Cartoons are not what they used to be. These days, they’re hunkier, more gorgeous and, in one particular case, even gay affirming, observes Barry Lowe.
Can you guess which movie was voted top of the year by the San Francisco Critics Circle but was slammed by Christian movie review websites? Here's one critique: “As a Christian I couldn’t even rate this as a neutral! First of all, this is a secular world’s education to kids. Premature sexuality, homosexuality, appreciation of porn and depreciation [sic] of education, Ouija boards … Unfortunately, even a liberal reviewer, like me [sic], couldn’t elevate the movie in any aspects, even the good aspects of the movie were marred by the over stated negative themes … it portray[s] alternate lifestyles, immorality and paranormal in a glorious viewpoint, while non-Christian religions are more appreciated in the movie than Christianity”.
The film has also been accused of being part of that glorious mythological beast, the ‘gay agenda’, and of an attempt to corrupt children. All because it has a hunky jock clad only in a towel who is not interested in a nubile female teenager who keeps throwing herself at him until he ‘reveals’ he has a boyfriend.
And this film? It’s the animated feature, ParaNoman. The gay character, Mitch, is a bone-headed jock with an IQ in inverse proportion to the size of his muscles. But in gay-speak he’s the hottest thing in the film if you’re gay. He’s probably the first positive gay character in a mainstream animated feature for kids that I know of.
I wonder how many young male teenagers seated in the privacy of a darkened theatre will find Mitch a turn-on? Anecdotal evidence reports gasps of horror and heckling at the screen when the major revelation occurs as Mitch outs himself right near the end of the film. It’s a throwaway line and I suspect a lot of people will miss it, but for sheer importance, it will become the throwaway line heard around the world.
Oh, that I’d had such a throwaway line in my early teen years playing with my stiffie as I watched Tarzan, and Steve Reeves muscle epics in the stalls at the Hornsby Odeon. Television cartoons of that era were hardly wanking material. Sure, Tom Terrific wore a funnel for a hat, but that was hardly sexy. Crusader Rabbit was my other favourite but I was hardly dreaming of bedding him, while at the flicks, Disney princes and other male members were an insipid bunch. I preferred the more immediate pleasures of Clint Walker removing his shirt in Cheyenne.
In the interests of research I did a quick whizz around the animation vaults of current television channeling teen boys with a predilection for flesh of the same gender. They are well catered for in the ‘hotness’ department even if their two-dimensional heroes are decidedly het. The Canadians win hands down, or should I say hands in laps? Toon Boom Animation in Montreal is a gay boy dream factory.
If I were a young teen today, (I can dream, can’t I?), I’d be glued to the series Total Drama Island or 6teen, although my libido would definitely be lost to Reef on Stoked, or Lee Ping, the Korean/Canadian hero of Detentionnaire. These guys are cartoon gorgeous.
Meanwhile, I’m off to see if my local Macca’s has a deal that includes a free blow-up doll of Mitch from ParaNorman, preferably without his towel.
[Image] Gay toon … ‘Mitch’ (centre) in ParaNorman.