The most homoerotic TV show ever?
I know I claimed to know nothing about popular culture, and, to be sure, perhaps you’ve a right to now expect me to expound on the use of alliteration in Henry James, and the masterful polyphony of Gustav Mahler. But then there’s Teen Wolf, MTV’s entry into the reborn fad for the undead.
There are many things I do to retain my ignorance of popular culture. First, I never, under ever circumstances, listen to the radio, because then it’s almost impossible to avoid my biggest pet peeve, commercials. For the same reason, I don’t watch live TV, and my partner and I TIVO the very few shows we like to catch, which have, frequently, short-lasting seasons, like The Killing or The Walking Dead (both on AMC.) And, finally, if it isn’t in the New York Times, it didn’t happen, as far as I’m concerned. Which is why I find it very strange they’ve never yet reviewed Teen Wolf.
I don’t deny that I persuaded Ben to give it a try purely on the basis of some screen-caps of a couple of hot shirtless guys on Google Images (this is a little sample.). (I don’t recall what I was searching for, but I’m sure it wasn’t related to popular culture: impossible.) But the first episode impressed us with its high production values, well-written script, interestingly cast and acted characters, and adventurous and innovative use of music. The narrative tension was sustained throughout, and there were promises of genuine cinematic heft.
None of those reasons explain the constant “Oh my God”s, and “Hmm, hmmmmm!”s that you’d here generated from the denizens in our … well, in our den, whilst the show is on. They’re involuntarily emitted by one or both of us at the prolonged, intensely homoerotic, shirtless scenes from what must be the most beautiful (in a real way, as opposed to the typical fake and self-conscious Hollywood way) young cast ever put together in a TV series. In the first season, there were at least two long scenes when one of these young men was squirming in agony, soaking wet, on the floor of a shower; and there was a long shirtless torture scene where the torturer licked the guy’s hot abs.
It’s gotten, if anything, even more homoerotic this season. In one episode, one of the characters, a young man of obscene beauty, spent most of the show shirtless, in a tralier, his arms handcuffed behind his back, with the lighting, of course, just so. Then there was the scene in a gay club where a creature with a venomous sting was sending splendid shirtless bodies crashing to the floor. Which reminds me that the character – a secondary one – with perhaps the finest body of them all, is gay, and it’s no big deal. After he wakes up in the hospital (having, naturally, been one of the men stung by the creature with the venom), his friend comes to pick him up, and, for no reason at all, the gay guy is shirtless when his friend arrives, and takes forever putting his shirt on.
The new season, although it was hotter than ever, felt, at first, disjointed, in a surprising contrast to the near perfect pace of the first season. And we were probably both, privately reaching a point of self-denial about only continuing to watch it because of the boys. But the last two episodes were the best of all: gripping, moving, and, at times, terrifying: it felt as if it was crossing the boundary into the territory of the types of shows we revere for their story and their art. Oh. And the most recent episode I watched was the hottest of all.