Sep 30, 2023

"Monsters at Work": 20 Years after "Monsters, Inc.", Has LGBTQ Representation Increased?

 Monsters, Inc. (2001) suggested that monsters have an economic motive for crawling out from under your bed: the psychic energy of children's screams is the main source of power for their society.   But scream-harvesters Mike and Sully (John Goodman, Billy Crystal) discover that children's laughter is more powerful, so the monsters change their tactics.  The two monsters are presented as a classic straight man-buffoon comedy team, like Abbott and Costello, and one of them has a girlfriend, but they still have a strong gay subtext.

20 years later, the Disney Channel is streaming Monsters at Work, an animated comedy set in the same universe: Tylor graduates from Monster University with a degree in scaring, only to find his skill set obsolete.  So he takes a job as a mechanic while studying comedy.  

Tylor is voiced by Ben Feldman, the Scott Baio lookalike best known for Superstore, who did a PSA in favor of marriage equality in 2012.  Could there be more open LGBTQ representation in the sequel?

I watched Episode 2, "Meet MIFT," in which Tylor goes to work for the Monsters Inc. Facilities Team.

Scene 1:  Tylor's first day on the job (last episode) was a disaster, so today Mom insists on driving him to work.  He doesn't care: the MIFT job is just a "temporary nightmare" while he is awaiting his move to the Laugh Floor (I knew lots of people like that in West Hollywood). 

Dimwitted tapir-monster Fritz (Henry Winkler) arrives and flirts with Mom. Then the orange blob-monster Val (Mindy Kailing), "Tylor's classmate at college and now his bff."  She tries to hug him, but he shrugs her off.  I could do without the "Your Mom is hot!" stuff, but rejecting a girl is a nice way to start the day.

Scene 2: Tylor arrives at the Maintenance Department in the basement, where the team is waiting for an initiation ceremony: "When a part breaks down, we fix it.  If a machine needs maintenance, we maintain it.  We're the monsters behind the monsters!"   He protests that this job is just temporary.  "That's what we all thought. "

His first ceremonial task: "Wrench that nut!"  It sounds dirty, especially when he protests: "I don't want to wrench any nuts  I want nothing to do with nuts." Speak for yourself, guy.

Next he has to pass through the Doorway of No Return to the land of Infinite Commitment.  "But...this job is just temporary?" "That's what we all thought."

Scene 3: Mike from the original movie returns from an 18-hour shift of refilling laugh canisters. His boyfriend Sully, now the CEO, tells him to take a break, but there's no time: somebody has to keep the kids laughing.  Plus he has a comedy class to teach at lunch.  Sully: "You can't keep going like this." 

Scene 4:
The MIFT team pretends that a break room table is Tylor's new office.  

Troublemaker Duncan (Lucas Neff) gives him an assignment: a cannister that needs refurbishment, or it will explode in 20 seconds.  It explodes.  Duncan laughs evilly.

Lunch time: Tylor goes off to his comedy class.  The others are upset: what does he need  to learn comedy for?  It's almost as if he doesn't plan to stay here forever.

Scene 5: The comedy class.  While Mike goes through a powerpoint presentation, "10 Rules of Comedy,"  Tylor complains about the MIFT team.  Surprise!  They followed him.

Scene 6:  Mike leaves the rest of the lecture to the stern HR director, Ms. Flint,  and runs to a door portal.  His girlfriend warns him that it's not safe, but he goes through anyway, and is trapped!  His girlfriend? Mike is more obvertly heterosexual than he was 20 years ago.  That's not progress!

The MIFT team rushes into action.  They restore power to the portal and get Mike back, but now he's trapped on a conveyor belt.  The "reverse" lever is rusted shut; no one has the strength to turn it -- except -- Tylor!  The newbie saves the day!

Scene 7:  While they are celebrating, Ms. Flint arrives to pick up  coworker Banana Bread's things.  She was so impressed by his "nuanced insight into comic theory" during the comedy class that she is promoting him to the Laugh Floor.  

Ouch!  But at least now there's a vacant desk, so Tylor gets one of his own. And a wrench with his name on it. The end.

There's also a segment called Mike's Comedy Class, where Mike sings about the dangers of comedy: the kid could "bust a gut," shatter into little pieces, fall out of bed and hit their head, or have their butts fall off.

Mike and Sully: 
The increased time given to the girlfriend reduce the gay subtext, although there is a glimmer  when Sully affectionately feeds Mike a cup of coffee.

Tylor and ?:  Tylor doesn't display any heterosexual interest, but I didn't see anyone for him to have a gay subtext with.  Maybe Fritz, who is very, very interested in welcoming him to the team?  But Tylor finds his attention annoying

LGBTQ Representation:  Still no open representation, just some tentative subtexts.

Zach Galligan: The Bright Spot of the Summer of 1984

Summer 1984:  When everything fell apart.  I was 23 years old, with a M.A. in English from Indiana University and no job.  Over 200 resumes sent out, and an endless stream of "no openings, no openings, no openings."  All of the factories in Rock Island closed, so I couldn't even follow my parents' dream of working on an assembly line.   I couldn't afford my apartment, so I moved back into Eigenmann Hall, my old dorm, and took my old job in the snack bar.

I saw myself at age 50, still making sandwiches and watching the world change around me. 

Even the movies from that summer are depressing:  Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Karate Kid, Revenge of the Nerds.

Except for Gremlins.  The story was about cute cuddly creatures who go on a rampage and humorously destroy a small town, just what I needed to channel my aggressions over my failed life. 

And Zach Galligan, who played  Billy, the boy who opened the Pandora's Box:

Stunning.   Breathtaking. A work of art.

Billy got The Girl at the end, but who cared?  He was obviously gay anyway.

No nude scenes, but who cared? A smile from Zach Galligan was just as good as seeing his cock.

Well, maybe not as good.

In those days before the internet, I scoured the movie magazines to find out more about him:  a 20-year old Columbia University undergraduate with only two previous on-screen roles.  

I couldn't wait to see what Zach would appear in next.

It turned out to be a long wait. For the next couple of years, Zach appeared mostly in tv movies, which I never watched or even read about. His next big-screen role was Waxwork (1988), about small town high school students terrorizd by living waxwork monsters:  a werewolf, Dracula, the Phantom of the Opera, and so on. Zach's character gets the girl again, and all of his other friends die.  Rather a bummer.  

And the intensity of his gorgeousness was rather subdued.  Attractive, but not breathtaking.

I guess you needed to be in the summer of 1984.

I didn't bother with the sequels, Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) and Waxwork 2: Lost in Time (1992), but All Tied Up (1993) was a must-rent because of the iconic scene where the three women his character has wronged tie him to the bed and rip his shirt off.

No definition at all, but, and he's got a definite bulge, obvious partially aroused.  And he's tied up.

But after all these years, still no gay characters or gay subtexts? Did he even talk to another man on screen?

I never went out of my way to see a Zach Galligan project again. Occasionally a hot guy would appear, on Melrose Place or Star Trek: Voyager, and I would check the credits and see the name "Zach Galligan"  and be pleasantly surprised.

No gay characters anywhere in his works, but in 2002 he starred on stage in Judy!, as a homophobic cop who goes undercover as a drag queen impersonating Judy Garland.

There were Judy Garland impersonators in 2002? But she died in 1969.

Today Zach states that he's constantly recognized for Gremlins.  Every day someone asks him about it.

I guess a lot of people remember the summer of 1984.

Sep 29, 2023

Mackenzie Astin: Bisexual-Inclusive

In 2011, Mackenzie Astin starred in Caught at the Zephyr Theater in Los Angeles.  He played a gay man blissfully planning a wedding with his partner (Will Beinbrink), when suddenly his Bible-thumping sister arrives for some screeching.

I hadn't heard much about Mackenzie, son of John Astin and Patty Duke, younger brother of Sean Astin, since the 1980s.  His biggest claim to fame then was a starring role on The Facts of Life (1985-88), about four girls in a private boarding school.

By the time he hit the series, the girls had graduated and were working in a boutique, Over Our Heads.  He played Andy Moffett, an orphan adopted by end-of-series lead Beverly (Cloris Leachman).

Teen magazines gave Mackenzie some attention, but not a lot.  Maybe because he wasn't very muscular.  He was soft, pretty, and feminine, a tween version of Kurt from Glee.

During the 1990s, he grew hard, hairy, and rather gaunt, as he tried to distance himself from his gay-coded teen years with macho hetero-roles: Iron Will (1994), about a dogsled competition; the Western Wyatt Earp (1994); Ernest Hemingway's wartime buddy in In Love and War (1996).

But Mackenzie played a lot of gay characters, too. In Stranger Than Fiction (2000), he plays a gay man named Jared who kills someone and asks his straight friends to help him hide the body.  In the short-lived tv series First Years (2001), he played a gay lawyer living in San Francisco.

Out as bisexual, Mackenzie is married to a woman, and a gay ally.

See also: The Patty Duke Show.

Henry Willson: The Man Who Invented Beefcake

During the Cold War of the 1950s, the Clark Gable-Cary Grant- Fernando Lamas model of  masculinity, the suave, sophisticated bon-vivants who sipped champaign at El Crocadero, fell into disfavor.  Movies began to display a new model of "youthful masculinity" featuring regular guys, small-town boys who sipped sodas at maltshops.   They had to be wholesome -- God-fearing, mother-respecting, patriotic -- yet sexual, overbrimming with erotic energy, aware (without stating it) that sometimes things happened in bedrooms.

They had to be stunningly handsome, of course, and muscular -- for the first time ever in the movies, they would rip their shirts off regularly, providing a beefcake spectacle that might draw audiences away from the still-prudish tv.

Walt Disney and his minions scoured the countryside to provide a stable of Adventure Boys for the teen and preteen audience -- James McArthur, Roger Mobley, David Stollery,  Tommy Kirk, Tim Considine, and many others.

For adult beefcake, the go-to guy was talent agent extraordinaire Henry Willson.

 Born in 1911, Willson began his career as a talent scout for the Zeppo Marx Agency, where he signed on future film great Lana Turner.  In 1943, he became the head of the talent division for David O. Selznick's Vanguard Pictures.  He and his assistants prowled gyms, modeling agencies, athletic events, and community theaters looking for prospects. Muscle Beach was a good bet, training ground to dozens of bodybuilder hopefuls drawn in by Earle E. Liederman's chatty columns in Muscle Power.

Since he was gay, Willson tended sign up men who were gay, or bisexual, or at least "gay for pay."   He spruced them up, arranged for acting lessons and gym memberships, and gave them strong, macho, all-American names:

Orton Whipple Hungerford III = Ty Hardin
Robert Mosely = Guy Madison
Francis Durgan = Rory Calhoun
Merle Johnson = Troy Donahue
Roy Harold Scherer = Rock Hudson

They present a straight facade to the world, of course, so Willson conspired with movie magazines and gossip columnists to send them on dates with female stars or link them romantically with in-the-know starlets.  Sometimes he even arranged "Hollywood marriages."  It seems that the "hiding in plain sight" was part of their appeal, adding a salacious twinge, "is he or isn't he"?

In 1953, Willson opened his own agency.  He didn't need to seek out prospects anymore; he was receiving 9,000 letters per week from high school football players and small-town thesbians anxious to make it big.  And some did -- if they were willing to make it on the casting couch first, or at least flirt a bit.  Almost every Hollywood hunk of the new beefcake model got his start as a Willson boy:

Doug McClure
James Darren
Chad Everett
Dack Rambo (left)

John Saxon
Nick Adams
Clint Walker (left)
John Derek
James Gavin

Willson didn't care for bodybuilders, except for Cal Bolder -- they had to find their representation elsewhere. And a few other hunks managed to find work without him.  But even if they weren't discovered by Willson, they often realized that connections are everything, and gay, bi, or straight, they became regulars at his weekly pool parties:

Ed Fury
Farley Granger
Van Williams
Robert Stack

Roddy McDowall
Steve Reeves
Tony Curtis
Aldo Ray
John Bromfield
Gary Conway
Gary Lockwood
Richard Long
Robert Wagner (left)

Disaster hit in 1955, when Willson made a deal with Confidential magazine to keep the rumors off Rock Hudson in exchange for a story about Tab Hunter's arrest at a gay party in 1950 (the actor and agent had a falling out).  The deal fell through, and Willson was effectively outed.  His established clients left -- most denied that they had ever met him -- and it became difficult to sign new clients.

During the 1960s, the fresh-faced, wholesome look became  "square," replaced by shaggy and androgynous,  and Willson's career ended.  Destitute, drinking heavily, forgotten by his former friends, he moved into a rest home for indigent Hollywood stars, and he died of cirrhosis of the liver in 1978.

But he left an amazing legacy, a 1950s world where "gay" was always just beneath the surface.

Sep 27, 2023

"The Freak Brothers": 1970s stoners adjust to the 2020s, with its drag shows, trans mechanics, and gay dudebros


The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers were a trio of stoner hippies is a series of underground comics in the 1970s.  In 2020, they spun off into an animated series.  From left to right:

1. Freddy (John Goodman), fat, frizzy blond, with a constant case of the munchies.

2. Franklin (Woody Harrelson), a tall, thin cowboy with an 11' cock, primarily into getting laid.

3. Phineas (Pete Davidson), frizzy black hair covering his whole face, into environmental and social issues

The premise: after taking some magic weed, the guys were in suspended animation for 51 years.  They awaken in 2020 San Francisco, and must adjust to cell phones, the internet, people telling you their pronouns, cancel culture, and marijuana being legal.  In San Francisco?  There must be gay characters.

I reviewed the Season 2 episode "Trans Am Trans Am."  The A and B plots are self contained, so I will keep them separate.  I'm skipping the C plot, about a marital problem in the couple that the Freaks are living with.

The A Plot: The San Francisco Grand Prix Road Race.  

Scene 1: 
Franklin hears the sound of his old trans am car, Betty.  He follows it to the Trans Trans Am Garage, and discovers that now its name is "Bernie." And it has new parts.  

"Who put in this tranny?" Franklin asks, meaning "transmission," but the mechanic, a trans woman, thinks he is insulting her.  "I transitioned five years ago."  He challenges her to a race, the trans am against the Freaks' van.  The winner gets both cars.

 Scene 2: The race. The mechanic wins, but just barely.  Franklin is a surprisingly good driver.

Scene 3:  At the Trans Trans Am Garage, Franklin is angry because he got beat by a girl.  Then he discovers that the Mechanic and all the other workers are trans women, and is elated: he didn't get beat by a girl after all!  The Mechanic doesn't like the misgendering, but he's a good mechanic, so she hires him as her assistant. They're going to compete in the San Francisco Grand Prix. 

Problem: The Evil Mayor, who looks like a Stephen Hawkings parody, always wins, and he fights dirty.

Scene 4:
 Time for a test run of the car Franklin and the Mechanic are working on. The Evil Mayor spies on them, comments "The cocksucker can drive," and tells his lackeys, Chuck (Adam Devine/Kelvin Gemstone, wearing a cap) and Charlie (Blake Anderson, orange Afro), to summon "Sheldon."  They are nervous, but comply.

Sheldon turns out to be Officer Sheldon of the San Francisco Sensitivity Police, arresting people for being insufficiently "sensitive."  "You called me 'sir.'  How dare you assume my gender!"  Uh-oh, here's where they parody people who have the audacity to be gender-atypical or nonbinary.

Scene 5: Franklin is sentenced to a sensitivity class taught by Officer Sheldon. It turns out to be bogus, instituted to get the good racers out of the way so the Evil Mayor can win the race.  

Scene 6: The Sensitivity Class.  The trans Mechanic was nabbed because she accidentally used her own deadname. Franklin confuses Officer Sheldon by claiming that he identifies as past, so he's offended by people referring to him a present tense.  He babbles so much that he is removed from the classroom. They're free!

Scene 7: Lackeys Chuck and Charlie approach the Evil Mayor with the bad news. Charlie begs him not to torture them: "Don't choke us to death. Don't shove anything up our ass."  Chuck: "Wait -- what?  Speak for yourself!"  So Chuck likes things shoved up his butt?  The Mayor suggests sabotage.

Scene 8:  As the Mechanic zooms down the street, Chuck and Charlie push the Mayor's wheelchair in front of her, so she crashes. (It's actually the Mayor's brother, being paid $40 to do it). 

Franklin yells at the Mechanic: "If you'd made different choices, you might have been able to avoid the wreck...all that body don't fuck with the original parts!"  He's talking about the car, but she thinks he's being transphobic. They split up: race team split up, not a romantic partner break-up.

Scene 9: Franklin being miserable without his car. The Mechanic appears. He explains that with "keeping the original parts," he was referring to the car, not her transitioning.  She broke her foot in the accident, so she asks Franklin to drive the car in the Grand Prix.

Scene 10: The Grand Prix.  Contestants include Schoolboy Q, Elon Musk, the woman the Freaks are staying with, the Evil Mayor, and Franklin. Chuck and Charlie sabotage the race with bowling balls.  The mayor uses torpedos and car pranks. Franklin wins, of course.  He and the Mechanic celebrate and hug, but don't kiss. I thought they were going to date, but I guess not.

More after the break

Sep 26, 2023

Lukas Haas: Gay Tragedies and Angst


Lukas Haas has been a Hollywood icon for over 40 years. He starred in some of the classic films of our childhood, like Witness (1985),  Lady in White (1988), The Ryan White Story (1989), and Mars Attacks! (1995).

Although his main focus has been indie doomed-romance-with-women movies, he has played several gay characters, generally of the angst-ridden, tragic-ending sort.

In Johns (1996), he plays a hustler who falls in love with a coworker (David Arquette) who insists that he's not gay.

In Last Days (2005), based on the last days of singer Kurt Cobain, he has a romantic relationship with Scott Patrick Green

In Meth Head (2013), he takes crystal meth and destroys his life, in spite of his partner's attempts to save him.

His friendship with Leonardo DiCaprio and lack of public heterosexual romances have  sparked gay rumors, but Lukas hasn't made any public pro- or anti-gay statements.  

There are beefcake and nude photos on the NSFW site, Righteous Gemstones Beefcake and Boyfriends.

Brian Krause: Not Charming on Charmed

When Brian Krause starred in Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991), yet another "discovering girls on a desert island" movie, there was a collective groan from West Hollywood.  Sure, gay teens probably found him dreamy, but why did they have to sit through two hours of heterosexist "you don't exist" propaganda for a glimpse of a slim chest?

Next he starred in the homoromantic December (1991), as the jock boyfriend of quiet, studious Wil Wheaton in a prep school during World War II.

But it's all downhill from there.

Next Brian starred in an aggressively homophobic movie, Sleepwalkers (1992): Charles Brady (Brian), a feminine-stereotype villain, and his mother/girlfriend, feed off the life force of virgins.  But he takes a moment from his busy schedule to dispatch a gay high school teacher named Mr. Fellows, who keeps hitting on his students. It's Stephen King, so there's bound to be a lot of anti-gay hatred.

Family Album (1994) is not quite as homophobic: Greg Thayer (Brian) is the son of a famous actress (Jaclyn Smith of Charlie's Angels) and her husband (Michael Ontkean).  When his brother Lionel announces that he is gay, it causes immeasurable strife in the family.

Then he starred in some heterosexist "erotic thrillers," which provided some nudity, but they were about guys having sex with girls.

And some buddy-bonding movies, but he never played one of the buddies.

Brian most prominent role to date has been in the tv series Charmed (1998-2006), about three witch sisters (eventually a fourth) living in a gay-free San Francisco.  Brian played Leo Wyatt, the sisters' Whitelighter (guardian angel).  He begins a forbidden romance with Piper (Holly Marie Combs), and eventually they marry and have children.

While the "I've got a secret" genre is always open to queering, the Charmed ladies are so aggressively searching for heterosexual partners that any symbolism is drowned out in the constant exchanges of "I met a new guy!" "Is he hot?"

Plus only one gay character -- Duncan Philips (Blake Bashoff) -- who appears in only one episode, apparently the only gay student at the Magic School, and the only gay person in San Francisco.

Plus female-female friendships are fine, but men approach each other only with suspicion, as competitors and potential enemies.

No word on whether he's a gay ally in real life.  I doubt it.

Spring 1978: Husbands, Wives, and Lovers

The spring of 1978, my senior year in high school.  I devised a clever scheme to avoid having to date girls: I would ask out a supermodel-cheerleader laughably out of my league.  Then, when she slammed the phone down, or had to wash her hair that night, my parents would "console" me by letting me borrow the car anyway.  So on Friday nights I went out with boys, to movies, to get pizza, to Leonard Bernstein's Mass at Augustana College, to the spring musical.

We would get back to my place or his place about 9:00 and turn on the tv set just in time to hear the jazzy, risque theme song to Husbands, Wives, and Lovers ("and luuv-errrrs"), produced by gay-friendly comedian Joan Rivers.

 It was the first time any man and woman on tv had lived together without being married, and hearing about it made us feel grown-up and sophisticated and sexy. Besides, gay people always called their partners lovers.

We also liked the beefcake-heavy opening credits,  in which five couples are seen in bed together, none of them in the least amorous (I don't know the names of any of the characters).

1. Cynthia Harris tries to get the elderly Stephen Pearlman interested, but he's listening to his own heartbeat with a stethoscope.

2. Lynne Marie Stewart tries to get  hunky, open-shirted Eddie Barth (left) interested, but he's busy eating a sandwich.

3. Ron Rifkin argues with Jessie Welles, takes a pillow, and storms off to sleep elsewhere.  A familiar face on tv, Rifkin later played a middle-aged gay man on Brothers and Sisters.

4. The vain Charles Siebert (seen here on Trapper John MD with Gary Frank) wrests a mirror from Claudette Nevins' hand and uses it to admire himself.

5. Mark Lonow (top photo) waits in anticipation while Randee Heller strips, but he doesn't like the results, and rejects her.

Apparently none of the men were particularly attracted to women.

We didn't continue watching; we changed the channel to Monty Python's Flying Circus on PBS.

Apparently lots of people were changing the channel: Husbands, Wives, and Lovers ended after only nine episodes.  Maybe because nobody wanted to see an hour long comedy?  Or because it aired right after a two-hour block of kid-friendly superhero adventure shows? Or because the elderly people home at 9:00 pm on Saturday nights took offense at lovers?

 But it's surprising how many Boomers remember it.  Or at least the opening credits.

Sep 24, 2023

Manga: Gay Japanese Comics

When I visited Japan, I saw manga everywhere: thick, heavy books of sequential art, similar to Western comic books but with a different history, a distinctive style, and a much larger audience.  Everybody was reading manga, not just fanboys, and they came in many different genres, from comedy to drama to the hardest of hard-core porn.

In the absence of Western hysteria concerning gay people, same-sex desire and relationships are commonly portrayed as unremarkable facts of life, even in manga aimed at juveniles.

Yaoi are manga involving romances between teenage boys, both drawn as ultra-feminine and girlish, aimed at an audience of teenage girls.  They seem to be the Japanese equivalent of Western teen idols, who are commonly presented as androgynous.

(Yuri are the female equivalent, involving romances between teenage girls.)

If you prefer more masculine men, try bara, manga involving hirsute man-mountains in love.

Here are some of the more popular (but non-pornographic) gay-themed manga available in English translation.  Many have also been turned into anime (Japanese cartoons).

But be careful...they are convoluted, multi-volume, so once you start, you'll have to read a dozen or more to get the whole story.

1. Close the Last Door! Nagai is a salaryman who is secretly in love with his coworker, Saito, who is about to marry a woman.....

2.Silver Diamond. High school student Sawa teams up with the intergalactic outlaw Chigusa, to try to save Chigusa's planet from evil plant creatures.

3. Punch Up. Sophisticated young architect Motoharu has lost his pet cat.  Rough, husky factory worker Kouta has found it.  The two mistrust each other at first, but....

4. Three Wolves Mountain. Kaya runs a cafe in a small, isolated town.  One night he meets two werewolf brothers (fox spirits in the original Japanese).  He falls in love with the younger brother, but the full moon is coming....

5. Antique Bakery. Famous baker Ono is accustomed to getting any guy he wants, using both his superlative physique and his baking skills.  But his boss, Tachibana, seems oblivious.  Until....

6. One Thousand and One Nights.  The sultan keeps marrying women and killing them, and Sehara's sister Shahrazad is next in line!  He is willing to do anything to save her, including....

7. Loveless. Ritsuka is a "catboy," who will lose his cat-like qualities when he loses his virginity.  He and an older man named Soubi team up to find his brother's killer, and encounter a mysterious organization called The Seventh Moon....

8. Hetalia Axis Powers. World War II is recreated by characters named after the countries involved: Italy, Germany, Japan, America, England, France.  Except now they can form hidden alliances and fall in love...

9. Crimson Spell. Prince Vaid suffers under a curse: he turns into a demon every night!  He seeks out the assistance of the powerful sorcerer Halvi, who is afraid to tell him about the one act that can break the curse....

10. G-Defend. Ishikawa is an instructor for the Japanese Security and Anti-Terrorist Squad. His assistant, Iwase, has a secret crush on him....

Kickin It: Jack and Jerry, a Modern Romance

Kickin' It (2011-) on Disney XD, is set in the struggling Bobby Wasabi Martial Arts Academy, run by Rudy (Jason Earles, previously of Hannah Montana).  Five misfit students band together to form the Wasabi Warriors.

1. Wisecracking Jack, played by Leo Howard (left), who has also starred in a Disney channel DVD review program, Shake It Up (2013) and Conan the Barbarian (2011), #9 on my list of Unexpected Disney Channel Teen Hunks.  He has a crush on

2.  Kim, the only girl in the dojo.

3 Surly lone wolf Jerry, played by Mateo Arias (right, with Jake T. Austin, who apparently hugs every teen hunk he can find),#7 on the list.  He's dating Mika, niece of the owner of their hangout, Falafel Phil's.

4. The nerd Milton (Dylan Riley Snyder), who is dating Julie, but also buddy bonds with Randy (Evan Hofer).

5. The portly Eddie (Alex Christian Jones), who isn't dating anyone in particular, but fancies himself a "playa."

In spite of the requisite children's program hetero-horniness, there is a lot of gay content.

1. Beefcake provided by the regulars and such guest stars as Billy Unger and Booboo Stewart.

2. Jason Earles' gay-vague portrayal of Rudy, who has a girlfriend but likes to hang out in his "man cave" with love-hate frenemy Lonnie (Peter Oldring, left, the gay Fabian on Love That Girl) 

3. Jack and Jerry, inseparable partners, with an intense, physical romance reminiscent of that of Zack and Slater on Saved by the Bell.  They even have a shipping name, Jarry.  (A shipping name is a portmanteau used by fans to identify the relationship they favor; for instance).
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