Jack finally went gay in the third episode of Torchwood Miracle Day, the Starz/BBC collaboration that moved the popular British TV show across the pond. And it was really gay. So gay that a small portion of Capt. Jack’s sex scene with another man was cut from the version to be shown on British TV. Which, in itself, caused a controversy. Partially because of the sex, partially because of the media incorrectly paraphrasing comments made by the actor who plays Capt. Jack (John Barrowman).
I’d been anxiously waiting for the omnisexual character to gay up. I was concerned that for an American audience they might shy away from his attraction to men. But that concern has been alleviated with the latest installment’s inclusion of an incredible hunk of naked male ass smack in the middle of a hot guy on guy sex scene. Here’s what happens:
Capt. Jack, leaving the fish out on the curb, pops into a gay bar and within 4.3 seconds cruises the hunky bartender and the two end up back at the bartender’s place, naked, and in bed. Lots of kissing and cottaging and then a not all that brief shot of a beautifully muscled ass over which you spend a quick moment playing Identify That Ass until you realize that it has to belong to the bartender because Barrowman is 44 and there’s no way that ass belongs to a 44-year-old man. It could have been a very sexual scene, but they cut in clips where Mekhi stopped emoting all over the place for 4.3 seconds and ended up in bed with a woman doctor with a fortunately brief shot of fish ass which didn’t involve playing Identify That Ass because what flashed across the screen was white.
Back in Capt. Jack’s world of gayness, the boys go at it all hot and sweaty and Jack bottoms, which is all more realistic and believable than Mekhi having fish sex. Maybe there’s a reason for all that emoting. But it still doesn’t work. When the sex is over, the bartender rolls over and falls asleep like all men do, and Capt. Jack phones his fish from Cardiff while laying naked (and strategically covered) in bed to sing her his version of You and Me Against the World. Fair is fair and I should note that even for a 44-year-old, Barrowman has a damn nice chest. And least while laying on his back. Anyway the fish with the Welsh accent is barely listening and then zones out completely because she’s on Skype with the little ball of blubbering fat that they got to play her husband who’s showing off the little ball of blubbering fat that they got to play their baby. So far in Miracle Day we’ve seen zero aliens. But that ugly little child comes close.
The rest of the episode was all kinda, Eh. Bill Pullman fleshes out the pedo part of his character, with great relish, and is starting to sound, strangely enough, like he’s a Republican running for his party’s presidential nomination. Another episode or two like this and he’ll have out weirded both of the crazy bitches who are actually trying for a spot on the ticket. Or not. Unlike the Republican Party, Hollywood’s version of fiction is at least based in reality. Still, consider a Pullman/Cheney ticket in 2012 . . . I think we’ve found a winner.
After getting a bit of nookie, Mekhi goes back to emoting, the red-headed fish from Six Feet Under ratchets up her own brand of craziness a bit during a scene with her and the fish doctor sitting on the grotty steps of some building in downtown LA which I hope did little to further the plot because I missed the whole conversation thinking instead, “They said the budget was gonna be huge! And look at the ugly black shoes those women are wearing! Where’s the Manolo’s?”
Then for some reason Newman makes a guest appearance, which was bad casting because whatever it was he was suppose to add to the plot I also missed because “Newman!” was echoing inside my head. Besides they could have got Amy Winehouse to play that part. And now it’s too late. Ah, the horror.
And Alcide failed to strip down to his pubes again. Ooops. Wrong show, wrong network, wrong gay producer. My bad.
But back to the gay sex and controversy. Because y’all love a bitch fight more than badly acted drama. Ditto for sex. Though in some cases, it is the same thing. The controversy end of things was due to The Sun’s display of British journalistic integrity, picking up the gauntlet from a temporarily sidelined Rupert Murdoch – who was busy being saved by the bell by his ninja mail order bride – and printing false information about the BBC’s decision to give the Torchwood gay sex scene a circumcision.
“The Sun took an interview I did four or five months ago talking about putting sex into the program and how it fits in, and they took quotes and made it sound like I was disagreeing with the BBC,” Barrowman explained. “The controversy that was raised was raised by a newspaper that didn’t know what it was talking about.” Big surprise there.
(Note to the editorial staff of The Sun: In the future please ensure the proper phones have been hacked so that you obtain correct information for your stories.)
As for the sex scene itself, Barrowman defends it: “This man has a passionate romance with this other man and – like everybody else does – the sex happens. It’s a wonderful lovemaking scene, and it’s not gratuitous.”
Ah but it is John. It is. Now I have absolutely no problem with a nice hunk of male ass on my TV screen. No more than I do with a nice hunk of male ass in my bed. But this one was just thrown in for the hell of it. Seriously, Capt. Jack is busy saving the world, happens to walk by a gay club and decides, “Fuck the world, I’m getting laid”? That’s just wrong. And it leads people to believe that sex is all a gay man thinks about; that regardless of what we are busy doing, if the opportunity for some man sex rears its little head we’ll drop everything and drop to our knees. Oh. Wait. They’re right. We do do that. Never mind.
Gay matters were handled matter-of-factly in the original three seasons of Torchwood. It was never a big thing. Even Capt. Jack and Ianto’s love affair was just a bit of icing on the cake, routinely depicted by a series of asides and insider jokes. The occasional fish on fish story lines were never a case of: Look Lesbians! and Capt. Jack’s dalliances were always smoothly blended into the plot. It’s part of what made watching the show so enjoyable. It was just so damn normal.
But in this one, even though a lot more naked flesh was shown that ever before, it was almost like Russell T Davies went, “Ooops! Third episode and Jack hasn’t gone gay. Quick, fit in a gratuitous sex scene before we get back to the plot.” That scene screamed to be cut. And had it been in the American version, all we would have missed was a nice shot of a great ass.