Friday, January 08, 2010

Know Your LGBT History - Welcome Home, Bobby

From the deep, deep, DEEP closets of the 80s television movie era comes this 1986 CBS feature.

Welcome Home, Bobby stars Timothy Williams as a high school student who gets caught up in a drug bust. He is exonerated but because of the investigation, information comes out that he had a sexual relationship with an older man.

Actually it was just a one-time thing but needless to say after members of his small town find out, Williams is ostracized, big time.

And to top it all off, the situation causes a huge problem with his uber-macho father (Tony LoBianco).

Mercy, where to begin with this movie?

There is only one way to put it - this movie was a mess. The writers no doubt meant well but meaning well doesn't necessarily create a good script.

There is so much to hate about Welcome Home, Bobby.

1. The older gay man whom Williams had the relationship with is nasty and predatory as hell There are few, if any positive lgbt characters. They are either oversexed rich older men or wise-beyond their years teenagers. There was supposedly one positive lgbt character, but I don't remember him. Apparently he didn't get enough screen time.

2. The taunts against Williams are awful. Five minutes into the movie (taking place after the drug bust and when Williams returns to school) pretty much gives us an indication of how fellow students are going to treat him. There is a brutal scene of him being taunted by another student. And I didn't even mention the hazing by the swim team which came later.

3. Williams' family is strangely ineffective. The father is extremely homophobic (which is demonstrated in a nasty scene where he nearly beats the hell out of Williams for wrestling with his younger brother) and his mother is so ineffective, it's like she's furniture.

4. Even through it all (believe it or not, this movie does have a happy ending), we are not clear whether or not Williams is gay and to me that sucks.What's wrong with him being gay?

This movie came out after the monumental An Early Frost (the first television movie to deal with the AIDS virus). But it's clear that there was lot of confusion and ignorance back then.

The following clip better emphasizes just how bad the movie is. It's the climactic scene where Williams confronts his father's homophobia:

Past Know Your LGBT History Posts:

Know Your LGBT History - Barney Miller

Know your lgbt history - The Jerry Springer Show

Know your lgbt history - Martin Lawrence and that 'gay guy' on his show

Know your lgbt history - The Ricki Lake Show

Know your lgbt history - Which Way Is Up

Know your lgbt history - Gays in Primetime Soaps

Know your lgbt history - Boys Beware

Know your lgbt history - The Boondocks

Know your lgbt history - Mannequin

Know your lgbt history - The Warriors

Know Your LGBT History - New York Undercover

Know Your LGBT History - Low Down Dirty Shame

Know Your LGBT History - Fortune and Men's Eyes

Know your lgbt history - California Suite

Know your lgbt history - Taxi (Elaine's Strange Triangle)

Know your lgbt history - Come Back Charleston Blue

Know your lgbt history - James Bond goes gay

Know your lgbt history - Windows

Know your lgbt history - To Wong Foo and Priscilla

Know your lgbt history - Blazing Saddles

Know your lgbt history - Sanford and Son

Know your lgbt history - In Living Color

Know your lgbt history - Cleopatra Jones and her lesbian drug lords

Know your lgbt history - Norman, Is That You?

Know your lgbt history - The 'Exotic' Adrian Street

Know your lgbt history - The Choirboys

Know your lgbt history - Eddie Murphy

Know your lgbt history - The Killing of Sister George

Know your lgbt history - Hanna-Barbera cartoons pushes the 'gay agenda

'Know your lgbt history - Cruising

Know your lgbt history - Foxy Brown and Cleopatra Jones

Know your lgbt history - I Got Da Hook Up

Know your lgbt history - Fright Night

Know your lgbt history - Flowers of Evil

The Jeffersons and the transgender community   

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Volly said...

Is this a segue into a post on Ode to Billy Joe?

BlackTsunami said...

I forgot about that movie. LOL. Maybe if I can find a youtube clip about it.

Bill S said...

Wow. I thought I was the ONLY person who ever saw this. In fact, until I found it listed in the Internet Movie Database, I wasn't even 100% sure I hadn't seen it in a dream. I don't think it was ever re-broadcast.
But yeah, this thing seemed to want to portray Bobby as sympathetic, but at the same time was too afraid to explicitly identify him as gay, lest people see him as unsympathetic. And his older male lover is not only seen as a creep, but there's a scene later in which Bobby confronts him, and his new lover is a bitchy queen.
The "positive" adult gay character you might be referring to is a closeted teacher, played by John Karlen (best known for playing Tyne Daley's husband on "Cagney & Lacey"). He comes out to Bobby by writing "I Am Gay" on a blackboard and hastily erasing it. He tries to lend Bobby a sympathetic ear but is afraid of losing his job.
I think my least favorite scene in the movie is the one you described in which the father becomes enraged when Bobby wrestles with his brother. It was just so insane.

BlackTsunami said...

The bitchy queen was the one who I referred to as the wise-beyond-his-years teenager.

But I like your description of him better LOL

Bill S said...

The most bizarre thing about this movie is, I think the filmmakers actually were trying to make a pro-gay film, but had absolutle NO CLUE what that would acutally mean. It's as if Michael Scott from "The Office" had written and directed a story about a gay teen.
I'm glad you mentioned "An Early Frost", because that was everything this movie WASN'T. I recently got the DVD and was surprised, really, how well it held up after 25 years.

Shawna said...

This was so bad it was actually funny, and I feel kinda guilty for laughing at it.

Anonymous said...

Ditto, Bill... I didn't think anybody else remembered this movie, either. And I'm not so sure that I remember it as well as I thought I did? I could have sworn that John Glover played the role of the "new lover". I vividly recall him sitting at the top of the stairs in a pink bathrobe doing his nails?