Oct 9, 2021

"The Kids Are Alright": None are Gay, But Some Have Physiques

 "The Kids are Alright" is a 1966 song by The Who, about a guy who is leaving his girlfriend in the care of his friends because "Sometimes I feel I gotta get away, and I know if I don't, I'll go out of my mind."  But it's ok, they won't try anything: "The kids are alright."  

It's used on the soundtrack of practically every movie and tv show set in the 1970s, and in this case in the title of a 2018-2019 nostalgia tv show, The Kids are Alright, about an Irish-Catholic family in the 1970s.  With 8 sons.  It's like a gender-reversed Loud Family, or a double Malcolm in the Middle.

Kids aired on ABC, the worst of the big four networks for gay representation, it was cancelled after just 23 episodes, too soon for the traditional Season 2 introduction of gay characters, and nostalgia tv is usually gay-free.  So I'm not even going to look for representation.  But...8 sons.  If they're teenagers or young adults, that might make for some major beefcake.

Mom and Dad are played by: Mary MacCormack and Michael Cuditz (top photo).  The 8 sons are, in order:

1. Lawrence (Sam Straley).  The liberal, socially-conscious one, who left seminary to "save the world." While preparing for his first date, he asks Eddie (#2, below) to go on a practice run with him, and when Eddie is drafted, he wants to go to Viet Nam too, to protect him.  Maybe a gay-subtext brother-brother thing going on?

2. Eddie (Caleb Foote).  The jock. In his only centric, he and his girlfriend play mind games with Mom to keep her from finding out that they were drinking alcohol in his room.

3. Frank (Sawyer Barth).   The goody-goody "I'm telling Mom!" one.  According to TV Tropes, he "lacks social skills" and doesn't like being touched.  But he's  heterosexual: after seeing Catwoman on Batman, he takes an extra long time in the shower.

4. Joey (Christopher Paul Richards. left).  The absurdly hetero-horny one: he schemes to see Barbara Eden flash a boob on a Bob Hope tv special, and builds a tree house so he can watch the lady next door undress. 

5. Timmy (Jack Gore, left), the focus character who narrates as an adult.  A ventriloquist's dummy is his constant companion, and he has various show business-related centrics, which paint him as somewhat deviant.  But no one thinks that he's gay: when Mom and Dad discover glue splashed on a woman's clothing catalog, they assume that he has been masturbating (actually he is making puppets). \

6. William (Andy Walken).  The 12-year old bookworm of the family.  Only one centric: he loses interest in Catholicism, so his mom tries to trick him into regaining his faith.

7-8. Pat, a little kid, and Andy, a baby.


Oct 8, 2021

"Pretty Smart": Pretty Stupid

 Any program with this opening scene is going to get my attention. Unfortunately, it failed to keep my attention.

The program is Pretty Smart on Netflix, about Harvard grad student/aspiring novelist Chelsea (former Disney teen Emily Osment), who comes to L.A. to visit her  long-estranged free-spirit sister Claire (Olivia Mackiln).  

Claire's roommates are drawn as the most broad-based stereotypes to fall out of a writer's laptop since junior high creative writing class.

1. Dumb jock Grant (former Disney teen Greg Sulkin).  Olivia explains that they used to date, but now they're platonic roommates. 

"How French!" Claire exclaims.

Grant responds "No, Nebraska."

2. Fluttering, diamond-as-big-as-the-Ritz flashing, screaming queen Jayden (Michael Hsu Rosen).  Sorry, Greg Sulkin was in the photo, too, so I accidentally cut Michael out.  He's in the bottom photo.  

3.  Ditzy New Age chakra-and-crystal 1990s throwback Solana.  "I'm going to make you a garlic-tumeric-lemon shot."

The absurdly repressed stick-in-the-mud Chelsea dislikes them all -- their enthusiasm, their hugging, their joie de vivre!  How crazy is it to have fun?  Don't they understand that you're supposed to hate your life and be depressed all the time?

I actually prefer the stereotypes.

But she comes around -- in just one episode.  Jayden discovers that Grant is depressed because he doesn't have a shed, so he buys one for him.  Friends are...um...nice to each other?  Without an ulterior motive?  Maybe this joie-de-vivre stuff isn't so bad after all.

These writers don't know anything.

1. Chelsea met her boyfriend Dwayne in her class in 15th Century Comparative South American Literature Across Multi-Ethnic Diaspora Migrations.  The Mesoamerican civilizations of Pre-Columbian America had writing systems, but none of the South American civilizations did.  Unless they were translating the title, and didn't realize that in Spanish, the 15th Century is the 1500s.

2. She brings a gigantic hardbound book read at the coffee shop (never heard of paperbacks?): Remembrance of Things Past.  "His finest, don't you think?"  Yeah, and his only.  Except it's multivolume, so you usually mention the specific volume you're reading: In a Budding Grove, The Cities of the Plain, and so on.

(The barista flirting with her has never heard of Proust.  He's reading The DaVinci Code).

3. Boyfriend dumps her -- he was just using her for her female perspective on Garcilaso de la Vega's ahistoricism.  Ok, they got that one right: the 16th century Spanish-American historian has been accused of being ahistorical.  But why would there be male and female perspectives?

Too humiliated to go back to Harvard, Claire decides to stay.  The free spirits will teach her joie de vivre, and she'll teach them...what?

I don't know.  I'm not going to stick around to find out, unless Greg Sulkin has more shirtless shots.  Or Michael Hsu Rosen, minus the screaming-queen outfit.

Oct 7, 2021

"There's Somebody Inside Your House": Derivative Horror with LGBTQ+ Characters


There's Someone Inside Your House
(2021) sounds like that old campfire story: "The calls are coming from inside the house!"  But the plot description is aboit someone revealing all of the high schoolers' secrets, so maybe it's more like I Know What You Did Last Summer.  No doubt one of those secrets is about being gay.

Scene 1: Isolated farm house.  Country-Western music plays as a pickup truck drives up, and small-town high school jock Jackson (Markian Tarasiuk), complete with letterman's jacket, climbs out.  Inside, the decor is from the 1950s, but he has a cell phone!  A friend named Macon (as in Georgia, y'all) calls.  They discuss various girls, so fast and furious that I can't keep track, but one has flat chest and is therefore repugnant.

Funny -- the egg timer is on, but Mom and Dad are out tailgating before the Big Game, and there's no one in the house.  Or is there?  Besides, the Doritos taste terrible.

Jackson goes to his room -- pictures of big-breasted models and a University of Nebraska banner -- to take a nap before Kickoff.  But he falls asleep, and doesn't wake up until late at night.  The Doritos were drugged!  And someone has left a trail of pictures of him roughhousing with a cute guy!  A boyfriend?  Is the gay secret the first one?  No: the photos turn dark: we see that Jackson beat and killed Cute Guy. Then a hooded figure leaps out of the closet and stabs him! 

Scene 2: 
The game.  Mom, Dad, and Sis are watching, and wondering why Jackson never showed up.  "It's not like him."  Suddenly everyone gets a video from an unidentified source: Jackson killing Cute Guy.  Wait -- Cute Guy isn't dead.  He's Caleb (Burkely Duffieldm left), playing in the game right now!  

Scene 3: Students gossipping about Jackson.  Murdered just because he beat up Caleb.  And why did he do it?  Because Caleb is gay?  But they were buddies!  Now everybody thinks Calebe is responsible for the murder.

Jackson's bff Macon sings about how much he lovoed him.   Two boys, two girls, and a nonbinary person (Darby) have trouble feeling sad, since Jackson bullied them savagely for years.  

Scene 4: Lunchtime.  Macon is bragging about how many girls Jackson had sex with, and what he did with pizza sauce (you don't want to know).  The Nice Kids from Scene 3 invite Caleb, now ostracized by the team, to sit with them.  

Student Body President talks about how diverse the school is, with gay and nonbinary students ("we love your he, she, and they!"), and leads them in prayer.

Scene 5:
At home, Makani (one of the Nice Kids) worries that people might find out about the horrible things that happened in her old town.  Then her college scholarships and friends would vanish!  What did she do?

She goes up to her room and starts working on a poem. "The psycho" Oliver (Theodore Pellerinm left) texts.  Ulp -- they used to date, and now he's stalking her!  And he's #2 on the cast list!

She wakes up in the middle of the night.  Odd -- there are a lot of dishes piled on the kitchen table, and flowers in the oven.  Could it be...psych!  It was Grandma, sleepwalking!

Scene 6:  At church, prepping for the memorial service.  Catholic, like everybody in small town Middle America, right?  Student Council President is distributing memorial leaflets (why is she wearing a white hooded robe?),  when suddenly the overhead screen displays her comments on a  podcast: "White Wash: Your Daily Ethnic Cleanse."  So she's a closet racist.  A white robed figure appears and slashes her to death!  Parishioners coming into the church hear her podcast, and see her hanging from the altar.

Scene 7: The Sheriff (towns don't have sheriffs) has passed a city-wide curfew (he doesn't have the authority to do that).  Makani flashes back to the terrible thing that happened (arrested for pushing another teen into a fire).  Rodrigo (Diego Josef) from the Nice Kids calls to commisserate about the lockdown.  Uh-oh, he's taking prescription drugs.  Is he sick, or an addict?   

He reveals that he's heterosexual: "why can't I have a life where nobody gets murdered, and I get a girlfriend and go to college?"  Also, he has a crush on Alex, the other girl in the Nice Kid gang. When are we going to get a scene with the LGBTQ+ characters?

Scene 8: 
The students all waiting to be interviewed by the sheriff.  Nice Kid Zack (Dale Whibley) thinks he's the murderer.  There's a referendum to dissolve the police force -- but not if he solves a series of murders "by blaming someone who's not white."  

Zach is excused from the interrogation due to his rich Dad's pull.  Dad yells at him hanging out with the Nice Kids -- bunch of losers! -- and for smoking marijuana.  

Back in the waiting room, "that psycho" Ollie asks Makani why they broke up.  Whoops, he's the Sheriff's younger brother!  The plot thickens!

Scene 9:  The Sheriff interviews Makani.  She doesn't mention the terrible thing that happened to her.  No, she didn't know Jackson or Student Body President.  He leers, makes creepy comments, and lets her go. 

After the interview, she agrees to a date with Ollie: "Let's do what we always do": park, gaze longingly at each other, listen to love songs, and have sex (no beefcake).  Ollie: "I miss this."  You miss having sex?  What a surprise!

They get an invitation to Zack's "Secret Party," and head over to his mansion.

Scene 10: At the Secret Party, Makani ignores Ollie, whom she was mounting five minutes ago.  Everybody reveals their minor secrets: "I post dick pics online."  "I eat junk food."  "I sing opera on youtube."  Darby "confesses" that they got into a NASA program. They appear to be hanging out with Caleb, the gay jock from Scene 4.  Maybe they're dating?  

The extremely troubled and drunken Zack announces the biggest secret: his  "festering pustule" of a Dad doesn't just oppress the townsfolk, he has the tenth largest collection of Nazi memorabilia in North America.  That doesn't sound like a lot.  How many collectors of Nazi memorabilia can there be?  He's converted most of the weapons into bongs for smoking pot.

The guests grab various Nazi items and start smoking.  Rodrigo pops a prescription pill, then talks his crush into going into the kitchen for sex.  Maybe a more secluded spot?  People will be coming in for snacks all the time.  

Scene 11:  Back at the party, Rodrigo sees a trail of pills.  Uh-oh, now the Nice Kids are being targeted.  Suddenly everyone gets a text about his addiction to Fentanyl (a prescription opioid), and the hooded killer appears.  Everyone runs out -- past the killer?  -- leaving Rodrigo to get sliced and diced. Or -- there's one killer and 200 party guests?  A little help?  

I'm out of space, so I'll stop the scene-by-scene recap there.  

Beefcake: None.

LGBTQ+ Characters:  Caleb gets stabbed without having a secret (just so the killer can frame Makani).  He doesn't die.  But he also doesn't have a centric or any plot development; he just hangs out with the others.  Darby also has no centric; their only plot point is getting into NASA and telling Makani "I'm here for you."

Heterosexism: Makani and Ollie spend half the movie kissing.

There's Someone Inside Your House:  Not usually: your house, someone else's house, a church, or the school.  The final conflict takes place in a corn maze.

The Killer: Exactly who you expect.  It's broadcast loudly practically from Scene 1: the actor keeps channeling Matthew Lillard's character in Scream.

My Grade: C.  Just having LGBTQ+ characters in a movie is no longer cause for celebration.  They need to do something other than tell the cisgender heterosexual characters "I'm here for you."

Oct 6, 2021

Allan Kayser: the Bodybuilder of Mama's Family

During the 1970s, a series of sketches on The Carol Burnett Show featured the young Vicki Lawrence in old-lady drag as the abrasive matriarch of a dysfunctional Southern family.  In 1983 she spun off into Mama's Family as the elderly Thelma Harper, still grumpy but considerably nicer -- a champion of the underdog, fighting such social ills as illiteracy, nursing home abuse, and sexual harassment in the workplace.

Her family consisted of her conservative sister (Rue McClanahan, later of The Golden Girls), her dimwitted son Vint (Ken Berry, center, previously of Mayberry RFD), his sexually voracious wife Naomi (Dorothy Lyman, right), and his kids.

The son was played by Eric Brown, left, star of the sex farce Private Lessons.

After a season, the show was cancelled.  It returned in syndication in 1986, with the sister and kids gone, and Allan Kayser (left) introduced as Bubba, Thelma's juvenile delinquent grandson.

And the jaws of gay men everywhere dropped.  The 22-year old Kayser had a dazzling smile, a stunning physique, and an amazing bulge, and he knew it.  And the producers knew it.

In every episode, he was crammed into muscle shirts and sweatpants or painted-on jeans, and his body always got the limelight, even when something else was going on.

Mama's Family immediately became must-see tv.  It aired on Saturday nights, so we watched Mama's Family and The Golden Girls before going out to the bars.

The only gay content was Thelma's subtext friendship with mousy neighbor Iola (Beverly Archer).  Bubba's plotlines were standard teenage sitcom fare -- school projects, teams, dates --  with no significant male friends, except his Uncle Vinton, and that relationship was avuncular, not romantic.

But sometimes beefcake is enough.

During the 1980s, Allan also starred in a few B-movies that allowed him to show off his bulge and biceps, including Hot Chili (1985) and Night of the Creeps (1986).

When Mama's Family ended in 1990, he retired from acting, married, and moved to Missouri.  He has appeared in only a few small roles since.

He still has a stunning physique, and he is still gracious to his gay fans.

See also: The Golden Girls

"Band of Robbers": Modern Day Tom and Huck with a Gay Subtext, Sort Of

Scalawag Tom Sawyer and social commentator Huck Finn have been pushed into adulthood several times, most notably by Mark Twain himself (in Tom Sawyer, Detective).  But I'm not familiar with anyone who made the duo adults in the contemporary U.S.  How would that even work?  

Until Band of Robbers (2016), which envisions the duo  (Adam Nee, left, Kyle Gallner. bottom photo), as leaders of a band of small-time crooks.  

The other two gang members, Joe and Ben (Matthew Gray Gubler, Hannibal Buress), don't express any heterosexual interest, so they could be read as a gay couple.  

The gang only steals from "real bad guys" (with plastic bags over their heads as masks), so they're really heroes, right?  

 The plots involve looking for hidden treasure, rescung their friend Jorge (Daniel Edward Maroa) from the real bad guys, and running afoul of the murderous Injun Joe (Stephen Lang, left).

Injun Joe is white, but took the racist name to screw with Native American culture.

There's a widow who wants to "sivilize" Huck.  There's a fake funeral.  There's a scene where they wear 19th century costumes.  But no one gets lost in a cave.

Tom dreams of homoerotic freedom, moving to an island, where they can be together, away from the outside world: "I'll be the king, and you can be my prince."  Lots of longing looks, hugs, and "just kiss him!" moments.  

Huck wants a "real life...a family." Tom offers: "I'll be your family," but that's not what Huck means.   No doubt he means the heterosexist trajectory: when we grow up, we must abandon childish things, like same-sex loves, for the hard work of house, job, wife, and kids.   Strange -- in the novels, Huck is the gay-coded one.

When undercover cop Becky Thatcher joins the gang, all of Tom's gay subtext falls away, as the two flirt outrageously:

Becky:  This was a great first day.
Tom:  Was this a date?
Becky:  No, I said first day.  First day on the job.
Tom:  Oh.  That's funny, isn't it?  I thought you said "date." What if...um...what if it had been a date?   (Just kiss already!).

After the crisis is resolved, an epilogue tells us the fate of the characters:  the two subordinate gang members, now rich, lounge by the pool in the background while we see a closeup of a woman in a bikini.  I guess they were heterosexual after all.

Tom goes to prison (where he tricks his fellow inmates into painting a fence), then gets pardoned by the Mayor (which can't happen), becomes a detective. With Becky at his side throughout.  At least there's no fade-out kiss.

 Huck and his friend Jorge have a montage of adventures before Jorge is reunited with his wife and kids in Mexico.   Then Huck hits the road, "looking for a family.  A place where I belong."  I suppose he could still be gay.

Oct 5, 2021

Monsterland: More Heterosexuals Than Monsters


Monsterland is an anthology series based on the book North American Lake Monsters: Stories by Nathan Ballingrad.  about "ordinary people" having encounters with supernatural beings like mermaids and ghosts.  None of the episode synopses specify that any are gay, so I chose the most likely suspect.

Episode #2. Eugene, Oregon:  "A lonely teen gets an unwelcome guest."  Maybe it's an incubus.

Scene 1:  Nick (Charlie Tahan), a scraggly, crazy-eyed, 30-year old teen, gazes longingly at two guys playing with nerf swords.  While they laugh at him for being a "freak," he tries to pick up Mom's prescription, but their insurance has lapsed.  

Scene 2: He trudges home, cuts up Mom's pills and microwaves her a burger and fries.  

I figured there was a Norman Bates thing going on, but Mom turns out to be real, gazing frumpily at the tv (like people on tv do to demonstrate that they're losers).  They play cards.  Then he tucks her in bed and plays a video game in a zoom room.

Whoops, there's a tall human-shaped shadow on the wall!  Nick politely introduces himself and asks what it is, but it won't answer.  Then Mom signals -- she had a bad dream.  So she tells him how sexy he is, and he crawls in bed with her.  Another mother and son in love.  Is heterosexual romance so necessary that if there's no girlfriend, Mom will have to do?

Scene 3:
Nick posts a picture of the shadow to "What Is This?", and is directed to Shadow Watch.  The watchdog group appears in his room (or maybe this is a clever way of depicting a zoom room?): leader West (Ben Rappaport, left), "let's go Guatanamo on their ass" Dagr (Jack DiFalco), and sarcastic FinalGrl.  There have been 10 Shadow sightings so far this year.  They prey on the weak and vulnerable, feeding off your loneliness until they are powerful enough to strike: "They shatter families.  They sow darkness.  They killed my parents." 

The group diagnoses Nick -- shy, lonely, in love with his mother -- as an ideal victim.    

Scene 4: Scared to sleep in the house, Nick goes out to the garage and sleeps in the car.  If he's got a car, why does he walk everywhere?

He awakens at dawn, makes Mom breakfast, and rushes to work at a fast-food joint.  The boss fires him for always being late and stealing food.  (Shirtless shot as Nick rips his uniform off.)  

He trudges to an auto garage and asks if they know how to track down Mike Smith, who used to work there.  They don't. 

Scene 5:  Back home, Nick serves gruel for dinner.  If Mom can sit at the table, why does she need bells to signal him?  He pretends that he was in school all day, then tucks Mom into bed. A shadow hand reaches out from under the nightstand.  

Scene 6:
The Shadow Watch group appears in Nick's living room.  Are these people ghosts?  "From now on, whenever anything bad happens to you, assume it's a Shadow attack!" 

 "What if I just got shit luck?" 

 "There's no such thing as luck.  It's not random.  It's strategic, organized by the Shadows.  That's why we need Fletcher."

Fletcher: The presidential candidate who keeps referring to "shadows" in his speeches, signaling that he's one of us.

We already have an unresolved plot thread about Nick's search for Mike Smith -- a long-lost father, brother, or boyfriend?  Now another one about this Fletcher, who may know more than he's saying.  Is there a government conspiracy behind the Shadows?

Dagr hugs Nick and says "You're not alone anymore," but then "Somebody get this bitch a drink before he grows tits."  Was he being homoerotic or homophobic?

Scene 7:   They all go to Nick's garage to drink.  Oh, they're physically present, not on the internet.  Time for back stories:

West lost his brother to a heroin overdose caused by a Shadow.  Dagr was 12 years old, so distraught by his Shadow that he was posting suicide notes on the internet, when West found him.  FinalGrl's parents died in a murder-suicide due to the Shadow.

The boys leave, but FinalGirl girl sticks around.  Nick gazes lustfully as she changes clothes.  Darn -- I thought for sure he was gay. It took 28 minutes to heterosexualize him.

I've seen enough.  I'll just fast-forward to the end.

At least there's no fade- out kiss. 

Spoiler Alert:

The Shadow is Nick's mother.

Oct 4, 2021

"La Brea": As Many Plot Holes as "Lost," But Not as Much Beefcake


I've been dying to watch the first episode of La Brea, the new tv series on Hulu: according to the horrendous reviews,  a "cliched, amateurish, inept rip-off of Lost"  with "a cliche gay couple."  11% on Rotten Tomatoes.  Where are Joel and the Bots when you need them?

Scene 1:  Stuck in traffic outside the La Brea Tar Pits in L.A., Mom intermittently honks her horn, complains about her job,  and displays her wedding-ring necklace (so she and Dad are divorced so they can get back together again). Teenage daughter Izzy has a prosthetic leg.  Teenage son Josh (Jack Martin, left) demonstrates that he is heterosexual by cruising a girl in the next car (aren't you glad we got that out of the way?). 

Suddenly the pavement cracks, and cars and buildings fall into a gigantic, rapidly-expanding sinkhole.  Mom reverses the car and drives down the sidewalk until she crashes. Hundreds of people run past stopped cars (but no one actually gets out of the cars?).   Josh falls in.  Mom falls in, but Izzy grabs her arm.  Instead of "Pull me up!", Mom orders her to "Let go!"  Huh?   The sinkhole obligingly waits for her to think it over, drop Mom, and run away in slow motion.

Scene 2: 
 U.S. Air Force Base, El Segundo, California.  Disgraced ex-pilot Gavin (Eoin Macken) in a car, intermittently drinking, getting a vision of a giant condor, and gazing at a photo of his estranged family.  He goes in to apply for a job.  The interviewer doesn't want a pilot who has crazy hallucinations (and drinks...and discusses his marital problems in detail), but she promises to find him something else to do.

On the way out, he sees a news story about the sinkhole on tv (helpfully set up in the lobby), and Izzy calls.  Before she has a chance to say anything, he yells "Stay there.  I'm on my way."  How do you know she was in the disaster?  How do you know where she is?  

Scene 3: The disaster site.  Izzy in an ambulance, being examined.  Why is she the only one?  Wouldn't there be hundreds of evacuees?  Dad arrives.  Wait -- it's 24 miles from El Segundo to L.A., How did he get there so fast?   They hug.  Suddenly giant condors, just like the ones in Dad's hallucinations, fly from the sinkhole.  One stops and caws ominously: "Nice seeing you again, Gavin."

Scene 4:  Mom fell through a glowing rift into a new world, barren except for a single "Wilshire Boulevard" sign and a weird pictograph on a rock.  And her wedding-ring necklace, on the ground nearby.   Why isn't she pulverized by the fall?  And where are the other people and objects that fell with her?    She starts running at random, yelling "Josh!"

Eventually she runs into a black guy with a gun (whoa, racism!), traumatized by the fall.  They both run toward some smoke -- oh, here's where everything else landed, in a convenient clearing!  Why are the cars and buildings all mangled, but the people are fine?

Scene 5:
Josh has apparently been there much longer than Mom. He's already got a sidekick -- Riley, the girl he cruised earlier!  They also meet a gung-ho woman and a giggling stoned dude (Scott), who thinks they're in an episode of Lost.  A convenient Doctor (Jon Seda) takes charge, and sends them all out looking for supplies.  

There's also a gay couple, half of which is played by Pacharo Mzembe.  The other half has lost his glasses, and is literally blind without them.  They're on the scene for about 10 seconds. 

Riley and Scott find a cache of heroin in one of the cars.  Ulp!  There's a drug dealer among them!

Uh-oh, giant CGI wolves attack!  Riley's dad is killed and eaten.  Jack is bitten.   The others take refuge in cars until Black Guy with Gun shoots the wolves.  

Scene 6: 
At the sinkhole, Homeland Security lady holds a press conference.  It was...um...er...a natural disaster.  There are no plans to search for survivors: "no one could have survived that fall."  But Gavin gets a vision of Mom in the prehistoric world: "This sounds crazy, but Mom and Josh are still alive.  And what about the condors?"

Meanwhile, Homeland Security Lady talks to Adam (Toby Truslove, left), a senior official who worked on a similar incident in the Mojave Desert: "Yep, I told them what they wanted to hear.  No way they can know the truth!"  They go into a command center tent and look at drone images of the glowing rift.  Suddenly the images vanish.

Scene 7: At the prehistoric world, Doctor treats Josh's wound -- he needs antibiotics, or he will die in like a few minutes (that's not how infections work).  The Black Guy with a Gun, traumatized by using his gun, runs into the woods.  Mom and Doctor drop their search for antibiotics to follow.  Just let him go?  Keeping Josh alive is more important than telling a stranger "Everything is going to be ok?"

Coincidentally, Black Guy with Gun knows where an ambulance is -- inconveniently distant from the rest of the debris. 

Scene 8: Dad  Gavin tries to talk to Adam and Homeland Security Lady: "I know something.  I've been having hallucinations, see, but I'm not crazy.  And not very drunk yet.."  They dismiss him.  "I saw the serial number of your drone."  They pretend not to care, but secretly investigate him.

Dad Gavin, Izzy, and Aunt Jessica go home -- extremely ornate rich-person house.  Dad sorts through a shoebox of old photos to find a picture of the boulder with the pictograph, which would prove that there are sinkhole survivors, I guess.

Scene 9:  On the way to the ambulance, Doctor conveniently walks ahead, so Black Guy with Gun (Ty) reveals that he has an ex-wife (of course), and he's a psychologist (who carries a gun with him at all times?). He immediately stops being traumatized and asks if Mom wants to start an imprompto therapy session.  

Ok!  About a year ago, she was running late, so she asked a neighbor to pick up Izzy from school, and there was an accident, and Izzy lost her leg.  

"You can't blame yourself," Ty responds. Gee, I could have said that without a Ph.D. in psychology!

Scene 10:  Dad Gavin sneaks out in the middle of the night to find the boulder with the pictograph.  And he digs around, and finds the wedding ring necklace!  Are they going with the survivors in the prehistoric past, before the first humans came to North America (over 23,000 years ago)?  No way that ring would be so close to the surface.

Meanwhile, at the survivor camp, Scott and Riley try to keep Josh awake so he won't die (that's head injuries, not infected wounds).  Gung-ho lady fires a flare.  Someone notices -- a prehistoric person with the pictograph on his cloak!

Meanwhile, at the command center, they discover that the condors belong to a prehistoric species.

Scene 11: Mom, Doctor, and Ty finally reach the ambulance.  Suddenly Mom notices that they're still in the L.A. basin.  Ulp, a saber-tooth tiger attacks!   Saber-tooth tigers became extinct about 10,000 years ago, so they're definitely in the past. The end.

Beefcake: None.

Gay characters: One couple, for ten seconds.

Heterosexism:  Nearly all interactions, even professional and familial interactions, are between men and women.  I can't recall a single line of dialogue spoken between men (except the gay guy says "It will be ok, Sweetheart" to his partner).

Plot Inanities: Lots.

Will I Keep Watching:  What for?  Everybody is divided into boy-girl dyads, and no one took off his clothes, and the mystery has already been solved: they're in the prehistoric past.

Oct 3, 2021

"Blood and Water": Two Guys Kissing in Cape Town


The teaser for Season 2 of Blood and Water, a Netflix series about an elite private school in Cape Town, South Africa, depicts two cute shirtless guys awkwardly talking to Mom and Dad.  

Could they be a gay couple?  

Well, this is Netflix, and South Africa recognized same-sex marriage in 2005, so maybe....

I fast-forwarded through the series to find out.

The scene occurs in Season 2, Episode 1: the two teenagers, Chris and Mark, stumble through a mansion, kissing and undressing each other.  They reach the pool.  Uh-oh, Mom and Dad are there!  

"Um...er...I thought you were out of town.  Um...er...this is Michael, my boyfriend."  

Mom and Dad are completely nonchalant.  "Chrissy, dear,when did you get a boyfriend?  You must tell us all about him!"

The series centers on a girl named Puleng, whose sister Phume was kidnapped shortly after her birth.  She somehow gets the idea that Filke, star swimmer at Parkhurst Academy, is her long-lost sister, so she transfers to Parkhurst and joins the swim team to do some stalking.  This results in a series of uncovered lies, secrets, and scandals.  And romance, of course, notably with mega-hunk Thabang Molaba.

Chris (Arno Greef), Filke's bff, is a bit of a scoundrel.  He publishes some accusations about Puleng's father's involvement in the kidnapping, but makes sure that her ally Wendy gets the credit, just to stir things up a bit. 

He is actually pansexual: In Season 1, he dates both Mark (Duane Williams) and a girl named Zama, without informing either.  Zama finds out when she catches him getting a blow job from Mark, and doesn't react well (because of the "cheating," not because of the gay stuff).  In Season 2,  he is just with Mark (as far as I can tell from fast-forwarding), but the relationship never takes center stage after that scene.

Actor Arno Greef, whose first language is Afrikaans, states that when he was cast, he didn't know what "pansexual" meant, so he did some research: it's "an important community that needs representation as well in the media."  The fan feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.  

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