It’s that time of the year when amusement parks across the country extend their operating hours and turn their water park section into a haunted house and maze for Halloween. The same is true for corporate theme parks such as Universal Studios. With the addition of the “Cabin in the Woods Halloween Horror Nights,” Universal Studios’ annual “Bill And Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure” has hit some hard times, as theme park operators have decided to close down and re-tool the live show because of its homophobic themes and content.
The adult-themed show follows Bill & Ted’s journey through history as they meet historical figures and pop culture icons from the past and present. While Bill & Ted are fun-loving guys, it appears their live show at Universal Studios is surprisingly full of gay slurs and stereotypes and is described by Vice.com’s Jamie Lee Curtis Taete (via A.V. Club) as “super homophobic (and also racist and terrible).” Say it ain’t so, Bill & Ted! Say it ain’t so!
While the show is broad and has to entertain all walks of life from across the country, there is a thing called taste when it comes to poking fun at the LGBT community (or any group of people, for that matter). I mean, we don’t see minstrel shows with white people in blackface anymore. Do we? There is a way to be as appealing to a wide audience without resorting to bad stereotypes that have no place in a modern society.
Taete takes issue with Bill & Ted’s jokes at the expense of gays, specifically with Superman, who is sprinkled with “fairy dust, turning him gay,” which results in the Man of Steel ripping off his shirt and starting to make sexual advances on Bill & Ted, as Superman “sounds like a homophobic uncle doing a drunken impression of Richard Simmons, complete with lisps and frequent use of the word ‘faaaaaaabulous!’” He is later described flying away to have sex with George Takei on the Starship Enterprise.
Vice’s review was eventually picked up by other media outlets and a firestorm of emails and comments were directed towards Universal Studios, who issued a statement saying they were going to “review and refine the show’s content.” However, the theme park later issued another statement saying, “After thoughtful consideration, Universal Studios Hollywood has made the decision to discontinue production of the Halloween Horror Nights’ ‘Bill & Ted’ show for the remainder of its limited run.”
Bill & Ted has always been seen as an easy-going duo who only wanted to start the world’s greatest band. Unfortunately, when you watch Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure or Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, you can easily see the pair making horrendous comments and slurs against gays. How many times do you hear them say the word “fag?” I attribute that way of thinking as a product of the time; after all, these movies were made in the late ’80s and early ’90s when people didn’t think much of gays and lesbians.
If Bill & Ted 3 ever comes out, you’d be hard-pressed to hear language like that in a new film from 2013 (or whenever it would be made). The world is changing for the better when it comes to gay rights and how LGBT people are seen and treated in the United States. Shutting down and re-tooling “Bill And Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure” is a good example of that changing tide.
Whatever happened to Bill S. Preston, Esquire & Ted “Theodore” Logan preaching to the world that everyone should “be excellent to each other and party on, dudes?”