Withering Glance: Web series get gay, 'betterish'

  • Article by: Rick Nelson and Claude Peck
  • Star Tribune
  • August 25, 2012 - 3:59 PM

Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.


RN: Cable TV is so 2011, n'est-ce pas?

CP: Totes. But it sounds like you are eager to make a broader pop-cultural utterance. What's eating you, Gilbert Grape?

RN: I've discovered the joy that is the Web series. Well, the gay-themed Web series, anyway. No outrageous monthly Comcast bill, no commercial breaks. Free to anyone with Wi-Fi, and probably produced via Kickstarter. God bless capitalism.

CP: Who needs Wi-Fi? Watch 'em on your mobe-dee with three bars of 3G.

RN: In the same way that I'm going to send my best wishes to Best Buy while becoming an Amazon Prime shopper, I'm going to try to not worry about the cable and network TV industries as I pull out my laptop.

CP: The Web series "It Gets Betterish" is my fave. Cute, lo-fi, funny and, it needs be said, très profane. It concerns the social and dating rituals of bearded, bespectacled Eliot and his best friend, skinny and cynical Brent. I laughed when they hired a drag queen to enliven a birthday bash and the guy who showed up was hefty, bearded, irritable and gassy. After crashing on their bathroom floor for a while, he was an insult-spewing hit with the partygoers.

RN: The orgy episode was a hoot, too. What I enjoy most about Eliot and Brent is their willful un-gayness, culturally speaking. It's a clever comic idea. What did you think of L.A.-based "Husbands"?

CP: Meh. Each chapter lasts 2 minutes, perfect for its intended, no-attention-span audience. On the plus, there is fetching Sean Hemeon as the gay major-league ballplayer who finds himself married to Cheeks after a lost weekend in Vegas. One unlikely pair, but they keep it lite-n-raunchy.

RN: Hemeon's chiseled torso almost makes a viewer forgive his character's inexplicable attraction to his hubby, aka the human Chihuahua.

CP: Yet his jock character is sorta whipped by the tiny, tweezed-brow Cheeks. That's the series' main surprise.

RN: The dialogue feels like the gay successor to "Clueless." As in, "OMG, IDEHTW," meaning "Oh My God, I Don't Even Have the Words." I laughed, anyway.

CP: The new acronyms: They take longer to say than the actual sentence. There are four episodes out of "The Outs," another Brooklyn-based gay Web series. I'm betting you have them all memorized.

RN: Uh-huh. It's amusing without being completely shallow. One critic described it best: "Like 'Girls,' but you won't hate all of them."

CP: Yes. Like the hot, new Butcher & the Boar restaurant, that one puts heart on the menu. One thing that unites "The Outs" and "IGB-ish" is jokes about cardigans. Did I miss something?

RN: It's a Brooklyn hipster thing, dear, at least AFAIUI. You know, As Far As I Understand It.

E-mail: Twitter: @claudepeck and @RickNelsonStrib

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