GLAAD Hails Cancellation of 'Homophobic' Bill & Ted Universal Show
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Universal Studios Hollywood has elected to cancel one of the attractions at its annual “Halloween Horror Nights” event.
While most of the event is designed to scare the bejeebus out of visitors to the park, “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure” is was a comedy show that relentlessly lampooned all things pop culture. Universal Studios Hollywood made the announcement after critics had charged the show with being homophobic.
The issue was first raised in an article on the site Vice, then reiterated in a Huffington Post article on October 19. The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has issued a statement supporting the show’s cancellation.
The very loose story plops our heroes Bill S. Preston (Esquire!) and Ted Theodore Logan smack dab in the middle of Oz, where they meet Superman, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Michael Jackson, Kim Jong-un, Ron Burgandy, Nikki Minaj and a litany of other pop culture figures and characters on their way down the yellow brick road.
So what has GLAAD, Huffington Post and Vice so riled up? At one point in the story, Superman is sprinkled with pixie dust or fairy dust or something and he turns gay. Stereotypically gay. Fabulously gay.
I’ve seen the show. I took my 11-year-old son to the park, and on our way out, we ducked in for the 11 p.m. opening night performance. I have to admit, I was shocked. Not offended, mind you, but shocked. I saw no warnings that the show would be nearly as racy as it was. Nothing that would scar my kid for life, but it was more appropriate for teenagers than for an 11-year-old kid.
Many of the sexual jokes flew over his head, but the thing that shocked me was this: The show makes fun of gay people. The show makes fun of Asian people. African-Americans. Latin Americans. The Kim Jong-un character speaks like someone out of a 1940s propaganda cartoon.
Upon meeting the wicked witch, Bill or Ted remarks, “I’ve seen this movie. We just have to throw her in a pool or something.” “I can swim,” she hisses back. And another character says, “She’s green, not black!” I could go on and on. And the thing is … I saw black people laughing at that last joke. I saw Latinos laughing when a group of Latino soldiers in stereotypical Latino clothes were called “G.I. Jose.” And Asians were laughing at the portrayal of Kim Jon-un. And, yes, I laughed too.
Sure, at first I was caught off-guard--the first such joke was the “She’s green not black,” and my jaw dropped. I was not offended. I repeat, I was not offended. Just very surprised.
There doesn’t seem to be anyone protesting any content outside of flamboyantly gay Superman. The Vice story mentions it, but is clearly more concerned with the homophobia. The show basically makes fun of everybody. Everybody except straight white guys, so says Vice, explaining “you guys get off pretty easy.”
Really? The only straight white guy characters in the show are Bill, Ted and Ron Burgundy.
GLAAD and everybody else are free to be offended by portrayals of their culture meant for laughs. I’m just not so sure that being offended is the same thing as being defamed.