Sunday, March 8, 2009

Reel Thoughts: Come on Down to West Lahunga, Gonna Have Yourself a Time

Do you ever watch South Park and wish there was a more gay-friendly version? Q. Allan Brocka, the mad genius behind such gay faves as Eating Out and Boy Culture, has come to your rescue! His wildly successful short film Rick and Steve, The Happiest Gay Couple in All the World spawned a hilarious animated series that plays on Logo, the second season of which debuts on DVDthis Tuesday.

Using what look like Lego people (unlike any you’ve ever seen!), Brocka tells the stories of the residents of West Lahunga Beach, including brawny Steve and his brainy boyfriend Rick, their lesbian friends, Dana and Kirsten, their baby Dixie (created by either Rick or Steve’s ‘donation’), 50-year-old Chuck and his kept party-boyfriend Evan, and Condi Ling, West Lahunga’s resident fag hag (or “alternative lifestyle companion,” as she prefers to be called).

West Lahunga Beach is just as messed up and wrong as South Park, but infinitely funnier, because Brocka’s humor is much more intelligent and less scattershot. The way these innocent-looking play-toys tackle issues like gay-on-gay discrimination, family-led sabotage on gay relationships, dealing with a boyfriend’s ex-tricks, HIV issues, ageism and even the dreaded “Lesbian Bed Death” is incredibly smart, witty and wildly offensive.

That’s why great gay favorites like Wilson Cruz, Alan Cumming, Margaret Cho and Peter Paige have signed on to play regular characters, while Lorna Luft, Tori Spelling, Jennifer Coolidge, Alec Mapa, Mark Hamill, George Takei and Robert Gant are just some of the great guest talent.

It’s impossible to name a favorite episode, but when Luft, as Steve’s racist mom dumps her dog’s poop into Rick’s mom’s adobo on the stove, leading to the unbelievable “Mom Fight,” I about needed oxygen to recover. When the gang goes to San Francisco (only to discover that they’re not gay enough), of course Bruce Vilanch had to show up as San Francisco’s oldest living homosexual/decorator (also an outcast for being such a stereotype).

I haven’t been a huge fan of Logo, due to their merciless hacking-up of any movie I try to watch on TV, but Rick and Steve proves that all can be forgiven. I can’t wait to see who actually fathered Dana’s baby, and whether or not the roving gang of cats tries to kidnap the tyke again! Take a trip to West Lahunga Beach and see if you don’t fall in love ... and good luck getting that theme song out of your head!

Review by Neil Cohen, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Phoenix's Echo Magazine.

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