Tuesday, 22 May 2012

409: Gay Bar 10 - Police Academy

The Police Academy film spanned the summer movie schedules of the 1980s. These popular films were the final drip-drip of the rowdy frat rebellion and party-hard hijinks that first scored big audiences in the late 70s “Animal House” and then numerous bandwagon-jumpers for the next decade or so. A franchise in the same way a Macdonalds is a franchise The somewhat under-achieving “Police Academy” films offered a standardised diet of good-natured misfits and underdogs, bosoms, parties and pranks with the same recurring cast for the better part of the decade to an easily pleased audience. Amidst all the repetitions of characters and situations, one of the gags that would soon become as familiar as a Big Mac was a visit to the Blue Oyster Bar which appeared in the first four Police Academy movies

In each film a straight character, usually some kill-joy petty authority figure, is directed to The Blue Oyster Bar, all unsuspecting of its real nature. Entering they find themselves in a dark bar confronted by a large array of leather-men: burly, hairy-chested, beards, mutton-chops, handle-bar moustaches, biker outfits, leather caps. The rough-sex stereotype of the contemporary gay lifestyle which had become more familiar to the general audience since the Village People and Cruising. The straight character is intimidated by the silent mass of leering gay men. Anxiety, anxiety at this perverse threat. What assaults will they be subject to? Tension builds….and then - just as the straight character is about to flee the bar - they are grabbed by one of the gay patrons. And forced to tango.

Because men dancing together is FUNNY. It disturbs the natural order, for any dancing insinuates sex. Whatever sweaty sexual dancing may happen in a real gay bar or disco, here it’s the highly formalised techniques and roles of tango. Yet the effete regimented nature of formal-dancing with its flamboyant flourishes is in opposition to the gritty roughness of a leather-man. The dancing is sufficient to itself for effeminacy as the leather-man maintain their facades with no mincing, lip pursing, limp wrists or other camp behaviour. Audiences get both the rough-sex stereotype and effeminate traits simultaneously, each in revolving opposition like a cat covered in butter.

Of course after the first film, the audience know what the set-up is. Thereafter no comic surprise, only watching somebosy finding themselves tricked into some embarrassing dancing. A comic interpretation of sexual intimidation
Police Academy (1984)
0.00 – 2.09

Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol (1987)
2.10 – 3.07

Police Academy 3: Back in Training (1986)
3.08 – 3.53

Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment (1985)
3.54 -

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