Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I kind of always suspected Artie…but Jim?

Louis Bayard is responsible for Salon.com’s Re-Viewed column this week (a look at television treasures available on DVD) and writes a really nice piece on one of my all-time favorite 1960s TV shows: The Wild Wild West. It’s an amazingly affectionate take on the classic cult spy-western, and even though he’s bound to get some flak for the observation that follows it’s pretty hard to argue with his facts:

Oh, let me come right out and say it. To a kid of the late 1960s, "The Wild Wild West" was as gay as a show could get. Like "I Spy," like "Batman," it was a portrait of two men in domestic partnership. Jim and Artie didn't just work together; they lived together, rode together, celebrated together. Of course, the show's creators took care to give Jim a vigorous and straight lifestyle. Virtually every episode finds him seducing -- and, in the same hot breath, reforming -- some busty blond minion. But more than heterosexual, Jim West is truly sexual, in a way heroes of westerns usually weren't. See how snugly his clothes are tailored to his form -- the bolero jacket, the extra-tight trousers (not to mention Season 4's leather chaps, which would not be out of place in a gay pride parade). And see how readily he takes those garments off at the slightest incentive. See how he carries that fine body of his. Jim West is a man who enjoys being desired.

Well...more like Bob Conrad is a man who enjoys being desired. So, if I’ve driven anyone to the point where they’d now rather watch the 1999 movie with Will Smith and Kevin Kline…well, sorry about that, Chief…

3 comments:

Bill Crider said...

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

"No, not at all!"

Linda said...

LOL. You don't keep up with fanfic, do you? There have been Jim/Arte stories for years, so many people will enjoy Bayard's take.