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This Week: Why is David Harbour so sexy?

Mikey Heinrich: I don't know if it's too soon for this to be the start of a 'This Week,' or if this is just random musings, but I've been reflecting.

As I've mentioned too many times, I have a list of TV shows I've been meaning to get around to watching, and I recently got to Love, Victor over on Hulu. It ran for three seasons, 28 total episodes, which I binged in just over a week.

If you don't recall/weren't aware, a few years ago there was a movie called Love, Simon. It was kind of your standard 'gay kid in high school coming of age' drama, which I didn't bother going to see at the time but always kind of meant to see. A few years ago I saw a commercial on Hulu for Love, Victor, which is a loose spinoff from the film. It takes place at the same high school, but a few years later on with new students.

For whatever reason, I put it on my TV show list because it looked interesting. I actually almost bumped it off the list a couple times for the same reason that I never got around to seeing the film – it just seemed like it was aimed at a younger audience than me. But I didn't, and am really glad that I didn't.

I did watch Love, Simon before starting the show, which I recommend because a lot of it ties in.

Anyway, the show was just so endearingly sweet that it was impossible to not fall in love with it. Sure, it was just a 'gay kid in high school coming of age' thing in part, but the writing is several cuts above what you normally expect from that kind of thing, and it's hard not to get wrapped up in the soapiness of it and root for all the characters.

The reason that it's been on my mind today is that I keep thinking about how much a show like this would have changed my life, had I seen it back in the 80s. It's overwhelmingly sex positive without being particularly graphic, and it's really true to that 'figuring your sexuality shit out.' If I'd seen this back in the day, it would have meant the world to me.

So, maybe we have made some progress. Maybe the world is better now than I've been giving it credit for.

Anyway, that's what's been on my mind today. Totally recommend it if you need something positive in your life.

An Honest Fangirl: This was lovely, Mikey. I remember the movie coming out (although I also didn't see it), but wasn't aware of the series.

If you're looking for something similar, Heartstopper is on Netflix. Two seasons currently released and a third is announced. It's based on an ongoing graphic novel that I also recommend. Haven't seen the show, but the novel is very sweet and endearing. Again, very 'gay kid in high school coming of age,' but it's done in a way that feels... compassionate? I guess that's the right word. The characters feel loved by the narrative as opposed to deliberately tortured by it, and it's only been recently that I started to appreciate how much of a difference that can make.

Mikey Heinrich: Yes! That says it exactly! 'The characters feel loved by the narrative' might be my favorite description of a show ever.

Heartstopper is the one with Yasmin Finney, right?

An Honest Fangirl: Yes, it is!

Billie Doux: As far as recommending something positive, I saw a Netflix flick called Love at First Sight this week. It's about a couple (Haley Lu Richardson and Ben Hardy) who meet and fall in love during a flight from New York to London. I expected it to be a fun but forgettable rom-com, but am surprised to report that it was touching and had unexpected depth; halfway through, I actually started crying. If you're a fan of The Good Place, Jameela Jamil is the narrator and something of a bizarre fairy godmother who appears throughout the movie, and let me add, it's much better than that sounds.

Mikey Heinrich: And oh my God Billie, the series finale of Love, Victor had me bawling the entire way through. No spoilers, but it was happy crying. I'll definitely check out Love at First Sight.

Billie Doux: And Love, Victor is now on my list.

Mikey Heinrich: When you watch it, just know that I basically was Felix in high school.

Joseph Santini: I need to check out these shows. I need more positive queer joy.

My TV week was fairly standard except for clicking by accident on Violent Night on Amazon... and having two plus hours of fun with a massive tattooed David Harbour in a Santa suit going toe to toe with John Leguizamo. The cast really makes this movie watchable with Beverly D’Angelo doing a whole Devil Wears Prada bit of her own. I was entertained, even by the corny bits.

Adam D. Jones: Dude. Violent Night is a remarkably good movie. Nonstop fun. Very satisfying. And it seems to understand the importance and value of Christmas despite being a violent and gory romp. It's the impossible film, and I can't wait to watch it again. It's so rare for Hollywood execs to greenlight anything creative and so out-of-the-box.

Mikey Heinrich: I'm planning to rewatch Violent Night tonight! Such a fun movie. And you're right, despite everything, it really does get Christmas on a deep level.

Joseph Santini: David Harbour is very rewatchable.

Mikey Heinrich: He so is. Why is David Harbour so sexy? On paper it makes absolutely no sense. And yet somehow...

Joseph Santini:

Mikey Heinrich: See. Objectively that should not be sexy. And yet here I am.

Samantha M. Quinn: He's kind of the Dad figure in TV and movies right now which appeals to a certain type. The other one is Pedro Pascal, who is more my type. I do need to see Violent Night at some point soon. It looks absurd.

Watched a couple of romantic Christmas movies. One was bad (New York Christmas Wedding) the other was pretty good (Something at Tiffany's). I also finally attempted to watch Fifty Shades. I'm about halfway through and besides Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson, I don't get it. This is coming from a Twilight fan.

Does anyone else feel that it's kind of weird to see David Tennant running around as the Doctor again? Don't get me wrong, he's my Doctor, but it feels a bit wrong for some reason. I did like that first special for the most part, and I'm looking forward to the next two and the new Doctor finally making an appearance.

Adam D. Jones: As usual, I'm going to make time to watch Danielle Panabaker in Christmas Joy.

For the plot.

Last year, after watching that one, my wife successfully argued that it was only fair we watch Brandon Routh in a Hallmark movie.

Brandon Routh holding kittens ought to be a slam dunk, even if the script was written by the same kittens, but we never once figured out what was going on. 10/10 would do again. Please watch these with your friends and some libations, and you will certainly enjoy yourselves.

As for Fifty Shades, I hoped it would be so-bad-it's-good, or at least steamy. But it was just boring to me.

Mikey Heinrich: That's actually the sequel. The first one is The Nine Lives of Christmas and is even better.

Also, Brandon Routh is a fireman in them.

A fireman. With kittens.

Adam D. Jones: Holy crap. That explains everything. No wonder we were confused. It's like starting your Tolkien adventure with The Two Towers and asking who the little guys are.

Josie Kafka: I'm sorry to interrupt, but can we please clarify: did Mikey and Adam both know about a cat-centric movie with Brandon Routh as a fireman and you guys didn't tell Billie?!?!

(And, in case you were wondering, the phrase "I'm sorry to interrupt, but can we please clarify..." is exactly how I open all of my strenuous objections to things in work meetings. I'm lots of fun.)

Billie Doux: That made my morning.


  1. I'm heading over to my dad's right now to have dinner and watch The Nine Lives of Christmas.

    I blame Adam.

    Brandon Routh's car in both movies is named Ambrose, by the way. Ambrose is adorable.

  2. My dream is that Brandon Routh reads this one day and knows how much we dig him.

  3. I have that exact same dream about Peter Wingfield and my Highlander reviews.

    1. I remember how much you gushed over him. Methos rules. No argument here.

  4. Same, but in my dream Brandon Routh isn't wearing pants.

  5. I'm not sure I find David Harbour that appealing in Violent Night, but he certainly was very sexy in Stranger Things, even in the first season when he was seedy, verging and down and out. It wasn't until the 2nd season that his Dad-vibe was fully developed, though he had a Dad-bod all along. Until he buffed up for his weird transition to action hero in season 3.

  6. I have watched The Nine Lives of Christmas, the cat-focused,Christmas-themed, romance movie with Brandon Routh as a fireman.

    This was my first Hallmark movie. I think the learning curve for watching a Hallmark movie is akin to reading Shakespeare for the first time: I knew what was happening, and I'm pretty I was correctly identifying various tropes, but I was so puzzled by some of the stylistic choices, and nonplussed by the character development (or lack thereof), that I don't feel like I got as much out of the work as I should have.

    I will say that the movie has: Brandon Routh, three other firemen, two cats, a female love interest with a boho bestie and an over-achieving sister, a spiteful girlfriend who models toothpaste ads for Vogue (so confusing!), a few different celebrations, one house renovation, one evil landlord, and a partridge in a pear tree.

    Would I recommend it? I'm not qualified to answer that question. I need to take an upper-division Hallmark movie seminar to feel more expert in the field. My own lack of affection for Brandon Routh may be influencing my reaction, too.

    1. Josie, thank you so much for checking out The Nine Lives of Christmas for us. It was a sacrifice I deeply appreciate, since I now won't be spending whatever Prime is charging for this movie. I loved your mini-review. I should put a link to it in the movie review index.

    2. So, I've been thinking more about this, and I realized that the sense of alterity I got from this film was due to a lack of humor.

      I mean, like no humor. No silly jokes, but also no snarky teasing or gentle ribbing or semi-kindly calling people out on their mistakes or taking someone down a peg.

      I don't read a lot of romance or romance-adjacent books, but occasionally my book club picks something in that genre, or a hybrid, like a sci-fi romance (Prophet is really good!) or a fantasy romance (Daughter of the Moon Goddess). There's also the classic rom-com movies, too, of course, with their whole Beatrice & Benedick vibe.

      So many of these, especially recently, portray falling in love as a state of perpetual teasing with one or two breaks for being *there* for somebody during trauma. But it's mostly just...teasing. Constant. Teasing.

      The Nine Lives of Christmas just didn't have that. The female love interest clearly has a secure attachment style despite avoiding romance to focus on school. Brandon Routh had some anxiety issues surrounding attachment due to his parent's divorce, but he got over them very quickly with some gentle life advice from his fire chief/surrogate father figure.

      They just did nice things for each other. They spoke honestly about their feelings. They didn't agonize over whether or not hey were making the right choices. The few moments of uncertainty were just that--moments, and only a few.

      I'd be freaked out by a partner with no sense of humor, and I'm certain that person wouldn't understand about 75% of what I say. But it is refreshing to see a romance that isn't built on rom-com teasing vibes, but rather two people with shared values (cats, Christmas, helping people, redoing houses) realizing they fit well together.

      I really cannot think of the last time I encountered a story like that.

      To be clear, I'm not recommending it as a good film. Just interesting to me because of my lack of exposure to what I guess we could call "well-adjusted people."

    3. I love you too, Sunbunny.

  7. I watched the first few episodes of Heartstopper and my heart exploded with love.

  8. Anyway, tonight I'm going to watch Violent Night. A bunch of my meatspace friends have recommended it recently, too.


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