Nov 12, 2022

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

Nov 9, 2022

"Missing: The Other Side": The Gay Leader of the Village of the Dead


Missing: The Other Side
, a Korean drama on Netflix: "a con artist encounters a village where the spirits of missing persons are trapped until the mystery of their disappearance is solved."  Sounds like you could just as easily say "murder victims," but I'm interested in mysterious disappearances, and the promo shows a femme blond guy -- the con artist or his friend?  -- so I'll check for gay subtexts.  No episode descriptions, so we'll start at the beginning.

Scene 1: Billboard: "It's been 10 day since my daughter Kim Soo-hee went missing."  We see her leaving school, walking slowly down an alley, and getting grabbed by a shadow, then her body being disposed of.  Next the shadow grabs a man sleeping in a car, and Kim Me-Ok, age 33, breaks into a freezer, retrieves a frozen book, and burns the pages.  

Scene 2: Con Artist (Ko Soo, left) convinces Rich Guy to hand over 100 billion won ($730,000) for a scam investment.  He shoves it into his briefcase and tries to leave, but first Rich Guy calls to see if he's legit.  Yes, the woman on the phone says, he's our team leader.

Out in the hallway, Con Artist is relieved.  They got away with the scam!  

Scene 3:   The three con artists meet.  A woman tells them about their next target, Mr. Park, a "scumbag who swindles local businesses," like a shop owner out of her life savings.

Rich Guy and his cronies call again, get the real Kim Seok-hun, and realize that they've been conned.  They run out of the room yelling in anger. Wait -- was the earlier scene a flashback?  Is this guy Mr. Park?  Way to confuse the audience!

Scene 4:  Sangwon Market.  Con Artist delivers the money that Rich Guy swindled from the shop owner, minus his commission.  She gives him some produce to share with his team.

Meanwhile, the police are retrieving the body of a girl from a deep freeze.  She's Kim Soo-hee from Scene 1, missing for a year. The scruffy detective Baek Il-du notices rope burns on her neck, and concludes that she was strangled.  More background: single, age 33, worked in publishing.  Wait -- the girl in Scene 1 was dressed in a school uniform, and said goodbye to 3,000 similarly dressed girls.  She must have been a different victim from Kim Soo-hee.  Wait to increase audience confusion!  

We are introduced to a new character, Gruff Cop Shin Jun-ho (Ha-Joon), who is upset due to an argument with his fiancee.  He goes to a tux shop fora  fitting for the wedding, and discovers that she cancelled it!  

Scene 5: Con Artist sees a girl being kidnapped, and intervenes.  The gang chases him.  Just then, Rich Guy's gang tracks him down.  He runs away, being chased by two gangs, through Saengwo Market, where he is hit by Gruff Cop's car!  

Scene 6: At the hospital, Gruff Cop looks on in horror as Con Artist goes into cardiac arrest (doctors are working on him right in the lobby).  But he doesn't die.  He awakens.  Gruff Cop says "You should be fine now."  There was a pool of blood under his head.  Why isn't his head bandaged?  Is this the afterlife?

Scene 7:  Scruffy Detective working on the case of the dead girl, when a distraught mother rushes in with another missing person case: her son, Ha-neul.  He begins a search, sending his team to pass out fliers and dredge nearby lakes.

Meanwhile, the Blond-Haired Guy from the promo (Song Geon-Hee) is putting a "help-wanted" sign up on his castle when a guy appears-- with Ha-neul!  Kidnappers?

Scene 7:  Con Artist is released from the hospital, still with Gruff Cop: "Since you're paying for everything, I asked them for a colonoscopy, but they refused to do it."  

Scene 8:  At the crime scene, Gruff Cop finds a delivery slip lying on the ground for everyone to see, with a name: Kang Myeung-jin.   Meanwhile, Con Artist is on his way back to the hideout, when he is grabbed by Rich Guy's gang, tied up, and taken to the woods. While they are digging a hole to bury him in, he escapes. Is he going to die soon?  I'm getting tired of waiting.   Running blindly through the woods, he falls off a cliff -- but lands on a tree branch.  A gardener finds him.  Surely he's dead now.

Scene 9: Gears turning and candles lighting themselves.  A woman comes through a mirror.  In another room, Con Artist awakens, half-naked, screaming.  The Gardener gives him some clothes and sets out dinner.  This must be the afterlife village.

Meanwhile, Con Artist's friends go to the spot where his cell phone last tracked him. They find his charm bracelet. 

Scene 10:  Looking for his wallet and cell phone, Con Artist returns to the spot where Gardener found him.  Uh-oh, the bad guys from last night arrive, looking for a body to show their boss.  He hides behind some rocks.  Suddenly a very large, mentally-disabled guy appears and offers him a flower.  Con Artist tries to shush him, but he is too excited to see another person.  Strangely, the bad guys don't notice.

Moving on, Con Artist passes a "Do Not Enter" sign and goes through a hazy time-space portal, I guess, to The Village: Observation tower, weird plants, people in costumes from different time periods. 

Scene 11: While Ha-neul, the Kidnapped Boy from Scene 7, eats a sandwich, the Blond Guy talks to a woman: "There's a bounty on him."  "How long will you keep him here?" "Not long."  She offers to keep the boy at her place.

Meanwhile, Con Artist goes into the Cafe Hawaii (sign in English).  Everybody stares.  Blond Guy stands behind the bar.  Con Artist wants to borrow his landline.  "It doesn't work.  Cell phones don't work here, either.  And there are no police around."

He orders a espresso, espresso machines, so iced tea it is.  "I haven't seen you around before," Blond Guy says.  "Where did you come from?"   Con Artist thinks he is just being nosy.  

Wait -- a woman walks by outside, using a cell phone!   Con Artist runs outside to ask to borrow it, but she is gone.  Wait -- she's standing right there!  Gardener sees her, and realizes that something is wrong -- Con Artist doesn't belong in the Village.  Because he's not dead?

Scene 12: Con Artist returns to the Gardener's house, changes back into the clothes he came in, and prepares to leave.  "There's a bus stop about a 30 minute walk that way."

Darn, he arrives at the bus stop just as it is pulling away.  The next one isn't until tomorrow.  Is this the afterlife or not?   He trudges back to the Cafe Hawaii to insult Blond Guy's town and then ask for a place to spend the night (not a smart strategy).  Blond Guy shows him to a room, which he complains about.  

He tries to sleep, but is awakened by the crying Kidnapped Boy.  He says that he's been waiting for his mother for two nights, but she never shows up.  Con Artist tries to comfort him by saying that he lost his own mother (not the best strategy, dude).  Suddenly he remembers seeing Kidnapped Boy on a missing person poster. 

Blond Guy intervenes. "I'll take the child to bed.  Go back to your room."

Scene 13
: Blond Guy -- Thomas --and Gardener talking: "I should have left him to die.  He'll only be trouble."  Meanwhile, Con Artist concludes that he's stumbled onto a kidnapping gang. 

Pictured: Hu Nam-ju, who appears in Episodes 3-5.

While Love Interest looks on from afar,  Sleazy Guy complains that there's nothing to do, and can he help the Gardener kick out the new guy?  Gardner seethes in rage and gives us a new plotline: "My blood boils whenever I think of how you tricked me into accusing an innocent person."  "She wasn't innocent!  She stabbed me in the back!" Literally? "She was your wife!'

Scene 14: In the morning, Con Artist leaves.  On the way, he passes a house with some kids playing in the yard: Kidnapped Boy, the Mentally Disabled Big Boy, and a third.  A woman brings out snacks.  Why is she being so nice to kidnapping victims?

Suddenly a Crazy Lady is standing next to him.  "Be quiet.  If she sees you, she'll kill you.  Another person died last night. Was it you?"

Scene 15: For some reason, he agrees to go back to the Crazy Lady's house, where she reveals that she recognizes him: "Your mother told me all about you."  So Mom actually did get lost, and ended up in the Village.  

Scary Lady from the yard enters and asks angrily "What are you doing here?" No fraternizing with dead people!   Con Artist leaves.

On the way, he runs into a lot more kids playing hide-and-seek, Kidnapped Boy among them.  He decides to take Kidnapped Boy with him.

Scene 16: Blond Guy and the rest of the staff interrogating the kids about the disappearance of Kidnapped Boy: "The new guy took him."  "You mean the handsome man with big eyes?" Blond Guy asks.  Definitely gay.

They run, and catch up to Con Artist pulling a suitcase on wheels.  Kidnapped Kid must be inside!  Nope -- it's a trick!  Ha-neul was actually hiding in the bushes.

As soon as they are gone, Con Artist hides Ha-neul in the suitcase for the rest of the trip to the bus station.  But when he opens it up again, Ha-neul has vanished!

Scene 17: Con Artist catches up to the bus, borrows the driver's cell phone, and calls the police.  Brusque Cop agrees to check it out.  Then he returns to the Village: there's Ha-neul, playing happily with the Mentally Disabled Guy, who explains: "He got lost, so I brought him back."  

Con Artist grabs him and runs, chased by the staff.  Crazy Lady beckons them into her house to hide, but when they enter, she's gone!  And the house is deserted!  Meanwhile, Gardener watches a tv story about Crazy Lady's body being discovered: she had dementia, and wandered off from the nursing home three months ago.  

Scene 18:
Continuing with Ha-neul, Con Artist stops to ask Gardener and Sleazy Guy about Crazy Lady's disappearance. (Wouldn't you think he was in on it, and run?).  Sleazy Guy explains: "Everyone in the village is dead. But..."  As he is speaking, he and his stuff begin to evaporate.  Apparently when your body is discovered, you move on to the afterlife.

Suddenly he realizes that Ha-neul is dead.  The end.

Beefcake: One shirtless scene, an occasional bulge.

Gay Characters: Thomas appears to be gay.  No one else has expressed any heterosexual interest, but an episode guide reveals that Con Artist will become interested in Gruff Cop's dead fiancee.

Gay Subtext: No doubt Con Artist and Gruff Cop will have to work together to find the bodies of the Village inhabitants so they can go on to the afterlife.  

My Grade: The flashbacks and multiple characters with the same storyline becomes confusing, but I liked the touches of humor throughout.  B. 

Update: In Episode 2, Con Artist's female partner is so happy to see him alive that she grabs and hugs and kisses him; he pointedly pushes her away.  Then he rejects her date request to go out with a male friend.  As the main character, I doubt that he will be canonically gay, but he's got a massive subtext going on.

Nov 8, 2022

Skeezix of Gasoline Alley: 1930s Gay Icon

When I was a kid in the 1960s, Dad would call me Skeezix when I misbehaved:
"Put down that comic book and clean your room, Skeezix!"

Particularly when my misbehaving had some connection to same-sex desire, like when Bill and I became a "mama and a papa", when I was disappointed at the lack of muscles at A Little Bit O'Heaven., or when I asked for a statue of a naked man for Christmas.

He never used that name on my brother or sister, just me.  I had no idea why.

One day I stumbled upon a book in my Aunt Nora's attic, starring a boy named Skeezix.  Turns out that he was from the long-running comic strip Gasoline Alley (1918-).  Originally about four buddies who hung around in an alley to talk about cars, it took a domestic turn on February 14, 1921, when Walt Wallet found a baby on his doorstep, and named him Skeezix.

The strips were now about a single dad raising a small child -- who aged in real time.

By the late 1930s, when my father was a kid, Skeezix was a teenager, and the undeniable star of the comic strip.  You could buy Skeezix toys, clothes, shoes, ice cream, coloring books, pin-backs, sheet music, and a full line of big little books.

He starred in three radio series and two movies (played by Jimmy Lyndon of Tom Brown's School Days fame, with the bisexual Scotty Beckett as his brother Corky).

The strip was not known for beefcake -- Walt was rather pudgy -- but Skeezix got some shirtless and underwear shots, and displayed a nice physique.

And he had a buddy to bond with, Spud, who accompanied him on the adventures Skeezix in Africa (1934) and Skeezix at the Military Academy (1938).

So my father connected my homoerotic hijinks to the  shirtless, buddy-bonding, arguably gay Skeezix of his childhood.

The gay symbolism didn't last.  Skeezix got a girlfriend, Nina Clock (pronounced Nine-a).

He graduated from high school, served in World War II, and returned to run the gas station.  He married Nina, and had two kids: Chipper and Clovia.

Clovia grew up, managed the gas station after Skeezix retired, and married Slim Skinner.  They had two kids: Gretchen and Rover (born in 1978).

Rover grew up, graduated from high school, and married Hoogy Boogle.  They had a son, Boog, in 2004.

And so on and so on.  In fact, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone in the six-generations of the Wallet family to date who isn't involved in a hetero-romance.  There are no confirmed bachelor uncles or maiden aunts anywhere to provide queer subtexts (except for the outsider characters Rufus and Joel).  Gasoline Alley remains a holdout from the time when gay people were assumed not to exist.

Yet for kids growing up in the 1930s, there was Skeezix.

See also: Was My Grandfather Gay?

Researching the Gay Teacher at Abbott Elementary

 I watched the first episode of Abbott Elementary, about the wacky exploits of teachers at a down-and-out elementary school, when it first premiered on Hulu last year.  I didn't like it -- the mockumentary format is a immediate turn-off, and there was some heterosexist "all boys like girls!" dialogue. But when the second season started dropping, I looked at the episode descriptions more closely.  One was: "the teachers meet Jacob's boyfriend."

Wait -- one of the teachers is gay?

So I watched the episode, "Desking" (actually in the first season).  

It's about the fad of "desking": jumping from one desk to another in a classroom.  The teachers try various ways to stop it, such as criticizing it in class and dragging all of the desks to the gym.  Finally they hit on having a teacher "desk"  to make it uncool.  The goofy history teacher Jacob (Chris Perfetti) is chosen; he calls his boyfriend, the plus-sized and fabulous Zach (Larry Owens) to bring his jogging shorts and shoes.  

The teachers ask how they met.  Zach was in line to buy a fabulous pair of shoes, while Jacob was protesting worker exploitation.  

Zach appears in only 2 episodes, this one (Season 1 episode 12), and the following (Season 1 Episode 13).  But the teachers are not surprised that Jacob is gay: he must have been outed earlier.  I'll have to go through the whole season on fast-forward, pausing at the scenes featuring Jacob.

Episode 1:
Focus character Gregory (Tyler James Williams) arrives to sub for a teacher who was fired for kicking a kid.  He explains (to the camera: this is a mockumetary) that he was hired to be principal, but then he revealed the deacon at his church having an affair, and the deacon pulled some strings with the school board and had him demoted to substitute teacher.  

 Jacob is happy to see another male teacher at the school; now he'll have someone to discuss sports with.  "Do you like women's tennis?"  It's sexist to believe that all men and no women like sports.  Is the reference to women's tennis supposed to tag Jacob as gay?

Episode 2: There's a heat wave, they try to change a light bulb, and Gregory dates one of the kids' parents.  Jacob appears only as part of the gang.   

Episode 3: They get a lot of donations from the community.  Jacob tries to repair a trashed office machine, except he doesn't know what it is.  Finally he gives up and turns it into a planter, but it's not watertight.

Episode 4:  Jacob tries to buddy-up to focus character Gregory by introducing him to everyone.  Gregory wants nothing to do with him, and scrams as soon as he can.   I can't understand why he hates Jacob so much.  Maybe he's homophobic?  

Fellow teacher Melissa is offended when Jacob refers to her as a "South Philly Type" (presumably violent, street-smart, lower-class?),  so he tries to back-pedal by enumerating all of the good things about the neighborhood.  Later he gets angry when she brings a union rep in to discuss his fights with the police, and she gets angry because "you want to romanticize the city."   He apologizes: "I was a jerk.  I wish my ex-husband could ever admit that."   So Jacob outs himself with an ex-husband in Episode 4. 

Episode 5:  Jacob thinks that the kids are bonding with him when they insult him.  Gregory says that he is actually being clowned.  So he insults them, and they respond with worse insults, like "a Huff-Po Reading Gay Pete Buttigieg." So he's out to his students?  Pennsylvania must not be one of the "don't say gay" states

Episode 6: Jacob teaches in the gifted kids' program, but the non-gifted kids feel left out.

Episode 7: Jacob and sardonic principal Barbara start a garden at the school. Only 7 episodes in, and the writers are already trying to think of plots involving every possible duo.  

Episode 8: One of the teachers, Janine, tries to match Jacob up with a guy, but he states that he has a boyfriend.  She is upset that he has never mentioned him before, and Jacob explains that they are just work friends; they don't discuss their private lives.  So she arranges a get-to-know-each other session for all of the teachers.  So he's out, but he keeps his boyfriend a secret, while the other teachers are discussing romantic entanglements in detail.  Sounds closeted.

Episode 9:  Jacob tries to buddy up with Gregory again, and gets rejected again.  But to be fair, Gregory doesn't seem to like anyone at Abbott Elementary.  Or anything else.  He doesn't even like pizza, which upsets his coworkers.  Here we get another origin story: Gregory always wanted to be a principal, and "majored in" principaling in college.  But Barbara blackmailed the deacon at church to give her the job, relegating Gregory to sub.  That's impossible: principals are promoted from the ranks of teachers, so he would major in elementary education, work as a teacher for several years, and then become a principal.  Did none of the writers interview anyone in the field?

Jacob appears only as part of the gang in Episodes 10 and 11, lead us to "Desking" and meeting The Boyfriend.  Rather a matter-of-fact outing, but at least no one is homophobic (except maybe Gregory).

"The Claus Family" A Pretty Princess Doll for Tommy, and a Shirtless GI Joe for Jules

 The Claus Family (2020): A boy who hates Christmas, discovers that he is the grandson of Santa Claus, and will have to take over when Grandpa dies.  Whoops, there goes his singing career!

Sounds a bit treacly, but it's in Flemish (IMDB says Dutch, but Flemish is a separate language).  It's Belgium, my third favorite country in Europe.   And teenage actor Mo Bakker posts shirtless instagram photos and has TikToks labeled with LGBT, so....

Scene 1: Santa Claus finishes up another run.  He lives in an ordinary apartment, not a North Pole workshop surrounded by elves.  Meanwhile, the depressed Jules and his family (Mom, Grandma, and little sister Norah, all blonde) drive through the snowy streets of the beautiful old Medieval town of Bruges, Belgium.  Jules covers his ears as they pass carolers singing a depressing Christmas song (I do the same thing!).

They arrive at the apartment, and start unloading the car.  Grandma continues to complain about this crazy plan of moving to Belgium.  Mom basically says: "My husband died, and we need a fresh start, so f*k off!"

Scene 2:
They start unpacking.  Sister Norah wants to know where the Christmas decorations are.  Mom stares in shock, and Jules yells: "No!  We're not celebrating!  I'm done with Christmas."  Nothng wrong with that.  Not everyone has happy childhood memories of That Holiday.

When the neighbors, Ella and Steph (Wim Wilaert, left) drop by with Christmas cookies, Jules runs to his room and has a tantrum.  I get haitng Christmas, but aren't you overreacting a bit?  

I guess not: his Dad died last Christmas Eve.  He flashes back to Christmas Past:   Dad explains that the lights on the tree represent the sun, which is hidden during the winter but always comes back to us. Darkness never wins; there is always a new dawn.  The pagan roots of the holiday!  Genius!

Scene 3:  Breakfast.  Grandpa is going to babysit while Mom goes to work (at a cookie factory).  Jules resists -- that old geezer?  But he doesn't get a vote, so it's off to Grandpa's toy store (the boy doesn't want to spend the day in a toy store? Maybe he thinks he's too old?).  

A couple of customers come in.  The teddy bear is broken.  The puzzle has missing pieces.  What is this, the Island of Misfit Toys?  And the snow globe -- "Hands off!  Not for sale!  Get away!"  So why do you have it out with the merchandise?

When Grandpa isn't looking, Jules examines the forbidden snow globe.  Zap -- he's in Brussels!  Zap -- China, where he's almost hit by a car! Zap -- the ocean!  He loses the globe in the deep water and has to dive for it.  This is more exciting than I anticipated.  Zap -- to Santa Claus's apartment.  Wait -- those are pictures of him and his family.  Grandpa is Santa Claus!  And back to the toy store.

Jules confronts Grandpa, who denies it at first, but finally comes clean.  Then he goes to the other room and collapses (off camera).

Scene 4: 
 Mom (Suzanne) at work.  The supervisor snits the rules: no jewelry, no personal phone calls, no bathroom breaks without permission, no talking, no happy thoughts, no developing new cookies.  Your job is to pack boring, flavorless cookies into boxes so people can buy them to give as last-minute gifts when they can't think of anything better.  She goes on to yell at Farid (Issam Dakka) for being out of uniform.  

Suddenly Suzanne gets a phone call: Grandpa Claus is in the hospital!  Farid offers to drive her.

Scene 5:  At the hospital.  Jules stares at Farid suspiciously: "Mom is replacing Dad already!  Can this Christmas get any worse?" 

Grandpa hurt his shoulder.  He's going to be fine, but the doctor says he has to slow down and avoid stress.  But when Jules visits, he starts complaining: He's Santa Claus!  He has a billion toys to deliver!  It's unclear whether Suzanne knows his secret identity or not.

Scene 6:  Mom has to go back to work, so she gets the neighbor, Ella, to babysit.  Ella is only 15.  Isn't that the same age as Jules? Is he going to get a heterosexual crush?   Nope, she just brings him a sandwich.

Scene 7:  Jules returns to the hospital, and catches Grandpa trying to sneak out. A hospital is not a prison.  You're free to leave at any time, even if the doctors advise against it. Jules offers to help deliver the toys (just this once), so Grandpa can rest.  He hates Christmas, but family comes first.  

Scene 8:
Discharged, Grandpa returns to the toy store.  Jules offers to stay with him; he doesn't want to stay home, because it's just girls (girls, yuck!).  The training begins: Santa's workshop is inside the snow globe, staffed by miniature people who are famous in Belgium (this may be the actor playing Holgar).

Grandpa and the staff argue about whether to tell Jules the truth.  "He hates Christmas!  He'll never accept it!"  "He'll come around.  It's his destiny!"  It's tough being the Chosen One.

The toys appear in rows of glass cases, like an old-fashioned automat.  They search for each child's request and pop it into a bag.  Wow, Tommy wants a princess doll wearing a pretty dress.  How gender-neutral!  It seems like a time-consuming process, but they have several days, not just one night (that should be enough to do Europe).  They also deliver candy; feel free to sample all you want, not like that soulless cookie factory.  

Scene 9: Suzanne at work at the soulless cookie factory.  She calls the toy store; no answer.  Where could Grandpa and Jules be?  Farid drops by with bad news: cookie sales are way down, so the company might fold, and they'll all lose their jobs.  Gee, I wonder where this is going.

I'll stop the scene-by-scene there.

Beefcake: None.

Other Sights: Mostly the same street.

Heterosexual Romance: Suzanne and Farid, probably, but it's very understated; a couple of hugs, one holding-hands scene.  He could just as easily be a friend.  Jules bonds with Ella, but treats her as a friend, not a "girl of his dreams" crush.

Gay Characters:  When one of the little people comes to Jules' room to talk to him, she's surrounded by his GI Joe dolls (or a European version).  Two have their shirts off, one very prominent, the other in the background. The implication, obviously intentional, is that Jules removed the shirts of his GI Joe dolls to see their muscular physiques.  

Hating Christmas.  I understand that a Christmas-themed movie must result in everyone loving Christmas, but still, I thought that there should be some accommodation for those of us who don't like the holiday, or who don't celebrate it, like Farid.  

My Grade: A

Update: In The Claus Family 2 (2022),  Jules still doesn't display any heterosexual interest.  He speaks to Ella only once; her main job is to conspire with Grandma to try to push Mom and Farid together -- until we discover that Farid is gay, and has a partner (they even kiss). 

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