Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pretty Good, Pretty Gay(s) - Beautiful People

I caught up with the entire BBCTwo series Beautiful People this past weekend. It's only 6 episodes of 30 min. each so it's not a huge feet.

It's not a musical show but check this clip out (with snippets of The Wiz, Funny Girl, Annie etc.):

How fabulous was that? And hilarious? While the series has its up and downs and quite inconsistent overall, when the show hits highs, it's so camp and so gay that it'll make everything look pretty!

Here's one more musical moment: Simon and Kylie Lip Sync to "Don't Cry Out Loud" (Melissa Manchester). HILARIOUS! Watch the girls in the back sneak out of the room. FABULOUS!:

If you can't tell already, Beautiful People is VERY CAMP and VERY GAY! Fabulous! It's based on the memoirs of Simon Doonan and the show traces Adult Simon (Samuel Barnett, The History Boys) who is now a fabulous window dresser at Barney's in New York where he's with his hot boyfriend Sacha (Gary Amers) all as he narrates stories from his childhood way back in 1997 (I know. '97 is now apparently historic and nostalgic. Gawd I'm getting old).

'97 Simon Doonan (a sweet Luke Ward-Wilkinson) hangs out with best friend Kylie (a snap snapworthy Layton Williams who screams fabulous, West End's Billy Elliot) in little ol' Reading, England. Actually it's Kyle, but he goes by his favorite singer Kylie Minogue.

Simon lives with his dysfunctional and trashy but lovable and loving parents Debbie (a sharp yet loving Olivia Colman) and Andy (a crushworthy Aidan McArdle), sister Ashlene (Sophie Ash) and Auntie Hayley (Meera Syal) who isn't actually their auntie AND is East Indian AND is slightly blind who has a slightly blind seeing-eye dog. It's a bit much and a bit crass at times but the general love towards the VERY fey young Simon is sweet and rarely seen.

The family doesn't even really make Simon's gayness as a problem. Even father Andy lets him be, although he does give the boy a lesson in footy at one point to man him up after being beaten up at school. Only Kylie's mom Reba (Sarah Niles) constantly berates Simon and Kylie (but then she seems to berate everyone else too). There's also Tameka (Tameka Empson from another gay treasure Beautiful Thing), an outspoken rum loving hairdresser and Narg (Oscar nominee Brenda Fricker) as the now-nasty grandma.

The show veers from crass to camp but at its heart, there's a sweetness to the stories of Simon Doonan and it's so pro-gay both in the flashbacks and in the present day narrative bookends that I still enjoyed the show for what it is. The performances by the young Ward-Wilkinson and Williams are incredibly endearing. Watching the parents learning to parent (while they read their books in bed, love the ever-changing books they are reading) is sweet, especially with Colman and McArdles.

There are tons of odd bits and storylines that sometimes tries too hard to make it quirky but how can you hate a show with something like this?:

Simon, Kylie and Miss Prentice (Francis Barber) singing "Something Better Than This":


Esther said...

This looks like fun! Although I have to admit I've never heard of Simon Doonan.

Vance said...

Okay me neither. People talked about it like he was famous or something but I've never heard of him. Though apparently he's 50 so his memories would really be in the 67 and not 97.

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