Nov 25, 2023

Euphoria: High school boys in love, gay/bi affairs, toxic masculinity, and lots of penises


I went in Euphoria Episode 2.3 cold, with no prior research.  All I knew was that Brock O'Hurn had a nude frontal (fully aroused, not a prosthetic).  And I had a vague impression that the show was about paranormal events in a quirky small town. 

Link to NSFW review

Scene 1: A woman named Rue narrates.  "When Cal was a senior in high school...."  Holy cow, the screen fills with his butt as he puts on his underwear!   

Cal (Elias Kacavas) calls his friend Derek (Henry Eikenberry), insults him by implying that he's a woman ("put your bra and panties on"), and then drives over to pick him up.

Holy cow, cock shots of both of them,then a close-up of Derek's butt and cock in the locker room!   When they get girlfriends, they have a skinny-dipping party, with even more cock!

After graduation, they're going to separate colleges, so they have to part.  On their last night together, they go to a redneck honky-tonk gay bar, where they slow-dance and kiss a lot.  Then next morning, Cal gets a call from his girlfriend: she's pregnant! So the preacher in my old church was right: homa-sekshuls cause teen pregnancy.

Darn, yet another plotline about gayness as something for adolescents, to be abandoned for heterosexual destiny!  Well, at least we saw a lot of cocks, and Brock O'Hurn's aroused frontal is coming up.

After the 1990s flashback, we cut to modern day high school students, and I get completely lost.  This is not the sort of show where you can start in media res. As far as I can tell, there are plotlines about addiction and recovery, some sort of criminal activity, and four central relationship groups (some of the background comes from the Euphoria wiki)

1, Cal (Eric Dane, right) is now middle-aged, married, with two sons. Eldest son Nate (Jacob Elordi, left), a football player who oozes toxic masculinity, is dating/abusing evil antagonist Cassie (both straight).  

Problematic statement: Cassie, sun-bathing with a little boy, tells him "When you get bigger, don't be an asshole to girls you like."  Heterosexist jerk, how do you know he's not gay?

2. Rue, the narrator, is involved with Jules, a trans woman, who is involved with Ellie (Dominic Fike), who is straight (well, not into labels) and interested in Rue. 

Problematic statement: Jules says that she's fucked so many men that she's not interested in them anymore, so she's switched to women. That's not how sexual identity works.

Another problematic statemet: Ellie tells Jules the reason he hasn't acted on his crush on Rue: "She's not into sex.  She's gay or asexual."  You think lesbians don't have sex?

3. Rue's friend Kat is involved with Ethan (Austin Abrams, left), but suffers from delusions and keeps breaking up with or gaslighting him.

4. Cal (remember him?) runs afoul of Rue's drug dealer, Fezco (Angus Cloud), who is angry about the Nate situation.   Cal also had sex with Jules, but begged her not to tell anyone, for fear that it would hurt his reputation (because she is a minor, or because she is trans?).  And. in the next episode, he returns to the redneck honky-tonk gay bar and dances with a man, who he pretends is his long-lost boyfriend Derek. 

Where the heck is Brock?
 I read the IMDB wrong. He appears as Super Hot Warrior Man in Episode 2.2, and shows his aroused dick to the delusional Kat. 

Quirky small towns:  That's Eureka, not Euphoria

My grade:  I didn't care much for the old-fashioned, stereotypic view of sexual identity, but these are teenagers, trying to figure things out in a world of abusive or clueless adults, so I'll give them a pass.  And nearly every male actor shows his dick at some point.  B

The frontal and nude pics are on Righteous Gemstones Beefcake and Boyfriends.

Nov 24, 2023

"The Eyes of Tammy Faye": A gay-positive light in a homophobic era


The Eyes of Tammy Faye
 (2021) takes us back to the golden age of televangelism, when the big names were world-famous celebrities with huge political and social influence.  They had dinner at the White House.  They were parodied on Saturday Night Live.  

Link to NSFW Version

1. Jerry Falwell (Vincent D'Onofrio) turned his Moral Majority into a seething- ground for anti-gay hatred.  He blamed them for everything.  An airplane crash in Peru -- must have been some gays on board.  Rise in teen pregnancy -- gay rights make our kids think they can do anything they want.  Your basement is flooded -- God is punishing you for not hating gays enough.  "A homosexual will kill you as soon as look at you."

2. Pat Robertson (Gabriel Olds) proclaimed that God was punishing all of the gays by giving them AIDS, but they wanted to infect as many straight people as possible, with the goal of destroying society before becoming extinct.   They had special rings that, when you shook their hand, would prick you with a little of their blood, so you would catch AIDS and die.  They would spit on your food or cough on you on purpose

3. Jimmy Swaggart (Jay Huguley) said that he would kill any gay man who looked at him romantically.  He saw his huge tv ministry decimated after two prostitution scandals, in spite of his famous "I have sinned" speech. 

4. Oral Roberts managed to build a whole homophobic university with sleazy fundraising techniques, like claiming that if viewers didn't send in $8,000,000, God would kill him.

5. Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker (Andrew Garfield,top photo and left, Jessica Chastain) ran the PTL (Praise the Lord) Club.  Jim always promoted homophobia and denied allegations of "homosexual activity," even after he was convicted of defrauding his viewers out of $150 million and sentenced to prison.  

Tammy Faye, however, believed in compassion.  In 1987, she interviewed Steve Pieters, a gay minister (who had AIDS), without ever saying "God's punishment." She asked stupid-sounding questions like "If you've never been with a woman, how do you know you don't like it?". but later explained that those were the questions her viewers had.  

She regularly attended pride events and was interviewed in gay magazines through her post-PTL years.  Her heavy make-up made her look like a drag queen, and she went with it, attending -- and judging "Tammy Faye Drag" contests.

Tammy Faye was not entirely gay-positive: she didn't support same-sex marriage, and continued to believe that same-sex acts were sinful.  But so was premarital and extramarital sex between straight people; why should gay people be subjected to discrimination and prejudice?  

Many evangelicals today still hate LGBT persons, but imagine what it was like in the 1980s and 1990s, when almost all of them did!  My sister didn't speak to me for five years after I came out (my brother was always fine with it).  In that morass of homophobia, Tammy Faye was a beacon of hope.  

There are frontal and rear photos in the NSFW version of this review

Nov 23, 2023

Willie Aames: From Teen Idol to Hallmark Dad, with a cruise, a conversion, and a superhero in between

Born in 1960, Willie Aames was a television fixture from 1971 through 1990. The only question is, when precisely did he turn from "cute kid" to a bodybuilder that drew the attention of every gay male teenager with access to a remote?

Was it when he played troubled T. J. Latimer in the angst-ridden Family (1976-77)?

Shipwreck survivor Fred Robinson in The Swiss Family Robinson (1975-76)?

As early as his brief sitcom appearance as Paul Sorvino's kid in We'll Get By (1975)?

Certainly by the time he landed the role of troubled Tommy Bradford in Eight is Enough (1977-81),  Willie Aames and his muscles were superstars.

In 1979 Willie became even more famous for his semi-nude and nude screenshots in the Blue Lagoon rip-off Paradise, but gay teenagers were more interested in Zapped! (1982), in which he and Scott play lovers. Well, college students crazy about girls who nevertheless can't stop grinning at each other.

Intensive buddy-bonding with the dreamy Scott Baio on Charles in Charge followed (1984-1990), though in order to keep viewers focused on Scott's dreaminess, the producers had to minimize Willie's buffness.  They made his character, Buddy Lembeck, stupid, the butt of jokes rather than the source of sighs.

Willie thankfully never sang, but that didn't keep the teen magazines from going into hysterics about his incredible talent -- by which they meant physique.

Willie tried a few other projects, like the trapped-nude-on-a-desert-island Paradise and the horny-teenagers Zapped, but soon drug alcohol addiction took their toll, and his acting career fizzled.  

In 1994, while he was working as a cruise director, Willie found God, and  devoted himself to Christian projects like Bibleman (fighting such super-villains as the Fibbler, The Whiner Brothers, and the Sultan of Selfishness), ex-teen idol parodies, and Hallmark heart-warmers like Harvest Moon and Love on the Menu

I haven't found anything specifically homophobic about Willie, but he appears on the Anti-Gay Bigot List, so I'm guessing he's not exactly an ally.

But he can't keep us from looking at his 1990s physique.

The Swashbuckling Boyfriends of November

November is my favorite month.  The colors are soft and muted, the sky is not too bright, the air is cool but not cold, it's festive but not overwhelming like December, and it contains my birthday and Thanksgiving, the two holidays that provide the most pleasure and least guilt.

Besides, when I was a kid, November and December were the only months where I could read without getting yelled at.

Mom and Dad disapproved of reading -- it was a waste of time, it would strain my brain, it was antisocial -- I should be out playing sports, or at least watching tv with the family.  Science fiction and fantasy was especially suspect, likely to turn me into an atheist, or, much worse, a Catholic.  So I always hid books, or read at my friends' house, or said they were for school.

But in November,they actually were for school.  Teachers always assigned us swashbuckling adventure novels to read over Thanksgiving and Christmas vacation!

It wasn't my fault -- blame my teacher.  Sorry, no time to play basketball in the driveway, or touch football in the schoolyard -- I had to get through this book.

Four of the books we were assigned were particularly memorable.  They had gay subtexts as well as a heteronormative primary plot.

1. The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexander Dumas (1844).  Edmond Dantes escapes from his unjust imprisonment in the Chateau d'If, and gets vengeance on the people who betrayed him.  He gets a girlfriend, but also forms several passionate male friendships, notably with Peppino, a boy who was also betrayed and becomes"servant."  Henry Cavill, left, is one of the more muscular Dantes in film.

2. The Three Musketeers, by Alexander Dumas (1844). A young man named d'Artagnan wants to become a Musketeer, one of the king's bodyguards. The three current Musketeers reject him, but then find him worthy.  He gets a girlfriend, but rejects her; his most passionate relationships come with men. (Chris O'Donnell, left, is one of many hunky d'Artagnans).

3. Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson (1883). A boy helps pirates find buried treasure, with nary a woman in sight.

4. The Prisoner of Zenda, by Anthony Hope (1894). An Englishman on holiday in Ruritania bears a striking resemblance to King Rudolph, who has disappeared, and agrees to impersonate him.  He falls in love with the King's fiancee, but has to leave her.  The king and the commoner share many a touching moment.

5. The Scarlet Pimpernel, by the Baroness Orczy (1905).  A precursor of Zorro, Batman, and all of the other superheroes with a milktoast alter ego, Sir Percy Blakeney pretended to be gay -- weak, shrill, feminine -- but he was really a hetero hero, saving French aristocrats from the guillotine during the Reign of Terror.  He has a girlfriend, whom he marries, but he also spends time rescuing male aristocrats, notably the hunky Sir Andrew.

6. Captain Blood, by Raphael Sabatini (1922).  Dr. Peter Blood, an Irish physician (who would want to go to a doctor called Blood?), is wrongly convicted of treason and sold into slavery in the Caribbean.  He and his friend Jeremy Pitt commandeer a ship and become pirates. (Ross Alexander, top photo, played Jeremy Pitt in the 1935 movie).

All of these novels have been filmed many times, usually with a hetero-romance tacked on to provide a "fade out kiss" ending.  But I didn't know that during those long, cool November afternoons.

See also: Beefcake and Bonding in the Green Library.

Nov 22, 2023

The Binge: A bad 1980s teen nerd movie made in 2020, with two queer codes, some random naked guys, and a lot of queerbaiting


A review of The Binge (2020) praised the "strong friendship" between the central pair. Strong friendship means gay subtext, right?

So I sat through 20 minutes of a bad 1980s teen nerd comedy until the heteronormativity became overwhelming, then fast-forwarded to places where guys interacted without half-naked girls around.  Strong friendship means gay subtext, right? 

Not so much. Two queer codes, two queerbait characters, and 3,041 exclamations of "girls are the meaning of life!"

Link to NSFW version

The premise: a new Prohibition.  All alcohol and narcotics are banned in the U.S., except one day a year you can have all you want.  This is ridiculous: The logistics of producing and distributing all of that booze would be a nightmare, and narcotics -- usually understood as opiates and opioids -- are very dangerous.  Combine them with booze, and you will die.  And what about the use of opioids as painkillers?  Anyhow, most abused drugs are stimulants like cocaine or hallucinogens like Ecstasy, and have little addiction potential.

The guys:
 Griffin (Skyler Gisondo. top photo) and Hags (Dexter Darden, right. not what it looks like),  high school seniors, are eligible for their first Binge.  They want to go to a big binge party, because the Girls of Their Dreams will be there, and they can ask them to the prom and then to get married. (To stir things up, Griffin's girl happens to be the daughter of the over-protective Evil Principal).

Most of the movie involves their misadventures in attempting to get there.  Griffin gets his eyebrow shaved off.  They try to resurrect an injured cow, and get squirted with milk (presented as disgusting, although you pour it on your cereal every morning).  There's a ludicrously stupid song-and-dance number that goes on forever and ever.  

The queer codes
: The Evil Principal (Vince Vaughn, left), explaining the horrible things that happen to teens who binge, discusses a girl who "found herself on a private plane with twelve Saudi princes, never to be seen again."  Griffin asks Hags if he wants to end up that way: "On a private plane?  Absolutely!", implying that he wouldn't mind being the sex companion for a group of Saudi princes.  But then they begin discussing the Girls of their Dreams.

Near the end of the movie, the guys have broken up.  In a climactic scene, they cross a crowded dance floor to embrace.  That's an "affirming our love" moment.  But then they ask their girls to the prom.

Queerbait #1: They catch a ride with Pompano Mike (Tony Cavalero), who is driving a busload of half-naked girls to the party, but doesn't express any heterosexual desire of his own.

Queerbait #2:
 Andrew (Eduardo Franco), who acts like a stoner even in the absence of marijuana, doesn't express any heterosexual interest; he tags along on the guys' quest just because he is an outcast at the high school, and wants friends.  Besides, another of Eduardo Franco's characters, Argyle, had a gay-subtext romance with Will Byers in Stranger Things

In a climactic scene, Andrew is arm wrestling with, I think Seb (Esteban Benito).  I was fast forwarding, so I don't know the back story.  He says "I love you!," and Seb responds "I love you. too."  Andrew is elated: "I've been waiting all my life for..."  Psych!  Seb was just trying to distract Andrew so he could win!  That sounds like a gay exchange.

They're really straight, har har: 
 In the sequel It's a Wonderful Binge (2022), Hags must retrieve his engagement ring so he can propose to the Girl of His Dreams.

Pompano Mike is back, with a much bigger role.  And a girlfriend!

Andrew has a girlfriend, too.  He also has two dads.  Not a gay couple:: they just don't know which is the biological father, so they're co-parenting. Take that, gay viewers!  You don't exist, har har!

There's a Vince Vaughn butt pic and some random nude guys in the NSFW version of this review.

See also: Gideon in the Friend Zone and two real gay-subtext Skyler vehicles:

Lucky Vanous: The Diet Coke Guy

Like Scott Madsen, the Soloflex Guy , and Clara Pelter, who asked "Where's the beef?", Lucky Vanous became famous in an instant.  Though the Nebraska native had been modeling and studying acting for several years, he became the talk of the town through a series of heterosexist commercials for Diet Coke: some female office workers gaze through the window at the construction site next door, where lean, muscular Lucky goes on his break, rips his shirt off, and opens a can of Diet Coke.  They become more and more aroused as he drinks.

He was not a bodybuilder, but he was lean, muscular, and hirsute, a perfect New Sensitive Man even without saying "I know how you feel."

Lucky's exercise book and video, aimed at a female audience (The Ultimate Fat-Burning Workout) appeared in a few months.  In May 1994 he took off his shirt on tv sitcom Wings.  He was a presenter at the Clio Awards (for excellence in advertising).  In December was profiled in Playgirl.

A couple of movie roles followed, plus some tv: the evening soap opera Pacific Palisades (1997), guest spots on Pensacola: Wings of Gold and Will and Grace, and finally 18 Wheels of Justice (2000-2001), about a federal agent turned trucker who helps people with their problems.

Although in real life Lucky was always gracious to his gay fans, his stage persona maintained the heterosexist "every woman's fantasy" myth, insisting that all women but no men wanted to see him with his shirt off.  So the shirt came off when the audience was mostly women, but stayed on when it was mostly men.  This promo for 18 Wheels of Justice gives you the general idea.

In 2016, mega-hunk Brock O'Hurn starred in a homage to the commercial for Icelandic Water.  Only this time there was some gay inclusivity.

My Boyfriend and My Satanist Ex-Boyfriend at Thanksgiving Dinner: A Kelvin/Keefe Adventure

 "Mama!" Keefe exclaimed.  "Why on Earth did you invite my ex-boyfriend to Thanksgiving Dinner, when you knew that Kelvin was coming?"

She frowned.  "Well, why not?  Daedalus came to every Thanksgiving and Christmas for five years.  And your nephew Austin's piano recitals. Jimmy called him 'Uncle Daedus.'" He's part of the family.  Just because you broke up for some crazy reason doesn't mean we have to break up with him, too."

"I found God, Mama! Isn't that what you wanted for me?"

"All I ever wanted was for you to be happy.  And you were happy with Daedalus.  A lot happier than you seem now, when every word I say makes you uncomfortable or angry, and the wonderful Reverend Gemstone treats you like his personal servant.  Now, does this casserole get onion rings on top, or not?"

The rest of the story, with nude photos and explicit sex scenes, is Righteous Gemstones Beefcake and Boyfriends

The Dreamy Boys and Teen-Nerd Girl of "A Babysitter's Guide to Monster Hunting"

 A Babysitter's Guide to Monster Hunting
(2020) is part of Netflix's "Representation Matters" collection, so I figured there were gay characters.   Besides I erroneously believed that it was a Halloween-themed sequel to  the LGBT-inclusive  Babysitter's Club.  So I went through the whole movie on fast-forward, looking for the representation.

The plot: Kelly (Tamara Smart) discovers that her charge has been kidnapped by a monster named Grand Guignol (played by Tom Felton), who intends to gather his nightmares for a nefarious purpose.  A secret society of monster-fighting babysitters led by the kick-ass Liz Lerue (Oona Laurence) rushes to the rescue.

Liz has a score to settle with the Grand Guignol: years ago he kidnapped her brother.

Meanwhile Kelly has a problem torn straight from the teen-nerd movies of the 1980s: a crush on Victor (Alessio Scalzoto), who is dating a girl so mean, bullying, and downright cruel that you can't imagine anyone wanting to spend more than five seconds with her.  Obviously the only reason they are together is so Kelly can "win" him.

Curtis (Ty Consiglio) is the only boy babysitter in the league, so could he be gay?  Nope -- upon meeting Kelly, he immediately hits on her.  "Cool it, Casanova," Liz tells him.  Apparently he flirts with girls all the time.

Well, maybe Liz is a lesbian?  

In search of a monster, Liz and Kelly go to a teenage party -- but Kelly's crush Victor is there!  She's afraid to go in looking all scuzzy from monster-fighting.  "It's just a dude," Liz says dismissively.

Then "He's eye candy.  I get it.  But whe have more important things to worry about."

Eye candy?  Maybe Liz is straight.

But Kelly and Liz seem to buddy-bond extensively.  They have to rescue each other a few times.  

The movie ends with Kelly joining the Babysitter's Guild (naturally) and promising to help Liz rescue her brother (in the sequel, naturally).  

Wait -- not exactly the last scene.  Kelly goes up to her room, and her crush face-times her and asks her out on a date -- the middle school equivalent of a fade-out kiss!  Heterosexist!

I guess "representation matters" means that the cast is multi-ethnic.

But at least there are some "dreamy boys" for the gay kids in the audience to crush on.

Like Ashton Arbab.

Ben Cockell

And Ricky He.

See: The Babysitter Club

Nov 21, 2023

Cartoon Muscle: Not Just Superheroes in Spandex

When I was a kid, you could occasionally see shirtless boys or men in Saturday morning cartoons, but it was rare, primarily on jungle or prehistoric adventure series like The Herculoids.   Mostly you had to make do with an open shirt or a spandex superhero uniform, and of course Saturday morning live-action series.

Fred from Scooby-Doo seemed to have a nice physique, but not once in 10,000 episodes did he ever take his shirt off.

Times have changed. In Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated (2010-2013), he flexes at poolside.

The Anime Boys with Their Shirts Off blog displays the shirtless boys and men appearing in a huge number of animated tv series, everything from adventure to comedy, and even some toddler tv.  Did you ever want to see Dora the Explorer's brother Diego with his shirt off?  Or Bill from Curious George?

There's a lot of Japanese anime, like The Legend of Korra and The Daily Lives of High School Boys),  but also a lot of Western cartoons, everything from Phineas and Ferb to Johnny Test.

There are even a few oldies, like these golden-haired preppy types (from Beverly Hills Teens and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, respectively).

Apparently animators are no longer worried about kids being traumatized for life by the sight of a torso or two (like these from Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego).

See also: Saturday Morning Muscle

Nov 20, 2023

Noah Hathaway

After starring as the barbarian Atreyu in The Neverending Story (1984), Noah Hathaway got the full teen idol treatment. His cut-off t-shirt and skin-tight white shorts became a common sight in the teen magazines, and every time he went to the gym, a photographer was there to show the world his biceps and abs.

He couldn't compete with super-hunks like Robby Benson and Scott Baio, but he was cute enough to inspire many romantic fantasies among kids of the era.

His roles were rather scarce, but memorable.  In Troll (1986), he plays Harry Potter (not that Harry Potter), a teenager who displays a muscular chest and has no interest in girls.  Instead, he must save his sister.  No wonder gay boys found a kindred spirit in him, and speculated that he might be gay in real life.

Unfortunately, his response to the speculation was not always gracious; he tended to become livid with rage and shout his denials.

In 1986 Noah retired from acting.  He studied dance and martial arts, competed in the sport of motorcycle racing, and became a tattoo artist. Recently he has starred in some independent films, like River Beauty(2023), with fellow ex-child star Butch Patrick.   I haven't found any evidence that his attitude toward gay people has mellowed, but maybe it has.

Nov 19, 2023

Stephen Grush: From Pericles to Ryan Phillippe, with gay subtexts and nude photos of practically everybody


Stephen Louis Grush has over 30 credits on the IMDB, often in projects that emphasize gay subtexts, or texts.

In Catch Hell (2014), two toughs (Stephen Louis Grush, Ian Barford) kidnap a Hollywood actor (Ryan Philippe) with the intent of torturing and killing him.  They do a lot of torturing, but Junior (Stephen) also falls in love with him.

In Gracepoint (2014), Stephen plays a plumber's apprentice who may be gay, accused of murdering a small boy.

In a 3-episode story arc on Rectify (2016), focus character Danny (Adan Young) is out of prison and living in a halfway house.  His roommate Manny (Stephen) walks around naked and masturbates in front of him; this is particularly upsetting because he was repeatedly raped in prison.  But Manny won't stop.  Finally Danny tells the house leader about it, expecting the guy to be kicked out.  Instead, they give him a new roommate.

 Stephen graduated from Roosevelt University in 2006 with a B.F.A. in Theater Performance.  Primarily a theatrical perfomer, he has appeared on the Chicago stage in The Seagull, Pericles, The Tempest, Lifeguard, Sex with Strangers, The Last of the Boys, and some plays without homoerotic content.  Plus he is the artistic director of XIII Pocket, which produces and performs original plays by Chicago-area playwrights.

There are nude photos of Stephen, Ryan Phillippe, and Adam Young in the NSFW version of this post.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...