Adult-themed cartoons seem to be popping up on every network, something I find encouraging for animations fans. Regardless of what network they seem to be on, there always seems to be a handful of these shows (which is a good thing, mind you). Now, it should come as no surprise that MTV’s gay-friendly channel Logo has joined the fray, bringing Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple In All The World (or Rick & Steve for short) to our television screens. Centering around a loving couple and their assorted wacky neighbors, Rick & Steve is one of the most popular programs on Logo, and it’s not hard to see why.
Welcome to the gayest of gay ghettoes, West Lahunga Beach, where Rick and Steve make their fabulously decorated double-income-no-children home. That is until Rick’s lifelong lesbian friend Kirsten asks him to be the father of her child. There’s just one catch, Kirsten’s wife Dana and Rick’s husband Steve are mortal enemies. This becomes only more complicated as issues between the two couples bubble to the surface. The insults fly, nothing goes unspoken, and the ugly, bitter truth about domestic bliss never looked so cute.
It’s a good premise for the show, and there’s a lot of material that works. There’s some great one-liners, usually from Dana, and some pretty hilarious situations. Each character, throughout the first season, is given a chance to shine, whether it’s a spot-light episode, or a prominent B-storyline. The lesbian couple get the brunt of the B-plot, but there’s a second couple, an old crippled man with HIV and his 19-year old husband, which get a few moments to shine. It’s the supporting cast I found to be very strong in this series, even if I found some of their adventures to be somewhat questionable. However, I found the show to be somewhat vanilla, lacking in any real risqué bite.
Sadly, the main protagonists of this show, Rick and Steve, were a bit of a disappointment. Not only did they seem to be the most stereotypical of all of the stereotypes on the show (which I’ll get to in a moment), a lot of their problems seemed watered down in an attempt to get laughs. They actually had some real relationship problems, but they were sort of pushed aside or made to seem less important, just to get a joke out of it. I understand that every show does this. However, not every show can pull it off. This really tore me away from what couple have been compelling character development, and some of the show’s absurdities seemed out of place.
Then, there’s the couple’s cat, Pussy. I know, I got a giggle out of the name, too, but the joke wears thin. But that seems to be a general problem with the show, they run jokes into the ground, constantly repeating the same ones over and over. Whether it’s some over the top portrayal of lesbians, some jokes were actually funny, or just some clever wordplay, the show has the tendency to call back to a previous joke too many times, which, in effect, kills the joke. However, the show did start off strong, however. A bit rocky, like most new series, but it did manage to pick up. In fact, the middle arc of the season was probably the strong point and contained some of the biggest laughs.
I imagine this would be a great show to watch with friends. Not only do some of the topics raised provide good conversation fodder, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the odd catch phrase caught on. I can see why this show has gotten positive feedback. Personally, I believe the show needs a bit more work. It needs to break away from portraying boring stereotypes, which this show has in spades, and try to be a bit more honest. Not all gay people are construction-working lesbian or limp-wristed men, but this show seems to perpetuate this stereotype. Sure, the whole Lego/Mego block thing is an interesting twist on a show like this, but it needs more than that. As soon as this show can break away from the easy jokes on stale stereotypes, I think it has the chance to be something truly unique and funny. It’s a fine show that is just overflowing with potential.
But, I have to admit, I’m sort of curious to see how the cliffhanger ending plays out.
The DVD itself for Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple On Earth is pretty excellent across the board. Released by Paramount Home Entertainment, this LOGO/MTV release has excellent video and audio transfers. The video looked very clear and very sharp, and the audio itself was also clear and concise. The overall quality seems to be a shade or two above standard broadcasting quality. All six episodes, presented in full screen, look pretty damn good.
There’s a nice small collection of extras to be found, as well. Special features include 26 minutes of “Digisodes” which appeared on the show’s website. There’s also a host of short interviews and featurettes on the show’s cast and crew. There’s an additional section on the DVD labeled “More Gay Crap,” which includes trailers for Tranny 911, a sketch from the Big Gay Sketch Show, a 3-minute sneak preview for Exes and Ohs” a new lesbian drama, and a preview for the second season of Noah’s Arc. It’s a standard release but the extras should provide some additional enjoyment for fans of the show.
Overall, I’d have to say Rent It before deciding whether or not to by Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple In All The World – The Complete First Season on DVD. The show is good, but could be much better once it overcomes a few of the problems I’ve highlighted above. I can see why the show has gotten generally positive reviews, but I feel it’s capable of much more. Perhaps when the second season of the show arises, these issues will be addressed. The first season, or first few episodes, usually has a few stumbling blocks that can be overcome, and this show is no exception. There’s potential here and hopefully the show’s creators will realize that. It’s a fine show, but one I imagine will flourish in the coming seasons. With that in mind, if you’re curious about this show, plunk down a few dollars to rent it before deciding whether or not to add it to your collection.
Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple In All The World – The Complete First Season is currently available on DVD.