Apr 13, 2024

The Netflix "Good Times" Sequel: Still stuck in the projects, still too skittish to admit that gay people exist


When I was a kid in the 1970s, we gathered in front of the tv almost every night from 7 to 9 pm: my parents, my brother and sister, often a friend or two.  But we weren't staring empty-eyed, becoming brain-dead. We were reading, playing, doing homework, and talking.  It was family time. I still tear up when I hear, or think of, the theme songs.

One Day at a Time: This is it.  This is life, the one you get, so go and have a ball.  This is it, rest assured you can't be sure at all... 

Alice: There's a new girl in town, and she's looking good.  There's fresh freckle face in the neighborhood. Things are great when you stand on your own two feet...

And Good Times: Anytime you make a payment.  Anytime you meet a friend.  Anytime you're out from under, not getting hassled, not getting hustled....ain't we lucky we got 'em...good times.

And they were good times.

It was the story of an impoverished black family living in "the projects," probably Cabrini Green in Chicago: Dad James (John Amos, known as the adult Kunta Kinte on Roots), Mom Florida (Esther Rolle); goofy, artistic JJ (Jimmie Walker); driven, intellectual Thelma (Bern Nadette Stanis), and black activist Michael (Ralph Carter, top photo, a major crush).  

I don't remember many plotlines: in those days you could only see an episode when it aired, so you missed a lot, and those you saw, you saw once and never again.  But I remember that JJ and Michael shared a bed, fueling my early-teen gay vibes; and Michael was usually dour and depressed, beat down by the institutional racism that would inform his life, just as I was beat down by the incessant "what girl do you like?" interrogations.  

The show had a lot off-stage problems.  Both John Amos and Ester Rolle disapproved of increasingly buffonish, mistrel-like direction that JJ's character was taking, and wondered why the Evans couldn't move out of the projects into a nice working class home. They were both written out.  But the story had a happy-ish ending, with the family moving on up: JJ a professional comic book artist, Thelma married to a pro-football player, and Michael in college.  

After the curtain fell on the Evans family, we moved on to other programs, and didn't think of them often.  In West Hollywood, I saw John Amos at the gym regularly, but we never actually spoke  Jimmie Walker came out rather vocally against gay marriage. Ralph Carter was living with HIV, but didn't say anything in public for fear that people would think he was gay.  

Eventually those of us who watched as kids and teenagers were approaching retirement age, and most of the adults were gone. This is it -- this is life, the one you get, so go and have a ball.  Then for some reason, Netflix decided to run a ten-episode animated sequel, set in the same Cabrini Green-ish housing project, starring Reggie Evans (JB Smoove), the grandson of the original James Evans, so either JJ or Michael's son.  But JJ became a famous artist, and Michael went to university -- they escaped the cycle of poverty.  

His wife Beverly is scheming social climber - in the projects?  They have an artist son, Junior (Jay Pharaoh, left); a social activist daughter, Grey; and instead of Michael, a drug-dealing baby, Dalvin (Slink Johnson).

Before the first episode aired, BernNadette Stanis, who played Thelma, was complaining because none of the original cast were involved, and because they pitched the show as progressive, but it wasn't progressive at all.

The Hollywood Reporter called it "Coarse and unpleasant..with none of the warmth and charm that defined Good Times

But I won't shun the new Good Times without at least watching the trailer.

Scene 1:
Cabrini Green, with the wacky, slanted building style that one sees in old cartoons.  We cut to the family in their living room. Grey has great news. Junior asks if that the state is going to pay her disability due to her ugliness. Reggie kicks himself for not wearing condoms.   

Scene 2: While playing pool, Reggie tells us about Grandfather James, but skips his own father -- is it JJ or Michael?  We cut to him beating up Grey's boyfriend. 

Scene 3: Junior is repeating 10th grade for the third time. Mama just wants him educated enough to get a job "on the drive-through." Teacher suggests monetizing his feet for fetishists.  Gross.

Scene 4: Mom prays to Black Jesus. We cut to heaven, where he is playing video games.  God hands him the phone. 

Scene 5: Reggie is happy because he doesn't have "that drug-dealing baby" to deal with anymore.  We see the baby in his carriage, selling drugs to a big-breasted women.  He drools with hetero-horniness.  Ugh!  Even the baby is hetero-horny?  

Scene 6: Rats run through garbage as a woman complains that Reggie's neighborhood is a shit-hole.  "It's the system. They put the guns and drugs on the street."  In fact, government-looking white guys are carrying baskets full of guns and drugs into the project.

Scene 7: Montage of a girl taking off her top while Junior gawks, a woman pointing a gun at the baby, Grey pole-dancing with big-butt women; a well-dressed prostitute delighting her coworkers with her bling; a naked woman's butt being slapped; Reggie being electrocuted at a museum; and the prostitute yelling "Dynomite!", JJ's catchphrase on the old show.  Reggie: "We're just as good as the Evans of old." But you have 10 times more objectification of women's bodies, and you're still too skittish to admit that gay people exist.

Scene 8: At the dinner table, Junior asks "What about the struggle?" Grey shrugs: "We're black.  It will be here tomorrow."

But I won't be watching.

See also: John Amos: The guy from Roots and Good Times naked at the gym

This F*king Town; with some celebrities I hooked up with,.um, I mean met

Apr 12, 2024

The homoerotic hijinks of Skyler Gisondo crew, with at least four gay and at least three nude dudes


Link to NSFW  version

Skyler Gisondo grew up in California.  He was home schooled for several years to give him free time for acting; then he attended Milken Community School, a Jewish high school, graduating in 2014.  He was deeply involved in Jewish activities, including Temple Beth Am (Conservative Judaism), USY (United Synagogue Youth) and Camp Alonim.  In 2015 he began attending the University of Southern California, a semester at a time to make room for Santa Clarita Diet.

In high school and college, Skyler found some hunky friends who enjoyed homoerotic horseplay.  Some have remained part of his crew to this day.  

1. Top photo: Joshua Tree.  Skyler is the one pretending to be a top.

2. His friend Ben in Israel.

3. Skyler and his roommates.  What happens in the apartment, stays in the apartment.

4. In Costa Rica.

More after the break

"Columbo": The disheveled detective tackles a case in West Hollywood


I never watched Columbo, or as we called it, Clod-Dumb-bo, when it first aired in the 1970s.  It was on Sunday nights, when I was usually in church.  Besides, I wasn't interested in detective shows, and it wasn't even a show, it was a series of movies -- The NBC Mystery Movie, airing every three weeks, alternating with the cases of a cowboy detective (McCloud, aka McClod) and a sleuthing housewife (McMillan and Wife).  

But with only three channels, everyone in the 1970s knew everything about every show: we see the murderer's intricate scheme carried out in the first scene.  The clever murderer thinks that they've gotten away with it.  Then  Colombo (Peter Falk, far left, during his his muscular youth), disheveled, crumpled, and absent-minded, ruminating over tiny inconsistencies in the story: "There's just one thing that bothers me. Why were all the lights off in the apartment?  I go out for the evening, I leave a light on."

Recently Columbo has appeared on Amazon Prime -- all upteen cajillion episodes.  Bob and I have watched the first two, actually pilots:

Prescription Murder (1968): Extremely wealthy psychiatrist Dr. Fleming (1970s staple Gene Barry) comes up with an intricate plot to murder his wife and blame it on a burglar: he was on vacation in Mexico at the time!  Columbo wonders why he didn't say "Honey, I'm home" when he came into the apartment, and why his luggage on the way to Mexico was 13 pounds heavier than on the way home.

 Ransom for a Dead Man (1971): Extremely wealthy attorney Leslie Williams (1970s staple Lee Grant) comes up with an intricate plot to murder her husband Paul (Harlan Warde)  and blame it on kidnappers. Columbo wonders why, when Paul called from the kidnappers' lair, Leslie didn't ask "Are you ok?"  And why he was standing up while the murderer was sitting  -- that doesn't make sense for a kidnapper.  

This one makes Leslie an amateur pilot, so she takes Columbo on a flight across the nearly empty San Gabriel Valley.  Plus there's a scene set in Barney's Beanery, the West Hollywood eatery with the infamous "Fagots Stay Out" sign that caused gay rights activists like Troy Perry and Morris Kight to protest in the 1960s and 1970s. The sign didn't come down until 1985, when the City of West Hollywood adopted an anti-discrimination ordinance.  The episode doesn't mention the sign or "fagots," but one has to wonder if the setting was deliberate.

Both murderers live in huge, ornate apartments that would shame Versailles,  dripping with Ming vases and Louis XIV chairs, everybody and everything so bright and glittery that it makes my eyes hurt.  Everyone is white, upper-class, middle-aged, and well-connected. Oddly, the 1960s counterculture does not exist.  Even Leslie's teenage daughter, home from boarding school in Switzerland, does not wear mod clothes or listen to groovy music or mention student protests.

Future episodes seem to involve a lot more extremely wealthy murderers played by recognizable 1970s stars: Jack Cassidy, Martin Milner, Robert Culp, Eddie Albert, Ross Martin, Leslie Nielsen, Roddy McDowall, William Windom, Forest Tucker -- and that's just Season 1.  I imagine that the intended audience was middle aged or elderly, fearful of the social turmoil of the 1960s and 1970s, comforted by the sight of clever but amoral rich people getting their comeuppance.

Columbo is not conventionally attractive, and his incessant tales about his wife become annoying, but still, you can't take your eyes off him. I found myself focusing on his gigantic hands, fingers as thick as sausages.  You know what they say about big hands.

There will be no other characters who appear in more than a few episodes.  It is all about Columbo.

My grade: As a nostalgic flashback to the 1970s, A.  For anyone born after 1980, B.

Marcus Hodson: Shape-shifting demon or hyper-masculine Midlands model? With nude merman bonus

 Link to the NSFW version

On Dead Hot (2024), Marcus Hodson plays a shape-shifting demon, a hermetic Magus who travels between esoteric realms through the Eye of Horus bar and its mysterious Red Phone.  I wanted to know if he plays other mysterious Pucks or Lords of Misreason, but his IMDB listing is rather basic  Five roles, all 2022-2024: 

You Like That, a short about a gay American student in Edinburgh.

The Stand-up Sketch Show, where comedians perform "a surreal reconstruction of their own material."  Marcus is a background player in five episodes.

An episode of Domino Day, about a young witch "haunted by her need to feed on others." In Episode 2, Marcus plays a hookup who smooches with her and is eaten.

Gentleman in Moscow 
is about a Russian aristocrat placed under house arrest in a hotel for the rest of his life after the 1917 revolution.  He befriends a little girl who also lives in the hotel; Marcus plays her piano teacher.

He also plays one of the mermen in The Little Mermaid.

Only one other paranormal show, and he doesn't even play a supernatural being?

Not many biographical details available. A 2021 article in Pause magazine states that he is 25 years old, from Manchester but living in London. He began modeling at age 18, then started university, but left to go pro.

In spite of the paucity of biographical details, Marcus has a very active social media presence, with hundreds of posts about travel, food, and beefcake. Here he is in Greece

In Rome

On the beach.  Does Marcus have a palsy disorder in his left hand, or is he displaying some magickal gestures?

More after the break

Apr 11, 2024

"Dead Hot": A gay ghost, cryptic messages, a portal to the underworld, a shape-shifting demon...or maybe it's all a tease


I don't know anything about Dead Hot, on Amazon Prime in Britain and Tubi in the U.S., except that it stars gay actor Bilal Hasna as a gay ghost.  Sounds intriguing.

Scene 1: Elliot (Bilal) walks down the street with flowers, enters a house, and calls for Peter and Jess.  But it's all disheveled, with someone moving in or out. So after you died, your roommates moved out?  He finds blood scattered about on the floor, and his own severed finger!  

Scene 2:
 Five years later, Elliot saying goodbye to a hot guy, Will (Marcus Hodson), after their first date.  They make plans to get together that night.  So Elliot is dating another ghost?  He struts through downtown Liverpool, takes the subway, congratulates a man who is masturbating in his car, and heads home, where his roommate Jess wants to know how things went.  Great!  He's tall, and handsome, and funny!  They have so much in common!  They went on the same cruise in 2005!  So, if Elliot was 25, he'd be in his 40s now.  Wait -- he's been dead for five years, so he died in his mid-30s.  

Plot dump: His boyfriend Paul vanished five years ago. Jess is his twin sister. I get it -- the sinister Paul murdered Elliot and then fled.   

Jess exudes enthusiasm and squeals with excitement over the new guy, but when she leaves, she grimaces. I suspect that the date was in Elliot's head, he's a ghost and can't leave the apartment, and she's sick of lying to him.

Scene 3: While Elliot relives the date and stresses out because the guy hasn't texted him since they parted an hour ago, Jess goes to her job at a new age store, grimaces, and remembers her dead brother.  Wait, I thought Elliot was the dead one, and brother Paul, the one who vanished after murdering him.

 She checks a DNA match app and finds a new match, but just as they are about to identify themselves, a customer pops up!  Jess gives her the item for free to get rid of her, then back to the app: "I'm who you think I am.  Are you who I think you are?"  Is vanished brother Paul coming out of hiding?  

Scene 4: 
 Elliot dreams of his fingers getting chopped off. That must be how he died.  We spend some time on a subplot about his wealthy, bigoted grandmother, who thinks that he is straight and keeps setting him up with girls, and his Aunt Bonnie, who thinks that she's dating an underwear model that she's talking to online -- played by Sean Flannery.

Scene 5:
 More memories of last night. Elliot is on a date with Jess when Will approaches.  They dump the girlfriend and head to a dive bar, where Elliot notices that Will's nail polish is bright red -- a color called Blood Sex.  This will be important later.  

He offers to take Elliot someplace better: "I guarantee you'll like it."

More after the break

Gemstones Episode 3.5: A gay boy's bare butt, a pukka shell necklace, castration anxiety, and three random cocks

This is the G-rated version of the review, with no nude images or explicit sexual discussions.

Link to the nude images 

Episode 3.4 concludes with the family in disarray. Both BJ and Keefe have broken up with their partners in the aftermath of a betrayal, Jesse and Pontius are sparring, and the Montgomery Boys are secretly planning a violent retribution. 

Title: "Interlude III." The interludes are meant to build suspense by postponing the action for two weeks, plus give us some background on the major characters.  Interlude I centered on Jesse, and Interlude II on Kelvin, so I imagine that this time it will be Judy.

Judy's Back Story
: Rogers High School, 2000.  High school-aged Judy tries to flirt with her crush, art student Trent (Braxton Alexander), by throwing her hair over his desk.  He asks her to stop several times, but she says "You know you like it, Stud," embarrassing him in front of the class.  Finally he gets even by cutting her hair. Wait -- why isn't the super-rich Judy in private school?

She doesn't notice until the girls in the restroom laugh at her.  Then she storms into band practice and smashes his saxophone, yelling "I liked you, asshole!  I loved you!"

Some fans wonder whether Trent is gay.  Of course, lots of straight guys would reject Judy's vulgar come-ons, but Trent wears a pukka shell necklace: according to my research, around 2000, that was a queer code, a way to identify other gay people while leaving the straights oblivious. Plus he's an artist and a musician.  "Artistic" and "musical" are  often code for "gay."

Y2K is Real:  Remember the Y2K panic that Eli and his wife Aimee-Leigh profited from?  A reporter from Time Magazine shows Eli the commercial, telling folks that God wanted them to buy Gemstone Brand survival buckets, first aid kits, commode liners, and so on.  "So...do you think it's ethical to scare people and then benefit from that fear-mongering?" 

"I was trying to help."

"You said that Jesus told you that Y2K was real.  Who was wrong, Jesus or you?"

Kelvin's Little Tiny Doll Pecker: C
ollege-age Jesse brings his girlfriend Amber home to meet the family. Is she pregnant?  Gideon is going to be born in a year or less.

At dinner, Judy criticizes her for coming from a poor family.   Jesse says "Suck my dick!", and she responds "I want a meal, not a snack."  

Kelvin laughs: "That was good.  She means you have a tiny little titi" (pronouncced tih-tee).  Jesse then criticizes Kelvin's "tiny little doll pecker."  It is probably perfectly normal for a prepubescent boy, but Kelvin doesn't know that.

Presumably the adult Kelvin is the same size as the well-hung Adam Devine, yet the siblings continue to disparage his penis into adulthood. How, exactly, do they see it?  My sister has never seen mine.  The result is a paralyzing fear of sexual intimacy that jeopardized every potential romantic connection before Keefe.  And only Keefe's superhuman devotion kept him by Kelvin's side as he vacillated between withholding sex and demanding it constantly.

Background Note: "Titi" is a type of shrub, a type of monkey,  your aunt, and an unattractive drag queen. Apparently the writers invented the "penis" meaning to bring to mind the adult Kelvin's obsession with "titty meat."

The Snake Handler. 
After a scene where Judy bullies Amber and steals her ring, setting up their squabbles in the present, we cut to a service at Peter Montgomery's Pentecostal-like snake-handling church.  Actually, he's the only one playing with a snake, while his sons play the guitar and violin, and his wife May-May goes into a filled-with-the-Spirit ecstasy. 

Background note: Snake-handling, based upon the injunction to "take up serpents" in Mark 16:17, was introduced by the Church of God with Signs Following during the Great Depression, and spread throughout Appalachia.  Today the practice is illegal in most Southern states, including South Carolina, and there are no more than 100 snake-handling churches left.  

In Them That Follow (2019), Walton Goggins (Baby Billy) plays the pastor of a snake-handling church.

Gemstone-Montgomery Tensions: At the Gemstone Compound,  May-May complains about having to identify herself at the security station, just to put flowers on her father's grave. "You can visit the grave whenever you want," Aimee-Leigh assures her. "We'll have security flag you right on through." But she's not satisfied. Geez, he's been dead since 1995. Haven't you figured out the visitation schedule by now?

Later she bosses Peter around and rejects every effort of Aimee-Leigh to be friendly, suggesting a long-standing feud.  We can see parallels in Amber and Judy in the present.

Gay boys and bare butts after the break

March 1985: The Brady Bunch Dad Plays a Swishy Queen

You have to be careful watching tv.  The producers, actors, and directors are not your friends; even when they are gay, they are often Uncle Toms.  So it's impossible to avoid frequent statements that assert that everyone on earth is heterosexual, that you do not exist:
"Well, Joe, you're getting to that age when you start to notice girls"
"All guys look at girls.  It's only natural."
"She's every man's fantasy."

If you are careful, you can usually avoid the more virulent statements that assert that you exist, but you are a swishy joke or a predatory monster.

I let my guard down one night in the summer of 1986.  Who would expect virulent homophobia on Murder, She Wrote?

I had no interest in the Sunday night old-person's series (1984-1996) about a small-town mystery writer (played by Angela Lansbury) who kept stumbling across -- and solving -- murders.

Usually the victim was a relative or friend -- "Oh, no, you invited Aunt Jessica to Thanksgiving!  That means one of us will die!"

But Alan was a fan, for some reason, and that Sunday evening, we watched an episode called  "Footnote to Murder" (10 March 1985).

Jessica goes to a mystery writer's convention full of petty jealousy, feuds, backstabbing, and vindictiveness, and of course someone ends up dead.  Unfortunately, her best friend is the prime suspect.

 Robert Reid, formerly the Brady Bunch dad, played swishy uber-stereotype Adrian Winslow, who is criticized for writing novels about "Greek boys mincing about."

"At least my books sell," he simpers.

Who's buying all of these mysteries about Greek boys mincing about?

Although an uber-swishy, lavender-laced, fruit-flavored 1950's stereotype who writes about swishy queens in in ancient Greece, he's also closeted.  "The young man I was dining with last night was a reporter," he explains.

So the word "gay" is never used.  Just a lot of condescending smirks and whispered innuendos.

At least he's not the murderer, just a swishy red herring.

At the time I didn't think anything of it -- virulent homophobia was commonplace on tv during the 1980s.

Then, in 1992, Robert Reed died.  Of colon cancer, but he turned out to be HIV positive, resulting in crazy media headlines like "Mike Brady Had AIDS"!

And his Brady Bunch costars revealed that Reed was, in fact, gay.  They all knew, back in the 1960s, but of course they couldn't say anything for fear that having "America's Favorite Dad" come out would destroy his career -- and their show.

So a gay man agrees to play this horrible 1950s stereotype?

He also hated The Brady Bunch, and actually refused to appear in some episodes that he thought were particularly stupid.

A paycheck is a paycheck.  You did what you had to do, in those days.

See also: Christopher Knight/Peter Brady, Barry Williams/Greg Brady; and Razzle Dazzle: 1970s Variety Shows.

Apr 10, 2024

Brassic: The top ten beefy, brawling Midlands blokes, with some bonus Brummie knobs

 Brassic (slang for "poor") follows a gang of working-class lads in the town of Hawley, near Manchester in the Midlands.  Their escapades involve mostly thefts that go wrong, marijuana deals that go wrong,  and brawling -- lots of beefy guys sweating in barns.  A lot of male nudity, mostly of the bum sort.  And, surprisingly, some gay representation.  

Link to the bums and dicks

Here are the top ten hunks: 

1. Vinnie (Joe Gilgun), the leader, grew up in a safe-blowing family.  He suffers from bipolar disorder, and has a son with his best friend Dylan's girlfriend.  

2. Dylan (Damien Molony), Vinnie's best friend, passed up a chance to go to uni to stay with the lads.  

3. Ash (Aaron Heffernan) grew up in a fighting family of Irish travelers (nomads).  He is still a bare-knuckle boxer and the muscle of the gang, and gay (out to his friends, but not to his family).  Nothing in the episode synopsis about getting a boyfriend.

4. Tommo (Ryan Sampson) runs secret S&M nights for the town's businessmen.  Presumably heterosexual S&M, although actor Ryan Sampson is gay.  He came out while starring in the comedy Plebs, and introduced the world to his boyfriend on instagram.

5. Cardi (Tom Hanson) got his nickname from "cardiac arrest" due to his weight (although you'd never know it from his nude scene).  He appears to be cognitively disabled, and acts as the runner for the gang.

More blokes after the break

Corey B. cooks with Leto, Harrelson, Cavalero, Chef Andre, and his mystery boyfriend. With a nude Leto.


Link to NSFW site

Corey B (Bonalewicz) is a boxer, comedian, content creator, and social media influencer with 1.07 million followers on Youtube, 2.1 million on Instagram, and 8.3 on Facebook

His standup seems rather heteronormative: "It takes a woman an average of 15 minutes to have an orgasm, which means I've never made an orgasm.  You guys know what I'm talking about."  No, Corey, I don't.

"My wife thought I was cheating on her, because my Netflix account had a profile for Big Tidday Brenda.  So we looked through all the Brendas on my instagram followers, and they all had small tiddays."  I don't want to hear about tiddays, dude.

But he's most famous for Tik-Tok and Instagram videos where he prepares weird recipes with some buds:

Dorm room dinner with Benny Blanco
Oreo cake with Jared Leto

Brunch with Woody Harrelson

Holiday whiskey with Michael Bublé
Beetleljuice with Howie Mandel
Fruit by the foot penis with Tony Cavalero

Chicken skin dumplings with Chef André Rush

And a lot...a lot of stuff with his mystery boyfriend...

"Am I Being Unreasonable": British lady fights grief, gets a girlfriend, has a dark secret. With bonus husband dick


The first thing that popped up on my Hulu Recommendations today was Am I Being Unreasonable (2022): 

Unfulfilled in her marriage, Nic is grieving a loss that she can’t share with anyone.  But when Jen arrives in town, Nic's life is lit up with laughter and through this kindred soul her dark secret starts to surface.  

It does not sound like my cup of tea at all, but, maybe there's a lesbian subtext, and  Sam Bottomley, who I've met, is in the cast, so let's go.

Link to NSFW version

Scene 1
: Nic, a middle aged lady, is waiting for a train outside at night, when her husband Alex( David Flynn) calls her over.  He wrote "Merry Xmas" in the snow with his pee.  Hey, there's a pound on the tracks. Alex wants to climb down and get it, but the train is coming!  He'll kill himself!

Nope.  They get on the train -- well, Nic on the train, Alex on the "mind the gap," They discuss how much they love each other, and kiss.  Uh-oh, when the doors close, his coat is stuck!  No time to pull it off -- he's dragged to...Moral: Boys should only kiss boys.

Scene 2:  Nic watching tv with her son Ollie ( played by Lenny Rush, who has SED, a congenital disorder that results in dwarfism and bone problems).  They're discussing which soap opera character is a tramp, but it's time for school, so Ollie, the responsible one, jumps on his scooter.  The Snooty Neighbor is driving her kid to school, but doesn't offer them a lift: Nic fumes all the way down the lane, while Ollie advises her to let it go. Nice location shots of a quaint British village.

Scene 3: Back home, Nic is playing on her cell phone, when her friend comes in, hysterical because she hit a pheasant in her car. She describes the experience in gruesome detail.  

Scene 4:  
Nic watches a soap opera on her phone in the cemetery, flashes back to her husband's death, and screams.  Later, Husband Dan (Dustin Demri-Burns) comes in, says "I'm sorry I'm late," which I dislike: everyone who comes on stage in every tv show always says "Sorry I'm late."  

He hugs Ollie.  His son?  So this is Nic's second husband?  His pants have a wet stain in the front, so while he changes, they discuss their missing cat and a "fat fuck" who isn't using the internet properly.  

We cut to Nic having sex with her first husband, Alex -- no beefcake.  Wait -- he's not a husband, he's a side piece!  So Nic can't tell anyone about her grief over his death.  That happens a lot with LGBT people; you're not out to your family, so when your partner dies, or is sick, or breaks up with you, you can't say a word. 

Cut to Nic glaring at her husband while he sleeps.  She asks on an advice site if anyone else has a husband who "gives her the ick so much that her fanny dries up." Does "fanny" mean something different in Britain?

Scene 5: At some sort of carnival at Ollie's school.  Nic is running a game called Splat the Rat.  She meets one of the other mothers, Jen.  They bond over complaining about people, gaze into each other's eyes, laugh. Lesbian romance?

Ollie's friend doesn't want to play Splat the Rat because he might miss; he just wants the maoam, fruit-flavored candy.  Jen argues that it would be against the rules, but Nic gives him the maoam anyway, just to get rid of him so she and Jen can flirt some more.

Jen produces some booze.  Nic: "I could kiss you!"  Jen: "Don't do that, just make it weird."  If you're not into a lesbian romance, why are you flirting so aggressively?

Scene 6:
  Nic introduces Jen to Mr. Graham, the gym teacher: "He's a bit of me," which I think means "He's hot."  she shows him how to Splat the Rat by holding him from behind, but Snooty Neighbor gets jealous and breaks them up.  She announces that they're going give Ollie 20% of the proceeds from the carnival, because he's...um....you know...that way.  This angers Nic, and embarrasses Jen and Mr. Graham. 

Scene 7: Nic and Ollie return home to a drinking-in-the-dark, crying Husband. We are not told why.

More after the break

Apr 9, 2024

"Culprits," Episode 1.1: Joe faces racism, some very, very dangerous people, two penises, and his husband.

Culprits (2023) popped up on my Hulu recommendations.The episode descriptions were cryptic and cliched: a dangerous secret, spiralling lies, a shocking discovery, an impossible decision. But I was running late, so I started a scene-by-scene review without doing any more research. 

There are two stories, "Now" and "Three Years Ago," interspliced on the show but separate here to reduce confusion.

Prologue: An elderly Italian guy is chased through his mansion.  He claims that he didn't tell anyone, but he is shot and killed by a guy in a scary white mask.

Washington State, now.  Joe (Nathan Stewart-Jarratt), who is black and has dreads -- this will be important later -- drives his kids to school.  They sing, bicker and discuss how much they love each other. 

After he drops them off, he heads to the building he bought downtown, a former hardware store.  Uh-oh, a cop tries to arrest him for trespassing. "I own this building.  I just bought it."  "Don't be ridiculous.  How could a black guy own a building?"  Uh-oh, we're going to get a "walking while black" arrest..  Joe shows him the deed and his driver's license. The cop is still suspicious -- but grudgingly lets him go.

Next up: a meeting with the zoning board for permission to open a bistro on the site.  "But you're black...I mean, the building has historic significance, so we won't let a black guy...I mean, a black outsider... I mean, an outsider...did you know that you're black?"  

He's gay, y'all!:
 After a day full of racism, Joe goes home and kisses...Jules (Kevin Vidal)!  He's gay!  They kiss about five time!  Not a word in the plot synopsis.  The story isn't even about being gay. 

Back to the racism: Jules is going to force his Snooty White Lady Book Club to read The Poetry of Langston Hughes.  It will be hilarious to watch them get all flustered: "But he was black... I mean, gay...I mean, a poet..."

The duffle bag: In the middle of the night, while husband Jules sleeps, Joe leaves the house and drives into the woods.  He climbs over a fence, walks through  more woods, and pulls a duffle bag from a vault in a tree trunk!  Darn, I thought he was opening a secret passage to a high-tech underground lab.  It contains a lot of British currency. We spend about five minutes on his struggle to get the duffel bag over the fence again.

On the way home, he gets into a three-way accident.  The driver responsible zooms away; the other driver is badly injured; Joe is unhurt.  From the way he was eyeing the cars, I get the impression that the accident was intentional.  Is someone trying to kill Joe?   He stashes the duffle bag in a dumpster to pick up later, and calls 911.

After the EMTs check him out, a cop interrogates him: "You're obviously black...I mean drunk...wait. you're not drunk?  But you're black...I mean, where are the drugs?  I'll just take you to the station, so I can think of something to charge you with...um, I mean to make a witness statement...did you know you're black?"

The garbage truck: Strangely, after all that buildup, the cop doesn't arrest Joe.  He reveals that the hit-and-run car is registered to someone very important, who you don't want to mess with, and drives him home.  He immediately goes out to retrieve his money -- but the duffel bag has vanished from the dumpster!  Early morning trash pick-up, har-har.  After a long, pointless, slapstick scene, he retrieves the duffle bag.

Why are you all beat up?:  Joe takes his money to the building he bought, and hides it under the floorboards.  Then he showers -- nude backside alert -- changes clothes, and goes home, where he showers again.  He climbs in bed next to his husband, who has been snoozing peacefully this whole time. I'd definitely notice if my husband got out of bed in the middle of the night, drove somewhere, came home, drove off again, and came home again. At that moment, the alarm goes off, and the kids burst in, har har.  

Husband Jules notices that he's all beat up.  Joe explains that he drove to the store last night, and got into an accident. Darn, I thought husband would be in on the caper and coverup. Jules offers to fix the kids breakfast, so he can sleep. 

 Notice the Rothko print on the wall -- this will be important later. 

The Hit and Run Guy
: Joe drops the kids off at school.  They say everyone is talking about Taylor Bedrosian's dad, who was arrested for a hit-and-run.  That was easy.  Joe looks him up on Voozoo: Kyle Bedrosian (Morgan Kelly), a local developer and councilman. Careful, don't search for "Morgan Kelly" and "nude" online.  The first 100 pictures are of...um, someone else.

The "three years ago" story after the break.

Apr 8, 2024

Adam Devine's House Party, Episode 1.1: Adam shows his tree trunk, eats fro-yo, and flirts with Andrew Santino

 Link to the tree trunks

In 2013-2014,  while Adam Devine was starring in Workaholics and Modern Family and guesting on  Community, Arrested Development, Sanjay and Craig, and American Dad, he somehow managed to find the time for Adam Devine's House Party.  He plays an insecure, jerky, penis-obsessed version of himself, hosting a huge party in a mansion.  Each episode has a brief plot framing the sets of three up-and-coming comedians. I'm reviewing Episode 1.1, "Ex Girlfriend."

Scene 1:  Adam checks the food, booze, and comedians.  Whoops, there's some poop on the floor.  He covers it with a dollar bill. Gross! Everything is ready!  A hundred people burst in.  

Scene 2:
 To demonstrate how wild he is, Adam smashes a beer bottle on his head.  Uh-oh, too far.  We cut to him with his head bandaged, blood sopping down. Can they keep filming?  Director Kyle says it's fine.

Adam introduces the concept: "Comedy Central gave me a bunch of money to throw an awesome comedy show, and I blew it all on this house party."

Nope, that doesn't work.  Let's try repeating the opening amid gyrating butts --- a boy and a girl.  The boy's is obscured by the title, but that's the one he gawks at. Adam likes boy butts, and he cannot lie.

Scene 3: Andrew Santino invited Adam's ex-girlfriend to the party!  Adam gets all jealous and threatens to not let him perform. Santino claims that he didn't know, and the girl says that they just went out on one date, so who cares?  He counters: "We should have grown old and died together, but someone thought that someone was strange."

Scene 4:
 The first comic "won't stab you in the back by f*king your ex girlfriend: Ahmed Bharoocha. 

"Gay marriage is still illegal.  Can we get a boo for that?  Aha!  If you booed, you're gay!"  Wait -- anyone who supports gay marriage is gay, and that's a bad thing?   

He continues that it's crazy that gay marriage is still illegal. How can they allow someone who doesn't know any gay people to "vote on their happiness."  It's like going to a restaurant and ordering cake, but the guy at the next table cancels your order: "I don't like cake, so no one gets cake."

More riffs on a teenage God having kids too early, and baby crows.

Scene 5: Montage of a guy drinking, a guy kissing a girl, and so on. Ahmed and Adam discuss his head injury and the likelihood that Santino "won't get out of here alive."  

Scene 6:
 Adam introduces Andrew Santino, "a shit dog of a human being, but he's super funny."  

He riffs on his father's objections to him moving to California, with all the gay slurs: "you gonna roller blade and give blow jobs for cash."  "That's ridiculous.  Not everybody in California is gay."  

Then his friend asked him to go sky-diving.  The first time, you go tandem, which means that another adult male is strapped against you, his genitals against your butt.What if the parachute fails, and they both die, and his Dad comes to identify the body: a guy's dick in his ass!  He turned gay after all!

Santino lives in West Hollywood, the "gayest place in the world."  His apartment is at the intersection of Rainbow Avenue and Butthole Road.  You know, not all gay men are into anal sex.  His neighbor is a bear, but he eats penis instead of pic-a-nick baskets.  

If Santino was gay, he'd be a power bottom.  He demonstrates how he would clench to guide the action.  That's not what a power bottom is, but I'm surprised that Santino knows about the clenching. 

Scene 7: Adam asks the ex-girlfriend why she prefers Santino.  "Is his dick bigger than mine?" She doesn't know, having never seen Adam's dick.  Don't you go to movies?  Everyone's seen it.    

"Adam, you just took me out for fro-yo, and didn't pay for it.  You don't love me...you just get obsessed, and can't think of anything else."

"I do not get obsessed...wait, fro-yo?  I forgot about that."  He calls a fro-yo - frozen yogurt -- shop and orders enough for everyone.

Scene 8:  Next comedian: Barry Rothbart (top photo.  At least, he claims that's him).  He riffs on why he's so good at sex; ordering in a restaurant using hand signals: and dolphin sex.

Scene 9
: Adam shows Santino a photo of his dick.  It might be the "tree-trunk" trick of perspective, or not a dick at all, but Santino is impressed.  He breaks up with the ex-girlfriend: he can't compete with a dick that size.  

The ex-girlfriend is ready to go back to Adam, but the fro-yo machine arrives, so he loses interest.  

Adam and Santino apologize for letting a girl come between them.  We cut to them feeding each other fro-yo.  Gross!   Uh-oh, there's some on Adam's mouth. Santino leans in to...the end.

Beefcake: None except for the blurry tree-trunk cock.

Gay Characters/Comedians: None. A lot of riffing on gay people, and a deliberate gay subtext between Adam and Santino

My Grade: Adam is similar to his Workaholics character: clueless, delusional, but generally pleasant. But the grossness ruins it -- why spend the entire episode bleeding? B-

Bonus: Adam and other guys show off their tree-trunks on RG Beefcake and Boyfriends
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