Mar 9, 2024

Eight hot/hung Iowa hunks: Davenport dicks, Bettendorf bulges, and Mason City muscles


From 3rd grade through college, I lived in Rock Island, Illinois, across the Mississippi from Davenport, Iowa.  It was the big city, where we went for culture: museums, art galleries, bookstores.

And shirtless athletes from St. Ambrose College.

Link to the NSFW version

Bettendorf, to the east of Davenport, was the wealthy suburb, where the property values were double those of Rock Island and the high school offered Russian and Mandarin in addition to plain old Spanish and French.  We hated the Betten-dorks. 

At least the athletes had a state-of-the-art weight room.

Decorah, in the northeast corner of the state, is known for Vikings and Lutherans.  I had my first real sexual experience at a music camp at Luther College.

They have a state-of-the-art weight room, too.

Mason City is known for gay artist Grant Wood, who painted that American Gothic thing that everyone in Iowa hates, and for the Spirit of Mercury, a muscular art deco lighting fixture.  You can buy souvenir versions.

More Hawkeye Hunks after the break. Warning: explicit

Josh Mikel: Satanist, zombie chow, boyfriend, drummer. With two important questions answered, and maybe a cock


Born in Conyers, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta, Josh graduated from Florida State University's Theater and Creative Writing programs.  He has written a number of award-winning plays, many for children:  The Monster Hunters, Pirates!, Good Good Trouble on Bad Bad Island!.  I looked at some of the scripts, but didn't see anything of particular gay interest.

Josh has 92 acting credits on IMDB, including a lot of fantasy and horror: Renfield, Mayfair Witches, Unhuman, Creepshow, and 50 States of Fright.  It took 17 auditions to be cast on The Walking Dead, as Jared, one of the "Saviours" who demand tribute from surrounding post-zombie-Apocalypse communities.  


But a lot of general dramas, too. The Lengths (2014) is of gay interest: Josh's character is in love with both a man and a woman. 

There are several bulge shots, and maybe a butt, but it's obscured and hard to see, so I substituted this fully visible butt.

In Season 1 of  The Righteous Gemstones, the recently converted Keefe returns to the Satanist/Goth Club Sinister, Josh's Daedalus assumes that he's there for "pleasures" and caresses his body and licks his face, while his friend Cryptocore starts to go downtown. This scene establishes that Keefe is gay, and that Daedalus is an ex-lover.

Josh has also done storyboard art and set design for everything from Kirksville to The Little Mermaid.  

If he has any time leftover, he is the drummer for the indie rock band Look, Mexico.  One of their songs, "It's Been a Long Time Since I Smelled Beautiful," might have a gay subtext:

Will you compromise, or will you say what's on your mind this time?

Will you smile for me, or will you say what's on your mind this time?

But we're not, we're not keeping quiet.

So if you think you're ready…

It's our time now.

More Josh after the break

"My Dead Ex Boyfriend", aka "I Was a Teenage Zombie"


My Dead Ex-Boyfriend
, on Netflix, sounds like one of those classic 1960s "my secret" sitcoms, where a "normal" has to hide a magical being -- genie, ghost, witch, or Martian -- from the outside world.  So I tune in.

Turns out that:

1. This is set in high school.  Ben (Ryan Lee) has asked out Charley (Katherine Hughes) a bazillion times, but she finds him repugnant.  Her lesbian friend Wren (Medalion Rahimi) calls him "shit on your shoe."  I don't know why -- he's cute, he seems nice, and when she finally agrees ("just coffee, and then you never ask me out again"), the date turns out to be gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches by candlelight.  Fun!

It's harassment to continually to importune someone who has made their rejection clear, but it's not Ben's fault: back in fourth grade, when they were dating, an old woman gave them two pendants guaranteed to make them "fall in love."  Ben is still wearing his, but Charley put hers away in a box.

The pendant has more magical powers: when Ben is killed during an attempt to take a selfie, it brings him back to life.

2. But Ben has no ghostly powers.  He can't  turn invisible or walk through walls.  He eats, sleeps, and goes to the bathroom.  Presumably he can't be killed, since he's already dead, and he won't get any older, but in every other way he is fully human.  

The problem: he has to stay within 30 feet of Charley at all times, for the rest of her life.  If he stays away for more than an hour or two, his body will start to decay.  

3. And it's not a secret: they tell the world.  Reporters clamor to interview the Boy Who Lived. The parents negotiate about where Charlie and Ben will be staying.  The school hires an escort to defend the students if Ben turns into a Walking Dead-type zombie.

I fast-forwarded through a few episodes.  Most of the plotlines seem to be about Ben adjusting to being undead and Charley trying to continue her ordinary high school life.  Ryan Malaty (top photo) plays her crush, Luke.   Of course you know who she is going to end up with.

 Lesbian friend gets a plot arc about her crush on a conservative Republican girl. 

There don't seem to be any gay male characters.  At the school dance, the  cop hired to be Ben's escort (Sarkis Ninos) seems to be flirting with the Principal: "Are you single?  Me, too.  Do you live in  I love houses."  But I think he is just being annoying.

Some big surprises in the last episode.

My grade: C.  I wanted Ben to have magical powers.

Pee-Wee's Playhouse

When I was living in West Hollywood, we watched Mystery Science Theater 3000 every Saturday morning, but we stayed away from children's tv.  It was crowded with insipid child versions of adult characters -- The Muppet Babies, The Flintstone Kids -- or insufferably cute furry animals -- Wuzzles, Kissyfur, Care Bears, Gummi Bears.  

But there was one "must see" exception.  At 11:00 am between 1986 and 1990, every household in West Hollywood watched Pee-wee's Playhouse.  It was a surreal, live action series hosted by the androgynous Pinkie Lee lookalike Pee-wee Herman (Paul Reubens), who would invite various live and puppet characters to play in his playhouse.

It was the gayest show on television.

1. A hunky speedo-clad lifeguard named Tito.

2. Drag queens Ms. Yvonne (right) and Mrs. Steve (left).  They both appeared at the 1990 AIDS Walk. We all assumed that Mrs. Steve was a real drag queen, played by a male actor; I only discovered that she was played by a woman while researching this post. .

3. The extraordinarily feminine Jambi the Genie, who lived in a drag queen's jewelry box and lisped "Wish?  Did somebody say wish?"  Everyone in West Hollywood spend the afternoon saying: Swish?  Did somebody say swish?"

4. Laurence Fishburn as Pee-wee's friend Cowboy Curtis, who informed us that he slept nude, and joked about his penis size: "You know what they say about big feet -- big boots!"

5. The creepy, leering, obviously drunk King of Cartoons, who stumbled across the room and slurred "Let the cartoon begin." And the creepy 1930s cartoon that followed.  Ok, he wasn't gay-coded, but who puts a guy who's drunk, or pretending to be, on a kids' program?

6. A hunky soccer player named Ricardo.

The writers, producers, directors, and cast have always claimed complete ignorance of any gay-coded characters or gay-subtexts.  In fact, according to Inside Peewee's Playhouse by Caseen Gaines, Paul Reubens was homophobic -- if he had known about any subtext, "he would have put a stop to it."

Or maybe he was just closeted.  Paul Reubens has consistently refused to comment on his sexual identity, although when he was arrested for allegedly possessing child pornography in 2002, he stated that he was a collector of muscle magazines and "vintage homosexual erotica."

Mar 8, 2024

"Carter": Would You Really Watch Jerry O'Connell In Anything?

99% of viewers will tune in to the Canadian tv series Carter (2018-2020) to see Jerry O'Connell, the mega-hunk of the 1990s, star of Sliders (1995-2000) and a lot of horndog movies that you rented just so see him with shirt off (Joe's Apartment, Tomcats, Buying the Cow, Kangaroo Jack).  What does he look like at the ripe middle age of 44?  (Granted, he's been working constantly, but he hasn't taken his shirt off on screen since 2001).

Carter helpfully obliges with a shirtless Jerry on the beach,first thing.

Jerry plays Harley Carter, a famous tv detective who attacks a guy on the red carpet and finds himself persona non grata in Hollywood.  So he returns to his home town in Ontario to clear his head.  The problem is, the quirky small town residents confuse him with his tv detective character, and keep asking him to solve cases for them:

Not a problem: he wants to be a detective, and the town needs one (a lot of murders going on),  so Carter takes a job as consulting detective under the watchful supevision of The Girl, Sam (Sydney Tamia Potier).  His Huggy Bear is Dave (Kristian Bruun), who runs the local food truck.

I watched an episode because I didn't realize that Sam was a girl, so i thought there would be some gay-subtext buddy-bonding going on.  And because -- Jerry O'Connell...

Scene 1:  Carter and Sam are flirting at a town festival. Dave (right) does something funny.   They see a man in a trenchcoat yelling at a man in a suit,, who was responsible for the mining disaster  (this is important).  He opens the trenchcoat, revealing a bomb that explodes confetti.  Psych -- they're a theatrical troupe advertising their upcoming performance!

Scene 2: Carter and Sam go to work, flirting while nvestigating yet another murder in the small town: a man stabbed to death in a car in a credit union parking lot.   The manager says that he was Dennis, a loan officer until a week ago, when he was fired due to poor work performance.

Scene 3: They flirt/ investigate his house, which is suspiciously neat and tidy, and contains way too much great literature for a loan officer. (Carter reads off the names while looking at an encyclopedia).

Scene 4: At the lab, they flirt/discover that Dennis was killed with a replica medieval dagger, and there was a lot of hair on the passenger side of the car.

Scene 5: Sam interviews some of Dennis's coworkers.  Hey, when Carter's not around and she can think about something other than ripping his clothes off,  she's actually a competent detective.  Angelica, the boss, had it in for Dennis.  She was constantly making fun of him, calling him, Pygmalion!

Scene 6: Carter, relatively competent when he doesn't have an erection, asks "ancient Chinese secret" Koji to hack into Dennis's computer.  They find something shocking.

Scene 7:  Whoops, Carter and Sam are back to "Are you as turned on as I, I mean what clues did you find?"  Dennis's laptop is full of sexy photos of bank manager Angelica!  Also, the hair found on the car seat belongs to her!

Scene 8: They flirt/confront Angelica about the photos.  Did she kill him because he was threatening to reveal their affair to her husband?  Of course not -- even while aroused, Carter can tell a red herring when he sees one.  

Carter sneaks back into to the interrogation room to get Angelica's story.  Plot dump: Dennis took out $350,000 in loans for fake clients, and asked Angelica to fire him so she wouldn't take the fall.  Then he felt guilty and wanted to give the money back.  That's why they met in his car that morning. 

Scene 9:  Carter sneaks back into Dennis's house and checks out his great book collection.  Plays, including Pygmalion -- inscribed by Angelica.  Way to keep your affair secret, dude. And a photo of Dennis and Craig, the theater troupe leader.

Scene 10:  Carter asks Dave (the food truck guy, remember) about the theater troupe.  They used to perform in the park, but now they have their own theater downtown.  Where did they get the money?  The plot sickens.

More sickening after the break

"The Ropes": An unreliable-narrator Rashomon about nightclub bouncers. Take careful notes. There are some dicks, too.


I was looking for some tv shows starring Joel Rush, and found The Ropes, a quickly-canned tv series based on Vin Diesel's early job as a bouncer.  Well, maybe there would be some beefcake. 

Link to NSFW version

Problems: It was impossible to research among 1,300 other series called The Ropes, On the Ropes, and Learn the Ropes.   

It was available on Amazon Prime, but not if you used the Prime Search window -- you had to go through Google.  Even after buying an episode.

Additional problemsNonlinear narration, with people describing an event that happened earlier, then seeing the event from different points of view, and seeing the consequences of the event, but in jumbled order. 

Some of the guys are black/speaking in a stereotyped jive accent, and some are white/speaking in a stereotyped Guido accent, but within those categories, they look, talk, and behave exactly alike. This makes it very difficult to figure out who belongs to what plotline.  But for the sake of a review I'll try to piece it together.

The illustrations are whatever beefcake or nude photos I could find of the actors, in no particular order: Gonzalo Menendez, F. Valentino Morales, Brian Ahern, Brian Hooks, Joel Rush, Danny Abeckaser, Shawn Woods, Robert Ervin, Ramses Jiminez.  Plus a couple of random photos of guys with big dicks.

Setting: A very sleazy nightclub in New York, where they have both ladies dancing on poles and illegal gambling.  A squad of seven or more bouncer/security guards, whom the Boss calls "ladies" although they're actually men, is on patrol every night.

 Big Vic's Story:  Big Vic, who has the biggest dick in New York City, is infinitely attractive to every woman in the world.  He asks the lady bartender to have sex with him; she agrees. On the same night, or on another night, he's working the door, and lets in a girl who claims to be a model, but not the guy she's with.  He asks if she wants to have sex; she does.

While he is having sex with one or the other the bathroom, someone knocks on the door, saying that he's needed at the bar.  He ignores them.

Later, or on a different night, he goes out into the alley, and sees a sleazoid trying to push an unwilling lady into a taxi.  He intervenes and sends the guy away. Then he friend arrive and accuses Big Vic of taking advantage of her!  They drive away.

Uh-oh, a whole gang of bad dudes rushes into the alley to try to kll him! He's got the biggest cock in New York, not the biggest muscles.  He tries to fight them off, but they prepare to beat him to death when...

A smaller guy wearing a suit rushes in and annihilates them!  Big Vic is not happy to get his life saved by a nerd -- it's a major blow to his masculinity.  Then the nerd asks "Are you Vic Pendejo?" Har-har, pendejo means "asshole" in Spanish!  Big Vic angrily orders him to leave.

Ralphie's Stor
y: One night Ralphie is screwing a lady in the Trash Room (no beefcake, but we see her butt).  And she accidentally butt-phones her Man, so he and his homies show up to kill him.  Big Les, working the front door, pulverizes them, but now they want revenge on him!  They return the next night, mistake Big Vic for Big Les, and attack. So even in-universe, no one can tell these guys apart.

Later, the Boss complains that Ralphie is too feminine, and takes him off bouncer duty.  

The Kid's Story
:  One night a Kid shows up at the front door just as they open.  Big Lou, who happens to be working, won't let him in: no action so early anyway.  "Come back in two hours." This guy is actually named White Lou, but I wanted to go with the "Big."

Two hours later, the Kid is waiting in a line that goes around the block.  They've reached capacity, so no one else gets in that night.  

He doesn't want to get in, he just wants to apply for a job, so he cuts line and asks Big Lou what to do.  Big Lou sends him to the back door, where Big Vic is working, and tells him to ask for "Vic Pendejo," knowing that he'll get annihilated.   Instead, the Kid sees "Pendejo" in trouble, being beaten to death by some thugs, and intervenes. 

Big Vic is so impressed that he offers him a job as his "intern."  All of the side deals at the club -- the drugs, hookers, whatever -- will go through the Kid.  For a salary, he'll get some of the bribes and "some ass."  Presumably girls, or is Big Vic offering his own?  

Rashomon after the break

Mar 7, 2024

I go to the first Gay Rights March in the State of Iowa, with Thomas the Episcopal Priest and Mickey the Muscle


June 1982, after my junior year at Augustana College.  Thomas, the former Episcopalian priest who I met with my ex-boyfriend Fred last year, calls to invite me to Des Moines for the first Gay Rights March in Iowa. 

I have never heard of such a thing.

"We march to protest police harassment, discrimination in jobs and housing, sodomy laws, that sort of thing.  They have them in cities all over the country.  It's always close to June 28th, the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots."

I have never heard of the Stonewall Riots, either.  But count me in.

June 27th, 8:00 pm: Thomas, his lover (in those days it was always "lover," not "partner"),  six other gay men, and two lesbians sit on folding chairs and on the floor in his rec room, making banners: "Stop Gay Police Harassment,"  "We Are Your Children," "Gay is Good," "Gay People are People Too."  

"Maybe not the catchiest slogans," Thomas tells me, "But idea is to get the word "gay" out there, to let the straights know that there are gay people even in Iowa."

I sit next to Mickey, the only other guy my age, a grad student in Russian at the University of Iowa: short, tan heavily muscled, very attractive, with dirty blond hair and a round boyish face.  We chat a bit, but don't exchange any personal information -- in those days you were circumspect, even among other gay people.

Thomas walks around the room, looking at each of the guys.  Finally he stops in front of me and Mickey. "I want you guys to take first place, with the banner that says ;Gay is Good.'  We want some muscle out front, to show the straights that we're not all weak little sissies."

Mickey grins.  "Up for being partners?"

Marching at the front, coming out to the whole state?  "Um...well, what if one of my professors sees me on the news?  I could get expelled."

Thomas laughs.  "Don't worry, there won't be any tv cameras, or newspaper reporters.  The media ignores us.  We might get a write-up in The Daily Planet."  Drake University's student-run alternative paper.

I am still nervous, but more gay guys than I've ever seen in one place are looking at me, so:  "Ok, I'm in."

We move to the living room for sodas and snacks, and go over the plan:  Tomorrow at 1:30, we meet at Western Gateway Park in downtown Des Moines.  Dress casually, but nothing flamboyant, no leather or drag.  At 2:00 pm we walk the 13 blocks east on Grand Avenue to City Hall.  Forty gay men and lesbians have signed up, so we will march with a banner followed by six people walking three abreast, then another banner, and so on.

We discuss what to do if someone tries to engage, if someone attacks, if we have to scatter -- and if we are arrested.  We have a parade permit, so the police should be cooperative, but you never know.

Then Mickey and the other townies go home, and the out of town visitors bed down for the night.  It's  crowded: the two bedrooms are full, and four of us get sleeping bags on the living room floor (nothing erotic happens).

June 28th, 11:00 am:  
Mickey and the other townies arrive for a brunch of pancakes, scrambled eggs,and sausages.  I'm slightly disappointed; I was expecting quiche and mimoses, the sort of gay cuisine I read about in The Advocate.

Mickey is wearing one of thse mesh half t-shirts popular at the time, with his pecs and shoulders visible behind the sheer mesh stuff, and your abs were completely exposed.  They only work if you have a perfect body.  A centimeter less than perfection, and they look stupid.  He doesn't look stupid.

After some discussion, Thomas decides that, although the t-shirt is hot, it's too flamboyant, and asks him to change into an Iowa Hawkeyes t-shirt.  "It's a football team," he explains.  "Turning Mickey into a wholesome all-American jock, the kind of boy you want your son to date."  Everyone laughs.

More Mickey after the break

Gemstones Episode 2.8 Continued: Macaulay Culkin grows up, the Cycle Ninjas break out, and Jussie Smollett shows his stuff


This is the G-rated version of the review.  Go to NSFW version

Baby Billy's Baby Boy: Harmon the special-needs son who Baby Billy abandoned at Christmas 1993. has grown into a special-needs adult (Macaulay Culkin), But nevertheless he has achieved the heterosexual nuclear family trajectory of job, house, wife, and kids.Actually, his wife has the job (a lawyer, "an educated breadwinner") but close enough. 

They are all watching Family Feud: "almost everyone has had their bottom ___ at least once." Sexual innuendo, har har.  The answer: spanked.

Suddenly the doorbell rings: it's a card with a photo of Harmon on Santa's lap the day his Daddy abandoned him.  Then his Daddy!  

Baby Billy wants to fix things between them, so he can move forward with his new son.  So it's not about Harmon, it's about you?  Harmon says just don't make the same mistake again, and "Can I hit you with a closed fist as hard as I can in the face?"  That's rather precise, but Baby Billy agrees, and gets walloped.

Out in the car, the ghost of Aimee-Leigh laughs at his bloody nose with kleenix affixed. 

Jesse Smollett and K-Fed: Back stage before Eli's  "welcome back" service, the siblings are in makeup and practicing their enunciation. They agree to make Daddy proud by showing how much they love each other. Judy says that she loves "Jesse Smollett" and "K-Fed," whereupon Kelvin makes a strange feminine gesture. 

Some vaguely-relevant dicks after the break

Lou Ferrigno and Bill Bixby: Bodybuilder and Buddy

Speaking of bodybuilder buddies, when Bill Bixby finished his gay subtext series My Favorite Martian and The Courtship of Eddie's Father,  he cashed in on the 1970s superhero craze in The Incredible Hulk (1977-82).

He played the antiheroic Marvel comic book character Bruce Banner, heterosexualized by being renamed David (Bruce "sounded too gay") and a getting a dead wife. When he gets angry, David transforms, Jekyll-Hyde style, into the green-skinned, muscular Hulk, who has super-strength, subhuman intelligence, and a nasty temper.  Fortunately the Hulk knows enough to avoid harming good guys or bystanders, and he usually disarms or scares the bad guys rather than killing them.

Like The Fugitive, David is wandering the countryside, trying to find a cure for his "problem," fleeing an tabloid reporter (Jack Colver) obsessed with him, and getting involved with people's personal lives along the way.

The Hulk was played by 26-year old bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno (left and top), a multiple Mr. Universe and Mr. America contender whom I met when I was working for Muscle and Fitness; he appeared on the cover at least once a year.

Other than the documentary Pumping Iron, this was his first screen appearance, but soon his physique and his inspiring story -- he had been nearly deaf since childhood, and had a slurred voice -- propelled him into fame.  After The Incredible Hulk, he had starring roles in Hercules (1983), Sinbad of the Seven Seas (1989), The Cage (1989, with James Shigeta as the villain), and The Incredible Hulk TV Series (1996-97), where the Hulk could speak.   A special favorite of kids, he appeared as himself on Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

I don't know if there were any gay subtexts in the series -- it was on Friday nights, so I never saw it -- but there was an off-screen bromance.  Bill became Lou's mentor and confidant, and like Paul Newman and Rocky Graziano twenty years before, they were often seen socializing together off the set.

I remember them coming into the Muscle and Fitness editorial office together, looking for all the world like a gay couple, especially Bill in his tan suit and sunglasses.

In his memoirs, Lou stated that he doesn't like to watch The Incredible Hulk now because it is too sad.  Bill "was like a brother to me.  We grew together.  I miss him."

Bill Bixby was a gay ally, of course, and Lou Ferrigno always seemed perfectly fine with the adulation of gay fans.  When he appeared on the reality series The Apprentice, he was fine with the elderly gay icon George Takei commenting on his  hotness of his semi-nude body, but got upset over a joke that criticized his fashion sense.

Lou is now appearing on the webseries The Incredible Ferrignos, in which his entire family, all certified personal trainers, offer make-overs to families with unhealthy diet and exercise habits.

Lou Ferrigno, Jr., (born 1984) starred in two of David DeCoteau's nearly-gay movies: 1313: Hercules Unbound! (2012) and 1313: Night of the Widows (2012).

I get more of a gay-friendly vibe from Brent (born 1990).  He's not an actor, but you can see lots of shirtless pix on his facebook page.

"Stonewall": The riots that started the Gay Rights Movement, with nice cops, a White Saviour, J. Edgar Hoover, and some dicks


Link to NSFW version

The Stonewall Riots of June 28-30, 1969 began with patrons of the Stonewall bar in Greenwich Village fighting back against police harassment.  They ended with the modern Gay Rights Movement and the "minority group" model of LGBT identities. Today there are Pride festivals and parades around June 28th of every year to celebrate that beginning., and queer history, literature, culture, and politics are definitively divided into pre-Stonewall and post-Stonewall. 

Although there have been many books and documentaries, Stonewall (2015) is the first movie intended for a mass audience.  It assumes that you are straight, with little or no knowledge of the riots, an ally but mostly unaware of the closeted, harassed, hounded life of LGBT people before Stonewall (and sometimes still today)

1. Danny Winters (Jeremy Irvine), a clean-cut all-American kid from rural Indiana, gets a scholarship to Columbia, but before his parents can fill out the scholarship papers, they discover that he is gay and kick him out.  His closeted boyfriend, football star Joe(Karl Glusman), refuses to talk to him.  

Bonus Karl Glusman cock after the break

So he goes to New York anyway, where everybody -- repeat, everybody -- falls in love with him.  Well, what do you expect from the focus character?

Danny lives on the street, and works as a hustler (although the look of pure disgust he gets whenever a client tries to go down on him would probably limit his success).

He hangs out and often lives with a group of androgynous gay and transgender street kids led by Ray/Ramona (Johnny Beauchamp). 

2. They are regulars at the Stonewall Tavern, a dive-bar run by Mobster Ed Murphy (Ron Pearlman), who may have murdered Ray's boyfriend. It was illegal to serve alcohol to "a known homosexual," so all gay bars were underground, mostly run by the mob.

3. Meanwhile Danny gets involved with Trevor (Jonathan Rhys-Meyer, left), a middle-class college student,  who picks up twinks by playing Procul Harem's "Whiter Shade of Pale" on the jukebox.  I'm always moved by the line: She said "There is no reason 
And the truth is plain to see."

More after the break

Mar 6, 2024

"Bumper in Berlin" Episode 1.3: Bumper saves the day by doing everything wrong. With bonus Til Schweiger nudity


Link to NSFW Version

I don't usually review two episodes of the same series, but I'm trying to figure something out. Bumper in Berlin has no gay male characters, limited beefcake, and frequent discussions of the hotness of ladies.  Those should be red flags.  So why is this series my favorite Adam Devine vehicle (including that darn Gemstone thing)?   This is a review of Episode 1.3,  "Verschlimmbessern": to make things worse while trying to make them better.

Scene 1: An ornate concert hall.  Bumper (Adam Devine), the American a capella singer who has come to Germany to become a star, and Heidi, his Love Interest, begin singing the Shaggy song "It Wasn't Me,"  Suddenly the stage goes dark; Heidi collapses, stabbed in the back  She's dying. Bumper has betrayed her by claiming that the song she wrote was his, and thus stealing her future.  And his hands are feet?  He awakens -- just a nightmare!

Scene 2:
 Bumper meets Heidi at the coffee cart and tries to make it up to her by -- buying her coffee?  He explains that he needed an impressive song to be selected to perform at Unity Day and become a star. Heidi isn't angry, just very disappointed.

Manager Pieter (Flula Borg) has bad news: his ex-girlfriend Gisela, who is competing with Bumper for the Unity Day spot, is doing a big show in Friederickstadt.  In order to stay competitive, he got Bumper a gig performing "his" song on Sour Pickles: a talk show where the guests eat sour pickles.

Bumper tries to make things right with Heidi by refusing to sing the song: it "sucks."  Wait -- Heidi wrote it.  She glares at him.  "Oh, the song is great, but it sucks."  Digging yourself deeper, Buddy.  You got some Verschlimmbessern going on.

Scene 3:
 On the way to the Sour Pickles studio -- the sign is in English -- Bumper complains to his ally, DJ Das Boot: "I did a bad thing, but I apologized. Why is Heidi still mad? It's not fair."  And by the way "Boot" means  "boat" in German, not the English "boot." 

DJ Das Boot: "You're only interested in making yourself feel better.  Try thinking of someone else's feelings." 

Scene 4:  Bumper and DJ Das Boot perform the song, while Heidi looks on forlornly.  The hosts, played by famous German actors Til Schweiger and Moritz Bleibtrue, cheer.  

Next, it's time to eat increasingly sour pickles while answering questions.  Uh-oh, the hosts twist his words around while he's distracted by the pickles.  First: Bumper admits that he didn't write the song, Heidi did.  Then, that his manager Pieter lied to get him to come to Germany.  Back story: Pieter used a sound machine during an a capella performance, destroying his career and branding him the second-greatest shame in German history. 

Bumper changes the subject to how much he likes Germany, especially the hottie Angela Merkle, whom he would love to twerk-le.  The hosts pretend to be scandalized at the disrespect to the former Chancellor, but actually they love seeing their guests get "into a pickle."  

Scene 5: Back at the office, everyone discusses what a mess Bumper made of his interview.  Shouldn't they have known that the show was about getting people to say the wrong thing?  Pieter's scandal will be revived, DJ Das Boot will be the laughing stock of the DJ community, and Heidi will never be able to sell a song again: "I'm going to have to go on German unemployment.  How am I supposed to survive on just 90,000 euros a year?"

Scene 6: A "scary adult preschool" abandoned factory-art gallery.  Heidi arrives for a date with DJ Das Boot, who criticizes her obsession with planning out every detail in her life: "I don't even know how I'm going to end this sentence."

To cure Heidi of her fear of the unexpected, DJ Das Boot says "Give me a tattoo.  Anything you want."  Heidi protests that she doesn't know how, but who cares?  This is really wacky date.  You ladies ever hear of dinner and a movie? 

She draws a smiley face on DJ Das Boot's shoulder.  "See -- you weren't prepared. You can't fix it.  But you survived!"

Scene 7: 
Bumper and Manager Pieter want to talk the Sour Pickle hosts into not airing the episode, but the security guard won't let them in.  So Heidi and DJ Das Boot try: the security guard lets them in with no challenge. 

Meanwhile, the guys sit in a bar, being gloomy.  Pieter asks Bumper to save himself,  pretend that lying was all Pieter's idea, but Bumper won't betray his friend.  Awww...

The girls arrive: yep, the Sout Pickle guys agreed to pull the episode.  All Pieter has to do is give an interview about his ex-girlfriend Gisela's involvement in his a capella scandal.  Pieter admits that, in fact, it was Gisela's idea, but they were dating, so he took the fall.  She dumped him soon afterwards.

So -- tell the truth, repair your reputation, get over your ex, and damage the career of their main competitor for the Unity Day gig. Plus she deserves it -- she's evil. Sounds great!  Problem: Pieter still loves her, and doesn't like the idea of hurting her.

More Bumper and a lot of Til Schweiger after the break

Mar 5, 2024

"Crazy Fun Park": Dead gay teens come to life in an abandoned amusement park in Australia


Crazy Fun Park, on Hulu:  Chester's best friend Mapplethorpe has died in a tragic accident at an abandoned amusement park. He is "grief-stricken without his soul mate," until he discovers that "the soul of his mate may not be alive, but is very much kicking."  Don't get too excited -- in Australia "mate" just means "friend."  Still, I wonder if there are any gay subtexts here.

Episode 1: "I Don't Want to Grow Up."  Ugh, are they going to present same-sex romance as something you grow out of to pursue a "real" grown-up heterosexual romance?

Scene 1:
Mapplethorpe (Stacy Clausen, left), an energetic, goofy blond, is hanging all over the button-down, "that's not a good idea" Chester (Henry Strand) as they work on their history presentation, Zombie Joan of Arc fighting zombie Da Vinci.  Whoa, these guys are hot for each other.

Scene 2: Time for school, so they skateboard through Asphodel Heights (get it?  it's the flower of the underworld) and arrive ten minutes late.  The teacher makes them re-do the assignment.  They grin at the new girl, Violetta.  Uh-oh, a Love Interest, but at least she's not walking in slow motion, hair blowing in the wind.

Scene 3: Out in the hallway, they're accosted by bullies, but at least no one makes a homophobic slur: Mapplethorpe is called "rat-licker" and "bleached brains."

On to a mountain overlook.  Chester wants to move to Melbourne, where they won't be laughed at all the time.  Maphethorpe counters that they have everything they need in Asphodel Heights: a butt-tree (what do they do to it?), a Pride Rock (nothing gay-specific about it), and an Ambiguous Pole (it's actually called nonbinary).  We're getting some gay references that you'll only catch if you're looking for them.  

Scene 4:   Hanging on each other, the guys stand at the entrance of Crazy Fun Park, which opened way, way back in the Dark Ages (1979!), and closed after some accidental deaths.  They've never had the nerve to go inside (through a scary demon mouth?  I wouldn't, either).  Suddenly they encounter Violetta (naturally), who belongs to a club that photographs abandoned structures.  This is all a tease; One of the guys is going to fall in love with her, guaranteed.

Scene 5: The inside: a roller coaster, a ferris wheel, a merry-go-round, and a parody of famous statue of Walt Disney with Mickey Mouse (if you look from the right angle, Walt has an erection).  

Uh-oh, the fortune-telling machine lights up!  But the park has no electricity.  I'd be running, but they stick around. Mapplethorpe reads his fortune-card, but won't tell the others what it says.  A spider causes them to run screaming from the park.

Scene 6:
Violetta joins the guys on their walk home from school.  Her family runs a funeral home!  

She invites them inside to help her develop the pictures she took yesterday, but she can't find her film roll.  Besides, Mapplethorpe is scared, so Chester hangs all over him, and they leave.

Scene 7:  Split screen of the guys going home, greeting their parents, and texting each other about asking Violetta to help them write their horror comic.  Mapplethorpe is against it. Chester; "You didn't have to be so rude to her today." Well, he was jealous.  She's the competition.  

Mapplethorpe: "We need her as much as a turkey needs a ukelele." I've heard a phrase like that about lesbians, so maybe he's saying "We're gay. We don't need women hanging around."

Scene 8:  In the morning, the guys are late to school again.  This time there's a presentation on Melbourne Creative Arts High School. The teacher wants him to apply: don't let "misguided loyalty" stand in your way of artistic greatness!  Uh-oh, the eternal question, love or career?

Later, Mapplethorpe finds Chester in the library, re-doing their Joan of Arc report into something conventional.  But when Mapplethorpe touches the scanner, it crashes, and the keyboard catches fire!  Chester is irate, thinking that he ruined the report on purpose, and tells him to "grow up."  Maplethorpe lashes out at Violetta, who happens to be watching, and storms out.

Scene 9:  At home, Mapplethorpe tries video-calling Chester, but gets rejected.  "He hates me!" he exclaims.  Mom disagrees; "You two have a bond that is so special, it could survive anything"  Not that special -- it's called "being in love."  It happens to most people. 

Apprised that you should never go to bed with bad feelings, Mapplethorpe goes to Chester's house to make up. He tries to apologize, but Chester says "It's not me you should be apologizing to."  "So this is about her?"  Durn women, always interfering.  Why can't it be just two guys, living together and doing the things that married couples do? 

"We've got to grow up eventually," Chester says.  Yep, their same-sex love is temporary, to be abandoned for mature hetero-romance.  "What if I don't want to?" Mapplethorpe asks, but of course he has no choice.  He gazes longingly at Chester and then steps aside: "Let's go to the Crazy Fun Park and find her lost film roll.  That will get her to like you again, right?"  Chester won't do it; too dangerous

Out on the street, the jilted boyfriend reads his fortune-card: "Can you surrender that which you desire most?"  Looks like you already did.  He goes to Crazy Fun Park by himself and walks through the scary demon mouth. Violetta wakes up, precognitively aware that something is wrong.

Scene 10:  In the morning, Chester is waiting to walk Mapplethorpe to school.  He never shows up.  Assuming that he's upset over the breakup, Chester rushes to school by himself, but Mapplethorpe isn't there!  His Mom calls: he didn't come home last night!  Then the police: "Was there any reason Mapplethorpe would go to the park alone."  I thought this was a comedy.  It is definitely a drama. 

We cut to the body being taken to Violetta's funeral home, as she gazes mournfully.  Chester goes to the park and calls for Mapplethorpe, hoping that this is just a prank.

Wait -- things start to turn on, a display of stuffed animals barks, and a scary clown squirts him with jizz (it's actually pink, but ok).  The mask comes off: it's Mapplethorpe!  "Welcome to Crazy Fun Park!" he exclaims.  The end.

In future episodes, Mapplethorp and Chester will meet other teens who died in the park, in tragic (and gruesome) ways, and are trapped there, coming to life every night.  Fortunately, the park comes to life, too, so they can go on rides and such.   A few are heterosexual, but most seem to be gay: the Peter Pan Syndrome, gay as arrested development, being a kid forever.

So, Mapplethorpe is obviously in love with Chester, but is it subtext or text?  I can't tell for sure, but:

1. Episode 8 features Mapplethorpe befriending another park resident, a boy ghost named Zed.   He doesn't remember his real name, or anything about his life before dying -- until he remembers that he is trans 

2. Henry Strand has played a gay character before.

3. Writer/director Nicholas Verso also wrote and directed Boys in Trees: a boy named Corey encounters his old friend Jonah, whom he left behind to "grow up."  As they walk home,  we gradually realize that Jonah has died, and his home is in the cemetery.  Sounds like a similar set-up, with a similar theme of LGBT people as stalled on the way to adulthood, unable to "grow up."

So maybe it's text, but done so obliquely that you won't see it unless you're looking for it.  Everyone else will read them as platonic pal.

Gemstones Episode 3.8, Continued: Kelvin's tender bits, Peter's van, Chuck's butt, and coming out to the world


I know this review is out of sequence, but I've been working on it all morning, so it's going up anyway.

This is the G-rated version.  Link to the version with the dicka and butts.

More Militia Squabbles: Under the overpass, the militia gets more chicken, this time from Fancy Nancy's, but the portions are still too small.  Plus they've accomplished none of their goals due to Peter's mismanagement.  They're going to rename themselves the Keepers of Yesterday's Monuments, to key into their interest in (Confederate) monuments.  

They kick Uncle Peter and Chuck out of the group, taking all of their money, but letting them keep the truck full of explosives.  

Hating on Eli:
  The siblings agree that "Dr. Gemstone does not love us.  He is interested only in money."  In the Executive Board Room, they speak to him through Baby Billy, expressing anger that he refused to pay the ransom.  

Judy: "You left us to die! Uncle Peter would have killed any one of us, or all three, or he'd just mutilate us and send you our body parts."

Kelvin specifies: "Nipples, penis, butthole shavings -- all our tender bits."  Interesting --the three body parts he finds erotic. We can also divide it up by sibling: Judy's nipples, Jesse's penis, Kelvin's butthole.  We all know that Kelvin is a bottom, so he'd be worried about that.

Jesse has always known that Eli doesn't love him, but he figured that it was all about the church.  Now he knows he was wrong -- it's all about the money.

Eli protests: it's not about the money.  It's always been about his children.  

Hah!  They're not buying it. 

Suddenly Eli is happy because the siblings are working together, cooperating, not competing.  If it takes hating on him for them to work as a team, fine.   

 The Sunday of the siblings' return to the church.  Crowds waiting to greet them.  A woman holds a sign: "The Gemstone 3 -- we missed you."  The ticket booth announces: "The return of the Gemstone children -- praise be!"  At the ministers' meeting earlier, the siblings tried the "We Three and Thee" catchphrase, with disastrous results.  Now the congregation is embracing The Three. 

The siblings say goodbye to their partners in the hallway outside their dressing rooms.  Jesse/Amber and BJ/Judy kiss.  Keefe moves in for a kiss, but Kelvin blocks him with a forehead press.  Keefe looks very amorous, as if still caught up in the afterglow from whatever they did last night.  Kelvin looks apologetic: "Sorry, dude, not in front of my family and the gossipy church staff."  

Personal note: I get it: I have never kissed a boyfriend in public.  Even holding hands makes me nervous: you never know who is itching to commit a hate crime.

This scene received a lot of misdirection in the trailers.  First you didn't see who Kelvin was saying goodbye to, so you would think it might be Taryn.  Then the lighting makes a square white patch appear on Keefe's face, as if he was injured during the rescue attempt.

Jesse signals "showtime!", and the siblings join him to walk down the hall to the sanctuary.  Amber is waiting for the partners by the hallway leading to the pews. Keefe and BJ stand there, watching.

Suddenly Kelvin backs up, then turns around and walks quickly to Keefe.  What's going on?  Did he forget something?  He pushes Keefe against the wall and kisses him.  There are actually two takes, from the left and right sides, with different body positions.  

When the kiss ends, Kelvin walks back to the siblings. Both Jesse and Judy give him congratulatory smiles.  He is grinning, pleased with himself.  He adjusts his glasses.  

The kiss after the break

Ich bin ein Berliner: Eight divine Deutcher dudes with sizeable Schwanzen


Ok, I've never actually been to Berlin, but I've been to Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg, Stuttgart, and Regensburg.  To expand on Bumepr in Berlin, my new favorite Adam Devine vehicle, here are eight  Deutscher dudes with gro├če Ausbuchtungen und riesigen Schwanzen. 

Link to the uncensored photos

Heavy-lidded Alexei from the Universitet

Berlin book tower

Bastian from Munich

More Deutscher dick after the break

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