Jun 2, 2023

Fake Profile: A Richster doesn't trust his children's partners, for good reason. Did I mention that one of the children is gay?


Fake Profile,
a Colombian mystery series on Netflix, has what looks like two guys kissing on the icon, so I watched the entire first episode.  No gay guys.  It's about Camila and her Tinder hookup Fernando (Rodolfo Salas) having sex (a lot of his body, not much of hers).  She told him that she was a nurse, when she when she actually works in a Las Vegas strip club.  Eventually she comes out; he doesn't care. 

 He told her that he was a plastic surgeon with a clinic in Cartagena, Colombia.  But when she flies down for a surprise visit, she discovers that plastic surgeon Dr. Fernando is someone else!  The guy she is seeing stole his identity for his Tindr profile!   She pretend not to know, so she can find out who he really is.  

Her only clue: while they were talking on the phone, she heard someone say "Miguel," and "Riviera Esmeralda," an upscale gated community.  David, a friendly and flirtateous Uber driver, takes her there.  On a stake-out, they see Miguel arrive and greet his wife, teenage son, and little girls. Ulp: it's her Fernando!

Ok, let's see if the gay characters show up in Episode 2:

Scene 1: As Camila prepares to confront the fake Fernando, hunky property manager Cristobal appears, thinking that she and Uber Driver David are a couple waiting for a tour. David thinks she's hot, so he agrees to play along.  "We're very interested in renting a house, and this one looks perfect."

Uh-oh, there's a hunky guy, Adrian (Mauricio Henao), swimming in their pool.  "Sorry, I didn't know you were showing the house," he explains. "Our pool is being repaired." Manager Cristobal is embarrassed.  Maybe these are the gay guys?

Scene 2: Plot dump: Adrian is the son of fabulously wealthy power-broker Pedro Ferrer, who owns the Esmeralda and dozens of other properties.  His sister Angela happens to be married to...you guessed it...Miguel, the Fake Fernando!  So, if he wanted a fake profile, why didn't he just make one up?  Why steal the real Fernando's?

They meet Fake Fernando's wife, who doesn't notice that Camila is staring at her in horror, his young daughter, and...almost Fake Fernado himself!

Scene 3: "Ok, let us know  if you want to rent the house. Bye!"  Uber Driver David has had enough: hot or not, he has to get back to work.  Uh-oh, she missed her flight back to Vegas, so David drives her to a beachfront resort owned by his grandmother.  He shows Camila around and introduces her to everyone. Way to get back to work, dude.

Cut to Richster Dad golfing with Fake Fernando.  He doesn't want his daughter to become CEO when he retires, because she's a woman, so Fake Fernando is getting it.  "But what about your son Adrian?"  "Oh, he's not interested in the business. because he's...you know." Just say the word, dude.  "Ok, then, thanks."

Psych!  Fake Fernando was supposed to say "My wife would make a great CEO! I don't want your crappy job!"  Father-in-law was testing his moral character, and he failed!  (Father-in-law is also aware of Camilia, and spying on her).

Scene 4: Uber Driver David gives Camila a tour of la ciudad vieja of Cartagena. So much for going back to work.  They're dancing in the street when Camila gets a phone call from Adrian, who has just climbed out of bed after sex with Cristobal. He's inviting them to the opening of his fancy restaurant tonight.

Scene 5: Tonight. Uber Driver...um, we can probably be honest and say boyfriend by now...drinking at the bar and listening to Camila bitch.  "Not all guys are liars," he assures her, hint, hint.  "I'm not leaving Cartagena until I figure out what this guy's deal is."  He's using a fake profile because he can hardly go on Tindr as himself, married to the daughter of vindictive richster. All done.  Shall I make you a flight reservation for tomorrow?

Scene 6: The Mil Placers (Thousand Pleasures) restaurant grand opening. Manager Cristobal (Jair Romano) gives Adrian some flowers to celebrate; Sister, Fake Fernando's wife, congratulates him; Richster Dad looks uncomfortable and tries to put a downer on the evening: "A hundred restaurants open in Cartagena each year, and most of them close.  The restaurant business has very high overhead and a low profit margin..."

Fake Fernando arrives, congratulated Adrian, and snubs his boyfriend Cristobal, which upsets him.  Suddenly Angela gets a phone call: Camila is coming to the party! (She was invited, after all).

Cut to: Camila's abusive ex-boyfriend shows up at the strip club in Vegas and demands to know where she is. 

Camila arrives, and is greeted by Manager Cristobal, his boyfriend Adrian, sister Angela, Richster Dad, and....where's Fake Fernando?  "Oh, he had to leave.  Our son had an accident.  Just a bloody nose, nothing serious. We won't even call Dr. Manrique.  She's our family doctor."  Pay attention: this is important.

Cut to: Fake Fernando applying a cold compress to son Lucas's nose, while his teenage daughter complains that it's his fault: she tried to take the golf cart, he tried to prevent her, so she pushed him out.  I don't know why this is important.

Scene 7:  Uh-oh, they start interrogating Camila as if she's dating someone in the family.  "What do you do?  Where do you work?"  "Um...I'm a psychologist...I...um...counsel kids online." Richster Dad is suspicious.  She calls Uber Driver David to help her escape, but he's busy working.  

Gazing hungrily, like htey want to eat her, Angela, Cristobal, and Adrian insist that Camila and her husband rent the house, so they can all be together and their lives will be constant ecstasy forever.  These people are decidedly creepy. You just met her today, and talked for like 30 seconds.   

Cut to Fake Fernando tucking his youngest daughter in bed.  Security calls that Dr. Manrique has arrived.  "Send her in."  It's...Camila, ready for the confrontation!  

"Why did you do it?"  He explains: as a golddigger, Fake Fernando naturally had a poor self image.  Then he saw the real Fernando entertaining a bunch of bikini babes on his boat, then winning an award for his charitable work, and thought that pretending to be him woud be fun.  Also a good way to get Tinder hookups.  "But everything we had was real.  I really did fall in love with you." Mmmm-hmmm. 

The party over, his wife Angela has come home.  He intercepts her before she sees Camila.  

The teenage son Lucas (Juanse Diez) wakes up and looks out his balcony, and sees Camilia on the deck below!

Camila sneaks out and walks across the grass to where Cristobal and Adrian are discussing how hot the waiters were.  She avoids them and walks out, just as Angela is telling Fake Fernando about the new couple moving into the house next door. "The wife is very hot.  She's a psychologist."  Wait -- is Angela bi?  She really, really likes Camila.

Scene 8:  At home, Manager Cristobal complains about the way Richster Dad treated Adrian.  "And on your big night!"  They kiss, open a bottle of booze, and Cristobal gets on his knees -- no, not for that,  to ask Adrian to marry him. They smooch a few more times.  Equal opportunity show, nearly as many boy-boy as girl-boy kisses.

Scene 9:  Lucas', Fake Fernando's teenage son, confronts him about the lady sneaking across the patio. "What were you doing with her, Dad?"  "Well, we started with...."  Just kidding.  We don't hear what he said.

Scene 10: In the morning, Fake Fernando tells the security guard to delete the video of Camilia entering the property last night, or else.  He goes to work to look at blueprints and field questions from Richster Dad. Cristobal and Adrian interrupt to announce their engagement (Colombia has had same-sex marriage since 2016). Everyone congratulates them except Richster Dad.  Is he homophobic, or does he think that Cristobal is yet another gold-digger? "Can't my kids ever date someone they met at the country club?"

Later, Fake Fernando calls Camila to apologize, and ask to get together.  The noive!

Uber Driver David (Lincoln Palomeque) is happy to pretend to be Camila's husband again.  Where is she getting the money for all this?  I guess strippers get a lot of tips.

Meanwhile, Adrian and Cristobal are walking through la ciudad vieja.  Cristobal wants to go on a honeymoon right after the wedding, but Adrian wants to wait: it's not a good time, with the restaurant just opening.  "Besides, I don't want my Daddy getting mad at me."  He walks off; Cristobal glares.  "Two million gay men in Cartagena, and I have to choose a Daddy's boy."

More drama: Fake Fernando uploaded one of their intimate videos to the internet!  

Scene 11: More drama: Later, Adrian goes home, and there's a hot guy taking a shower, his butt on display.  Apparently the shower room is right off the kitchen.  Inti, the waiter from the restaurant opening!  Cristobal has been hooking up!    Jeez, the Richster kids pick some winners!  

Camila and David are moving in, with a truckload of stuff they just bought?  Angela brings Fake Fernando around to meet them.  He sees Camila and is horrified.  The end.

Beefcake:  Quite a lot, and limited lady parts.

Other Sights:  A lot of Caracas, especially the old town.

Gay Characters: Cristobal and Adrian.  They seem to have problems of their own, so they don't exist simply to propel the main plot.

Soap Opera:  I don't see a lot of big plot twists so far.  A rich guy doesn't approve of either of his kids' partners.  A jealous ex-boyfriend.  And a lady who can rent and furnish a huge house, and stay there indefinitely, on a stripper's income.  If that's all there is, this show will be something of a slog, in spite of the beefcake and gay representation.  Hopefully we'll get a murder or two, and Uber Driver David will turn out to have a motive more ulterior than just getting Camela into bed.  B 

May 29, 2023

The "Gay Dads" Episode of "Danger Force"

 Danger Force, on Nickelodeon, is Henry Danger Part 2: instead of one teen apprentice, bumbling superhero Captain Man gets a whole crew.   I reviewed Episode 3, "Say My Name," which reputedly has canonical gay characters.

Scene 1: KLVY Studio. Captain Man (Cooper Barnes) is doing damage control after accidentally releasing hundreds of criminals from prison, including super-villains The Toddler, Arson Boy, Dr. Minyak, and Dr. Guilty.  Ok, those guys might be dangerous, but most incarcerated persons are being punished for minor drug possession and property crimes.  He's sent his Danger Force team out into the streets of Swellville to apprehend them.  But at that moment, the team arrives with pizza and wings!

Trying to save face, Captain Man argues that they at least caught The Toddler.  But there's a real toddler in his bag.  And they don't remember where they got him.  He's pre-verbal, so he can't tell them. This is a teencom, so I'm sure the parents realize that their kid is not in danger, just misplaced.

Introduction: There are four kids in Danger Force, two girls (one who looks more like a boy, and may be nonbinary), the "dreamy" Bose (Luca Luhan, left), and a "comic relief" Miles (Terence Little Gardenhigh), who actually seems to have a better physique. They apparently have superpowers of their own; I thought that the original Henry Danger was a non=powered teen sidekick.

Also in the cast: Captain Man's assistant Schwoz, whom I know from research to be played by trans actor Michael D. Cohen.

Scene 2: The kids practicing boxing while Captain Man snacks.  Whoa, look at those biceps! Could I just watch Cooper Barnes flexing for 23 minutes?  He's angry because they embarrassed him on tv, ao he insults their superpowers.  They do seem to be rather rudimentary.

An alarm rings -- "Stranger approaching!"  -- so the headquarters remodels into a classroom (rather a cool transformation).  It's a delivery guy named Guy (Josh George), who turns out to be Assistant Swoz, checking the security system.

When I searched for Josh George  online, all I found was this athlete, who won two bronze medals at the 2004 Paralympic Games.  Probably not the same Josh George, but he's hot.  Not having legs really increases your upper body bulk.

Next, the toddler they kidnapped runs across the stage with giant scissors, but Danger Force is more interested in the damage to their reputation caused by interfering with Captain Man's interview earlier.  They've all got humiliating nicknames, except Dreamy Bose, who is now being called Gorgeous Hair Boy.

Bose: "When are people going to stop talking about my gorgeous hair?  My eyes are down here!"  Interesting parody of the "My eyes are up here" line.

Swoz comes in and warns them to be careful: If you say a superhero's name three times, it becomes permanent!  In the 1970s, when he was just starting out, Captain Man was almost known as Angry Punch Guy.  Fifty years ago?  He looks mid-30s.  Maybe superheroes reach a certain age and stop.   He only got Captain Man by convincing the hottest DJ in town, Coyote Jack, to say his name.

Scene 3: So, a plan of action: the Androgynous Girl rushes off to the tv studio to keep the newscasters from saying their humiliating nicknames on the air.  She bursts in and unsuccessfully tries to use her superpower to stop them, but they continue.  Fortunately, this was just a rehearsal.

Meanwhile, Comic Relief and his sister rush off to find the most popular person in town, Natalie Mazda, who is popular because she sat next to Emma Watkins on an airplane.  She's holding court at the Hip Hop Puree Restaurant.   But they're not wearing their superhero costumes, so saying their names would be pointless.

Meanwhile, Captain Man and Dreamy Bose look for the toddler's mother, using a photograph that Swoz drew from her genetic map.  Hetero-horniness alert: Captain Man intended to stay at headquarters, but when he saw that the toddler's mom was hot, he changed his mind.  They stop at the Puree restaurant for pureed cheeseburger, turkey dinner, and chocolate cake, and argue like a married couple.  Captain Man gets pureed chocolate on his t-shirt, and goes to wash it off. 

Scene 4: 
  All of the unsuccesful team members gather at the Puree restaurant. They find the toddler's picture on a milk carton, so at least they can call a parent.   Wait -- he's only been missing for like an hour. There should be an Amber Alert instead.

Ulp -- the real bicep-bulging  Toddler (Ben Giroux) and his henchmen burst in!  The team tries unsuccessfully to subdue them with their superpowers, and then with their muscles, and finally with Spicy Milk (a running gag that I didn't think was important)

Yow, Captain Man exits the bathroom shirtless!  Almost as if the director knew that every gay man in the world would tune in to this episode.  The patrons all cheer for Danger Force, but he thinks that they are cheering for his biceps.  I would be.

Scene 5: Two guys enter the Puree Restaurant and grab and cuddle the real toddler, who calls them "Daddies."  Unnamed, but probably Justin and Dustan (Tommie Dickie, Brandon Claybon). Captain Man is dubious: "Who are you guys?"  Apprised that they are his Dads, he asks "Where are the Moms?  The hot one in this photo?"  They explain that she is his birth mother.  Disgusted, Captain Man says "This has all been a waste of time," and stomps out.  Presumably he's disgusted because he was hoping to meet a hot woman, but it's not really clear.  The others are perfectly nonchalant.  While saying goodbye, the toddler uses the superheroes' preferred names.   

Popular Natalie Mazda tells her social media followers that this is the best thing she's seen since Emma Watkins on the plane, getting a lot of heart and happy face emojis.  The newscasters report on the story as a "sweet moment," and use the superheroes' preferred names, so they're all set.

Epilogue: The team relishes their new names. Captain Man is desperately trying to find the hot birth mom by calling everyone in Nova Scotia named "Samantha" and asking if they are hot.  Captain Man strikes me as a jerk.  Is this intentional?

Beefcake:  Sigh.

Heterosexism: Captain Man is as annoyingly hetero-horny as the nerds in a 1980s "losing your virginity" movie.

Gay Characters: Two gay dads who appear for about a minute, and are unnamed.  One has three lines, and the other none.  But at least they get a lot of comments about how sweet their story is.

May 28, 2023

The Kelvin/Keefe Sex Scene, a Frame-by-Frame Analysis


Sorry for spending so much time on The Righteous Gemstones.  It's not even my favorite show: I don't like a lot of the gross-out humor.  But this scene is really bugging me, and I've spent an inordinate amount of time today studying it in detail, trying to understand why it is there in the first place.  I think it can tell us a lot about Hollywood's treatment of LGBT people.

In case you're new here, The Righteous Gemstones is a HBO Max sitcom about the famous, ultra-rich televangelist Eli Gemstone and his three children, who live in separate mansions on his compound and get into constant squabbles and scrapes.  But of course they love each other deep-down.  Kelvin (Adam Devine) is the youngest son, around 30 years old. a muscle enthusiast who usually works in the low-prestige teen ministry, and has to constantly prove himself.  Keefe (Tony Cavalero), a former Satanist whom he saved, is his boyfriend.  

Everyone treats them as a couple, especially in Season 2, when Keefe is definitively accepted as a member of the family; yet no one ever refers to them as "boyfriends" or "partners" (except once in Season 1, and Kelvin denies it).  They never say "I love you" except in a gesture in a song.  They are never shown sharing a bedroom, or even cuddling on a couch; their displays of affection occur in long shots, and are limited to hugging, forehead-pressing, and holding hands (once, when they are fleeing from danger).  They are never shown kissing, even in situations when romantic partners would be expected to kiss.  So are or aren't they? 

Which brings us to Season 2, Episode 6: Kelvin is standing naked in front of the mirror; distraught:  he has lost the respect of the God Squad, his cadre of muscle men; his father hates him; he is worthless, nothing, no better than a beast.  Keefe suggests that he will feel better if he gets dressed for the day.  His hands are broken, so Keefe will have to dress him.

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