'QAF' Creator Davies Back with New Gay TV Dramas

Bay Area Reporter

Monday April 13, 2015

Russell T. Davies made a name for himself when he produced the original British version of "Queer as Folk." Following on the heels of Ellen DeGeneres' historic coming out, "QAF" kicked the closet door open as never before. The series' somewhat soap-operaish storylines were punctuated with graphic gay-sex scenes unlike anything ever before seen on the tube.

Davies, who also worked for many years on the sci-fi series "Doctor Who," now returns to queer TV with a pair of interconnected gay dramas. "Cucumber" and "Banana," both of which are co-productions of Logo and Britain's Channel 4, will begin airing on Logo on April 13. A third series, "Tofu," is being produced for the Web, but will not be seen in the USA, at least not yet.

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"Cucumber" appears to be the flagship show. As the story begins, 46-year-old Henry (Vincent Franklin), an insurance executive in Manchester, is lusting after men less than half his age - none of whom are interested in him. Every time he salivates over a hot young body, he imagines a giant, hard cucumber being slapped into his hand.

Henry has lived with Lance (Cyril Nri) for nine years. Their sex life sucks. After Lance brings a hot young guy home, all hell breaks loose. Henry is left to start his life anew as he moves into a loft with two 20-year-old slackers. "Cucumber" will focus on Henry's new life in a serialized format.

Companion series "Banana" examines the lives of the young kids that Henry is so enamored with. Characters from both shows filter in and out of each series, which might confuse viewers. All of the characters are interacting with each other within the same fictional universe. Expecting viewers to keep tabs on two different shows in order to follow the same group of characters might be asking more of the audience than they have to give. One series should be enough in order to tell these stories.

That one issue aside, "Cucumber" and "Banana" are well worth a look. Alternately funny, serious and insightful, they offer a no-holds-barred look at 21st-century gay life. The language is graphic. In the first episode of "Cucumber," Henry delivers a hilariously raunchy monologue about actor Ryan Reynolds' cock.

Things take a very serious and dramatic turn in the second episode, when Henry deliberately sabotages his one chance to repair his broken relationship with Lance. He'd rather chase after a 20-year-old blond boy. It's both heartbreaking and humorous to see how often we can be our own worst enemy.

"Cucumber" and "Banana" begin airing on Logo on April 13

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