The New York Times
Prizes, and Mocks, Gay Values
By GINIA BELLAFANTE,
nytimes.com from the Web, July 24, 2007
|Logo: The stars of “Rick & Steve: The
Happiest Gay Couple in All the World.”
“Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay
Couple in All the World,” a new comedy on Logo, is like an old salt whose filthy
mouth belies a gentle spirit. It speaks raunchily, but it behaves
judiciously. The publicity surrounding it billed the show as a gay “South
Park,” but the comparison obtains superficially, and even there you might
“Rick & Steve” uses robotic figures and stop-motion animation. And it
harbors far less anarchy in its soul, mocking the normative values now favored
in gay and lesbian life as wholeheartedly as it endorses them. The series
isn’t so much a gay “South Park” as it is a “Honeymooners” for our post-“Will &
Based on short films by Q. Allan Brocka, “Rick & Steve” is arguably even more
conventional than that. Though set in the middle of the baby boom, “The
Honeymooners” did not concern itself with child rearing, a subject so dear to
the cultural interest that it is unavoidable even in comedy’s most seemingly
subversive pockets. It says something that the grossest joke on “Rick &
Steve” thus far hasn’t been about illicit sex but about procreation.
Illicit sex scares Rick and Steve, a longtime suburban gay couple who wrestle
with a request from their lesbian best friends, Kirsten and Dana, to assist in
the production of a baby. Another young friend is paired with an older man
who is H.I.V. positive. (“You married me when it was cool to have a
boyfriend with AIDS,” he growls at his partner.) Everyone on the show is
Rick and Steve are married too, and they work at their monogamy. One night
after they venture to a club, they return home horrified by the idea of guys in
leather and the whole promiscuous scene to which they have been momentarily
privy. This sends them to a couples therapist, who advises that each
engage in the other’s hobby; Rick’s is Men-zuh, an organization of gay geniuses.
“Rick & Steve” derives much of its humor from stereotype: lesbians who
yearn to get home to grout tubs and ones who seek “nondenominational cleanser.”
Some of it is clever, but none of it challenges heterosexual assumptions about
what gay life ought to look like. The difference-versus-equality debates
that factionalized nearly every social movement of the 20th century seem well
over in the gay and lesbian world. “Rick & Steve” is just more proof of
how forcefully one side has won.
RICK & STEVE
The Happiest Gay Couple in All the World
Logo, tonight at 10, Eastern and Pacific times; 9, Central time.
Created, written and directed by Q. Allan Brocka; Mr. Brocka and Lance W.
Reynolds, executive producers. Produced by Cuppa Coffee Productions, Post
Pictures and Logo.
WITH THE VOICES OF: Will Matthews (Rick), Peter Paige (Steve), Emily Hands
(Kirsten), Taylor Dooley (Dana), Alan Cumming (Chuck) and Wilson Cruz (Evan).