Jun 17, 2023

Groom #1 or Groom #2: A Kelvin/Keefe/___ Story

 Keefe tried to gulp down the butterflies in his stomach.  It was now or never.  They were watching a true crime documentary on Netflix, just wearing pajama bottoms, cans of grape soda on the coffee table.  Kelvin's tongue was blue.  The least romantic moment imaginable, unless you counted the time he got food poisoning and was throwing up all night.  They weren't even cuddling.  But the lack of romance was the only thing that kept him from losing his nerve.

When the show ended, his boyfriend Kelvin, a youth minister at the famous megachurch run by his family, the world-famous Gemstones, turned off the tv.  He noticed at him.    "Oh, sorry, did you want to watch something else?"  

"No. Just leave it off.  I need to talk to you for a minute."

Kelvin turned to face him.  "What's up ?"

I decided to move this story.  There's not a lot of sexual content, but more than I like on"Boomer's Beefcake and Bonding."

The rest of the story, with explicit photos, is on Righteous Gemstones Beefcake and Boyfriends

Jun 16, 2023

Disney's "Pretty Freekin Scary": Demonic Being Learns to be Human, gets a Bro-Friend

 Disney is pushing a new teencom, Pretty Freekin Scary: A teenager girl named Frankie had the perfect life, including a hot boyfriend.  Then she died, went to the underworld, and returned with a task to complete amid the standard sitcom hijinks.

I reviewed an episode called "The Bro Life."

Scene 1: 
A house that looks CGI.  Sitcom kitchen, complete with laugh track. Mom cooks while two teenage girls, one named Scary,  and a standard sarcastic preteen boy eat.  Dad had an early meeting, so can't be there.  Femme boy, whose name is apparently Pretty (Kyan Samuels), enters and thanks "Mrs. Ripp" for breakfast a few times.  I gather that he's living there, but not related. 

So,Pretty and Scary. Is there another kid named Freakin?

Mom wants to binge a drama about a woman who killed her husband by pushing him off a ladder, but Frankie (a girl) isn't interested: it's too close to the way she died.  Pretty isn't interested, either: he wants to learn about lacross to make some guy friends.  Maybe he's a being from the underworld learning how to be human?

Intro:  Aha, I was right.  Frankie stands in front of a mirror, looking annoyingly self-satisfied, then falls into the underworld, where Pretty (the boy) and Scary (the girl) befriend her.  All three jump up to the surface to grin at the little boy and a purple-haired girl.

Scene 2: Four guys, one who uses crutches, another carrying a lacrosse thing.  Femme boy Pretty practices his bro-pickup lines, and tries to break into their clique.  They ignore him.  BFF Frankie tells him to try harder, so he returns and yells "Hi, Guys!"  Now they greet him, but he loses his nerve and runs away. No dig about a boy named "Pretty"?  In my high school, you'd never make it out of home room alive.

Frankie apparently has the job of redeeming Pretty.  She decides that this is the perfect opportunity: she'll find him a bro friend.  Brian approaches to disapprove of the idea: matchmaking never works.  Friendship, like love, has to happen organically.

Frankie gets upset, and accidentally causes a wind to rush through the hallway, with obvious complications.  Apparently she got some super-powers in the underworld.

Scene 3: 
Ok, time to attract a bro: put on a lacrosse jersey, walk down the hall arm-in-arm with Frankie, and laugh at some jokes.  They approach Dio (Jackson Dollinger), the lacrosse guy from before, who greets Pretty enthiastically.  Dude, he's obviously interested; ask him out on a bro-date!  Dio takes the initiative, asking Pretty to practice lacrosse after school, even though he has to blow off his girlfriend.  You know what they say, "bros before...um...women whom we respect and consider our equals in every way." 

Scene 4:  Back home, the sarcastic preteen and his dimwitted friend are analyzing the various mysteries in their town.  First up, the "schmeat" that his father sells: it could contain anything.  They plan to set up a surveillance camera outside the factory, to see who comes and goes. 

Scene 5:  Night.  Mom and the underworld girl Scary are watching the tv series about the murder, and of course eating popcorn (I have never in my life eaten popcorn while watching tv, but on tv it's mandatory).  

Scene 6: School.  Pretty and his new bro friend Dio rush down the hallway, laughing, bumping chests, and otherwise bro-bonding.  Two girl groupies approach Frankie to ask intimate questions about Pretty, such as "Does he put butter on his toast in the morning?"  Apprised that he prefers bagels, they shriek in ecstasy and rush off. 

Frankie brags to the naysayer Brian (Finn Carr) about her success: "Pretty now has a bro friend and female admirers!"  I thought he just wanted a bro friend.  Does he want some boy-girl action, too?    

Uh-oh, Dio's girlfriend Layla is upset about getting blown off, then ghosted, as he pursues his bromance.  How to fix this?  Dude, he's your bro-friend, not your boyfriend.  You can have a girlfriend, too.  

Scene 7:  Frankie and dumped girlfriend Layla will break up the bromance by starting a rumor that Pretty dissed Dio's lacrosse technique.  He'll be outraged and dump Pretty immediately!  

The rumor spreads instantly through the school, since every student is intensely invested in the Pretty-Dio bromance.  But by the time the rumor gets through the grapevine, it has turned into a compliment, and the two dance backwards into the sunset together.

Scene 8: The B plot about the preteens putting the "schmeat" factory under surveillance.

Scene 9: The C plot about Mom and Scary binging the murder-mystery program, except now they're eating vegetables instead of popcorn.

Scene 10:  The school cafeteria.  Pretty and Dio are discussing their next bro-date and using the term "bro" a lot, like the Smurfs.   

Frankie and ex-girlfriend Layla find a new way to break them up: Dio hates it when anyone eats off his plate.  I hate that, too.  Get your own darn food.  So they tell Pretty that eating off Dio's plate will seal the deal: they'll be best-bros forever!  

Pretty tries it.  Dio is thrilled!  It's a special intimacy, just for the deepest bromantic partners, like kissing for romantic partners.  Pretty has just affirmed their bro-love!

Scene 11: Next attempt to break up the Dio-Pretty bromance.  While Frankie distracts him by asking about their next-bro date, Layla steals Pretty's phone and unfollows Dio on social media.  Dio is outraged: "Dude, you unfollowed me!  You crossed a line!  We're through!"  He rushes over to Layla and starts asking her for dates.  Heartbroken, Pretty bursts into tears.  You didn't think about Pretty's feelings, huh, girl?

Scene 12:  Home.  Pretty, distraught, tries to figure out how he could have unfollowed Dio without knowing it. Frankie tries to figure out a way to fix the bromance

Cut to the B plot about the surveillance.

Scene 13: At the boba shop hangout.  Frankie and Layla have decided to just come clean about their deception.  "We shouldn't have interfered," Layla says. "If they're meant to be bros, they should be bros."  

They lure the guys to the boba shop with separate excuses, and then confess.  "Pretty didn't unfollow you -- I stole his phone and did it."

Reconciled, the bros are so overjoyed that they aren't even angry with the girls.  As they go off to pursue their bromance, Dio tells Layla, "I'll call you later."  Text, dude.  In the 21st century, we text.  So he's figured out how to have a bro-friend and a girlfriend at the same time.  The end, except for the B and C plotline resolutions.

Beefcake: The guys are a little young.  Kyan Samuels (Pretty) and Finn Carr (Brian) are 14, and Jackson Dollinger (Dio) 16.  The hot boyfriend mentioned in the premise does not appear.

Gay Characters: None.  The joke is that platonic friendships and romantic relationships have exactly the same trajectory, but to keep you from confusing the two, Dio has a girlfriend, and Pretty gets female admirers.  It will also make it very difficult to find gay subtexts anywhere. 

But do they have the same trajectory?  It seems to me that romances  have a specific trajectory: you can easily judge where you are and the direction you are going with milestones like the first date, saying "I love you,"  becoming exclusive, meeting the friends, meeting the parents, and the depth of physical intimacy (usually, not always).  Friendships are less structured; they just happen.  

Superpowers:  Wind-conjuring, for like 10 seconds.  I expected to see more, or none.  There weren't even any references to Frankie's mission on Earth. I guess it's to mentor the two underworld beings.

Paranormal: None.  I expected the underworld beings to be...well, underworld-ish, maybe with a hard-to-hide devil's tail or the ability to breathe fire.  Nothing.  A definite bait-and-switch going on here.

My Grade: D

Jun 14, 2023

Deadloch: Two Female Detectives and a Male Body on the Beach.


Usually tv series about a small-town murder begin with a a dead woman (whose naked body is featured), and a male and a female detective are assigned to the case, and fall in love.  In Deadloch, on Amazon Prime, it's a dead man and two female detectives: a big genre change.  No beefcake potential, but I'm still watching.

Scene 1: Night.  Two women walk through the town of Deadloch to the beach, where they stumble upon a naked man, dead, face up.  One accidentally drops her cigarette onto his extremely impressive penis (don't worry, he's not really dead, so it's ok to look).

Cut to the mayor being interviewed on tv about Deadloch's summer festival, an important event for the Tasmanian coastal community.  We see a lot of underwear hung up to dry.  Two women, Dulcie and Cath, are having oral sex (fully clothed, thank God). Then Cath goes to workat Deadloch Veterinary Services, and Dulcie (pronounced DULL-CEE) gets a call  about the murder!

Scene 2:
Dulcie, the head Constable, and her team, Abby and Sven (Tom Ballard, left), examine the body.  He's got tattoos from the Deadlock Football (Soccer) Club and Trent Latham, so he must be Trent Latham (Barry Wheeler, top photo).  Wait -- do you usually get a tattoo of your own name?

The Commissioner calls and refers to the body as "she."  Dulce informs him that it's a "he."  Surprised, he muses: "This sort of thing, you expect a woman."  99.99% of the time, yes.  Women are stereotyped as soft and fragile, so their murders have a strong emotional impact.  Men in a passive state make the macho hetero mal viewers uncomfortable.  "Forensics is coming, and we've recruited a detective from Darwin, to lead the case.  Until they arrive, you're in charge."  Darwin?  But that's on the other side of the country from Tasmania, a 7-hour plane flight.  Maybe they mean Darwin Street in Hobart?

Scene 3: The Deadlock Football Club.  "Where's coach?"   Cut to forensics examining the crime scene.   Constable Dulcie calls her wife to tell her about being assigned to the case.  "But you promised, no more detective work!"

The teenage Tom (Harry Radbone, left) shows up, and recognizes the body as his coach.  Coach's wife Vanessa and her son have been notified, and show up screaming.  Someone tackles Vanessa to to keep her from seeing the body -- unsuccessfully.  

Dulcie interviews the wife about their movements last night: "We ate tuna mornay, watched Ninja Warrior, and went to bed and made love."  "Can anyone verify that?"  Um...the making love part?  "Yes, my son heard us." 

"Did he go to the Beast Master Gym that his brother Gavin co-owns?"  Notice how skillfully they engage in plot exposition?  "No, Gavin was at the harbor putting decals on the boat for their new business, Pro-Bro (protein for bros)."

Scene 4:  Dulcie and her assistant intervie the dead guy's brother, Gavin (Jackson Tozer), a belligerent, sexist, shirtless guy (nice chest, if you're into bears) whose ex-wife has a restraining order against him.  Informed that his brother is dead, he yells "Fuck!  It was probably one of those lesbian man-hating bitches in this town!"

Asked when he saw Trent yesterday, he gets all defensive and calls his mate Jimmy to attest that they were together all night. All night, huh?  Tell me more. 

Scene 5:  The scary woods of Tasmania, night.  Dulcie and her assistants are at the constable station, working on the case. Forensics found no evidence of Dead Guy's personal effects, and the trail cameras have all been smashed to bits (so the teenagers could use nitrous oxide).  

Dulcie rushes off to an event with her wife, but she walks past the house full of laughing, talking people to examine the Pro-Bro boat that Dead Guy and his brother were working on.  The security camera is smashed, and Brother's Mate Jimmy  (Matt Burton) is struggling with a bushel of copper wire. 

The mortuary ambulance and police cars drive right through town, so everyone sees them, including Ray (Duncan Fellows), who is yelling at Trent's wife.  I don't know who Ray is.  Whoops, they took a wrong turn and have to turn around and drive through town again.

A brash, coarse woman pops out of the bathroom.  "Excuse me, you can't be here," and so on, until they discover that she's the big city detective, Eddie Redcliffe.  She erases  all of Dulcie's notes, insults her work, and asks all of the questions that have already been answered.  I'd be expecting a "You're arrogant!" bickering romance, but Dulcie is already spoken for.

He was strangled, so Detective Eddie suggests that his "busy dick" is to blame: someone got jealous.  Or maybe it's the brother, Gavin: "He looks like a psycho killer."  This woman is highly annoying.  Australian humor, I guess. 

Scene 6:  At the autopsy, Detective Eddie keeps jumping to conclusions and second-guessing the coroner..   Time of death: Between 3 and 4 am. Fist fight prior to his death.  He was hit with a pink ceramic object, but not hard enough to kill him. His tongue was cut out. His last meal was steak.  "Wait -- his wife said tuna mornay."  

Meanwhile, Dulcie deals with a seal that's blocking the bridge.  The mayor orders her assistant Gez (trans actor Harvey Zielinski) to shoot it, but Dulcie suggests just shooing it away.

They discuss the previous mayor, who was found naked on the beach five years ago.

Scene 7:
Detective Eddie interrogates the dead guy's son, Dolph (Bryce Tollard-Williams)  "We had tuna mornay for dinner and went to bed at 11:00 pm."    Eddie steals part of a pink ceramic plate set. 

I'm out of space, so I'll stop there.

Beefcake: Just the corpse.

Heterosexism: No heterosexual romances mentioned at this point.

Gay Characters:  The lesbian couple.  No one else specified at this point.

Will I Keep Watching  It's nice to see a dead guy and female detectives for a change, but I'm still not into murder mysteries.

Jun 13, 2023

Gay American Renaissance

During my junior year in college, I took  Modern American Literature, Modern British Literature, Introduction to German Literature, and several other heterosexist courses.  But Dr. Ames, who taught American Renaissance, occasionally hinted that same-sex desire exists.

It was about the first great American literary movement, roughly 1840-1860, when the great books that everyone still reads sprang up out of nowhere: Moby-Dick, Walden, The Scarlet Letter, Leaves of Grass, The House of the Seven Gables.  There were five main writers.

1. Ralph Waldo Emerson.  Dr. Ames: "He kept ignoring his wife to go on speaking tours."  During his junior year at Harvard, Emerson fell in love with a man named Martin Gay, and spent the rest of his life writing him homoerotic poetry. 

2. Henry David Thoreau.  Dr. Ames: "He was sexually repressed, too shy to talk to women." And he filled his journals with reflections on the strong, noble love between men.

3. Herman Melville.  Dr Ames: "He was a little light in the loafers.  Check out the scene where the two guys are in bed together, and Ishmael grabs Queequeg's tomahawk!"  

Moby-Dick is invariably heterosexualized on screen (such as the version starring Henry Thomas, left), but Billy Budd is too homoerotic to "straighten out."

4. Nathaniel Hawthorne. Dr. Ames: "He was friends with Melville, but then things got a little weird, and they split up."  Nevertheless, Hawthorne wrote about strong same-sex coupling in The Blythedale Romance, and "Young Goodman Brown," about a man discovering that all of his friends and neighbors are Satan-worshippers, can be read as a parable for a homophobe discovering the gay underground.

The Scarlet Letter gets many movie adaptions, including Easy A (2010), with Penn Badgley (top photo) and Dan Byrd as a gay high schooler.

5. Walt Whitman.  Dr. Ames: "He scattered illegitimate children up and down the Eastern seaboard, but he also had a bit of the fruit in him."  Actually, Whitman filled his journals with detailed accounts of his nightly cruising for men.

Dr. Ames didn't mention Edgar Allan Poe at all.

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