Mar 26, 2022

Disney's "Parallels": Four Friends Explore Parallel Worlds

 Parallels, on the Disney Channel: four friends are separated into different parallel worlds.  Sounds interesting, and maybe one of the friends is gay.

Prologue: 2011.  In a rustic Disney Nature Show wilderness, a boy with a crutch looks at grasshopers through a magnifying glass.  Suddenly the world starts whirling around.  He drops his crutch and his magnifying glass, and vanishes!  

Scene 1:
2021.  A rustic school in France.  Some junior high students played by 25-year olds line up to be photographed.  A jock (Thomas Chomel, left) and his girlfriend, gaze at each other; the nerd (Timote Regault) who is secretly in love with the girl looks on jealously.   

Later a fourth, Victor (Maxime Bergeron), joins them.  He is a genius, and tried to skip up a grade to be with his older friends, but he didn't like it and wants to repeat.  Besides, if he's the youngest kid in high school, "No one would date me!"  He says "no one," not "no girl."  

"What about the little blonde in eighth grade?"  they want to know. Boy blond or girl blond?

He's worried that they will go to high school, then college, and grow apart.  "No, that will never happen.  I love you guys."  Foreshadowing!

Scene 2: A rustic mountain resort town.  The girl, Romaine, goes to the grocery store.  The checker, her Mom, has to work late, so Romaine has to pick up baby sister Camille.  Mom pops some pills -- she must be dying.

At their rustic cabin, Romaine and Baby Sister run into Dad (Dmitri Storoge), who is apparently in the midst of divorcing Mom.  The girls hate him.  

Scene 3:
A palatial mansion.  Genius Victor talking to Jock Sam, his older brother, who plans to ask Romaine to be his girlfriend tonight.  The way they were gazing at each other, I thought they were already engaged.  Victor:  "Hurry up and ask her, before I do."  

The parents (including Dad Gil Alma, left) yell at Victor for not living up to his potential.  Geniuses should be doing physics experiments, not playing video games!  Later, Victor and Sam argue: "I wish you would act like my big brother sometimes."

Scene 4:  We've seen three of the four friends' problems.  Next up, Nerd Bilal: his mother has to work late, so he's on his own for dinner, but they're going to the mountains this weekend. They live in a mountain resort.  How much more mountainous can it get?  

Scene 5: The four friends hanging out in the dark, scary woods (no coffee shops in town?).  They have a secret bunker with lights, music, food, and...booze?  On a Disney show?  They dance, play with sparklers, and generally frolic, until Jock Sam and Romaine pair off, and Bilal is stuck in the friend zone again.  Suddenly the lights flicker, the room starts to spin around, and everyone vanishes but Sam!

A middle-aged man crawls from behind the couch, groaning and holding his head.  Sam runs away.

Scene 6:  Nerd Bilal
looks in the mirror and is shocked to see that he's now Omar Mebrouk (left): middle-aged, with a beard and a ripped physique (which we see) and an enormous penis (which we don't).  And a boyfriend or girlfriend: there's a note in his pocket from "my love." So, is the adult Bilal gay?  People are out searching for the kids who vanished (already?), so he runs away.  

Scene 7: The Nuclear Research Institute.  A woman -- maybe Bilal's Mom -- determines that the latest experiment is a failure.  She turns off the giant Time-Tunnel machine.

Scene 8:  The police and search teams have found nothing: the kids just vanished.  They break the news to Sam and his parents, then call Bilal's Mom as she is leaving the facility.  

She gets into her car -- and Adult Bilal is there!  Of course she doesn't believe that he's actually her son, and calls for the security guards.  Adult Bilal runs away.

Scene 9: Police station.  The parents suggest that maybe Sam got drunk and became aggressive, and his friends ran away. Officer Retz (Guillaume LabbĂ©, top photo) interviews Sam and Bilal's Mom about the crazy guy who claimed to be Bilal, then sends them home.

Scene 10:  Morning.  Baby Sister Camille wakes up, and notices that Romaine's bed is empty.  Mom and Dad are in the kitchen, crying.  

Meanwhile, Adult Bilal confronts Sam in his bedroom and reveals a lot of personal details, including his friend-zone crush on Romaine (which everyone was pretending not to notice), and finally convinces him that he's really Bilal.  They search for clues to what happened.  Bilal's wedding ring is inscribed June 5, 2031, so he's from the future, but he has no memories of his adult life.  "So a woman in the future loves me," he says, definitively labeling himself as heterosexual.

We see what happened to Victor and Romaine: they ended up in the empty room together.  The end.

Beefcake: No.  Some of the stars are attractive.

Other Sights: It's all rustic mountain resort.  Would it really be so expensive to film a scene in Le Marais?

Gay Characters: No, no, no, absolutely, emphatically no!  Any hope for a gay character is eventually squashed by offhand comments about hot girls.

Heterosexism:  Lots.

Will I Keep Watching: 
I'm sort of interested in seeing how it works out. Is 15-year old Bilal trapped in his future body, trying to negotiate a job that he doesn't know how to perform and a wife that he's never met?  Will Adult Bilal try to continue his education, and apply to college at the age of 30?  (Hey, I went to grad school at age 40).  Will he and Sam stay friends, and how will that look to outsiders?  Will Officer Retz take his shirt off?

And what of Jules Houplain, who gets top billing on IMDB, but has not yet appeared?  He is gay in real life, and has more beefcake photos posted than the rest of the cast combined.  Will he provide some queer representation, at long last?

1 comment:

  1. Update: Jules Houplain plays the 18-year old Victor. He is introduced being bullied by boys and meeting the Girl of His Dreams. Ugh! Why can't, just once, we see a boy befriending a boy? Change that grade to an F


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