Robot 6

Universal Studios axes ‘Bill & Ted’ show with gay, mincing Superman

bill and ted-superman

Responding to accusations of homophobia, and increasing media attention, Universal Studios Hollywood has canceled its Bill and Ted Halloween Horror Nights show, which featured a Man of Steel transformed into a mincing gay stereotype.

Part of the theme park’s annual Halloween event,  Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure was a play in which the title characters are transported to the Land of Oz filled with references to sex and popular culture. According to Vice.com, Bill and Ted are joined in their quest to kill four evil witches by Superman, who’s turned gay after being accidentally sprinkled with fairy dust.

“After becoming gay, Superman’s voice and posture changes,” writes Vice’s Jamie Lee Curtis Taete. “His lips purse, his toes point inward, and his wrists become limp. His new voice sounds like a homophobic uncle doing a drunken impression of Richard Simmons, complete with lisps and frequent use of the word ‘faaaaaaabulous!’”

The depiction apparently goes downhill from there, with the Man of Steel groping his companions and blowing them kisses, and “mistaking” the intentions of General Zod’s order to get on his knees before running off with a lisping Mr. Sulu/”George Takei” to have sex off-stage. According to the website, the production also wades into offensive racial territory with portrayals of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and rapper/singer Nicki Minaj.

After other outlets began to pick up on the Vice report, a Universal Studios spokeswoman told The Advocate on Monday that Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure “is specifically intended to be shocking and satirical in tone, focusing on adult themes. The show lampoons across all areas of our culture and it was not our intention to offend or upset anyone. We know there are a range of opinions on this issue and we will respect them as we consistently review and refine the show’s content.”

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation reached out to the theme park’s parent company NBCUniversal, stating on Tuesday that “this type of content should be removed.”

By the following day, Universal had pulled the plug on the show entirely, announcing on its website, “After thoughtful consideration, Universal Studios Hollywood has made the decision to discontinue production of the Halloween Horror Nights’ Bill & Ted show for the remainder of its limited run.”

GLAAD National Spokesperson Wilson Cruz responded to the move, saying, “NBCUniversal has taken quick and strong action regarding this matter and also started a productive dialogue around future Bill & Ted programming to ensure that all park visitors can have an enjoyable experience. This decision falls in line with NBCUniversal’s history of including groundbreaking and positive depictions of LGBT people across its brands.”

The Bill & Ted show was announced in July as part of a Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Hollywood and Universal Orlando that includes a maze inspired by the third season of The Walking Dead. The limited-run event began Sept. 20 and continues through November, only without Bill & Ted.

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Comments

49 Comments

score 1 for censorship!

So…. is Richard Simmons a negative gay stereotype, or is it just the impersonation of Richard Simmons that offends? I’m trying to keep up with the rules.

Good for GLAAD. What the fuck was Universal thinking??

The “homophobic uncle doing a drunken impression of Richard Simmons”–key word here being “homophobic.”

The gay agenda wins another victory against free speech. This is no longer the America I remember, thanks Obama. Guess Bill and Ted will be transgender, Mexicans lesbians in Bill and Ted 3 – that’s if the PC FASCISTS THUGS in Hollywood ever allow it to get made!

Charles, are you parodying a conservative? Because as a conservative, you’re really embarrassing me if you’re for real.

Charles how would you like to be represented as a unflattering, idiotic, offensive and stupid stereotype. I’m all for free speech, but there’s a point where it’s just stupid and hurtful.

At first, I thought whatever it’s just some stupid fun. Then after giving it more than 2 seconds you realize, wait a minute, I live in the real world, there are consequences and emotions involved. So wait for it, there you go, now that you caught up, see how wrong you are.

You probably remember an America where we are handed everything. Sorry sunshine, it’s just a lie the history books told you. This country was earned and this country is better for it. You should know better, I’ll wait till you get it.

“Charles how would you like to be represented as a unflattering, idiotic, offensive and stupid stereotype.”

I think Charles is doing a fine job of that on his own.

RegularSyzed Mike

October 24, 2013 at 10:13 am

So what do we do about the gay folks who act like that in real life? Are they now considered a negative stereotype because they don’t act white/hetero “normal” and just happen to be gay?

NOPE! We’re okay with gay folks as long as they still act like what white straight people think is “normal”!

Also, I haven’t seen this show but what if having Superman turn fruity was a commentary or play on the ridiculous hyper-masculinity of that character and superheroes in general? Admittedly, I’m not looking for deep social commentary in a Bill and Ted play but that doesn’t mean they should censor themselves to keep gay culture safe for straight people.

Sorry, something seems wrong here!

Aaaaaand this is why I still watch South Park. And listen to/watch reruns of George Carlin. Because guess what? “Stupid and hurtful” speech, and stereotypes, can be funny. And I will continue to be amused by it and laugh at it.

Just like that episode where Cartman laughs uncontrollably at the midget. And yes, I said “midget”.

Hahaha, my comment was a joke guys. Scary how believable it was though, right?

This sounds like it would have been a better Superman than “Man of Steel”.

I’m going to go out on a very shaky limb here as straight guy: I have seen drag shows were this same broad kind of performance was used as a … satirical embrace of the presence of gay iconography/life in heteronormative society. It was very knowing camp presented by and for gay audience.
Supermn does have cache as a symbol of closeted homosexuality. Contrasting him with Mr. Sulu, and machismo icons like the (original) Zod character does make some sense, in a Drag/Burlesque performance.

I think, in the right setting a “Follies” with these elements could be viewed as a cheap satirical gag show. BUT, a mass market theme park sure as hell doesn’t sound like the right stage. Comedy depends as much on audience as it does content, the wider you make the former, the weaker and less subversive you have to make the latter.

Didn’t Bill and Ted yell “Bogus” all the time? That was a thing, right?

I could care less about the show, but I really just want to yell “BOGUS” for the sake of it. If something positive would have happened with this, I would have yelled out “MOST TRIUMPHANT” totally surfer mode.

So with that out of the way:

BOGUS!

There are plenty of warnings that the show might contain offensive material. And the show makes fun of multiple groups of people and individuals and just because one group gets offended we all have to suffer? Lighten up people!

I consider myself a Conservative, but wouldn’t support a politician who claims the same. Cognitive dissonance blows your mind.

I love satire–and South Park–but hated the B&T show at USH this year. There’s a difference between satire (where stereotypes can be used/exploded for purposes of social critique) and tossing around stereotypes for their own sake, which tends to be gratuitous and harmful to the people they’re stereotyping, particularly when those people are already targets for discrimination.

The idea of satirizing Superman’s idealized straight hypermasculinity might have been interesting. But turning him into a prancing gay stereotype, and having other characters then beg him to man up in order to defeat Zod, is the farthest thing from that. it’s actually saying that being gay=being weak=not being like Superman. That’s not satire; that’s just lazy reliance on anti-gay stereotypes.

Was pretty tame to me and I was there last week. It’s called over the top people. heck my son laughed his ass off and he is gay.

It’s called juxtaposition humor and it’s funny. Superman isn’t like that, so it’s funny when he acts like that.
Just like if you had Richard Simmons (poor Richard… OK, ummm…. Liberace) all talking smack and kicking ass and chomping on a cigar and firing several automatic weapons and rescuing a damsel in distress, it’s funny (well, can be if done right).

But, and this is a big hairy, sweaty but, this was an all ages show, and it had a lot of crass stuff in it.
See this article: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2013/oct/24/bill-and-ted-halloween-show-cancelled-gay-superman

So, it was just too much, especially for an all ages crowd.

Jordan T. Maxwell

October 24, 2013 at 12:12 pm

It’s not censorship when the company portraying the offensive material decides to remove it. Let’s not pretend like this was a case of the thought police barging in and signing everyone up for.mandatory reeducation, or like the show itself was some brilliant incisive satire. This was a minstrel show, plain and simple, scoring easy jokes with base stereotypes in some weird hybrid of dumb fratboy humor and a Klan rally.

I think that the most obvious solution to all the gay people who could feel offended by this show, is not watching it in the first place. What is more simple, censoring a show because it can be offensive, or not turn on the tv?

I’m against censorship, specially on the things related to comedy, something that relies on subjectivity. I’m mexican, and I see more than often misleading representations oy my people and my culture, but I don’t take that too seriously… If those representations (on tv or in the movies) are funny, then I laugh… If they’re not, I just turn off the tv, or take the remote control to change the channel. Is that simple.

@Acmc: You are so clearly against free speech, it is scary. You’ve basically said that A, if the stuff makes someone sad, it should not be allowed, B, there is some “point” that should not be crossed and I guess you are the one who defines it? That’s not how freedom of speech works.

@Acmc: You are so clearly against free speech, it is scary. You’ve basically said that A, if the stuff makes someone sad, it should not be allowed, B, there is some “point” that should not be crossed and I guess you are the one who defines it? That’s not how freedom of speech works.”

Freedom of speech is a two-way street. You (the universal “you”) are permitted to say something, and I’m permitted to say I disagree with you, or that I think your comments were wrong or stupid or hurtful — all without fear of government reprisal.

No one said (to my knowledge) that this Bill & Ted show shouldn’t be allowed, only that the stereotypes it depicted were insulting and offensive (and, apparently, unfunny, but that’s another matter). No one called in the police, no one petitioned Congress — heck, I didn’t even see a call for a boycott of NBCUniversal. No, a writer for a website saw the show and wrote about it, other outlets picked up on it, and Universal Studios and its parent company were criticized for it, and apparently decided it was a pretty good idea to cancel the show (a business decision).

“I’m SUPER, thanks for asking!”

And I thought the regular Superman was already gay!!

….Marvel rules.

@ACMC:

“You probably remember an America where we are handed everything. Sorry sunshine, it’s just a lie the history books told you. This country was earned and this country is better for it. You should know better, I’ll wait till you get it.”

I agree, that the history books have lied to all of us. But that includes you too, if you think that “this country was earned”…. Unless you think building a country on the backs of African slaves, and stealing it from Native Americans counts as “earning it”.

@ Jarrod:

“And I thought the regular Superman was already gay!!”

–Yes, because pre-52 Superman was married for well over a decade, and the New 52 Superman is dating the hottest, most powerful woman in comics.. Yep, that sounds “gay” to me..

“….Marvel rules.”

–RIiiiight. And who is Captain America dating/married to right now? Or Thor?

@Jeb, I believe the example you’re looking for is Neil Patrick Harris in the “Harold and Kumar” films, or as Barney in “How I Met Your Mother”.

@ACMC: You said, “Charles how would you like to be represented as a unflattering, idiotic, offensive and stupid stereotype. I’m all for free speech, but there’s a point where it’s just stupid and hurtful.”

Well, if Charles is indeed a male (as am I), TV is absolutely swarming with idiotic male stereotypes. From Peter Griffith to the men characters in many commercials that need to be “saved” by their much smarter spouses, men are played as hapless nitwits. We are all positively swimming in those sorts of negative male stereotypes that don’t portray us in a flattering light. Yet somehow, we manage to carry on without demanding the “content be removed”.

@Craig Don’t mix male stereotypes with gay stereotypes, that as stupid as mixing gay stereotypes with black stereotypes

Hard to believe this was still going on in this day and age. Good riddance to this show.

Charles, you’re an ignorant ass. Please finish middle school.

Oh, sorry, Charles–you were so convincing, I thought you were for real. My apologies. :)

Don’t confuse free speech violations with having the good sense to remove something. Free speech violation includes having someone with a gun, weapon or army telling you to remove it…. or having it done by force. You can scream “They Violated Free Speech” all they want, but they didn’t…. and if you really review it, you can obviously see that. They had free speech when they put it in there…. what they did do was see that the LGBT community found it beyond disgusting and THEY took it down. Universal… NOT the LGBT community.

And for the ones saying, stereotypes are funny: Imagine if they had Superman putting on black-face and dancing an Al Jolson song. You KNOW that would be vile…. and the walls of Universal would come crumbling to the ground. So spare me and us that logic.
This was parody, or funny…. this was homophobic hate wrapped up in a bow of humor.

@Drew, Charles was asked something specific, I provided a specific answer. I’m not doing any kind of moral equivalence. Get your panties out of a bunch.

So . . . Universal Studios puts on a live comedy show that plays with gay stereotypes and gets critically lambasted and shut down. Disney/ABC puts on a sitcom that plays with gay stereotypes and wins boatloads of critical praise and Emmys.

It’s a strange world we live in.

“Charles how would you like to be represented as a unflattering, idiotic, offensive and stupid stereotype. I’m all for free speech, but there’s a point where it’s just stupid and hurtful”

Tell it to the Irish.

Or Christians.

Or Germans.

Or straight white males.

People need to get over their persecution complexes. It’s happened to all of us.

“People need to get over their persecution complexes. It’s happened to all of us.”

Give me a break. We are talking about a minority of people who are still being victimized in public streets – to the point of death. Hell, Russia has recently banned homosexuality – AND the last time I checked “straight white males” seemed to be at the top of the food chain in most of the world.

No give me a break.

I grew up in the crappy parts of Southern California and was jumped, beaten and chased home because of my skin color more times than I have fingers and toes to count.
I was and still have been harassed by police because of my clothes and hair multiple times.

I have had to fight for my life or be killed a few times just because I happened to be in the wrong place (apparently) so don’t tell me crap.

I am so sick of whiny little bitches that have never had to defend themselves or stand up for others ( which I have done plenty of times as well) telling me that I need to give others special treatment when I have had to deal with the same things myself.

Everyone of every race has to deal with this garbage.

I can tell you one thing, if me and everyone in this thread where in a situation where someone was being bullied or attacked, I’d bet most of you preaching pansies would just shuffle around with your heads down while I would be putting a stop to the situation.

Give me f@#king break, indeed.

It’s never good to work through you issues on a public message board like this.

so… according to this… Will & Grace would be cancelled if it was created nowadays???

What really boggles my mind is that they thought anyone was still interested in Bill & Ted.

Rikk Odinson is a big tuff man

“so… according to this… Will & Grace would be cancelled if it was created nowadays???”
Oh that would be glorious! Maybe it could take Big Bang Theory with it?

America, what the f**k has happened to you?

Max: “It’s never good to work through you issues on a public message board like this.”

LMAO!

I’m glad Universal finally realized how offensive they were being.

I feel like I always post this, but folks, censorship and the First Amendment are at issue where the *government* censors things. Private parties always have the right to object to offensive content.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhh boy. I wish I could have seen what this show was like.

@Geoff:

Yes, as originally conceptualized, the word censorship did refer specifically to government clamdowns on speech. But this isn’t 1776, when a bunch of Redcoats busting up a printing press hidden in the back of Ye Olde Soda Shoppe effectively ended all avenues for wide distribution of speech or ideas that might upset the established power base.

Both language and the society from which it grows are constantly evolving entities. The commonly accepted modern definition of censorship encompasses the abridgement of speech by anyone in a position of power to control or suppress its dissemination on the basis that it undermines the political, social, or even commercial interests/agendas of those doing the suppressing. That includes not only governments but media, political and social interest groups, and businesses.

Silly people. A company coming to its senses isn’t censorship.

I remember when if was the right that wanted to censor everything with the Moral Majority and whatnot. Now it’s the left and instead of “decency” it’s in the name of “sensitivity”. Funny how things change.

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