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'American Horror Story: Freak Show' RECAP - 'Pink Cupcakes' [Spoilers]

Bomer

 THAT's more like it. I stand by my assessment that the Edward Mordrake episodes were fairly weak. For a Halloween horror spectacular, the two-part story was only scary to those who have a crippling fear of exposition. Unlike tonight's episode, which was tense and disturbing and also sexy and even at times funny. ("I'd rather be boiled in oil than be on television" is no "KNOTTY PINE?!" but it was still the kind of line that only Jessica Lange could deliver properly.)

Tonight also marked Matt Bomer's American Horror Story debut, and it certainly was ... memorable. 

Let’s start with the Dandy story of the evening. But before we get into all the terrifying, twisted action, can we just take a minute to ogle appreciate Finn Wittrock?

I'll save the spoilers (and more hunky undies GIFs) for AFTER THE JUMP ...

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HBO Developing Dramedy Centered Around A Queer Black Man And His Brothers

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The creative minds behind Red Tails and Dear White People are collaborating on Bros., a new dramedy in development for HBO centered around a queer black man and his straight brothers. Originally titled Bros Before Hos, the series revolves around Kendall, a man newly out to his brothers and navigating his way through life as a modern gay man.

Much like HBO’s Girls and Looking, the buzz and early production work around Bros makes it out to be driven more by its characters’ interactions with one another rather than the central conceit of the show. Ben Jones, the series’ lead writer, explained that he doesn’t envision the show as being a black story or a gay story.

“There seem to be more stories that deal with the interior lives of black women, but it’s hard to find stories that deal with the interior lives of black men,” He explained to Indiewire earlier this year. “We’re either thugs or athletes, but there’s so much more to who we are that falls in between that spectrum.”

Bros. would be one of HBO’s first series to feature an LGBT character of color starring in a central role--a move very much in line with the general trend towards increased queer diversity in cable programming.

“We both know so many people, not just African-Americans, who question why there isn’t more programming that reflects the growing diversity of the American experience,” Jokes said Bros. director Anthony Hemingway and his reason for leading production. “So it’s incredibly satisfying to be a part of something that might otherwise be overlooked or ignored.”

Watch an early production teaser of Bros. AFTER THE JUMP... 

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What To Watch This Week on TV: A Big Week For Bomer

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Check out our weekly guide to make sure you're catching the big premieres, crucial episodes and the stuff you won't admit you watch when no one's looking.

— Politics makes strange bedfellows, but it also makes fantastic comedy. It’s the midterm elections Tuesday, and Comedy Central’s resident newsmen Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert will be following all the action live starting at 11 p.m.

Two chances to see Matt Bomer in action this week, AFTER THE JUMP ...

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Worlds Collide in First Trailer for Netflix's Upcoming Historical Drama 'Marco Polo' - VIDEO

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Netflix is expanding its empire of online content with its first historical drama Marco Polo. Set in the 13th century, the series will follow Polo, played by Lorenzo Richelmy, during his explorations of the European content while in the employ of Kublai Khan, the fifth Great Khan of the Mongol Empire.

Netflix released an official trailer for the show that reflects the company’s continued push into the kinds of content that HBO, Showtime, and Cinemax have dominated for years. Marco Polo looks to be a mature, adult-oriented show featuring the kind drugs, sex, and deception-fueled plotlines that would make the royal families of Westeros blush. 

Watch the first trailer AFTER THE JUMP...

Marco Polo will be available to stream via Netflix on December 12.

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'American Horror Story: Freak Show' RECAP - 'Edward Mordrake, Pt. 2' [Spoilers]

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First off, the good news: In addition to Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka joining the end of this seasonAmerican Horror Story vet Lily Rabe is returning. And! She's revisiting one of her previous roles in the series.

But now the bad news ... tonight's episode was not the strongest. As the titular villain for this year's two-part Halloween episode, you would think Edward Mordrake (Wes Bentley) could have been a bit more menacing. Sure, he was ultimately after a soul to drag back to Hell or something like that, but his most immediate threat was to talk to you until you cry. Not sure how I feel yet about whom he selected, but I'm already surprised about how sad I am to potentially say goodbye to his chosen one.

Without further ado, let's pop a squat on our rusty nail toilet and settle into this week's recap, AFTER THE JUMP ...

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Yes, Nick Jonas Is (Sort of) Queerbaiting His Gay Fans. So What?

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The Interplay is a special biweekly series exploring the intersections of sex, pop culture, and current events.

BY CHARLES PULLIAM-MOORE

Last week, Flaunt magazine published its highly anticipated profile of Nick Jonas. The conversation was everything that the pre-release photos of Jonas promised it would be. It was prosaic. It was splashy. Mostly though--it was sexy, or rather, it was about sex. There are songs on the eponymously titled Nick Jonas that the 22 year-old singer wants you to be getting down to. With one hand resting on his proverbial “sword,” Jonas frankly endorsed the idea of you having sex to his new album.  

Like many Disney Channel stars before him, Jonas grew up in the public spotlight. His image, like his music, is maturing as he reorients himself towards a different demographic. Purity rings may have worked to sell albums to pre-teen girls, but Jonas circa 2014 is obviously going for a new market. There’s a big difference between signing autographs during a mall tour and pseudo-stripping your way through the gay NYC club circuit. Make no mistake: Nick Jonas is undoubtedly queerbaiting his gay fans. He’d be a fool not to.

 

In 2013 LGBT buying power was projected to peak at about $830 billion dollars, a figure that Jonas’s representation, Island Records, is certainly aware of. In an interview with Pride Source, Jonas chafed at the idea that he was using his Apollo’s belt to drum up gay interest in his music.

Selfie_jonas"I think it's unfortunate that some people have to find a negative in every situation," he explained in response to allegations of queerbaiting. "Clearly my heart is in the right place, and more than anything, if they just looked at my life and my gay friends and the authentic nature of where my heart is, they'd just see that they're kind of ignorant."

“The nature of where we are today is, we're in a time where we need to make strides and step forward as a society and embrace all people from all different walks of life. When you're trying to make a bold statement like that, some people aren't gonna fall in line with that. And that's OK. You gotta stay on your own path.”

Like any savvy business person, Jonas is quick to point out that he loves his gay fans despite his being straight and he’s totally cool with the fact that a large number of men find him attractive. 

Queerbaiting, in its traditional, insidious usage refers to the practice in which content creators position themselves as being a part of the “queer community” through strategic artifice. Katy Perry may have actually enjoyed kissing a woman at some point in her life and Nicki Minaj has been known to sign a breast or two after a concert. 

Neither of these performers has come out as being queer, opting instead to flirt with the ideas of both implicit and explicit bisexuality or lesbianism. Katy and Nicki love their gay fans too, but their histories of fauxmosexuality are egregious in a way that Nick Jonas’s isn’t. Jonas is queerbaiting only in the sense that he’s being an attractive man in public and inviting gay men to hand over their cash as tribute to his abdominal muscles. 

The harms associated with queerbaiting manifest themselves most clearly within the context of television, where long character-arcs, plotlines, and fanbases commingle in a heady mix of storytelling, ratings, and advertising. In a lengthy analysis of the BBC’s Sherlock and TNT’s Rizzoli and Isles, Autostraddle’s Rose Bridges explains how the two shows have a history of poking fun at canonical homosexual subtext. In doing so, she reasons, the shows’ writers turn characters’ implied queerness into the butt of lazy jokes that alienate queer audiences:

Friend 1.1"Indeed, the idea behind “no homo” is both that homosexuality is little more than a gag, and also that it’s deviant and wrong some way – “of course we’re not gay, how could you even think that” is the underlying assumption behind the joke.

When it’s that deliberate as in the cases of Sherlock or Rizzoli & Isles, there is a distinct feeling that the creators are playing with LGBTQ – and invested-in-LGBTQ-relationships (since the core of the “Johnlock” fanbase is slash-fanfiction-writing straight women) – dollars, but don’t care enough about us that they’d risk actually offending homophobes with explicit queer representation."

Friend2The closest musical equivalent to Bridges’s model for queerbaiting are the members of One Direction. Search for “X kissing Y,” where X and Y are the first names of any two members of the band. You’re guaranteed to find thousands of results--gossip articles, videos, fanfiction, etc.--feverishly speculating about the boys’ sexuality. Are they gay? Who knows? More importantly: who cares?

At its core, queerbaiting is tied in the increasingly less factual idea that there aren’t enough LGBT figures in the media. Nick Jonas isn’t the bait dangling from the tip of a musical hook. Rather, he’s a male pop star working in the age of “peak hot guy.” Explicit male sexuality is a cultural commodity, and if Nick Jonas is to be successful, then Nick Jonas is going to have to give the public its pound of flesh.


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