But why is Destiel a thing? Or JohnLock? Or just everything about the character of Captain Jack Harkness, played by John Barrowman and star of both Doctor Who and his own spin-off show, Torchwood: why are gay (or bi or pansexual) men in fiction so appealing to straight (or bi or pan) women?
Sure, there’s something to be said for positive and diverse representation of sexual minorities in fictional worlds, especially Sc-Fi or fantastical ones, but that doesn’t seem to be where the vast appeal stems from. Straight men understand the idea of “lipstick lesbians” or of hot girl-on-girl action, but somehow we’ve evolved into a world where homosexual male subtext is the norm in genre fiction, especially if it wants to do well with both men and women. ( Iron Man T Shirt from our Avengers category, because Steve/Tony/Bruce Banner is my OT3).
But there’s a harsh side to that edgy ideal; fandom has dubbed this most dubious honor the dreaded “Queer-Baiting”; meaning to bait a gay/ bi/ pan/ questioning audience with stories full of sexual tension between supposedly straight (invariably male, with some exceptions such as Once Upon a Time and female detective shows) characters between them, only to never deliver sweet, sweaty cannon satisfaction. This is the story teller’s version of having one’s cake and eating it too: you get a straight audience that won’t be offended or scared off because of an unwillingness to see what’s there, and hook a periphery demographic of hip young queer folks with sexy, flirty, funny guys (and gals) in ambiguous situations.
Another great episode if only for George Takei running around with a fencing foil. Of course that cool character element would later be ruined like finding out your favorite childhood stuffed toy was given to you by a serial killer when JJ Abrams opted to insert it into his movie Star Trek the…Star Trek? What the hell do we call that movie anyway? You know, the 2009 Star Wars movie they made but misspelled Wars.
Anyway, this episode was great as it illustrated a real danger of space exploration and that is alien microbes. This would later be explored further in Miri although honestly they seemed content to ignore it on a regular basis. Even Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were kept in quarantine after their moon landing. In this one Spock and Tormolen had cool biohazard suits (image courtesy of the Iron Man t shirt category. It was the closest thing I could find).
I also enjoyed this show as it introduced a cool semi recurring character Ensign Riley. He would later play a pivotal role in the Conscious of the King and was kind of a neat character. I wish they had done more with him. Of course any red shirt besides Scotty who survived more than one episode was the red shirt equivalent of Methuselah so kudos to him and his survival instinct. He even survived poisoning. Too bad he couldn’t survive the writers. However he was particularly cool as the crazy Irishman in this episode.
the Infamous Dave Inman
Fun episode, although as a kid I remember being totally grossed out by the lesions. Of course at age 8 the idea of all adults dying and leaving me to live hundreds of years playing with my Legos sounded pretty cool.
Of course one problem I have with this episode is it shows the foolishness of the Enterprise crew ever transporting down to an alien planet in less than full NBC gear. Seems like any given planet could be home of a bunch of diseases that could wipe out the human race. Kirk and Lt. Tormolen wore protective suits when they beamed down to Psi 2000 in the Naked Time. I read a book called Expendable which had explorers who would land on a planet wearing effectively a body suit that was biohazard, hasmat, and personal body armor and they still died left and right. (suit image courtesy of the Iron Man t shirt collection) Seems like a prudent precaution.
I’m also pretty sure the outside scene were the same set they used for the Returns of the Archons (and possibly a Piece of the Action) with junk piled up. Sometimes I wonder if stories were actually driven by whatever set they had available that month.
the Infamous Dave Inman
However the writer and director must have gotten a bad batch of Cliche-b-Gone® because this film was rife with it. Each cliche more trite and boring than the last and each giftwrapped in another sub plot. The sub plots had sub plots. There was the ex girlfriend who might be the mother of the protagonists illegitimate child (who wants to be a lawyer and made out with Downey in a skin peeling scene). There’s the long suffering older brother taking care of the youngest Asperger brother. There is the broken relationship between Downey and Duvall as well as the miserable upbringing Duvall delivered. There is the errors of the past coming back to haunt Duvall and Downey both. There was Downey coming to doubt his integrity as a lawyer. There was the whole “I hate the small town I grew up in but secretly love it” thing. There was a cancer sub plot. There was Downey’s divorce from his wife and his attempting to build a better relationship with his daughter, who also is bonding with Duvall. The list goes on and on and each one getting only about five minutes of screen time before fading out sort of resolved but not really. It was like watching TV while your dog chews in the remote control, constantly changing the channels.
The net effect of all these sub plot was a movie that seemed to lack direction. It also had the pacing of a sick man suffering simultaneously from the worlds worst case of diarrhea and constipation. The whole film moved in fits and starts. The film ran 141 minutes and you will experience every one of them with excruciating slowness.
The characters, while well portrayed, had the stink of cliche about them. Downeys was pretty much the slightly less flamboyant Tony Stark: fast talking wise guy with no respect for anyone else (image courtesy of the Iron Man t shirt category). Duvall was the crotchety old man who wasn’t going to change for anyone and was going to do things his way come hell or high water. The prosecutor was the weaselly lawyer out to get Duvall just to put another trophy on his bookcase. There wasn’t a single character who didn’t fall out of another dozen other movies.
9. Lord Humungus from the Road Warrior.
There’s a lot to be said about Lord Humungus. He’s a natural leader, loyal and caring to his men in a co-dependent abusive sort of way, decisive, fit, a man of principle, and an eloquent public speaker. In many ways he is the father I wish I had had. At least I could have counted on him teaching me to drive instead of being cool with me riding the bus until I was 18. Normally I am put off by that much bare chested masculinity and BDSM garb but the iron mask did a lot to offset that. That is a commitment to a look. I can only imagine he would really be into cosplay. (image courtesy of the Iron Man t shirt category)
Why would Humungus want to be friends with me? Well, as an experienced war gamer I think I could have helped him come up with better battle plan to take the oil refinery then “Everyone drive in circles around the rubber tire wall and catch flamethrowers with your face. Once in a while have one guy on a motorcycle jump the wall”. Siege warfare is not a new science. Also I might have suggested a better trade deal with the oil people than walk away. What if they could keep their cars and gas but just leave the refinery? Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on your way out.