Spending AN ABSURD AMOUNT ON Dinner (So You Don’t Have To)

I’m fortunate enough to have had extra cash lying around last week. 

When I considered what to spend it on, my brother-in-law had a suggestion. He told my sister the same thing – buy something outrageous. Not just any outrageous thing, however. 

We had to really want it. 

For my sister, it was a Surface Pro. She’s an artist, and this particular item would help her immensely. She would see a difference in quality. 

The reason he suggested this was simple. We needed a taste of what we could have. If we enjoyed a luxurious item or experience, instead of opting for the cheap stuff, we might have more motivation to raise our income permanently. 

As I’ve mentioned before, he’s a business/finance kind of guy. I’m a writer. We rarely see eye to eye. 

So we made a bet. 

After hours and hours of pondering what frivolous thing I might like (believe me, it wasn’t easy – I’m not impressed by “things”), he suggested dinner. 

I raised my eyebrows and laughed, but he meant it. He searched for the fanciest, most expensive place in town, and came up with a riverside bistro. I’d passed it thousands of times, but never thought twice about eating there. 

Admittedly, I started feeling some excitement. He insisted I would feel different, and if I didn’t, then he would completely reimburse me for the meal. 

I booked a reservation, and eagerly awaited my fancy meal. 

Now, I grew up poor. Name brand foods were a luxury – the only one my family could afford when food stamps came in. When I left home and lived on my own, I was able to buy all that for myself regularly. Gradually, I forgot how it felt to be stuck with generic chips or meats. Frankly, it never made a difference to me. 

However, I will admit, there’s some groceries I won’t cheap out on these days because I do notice a difference in quality. 

With that in mind, I started thinking that maybe my brother-in-law was on to something. Maybe this would motivate me to keep working, and work even harder to achieve my goals. Forging a successful writing career for myself won’t be easy, but if this adds more fuel to my fire, then so be it. 

I’ll tell you now: nothing changed. 

Maybe you might feel a difference when you make your ridiculous purchase, or treat yourself to a high class dinner… but if you don’t, then don’t worry about it. Cut your losses. 

Never again will I let someone else tell me what I might like. I know myself, and I am still unimpressed by things – and technically, this dinner was a thing. 

I planned ahead, as I normally do. 

I looked at the menu and decided on an appetizer, main course, and dessert (it was an incredibly small menu, even before Covid). 

My first mistake was asking if I could sit on the patio. I’d requested a view of the river, without realizing that there was indoor seating. Originally, my table was supposed to be inside. The hostess was incredibly sweet though, and offered me one right above the water. She said the reservation for the table wouldn’t be in for another hour and a half, to which I thought: perfect, I’ll be done by then! 

Somehow, I forgot I live in Texas. 

There were tiny flies from the water buzzing around – two of which landed in my water, and my dessert. I can’t blame anyone but myself for this, seeing as I asked to sit outside. 

It still REALLY harshed the vibes. 

As for the service, I hate critiquing anything, because I worked in customer service before and it is TRASH. The hostess also became my waitress, so I assumed they were understaffed. It was no skin off my nose; I tried to make everything run smoothly because I’ve been in her shoes. I didn’t want to bother her too much. She was as attentive as she could be, and she was more than gracious when replacing the fly-food. 

I just couldn’t help but notice that other servers came in, and served the tables around me much faster. I reasoned that the restaurant probably had some rule about switching off serving. Since she already started with me, she couldn’t just hand me off to someone else. 

Due to this, though, I ended up waiting about an hour for the main course. At that point, I worried I would run over my time at the table. I ate quickly and quietly, suddenly wanting to leave and not cause trouble. 

Of course, I did savor the meal. The food was incredible, if not stuff I could make at home. 

I ended up ordering a bottle of chardonnay, mozzarella burrata, salmon with sun dried tomato orzo, and crème brûlée. While I hate tomatoes (don’t fight me on this; they’re disgusting), I didn’t mind them in both my appetizer and main course. Plus, the presentation was stunning. 

Mozzarella burrata
Crusted salmon with asparagus and sun dried tomato orzo
Crème brûlée

I wasn’t crazy about the wine, but I blamed myself for that one as well. I should’ve just asked for their sweetest option instead of stabbing in the dark. 

By the end of the meal, I was glad to go home. 

I enjoyed the experience, but not enough to try again. If I ever thought to, I would go out of town to someplace with more variety. Maybe try an “osso buco,” whatever that is. 

I guess the point of this story is to tell you that nobody else can decide what you like. If you wanna try to experience something you consider “upper class,” to motivate you in trying to get there, it has to be something you really want. You actually do just have to treat yourself, with no input from anyone else. I’m sure I’ll find that special, wild purchase. 

But right now, I think I have all the motivation I need to pursue my writing career. 

And my brother-in-law owes me money, so that’s always nice. 

Downfalls High Is MGK’s Downfall

While a review of a “pop punk Grease” probably has no place on a blog focusing on queerness, I am incapable of shutting up about content I consume. I also believe a lot of queer adults my age grew up on the decidedly “outcasted-ness” of pop punk and related genres, so let’s not pretend we weren’t watching out of sheer curiosity. 

I thoroughly enjoyed Machine Gun Kelly’s switch from rap to pop punk. Although I kept a critical eye on the album, I thought: Good for him; he’s found his sound. Rap wasn’t working out and from a business standpoint, this makes sense. 

Which, it does. I listened to one (1) MGK song when he was in the rap game, and I did it whilst screaming “guilty pleasure.” He’s marketing to a younger, more profitable crowd. High school and teen angst are popular because so many people can relate. 

That being said (and don’t get me wrong, I love this song), ‘drunk face’ keeps making my friends and I laugh because like… dude, you’re thirty. 

But anyways, on to Downfalls High and why I’m disappointed enough to write about it (inevitably sending more views his way, which is fine). 

It’s a little less than 50 minutes, and for about 70%, all I’m seeing is Machine Gun Kelly and his friends dancing in front of the camera and performing. I’m confused, because I thought this was supposed to be a musical. He sang so much praise on what a game-changer this would be, but we’re still on old Atari. 

The only actor I knew going in was Syndey Sweeney, and I adore her, so it’s complicated to say what my expectations were. I had none, really. TikTok and the stars on the platform are ultimately forgettable, so Lil Huddy’s bar touched the floor. In fact, the bar for this entire project lied at my feet because I figure it’s a crapshoot when MGK is involved. 

Somehow, they still missed the mark. 

The beginning showed plenty of promise. I wanted to know what happened and what angle this story would take. I suppose I at least expected a cheesier storyline, because the (spoilers ahead) teen pregnancy surprised me (while at the same time, it kinda didn’t). If it feels like I’m jumping into the middle of a movie, I’m not. 

We learn that Sweeney’s character (Scarlett) is pregnant at the 13-minute mark. There is thirty-six (36) minutes to go. I’m sitting here wondering, ‘Are they gonna break up? Is she gonna get an abortion? What conversation is this trying to start?’ 

The answer is just no. Nothing as far as consequence or conversation. She goes to buy him a guitar because she “wants him to start a band.” His character is flat with no motivation and it shows. Then, as she’s asking, “can we talk later?” I’m struck with a feeling that I only ever get when a character in a horror film says, “I’ll be right back.” 

She’s going to die, isn’t she? 

Yes, she dies. 

I’m IMMEDIATELY removed from the gravity of the moment because whoever is on the phone telling Lil Huddy (Fenix) that she’s dead, wins in the category of overacting. Was that supposed to be her mom? Her friends have been depicted as vapid and shallow, so I doubt they would condescend to speak to him – but why would her mother reach out to him like that? It was awkward to say the least. 

And that’s what this entire “film” suffers from. The writing is so clunky and clumsy, I can’t take any of it seriously, let alone have fun (unless I’m having a laugh with my other friends watching). 

After Scarlett dies (there goes most of the budget paying for Sydney), the storyline is butt cheeks. We are only at the 22-minute mark. God, help me. 

I made it 33 minutes before I started wondering if I should give up. I already watched so much, I might as well finish. I try to justify the existence of this movie by reminding myself that it was made during quarantine. The limits of what we’re able to do can affect quality. 

There was no payoff whatsoever. 

Modern day Holden Caulfield mopes because his friends uploaded a song he wrote and sang, claiming, “I don’t want the world to hear this shit,” and I have to scream. WHAT WAS THE POINT, YOU DUMB FUCK? 

He keeps moping until the people who endlessly tormented him (Scarlett’s former “friends”) start coming up to him for clout, and he realizes one of the girls has Scarlett’s purse. Rightfully angry at their insensitivity and absolute lack of character, he snatches the bag with no difficulty. I’m again taken out of the moment because, what? She doesn’t get any of her belongings back from the purse? 

The question is answered in the very next shot, because he quickly discovers that the girl just… had Scarlett’s stuff in the bag? I’m so confused. Why did she just keep her dead friends’ diary and pregnancy test? Weird. 

Also, the big reveal to Fenix is that his dead girlfriend was pregnant, and he goes insane. 

In what tried to stand next to the gut-wrenching ending of Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy,” where the titular character ends his suffering by committing suicide in front of his shocked classmates, Fenix accepts his diploma by cutting his ear off. I’m suspecting I was supposed to feel something. 

Instead, I’m thinking about writing down all my complaints, and I find myself wondering about a throwaway one-liner from earlier in the movie: What was so important that the Jughead friend dropped out for? We never learn that. 

Nothing is accomplished. No grand story is told. I spent more time lifelessly watching the artists perform than enjoying a “musical,” as was advertised. I read somewhere this musical turned “dark,” but if anything, it feels more like a Diet Edgy. Watered down darkness. 

God, that sucked. 

I don’t know what I expected. 

Stranger Things 3 Was Terrible

I have complaints.

Ignore the fact that there is a profound amount of meta analysis on Will Byers’ queer coding, completely unused and wasted. Ignore the fact that I, personally, don’t think children should be actors (as their range can be fairly limited). Ignore your own opinions on whether or not you think the kids have talent.

I want to address the story.

Recently, I saw an article talking about the worst episode of Stranger Things. I was baffled to see it wasn’t any of the entirety of season three. It was the episode where Eleven runs off with Kali, her “sister.” At the time it came out, I remember not being a fan. I was interested in the idea of more kids like Eleven, but I wanted to get back to the main plot in Hawkins.

I wanted to see the group of ragtag friends that I’d come to know and love, getting into strange shenanigans.

Looking back, I realize how foolish I was.

Because season three was butt cheeks.

Going in, I had one request. After seeing the trailer, and noticing that Eleven and Max would be going on a shopping spree, I thought: What a perfect place to use Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

Were the lyrics too on the nose?

Some boys take a beautiful girl and hide her away from the rest of the world” and “Oh Daddy dear, you know you’re still number one, but girls just wanna have fun” were pretty spot on considering the direction that was taken. Instead we got Material Girl.

Really?

I have to cringe.

Now this is where I’m pulled a bit from my immersion in the show. I have younger cousins that are huge fans of Millie Bobby Brown. I think it’s great that they have an idol, and I wish this girl all the best. I hope she has a loving family and strong support system, and the horror that is Hollywood doesn’t destroy this child.

That being said, for parts of this season, I wondered how much of what I watched was Eleven… and how much was just Millie being Millie. While I understand Eleven’s limited exposure to EVERYTHING has given her the personality of a chair, I’m confused as to why she’s so hellbent on being “girly.”

She had no concept of that when she first arrived in Hawkins, yet she immediately was self-conscious about whether or not she was pretty. She got a makeover in season two, which was effectively dropped (and I’m curious as to why this was – did people really hate the bottle episode that much). In season three, during the photo shoot at the mall, it felt as though I was watching the actresses in a blooper reel. I ultimately decided to suspend a little more disbelief and just enjoy these kids having fun after all they’ve been through.

However, I couldn’t help but wonder what Eleven’s personality was going to become. While I did like the idea of Eleven being petty, it’s a little alarming how vindictive she is. Now that’s an interesting take. What if she was evil? Why can’t we look deeper into her mind and see how she navigates these decisions? Because it’s not always as easy as black and white. If the Duffer brothers are trying to make this a coming of age story with some supernatural elements, that would be a much more interesting journey than the teen drama they sank their show with.

That brings me to my next point.

It’s been over a year, and Mike Wheeler still hasn’t apologized for lying.

In this season, he was threatened by Hopper (we’ll get to that disaster in a minute), and resorted to badly lying to his girlfriend. She caught him, of course. They never address it again.

Mike being a disaster in the first season was charming, and continued to be funny in the second season. Coming into the third, I couldn’t help but feel like Finn Wolfhard was no longer interested in playing the role (which, I can’t blame him after hearing him talk about overzealous fans).

When I first watched the season, I tried to excuse everyone (and I mean everyone) for their out of character behavior. This was a group of damaged people with severe trauma. They just wanted to be normal teens – and THAT we can all relate to! I know what it’s like for the first “love” to take up all your time.

But then the season aged. Like milk.

Eleven and Mike never address their issues. They never talk about why Mike lied (again, he doesn’t apologize at any point for doing so, nor does he explain himself or see why that was the root of the problem – he blames Max over taking any responsibility), they never discuss their unhealthy obsession with each other, and they never acknowledge that they were happy at the expense of their friends. I found it incredibly strange how Mike reacted to her saying she loved him – as if it was something he no longer expected or even wanted.

Here’s a boy whose friends are the most important priorities in his life. Now here’s a season where he has one or two scenes caring about those friends. The rest of these seven hours, he will simply be a person, loosely connected by a stringy plot, to these other anonymous people. Throw in a joke or two to make it seem like they have a deep bond, and rely on memory of the past seasons to do the rest of the work.

Of course, this is just one example of a character gone wrong.

Hopper.

What. The. Hell.

He started out as gruff. A renegade when he had to be. Lawful good, with some sprinkles of chaos here and there. He was a man who lost everything, and when you have nothing left to lose, it changes you. Then he found a second chance. I understood his desperation to keep that chance.

But season three went off the fucking rails.

Who was that bumbling drunk man who barged into his teen daughter’s room? What did he plan on doing if he did find Mike? In any other context, that would’ve been cause for alarm. Well, it alarmed me here.

Who was this insensitive lumberjack that assumed pissing on Joyce’s leg meant he claimed her?

It was like watching a character struggle to fill the shoes of Idiot-But-Well-Meaning-Dad and Overprotective-Asshole-Alpha-Male at the same time. It just didn’t work.

Then there was Joyce. I started the whole show because I’m in love with Winona Ryder. She moved me beyond words in the first season. This woman lost her baby boy and was hellbent on getting him back. Nothing – not human nor supernatural – would get in her way. She kept Will close in the second season, because she was reasonably traumatized.

Season three? She completely ditches her family because of some broken magnets. I truly had no idea what I was watching at this point.

As I got further into the season, I thought about other shows I watched in my life. I remembered that as the show went on, characters fell into a stereotype. They might’ve started out as a little bit aloof and silly, but by the last season, they were complete morons – to the point where it was a miracle they didn’t kill themselves getting out of bed. Then there were the characters who started out tough, and had moments of softness and care, only to be made into a raging psychopath by the finale.

I was disappointed to realize that these characters were pushed into boxes, and the lid to the coffin had been nailed shut on them.

To make matters worse, of all the characters for them to waste time on, they chose Billy. If I want to watch a racist, I’ll turn on Fox News.

He not only threatened to mow down children in his tacky car, but he was physically abusive with Max when he “warned” her about Lucas. When he captured that other lifeguard, he ties her up, pins her down, and says the most rape-y lines that I’ve ever had the misfortune of hearing.

Don’t be afraid, it’ll be over soon.”

Good grief, that poor actor who had to recite this trash.

Not only that, but to get his character to the point they wanted him to be at (meeting up with a MILF just to get captured by the Mindflayer), they had to drag down Mrs. Wheeler. Having an affair with a seventeen-year-old (which, thank God, she did not), is not a cute look. Neither is trying to look hot for one. Yuck.

How dare they try to make me feel sympathy for him! I was bored to tears with his backstory, and it was very much wasted time in my opinion.

This entire season was wasted time, sadly.

I remember several months before season three came out, I had a dream. It was a stunning dream, because it was the entirety of a season. For a while, I thought it was real.

The Mindflayer was still a problem, because clearly it had escaped at the end of season two, and was just biding its’ time. However, instead of Billy being a villain and vessel, he was killed off in the first episode. Like, actually killed off. This dream pulled no punches.

The mall was built over what used to be Hawkins Lab. So sure enough, the basement of this mall held a portal to the Upside Down (instead of Russians, which… what the fuck was that plot line). Our main villain – some bald, young, angry-looking kid – steps out of the door that they have opened. Right off the bat, we’re to understand that this kid has powers like Eleven.

They sneak through the mall, and we hear a voice over from Dr. Brenner (or Papa, as Eleven called him, which was also fucking weird). He talks about trial and error, and it sounds like he’s keeping a journal. It sounds like he’s praising Eleven as his best work. Throughout this “season,” I hear a lot of his commentary, and we even get mention of Kali/Eight as we go on.

This mysterious kid is whistling a fragmented, slowed down version of “Should I Stay or Should I Go,” so now we’re to realize that this kid might know Will. Perhaps they met while he was trapped in the Upside Down. This is somewhat terrifying, as it would mean this child has been trapped there for much longer. Realistically, they should be dead, but it’s a dream. I don’t question it.

Brenner talks about teaching “the first group” to blend into their surroundings, and during that narrative, the mystery kid is stealing regular civilian clothes from the mall. We cut to the first title card and get started!

As the season goes on, we get looks into each character. Joyce is grieving a man that she loved. She’s contemplating leaving this town, because everything terrible in her life has happened there. Jonathan is trying to convince her otherwise, but she tells him that he doesn’t know as much as he thinks. It’s very curious that she’s keeping secrets.

In a flashback, I see Lonnie berating her about being crazy, and implying she’s gone this nuts before. We’re never really told why, if I recall season one correctly, but my brain conjured something to fit into place. Joyce lost not only Bob, but allegedly a second baby. Will’s twin. It’s implied that this child was a stillborn girl, but something inside Joyce tells her that’s not quite true.

Later in the season, she’ll finally confess this to Hopper. His renegade nature causes him to dig up the grave of this previously unknown child, only to find the coffin empty. It’s painfully reminiscent of him discovering that Will’s dead body was fake.

While all of this is going on, Mike and his party are dealing with their PTSD. They’ve seen war, and it’s not pretty. Eleven is losing interest in solely being his girlfriend, and wants to enjoy all the other things childhood has to offer. She cares about him, and she loves her dad, but she needs more. Max shows her She-Hulk (I don’t actually remember if this came out in the 80s), 80s fashion, and skateboarding (in which Eleven keeps messing with her by telepathically jerking the skateboard back).

Her and Mike do break up, but mostly because they have nothing in common other than shared trauma. However, this is an improvement in their relationship, almost leading them back together. His relationship with Will is equally as complicated, as Will does have feelings for him. Not only do they have to grapple with their lost innocence, but they face new, adult concepts that they simply DON’T want to deal with.

Relatable.

Now, Max’s brother was murdered. We can’t forget that.

And a strange string of other murders has come up. These murders are… strangely familiar. Mike will later recognize that this is the way Eleven killed those government guys from season one. It starts to feel like we might see evil Eleven! Alas though, she’s just a red herring.

We see a news story about the weird deaths while Joyce is cooking, but that’s ignored when Hopper comes in to talk to her about moving. He’s trying to convince her to stay, but it’s a tough sale after all that she’s been through. We briefly see her cite these murders as a reason to jet, but nothing more.

Nancy, on the other hand, is quite inspired to solve the mystery.

She leads the gang to the basement of Starcourt Mall, where they find old files of previous experiments at Hawkins Lab. Most of the information is redacted, but Eleven is interested in a file concerning her mother. Before she can read into it, the gang is ambushed by a pack of those demodogs from last season. It seems the Mindflayer is controlling them remotely again, and Eleven has to fight.

The fight ends relatively fast, as something calls the dogs back, and the gang is spared. That’s when Hopper and Joyce find the kids, and Joyce is rightfully pissed. She’s even more convinced that moving is the best option.

As they’re leaving this empty mall, the mysterious kid from the beginning makes themselves known. It turns out, they controlled the demodogs. They have been murdering anyone in their path to getting revenge on the people who held them captive. They are the one with beef towards Eleven. One of the gang asks who they are, and the kid replies, “Ten.”

In a flashback, we’re shown the different ways Dr. Brenner tested on children. Some of them were tortured, others were trained like soldiers from birth. Ten happened to be one of the soldiers. After Kali turned on them, and managed to escape, Dr. Brenner decided that the soldiers were too dangerous to keep around. This led him to abandoning Ten in the Upside Down.

Eleven opened and closed this gate while that poor kid was still trapped in there! This kid has misdirected anger, and I gotta say: I get it.

Ten survived with scraps of food Brenner would occasionally toss in, as he felt more of a connection to this child than the others. After his death, Ten resorted to desperate measures to stay alive. It’s revealed that they made a deal with the Mindflayer, and their most chilling line is delivered: “He’s not the scariest thing in there, Eleven.”

It’s clear that Ten is possessed the same way Will was last season, and the battle begins.

During this fight, we learn the true identity of Ten is in fact, Jane Ives. This leads us to realize that Joyce never lost her daughter. Will’s twin has been Eleven the entire time. The reveal comes in the form of him saving Eleven with a sudden burst of powers – only kids like them can be possessed by the Mindflayer (and I must say, I was hoping this would be revealed during the fight with Billy in the sauna episode – thoroughly disappointed).

As all the pieces fall into place, Eleven tries to reason with Ten.

She talks about what they missed out on, and how it isn’t fair. Joyce joins in and tells Ten that they deserved a mother and father. Eleven manages to project them into that weird void and show her Terry, and how Mother Ives tried to get her daughter back. The blonde little girl in Terry’s memory wasn’t her daughter after all; her daughter was already being put through brutal training.

After almost killing Eleven’s friends, a piece of Ten’s humanity breaks through. The Mindflayer panics at the realization that it’s losing control, but Ten is stronger. In a tragic move (reminiscent of Ripley in Alien), Ten throws herself into a fire to destroy the monster. With no other choice, the Mindflayer shows itself for the fight. Will and Eleven use their powers, the rest of the gang helps in whatever way they can, and when it seems like they can’t give anymore…

Kali appears, delivering some fantastic cheese. She warned Eleven that her friends couldn’t save her, but Kali definitely can.

With her help, they defeat the Mindflayer, and close the gate to the Upside Down for good.

Except Eleven has a feeling in her gut that she might need to go back in to see if there’s anyone else she can save. That feeling is only made worse when she sees Ten’s remains – the tattoo on her arm says “Tenn” instead of 010. Eleven recalls seeing other redacted files with names such as “Tex,” “Wyoming,” “Maine,” etc. There’s a sinking realization that there were multiple other projects, and there’s no telling how many.

It set up a great potential story for season four.

Sadly, I woke up, and the reality was nowhere near as cool.

While I appreciate the work put in by the cast and crew, as a writer, I’m extremely disappointed in season three. Fan service seems to be valued more than a quality story. I think I’ll get the cliff-notes on season four before wasting a whole night binge-watching. I’ll wager ten bucks that they try to queerbait.

Top 7 LGBT Characters in Horror

Since I’m a huge fan of horror, I thought it would be criminal if I didn’t share my personal list of the best LGBT characters in the genre. I do have a controversial opinion to open with, however.

The Babadook is not a gay icon. It never was. It never will be.

I need all of you baby gays to stop this nonsense, because that movie was trash.

Not to say the movies that I’m listing are Oscar worthy, but they’re at least fun and the children in them aren’t making me reconsider adoption.

7.) Jesse Walsh (Nightmare on Elm Street II: Freddy’s Revenge)

Sure he’s on everyone’s list, but how could he not be? The second installment of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise was loaded with gay subtext (although there was really nothing subtle about it). He had a board game called Probe and a sign on his door reading “No Chicks Allowed” at the age of Not 12. We won’t even talk about his relationship with Grady, or the scene where he finds his coach in a gay bar.

He had a female love interest, but he spent very little time being interested in her (as he was “supposed to”), and more time struggling with the burned monster within himself. Freddy was seen as a metaphor for the self-hatred that unfortunately still runs rampant among queer youth. The screenwriter confessed to the film having gay subtext, as the movie was made post-AIDS crisis, and he realized how terrifying the reality was for a large portion of LGBT people.

I have to have Jesse on my list, because he was not only the first Final Boy I’d ever seen in horror, but also because he wasn’t the villain. Being gay never made him the villain, as it did for a handful of much, much older horror films. He was afraid (as I myself was for several reasons), but he was also kind, and human. He was a regular person, and it was a breath of fresh air to see a potentially gay man portrayed as such.

6.) Richie Tozier & Eddie Kaspbrak (It)

The only thing harder than finding a picture from Andy Muschietti’s film that has good lighting, is the heart boner this pair has for each other.

These two are probably the most popular subject among fans of the It movies and book. Across each version, their characters seem to naturally gravitate towards one another. In the source material, Eddie is heavily gay coded – he fixates a lot on the AIDS crisis, and is written as desperate to cure and cleanse a disease he believes is inside him. Growing up gay, and with an equally as tense of a relationship with my mother, I connected to Eddie more than I had any other character in all the media I’ve consumed.

The monster known as It manifests as a leper, riddled with diseases, that offers Eddie a blowjob whenever they meet. It’s referred to with either gender neutral or masculine pronouns, leading us to assume the leper is a homeless man. Eddie’s fear could easily be looked at as disease, but it definitely goes deeper – especially when It turns his mother into the leper that’s trying to eat him.

He marries a woman that reminds him of his mother, and continues to hide himself in this uncomfortably suffocating comfort he’s been conditioned to “need.” He marries her, not out of love, but because she can keep him from becoming who he really is. There’s a point in the novel where he tries to talk himself out of it, but ultimately gives in to the familiarity.

As a child, he and Richie speak little in the way of religion, but Eddie most vividly remembers stories he’s been told where the protagonist is banished to Hell for “misdeeds.” He has every possible external factor working against his queerness, which is why he’s unable to know peace until he’s dying and the “window is washed clean.”

As for Richie, his fear is the werewolf from the 1950’s I Was a Teenage Werewolf. He fears the monster being within himself, as the theme of that film was in fact, man versus himself. In the source material, he has a moment with Bill where they hug each other and cry together (coincidentally after being chased by It as the werewolf), and he thinks about what people passing them will think. He’s conscious of what others perceive him as, until he’s with his very best friends. Only then is he openly flirty with everyone.

Yes, including Beverly, but he’s more bisexual than gay (perhaps leaning more towards men). He mentions that she’s pretty, and it’s a strange thought to have about a guy – but he doesn’t once deny having thoughts about his male friends. He does mental gymnastics to avoid his own truth, and sadly, his character doesn’t show his cards as much as the others.

He and Eddie suffer from an unfortunate disconnect, which in the novel, is due to the time period it’s set in. The actors in the miniseries have spoken about how they played the roles in a specific way to make it clear Richie and Eddie were closer than the others (or at least close in a different way, much how Ben and Beverly were). Then, following the 90s miniseries, Bill Hader has talked about Richie’s queerness and how he would’ve been relieved had Eddie said anything first.

I’m hoping that – maybe 20 years from now – we’ll finally get the version where they can tell their truth to each other.

5.) Charley Brewster (Fright Night)

If Charley was a character today, he’d translate to a regular Hollywood twink. He’s obsessed with vampires, and even more obsessed with his neighbor who he suspects is one. This neighbor – named Jerry – also happens to be an attractive man with a strangely close “roommate.”

Jerry and Billy are the closest to bickering husbands that we could get in American theaters in the 80’s. Their mannerisms and the ease with which they embraced each other was written off as something strange vampires just do – but we knew better.

On top of that, Charley is given a girlfriend character who is mostly forgettable (think back to Jesse Walsh, but somehow less important). By normal standards, she was the “hot” girl that he should’ve been happy to have. Unfortunately for her, he was far more interested in his hunky neighbor.

4.) Glen/Glenda (Seed of Chucky)

While I’m not the biggest fan of this installment in the long line of Chucky movies, I was definitely interested by the conflict presented with Glen/Glenda. I definitely don’t agree with the handling of it, nor the outcome, but for the time period, I have to admit I’m still impressed. The writers kept it real – for serial killer parents, sure they wanted a son/daughter to relate to, but ultimately they didn’t care.

Chucky and Tiffany are both confirmed to have genitals, but Glen/Glenda is revealed to have nothing. He chooses to be a boy, but that was the beauty of it for me: he was able to choose. Yes, he did go on to have a strange “split-personality,” where the female side of him was murderous, while his male side was docile – but up until that moment, I was on board with his character. Finally! A nonbinary character in the killer role!

In one of the following films, the main character (played by Brad Douriff’s daughter) is sent to a psychiatric ward, where she meets a man called Multiple Malcolm. All insensitivity aside, I genuinely thought he would be revealed as Glen/Glenda. There’s allegedly still hope, so let’s cross our fingers his identity is validated and handled better than it was sixteen years ago.

Seed of Chucky came out in 2004; I was about ten-years-old when I saw it. Glen/Glenda was the closest I’d seen to a transgender character in my entire life, and I was never able to forget. There was so little on the subject, and even less that I could have realistic access to, so I’m always grateful for the (although problematic) exposure.

3.) Angela Baker (Sleepaway Camp)

Another example of my limited exposure to transgender characters as a kid! This time, Angela (born Peter Baker), is the killer – and very decidedly so. I was so excited to see someone who I could connect with in a role like this; I fully understood Octavia Spencer when she spoke about her role in Ma, because that was how I felt with Angela. She wasn’t the one being mercilessly killed off in the first ten minutes because SHE was the whole film.

In later films, she continues to use she/her pronouns, and present as Angela, but I didn’t bother with those particular sequels (so excuse me if my knowledge isn’t as extensive). Now, we have to consider the time period, which is definitely an excuse I’m over – Hollywood still has almost no idea that nonbinary exists. It was definitely problematic in the way Angela becomes herself, as the identity is forced upon her by her aunt, and you have to wonder if she would have snapped had she not been forced into gender roles.

I related a lot to that discomfort; my mother was extremely insistent that I fall into a specific category and follow all the rules of it. No growing facial hair and wearing a dress at the same time! Unheard of! Jail for a thousand years!

Honestly? I enjoyed the twist, and I enjoyed that the film let Angela be who she was without any question. Even after the reveal, she was still Angela, but her genitals hardly mattered for the majority of the movie – as they would (or wouldn’t, rather) for any cis killer in these slasher flicks.

Disclaimer: GOD, HER AUNT WAS F*CKING CRAZY AND THAT ISN’T HOW BEING TRANSGENDER WORKS.

2.) Mitch Downe (ParaNorman)

This marked the first time I was shown a kid-friendly movie that featured a gay character. Again, we’re not told until the end that he’s gay, but it was a pleasant surprise! Through the duration of the film, Courtney is trying to win his affections. His reveal isn’t played for laughs at his expense, nor is he shamed. He simply is, and that’s a huge breath of fresh air for closeted kids (much like I was at the time).

Also, I grew up in South Texas. Of COURSE I wanted the buff jock to be gay. This was the first time I saw a gay jock that wasn’t suffering from violent internalized homophobia (a la Brad, from Perks of Being a Wallflower).

The messages of the movie are simple: don’t judge a book by its’ cover, and accept people for who they are. Norman and his friend – and ultimately the “villain” they face – are all outcasts, perceived as strange for some reason or another. We see them as the protagonists, so we’re automatically on their side. However, we still (to some degree) judge them. We note that Norman is an “I see dead people” freak, and his friend is overweight. We see Courtney and assume she’s a cheerleader type, perfect for the jock-looking Mitch.

There’s no hyper-masculinity from Mitch to make up for his queerness, because he’s unapologetic about it. His sportiness goes hand in hand with his queerness because all of it makes up who he is. He’s gay and that’s all there is to it! He also has a boyfriend, and he’s happy to talk about him.

1.) Billy Loomis/Stu Macher (Scream)

In a deliberate decision from the actors (Skeet Ulrich and Matthew Lillard), their time on set was spent mostly together to achieve a closeness that came across in the film. They were successful with their goal, and the subtext is hard to miss outside of that. Billy and Stu were giant bisexuals, leaning more towards men.

Not only does Stu completely go along with a murder plot for his beloved “friend,” but their weapon of choice is metaphorically phallic. We’ve all seen Criminal Minds – stabbing is a way to penetrate, used mostly by sexual sadists.

While both of them have girlfriends, both of them are quite dramatic in their efforts to kill the ladies. Only us gays are capable of that flair – a whole ghost costume moment as well as voice changers to carry out killings? It takes drama.

Allegedly, Stu was supposed to make a comeback in the third film – presumably to avenge his Billy. However, due to real life events, the producers decided their script would’ve been in poor taste. It’s truly a shame, since the third movie sucked.