Friday, October 27, 2006

Folk Fight

So I have a rather embarrassingly invested history with the American adaptation of Britain's completely disarming original series Queer As Folk - which, on a very basic level does not translate well, moniker to start. I was in high school when the show first aired (yes, I'm young), and empathized with the insidiously saccharine Justin - if not his approach, then perhaps his plight: his first venture into boys' town yields a one night stand with a gorgeous and experienced (that would be the polite word) man more than a decade his senior; this, of course, becomes mistakenly steeped in meaning. My guilty reception of the show certainly had something to do with the steamy, porno approach the American version mounted. Here I was, a 16 year old queer in a Midwest public school being handed an unlabeled VHS my friend had recorded for the night prior (I've never, nor will I probably ever have premium cable). On this discreet and furtive little cassette was not just very soft-core smut, but emotional porn which would, to a certain (devastating?) extent, inform my underdeveloped understanding of a homosexual community. My nubile heart yearned for these flat character-types . And, I must admit, it is nothing that has dissipated with maturity. I still sat rapt through the dreadful series finale when I apprehended a screener DVD promo of it a couple years back. I'd been always curious of the British series which spawned it, but never actually partook. Until the other day...

Likening the British incarnation to its American counterpart is like seating Grace Jones next to Tyra Banks. No contest. Of course, it's not that simple. Many readers might say, 'Tyra!' Wrong. Tyra is s shallow imitation whose integrity lacks the complexity and purpose of her predecessor. Likewise, I shrieked in delight as I saw the fleshed out characters posing reprehensibly - more thoroughly vile yet more humanly wrought than their American doppelgangers. The latter, like Tyra seemed palatable because better was not within a lazy reach. Short on the glitter, sparkle and porn-pizazz of the American show, the British presents us with a flawed crew of humans who go about daily life. They are naturalistically flawed. Evil, yet mortally faltering. Brian Kinney would never have mewed a quite 'yeah,' when asked if he wanted company. But then, Americans, ever short on the greyscale of human existence, couldn't have their Hero/villain complicated in any overt sort of way. That being said, Stuart Jones (the British Brian Kinney) is far more cruel and plotting than Kinney ever manages - which is why his fall from grace is all the more appealing.


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