Thursday, January 21, 2010

"Silver Studs"

On the ABC series Brothers and Series, which airs Sunday nights at 10 PM, there are a few gay characters in what is essentially a family-oriented drama. First there was Kevin, the gay brother (Matthew Rhys), and his lover Scotty (Luke Macfarlane); then they outed Kevin's Uncle Saul Holden (Ron Rifkin, pictured). Rifkin is an excellent actor whose last major TV role was as the incredibly evil Arvin Sloane on the absorbing spy series Alias. "Saul" is quite a change of pace.

This was an interesting situation that was never fully explored. I mean here we have a guy who is a senior citizen, who apparently had an involvement with at least one man many years in the past [who got married, although Saul never did] but who never came out to his gay nephew, and when said nephew asked if he was gay became furious and refused to talk to him.

Saul did eventually come out to Kevin and the rest of his family, but we have to speculate what went wrong with his life. Obviously the man suffered from internalized homophobia -- there's no doubt of that. At a party, before he comes out, Saul is approached by his old boyfriend, who tells him that his marriage is over, he's accepted himself, and apparently wants to get back together with Saul or at least renew old acquaintances [gee, after all those decades -- Saul must have been somethin'!]. But we're left to wonder -- did they have a casual fling, did they have sex, was this guy Saul's actual lover, and was Saul so hurt when he left him to get married that he, too, tried to go straight, couldn't, but nonetheless renounced his homosexuality?

The program has never wrestled with those issues.

Last week Saul was moody and difficult, snapping at everyone. Everyone was wondering what was wrong with him. I could have told them. Saul suffers from Late Bloomer's Syndrome. Sometimes when men come out quite late in life they feel like, as others have put it, the party has passed them by. They feel they wasted years and years full of guilt and denial. At one point Saul practically cries that he's seventy years old, there's nothing left for him, and all he has is his friggin' work. In other words, Saul not only needed a man -- he needed to get laid.

While watching the program I said to myself, if Saul were a real person and I knew him, I'd recommend that he sign up on the silver daddies web site ["for older men and the men who love them"] and get himself a date. [I just can't resist playing "Gay Doctor Bill."]

Well, sure enough, after the commercial Saul bounces into his sister's (Sally Field) kitchen bubbling over with joy and tells her he's signed up for online dating on -- get this -- Silver Studs! [Gee, I wonder where they got the name?] Saul was excited because he got what's known as a "friend request." (Maybe someday he'll actually get a date and we'll see it on the program).

I imagine it's tough enough coming out when you're middle-aged, but at seventy? Still, where there's life there's hope.

In the meantime, there's the gay couple Kevin and Scotty. As portrayed, they're nice enough guys, even if Kevin is a borderline bitch and Scotty is so damn precious at times you want to puke on him. Scotty (played by openly gay Macfarlane; Rhys and Rifkin are straight) did his impression of a gay owl. Which means he swiveled his hips, turned his head around, and said, "Who?" in an effeminate voice [not that it was all that much different from his "normal" voice.] I guess I forgot to laugh. At least Scotty is a more realistic partner for Kevin than the hot and hunky supposedly-bisexual-but-definitely-prefers-guys Hollywood action movie star that he briefly dated in season one. As Kevin, who has his good points put it: "Bi now, gay later."

As this show is all about "family" [for many of us our friends are our true family, but if we have good relationships with our parents and siblings so much the better], Kevin and Scotty are having a baby. Awwww. They have hired a surrogate to carry the baby, a gal that I probably wouldn't hire to walk my dog, if I had one. But that's where the conflict and the "drama" will come in, one supposes.

Frankly, I find Saul and his dilemma and especially his decision not to give up but to meet and date new guys to be far more arresting than the domestic and baby concerns of somewhat dull Kevin and Scotty.

On my post about eighty-plus Jack Larson who played Jimmy Olsen and recently appeared on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, I wondered if LOGO would ever have a show about senior or even middle-aged gay men. Wouldn't it be funny if ABC's Brothers and Sisters becomes the first show to detail the romantic and sex life of a gay male septuagenarian?

Maybe Saul will decide to date older instead of younger and wind up on a date -- or in bed -- with Jimmy Olsen?

Hey -- Why not? Sex ain't just for "twinks."

No comments: