Jun 1, 2024

History of the World, Part II: Homophobic jokes, gay subtexts, and Brock O'Hurn. With Ike and Nick naked


Link to the NSFW Version

History of the World, Part I (1981) was a Mel Brooks vehicle involving sketches parodying various historic periods, from the Stone Age to the Spanish Inquisition, featuring nearly every comedian in the business.  To the infinite confusion of audiences, no Part II was intended.

Until 2022, when Part II appeared as a tv series on Hulu, again (mostly) produced, written, directed, and narrated by the 96 year old Mel Brooks (swole body by Brock O'Hurn).  Three or four historic periods are parodied, but I'm going to review only the Civil War.

Episode 1: 1865. In the waning days of the War, President Lincoln asks the drunken Ulysses S. Grant (Ike Barinholtz, below) to take charge of his son, Robert Todd (Nick Robinson): the 22-year old Harvard studenthas been begging to enlist, and now that the war is nearly over, he can do so safely. This is historically accurate: Robert Todd did serve on Grant's staff for several months in 1865.  But he was a "dandy," and Lincoln was gay; both are closeted here. 

Every soldier in Virginia has been ordered to deny Grant alcohol, so he decides to take RT on a "dangerous mission."

"I would follow you to the gates of Hell," RT says.

"It's worse than that.  We're going to West Virginia."  Har, har. 

Episode 2: 
 In Rock Ridge, West Virginia, stylized as an Old West town out of Blazing Saddles, RT and Grant try to fit in because "They don't like our kind." He means Yankees, of course, but.... In  a tavern, we get a shot of the two holding hands as they both look at the same menu.  That's a queer code.

Their cover is blown when Grant tries to use Union currency, and his face is on the bill!  Grant is on the $50 bill today, but of course he wasn't during the Civil War. "We hate Yankees!"  The scene dissolves when a Red Sox fan starts to complain (the baseball team opposed to the New York Yankees).  

A mob (led by Scotty McArthur) leads them out to be hanged.  Actually, West Virginia was almost entirely Union-occupied through the war.

Episode 3
: Three expendable Union soldiers  are sent to rescue them. Lt. Henry Honeybeard (Tim Baltz), being white, is made their leader.  The others are the black Mason Dixon (Tyler James Williams) and the Native American Mingoes  (Zahn McClarnon, left).  As they leave, we see two pairs of legs protruding from a tent (guys having sex, har har).  

They are all dumb as a stump, and can't figure out which way West Virginia is. They end up the Underground Railroad, which is actually a subway run by Harriet Tubman, going the wrong direction.

Episode 5: In Rock Ridge, Grant and RT are about to be hanged by the Confederate mob.  They discuss how much they care for each other.  Another queer code. 

The guys arrive.  They send Mingoes to rescue them while Honeybeard and Mason-Dixon distract the crowd with a performance as the Dickie Dicks.  

Their song, "Fuck the North!",  is a run-down of how bad the Northern states are, with some homophobic lyrics: "Illinois sucks donkey dicks/ Michigan sucks and swallows." They are technically accusing the states of bestiality, but doubtless they would find a man sucking a man equally repellent.

The rescue attempt fails; all five are now going to be hanged.  But at the last minute Harriet Tubman saves them.

Episode 6:  Separated from the guys, Grant and RT are on the road alone, in their underwear.  Grant needs a uniform, so they approach a swishy gay stereotype and order him to "take off his clothes."  He responds as you would expect a swishy gay stereotype to.

General Lee signs the surrender documents; the war is over.  

We end with everyone celebrating. Now that the war is over, Grant's charge of RT is done, but they decide to stay together anyway, and dance and hug. Third and fourth queer codes.  The guys decide to stay together, too: they move to California to perform as a trio.

Beefcake: None.

Gay Characters: None specified except in sight gags.

Gay Subtext: Grant and RT have a lot of physical-affection codes, and they stay together at the end of the adventure.

Homophobic Jokes
: Three.  But that's standard Mel Brooks.  His 1970s movies are full of them.  Dom DeLuise said that he thought gay men were bizarre creatures, "from another planet."

My Grade: B-

Left: Ike Barinholtz bulge

Nude Barinholtz and Robinson on RG Beefcake and Boyfriends

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