Sep 3, 2022

"Foul Play": So many gay black sports stars with tats and beards that you can't tell them apart

Foul Play,
on Amazon Prime, has one of the most grammatically tenuous blurbs I've ever read.  Matt has two clients, both dead. "We travel to the afterlife as the deceased have a conversastion with the man himself."  What man?  Do you mean God? 

"Life for them was about championships, money, and sex, but that is all no more."  You mean "over"?  

"It's time for them to confess their sins as we are treated to a recap of their final days and for one important question to be answered -- how did they die?"  Read it three or four times, and you might figure out what it means.

But the icon for the second and third episodes depicts two heavily tattooed black guys in bed.  One seems to be cozying up to the other, who is not interested.  I'll give it a try.

Scene 1:  Several bearded, tattooed black guys and one girl respond to the news that they are dead. "This is the afterlife?" "Whatever."  "Where's the door, fuck this shit!"  They are being interviewed by Jesus Christ, the Son of God himself (off camera).  

The interviews continue, as they worry about their sins in life pushing them to the Bad Place: "I wore a condom most of the time." "Mr. Good Dick, they called me.  The chili love me."   "Could we just skip the interview?  I know where I'm going."'

They all want to know: "How did I die?"

This is very low budget, talking heads in front of a window in someone's house. 

Opening Credits
: The cast names appear on a blank screen: Tripp Ali (Bowie).

Tony Deberry (Matt)

 Gary Lavard (Calvin)

Nelson J, Davis (Outsider).

Plus one guy with no beefcake photos and two girls. 

Scene 2:  A messy bedroom.  Guy's butt as he gets dressed -- either Calvin or Outsider.  Naked hunk photos on the wall -- he must be gay!  He kneels to pray: "Thanks for everything, but I'm still waiting on that Tesla."  

Cut to Matt and Bowie cuddling in another bedroom.  Bowie starts kissing Matt's neck and back.  A gay couple!  

Calvin/Outsider rushes down the stairs and bangs on their door.  Matt answers.  

Scene 3:  Wait -- now Calvin/Outsider is running through the woods, approaching a house where Matt is on the phone.  Didn't he just knock on their door, or was that someone else?  

Matt -- or is it someone else -- is asking another guy, "Don't you remember Vegas?"

Another guy on the deck of the house: "Vegas, where I wore my white gloves?"  

Matt or someone else: "I'm more worried about you being murdered in the ring than wearing white gloves."  

I'm totally lost.  I absolutely cannot tell these people apart.  Does everybody have to have muscles, tats, and beards? They appear to be dead sports figures, but who is connected to whom?  You see a lot of chests and butts, and everyone appears to be gay, but I would prefer a little character differentiation, to figure out what's going on.

My Grade: D

Sep 2, 2022

"You're Nothing Special": A Teenager with No Magic Power and her Gay BFF Look for Love in Catalonia


Every other drama on Netflix is about a teenager with magical powers, but the six-episode Spanish teencom You're Nothing Special features a teenager who doesn't have magical powers!  Everyone just thinks she does because her advice and confidence-building work.

I'm in!  I reviewed Episode 6, "We All Do Stupid Things," in which "Javi meets up with a mystery man."  It sounds like a gay romance, unless, of course, Javi happens to be a girl with a boy's name.

Scene 1:  Amaia, a middle-aged teenager, leaves an extremely ornate 16th century building and rides her bike through her village.  Then she sits down to breakfast -- pancakes -- while Mom disgustingly slurp-kisses her cheek for about ten minutes.  

She rides through town again, then sits down for a second breakfast with Mom Laura and preteen sister.  She suggests: "We haven't done anything for a long time except slurp-kiss each other.  Why don't we go to that overlook point."  This upsets Mom, for some reason.

Scene 2:
  More riding through town (at least we see a lot of it).  Amaia finally arrives at the school (ultra modern), where her three friends are waiting: a girl (Lucia), a sassy femme guy (Javi, right), and an Asian guy (Zhao, left). 

They order her to talk to her crush, Asier (Gabriel Guevara, top photo), because they kissed at a party, and he's posted fifty photos to social media without his girlfriend, which means he's available.  So, three romcom bffs obsessed with her love life?

In other news, femme Javi announces that he's about to get "super-laid": a guy approached him on a hookup app.  He didn't post a photo, but he sounds hot.  They scoff: "No photo?  Dude, he's a troll!"  

Suddenly the Crush Asier approaches and shy-talks to Amaia.  "I want to ask you I borrow your philosophy notes?"  Darn, she thought he was going to ask her out on a date! 

 "Sure, but they're at home.  Let's meet up later and I'll get them for you."  Smart move!

Scene 3:  Outside the ornate 16th-century building (where they live!), Amaia's preteen sister announces that she was invited to a party, so the magic bracelet worked.  "So I'm going to sell it to Maria for 20 euros."  "No way!  The magic will work only for you, unless you get 25 euros for it."  Har-har, capitalism wins over mysticism

It's time for the philosophy note meetup, at the town's quaint open-air market.  Asier says "Thanks.  You're like my Grandma."  Not what a girl wants to hear, but she pushes forward: "Remember when we kissed at the party?" "Not really.  I kiss a lot of people when I'm drunk.  I apologize if it offended you."  Definitely not what a girl wants to hear.

Scene 4:  Morning.  Amaia overslept!  She rushes to school and into a lab full of microscopes.  Javi announces that his hookup app has yielded  "12 profile views, 7 messages, and 2 dick pics.  Wanna see?"  Plus a text from the annoying shy guy with no profile pic.

While the teacher drones on, oblivious, they discuss Amaia and Amier's kiss. "I was the aggressor," she exclaims.  "And I closed my eyes, like an idiot!"  I've hooked up with guys in Barcelona.  They close their eyes while they kiss.  "Yes, but he let you kiss him.  That means he's interested."  Suddenly they see Crush Amier making out with his girlfriend -- extensively -- in class -- with the teacher still oblivious!  

Amaia storms out.  Javi looks at a new butt pic on his hookup app.  This, the teacher notices!  Boy-girl smooching is fine, but looking at a boy's butt -- detention!

Scene 5:  Back home, Mom presents Amaia with a tray of disgusting looking black globs.  She tries one, and gags and spits it out.  Braver than I would be.  The globs are peace offerings, to satiate her daughters while Mom announces that she has a boyfriend.  "He's interesting and funny."  In West Hollywood, the next question would be "How big is he?"  

"By the way, we're going out tomorrow night. You can have friends over, but no parties."

Scene 6:
Amaia announces the big party at her house with no adult supervision.  Javi can't make it: he's made a hookup date with the guy who sent the butt pic.  Javi's a femme top.  They do exist.  

"But you just barely met him. He didn't even show you his face." "I didn't show my face, either, just my chest and dick."  

None of the other cast have beefcake photos available, so here's a random Spanish hunk.

Scene 7: Amaia and her female bff Lucia are off by themselves, for some reason, when they see Crush Amier's girlfriend Irene leaving the town medical center, crying.  Pregnant!   Lucia rushes over to comfort her: "The first sessions are the hardest.  I've been going for a year."  

"Well, I'm quitting!  I hated it!  Besides, no shrink can fix me -- I'm too broken."  The Girlfriend is in therapy for an unspecified but serious issue.  The subplots thicken.

Scene 8:  Amaia in bed, ruminating over the kiss.  To get her mind off it, she recites the Harry Potter books, in order.  That doesn't work, so she resolves to snare Asier, girlfriend or not.

Scene 9:  Morning.  How can Amaia get her Crush Amier to the party without his girlfriend, so she can put the moves on him?  She starts out by inviting Jokin and his smooching partner. "But can we bring our friend Asier?  We were supposed to hang tonight."  Score!    

The party starts at 10:00 pm, shortly after Mom leaves for her dinner date (they eat at ungodly late hours in Spain).

Uh-oh, bff Lucia offered Irene the use of Amaia's magical powers.  This enrages her. "Are you insane?  I can't just trot out my magic for everybody!"  "But the pre-magic interview could reveal some intel that you could use to snare Asier." "Ok, I'll do it."

Scene 10:  Amaia is setting up for the party, when Javi calls.  He's waiting for his date at a bus stop in front of a scary deserted factory.  The guy is late.  And later.  And later.  Maybe he bailed.  

Zhao arrives at the party -- the first one there!  "Oh, other people are coming.  They're just late.  No one wants to be first."  

Meanwhile, Javi is fuming at the bus stop, when a scary car pulls up.  Do not get into a car with a stranger!  But he does.  Ulp -- Javi thought age 30 was geriatric.  This guy remembers Woodstock!  He's also the father of one of Javi's friends.

But Javi can't just bolt, so the hookup commences. He stares in deer-caught-in-headlights horror as Geriatric makes small talk.  

Scene 11: Still only Amaia and Zhao at the party.  They watch a movie and get drunk, and discuss Zhao's crush on the other bff, Lucia.  Amaia offers him a love spell.  "Yeah, like that worked well for you and Amier."  

Meanwhile, Javi is staring in horror through the interminable drive to the hookup site. Geriatric notices and asks his age.  "16."  "Ulp! I should just take you home." Geriatric isn't perving on teens: Javi didn't list his age on the hookup profile, either. 

Back to Zhao and Amaia: "Well, it was fun watching a movie with you, but I have to go or my parents wil kill me."  "You said you didn't have a curfew..."  ", er...bye!"  

Amaia cleans up the party stuff just in time: Mom and her boyfriend come in and start smooching and giggling.  She tries to sleep amid the loud sex noises.

Scene 12: Morning.  Stocking-clad feet try to sneak out.  It's Mom's ugly boyfriend.  Too late -- the girls see him!  He pretends that he just entered the house.  When Amaia sees who it is, she storms out.  "How could Mom be dating him?"  

She walks to school with Javi, who complains "Being gay in this town is the worst!  All the gay men are closeted or way old!"  Try a small town on the Plains with nothing but collegiate twinks. 

Scene 13: Gym class.  "So, are you going to tell Chivite that his dad is gay?"  "No.  My Mom is friends with his wife."  "Does she know that he's fucking teenagers?"  "Maybe she's ok with it."  

Scene 14: Class.  Oh, Mom's new boyfriend is Amaia's hated philosophy teacher.  He keeps her and Amier's girlfriend Irene after class to complain about their assignments: "An absolute disaster!  Can you explain why you did such a terrible job?  Maybe you should be in the remedial class."  There's a remedial philosophy class?  

They leave, complaining about what an asshole he is.  Irene hints that the townsfolk have many secrets.  "If you only knew..."   To hear the dets, Amaia offers to walk Irene home. 

On the way,  Irene asks her to use her magic to "change something about me.  Something that I am, or something that I feel."  Is she a lesbian? "I want to like Asier, but I think I'm a lesbian."  Called it!  The end.

Beefcake: None.

Other Sights: A lot of the town.

Heterosexism:  Amaia's pursuit of Amier fuels the primary plot.

Gay Characters: Javi and Irene.  As someone whose partner is 20 years younger, I was offended by the "old people are gross!" rhetoric.  And Irene seems way too homophobic for a contemporary Spanish teenager: lesbians are "broken" and require psychotherapy to be "cured"?  

Fast Forwarding:  Javi gets a boyfriend at the big St. John's Eve party in the last episode.  Actually, everyone pairs off at that party; it's nonstop falling-in-love montages.

Sep 1, 2022

Gays Next Door in 1972: The Doris Day Show

In 1972, when I was 11 years old, my friends and I liked a sitcom called The Doris Day Show, mainly because it was squeezed between the beefcake-heavy Here's Lucy and Sonny and Cher.  

It was a Mary Tyler Moore clone, a workplace comedy centered on Doris Martin (Doris Day), a hip, sophisticated journalist for Today's World magazine, living in San Francisco and dating a number of cute guys (including Patrick O'Neal and bisexual rat packer Peter Lawford, left).

And, in a television first, there was a gay couple living next door!

Lance and Lester (Alan Dewitt, Lester Fletcher) were often referred to, but appeared just once, in a meeting of tenants in the November 27, 1972 episode, "The Co-Op."  I didn't catch the flamboyant stereotypes, and no one used the word "gay" -- I wouldn't hear the word on tv until 1976 -- but I saw that two men had found a way to live together, escaping the heterosexist mandate .  Could San Francisco be a "good place"?

Doris Day got her start in the light musical comedies of the 1940s, but she made her mark as a liberated woman in a series of Camelot-era sex comedies with suggestive titles: Pillow Talk (1959), It Happened to Jane (1959), Lover Come Back (1961), That Touch of Mink (1962), The Thrill of it All (1963), Move Over Darling (1963).  Her usual costar, gay actor Rock Hudson, helped her tiptoe around the boundary between not knowing that gay people exist and knowing but not saying.

But her sitcom began as a hayseed comedy!

In its first season (1968-69), The Doris Day Show was basically Green Acres: City girl Doris, a new widow, moves to her father's ranch with her two sons, Toby (Todd Starke) and Billy (Philip Brown, below, who would go on to a successful career as a soap hunk), plus a ranch hand (James Hampton, right) and a housekeeper.  It aired on Tuesday nights, just after another relic of the 1950s, The Red Skelton Show.

Doris hated hayseed -- she didn't even know that her husband Martin Melcher had signed her up for it.

So in the second season (1969-70), she pushed for some changes: although still living on the ranch, Doris commuted into San Francisco, where she worked as a secretary for Today's World magazine.

Today's World: Modern, hip, with it.

She got two quintessentially urban coworkers, played by  McLean Stevenson and Rose Marie.

In the third season (1970-71): Doris and her sons lived in an apartment over an Italian restaurant in San Francisco (Ranch?  What ranch?), where she got a gay-vague next door neighbor (Billy DeWolf).

In the fourth season (1971-72), the transition was complete: Doris was a sophisticated career woman, Ms. instead of Mrs., who had always been single (Kids?  What kids?).

And she managed to finagle some gay neighbors out of the network, something Mary Tyler Moore was never able to do.

Aug 29, 2022

"High Heat": Do They Mean the Fire, or the Naked Men?


I thought that the icon of the Mexican telenovela  High Heat, originally Donde hubo fuego, "Where there was fire," depicted two men kissing.  But one of them could be a woman with a boy's haircut. BUT Episode 8 says "Sparks fly between Gerardo and Fabio"  So I'll watch it.

Scene 1: Ricardo is leaving his wife, pregnant with twins, to go to work.  She asks him not to go.  He says he'll come back in an instant if there's a problem.  Uh-oh, one or both of those unborn twins is a goner.  I'm guessing hostage crisis.  They smooch and discuss how much they love each other. Then he walks off, turns, and she blows him a kiss.  Ugh, sappy!  Maybe he's the goner.

At the fire house, Ricardo is busily show us his, I mean, putting on his uniform..when his wife calls: her water broke (she's going to give birth now).  As he is heading home, Wife sees a stranger outside!  She drops her orange juice.

Ricardo arrives.  She'll be vanished, or dead.  Nope, just scared.

Scene 2: A fire at the newspaper office.  A frightened woman tells Poncho: "The fire was started in order to silence me, because I know all about your brother's investigation of the Reynosa Butchers."   The woman with a boy's haircut recognizes her.  She explains that she was Daniel's girlfriend.  

"So, do you know who murdered him?" Poncho asks.  "Seriously, I have to get out of here.  But go check to see if Daniel's files on the Reynosa Butchers are still on my desk."

Nope, all burnt up.  Plus Poncho feels bad over not being able to save someone, so his boss consoles him: "People die all the time.  Now go home and rest for a day or so."  

Scene 3: In an apartment downtown, a young woman looks up "breast cancer" online, and then calls her mother.  Every soap has to have a terminal disease; I think it's a Writers' Guild rule.  Mom wants to know why she didn't come to visit in the hospital.  ""  

Roommate or sister comes in and starts criticizing her for using the kitchen and using her cellphone.  She counters with "you use your telescope too much!"

Scene 4: On the poor side of town, middle aged Angel comes in and is informed by the live-in nurse that "Mr. Guillermo is worse."  Two terminal diseases?  Goody.

Guillermo, no doubt his father, is inarticulate and resistant.  Angel goes off on him: "I work all day, pay for the nurse, come home.  And if I die in a fire, who will take care of you?"

Scene 5: Naked butts of muscle guys in the firehouse locker room.  Naked studmuffin gets a text from Rosario (a girl's name): "Come see me."  

Scene 6: Poncho and Boy-Haircut lead Daniel's Girlfriend into their house. "You can stay here for awhile." 

"Daniel lived here," Poncho points out.  "Why did he never bring you over?"

"He wanted to discuss our relationship with you first."  Why, is she trans?

"Ok, so what did he tell you about his investigation of the Butcher?"

"It has something to do with your Aunt Isabel and an orphanage."  I'm lost.  I'm going to fast forward to the sparks flying.

Minute 24:
  Fabio (Nahuel Escobar, left) and Gerardo (Daniel Gama, below) are moving furniture in preparation for the opening of their new nightclub or restaurant.  Fabio gets goofy, trying to squirt Gerardo with his beer.  This leads to a "spark" moment.  The two stare, in tight closeups, for an interminable amount of time, then gradually move in for a kiss.  But before they get there, Gerardo gets a phone call from his wife!  "I'll be right there, honey!"  He leaves.

Minute 30:
Gerardo follows Fabio on social media and clicks "like" on his sexy photos.  Fabio is ecstatic: "Gerardo liked my photos!"  His female bff advises him to stop obsessing over Gerardo, but he won't listen.  The end.

Beefcake: Lots.  The fireman hunks can't see to keep their shirts on.  Or their pants.  

Heterosexism: Not a lot in the partial episode I watched.  Turns out that the first scene is a flashback about Ricardo's Dead Wife.

Gay Characters:  I imagine that Fabio and Gerardo are going to have a "come out or not?" relationship.  

Firefighter Olivia.  She's dating Poncho, a male stripper going undercover at the fire station to gather intel on the killer.  Sounds looney, but it's no worse than some of the plotlines on "Days of Our Lives."  

I was going to post a photo of Boy-Haircut Olivia, but I thought you'd rather see Poncho in his underwear. 

My Grade: B.

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