Feelin' hot: The Lavender Tube on 'Last Call' 'The Idol,' 'Prank Panel' and more

  • by Victoria A. Brownworth
  • Tuesday July 11, 2023
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Eric André, Johnny Knoxville and Gabourey Sidibe cohost 'The Prank Panel'
Eric André, Johnny Knoxville and Gabourey Sidibe cohost 'The Prank Panel'

We are living through the hottest period in world history, with global temps reaching all-time highs. Much of the country has been in triple digits for weeks. And malaria is making a comeback in the states with the two most anti-LGBTQ governors, which if we had people like Pat Robertson on our side, might be commented upon as a sign of smiting from the Almighty.

'Climate Crisis: Drought'  

While this might not add up to the literal End Times, it sure feels like a preview. The TV documentary "Climate Crisis: Drought" is well worth your time. Written and directed by Roxane Schlumberger and starring Sir David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg, Mark Ruffalo, Prince Harry and with appearances by former British Prime Minister turned environmentalist, Tony Blair and Vanessa Nakate, Ugandan climate activist, the film details the impacts of climate change and how they are being felt everywhere.

The focal point is succinct and has resonance for anyone in the U.S. living in California or the Southwest. "Climate Crisis: Drought" posits that "extreme drought conditions are increasingly threatening livelihoods, and no corner of the globe seems to be immune from its devastating consequences." Given that there is famine throughout several nations in Africa that is completely drought related and Canadian wildfires triggered by drought are causing health hazards in the U.S. and water wars throughout a quarter of the U.S. make "Chinatown" look like a docudrama, this is a film to watch; on Amazon Prime, Tubi and Roku.

GLAAD's media report  

Bad news from GLAAD
The annual GLAAD "Where We Are on TV Report" is out for 2022-2023 and it's not good.

This year, GLAAD counted 659 series regulars set to appear on scripted primetime broadcast series for the 2022-2023 season. Of those, 70 (10.6 percent) are LGBTQ. This is a decrease of 22 characters and 1.3 percent from last year. There are an additional 31 LGBTQ recurring characters counted, bringing the total to 101 LGBTQ characters on broadcast, an overall decrease of 40 characters from the previous year.

Plus, of the 596 LGBTQ characters, 175 (29 percent) will not be returning due to series cancellations, endings, miniseries/anthology format, or a character dying or leaving the show! Yikes.

On the streaming services Apple TV+, Amazon Prime, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, Paramount+ and Peacock, GLAAD counted 239 series regular LGBTQ characters and 117 LGBTQ recurring characters, bringing the total to 356 LGBTQ characters. That is a decrease of two characters from the previous year's report.

Over half of all LGBTQ characters across platforms were people of color (POC), with 304 out of 596 (51 percent of all LGBTQ characters) being POC. Of the 596 LGBTQ characters found across all platforms, there were 32 transgender characters counted in this report (5.4 percent of all LGBTQ characters). Of those, there were 16 trans women, 11 trans men, and five trans nonbinary characters.

You can read the report at www.glaad.org/whereweareontv22 or download the PDF.

Last Call: When a Serial Killer Stalked Queer New York
"Queer bars were one of the few places where we could come and feel safe... And then, all of a sudden, everything was taken away."

This true crime documentary miniseries directed by Anthony Caronna focuses on the victims of serial killer Richard Rogers, who murdered and dismembered gay and bisexual men between 1992 and 1993. Caronna said, "It was important to let queer people tell this story."

Caronna told Vanity Fair, "I wasn't interested in doing true crime. I was very, very afraid of revictimizing the community. So I passed on it." But a year later Caronna was convinced there was a way to tell the story that honored the victims rather than highlighting the killer. Caronna says "Last Call" tells "a much bigger story about the anti-queer violence movement." (Vanity Fair)

'Last Call: When a Serial Killer Stalked Queer New York'  

HBO gives these chilling details of the crimes: "In the 1990s, Richard Rogers, a serial killer known as the Last Call Killer, preys upon four gay men in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, including two closeted men in their 50s. The series is based on Elon Green's Edgar-winning 2021 book "Last Call: A True Story of Love, Lust, and Murder in Queer New York," documenting each murder, the etymology of Rogers' nickname, coverage of his crimes, which included tabloid stories that harbored a homophobic tone, and even an obituary that described one victim in dismissive terms, as Caronna suggests, 'because of how society viewed him.'"

The four-part series also examines how biases in the criminal justice system reflected attitudes toward gay men in the 1990s, when the AIDS crisis was still raging. "Last Call" also examines the conflicts that arose between LGBTQ activists and law enforcement, notably New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who was then a member of the openly homophobic Emerald Society; on HBO MAX.

The Idol
Need a summer fling that tests your boundaries? "The Idol" is that. Queer, BDSM, hot, intriguing and immediately addictive, it's a perfect binge for a climate crisis weekend.

The story: After a nervous breakdown derailed Jocelyn's (Lily-Rose Depp) last tour, she's determined to claim her rightful status as the greatest and sexiest pop star in America. Her passions are reignited by Tedros (Abel "The Weeknd" Tesfaye), a nightclub impresario with a sordid past. Will her romantic awakening take her to glorious new heights or the deepest and darkest depths of her soul?

"The Idol" is co-created by Sam Levinson ("Euphoria"), Abel "The Weeknd" Tesfaye and Reza Fahim, and stars Abel "The Weeknd" Tesfaye and Lily-Rose Depp. Also starring Troye Sivan, Dan Levy, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Eli Roth, Hari Nef, Jane Adams, Jennie Ruby Jane, Mike Dean, Moses Sumney, Rachel Sennott, Ramsey, Suzanna Son, and Hank Azaria.

The Prank Panel
"The Prank Panel" is one of the best and most fun of the game show series we are stuck with this summer while everyone ignores the WGA writer's strike. With co-hosts Johnny Knoxville, Eric André and Gabourey Sidibe it's got a lot of humor, not a little meanness and plenty of queerness tossed in.

The premise: People pitch pranks targeting partners (some gay), family members, friends and co-workers to a panel of "the world's greatest pranksters." Knoxville is the prankster extraordinaire, having co-created and starred in the now-iconic MTV reality stunt show "Jackass." André is a comedian and the creator, host, and co-writer of the "Adult Swim" surreal comedy series "The Eric André Show." Oscar-nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe is also a comedian and a big surprise on this show.

The trio are the all-star panel of "pranxperts." They take viewers behind the scenes to help to plot and plan elaborate and diabolical schemes. The panelists serve as mentors and saboteurs, with celebrity guests sometimes joining the shenanigans and hooliganism.

Not for everyone, but it has its moments of true hilarity and is a light bit of froth that demands nothing of the viewer but that they enjoy this guilty pleasure; on ABC/Hulu

Megan Rapinoe  

Sport's end
Iconic lesbian soccer star and activist Megan Rapinoe announced July 8 that this season will be her last world cup. The women's national team star made the totally unexpected announcement prior to a U.S. game against Wales. (ESSPN)

Rapinoe, who turned 38 July 5, is an Olympic gold medalist and Winner of the Ballon d'Or Féminin. She was named The Best FIFA Women's Player in 2019, won the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup and she won the Golden Boot and Golden Ball awards at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France.

Rapinoe was included in Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2020 and in July 2022, Rapinoe received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Biden. She's been an outspoken activist for LGBTQ rights since coming out in 2012 and has been supportive of young trans athletes.

Rapinoe has changed the sport for women in a myriad of ways. She told reporters, "I just want to say thank you to everybody. I could have never imagined where this beautiful game would have taken me." She called playing for the national team "the greatest thing that I have ever done."

Rapinoe also led the fight for women to be paid commensurate with men for their work on the field. In 2016 Rapinoe was the first national athlete to kneel during the national anthem at an international match in solidarity with NFL San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick.

It's hard to imagine soccer without the teal-, pink-, lavender-haired Rapinoe and her amazing moves on and off the field.

Michael Imperioli  

Michael Imperioli forbade "bigots and homophobes" from watching his work following the Supreme Court ruling. "I've decided to forbid bigots and homophobes from watching 'The Sopranos,' 'The White Lotus,' 'Goodfellas' or any movie or TV show I've been in," Imperioli said in the caption of a post on his Instagram page Saturday, adding "Thank you Supreme Court for allowing me to discriminate and exclude those who I don't agree with and am opposed to. USA! USA!"

In the comments, Imperioli added, "hate and ignorance is not a legitimate point of view" and "America is becoming dumber by the minute."

So for the sublime and the ridiculous and because we're losing LGBTQ characters all the time, you know you really must stay tuned.

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