Well, I’m never growing old. Or getting into a relationship apparently.
No one does drama quite like the Brits: the humour is so dry it’s depressing. One of Logo’s newest TV series, Cucumber, follows the life of a 50-something gay protagonist in Manchester as he starts life anew after a pretty dramatic break up with his boyfriend of 9 years. Filmed alongside its “sister show”, Banana, Cucumber is a sometimes sad, sometimes funny look at what it means to be an older man in our gay community. I know I sound like I’m ragging a bit on the show- but that’s not it at all- rather, I want to make it clear that what you’re in store for with this one takes a certain type of temperament. If you’re looking for Queer as Folk with daddies, this ISN’T that: it’s… well, really, it’s its own type of show and it is certainly worth the look.
Let’s start with Henry the main character. Man, are you going to hate him. I suppose there are those out there who might sympathize with his feeling “othered” by a community that places value on looks and the superficial over personality and character, but hell- he ain’t no prize pig when it comes to that either. This bitter, VIRGIN (what??) at 50+ is so stuck on feeling that simultaneously he’s missing out and that there’s something better there that he misses the great things he has in front of him: friends who just want to have fun and a boyfriend whose patience is running out. On top of that he reinforces my deepest fear that after finally realizing that boyfriend I’ve been hoping for it means a death sentence to both fun and good sex.
The story starts with him basically complaining the entire episode about co-workers that steal his work when he himself offers it up; a boyfriend he doesn’t want to commit to but won’t let anyone else have; and, a decent life that should be hotter, better, and with more sex even though he wouldn’t have it if he could. It’s frustrating, but you don’t hate the show for it: you just hate him.
Instead, Cucumber is a telling point of view that we so often catch in the eyes of men who stare across a club of gays and who don’t see an opportunity to have fun but assume a wasteland that would rebut and ignore. It’s an important story to tell and I hope one that kicks some guys in the ass. I’m interested to see where this series goes and pray there’s an awakening if not for the protagonist then some viewers who may identify with him. Enjoy what you have and the people who want to enjoy it with you: at least that’s what I take from this. Let me know what you think! Thanks for another great one U.K. Oh, and if you’re watching from Canada like I am, be sure to catch it on OutTV!