Mar 23, 2024

Gemstones Episode 3.1, Continued: Kelvin withholds sex, Judy cheats, and Jesse fights. With some random butts


This is the G-rated version of the review, with no nudity or explicit discussions of sexual behavior. Link to the NSFW version.

Left: Conor MacGregor

The Book Signing: Eli is at a bookstore, signing copies of his "definitive autobiography" -- his third. Did you mention having a gay son?  Suddenly May-May, who attacked his wife Aimee-Leigh back in 2000, hands him one of his earlier books: Y2K: When the World Goes Dark. 

In 1999. many claimsmakers worried that computers were only set up for the 1900s, so on January 1, 2000, they would all reset. Bank accounts would empty; airplanes would fall from the sky; the world would descend into chaos. Some evangelists, like Eli Gemstone, made money by connecting the Y2K bug with end-time prophecies.

Eli is not happy to see his May-May -- he has a restraining order against her.  But she needs his help.  Wait -- you storm in and throw his old book at him to ask for help?  

Later, Eli records the section of his autobiography about Y2K: when the world didn't end, he and Aimee-Leigh had to face anger and ridicule. 

Marital Squabbles
: A commercial: after a montage of heterosexual couples arguing and then being deliriously happy, Amber introduces her System (stupid name): for $500, you get a jar and some beads.  Every time you disagree, you put a bead in the jar.  Or go to Wal-Mart and buy the set-up for $10. She is surrounded by a group of ladies in white who look rather like Mormon sister-wives.

When the filming is over, Amber and Jesse discuss the Simkins, who are milking their parents' tragic death: "I wish I had some traumatic event to make people like me."  Be careful what you wish for, Buddy. I've seen Episode 3.7.

Cut to Judy's husband BJ at the Gemstone Welcome Center, talking to a group of potential church members about how to get their tithes automatically deducted from their bank accounts. Judy, feeling guilty about withholding sex, brings him some gifts and tells him what a great husband he is, BJ thinks that things are a little off in their marriage, but Judy gaslights him: "Things are fine. Why are you being weird?"  Check out his hot-pink ruffled outfit, part of the ongoing joke that couple is gender-transgressive, with Judy as the masculine partner, and BJ the feminine.

The Dildo Barbecue:
 Jesse drops by as Keefe is melting down some weird phallic objects on the grill in the back yard. When he asks what they are burning, Kelvin, morosely lying on the diving board of the pool, responds "Devils' objects."

Why is he morose?  The last we saw of him was at Dusty Daniels' racetrack. But this scene is coming after two marital problem scenes, so we have to conclude that we just missed a "Things are fine.  Why are you being so weird?" conversation. 

There is a nude woman on the urn pedestal next to them.  Apparently Kelvin and Keefe are too closeted for back yard sculptures with nude men.

Keefe is wearing a BDSM fetish outfit: several chokers, a slave collar with padlock, a vinyl top with built-in pecs and abs, and vinyl pants (I think). This again suggests that something has gone wrong. He wanted "cuddling," but Kelvin refused, ordering him to burn some sex toys instead -- destroy some penises?   

Notice that while Kelvin and Jesse are discussing their anxiety over leading the church, Keefe grabs a toy to use for anal sex from the pile, tries to hide it, and brings it into the house.  

Aha!  Kelvin is specifically refusing to take the passive role in anal sex.  The butts in the illustrations demonstrate Keefe's main erotic interest.

We cut to the reason Judy has been withholding sex with BJ: she is having an affair with her guitarist, Stephen (Stephen Schneider, top photo and left).  

Trigger alert: they engage in a quasi-sexual act to disgusting to describe here.

Since the couples' stories are usually parallel, viewers may conclude that Kelvin, too, is having an affair.  Actually, he is not -- yet.  Then why is he withholding sex? 

Unless you are asexual and work something out, romantic partners must balance eros and phileo.  Eros, sexual desire, leads to that intimacy, intensity, and passion that keeps the couple focused on each other. Phileo, friendship, keeps the couple focused on the outside world, leading to discussions of art, music, or sports, placing them in a friendship group, a family, and a society.

Last season Kelvin tried to eliminating the phileo, being all about sex. Every word, every image evoked the homoerotic. His physique, butt, and bulge were constantly on display, presenting him as the Messiah of Muscle, leading his followers to a paradise of masculine beauty. Until it didn't work: you can't build a society, or a romantic relationship, on sex alone.

This season he seems to be eliminating the eros, withholding sex, or maybe permitting "fooling around" only -- no smut, no lust, no coconuts.  We see no pecs, no butt, no bulge this season -- not until Episode 3.8, when he realizes that this won't work, either.  The problem is, a romance without physical intimacy looks and feels very much like a platonic friendship, until eventually you wonder if you are really in love at all.

More butts after the break

Back to Judy: as she and her fling Stephen smooch, Jesse and Kelvin come in!  Caught in the act!  They are disgusted, especially Kelvin: "Y'all are a pair of dirtbags!"  

Jesse is more worried about how the scandal will affect the church. They fire Stephen; he skulks off.  

The Church of the Wilderness:  Eli visits May-May at the Church of the Wilderness, where her husband Peter used to hold Pentecostal-type snake-handling services.  She explains that she's living there now.  After Peter "went away," the bank took the house, and her sons turned "mean, bitter."  Now Peter is out, and they've joined him, doing something illegal, maybe stockpiling guns or drugs.  

Big reveal: May-May is Eli's younger sister!  (Actually, she appears in Episode 2.1, a flashback to 1968, but who remembers?).  He promises to help the boys.

Background note: The Church in the Wilderness is probably a reflection of the hymn "The Church in the Wildwood," written by William S. Pitts in 1857, and recorded by several country-western singers, including Dolly Parton.

There's a church in the valley by the wildwood
No lovelier spot in the dale
No place is so dear to my childhood
As the little brown church in the vale

The "Little Brown Church" in Nashua, Iowa, built in response to the song, is still a tourist attraction.  They no longer hold regular services, but you can get married there -- gay couples included.

Cocks and Penis Pumps:
  As with Episode 2.1, we conclude with four interspliced scenes.

As Jesse prayers for victory over "those who would destroy us."  Judy comes home after the siblings discover her secret affair and finds BJ working out with a video game.  She takes off the visor and kisses him.

After his visit, Eli drives away from the Church in the Wilderness.  May-May watches, grimacing.

Jesse sends Matthew and Chad, members of his crew, to pretend to get into a fender-bender with Vance Simkins, then beat him up.  

And Kelvin's Smut Busters invade a sex shop with a new tactic, yelling "Shut it down!", knocking over merchandise, and assaulting customers, their violence effectively juxtaposed with Matthew and Chad's.

Again, the stock is almost entirely for gay men. 

While the others are occupied, Keefe sneaks over and steals a single-use packet of lube.  He needs something to use with his anal toy. Apparently he expects the drought to be temporary, or he would steal the entire jar.

The four conflicts of the season have come together. The end.

Stephen frontal, Kelvin butt, and a lot of sex toys on RG Beefcake and Boyfriends

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