Archive for July, 2009

Gay Vampires

July 29, 2009

Fratty Jesus Dude(FJD): Some sins are bigger than others.
Jason Stackhouse: Like What?
FJD: Well… let’s say you’re gonna do it out of wedlock, you gotta make sure the girl you do it to ain’t married either.
Jason:Right. Cuz adultery’s bad.
FJD: One of the worst. Up there with incest and bestiality.
Jason: [Look of huh gross]
FJD: But all of them put together ain’t half as bad as if you do it to a vampire. [Pause] Or to a dude. Or a vampire dude. That’s cream della cream bad. Straight to hell.

Oh True Blood. Given my penchant for vampire romance as a genre it would be impossible not to like you, and the fact that you’re so excellently written and acted means I don’t have to even try to resist. That said, you do bring up the problem of art you enjoy with whose message you do not totally agree.

Doostyn and I have had many talks with our friends in which they say something like, “I love True Blood‘s message about gay civil liberties!”

And we’re like, “Reeeeeally?”

The show makes a deliberate parallel between vampires and the gays. For the first, the opening credits feature a Church sign reading “God Hates Fangs” for second, girls who have sex with vampires are “fang-bangers” like “fag-hags.” Now, I would argue that fag hags (or, as I prefer to call us, fruit flies) don’t actually want to have sex with their gay friends, but Dan Savage disagrees. Next up is the fact that the US is torn over a Vampire Marriage amendment in (IIRC) Massachusetts. And finally, there are the vampire bars of corny names like Fangtasia. (“Vampires,” says Bill, “Are so old they still find puns amusing.” Incidentally, so do I, my favorite gay bar name is The Manhole.)

But, unfortunately, the picture is not one of rosy acceptance. Every vampire who appears on the show so far is actually murderous and pretty much amoral– with the exceptions of Bill, one of the main characters, and Eddie. Bill is a vampire who doesn’t act like vampire, he only feeds on synthetic blood (and the blood of his girlfriend), separates himself from other vampires, and seems to despise them. To the point that Sookie, the other main character, and his girlfriend, has commented on his self-loathing. Bill, basically, is an ex-gay, someone who defines vampirism (gayness) as an act rather than an identity.

Eddie is the actually gay vampire whom Lafayette exchanges sex for blood with and whom Jason Stackhouse later kidnaps. Eddie wanted to be a vampire to be cool and to pull a bunch of young boys, but ended up being a shut-in. He’s another non-practicing vampire/gay, though this time not by choice. And he’s completely sweet and sympathetic.

Other than that, like I said, the vampires may be interesting, and may be attractive, but so far they are all evil.

In this sort of heavy allegorical air, it’s also important to look at how actual gay characters are portrayed. So far, unless I’m forgetting someone, we only have Lafayette, the jack-of-all-trades of Bon Temps. Lafayette is a very positive character who, as far as I can tell, doesn’t conform to many gay stereotypes. He’s beautiful and wears makeup, but he’s also heavily muscled. He works as a cook, but also as a construction worker and a stripper (not to mention a drug dealer, specifically of V (Vampire Blood), hence his relationship with Eddie). Lafayette is definitely the object of prejudice, but he’s not a victim: when some good ol’ boys say they won’t eat food prepared by him because they are afraid of AIDS, Lafayette pulls out his earrings (nice touch!), storms out of the kitchen, tells them all they had to do was order the burger without AIDS, and then licks the buns of the burgers! It’s AWESOME.

Basically my assessment of True Blood is that I think the producers and writers didn’t fully think through their portrayal of gay people or the vampire=gay people allegory. I can certainly hope to be proven wrong, but that’s my assessment so far.

A lot of people get defensive because they love a show and cling on to any evidence that it’s not prejudiced in the way it seems if read right. Personally, I think it’s easier to acknowledge that art you enjoy doesn’t always live up to your beliefs.

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The Sovereign State of Michigan’s Gift to Creepdom

July 28, 2009

The Sovereign state of Michigan’s gift to Creepdom: Hi.
Claudia: Mmmhmm.
TSSMGC: Haven’t we met somewhere before? I guess you’ve never been to Detroit.
Claudia: I keep hearing a lot about it.
TSSMGC: Want to hear more? The real inside stuff? I mean about what reaaaaally goes on in Grosse Pointe?
Claudia: Not particularly.

So say we all! Detroit, as anyone from there(ish) knows, is nothing to brag to strangers about. That’s why there aren’t a lot of tv shows set there. Or movies. (Although now that we have cheap filming, more and more!) Why not try a line with better rates of success like: “Do you like my hairplugs? Realistic, right?” Or, “I just bought Hitler’s Yacht!”

Dynasty is interesting in that it’s odd to watch a movie [ed. note: uh, show. What up booze!] from before the backlash against feminism (as so nicely illustrated by Susan Faludi in 1991). This character had an argument with her husband about going back to work in which he was all: “But we have enough money!”

And she was all: “Um thanks, I still want to work, though.”

Also, marital rape is acknowledged as a thing that’s real! (Though, alas, quickly forgiven when an apology and flowers show up. Gross.) It’s so strange that so many shows seem so much less progressive now. (Like Gossip Girl suggesting Blair might ‘have Chuck’s baby’ um no. She might have had Chuck’s abortion though.)

I’m learning so much about early eighties politics though, particularly about the oil industry. Apparently the leftist position of the time was: Don’t drill abroad, drill here at home!!!

Where was Sarah Palin??

The Steven Carrington Institute for the Treatment and Study of Ffffff…. Not Going to Type That

July 23, 2009

We at the boozetube are going back in Heather Locklear time to the virgin (to our eyes) series Dynasty. What a difference a decade (and a half) makes. The show seems so olde tyme, with its orchestral wilde weste theme sound and concern with oil politics.

This series if of particular interest to me, since it premiered in the year of my birth, 1981.

First impressions: Where is Amanda Woodward? I would follow her to the ends of the earth (except maybe to TJ Hooker) so I’m jonesing for my fix of cunning, timeless blonde ambition and beauty. Fortunately for me, there’s Fallon.

Sidebar: What is up with these names? Krystle? Fallon? I guess it really was the eighties, and these people are total nouveau riches. Krystle isn’t even rich at all, but by marriage.

ANYWAY. Back to Fallon. Fallon has, and I’m not lying, gorgeous hair. Everyone else is teased to the rafters in the 80s style we would come to embrace, but Fallon has total 1970s poet hair. It’s brunette, just below her shoulders and curls at the end. SO PRETTY. It is exactly how I imagine my hair when I picture myself accepting my grammyoscarpulitzerpresidentialnomination. She’s also vicious, spiteful and SMART. In episode two she schools politician Jeff (who looks SO MUCH like Quentin the Carver from Nip/Tuck that I thought it was the same actor, at first) about oil politics, and while it’s a little republican for my taste, she is clearly the person who knows the most about the business, far more than her brother Steven.

Steven, as we learn in the first episode, is a practitioner of the love that dare not speak its name. (Don’t worry Steven, only ca20 years to LOGO!) His father does not understand and thinks it’s all about his son’s anger toward his father, saying, hilariously: “Steven, I’m about as freudian as you could hope for [people hope for that?] in a capitalist exploiter of the working classes. When I’m not busy grinding the faces of the poor I even read a little. I understand about sublimation, I understand how you could try to hide sexual dysfunction behind hostility toward a father. I am even prepared to say that I could find a little homosexual experimentation acceptable. Just as long as you didn’t bring it home with you. Don’t you see son? I’m offering you a chance to straighten yourself out!”

Steven protests that he probably can’t, and moreover doesn’t want to “straighten himself out.”

Elder Carrington: “Of course, I forgot, the APA has decided it’s no longer a disease. That’s too bad, I could have endowed an foundation. The Steven Carrington Institute for the Treatment and Study of Faggotry!”

Perhaps you haven’t actually read enough, I might suggest.

That said, he has a total cheesecake shot of his son on his desk. The lad is climbing a tree, ass perkily pointed at the camera while looking coquettishly over his shoulder. Seriously? No clue?

10 Things I Love About 10 Things I Hate About You

July 18, 2009

10. The Dad from the movie is the dad on the series. He had the second best line in the movie:* “What’s normal? Those damn Dawson’s river kids sleeping in each others’ beds and what not? I’ve got news for you. I’m down, I’ve got the 411, and you are not going out and getting jiggy with some boy, I don’t care how dope his ride is. Mama didn’t raise no fool.”

9. Shakespeare is name-checked at minute one and 35 seconds. (“Beguile… big word, Shakespeare.”)

8. Kat has the smart mudflap girl hanging from her rearview. I’m in favor feminist protagonists, although you know, it is Taming of the Shrew, and Kat can be mean for real. (She mocks some girls to their faces for needing male attention. Uh, why wouldn’t they? Misogyny is real. Don’t blame the victims of sexism for sexism.) And no, not all feminists are super-nice or patient and kind, but it’s hardly like we have a plethora of small screen heroines. TV characters who use the F word are… Donna from that 70s Show and… um… yeah. Even Buffy doesn’t call herself a feminist.

7. So many spectacular one-liners like: “Your booty needs to pop like that whitehead on your chin!”

6. Ethan Peck, who plays Patrick Verona, also played young Kelso on That 70s Show (they grow up so fast!) Anything that reminds me of Kelso is all right by me.

5. Nicholas Braun, who plays Cameron (who loves Bianca), played Randy on Secret Life of the American Teenager, the manager of the Hot Dog Hut of Minorities Propping up White Ladies, the one who hit on Anne by asking if she’s a natural redhead. It’s my list, SLAT can come before That 70s Show if I want it that way.

4. “I’m not skipping home to scribble in my journal that maybe you’re a vampire.” Ha! FACED Edward Cullen!

3. The game Rock Band as a seduction technique. Friends, I have tried to use this, I have high hopes it can be deployed well, but neither I, nor the mailwoman managed it.

2. Kat and Bianca Stratford are originally from Ohio in this version, which is mostly just great to Doostyn and me. Like we always say, “Great Lake, Great Time.”

1. Kat’s new best friend, Mandella, seems to have a big ol’ lesbian crush on Kat. I love this development! It is so rare for a character on a teen show to just be straight (heh) out lesbian, not experimenting after and before being “really” into dudes or, worse, girl-on-girl-to-turn-on-dudes. I think this is TVs way of denying that lesbians really exist, it’s either all for the guys or a short detour from the guys. It’s the chaste bro hug for the ladies.

And 4 Things I Hate About 10 Things I Hate About You:

4. Kat is getting the ugly makeover. The actress is clearly a pretty girl, but they are making her look tv ugly (probably for a later makeover, natch). This is so unnecessary! In the movie, Julia Stiles as Kat was smoking hot. But I guess we’re learning a valuable lesson about how feminists are ugly. (I say, while sporting a veritable thicket of leg hair. Believe me, I’m in favor of women not having to be hawt all the time, but somehow I don’t think that’s the egalitarian ideal the show is going for.)

3. As usual, the show promotes the poisonous idea of the Nice Guy. You know, he just loves the girl, and is dorky yet devoted. He deserves to win her, as a prize for his goodness! Unlike that mean jock who loves her for shallow reasons of status. (The nice guy usually (and definitely in this case) falls for her instantly based on, you guessed it, looks. Nice guys= patriarchal douches who think they’ve mastered their sexism.)

2. The “disgusting perv” who has a note from his parents saying he has gender confusion so he can use the ladies’ room. Kat asks: “Are you confused?” Disgusting Perv: “I’m confused about how to get into your pants.” Ugh. Bathroom panic is simultaneously so 80s and so last year. Neither Feminism nor widespread understanding of transgender issues will lead inexorably to straight, cisgender male pervs in the bathroom. God.

1. The head cheerleader is a black girl, which would be encouraging (I think modeling what you’d like to see in society on tv is a great way to get people used to ideas) since I love the idea that the most socially prized position needn’t go to the usual thin blonde white girl. But Chastity seems to be set up to take a fall so that Bianca (thin blonde white girl) can rightfully usurp her. And the idea that the already privileged are the only ones who deserve leadership positions is a lesson no one needs.

*The best line, of course, is the late great Heath Ledger’s “What is it with this girl? Does she have beer flavored nipples?” No joke, I quote this line ALL the time.

It’s so….pink!

July 18, 2009

Gay guy on Paris Hilton’s My New BFF:

“Vaginas are to be kept to yourself.  And only yourself.”

Is Paris willing to take a vow of celibacy as her first collaborative act with her new BFF?  Also, gay dude, you might want to consult the interwebs about your potential new life partner.  Even though Paris cries in this episode about how the evil interweb sickos Photoshop vaginas onto her underwear, I trust the journalists documenting important current events (like Paris Hilton getting out of a low car with a low-cut dress) to adhere to the strict ethics of their profession.  Besides,  the sickos aren’t only on the interweb.  They’ve, at least once, been in your boudouir with recording equipment.  And that shit ain’t Photoshopped.

Oh, and allow me to share this nugget of golden hilarity from Paris:  “Firefighters are better [than cops] because they put out fires.”  Yes.  Firefighters do put out fires, you master debater you.  Better get in as much of that master debating as possible before you have to lock up the goods!

Studies in line reading with Professor Coolidge

July 15, 2009

First things first, sorry Booze Tube readers (is plural appropriate?  Probably not, you poor neglected blog and your non existent readership), couple trips and lots of no sleep for doostyn = not much posting.

Ok, so why then are you not watching Secret Life of the American Teenager? You, too, have things to be apologetic for Booze Tube readers (I assume anyone reading this is a friend of me or gnat, and I know from experience that any of my friends gape in horrific awe when I tell them I love this show).  There is not a better awesomely bad soap on now or maybe ever again, people, for reals!  So far this season we have Grace saying lines like “God killed my dad because I had awesome sex” (and she really thinks that!) and continued baffling morality lessons (characters in the first episode maintained Amy needs to take care of her own goddamn baby, but a couple episodes later her whole family is up at freak o’clock in the morning helping her because that’s the nice Christ-y family thing to do…I think they should stick with the former and cast Amy into an isolated hut with no product so her hair stops being so fucking shiny).  It’s hard to sum up this show’s message because of the many inconsistencies and the supposed hip, knowing, down wit’ da kidz brand of conservative values that fuel it, but here goes…I get from it that creator/executive prodcer Brenda Hampton is trying to say teen sex is:

1.)  Disastrous if you’re a perfect, bright, white teen girl (Amy-cursed with pregancy, Grace-killed Dad with evil power of awesome premarital sex)

2.) Expected if you are a teen boy or fiery latina (meet our reformed-at-times sluts:  Ricky, Jack, Adrienne)

3.) Impossible (castration? asexuality? similarities to door mats?) for Ben.

But let’s foreget that moralizing, because this show has a lesson that is much more clear and profound:  Jennifer Coolidge is a godsend for bad writers.  She can take a flat line (case in point, when trying to convince Ricky and Ben that she is a worldly court reporter and not a hooker, she says “I’ve been to Bologna.  There’s spaghetti EEEEEVERYWHEEERE.”) and  make it worth way more than the words on the page.  It’s called perfect delivery of every word that escapes your giant beauteous lips, and only some comediennes like myself and Ms. Coolidge have that gift (I don’t have the lips…yet).  But will Thor or God or whoever’s hammer come down hard for her engagement in the world’s oldest profession?  I hope not.  This show is immediately plausible and purposefully funny when she’s around, a needed break from the constant confusion and laughter at bad writing the audience endures.  I have faith in one higher power on this show, and that’s Ben’s dad, the all mighty sausage king.  (mmmmmmmmmmmmmhmmmmmmmmmmm….sorry can’t help myself when talking about phallic objects).  He must grant her forgiveness for her dalliances with men of lesser sausage proportions.

Promises, promises.

July 6, 2009

“You’ve done the impossible Billy, you’ve left me speechless.”

Ugh, if only Sam.

Just a thought, when your soapy high drama camp show gets a little boring, the thing you shouldn’t add is more boring characters.

When are Amanda Woodward and Kimberly Shaw going to move in together?