actually don't remember him from the film, but isn't he cute?

Andrew Lees, seen here nude in the short-lived Your Family or Mine, as Tom's supervisor/bully at the British Museum.

How about if he moves the box of granola away, and we just look at him naked for two hours instead of watching this heterosexist behemoth?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...