Apr 21, 2024

The naked press bro on the bus with "The Girls on the Bus"


I wasn't planning to watch The Girls on the Bus, on Netflix:  a political satire about lady journalists covering a flawed presidential campaign.  Politics are at the bottom of my list of interests, and four ladies bonding won't leave much time for guys. But then I found a scene in Episode 1.6 where Peter Kendall, playing a "Press Bro," jumps out of a stalled bus naked and runs around, giving us frontal and rear shots.

I wanted the full story. Is he being chased?  Did he see something he shouldn't have?  Did a jealous boyfriend catch him in the act?

Link to NSFW version

The girls are Sadie, who writes for the New York Times...um, Sentinel; Grace, a seasoned career journalist from a previous generation; Kimberly, who works for the racist Fox...I mean Liberty News Network, even though she's black; and social media influencer Lola.

Scene 1: The scene of the guy running naked from the bus while the voice over tells us about the importance of debating issues: "This country was founded on argument."  Inside the bus, the journalists are drinking, screaming, bouncing into each other, eating sandwiches, squirting whipped cream, and laughing hysterically, like a frat party on crack. 

Scene 2: Six hours earlier. Sadie the print journalist and Grace the veteran are in a hotel room, examining billionaires for scandals that they can use to take them down.  Meanwhile, Lola the social influencer and her girlfriend are smooching and discussing the clothes they will need for the upcoming trip to a candidate debate in Minnesota. Hey, when I searched for gay or lesbian characters in this show, Autostraddle complained that there were none!   

Lola's manager calls to ask why she hasn't posted for six hours: she needs to be pushing the alcoholic whipped cream, or she'll lose her sponsers, and her $5,000 a week spot at the Clubhouse.  Lola tries to explain that she's been networking, as her girlfriend smooches all over her.

How many girls are there on this thing?  IMDB says that there are only four, but I've counted six so far, and no boys.

Scene 3:
  Sadie the newspaper journalist is interviewing Benji about how he is going to capitalize on Walker's victory in South Carolina. He answers with vague doublespeak. Malcolm (Brandon Scott), her ex-boyfriend, accuses her of trying to make him look bad by interrogating his boss. 

She explains that their romance was a conflict of interest, so now everything she says about Walker, the presidential candidate, is suspect.  She can't  be seen talking to him, or she'll be fired.

Scene 4: Waiting to board the bus for the Minnesota presidential debate, Kimmy, the racist-news broadcaster, tells her on-air partner how they can get more airtime: show her boobs.  He disagrees. The other girls discuss their romantic entanglements. 

Uh-oh, Malcolm is getting on the bus. There are lots of other ways to get to Minnesota, so his ex Sadie concludes he is there just to mess with her.

Scene 5:
 TV commercial ntroducing the candidates at the debate: Felicity Walker, the one they're following; Biff de la Peña (Mark Consuelos); and two others.

Back on the bus, four hours til showtime: Kimmy asks the veteran journalist Grace how to leverage her momentum at the racist network.  

Next Lola the social media influencer calls Kimmy out on the  "heteronormative gender bullshit" at the racist network, and asserts that "gender is just a social construct," which the other journalists think is idiotic. 

 "What about queer, nonbinary, and transgender people?"  "Nonsense. My vagina is real." I think you guys are confusing biological sex, which itself comes in many types other than male/female, and gender identity.  

Lola concurs: "Gender is how society taught you to behave.  It's performative." 

"Nonsense.  I can have babies."  "So can many transmen and nonbinary people, and many cishet women can't." 

More after the break

Scene 6: On the bus. The veteran journalist Grace and Sadie, the newspaper writer, discuss their digging-up-dirt-on-billionaires scheme.  Lola, the social media influencer, posted "fuck black ice" on her social media pages, but autocorrect changed it to "fuck black guys."  She's been cancelled!  Maybe she can explain that she was making plans for the weekend.

Scene 7: Crunch!  The bus breaks down. The driver may or may not be able to fix it.  The wi-fi is down, and they're on a country road where no one will drive by to help for hours. They think Minnesota is all country roads through woods?  The debate must be in Minneapolis, which is surrounded by suburbs and highways.  

Everyone starts complaining: "I've got to be there!  I have a live segment in the spin room!" So, that will convince the driver to fix the bus faster?

Scene 8
: 1 1/2 hours until the debate.  Everyone is walking around outside, trying to find bars for their cell phones. Kimmy from the racist network is freaking out. Sadie the newspaper journalist tells her that it doesn't matter; debates don't change voters' opinions.  I thought they just wanted to cover the debate for their jobs.

Left: Kyle Vincent Terry, who doesn't appear in this episode.

Kimmy disagrees: "Policy matters."  "Nope, you just watch hoping that the candidate you don't like will screw up."

Back on the bus, Kimmy is invited to play strip poker with the press bros.  She refuses. Sadie and her ex Malcolm chat.  The other girls discuss whether journalists should, or even can be objective, then move on to how each party demonizes the other: 'Now we're discussing whether senators eat babies." 

Scene 9
: The bus driver is still working.  Someone brings out alcohol.  The press bros start getting naked during their strip poker game.

Malcolm announces that they are going to miss the debate. Kimmy wants to go live right from the bus, but her co-anchor -- Adam Kaplan --shoots the idea down. They argue.  He claims that she doesn't even like the racist network.  Fist fight, sandwich theft, "They missed it."

Scene 10: Kimmy tells Lola that  she hates the racist network -- they just keep her there so they can prove they're not racist during their racist rhetoric.  But she's conservative, so she wouldn't fit in at a liberal network.  Lola, meanwhile, hates the product-placement that her social media influencing job requires; she wants to be a serious journalist. 

Finally the bus starts, and they make it to Minneapolis. Plot resolutions, some soap opera marital squabbles.  The end. Hey, we never see why the Press Bro is running naked from the bus!

Beefcake: Just the nude dude.

Gay Characters: Lola is apparently a lesbian

Other Sights: Ridiculous view of Minnesota as all country roads through forests.

My Grade: I liked the discussions of contemporary issues, but not the soap opera-romance things going on.  And the one plot point I tuned in to see didn't get resolved.  At least it wasn't homophobic, like Veep.  B-.

Nude pictures of the Press Bro, Brandon, and Kyle on RG Beefcake and Boyfriends

See also: Veep Episode 3.4: Tim Baltz, penis jokes, queerbaiting, and an obnoxious level of homophobia

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