Nov 18, 2022

"The People We Hate at the Wedding": Three Straight Couples Find Love, a Gay Couple Breaks Up, and Everyone Says Bad Words

 


The 2017 novel The People We Hate at the Wedding is about a wealthy British girl hoping to reconcile with her estranged American half-siblings by inviting them to her lavish wedding.  One of the siblings, Paul, is gay, complete with longsuffering boyfriend.   I watched the 2022 movie version on Amazon Prime to make sure that Paul stays gay.

Scene 1: Various childhood antics of the trio, including Mom trying to fit four holiday photos into one "photo with Santa" sitting at the mall, with a very cute, harried Elf photographer (Brandon Johnston).



Scene 2:
The young adult Alice (Kristen Bell), who works at a small desk in a big office, checks her mail: the invitation to her half-sister Eloise's wedding!   She calls her brother, Paul (Ben Platt), who works at some sort of counseling center, to see if he got one.  Yep.  "We're not going.  We hate her!"  

Scene 3: Mom trying on clothes in a slapstick scene that nevertheless reveals way too much boob.  She plot-dumps on the sales clerk: she's on her way to her daughter's wedding.  Her other kids don't like her, especially Paul.  Her second husband has died, so the romantic part of her life is over (she'll find love by Act 2).

She tries to call Paul again.  He ignores her, and continues with his task of helping a patient overcome her germ-phobia.  Slapstick ensues.

Scene 4: At work, Alice gets orders from the company owner, Jonathan (Jorma Taccone).  They then screw in the supply closet and go out to lunch afterwards.  Jonathan wonders if she just likes him for his money.  "Of course not.  I like you for your dick."  


Scene 5:
Paul out with a femme, double-entendre-spouting gay couple, Dominic (Karan Soni, left) and Preston (Greg Barnett),  who introduce him to their polyamorous partner,  the well-hung Dallas (Pedro Minas). When they enter the restaurant, he hangs back with straight friend Russell (Randall Park), to recuperate from all the flamboyance.  So this Paul is straight?  Then they all go to see King Lear,  specifically the line "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child."  On cue, Mom texts Paul again, wanting to reconcile.

Scene 6:  Alice drops boss/boyfriend Jonathan off at his house, pretending to be an Uber driver so his wife doesn't get suspicious.  He's going to tell her that he wants a separation -- sometime.  Wife comes out of the house carrying a baby, making Alice feel guilty.

Scene 7:  Paul in bed with his boyfriend, discussing his disapproval of Preston and Crosby's three way relationship.  Ok, now the flamboyantly femme Dominic is with Paul?  No Crosby appeared in the previous scene, although there is one in IMDB: Dominic entered the theater arm in arm with Preston and well-hung Dallas.  I'm lost.  

All they do is hug and chat, but I guess that's enough to make Paul canonically gay at Minute 13.56.

Paul explains why he hates his Mom: after his dad died, she threw out all of his stuff, and never mentioned him again.  Boyfriend talks him into going to London.  Ugh!  London is my least favorite city in Europe. I've visited 5 or 6 times, and never had a positive experience. 

Scene 8:  Alice watches her boss/boyfriend living a public life without her and decides to go to London after all.  Then she goes into his office and slips off her underwear -- just as the housekeeper shows up.  Hey, the housekeeper is D'Arcy Carden, who starred with Kristen Bell in The Good Place!  I wonder who else from that show will appear.  Maybe Ted Danson?

Scene 9:   Paul at work.  He mentioned that he doesn't like scones, so the Boyfriend sent him a scone basket.  They're very dry and chalky, to be dunked into tea, I suppose.  Mom calls; he hangs up on her.  The boss, Dr. Goulding (Tony Goldwyn), is incensed over security-cam photos of him hugging a patient after an emotional breakthrough, and punishes him with a month of unpaid leave.  

I'm bored.  I'll fast-forward to the good parts.


On the plane to London, Alice has a meet-cute with Dennis (Dustin Milligan). 

There's an establishing shot that doesn't show the Tower Bridge or the Eye in the Sky!  

At Minute 23, the Rich Sister is in bed with her fiancee, Ollie (John Macmillan).  Nice chest shot.

At Minute 28, Alice decides to bring Dennis as her plus-one.  They have sex on the floor of their palatial hotel room, next to the bed. Nice chest shot.




At Minute 48, Mom reconciles with her first husband, Henri (Isaach de Bankoli). A third chest shot, and no boobs!  Score!

 She asks him: "Does it make you feel any younger, getting all that young ass?"  No, it makes you feel old.  You don't understand their references to tiktok and LARPS, and they don't understand why you didn't come out to everyone at age 5.



Paul and his boyfriend go to a disco with Alcott (Julian Ovenden).  Femme couples voguing with each other.  What is this, 1990?  They end up back at the hotel, kissing -- more nice chest shots -- but competing over who will give Alcott a blow job turns him off.  Anal doesn't work, either.  What's the problem?  There are three main erotic locations on the male body, and only two of you.  You could invite the bellhop to join in.

At Hour 1.01, Dennis breaks up with Alice, telling her: "You have everything that any sane man would want, but you don't want a sane man."  Heteronormative erasure of gay men from the world, when there were some screwing a few minutes ago!

At a pre-wedding party, Paul discusses his failure at having a proper three-way with random strangers, embarrassing everyone.  Then he runs into Mom's reconciled ex Henri, cheating on her with a new girl, and pees on his shoes.  

And the wife of Alice's boss/boyfriend flies all the way to London to confront her about "fucking my husband."  But she's not even the one getting married.  Why not wait until she gets home?

The wedding is actually in Hamworthy, England, near Bournemouth, a 1 1/2 hour drive south of London. 

Alice reconciles with Dennis; Paul apparently breaks up with Dominic (don't bury your gays, but make sure they're single by the end of the movie); Mom realizes that Henrique has been hooking up with young women to feel the void left when they broke up (or because he finds young women hot?); there's a family photograph at Christmastime, with for some reason a baby.  

My Grade:  I can't really grade this, since I didn't watch the whole thing, but three heterosexual romances, one of which ends in a breakup, and one gay romance, which ends in a breakup, plus constant profanity and a lot of silly slapstick.  And would you really cut your mother out of your life just because she isn't sufficiently mournful over your dad?  Or break up with your boyfriend because he hogged the guy you were hooking up with?  Paul comes across as an utter jerk.

Nov 17, 2022

"Made in Heaven": An Indian WIll and Grace Work as Wedding Planners


 I had to review the Indian series Made in Heaven, on Amazon Prime, because it reputedly stars two wedding planners -- a straight woman and a gay man.  How gay can you be on Indian tv?  This is the country that invalidated its sodomy law, then re-validated it two years later. But I'll try Episode 1: "All that Glitters IS Gold"

Scene 1: Tara, sitting on a couch, does her makeup and checks her watch.  Finally she goes to the office where Karan (Arjun Mathur, left) is putting on a leather jacket.  "Wear a blazer!" she orders.  They rush through a busy office, pick up posters (saying "Made in Heaven" in English), and hope that Harmony "fucks up" so they get the job.  Wow, they have a huge staff.  I thought wedding planners worked alone.

Scene 2: An extremely opulent room anchored by a giant chandelier and a fountain.  Baldev (Gaurav Dwivedi) and his partner from Harmony are trying to convince the stern Roshans, parents of the groom,  to hire them: "An opulent, blue-blood wedding.  Like the Rajas."  But they refuse to do a background check to determine if the girl is a gold-digger.  Karan and Tara have no objection.  Is this a comedy or a drama?  I can never tell with Indian tv.


Scene 3: 
Karan asleep (shoulder shot only).  He is awakened by some goons hired by loan shark Jauhari, asking for payment. He talks them into two more days.  Meanwhile, Tara is at breakfast in an even more opulent mansion, with her parents and Adil (Jim Sarbh), her brother or husband.  Mom wonders why she works, when she's super-rich. 

Dad tells her that the Roshans are "not straight shooters.  Don't trust them."

Scene 4: Karam and Tara at a restaurant, meeting with the detective they hired to do a background check on the bride.  Her parents are divorced; Dad lives in Sweden, and Mom works in publishing.  She had a boyfriend, but he moved to America.  Otherwise she's clean.

Scene 5: Angad (Pavail Gulati), the groom,  Aliya, the bride,  and six other male-female couples practicing the elaborate dance that they will perform at the sangheet, the big pre-wedding party.  Then they are interviewed:  they met when Aliya was writing an article on "business heirs" (that's one way to meet men)

Watching, Tara flashes back on how she met Adil (her husband, I assume) in the same way: she went to work as his secretary, #3 (the previous two were bimbos, and swiftly fired).   

Scene 6: A fancy party.  Tara insults the waitstaff and cooks, until Karam pulls her aside.  Then she yells at him for taking money out of the company to pay his debts.  That's embezzlement, dude.  She promises to "work something out," and he leaves: "I have plans."  Obviously not a romantic couple, but I'm still waiting for explicit, canonical gayness.  


Scene 7:
Karam at a nightclub, with a female performer singing "Somebody to Love" in Hindi.  He looks around for his date, and finally finds Utsav (Anhad Singh)!  You're getting close, but there is still deniability.  Heterosexuals will say "He could be meeting a friend." 

Scene 8:  Back at Karam's apartment. Utsav: "Nice pad!"  Not much deniability left, but still, I can hear heterosexuals yelling: "Inviting a friend home doesn't make you gay.  Straight guys do that all the time."

They stand six feet apart and stare at each other.  Utsav gradually approaches.  A weirtd kiss, where Karam backs away, goes forward, then backs away and goes forward again.  But it's definitely a kiss!  More than "Will and Grace" ever did.  

Scene 9:  Morning.  They're in bed together (top photo), Karam staring into space.  Don't tell me that he feels guilty!  Back in the 1980s, sex partners often assumed that I would feel guilt and shame the morning after, which I found ridiculous.  

There's a knock on the door.  It's the landlord, Mr. Gupta, bragging that he bought a new car, and shoving food into Karam's mouth.  Weird!  He must be a creepy old guy who wants to get with Karam.  

Back in the bedroom, Karam announces that he's late for work, so they have to go,  and the coast is clear -- no one will see them leave.  Except Mrs. Gupta happens to be looking out the window, and sees them! "Another guest?" she asks, suspicious.  Mr. Gupta counters that he comes from a good family and pays the rent on time, so what's the problem.  "You have a grown-up daughter!" she exclaims.  So she thinks that because Karam is gay, he'll be hitting on the girl?  

Scene 10:  Tara, her husband Adil, and her friend Faiza lounging by the pool (nice body shot).  Tara and Faiza discuss how hot Adil is.  Meanwhile the older women play cards and discuss their disapproval, and Karan and the dudes play video games. Hey, if this is the same day, he lied to his hookup!  One of the dudes criticizes him for losing money on a business venture.  Another notices that he has a loan shark's goons after him.  

Scene 11: Karam talking to his Dad (Satyajit Sharma) about the Roshan wedding planning gig.  He's impressed -- the Roshans are super-rich. Everyone here is rich.  "But how much profit will you make, after paying for your fancy office?  And you've failed business ventures before. I've loaned you so much money, and you keep missing the repayments."  

Dinner with Mom, Dad, Karam, and his much more successful brother (Neel Madhav, who hosts a program on Magic Criminology on BBC).  Plus brother's wife, of course.  They move on from criticizing Karam's business ventures to "why aren't you married yet?"  


Later, Karam looks through an old photo album and flashes back to boarding school, when the young Karam (Saket Sharma, who was featured in Gay Times in 2019) discovers that his teammate, Nawab (Shawa Kinjawadekar), is into him.   Nice shirtless shot in the locker room.

Scene 12:  The detective that Karam and Tara hired to investigate the Roshan bride returns with more intel: she had an abortion!  "That floozy!" the groom's Mom exclaims.  "That gold-digging wastrel!  We must tell our son, so he can dump her!"

Scene 13:  Back at the office, a new, bubbly assistant annoys everyone.  Meanwhile, the groom is getting his eyebrows and feet done, while his friend reads a magazine and complains about how long this is taking.  Tara and Karam approach and give him a heads-up: "Your parents know about the abortion, and are on a rampage!"   

Scene 14: The Groom confronts his parents.  "Why did you go behind my back, and investigate the bride?"  Dad: "It's for your own good.  You can have fun with whoever you want, but the girl you marry must be a virgin!"  Hey, that's a double standard.   

It's time for the sangheet, the big party that comes before the wedding.  The wedding planners have set everything up -- but Mom and Dad send them away!

The Groom lies and says he is the one who got the Bride pregnant: she has never been with another man. "Ok, then, that's fine."  The sangheet is back on.  Except now the Bride is upset over the background investigation.  They argue during the elaborate dance.  Then she storms off, yelling "Fuck you, and fuck your family!"

Scene 15: Karam and Tara complaining: "This wedding can't get cancelled!  We need the money!"  Didn't you ask for payment in advance, or at least a deposit?   Cut to Tara and her husband Adil in bed (nice chest shot).  They kiss.  Weird kiss --- he sticks out his tongue and aims it toward her mouth like an airplane heading into a hangar.  But just as they're getting down, Mom calls, so Tara has to rush out.

Scene 16: The wedding guests are starting to arrive.  Everyone gets a golden miniature motorcycle in a glass case.  Imagine lugging that thing around for the next three hours!   Except the Groom has disowned his family and relinquished their money -- if I calculated correctly, they're worth $612 million!  So of course the wedding they paid for is off.  Tara and Karam try to talk them into reconciling because...$612 million!  

Scene 17: The traditional Hindu wedding, with everyone gossiping: "Is she marrying him for love or money?"  The narrator: "All they can see is an outsider clawing her way to becoming an insider.  Will they ever accept her?  Welcome to Delhi." 

Scene 18: After the wedding, Karam hands over the money he owes to the loan shark, then has another hookup, with another "I have to work early, so..."; the overly-perky office assistant dreams about landing Karam; the landlords in Karam's building have installed a new security system, so they can observe his "male friends" more easily; and Tara's husband is having an affair!

My Grade: A-.

Nov 14, 2022

"Whistable Pearl": A Cozy British Murder with Obvious Red Herrings and Cute Guys

 


The British mystery series Whistable Pearl appeared among my Amazon recommendations.  They have a reasonably good algorithm, so presumably there are gay characters.

Scene 1: Establishing shots of a seaside village.  A middle-aged woman, presumably Whistable Pearl, tries to call a guy named Vinnie, who fishes for crabs or oysters or something.  He doesn't answer, so she motors out to his boat -- ulp, he's floating in the water, tangled in the anchor line, drowned!

Scene 2: Hunky inspector Mike (Howard Charles, right) gets into a row with a farmer who won't back up his truck so he can get through, then goes to the police station to interrogate Pearl.  She's annoyed; she has explained this a dozen times before.  "Vinne provides crabs for my restaurant.  He didn't answer his phone, so I motored out to his boat and found him dead.  God, you are dense!"

"Why did you tow the boat to shore instead of calling the coast guard?"

"He was too heavy to pull on board.  The boat was drifting.  He has two small children."  Ok, so he's heterosexual, thus infinitely valuable.  If he were gay, would you have let him drift out to sea?


Scene 3: 
 Outside the police station, Pearl is met by her Mum, Dolly.  She offers to open the restaurant so Pearl can recover from the trauma, but Pearl insists that she can do it.  

As Inspector Mike stares suspiciously, Mum discusses the various times she was arrested during her activist days: protesting nuclear weapons, throwing eggs at Margaret Thatcher, bzz bzz at the Catholic Church (was she in ACT UP?).  

Scene 4: Back home, Pearl's hot teenage son, Charlie (Rohan Nedd),  is looking at college campuses.  "You saw him dead, then?  Must have been rough."  

Plot twist: Pearl is a private detective, who was hired to investigate Vinnie!  She didn't tell the police that, because. "They're idiots!"


Scene 5: 
 Inspector Mike is in his hotel room, unpacking.  Why is he sticking around for an accidental death> He gets a call: the forensics report is in.

Switch immediately to Pearl's restaurant, the Thistledown, right on the docks.  Pearl sees a young man, Max (Oliver Dench, whom Google Images says is one of these guys), yelling at her employee, Ruby, and wants to know what he is doing there.  "Um...er...um...he was just helping out."  He leaves; Pearl is concerned at the signs of abuse.  "Everything's fine...um...er...gotta go wait on those customers!"

Mum and Pearl cook and discuss her son Charlie going away to college.  "You have to face it -- he'll be moving out.  This is your opportunity to live a little.  Have sex. Do you even remember what a penis looks like?"  

Scene 6: After work (they must only be open for lunch), Pearl goes to a trailer court (do they call them council houses in Britain?) to talk to Vinnie's widow, Connie.  Plot dump: Vinnie quit his day job to become an oyster fisherman, and was not making a living at it.  They were deeply in debt.  He borrowed some money from a loan shark named Stroud.  And Stroud came to collect?  This must be a red herring.  

More plot dump: Stroud is the one who hired Pearl to investigate Vinnie.  And now he won't answer his phone.  Still a red herring.

Scene 7:  Back at the restaurant, Pearl waits on Ruby's abusive boyfriend Max and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Arzanoff (Georg Nikoloff).  Mum rushes over to take their order so she can push Pearl at the hunky Inspector Mike from Scene 2.  He states that he doesn't like small towns "because you have to talk to people." They'll be kissing by Episode 4.   By the way, forensic investigation reveals that Vinnie's death was an accident.  Then why are you still there?

Pearl tells him about Stroud, the loan shark who hired her and now won't answer his phone.  "Growl, growl, I think you did it."  

Scene 8:  Pearl calls Inspector Mike with a new clue: Vinnie was done for the day.  He was in the midst of sorting and cleaning his oysters, so he must have been anchored.  So how could he have gotten tangled in anything?  And why was the boat drifting?

She sees Abusive Boyfriend Max picking up Ruby, and is concerned.  

Scene 9: Night.  Pearl goes home.  The house is all dark, and the door is ajar.  Psych -- it's Tina, Vinnie's ex-wife..well, current wife, since he died before the divorce papers were signed.  Wait -- he's been with Connie for many years. They have two kids together.  Where does Tina fit in?

Tina reveals that she's is dating Stroud the Loan Shark, and convinced him to lend the money to Vinnie.  Now he's gone.  So everybody has a history with everybody in this small town.  I'm stuck in Peyton Place, and the only potential gay character is Charlie.  Inspector Mike hasn't mentioned any wife or girlfriend, but he's obviously Pearl's Love Interest.  

Pearl suggests contacting Inspector Mike, and shows her the door.

"And, by the way, Connie stands to gain a fortune from Vinnie's life insurance policy.  Bye!"  No, if they aren't married, the money will go to the ex-wife.

Scene 10: Pearl tracks down Stroud at a local inn, and sneaks into his room by pretending to be a food delivery service (or maybe her restaurant really does deliver).  He's hanging from his tie in the bathroom, dead.  

Inspector Mike and some cops arrive, suspicious about Pearl's involvement.  She blames Connie, the widow: "Maybe Stroud threatened her about the money.  Maybe he threatened her kids.  She's desperate, she's unbalanced.  She hires someone."

 Scene 11:  Night.  Inspector Mike lies awake in bed (no beefcake), thinking about a laughing woman.  They kiss; he plays with her hair.  Ugh...dead wife, the hoariest cliche in the book.  If they mentioned that in the plot synopsis, I never would have started this. As it is, I'm going to fast-forward to the conclusion.

Beefcake: Mike goes swimming (still no beefcake).

Heterosexism:  Pearl asks Mike "Are you married?", assuming that he is heterosexual.

Gay Characters:  None identified here.  This is based on a novel series, one of which has Pearl's gay neighbor as a murder suspect.

Whodunit:  I was right, Stroud was a red herring.  It wasn't the widow or the ex-wife, either.  Or Vinnie's ex-boss, who hated him for quitting his job, and was having an affair with the widow. Wait -- do you hate people for quitting?   Or Pearl, or anyone in her family.  

Nov 13, 2022

Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans: Muscular Orphans Fight Giant Corporations with Robots

 


I've heard of an anime or manga series entitled Mobile Suit Gundam, but I have no idea what it is about.  However, what is apparently a spin-off series called Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron  Blooded Orphans has dropped on Hulu, eye-catching. for beefcake icons in Episodes 2 and 4.

Plus one of the voice actors is Jonny Yong Bosch.  I've heard of him, too, but I don't recall actually seeing him in anything -- apparently he was one of the Power Rangers, and Google Images thinks that he's one of these guys.

Beefcake inside and out; I'll give it a try.  Episode 2 is incomprehensible, so I'll have to start with Episode 1. 

Holy plot dump, Batman, dozens of named characters in intricate situations.  I had to go through twice, and take notes.


Scene 1:
  On a city street, the chubby Biscuit is apparently practicing combat moves with the muscular, white-haired Orga.  Suddenly we're in a temple, beneath a gigantic statue, and Orga is straining, when the young, blue-haired Mika, a boy wearing a skirt, interrupts him.  A third guy interrupts them to point out that they're not allowed in the temple -- actually a control room.  They counter that it's warm outside. So what? Plus Marumba has summoned them. 

Scene 2: We're in the Chryse Autonomous Region, Arbrau Territory, Mars, Suburbs.   Marumba, a cigar-chomping corporate CEO, tells Orga and Biscuit that the Third Group is responsible for escorting Kurdelia, the representative's daughter, to Earth.  She is involved in the Martian Independence Movement, so it's an important assignment.  "But why us?  We're just the Third Group, despised, worthless nobodies."  

The CEO's assistant agrees that they are worthless scum, but Kurdelia hand-picked them, so just shut up and do what you're told, so you don't get punished.


Scene 3: 
  Young blond Takaki and some other kids in muscle shirts are burying land mines in the desert.   The CEO's Assistant drops by to whip them, punch Takaki, and yell at their overseer for not being punitive enough.  

Meanwhile and watching Mika from Scene 1 and a muscular blond guy practice battle maneuvers, shirtless, inside giant robots with ray-gun arms.

Scene 4: Dinner in a gigantic hanger, with Takaki and the other kid-slaves as waiters.  Most guys are wearing uniforms with the logo CGS, but it is not explained except in the episode synopsis: a private security corporation . They are all excited about the girl-escorting assignment, which is bound to get them promoted to the elite First Group.  Then they won't be worthless scum anymore!

One guy asks Mika if he thinks the girl will "smell good," but is told: "Forget it!  Mika isn't interested in girls."  Mika asks waiter Takaki about his injury.  So he's interested in boys?

Blond-haired Eugene is angry because the Third Group leader, Orgo, allows them to be treated like scum.  Why doesn't he resist?  They almost fight.  Someone named Akihiro leaves in a huff.  

Scene 5: In a posh mansion, Kurdelia and her mother discuss the problems of the Martian people, and her role as an emissary to Earth to promote Martian independence.  Father disapproves of her actions, but she's going anyway.  Hey, neither are showing any boobs.  A welcome change of pace!

Scene 6:  In the hallway, Kurdelia's maid wants to know why she choose the Third Group, "irregular child soldiers," as her escort.  She explains: "They were born out of Earth Sphere's long rule.  They embody the problems that plague the Martian people. By interacting with them, I will share their pain."  In other words, it's necessary for the plot to work.  

Scene 7: Gjallarhorn Space Station, orbiting Mars. Gjallarhorn is not explained except in the plot synopsis: it's an evil corporation that is exploiting the Martian people.  Sir Coral, an evil Darth Vader type, is making fun of Kurdelia.  She thinks she's going to Earth to promote Martian independence!  What an idiot!  Her father, Mr. Bernstein, agrees that she's stupid, but implores Sir Coral to not hurt her.

Scene 8: Two guys in an elevator criticizing Kurdelia's father for selling her out.  "What a coward!  But this changes the inspection from Earth into an opportunity.  To get the support of Noblisse, she must do well."  Second time through, and I still don't know what they are talking about.  It sounds like Kurdelia is going to a space station, not to Earth. And who the heck is Noblisse?  And don't they work for the evil corporation that wants Kurdelia to fail?

They tell  blond, nasty-looking Orliss that he's in charge of the mission; the older Crank, formerly his mentor,will be his assistant; and Ein, "it's your first mission.  Do your best."  8 scenes, 13 named characters, some with multiple names.  It's like reading Dostoevsky.


Scene 9: 
 A spaceship prepares to dock at the Gjallarhorn Space Station for an official inspection from Ariadne.  The subtitles say "Transmission from Ariadne," but no one receives a transmission, so I assume that Ariadne is a base or a commanding officer of the Evil Corporation.

The pilot, Major McGillis, asks blue-haired femme Gaelio if he's bored by inspecting frontier colonies.  "No, it's ok.  I'll do my best."  He points out that although Mars is a worthless, used-up colony, it is essential to Earth's economy.  Huh? -- that's a contradiction.  Therefore they must become members of Gjallarhorn, "keepers of the world order."  We must squash the independence movement.

Scene 10: Night. While the kid-slaves sleep in their bunks, Mika and another guy work out, and Orga (leader of the Third Group) discusses the itinerary with another guy:  Kurdelia arrives tomorrow, and they leave the next day.  It will take five months to get to Earth and back.  Darn, I thought they had warp drive, so the trip would only take a few minutes.   He complains: CEO Maruba thinks of us as rats, worthless scum, useful only because we have the "whiskers."  

The whiskers are implants on your back that allow you to connect directly to a giant robot and control its movements.  If you cry or yell during the implant, you are punished.  But Orga didn't yell, and was still punished for being worthless scum,  "I can't show weakness to Mika."  Why not?  

Scene 11: Kurdelia arrives, and meets the four boys who will escort her to Earth.  She chooses Mikazuki -- the boy who doesn't like girls -- to show her around.  She offers to shake hands, but he refuses, which she finds upsetting.

Scene 12: Amid the "Mars for the Martians" independence protests in a quaint city, a little girl in a shop makes a friendship bracelet for a boy she likes, presumably Mika.

Scene 13:  Night.  The Evil Gjallarthorn Corporation spaceship attacks the  compound!  The CEO quickly grabs his loot and evacuates; Biscuit evacuats the girl; the boys take off their shirts and suit-up.   They realize that only the Third Group, the kids, are fighting.  The other groups have orders to hold back.  The CEO is trying to get the kids killed!

Scenes 1-12 took only 12 minutes.  The rest of the episode is devoted to a lengthy battle, using tanks and robot fighters.  

Beefcake: constant.


Gay Characters:
 Mika, unless Kurdelia wears him down and they begin dating.  There may be a canonical gay character named Yamagi Gilberton.

Convolution:  Even after two viewings, I'm not sure what's going on.  The main powers seem to be corporations rather than political nation-states, so there's a lot of snore-inducing business talk.  Each corporation has its own agenda, with members who are secretly working for another corporation or trying to take it down from the inside....and so many named characters! 

It reminds me of the Peanuts comic strip where Snoopy writes a story:"It was a dark and stormy night. Suddenly, a shot rang out! A door slammed. The maid screamed. Suddenly, a pirate ship appeared on the horizon! While millions of people were starving, the king lived in luxury. Meanwhile, on a small farm in Kansas, a boy was growing up.”

Sometimes beefcake is not enough.

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