You know how you can walk past a store window and see a really nice shirt, or pair of shoes, or whatever and think,”Hey, that would be nice to own.”
But after you go in and try it on you realize the shirt doesn’t fit right. Or the color is not to your liking. Or those shoes that looked so fly put a serious hurting on your feet.
That is how I felt about the story of aspiring music producer Tariq Muhammed and gangster rapper Kaldrick “Kal” King, two characters on “L.A. Complex,” a Canadian series that will begin airing in the United States on the CW later this year.
For those who didn’t catch this gay love/hate story on Youtube before it got taken down I won’t spoil the fun. A basic outline of the plot: Kal is seriously on the down-low, in love with Tariq, but so paranoid about his secret getting out he will stoop to threats and violence to protect it.
I don’t know who clued me in to this series — perhaps it was Pimusique or some other blogger I follow — but I was instantly hooked. The show does not air in the United States so I waited impatiently for someone to post the next installment on YouTube. I would wake myself and partner “Morgan” up at the crack of dawn to watch.
Their love scenes were so hot and intense and passionate — damn just thinking of them gets my dick half hard. Plus Kal was handsome and had the body of death and Tariq was so baby-faced and earnest you couldn’t help but be charmed.
I showed clips of the show during the halftime show to friends who came over for a Super Bowl party (sorry Madonna). Then I started emailing clips of the episodes to my friends and having furious text message exchanges about the plot.
It was nice to see a black, gay relationship on primetime TV, never mind if it was in Canada.
I may have been an early fan but some of my friends were not so impressed.
“Damn, did they have to make one of the characters a gay rapper?,” one friend said. “Shit, didn’t that dude Terrance Dean write about that in ‘Hiding in Hip Hop’ a few years ago. That is so cliched and tired.”
“Come on Immanuel, they were doing that gay thug thing with Omar back on ‘The Wire.’ This shit ain’t so new,” someone else remarked.
Now more than a month later I’m less enamoured with the series, too. Why does a gay storyline have to include a down-low rapper and incorporate such violence and self-hate?
And some of my friends are right — although the acting is top notch the characters are stereotypical. The angry, black, suppressed gay thug who can’t control his emotions or fists. The sensitive, young gay man so in love and lust he can’t see the semi truck about to flatten him.
In hindsight the whole thing was just a little bit too over-the-top and soap opery. And the series mid-season finale was a real downer. I don’t see where the relationship will go.
To get over my disappointment Morgan suggested I look at an episode of the groundbreaking 2007 series DL Chronicles entitled “Robert.” It is about a black talent agent named Robert who falls for a much younger Austin but has to hide the budding relationship and his gayness from his grown daughter.
“This is my favorite episode of DL Chronicles. I promise you you will like it better than L.A. Complex,” Morgan said. “L.A. Complex was pretty good but I’m still down about that finale a week later.”
“Okay, I give up you win. Go get the DVD. I’ve seen one or two DL Chronicles episodes but not ‘Robert.”
So Morgan went rummaging through his basement office and found the DVD.
The “Robert” episode was funny and moving and extremely sensual. The characters were more real. The acting was good. Robert and Austin were just two regular joes — a black professional and a bath and body works store manager — trying to navigate the uneasy world of black gay men.
Oh and did I forget to say Robert and Austin were sexy as all get out?
Plus I could relate. I’m a father too coming out later in life, just like Robert. I was feeling his pain.
After the episode ended I was quiet as the credits rolled.
“Damn, that was good,” I finally said to Morgan. “I’m glad I listened to you.”
“Told you so.”
I wish we could see more Robert and Austins on the screen and fewer Tariqs and Kals.