Dec 31, 2023

Gideon moves out of the Friend Zone: A Gideon x Keefe Romance


I revised the sex scene to make it parallel Kelvin's date with Percy.

"This is it," Gideon Gemstone told himself as he stood at the entrance of Woodpecker's Carpentry, watching the workers inside, and trying not to be noticed.  "Enough stalling.  You make your move now, or forget about it."

Suddenly a burly middle-aged man in a blue worker's suit appeared. "Hello.  I'm Bishop, the owner.  Can I help you with something?"

"I was just admiring the wood carvings.  I like that Grinch in a Santa Claus suit, and the bobble-head Trump...."  Thinking fast, he added. "But I was really looking for a birthday present for my Granddad.  Eli Gemstone -- you probably heard of him."

"The pastor at the Salvation Center? Sure, half my crew goes there, or watches the Praise Be to He hour on Sunday mornings. He's retired, isn't he? Who's the preacher now?"

"Jesse Gemstone.  I'm his son, Gideon."

He chuckled.  "How about that!   We're having a run on Gemstones today.  Your Uncle Kelvin was in earlier, probably shopping for the same thing.  He was talkin' up a storm with our new guy, Keefe."

Uncle Kelvin!  Gulp -- maybe it was too late.

The full story, with NSFW illustrations, is on RG Beefcake and Boyfriends

200,000 Photos of Naked Harvard Men

From 1940 to sometime in the 1970s, all incoming freshmen at Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and some of the sister schools, including future presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, were photographed.  Naked.  Three shots: front, back, and side.   No black boxes -- penis in full view.

Some were told that it was to check their posture.  Others, to check them for rickets. But actually it was the pet project of Columbia University Professor William H. Sheldon (1898-1977) and Harvard University Professor Earnest Hooten (1887-1954), who said they were interested in somatotyping.

Classifying human bodies by size and shape, and determining how those shapes influenced personality.

They had already taken nude photos of 400 undergraduate men at the University of Chicago and 200 juvenile delinquents in Boston.  Hooten died in 1954, but Sheldon continued, photographing men in the military, in hospitals, in colleges, in prisons, until by the end of his life he had accumulated 200,000 photographs of men and 2,000 of women.

During the 1970s, Harvard was embarrassed by the study, and hid the photos away in a storage bin.  Eventually most were destroyed. See, you can't go around just taking pictures of random naked guys, even with a "scientific" goal.  It's a violation of their privacy.

But you can see some samples online, and several hundred in Sheldon's book, Atlas of Men (1954), with clever little taglines comparing them to animals: "paleolithic tiger," "dugongs and manatees."

Sheldon divided male bodies into three types: endomorph (fat), mesomorph (muscular), and ectomorph (skinny), and discovered that juvenile delinquents were likely to be mesomorphs, while Ivy League freshmen were more likely to be ectomorphs.

Also, ectomorphs are bigger beneath the belt.  Or at least it shows better.

Nice to know when you're cruising.

An obsession with taking nude photographs of young men.  Were Sheldon and Hooten gay?

Neither married women, but Hooten spearheaded the famous purge of Harvard "homosexuals" in 1920, along with his friend and roommate Lester Wilcox.

Maybe he was protesting too much.

"Real Bros of Simi Valley": L.A. suburb bros seek romance, bromance, and career success. Not in that order.

The Real Bros of Simi Valley 
is a mocumentary series on Youtube and Facebook Watch,  parodying those over-the-top reality shows like Real Husbands of Cucamonga.  It features two brothers and their two friends pushing 30 in Simi Valley, a distant, distant suburb of Los Angeles. I guess the idea is that it's not at all glamorous.   I reviewed Episode 2.2, "Obnoxiously Depressed."

Link to the NSFW version

Scene 1: At Cal's Surf and Skate shop, Duncan (Nick Colletti) has just been dumped by his girlfriend, and calls to beg her to take him back: "You're  my angel, you're my sweet little vanilla bean." Tyler (Skyler Gisondo) asks him to run the cash register, but he gets ballistic and throws the keys away. Tylet asks if he's upset, and he denies it.

Next, Tyler is interviewed:  Duncan didn't tell him that he had been dumped, but it was obvious.  He is being obnoxiously depressed, not only collapsing behind the counter to cry, but throwing clothes around and yelling "F*ck off!" to a customer.  They're losing business, so Tyler has to call the owner, who also happens to be Duncan's dad.

Scene 2:  Dad bursts into the shop and finds Duncan crying in the stockroom.  He explains that his girlfriend broke off the engagement.  It seems that she didn't want to marry him, but when he asked, she said "yes" because she didn't want to "kii the vibe." Dad gives him the day off to mope, but then suggests he find a new wave to surf.

Scene 3: A Skate Park.  Bryce (Tanner Getter) performs, while his coach Brayson (Eric Walbridge) films him. They discuss skating in the Simi Valley Pro Am: it could be Bryce's comeback, the road to full-time shredding (skating). Besides, it pays $500. You can buy a lot of weed with that!

Cut to Franco's Tacos.  Xander (Jimmy Tatrom left)  and Johnny (Peter Gilroy, top photo) are eating and discussing Duncan (the dumped guy).  His social media posts have been suspiciously cheerful. Something is wrong.

More gossip:Xander's girlfriend, with whom he has a one-year old son, is avoiding him.  Something else is wrong. 

Scene 4
: Community College of Moorpark ( a real place).  Like all college classes on tv, the photography class meets in a giant lecture hall. Wade (Cody Ko) tells us that his first assignment is to capture a moment in nature.  Plus there are some babes hitting on him. He loves the class!

On the negative side, he doesn't like his roommate Aldis (Christian A. Pierce, left, also the show's co-creator).  He does yoga in the middle of the room and invades his Wade's body space. Plus he shaves his legs -- on Wade's bed! 

Scene 5: Bar. Four women are having lunch.  Xander's girlfriend explains why she is avoiding him: she hates his new soul patch; it looks ridiculous. Problem solved. 

Scene 6:  Xander (the one with the infant son) and Wade (the skateboarder), brothers, are hanging out in their parents' house, discussing Duncan's plight.  He comes in to announce that he is over the breakup and feeling great, but then he goes out to the porch and cries.

Scene 7: Duncan decides that his only option is to quit his job at the surf shop, so he goes to his Dad's house.  Dad is hooking up with two girls that Duncan knew in high school. He is invited to join in, but he refuses and goes to his room and listens to depressing music.  Dad stops in to see if he's ok; they hug. 

Scene 8:
 Community College of Moorpark.  Bryce's roommate Aldis invites him to come "burn" with him.  He refuses.  Aldis assures him that it's ok if you don't burn, but Bryce, his masculinity threatened, gets all defensive and yells that he burns all the time.

I figured that to "burn" was something sexual, in order to for Bryce to feel so threatened, but it seems to mean mix Ecstasy with amphetamine.  The end.

Beefcake: None.

Heterosexism: Two of the four plotlnes involve girlfriend trouble, and the third involves babes.  Only Bryce the Skateboarder seems to have another goal in life. I didn't like Dad having a three-way with two girls, and inviting his son to join in.

Gay Characters: Aldis exhibits a lot of gay-stereotype behavior, but searching for "Real Bros of Simi Valley" and "gay" yields nothing.  Maybe he's just a feminine straight guy.

Analysis: I kept waiting for something interesting to happen, but nothing ever did.  The first scene is sort of funny,expecially Skyler Gisondo's low-key performance,  but then it devolves into people having conversations about other people.

There are some Jimmy Tatro underwear and rear photos on RG Beefcake and Boyfriends.

Kitz: Beefcake, Gay Characters, Glitz, Revenge, and the Austrian Alps. Happy New Year.

sounds like yet another teen drama with a Netflix-patented single-syllable title and a lot of lies, secrets, and silence.  Nothing wrong with that.  It's set in Germany, so there might be some nice scenery.  And naked guys -- some beefcake would be a blessing after several nights of incessant girl-boobs and butts on The Witcher.  

Scene 1: Narrating, Lisa tells us that. Kitzbuhel is the "Aspen of the Alps."  Funny, I always thought that Aspen was the St. Moritz of Colorado.   It's actually in Austria, about 120 km south of Munich.  Every winter the glitterati show up to ski, spend money, and look down on the locals.  Until Lisi decides to get revenge.

Cut to her brother, driving erratically on a snowy mountain road at night, talking on his cell phone about how his rich girlfriend dumped him: "She was just toying on me."  He accidentally skids off the road and over a cliff.  Lisi blames the girlfriend for his death.  Girlfriend, he was driving like an idiot.  Definitely not her fault. You're allowed to break up with people. 

Scene 2: New Year's Eve. Lisi waiting tables and breaking up arguments.  She watches a video of a social influencer selling skin products on the way to the "biggest party of the year" in Kitz.  Her coworker suggests that they go to London after the epic party.  A little lesbian vibe.  Is Lisi gay?).

Scene 3:  Hot guy Hans (Ben Felipe, top photo) in underwear quickly getting dressed.  His hookup, also in underwear -- big basket! -- wants to know why he's leaving so soon.  When they'll get around to exchanging names -- after all, they've hooked up three times!  And what he does for a living -- farmer?  Hans seems to be closeted. 

Scene 4:
Lisi putting flowers on the spot where her brother died.   Flashback to them playing foosball at a party.  They announce that she's received a scholarship to study in London.  Brother Jo (Felix Mayr, left) gets a text and leaves.  

Back to the memorial spot.  Closeted Hans arrives.  They're both sad because this is the first anniversary of Brother Jo's death.  Hans is having second thoughts about their plan, but Lisi insists that they have to go through with it.

Scene 5:  Liisi arrives at the elegant chateau where she will be catering the "epic party" -- and where their plan will unfold.  Whew -- there's a naked black guy frolicking in the snow! Nice butt.

He's Dominick (Bless Amada, left), an internet celebrity and the boyfriend of the Social Influencer.  He must post videos of him doing goofy things with his shirt off.

Scene 6:  In the kitchen, the head caterer is instructing the staff.  Lisi gets the job of taking champaign to the Social Influencer's room.  She looks around, at all the photos of Pure Evil unfairly continuing to be alive after causing her brother's death!  Dude, it was a breakup.  People break up with people all the time. 

While standing on the balcony, she sees someone below, scurrying behind a bush. This better be important later.

More after the break

"The Resort": Paranormal murder mystery at a Mexican resort, with a gay couple


The Resort, on Vudu, is a murder-mystery tv series set on the Mayan Riviera, where rich people go sunbathing and ignore the Mayan ruins. It features a gay couple, both named Ted, so I'm in.  I reviewed Episode 1, "The Disappointment of Time."

There's a NSFW version of this review, with butt and bulge pics, on Righteous Gemstones Beefcake and Boyfriends.

Scene 1: The airport shuttle stops at Akumal, a tropical resort. Wait -- did it knock over a vase?  Noah (William Jackson Harper, right, kissing Tony Cavalero in another movie) and his wife Emma exit.  Manager Luna gives them bracelets that will "get you everything you need "Even heroin?"  I didn't know that this was a comedy; the previews make it look like a murder mystery.

It's their tenth anniversarym but they don't seem particularly lovey-dovey.  They don't even sit together in the golf cart.

Scene 2: In their room, they bump fists and then collapse onto separate beds.  No smooching?  Ok, one kiss, but Noah complains that Emma's breath stinks. 

Scene 3: Time for dinner, but Noah is asleep -- time lag, he says, although it's only a three hour time difference.  Emma watches tv, then examines a mysterious scar on her belly (this will become important later) and hits the pool.  She checks an online quiz to see if she should dump Noah. He's not cheating, so no....

Scene 4
: Emma snoozing and hungover on a tour bus while Noah talks to an older gay couple, Ted and Ted (Parvesh Chena, left, Michael Hitchcock). They are obviously hot for each other, although they've been together for decades.  

Their secret: every seven years they visit somewhere they've never been before (Laos, Memphis, and now Mexico) to see if they want to stay together.  Maybe they've changed.  Maybe they no longer make each other happy.  So far, so good, 21 years. 

They arrive, and ride go-karts through the jungle. Darn, I thought they were going to Chichen Itza.   Emma lags behind.  Whoops, she crashes and tumbles down into a ravine. While down there, she finds an antiquated cell phone.  She hides it before the others come to rescue her.

Scene 5:  That night, in a bar.  Emma the Alcoholic wants a drink, but Noah insists that she can't have any alcohol due to the pain meds from her injuries.   The Teds arrive and ask how she's feeling.  She excuses herself and goes out to the pool to check on the fossilized cell phone.  Why so mysterious?  I'd be showing it to the others right away.

Later, as Noah snores, she sneaks out to an all-night cell phone store and buys a phone like the fossilized one she found.  She transfers the SIM, charges, and voila, it works!  Pictures of Sam (Skyler Gisondo)  being licked by a dog, watching fireworks, meeting a girl in a UCLA sweater, drawing cartoons, and at the Oceana Vista Resort!

Messages from 12/26/07, the day after Christmas 15 years ago. "Call me," from Mom. "Where are you?" from Dad.  "I am so sorry," from Hanna.  

Scene 6: A cabbie takes her to the Oceana Vista Resort.  It's deserted, locked up, overrun with vegetation.  He could have just said that.   "People died in there," he explains. 

Scene 7: Back in the hotel room, Emma googles "Oceana Vista"  It was destroyed by a "rogue holiday hurricane" on December 27, 2007, the day after Sam went missing..  Actually, two tourists went missing, Sam and Violet.  They were apparently unacquainted.  "Nothing about what happened made any sense," the detective said, "But I suspect foul play."

Scene 8: Flashback to December 24, 2007.  On an airplane, Sam is working on a cartoon about women with large breasts and butts unloading stuff from the overhead bins.  He shows his UCLA-sweatshirt girlfriend. She wants to know what it means.  "Nothing.  Not everything has to have a deeper meaning."  Is that a challenge, Sam?  

She thinks it's a commentary on the American tourist industry exploiting local cultures. Maybe this couple will visit some Mayan ruins instead of playing on go-karts.

While they are discussing how much they love each other, the guy across the aisle, Carl (Dylan Baker),  asks his wife if Sam might be gay.  "He has a girlfriend!", she protests.  "A lot of my gay friends used to have girlfriends."  She doesn't believe that Carl has any gay friends.  He appears in four episodes, so he must be important.

Scene 9: They'll be in Cancun in two hours.  Uh-oh, girlfriend's phone is buzzing, and she's asleep!  Sam checks: A text from her professor, asking her to text him when she lands.  Hmm -- a little teacher-student nookie going on?  Then: "Had fun tonight!" A photo of some male-female legs intertwined. "Anal sex tonight?"  A dick pic!  Hanna says that she's falling in love with him on December 18th,  six days ago!  

Carl from across the aisle notices the dick pic, and cries out in horror.  Sam slams the phone shut.  

Scene 10: Back to the present.  Noah running along the beach.  He returns to Emma showering and thinking about the missing tourists. While she is occupied, Noah thinks about checking her cell phone for evidence of cheating, but changes his mind.  He rummages in her purse and finds the antique cell phone. 

Scene 11:  Breakfast buffet. Noah mentions seeing the antique cell phone fell out of her bag.  But it was buried deep!  "Were you snooping?  Do you think I'm having an affair?  

After storming out, she changes her mind and gives him the details that she got from Sam's phone and Google: 22 year old college kid who went missing on the day after Christmas, 2007.  Later that day, another tourist went missing, too, but they didn't know each other.  Before the police could investigate, a huricane conveniently destroyed the resort (does she think that the murderer caused the hurricane to cover their tracks?)  And a body washed up on the beach that wasn't Sam's.   

"I'm going to solve all this," she announces.  Rather a bit of hubris. 

"What if there are no answers?" Noah asks.

"There have to be, because otherwise what's the point?"  Of the tv show?

Scene 12: Noah and Emma examine the phone's photos in more detail.  A lot of cat photos, Sam's girlfriend Hanna. "I'll bet she's cheating on him," Emma says.  "She has that look."

The trash folder has tons of deleted messages, and a photo of Sam and Violet, the other missing person, together.  They did know each other, or else they got very chummy on Christmas Day!

Scene 13: 
We flash back to Sam and Hanna arriving at the resort.  The couple across the aisle are apparently Sam's parentsBut wouldn't they know if he was gay or not?  Why they go off, Sky rides his skateboard down the hallways.  Violet walks past him to greet her Dad.

Luna, the manager of the 2023 resort, is working in housekeeping.  She looks down on the pool, where everyone is gawking at a decapitated iguana. The mysterious, back-of-head-only Baltasar (Luis Gerardo Mendez, below)  investigates.  He looks up at Luna and makes a throat-cutting gesture just as Sam zooms by on his skateboard.  I guess he's the human sacrifice to the storm gods.

Sky almost collides with Violet.  Meet-cute, Girl of My Dreams slo-mo music. The end.

Beefcake:  None in this episode, although we'll see some bare butts later

: Looks like we'll see Noah and Emma learning how to love again juxtaposed with the mystery of what happened to Sam and his meet-cute girl 15 years ago. The mysterious Balthazar and Luna the former housekeeper also appear to be dating.

Gay Characters: Ted and Ted.  Interesting that they cast a gay couple to demonstrate what a healthy relationship looks like.  However, they only appear in two episodes.  

Plot Twists:  Episode synopses suggest that there will be a paranormal explanation for the disappearances, but maybe that's a misdirection, and there are no answers, like in Picnic at Hanging Rock.  Two characters have already alluded to the possibility that "it doesn't mean anything."

My Grade:  A-.

Dec 30, 2023

Looking: Gay dudebros look for love and sex, with countless directorial tricks and a surprise that I'm not giving away.

on MAX (2014-15), is a gay-themed comedy-drama about a group of 30-ish g* men looking for love in San Francisco.  I lived in San Francisco for two years, so maybe I can get some nostalgia going on: let's review Episode 1.1

 Link to NSFW site, RG Beefcake and Boyfriends, with a secret surprise

Scene 1: Paddy (Jonathan Groff) is meeting a stranger in the  park. The guy refuses kissing or conversation, just starting (a very elementary form of sex). That's it?  What are you, amateurs?  At least get on your knees. Suddenly Paddy's cell phone rings -- he thinks it's his mother, because who else calls these days? -- and he scrams. 

Scene 2: Paddy's friends, Richie (Raul Castillo) and Dom (Murray Bartlett), who drink all the time, praise him for getting a h**kup: now he can finally call himself a perv*rt. They discuss booze on the bus (I never once rode a bus, either. It was Muni, BART, or drive and spend an hour looking for a parking space)

Scene 3:
 They guys are talking about a bachelor party. I'm rather confused. One of the grooms invited his ex-boyfriend, which is a bad idea, but is Paddy the ex-boyfriend, or are they talking about someone else?  Paddy criticizes Gabe (one of the grooms?) for being too fat, but the others criticize his body-shaming.  They also reference Frank. OMG, introduce your characters!  Dom discusses how much he loves booze; at least he has  a character tag.


Scene 4:  Morning. Establishing shot of a quiet San Francisco hill, not Castro Street. Paddy awakens to the sound of two guys having sex in the next room and says "Oh my God."  You got a problem with gay sex, homophobe?

The two guys (who may be Dom and Richie) seem to be (having an elementary form of sex.  Doesn't anyone in San Francisco do the more usual things?) But one of them realizes that he's late for an appointment; "This guy might take the room" -- Tara's friend --  so he leaves.  Ok, the guy with the appointment calls his partner "My Little Cuban Sandwich," so he must be Augustin (Frankie Alvarez).

More plot: the guy with the appointment keeps asking Augustin to move in, but he usually refuses.  He's agreeing today because he "can't afford the City anymore."  Wait -- the establishing shot was the City.  Aren't these the guys who are having s*x in Paddy's apartment?

Scene 5:
 Breakfast. Paddy talking to a guy we can't see, so the big reveal will be a surprise.  He heard the guy and Frank having sex through the wall.  Frank, the guy with the appointment, is O.T. Fagbenle.  I assume it's a stage name  

Another guy walks in -- Augustin?  And Paddy was discussing Frank, so who is the guy he is talking to? The camera moves back -- he is talking to an empty chair, or I guess to Augustin when he was still in the other room.  Ok, at least we know that these are the guys having sex in Scene 5, except they think it's Oakland, when it is clearly San Francisco.

Frank calls from the bathroom that he needs a towel, and Paddy mocks him for it.  Yeah, wanting to dry off after a shower, what a loser!  But I guess if you have to criticize everybody all the time, you start grasping at straws fast.

Scene 6: Frank finishes his shower, but he's in another apartment, talking to a woman.  This is probably a Frank lookalike, shown taking a shower to confuse us. He wants to call Ethan but the woman disapproves because Ethan tried to kill him. "He did not!  He just threatend to! Besides, when we were together, you tried to kill me a bunch of times."  Ok, the woman is Frank Lookalike's ex girlfriend.  Anyway, Ethan is rich now, so why not call?  

Next order of business: the Frank Lookalike is thinking of getting into real estate.  Ex-Girlfriend laughs at him. "You -- somebody like you -- in real estate?  Don't be ridiculous!"  She doesn't explain why it's ridiculous, but I guess she has to mock everything.  "Is there any coffee?"  "What an idiotic question!  Jerk!"  

I have to do a break here, or the review will be too long

Dec 29, 2023

Kelvin and Keefe, Matchmakers: A Cousin Karl Montgomery Story


As Kelvin waited for Percy at one of the little blue tables outside the Lost Dog Cafe, he couldn't help flashing back to the first time they met, when Jesse hired him to design the church's executive board room.  Kelvin wasn't out to anyone yet, not even to himself, really, and seeing the flashy, unapologetic, loud-and-proud interior designer was a revelation. Percy became his best friend, and his go-to guy for anything about gay history and culture, from the Stonewall Riots to GLAAD Awards.  But today Kelvin had a different kind of request.  He wasn't sure that a guy who came out at age ten could understand.

They chatted about ordinary things, rated a few bulges, and then Kelvin got down to business. "Percy, I had an ulterior motive in inviting you to lunch today.  Remember my Cousin Karl?  You met him at the wedding reception."

"Big guy, black beard, baby face, smile that lights up the whole state?  Sure, he's hard to miss."

"He came out to Keefe and I last night."  

"Wait -- out as gay? Isn't he over 40?"

"43.  But don't look so surprised.  I was 34 when I figured it out, remember, and Karl has been even more sheltered than me.  He didn't even know that 'gay' was a thing until he saw Keefe and I kissing one night."

"43, imagine that.  He's got a lot of catching up to do."

"Karl wants a boyfriend, but he's so soft and sweet, a little kid, really, that we don't trust him on Grindr, or Gay Christian Mingle .  And you're like the gay expert of South Carolina. You belong to every club, you know everybody, and so..."

"So you want me to play matchmaker?  Sure, glad to do it.  Off the top of my head, I can think of four or five candidates.  Let's start with Brett.  He goes to my gym -- built like a bodybuilder, chest for days! He'll be able to appreciate Karl's muscles."

The full story, with NSFW illustrations is on RG Beefcake and Boyfriends

The Bloated White Caterpillar of "A Confederacy of Dunces"

When I was an undergraduate at Augustana College, I got bored to death with Southern Gothic. It was all any English major ever talked about, except for Ulysses:  I had my fill of The Sound and the Fury, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Light in August, The Grass Harp, A Streetcar Named Desire, the disgusting stories of Flannery O'Connor and Eudora Welty...

So when everybody began praising A Confederacy of Dunces, around the fall of 1980, my junior year in college, I wasn't interested.

But they kept up.  Spectacular!  A masterpiece!  A classic!  The greatest novel ever (except for Ulysses).

Plus, like all "great novels," it had an interesting origin story.  John Kennedy Toole (1937-1969), a gigantic mass of flab, an aspiring writer, a literary wit, a permanent student who never finished his Ph.D. (although he was much smarter than his professors), an avid heterosexual stymied by constant "just friends' speeches from girls  (maybe cut back on the cake?), an anti-Catholic teaching at a Catholic college, a prude who railed against the vulgarity of the 1960s co-eds who filled his classes, finally couldn't take it anymore, and committed suicide at the age of 31.

While cleaning out his things, his mother found a carbon copy of a novel called A Confederacy of Dunces (the original had been rejected by some publishers and finally destroyed).  She contacted writer Walker Percy, who at first refused to read it -- who needed another Truman Capote, especially a heterosexual one?  But eventually he gave in, loved it, and after 11 years managed to get it into print.  The rest was history:  Stupendous!  Colossal!  A masterpiece!

Prey to peer pressure, I bought a copy, read a few pages, and threw it out, not so much offended as disgusted, like when you touch a door handle and there's something gross and sticky on it.  40 years later, I don't remember what the problem was.  I remember that it featured a bulbous jerk who hated everybody and everything except Boethius, but why the visceral disgust?  Why does it come back every time I hear about Confederacy.

So I found a preview on Amazon and read the first few pages.

Page 1: In a godforsaken small town in the South, no doubt somewhere near Yoknapatawpaw County,  the bulbous Ignatius waits for his mother to finish shopping and criticizes the fashion choices of passersby (Ignatius is O'Toole. I get it).  He's wearing a hunting cap and boots too small for his bulbous feet.  He's so fat that movement is difficult.

Page 2: The town turns out to be New Orleans (not that small).  More about how fat he is:  when he tries to move, "in his lumbering elephantine fashion," he sends "waves of flesh rippling."  Even his boots are swollen to bursting from his swollen fat feet. (This guy isn't just fat, he's a disgusting bloated white caterpillar with a nearly human face..  That's what caused the disgust!  I feel my gorge rising even now!).

Plowing on:  the bloated white caterpillar is upset because his favorite game at the arcade is missing, which we hear about for several paragraphs.  (Boring, but it beats hearing how fat he is again).

 Page 3: More about the arcade game.  A police officer, seeing his bag of sheet music and spare string for his lute, saunters up and asks him for an ID.  Ignatious objects, complaining that the city is full of criminals, like sodomites and lesbians.  Why not target them instead?  (And he's blathering homophobe!  Help!)

Page 4: Meanwhile, Mom is buying macaroons and cakes.  More about how fat her son is. She talks to a friend, who complains about her feet (More about feet!  Was Mr. Toole a bit of a foot fetishist?).  They discuss the fact that Ignatius isn't married, and how he gets nasty when she doesn't provide enough cake (he's nightmarishly fat -- I get it).

Page 5: Back on the street, people are gathering around in defense of Ignatius, and the cop threatens to arrest them, particularly when they imply that he might be a "comuniss." Fortunately, Mom comes to the rescue, macaroons and wine cake in hand (I'm never eating a piece of cake again.  I may never eat again, period).

According to wikipedia, I'm not missing much plot.  Confederacy seems to be mostly episodic, minor adventures with various colorful characters, in fact, just about everyone from his opening-cop diatribe, including a sodomite, lesbians, strippers, onanists, and so on.   Meanwhile, Ignatius discusses how vulgar modern society is, and how much he likes Boethius.  The only major events:  Mom decides to get married, and to commit Ignatius to a mental hospital (good!)

There's a statue of Ignatius on Canal Street in New Orleans, to scare away the tourists. He looks rather svelte for a bloated white caterpillar.

There have been numerous attempts to film the book, but most actors who have agreed to play Ignatius died before they could sign a contract: John Belusi, John Candy, Chris Farley, Divine.  John Goodman is still alive, but getting a little old to play the 20-ish misanthrope. Will Farrell and Zack Galifianakis have also agreed to star in versions that never got made (good!)

Oddly, I have no problems with chubs or even superchubs in real life.  I find them rather attractive.  But the bloated white caterpillar was disgusting. And homophobic.

Workaholics Episode 4.13: "Do you think the guys having sex upstairs might be gay?" With bonus bear bods

Usually I review just one episode of a tv series.  With Workaholics, it's been five or six?  I promise to review something else later, but I couldn't resist Episode 4.13, "Friendship Anniversary," an excellent illustration of heteronormativity.

Link to NSFW version

Heteronormativity is a trope asserting that heterosexual desire, behavior, and identity are universal human experience. If you are asked, you will say "Of course LGBTQ people exist," but in everyday interactions, they slip out of conscious thought.  

You ask a new female acquaintance if she has a boyfriend, forgetting that she could be a lesbian. 

The teacher tells the class, "If you boys got your minds off girls, you'd get better grades," forgetting that some of them could be gay.  

TV viewers insist that a same-sex pair cannot be gay unless they actually say so on screen.  Otherwise everything they say and do is what heterosexuals say and do. "So they hold hands. Can't a straight guy hold his buddy's hand?"

The Dude Husbands: After a scene where the guys, Anders, Blake, and Adam, play American Gladiator,  they discover that they have been living together for seven years, so they are "common law husbands."  To celebrate their anniversary, Blake gives them homemade gifts: seashells on Ders' headphones and macaroni on Adam's weight belt, ruining them!  Ders serves horrible Norwegian food hidden in a bait-and-switch KFC box.  They argue, have a food fight, destroy each other's stuff, and criticize Adam's weight: "You're a chubby bitch, as fat as John Candy and not half as cool."  Finally they break up. Everyone leaves the house.

Blake's Night:  Crashing with his work friend, Jillian, Blake has a fun evening planned: beer, listening to the Yin Yang Twins (a rap duo), and "artsin' and craftin'"  But she's engrossed in a dog show on tv (that she is betting a lot of money on).  He makes her a "thanks for letting me stay here" gift, arts-and-crafting her favorite dress, ruining it. Plus he makes fajitas with sour cream, enraging her (that's a little harsh, girl)

Jillian puts him to bed in the bathtub, and when he casually mentions that she is acting crazy, goes ballistic: "We leave the shower on and the lights off."  

Ders' Night: 
Apparently he has no credit cards to get a hotel room, and no friends, so Ders tries to sleep in the back seat of his car.  He hears some teens drinking beer at the play station in the park -- after hours!  He tells them to scram, but they just make fun of him, so he gives them an ultimatum: they have to be gone by the time he finishes taking a dump, or he's calling the cops. 

Once he gets into the porta-a-potty, the teenagers knock it over, dousing him with a flood of blue toilet water

Adam's Night: He goes to a bar to drink and look for friends who won't reject him for being overweight.  It turns out to be a gay bear bar. He comes on too loud and too strong for the first guys he approaches: "50 beers for my new friends, who I love now!"  When Trevor (Stephen Kramer Glickman) calls him a "rowdy little bear cub," he insists on a full-body bear hug, and accepts an invitation home. Heteronormativity: Adam has no idea that these guys are gay, or that he has agreed to a hook-up.

At home, they go right to bed.  When Trevor presses his hard cock against him, Adam thinks that it's just morning wood, and congratulates the guy for being so virile.  Trevor starts to go downtown, but Adam reveals that he just broke up with a partner of seven years, like a few hours ago.  A rebound hookup woud be a bad idea; Trevor announces that he's going to masturbate in the bathroom instead. Heteronormativity again: a guy climbs in bed with you naked and presses his hard cock against you, but same-sex desire does not exist, so you must find a heterosexual explanation.

The guys start texting but change their minds, look for texts from their partners, and are miserable. 

The Rat Catchers: 
The next day, they have cordoned off their cubicle, and aren't speaking to each other, except to brag about how great their nights alone were and criticize their performance as husbands.  They decide to go back to the house, split up the security deposit, and part forever.

Except the house is overrrun with rats.  They have to get rid of them, or they won't get the security deposit back.  They try various gross and unhygeniec strategies which allow each to use his skills: Anders' organizational ability, Blake's arts-and-crafting, and Adam's muscles.  Afterwards, although they are splattered with rat blood and will probably die of rabies, they realize that they enjoyed the adventure, and decide to stay dude husbands. 

Another Anniversary Dinner:  They celebrate being dude husbands with real KFC.  Each tells the others how much he loves them, with lots of queer codes. Blake: "If I ever get a lover, she'll have go to with you guys first."  Adam admits that he's a bit overweight, but Blake says "I'll take you as you are."  

Adam's hookup from last night, Trevor, found a new guy, and they're going to go upstairs and f*k.  He tells the guys that they can come up, too, or they can stay downstairs and f*k if they prefer.  What is he doing there? Did Adam accidentally invite him over for a sex party?

As Trevor and his hookup make loud sex noises upstairs, Adam says "I'm getting a little gay vibe from him."  The others agree.  Blake: "Whatever. Let's eat." Over-the-top heteronormativity: Guys state that they're going to have sex, and demonstrate, and you get a "little gay vibe"

See also: Robert Oberst's Hot/Hung or Cute/Cool Photos

Bonus bear bods with dicks but no butts on RG Beefcake and Boyfriends

The Flowers of Evil: A Place Where Hercules and Christ are One

Back before there were shelves labeled "gay literature" in bookstores, when library card catalogs contained two books labeled "homosexuality," if that, you found gay books through key words in the title: something dark, dangerous, sinister was likely to be gay.

So one day when I was an undergrad at Augustana College, I found a copy of Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil), by Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867).

A series of poems about a man who is an alien in his own society, searching for a beauty that the people around him cannot understand.  He remembers countless past lives of Arabian Nights opulence, living only for the pleasures of sight, sound, taste, and touch, surrounded by "nude, perfumed slaves." Male slaves, I assumed.

He longs for a "good place," the distant country portrayed by Michelangelo, where "Hercules and Christ are one."  Where they worship masculine beauty?

He tells the story of four boys charting out their futures. The first longs for the theater, the second, for God, the third, for women...and the fourth, for gypsy men "with enormous black eyes" who live together and make "astonishing music."

The fourth boy is obviously gay.

Turns out that most scholars disagree with my undergrad reading of Les Fleurs du mal.  Baudelaire was a precursor of the Symbolist Movement, whose main voice, Paul Verlaine, was indeed gay.  And he was a dandy, one of one of those flamboyantly feminine men who scandalized polite society in Paris and London.

But Baudelaire himself was apparently heterosexual.  He has a prurient, sordid interest in women's bodies, especially lesbian bodies -- his first title for Les Fleurs du Mal was The Lesbians.  But barely a glimmer of interest in male beauty.

No do we see any significant same-sex loves in his life.  He smoked and drank heavily, wrote in taverns, patronized prostitutes, and had a series of mistresses.

But we know that author's own identity is not necessary for a gay reading.  Nor is authorial intent.  The meaning arises in the interaction between the text and the reader's life experience, expectations, and desire. When you are erased from most literature and mass media, you find meaning where you can, and Les Fleurs du mal remains one of my favorite books.

See also: The Dandy and the Gay Cult; A Season in Hell

Dec 28, 2023

"Tell Me a Story," and be sure to include biceps, butts, bulges, shootings, and sleazoids.

Tell Me a Story (2018-), on CBS and Vudu. "A re-imagining of classic fairy tales."

Well, I've already seen Once Upon a Time, but ok, I'll give it a shot.

Scene 1:  "Three Little Pigs."  Close-up of a bare chest tattooed with the words "Fuck You." belonging to the uber-muscular Pig #1/Eddie (Paul Wesley, left), a low-life drug dealer.  

He is asleep in his underwear in his trailer, showing a nice bulge, when his friend Pig #2/  Mitch (Michael Raymond Jones) drops in. They discuss how much they need money.

Scene 2:  The Pigs' Big Bad Wolf/Jordan (James Wolk), a restauranteur, strips down to take a shower. He's with a girl, but still, bare chest and butt, and I think a bit of his penis. Wow!  They argue over whether to get married or just continue hooking up.

Scene 3: "Hansel and Gretel" Gretel/ Gabe (Davi Santos) and his roommate Billy (Luke Guldan, left), discuss their lives as gay strippers, hustlers, and druggies. Ok, they're promoting the negative stereotype that all gay men are sleazoids, but they are promoting the negative stereotype in their underwear.  Muscular physiques, underwear bulges!  Four in a row!  

I've never seen a tv show display so much male skin and so little female.  Just the way I like it.

Scene 4: "Little Red Riding Hood" High schooler Red/Kayla, mourning her dead mother, is smoking marijuana and acting out, so her Dad moves her to small-town Manhattan to get a fresh start.  

Scene 5:"Hansel and Gretel"  At a mixed gay-straight club, Billy and Gretel/Gabe meet the ultra-rich, cocaine-addled Dan (Paul Rolfes), and go back to his apartment for a three-way.  While Gretel/Gabe, Billy goes into the bedroom and steals from the guy's wallet.   Dan catches on, gets violent, and ends up dead.  Billy runs away, leaving his "friend" Gretel/Gabe alone an apartment with the corpse of a man he didn't even know.  He calls his sister Hansel/Hope for help.

Scene 6: "Red Riding Hood"  Meanwhile, at the same club, Red/Kayla graduates from marijuana to Ecstasy, washed down with vodka, and picks up her Big Bad Wolf/Nick (Billy Magnusson).  After a lot of sex (showing us Big Bad's bare chest and butt, of course), she discovers that he is her new teacher. 

Well, I guess they couldn't help that, except  they continue the relationship.  Teacher-underage student.  Nice. 

Scene 7: "Three Little Pigs"   Pig #1/Eddie and Pig #2/Mitch visit Pig #3/Sam (Dorian Missick), a corrupt cop.  He suggests that they can pay off their massive debts by robbing a jewelry store wearing pig masks. 

Meanwhile, the pigs' Big Bad/Jordan finally talks his girlfriend into getting married, so they go ring shopping at store three know what happens next.  

I need a shower and about six hours of Workaholics.  There's a reason I don't do depressing crime dramas.

Instead of more plot summary, wouldn't you rather see the chest of Dan Amboyer, who plays one of Gretel/Gabe and Billy's go-go-boy coworkers?

Or the bulge of Rarmian Newton, who plays one of Red/Kayla's classmates who gets a crush on her, finds out about her relationship with her teacher, and goes ballistic?

Or link over to RG Beefcake and Boyfriends, where there are a lot of butts and at least one dick.

"Ginny and Georgia, Season 2": 22 Dads, Moms, Gram-Grams, Pop-Pops, Aunties, Love Interests, Siblings, and Gay Guys at 3 Thanksgivings


Ginny and Georgia, a comedy series on Netflix, is about a mother-daughter team, like The Gilmore Girls.   I reviewed the first episode in March 2021, but I don't remember anything about it.  No doubt the three gay characters listed in its Wikipedia page had not yet appeared.  So I'll give Season 2, Episode 1 a shot.

By the way, the Wikipedia page was terrible, fraught with grammatical errors and overuse of the cliched term "love interest."  I fixed a little of it, but then gave up.  I have other things to do today.

Scene 1: Ginny and Georgia, Mom and Daughter, dancing in slow motion, experiencing that intense sort of ecstatsy that you see only on tv commercials when someone has achieved everlasting happiness by purchasing their brand of toothpaste or dishwashing liquid.  Daughter explains that when she was growing up, they were soul mates, so deeply in love that they didn't need anyone else.

Switch to Daughter as a teenager, no longer in love with Mom.  She's reading the Parable of the Sower, when Mom, who looks like she is around 15, comes into her room. "What the heck is this trash that you're reading?  I'm so stupid that I don't know what 'parable' or 'sower' mean."  

"It's about the demise of civilization through facist capitalism." 

 "Oh, I don't know what any of those words mean, so let's make out  We haven't had sex in ages."   Smothering Mother jumps into bed with Daughter/Lover but calling herself "Mommy" turns the girl off.  She refuses sex, so Smothering Mother ttries smothering her with a pillow. 

Scene 2: 
Daughter/Lover wakes up.  It was all a nightmare, a metaphor for Mom's smothering. I may have exaggerated the incest subtext -- a little.  But it's still very obvious, and very creepy.

Her hunky Dad (Nathan Mitchell, left) bursts into her room, calls her "Gummy Bear," and asks if she's ok.  So she's left her smothering Mom for Dad.

Scene 3: A prim Southern Belle who looks like Melanie from Gone with the Wind, opens the door and yells "Welcome back, bitches!" to an elderly heterosexual couple.  A blond woman with a man's haircut  admonishes her to not call "Nanna and Pappy" bitches. So, a lesbian couple?

The elderly Nanna and Pappy enter, hug the couple, and ask Football Fan (Chris Kenopic), a middle-aged man, if he's ready for the Pats to lose.  The New England Patriots, so this is the Northeast.  I thought it was the South due to the Southern belle and the Mom named Georgia. Plus Nanna brought "whoopie pies," a Southern dish. 

Nanna asks Man's Haircut where Marcus is.  So both of the woman have heterosexual partners, and they're all living together?  "He'll be down in a bit."

Scene 4:
Marcus (Felix Mallard), a rebellious teenager, is in his room, smoking and drawing bugs on the wall.  Southern Belle bursts in to tell him that Nanna and Pappy have arrived.  

"Too bad -- I'm not doing Thanksgiving this year, because it is a celebration of Native American genocide."

Ok, I'm completely lost.  How are these people related?  Wikipedia to the rescue: Southern Belle, who is "openly lesbian" is Marcus's sister, although she looks about 30 years older.  They are children of Man's Haircut, even though she looks younger than them, and Patriots Fan. 

Marcus wants to know if Southern Belle has talked to "her," because she hasn't been to school in a week, and she's stolen his bike.  Oh, great, not another person to fit into this extended family tree.

More note-taking after the break

Dec 27, 2023

Modern Family Episode 5.6: Gloria's crush on Adam Devine, Phil's three-way, and Cam and Mitchell's swishing contest


Back in 2014, I was quite adamant that Adam Devine's character on Modern Family, Andy the Manny (male nanny), was homophobic, so I've been reviewing episodes, looking for evidence.  This is his first appearance, in Season 5.6: "The Help."  Ugh!  I hated being called "the help" when I was in high school, working at the Carousel Snack Bar.  I told the boss "I am a human being.  I have feelings.  I am not 'the help.'"

Link to NSFW version

As in all Modern Family Episodes, we have three plots, usually involving a random assortment of family members, interspliced.  I separated them out.

Plot 1
: Claire, her husband Phil, and their kids.  Phil's Dad, Frank (Fred Willard), staying with his family because his girlfriend dumped him, being depressed and annoying. They discuss whether he needs a therapist, but Claire's dad Jay (Ed O'Neill) says that he just needs a woman.

"I know a place," he tells Phil.  "Tonight you, me, and Frank are going out on the town." 

 "Fun!  A three-way!" Phil exclaims: a running gag has him saying innocent things that sound sexual, usually homoerotic.   

Cut to the bar.  The men approach two women and say hello. "Not interested!" one exclaims. The other flirts with Frank, so his wingmen scram.

In the morning, Frank tells Phil that he hooked up: "She's downstairs right now.'  Except she turned out to be a sex worker, and he owes her $500. Ok, first of all, you have to make the contract clear, and second, sex workers don't spend the night. They get the job done and go home. 

While they're scrounging to find $500 in cash, Claire returns from yoga class, and wants to know who the woman in the kitchen is.  "The therapist we hired!" Let the misunderstandings begin: "I have always wanted to do what you do. I'd be good at it.  It's basically what I do for the whole neighborhood anyway."  

The sex worker (Peri Gilpin, best known for Frasier) assures Frank that his performance was superlative.  She has a lot of elderly clients who can't even there are kids present...but "any woman would be lucky to have you."  This gives him the confidence to start dating again -- and move out, which is what Phil and Claire wanted all along.

Plot 2: 
Gay couple Mitchell and Cam are getting married, but they can't decide on anything, so they've asked their flamboyant friend Pepper (Nathan Lane), a professional wedding planner, for help. He comes in with overloaded binders and his flamboyant assistant, Ronaldo. But when they don't like his first idea (a purple color scheme), he goes into a snit, so they have to pretend to like all of his other horrible ideas, like riding in on a unicorn and wearing Willy Wonka outfits. 

Pepper is burnt out from planning 50 gay weddings since they became legal in California, so why not let Ronaldo do it?  Uh-oh, the assistant stealing the job from his boss -- drama.  Of course, they all act like they are cheating on a romantic partner: "I couldn't stop thinking about you.  What happened here yesterday was real!"  Pepper-Ronaldo break up and reconcile.

Plot 3:
 Jay, the patriarch of the family, and his wife Gloria, who is actually younger than his adult kids, argue over her habit of firing their infant son's nannies: she feels threatened by other women in the house. Also, their teenage son Manny keeps sexually harassing them. 

At the park, Gloria meets Andy, the manny of her frenemey Joan.  Andy reveals that she is  unfriendly because she's worried that Gloria might steal her husband.  

Gloria is irate: Frenemy's husband is too fat to be attractive.  Not anymore: Andy helped him lose 30 pounds! He also can cook. Enough bragging, dude.  It sounds like you're hitting on Gloria.  But it works -- Gloria decides to steal Andy, but in a non-sexual way (well, not overtly sexual; she gets quite chummy as she leads him off).

When Jay and Manny get home, Andy introduces himself as the new manny. Manny: "Am I being replaced?"  No, he's the baby's new nanny, but "My mission is to make all of your lives happier and healthier." So, are you a nanny or a life coach/personal trainer/dietitian?

No way! Jay yells.  "He's a man!  It's weird!" The aging Baby Boomer Jay thinks that only women are qualified to do childcare, but Gloria has a big crush on him: "He's perfect," she sighs. Manny disapproves, too: how is he going to sexually harass a guy? Gloria storms out of the room.  That's the end of it, right?

The next day, Jay is in the shower.  He forgot to get a towel (isn't there always one hanging on the towel rack?), so he yells for Gloria. But Andy brings it for him, and does the gay discreet-glance-at-his-bulge thing (but in this case, he sees Jay's dick rather than his bulge).  I'm confused: is Adam playing Andy as gay, or do straight guys like looking at dicks, too?    

Andy made a heart-healthy breakfast for Jay and Manny, and afterwards, he suggests jogging.  How about taking care of the baby?  

"Nope," Jay tells him. "My wife overstepped her bounds by hiring you. You're fired!"

"I came on too strong, didn't I?  My dad warned me about that when I turned 14." He goes into a story of his dad dying, so he had to be "the man" of the family, and take care of the kids. But that doesn't dissuade Jay and Manny: they want him out.

Gloria returns and starts yelling.  They yell back.  Andy begins a group therapy session that ends with everyone apologizing and promising to do better at communicating their feelings. Cut to the whole family, walking fast.

Ok, I get it.  All three of the groups hired "help" in scenarios that looked sexual (or, in Frank's case, were sexual), and turned out to be more "help" than anyone anticipated.

Beefcake: None.

Gay Stereotypes: Of course.  Mitchell, Cam, and their friends seem to be having a contest to see  who can be swishier. 

Homophobia:  I didn't see any in this episode, just some gender polarization.  Andy displays no queasiness about seeing Jay naked in the shower, and actually takes a peek at his penis.  All gay characters on the show are femme stereotypes, of course, so he's written as straight, but it  certainly indicates that he is not afraid of male nudity.

Bonus nude Matthew Risch and almost nude Ed O'Neill on RG Beefcake and Boyfriends

Who's the Boss

Many 1980s sitcoms had an anti-nuclear family
message.  Moms and dads were utterly inadequate at raising children; it took an outsider -- a college kid (Charles in Charge), a proper English butler (Mr. Belvedere), a white guy (Webster, Diff'rent Strokes) -- or a hunky working-class schmoo from Brooklyn.

Who's the Boss (1986-92) transformed Taxi hunk Tony Danza into Tony Micelli, housekeeper to uptight Angela Bower (Judith Light) and her blond waif son Jonathan (Danny Pintauro, previously Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream).  Tony's daughter Sam (Alyssa Milano) and Angela's horny mother, Mona (Katherine Helmond) filled out the household.

Let's review: Tony Danza, who played a gay-positive character on Taxi and posed for the gay magazine In Touch. Judith Light, a tireless proponent of gay rights.  Gay ally Alyssa Milano. Katherine Helmond from the gay-positive sitcom Soap.  Sounds tailor-made for a gay-positive sitcom.

Nope.  No gay characters, no gay references.  At least Tony is cool with the kids' gender-transgressive interests; Sam's passion for basketball and Jonathan's for gymnastics. But the main plot arc involved everyone trying to set up Tony and Angela, who for some reason denied that they were attracted to each other.

Meanwhile everyone in the cast, including Jonathan, was busily falling for the wrong person, cheating on their partner, accepting and then rejecting marriage proposals, worrying about prom dates.

Fortunately, there was a lot of beefcake.  Angela kept stumbling across Tony in the shower or wearing only a towel. When Danny Pintauro became a flamboyantl gay adolescent, he got some shirtless and semi-nude shots in teen magazines.

Sam had a series of hunky boyfriends, such as Jesse (Scott Bloom left, with brothers Brian and Mikey).  And the super-stud Billy Gallo had a recurring role as "Mr. Al."

In 1997, five years after the program ended, Danny Pintauro was outed in The National Enquirer.  His tv family was supportive, except for Tony, who later said "The Danny I knew died last year."  But in 2005, they reconciled enough for Danny to appear on Tony's talk show. They discussed their memories of Who's the Boss, but carefully avoided any mention of "it."

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