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|Written by April Yorke|
|Thursday, 23 July 2009 00:00|
It's a shame that when Wing and Sars sold the popular TV-themed website Telvision Without Pity, all of the show FAQs went with them. Not only were the FAQs handy primers for the plethora of shows covered by the site, but they were also often as funny as the recaps themselves ("Mommy, what's a Slayer?" was the first question on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer FAQ). Though we can't remember which show it went along with (best guess: Supernatural), our favourite question and answer is still quoted by my friends and me to this day. I wish I had the full text for you, but it went a little something like this:
Q: So, how gay is this show?
A: On a scale of Veronica Mars to Heroes . . . no, wait. On a scale of Smallville to One Tree Hill . . . no. Listen, TV is really gay right now, okay?
It was fitting that this exchange took place on TWoP given that the enterprising forum posters also came up with the term "HoYay" back when the site was known as "Mighty Big TV". As defined in the "The TWoP Lexicon," HoYay is "short for 'Homoeroticism, Yay!' a celebration of textual and subtextual homoeroticism."
That's it, really, though it's more commonly used for (and far more amusing as) subtextual homoeroticism. Like all good things, HoYay comes in a variety of forms. The list below rounds up three of the best.
"So that's how it is in that family": Brothers who are a little too close (BroYay)
I finally quit Heroes midway through last season. If there's one thing that I might miss, it's Peter (Milo Ventimiglia) and Nathan (Adrian Pasdar)'s "brother" relationship. While I'm sure it was an accidental combination of chemistry and trying to act out a close (if frayed) bond, Ventimiglia and Pasdar are surely just messing with us at this point. Have you ever met a pair of siblings that touch, kiss, and close talk as much as these two?
Not to be outdone, the CW has its own pair of too close brothers: Supernatural's Sam (Jared Padelecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) Winchester. How did I draw this conclusion? Was it the time in season one that Dean let a real estate agent believe that he and Sam were a gay couple, then grabbed Sam's ass?
The time in season two that Sam told Dean he "can't just fill that hole with anyone [he] want[s]?"
The season four episode "The Monster at the End of This Book," wherein Sam and Dean find out their adventures have been chronicled by a prophet whose books have inspired a small but devoted online following, leading to questions like "What's a slashfan?"
It was "Sex and Violence," which aired four episodes earlier. Strippers ("Strippers, Sammy!") are inspiring the murders of loved ones (mostly wives, but an elderly mother is thrown in there for good measure), and Our Intrepid Heroes are on the case. They discover that a siren is appearing to the men as a stripper and using its mojo to turn non-violent men into killers. When the siren suspects Dean and Sam may actually crack the case, it decides to turn one against the other. The siren appears to Dean as Hoyt Fortenberry, er . . . I mean FBI agent Nick Monroe (Jim Parrack). Apparently Dean's ideal woman (Dean, who was so excited to land a case with strippers; Dean, who has a known preference for busty Asian beauties) is a new little brother who will go with him to a strip club and do shots while staring deeply into his eyes and talking about classic rock. Don't take my word for it. Let the siren do the talking:
N.B. If you watched to the end of that clip (you should, that fight is amazing), that's Badass Bobby (Jim Beaver) who shows up to save the day.
"Tomorrow I kill you, but tonight . . . ": Enemies who are a little bit more (FoeYay)
Long before we even knew about TWoP, I was recapping an episode of Angel for a friend, and I chose to explain thusly, "Okay, you know how the problem with Angel and Spike is really that they just want to sleep together?" She did know.
David Borenaz and James Marsters are great for a variety of reasons, but from the moment in season two of Buffy when Spike petulantly whined about Angel going soft by griping, "You were my sire, man!", you knew what kind of relationship this was going to be.
Angel and Spike's involvement finally comes to a head in the Angel season five episode "Destiny." With Ghost Spike re-corporeal, there are two ensouled vampires in the running for the Shanshu prophesy (just go with it). As they duke it out to drink from the cup of eternal torment, all of their old issues are revisted: Angel as Spike's sire and mentor, their competitive relationships with/for Drusilla, and later Buffy. Sadly, the internet will only provide the video dubbed in French and clearly tapped from someone's TV.
In case you don't understand French, I'll recap the conversation for you:
Spike [kind of gayly]: I have this weird Oedipal thing with you in that I want to kill you, but I also want to have sex with you.
Angel [totally getting it]: I totally get that because I got off on your hero worship and on doing my best to destroy it. I had issues with my dad, too. That's why I killed him.
Spike [disappointed]: The show's not going to let us be together, though I will reference "that one time" in a later episode, so I guess I have to pick 'kill you.'
Angel [also disappointed]: Guess so. Too bad, man. [sucker punch]
Well, that was the subtext anyway.
Oftentimes the animosity in the FoeYay relationship centres on a love triangle because putting a woman in there deflects the gay. For Angel and Spike, that woman was Buffy. For Logan (Jason Dohring) and Weevil (Francis Capra IV) on Veronica Mars, that woman was Dead Lilly and, to a lesser extent, Alive Veronica (Kristen Bell). While it's true that Dohring could win awards for Feyest Portrayal of a Straight Man, he was never quite as gay with any other male cast member as he was with Capra. This often came out in their fights over Lilly (and, to a lesser extent, Veronica):
Admit it: when Weevil got all up in Logan's face, you were thinking, "Kiss! Kiss!" They don't (ever), and Weevil's next move will be to attempt to brain Logan with a lead pipe. Fortunately, they team up the next season, which was that season's best plot development. Ah, it was gay while it lasted.
"I've been out with a lot of girls at this school. I don't see what makes you so different": The James Spader
Pretty in Pink was one of those movies I watched all the time when I was younger because it was always on. When I got a little older, I realized that Andie and Blane were easily the least interesting characters in the movie. Far more interesting were Duckie, the best friend who is in love with Andie in high school but who will come out in college, and Steff (James Spader), the sexy arrogant best frenemy. The plot will tell you that Steff's jealousy re: Blane and Andie is due to Andie being the only girl in school to ever turn Steff down. While that's no doubt part of it, it's also pretty clear that part of the problem is that Steff's grown accustomed to having Blane all to himself. It's all in how Spader plays the role, and the impression is that Steff's pansexual. He does not let sex or gender limit his desire or experiences.
Michael Rosenbaum's Lex Luthor on Smallville picks up Steff's mantle. Whether he's Clark's best friend, bitterest enemy, or something in between, there is one prevailing undercurrent to every scene: the gay. It was so gay, in fact, that TWoP recapper Omar G took on the (no doubt) terribly difficult duty of pinpointing the Gayest Look of the Episode in his recaps. And with moments like this one, how could he miss? Still, Rosenbaum's portrayal never left any doubt that Lex was also a playboy billionaire who liked the ladies.
With Rosenbaum absent from the show last year, someone at the CW needed to pick up the slack. Enter Gossip Girl's Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick). It seems Westwick's idea of playing a sleaze is to simply ooze sexuality in every circumstance, and he obviously doesn't care who it gets on. While that's great for Chuck and Blair fans, it's even better for fans of the Nate (Chace Crawford)-Chuck-Dan (Penn Badgley) saga.
Though you'd have to see every episode to understand the extent of Chuck's total gayness (and total straightness), the early season two episode "New Haven Can Wait" covers your bases. Previously, Dan begged Chuck to show him Chuck's lifestyle, so Chuck drugged him, stole his shoes and phone, and abandoned him in the streets of New York. That experience was so awesome that Dan came back for more and ended up defending Chuck in a fight. That led to jail, intimacy, betrayal, and a Chuck scorned. Bad combo.
In "New Haven Can Wait," Dan discovers Nate pretending to be Dan during their visit to Yale and rats him out. Nate complains to Chuck, who seizes the opportunity to do his boyfriend a props by getting back at Dan. First Chuck buys the Skull & Bones guys group sex (well, he buys them a roomful of prostitutes, but what else is a roomful of prostitutes and frat guys going to add up to?). Later, they decide that they are mad at Nate Archibald (because his dad embezzled, which is somehow Nate's fault), so Chuck hands them Dan in his stead. And what do they do? Why, strip Dan to his boxers and tie him to a statute! Straight guys always take off each other's clothes and tie each other up. Nate decides to rescue Dan instead of celebrating with Chuck. The best part? When Nate and Dan go off to have a total three-way with the English major they met earlier that day:
Okay, that video cuts out the part where the English major offers to house them in her dorm room for the night, but it happened. Sadly, the Steff never wins, so Chuck, the sexy arrogant best frenemy of Dan and Nate, ends up alone while they run off to celebrate their love on the train. It won't last - Chuck and his romantic entanglements are a major distraction for both throughout the season - but it is beautiful while it does.
In a way, though, the Steff always wins. He's what stands out now in my memory of Pretty in Pink, Smallville hasn't been the same since Rosenbaum left, and Chuck is probably the number one reason I tune in to Gossip Girl.
And the HoYay always wins because it's so much fun. Try spotting it on your fav show. I doubt it will take you long.