After causing a man to commit suicide over a misunderstanding and his long term boyfriend proposes, sexually repressed Henry has a breakdown and leaves home to move in with work colleague Dean and love interest Friddie both half his own age; meanwhile his ex, Lance finds a new love with Daniel. Modern life for gay men in the city of Manchester by the mind behind Queer As Folk, writer Russell T. Davies.
Subversive critic of internalizing stereotypes within "gay culture"
This show is widely criticized for its stereotypical portrayal of gay characters as over-sexed, immature, sleazy and shallow. I could not agree more - the main character (as well as almost everyone on the show) is unlikeable for exactly those reasons. Nevertheless, I feel that the show (just like any other morality tale, which Cucumber basically is) uses its anti-hero to convey a message that is, in its core, a warning. What we see throughout the show, are characters who are unable to truly bond and in a desperate calling for closeness (or is it regaining lost youth, at least for some?) chase after random sex. This chase usually leads them to pathetic begging or self-commodification which, in this fictional universe, is seen as something inescapable and "normal"( like in the subplot with the video- mogul nephew). In effect, their hunger to be loved (via sexual intercourse) leads one of the characters to his death, the other to a existence of vacuous survival and endless desire. The plight of the elder generation is mirrored in the story lines of the young (in Cucumber as well as in its spin- off, Banana), who don't even consider forming any kind of durable bond, let alone expressing any kind of basic human concern (as personified in the truly repulsive character of walking "emptiness behind a pretty face" Freddie.) What I see as emblematic scene of the show is when the protagonist suggests creating a 60'-style commune, only to be met with incomprehension and laughter. The sense of togetherness that once prevailed within the gay culture has been dismantled (is it because of the embracement by the majority culture?),the social interactions take place within a strictly competitive market. Or is it a battleground?
All of this might be lost on some due to the strong comic nature of the show, but to me, the light over-tone of the whole thing only makes the tragedy more approachable to general audience.
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