A thread in the forums got me thinking about cartoons and the adult innuendos that writers sneak into kids’ shows. When I was younger I used to watch Rocko’s Modern Life every day, and while I suspected there were jokes I wasn’t quite getting, I never really knew until I got older. I had a similar experience this weekend watching Remember the Titans on TV. I’m sitting in front of the television, pantsless and weeping (weeping because of the emotion struggle for racial acceptance and pantsless because, why not?), when all of a sudden I’m like, “Wait…is that guy supposed to be gay?” The guy in question being Ronnie “Sunshine” Bass, the long-haired hippie from California who joins the team at training camp. Now, I’m asking the question here: was Sunshine gay?
Why he might be gay: He kisses a naked man in a locker room. Article over, right? Well, no. The naked man is his new teammate, and while the kiss isn’t a manly brosmooch, it’s not romantic in the slightest. More of an attempt to emasculate and get back at someone. When Ronnie shows up at camp with his flowing locks and Californian tan, the Titans’ defensive captain, Gerry Bertier, pegs him as a “fruitcake.” Ronnie retaliates first by beaming Bertier with a football and later by giving him a big ole kiss. When Ronnie’s new roommate asks if the kiss was a joke or if Ronnie is…you know…Ronnie refuses to answer the question. In a later scene, a group of girls is swooning over a tai chi-ing Ronnie only to be informed that he is “from California. From California .” He used to hang with Dorothy Gale. They were friends. He was a friend of Dorothy.
Why he might not be: The scene when we’re first introduced to Ronnie we also meet his father, Col. Bass. Col. Bass makes it clear that he wants his son to play for the Titans because it is an integrated team and if “[blacks and whites] can fight a war together, they can play football together.” Like his father, Ronnie clearly has no problems with black people and this progressive attitude may extend to homosexuals as well. Maybe he just has a progressive view of sexuality in general and he doesn’t see the need to vehemently defend his straightness or conform to any convoluted idea of straightness.
Why he should be gay: Remember the Titans is movie about overcoming intolerance and reaching out to your fellow man. It’s also a wholesome Disney movie. I’ve mentioned before how people tend to assume that having a gay character makes a movie or a show risqué and this would be a good example to the contrary. Plus, Ronnie spends a good deal of time kicking ass as the starting quarterback for the Titans. Varied representation in media is always good.
Why he should stay in the closet: Ronnie Bass is straight. The real Ronnie Bass that the movie character is based on that is. He’s married with kids, and while he seems to have a pretty good attitude about his portrayal in the film, he dismisses it as typical Hollywood stuff. Still, it’s always disheartening when adaptations change or gloss over the fact that a character was gay—is it any better or fairer to do it when they’re straight? Also, the kiss bugs me. A person being a homophobic jerk doesn’t give you the right to kiss them without their consent. And the fact that it was in a locker room just makes it cliche.
Did you pick up on Ronnie’s queerness in the film? Talk about it in the forums.