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A Gay Joke “Dilemma”

A Gay Joke “Dilemma” (photo)

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Oli Lyttelton at The Playlist reports on the developing controversy over a trailer for the new Ron Howard film, “The Dilemma” (Ron Howard? Controversy? Dogs and cats, living together, mass hysteria!). The film’s teaser, which was quite clearly approved by the Motion Picture Association of America for viewing by general audiences, begins with a rather pointed gay joke by Ronny, played by Vince Vaughn: “Ladies and gentlemen: electric cars are gay. I mean, not homosexual gay, but, y’know, my-parents-are-chaperoning-the-dance gay.” Lyttlelton sums up the entire brouhaha, including Anderson Cooper taking “Dilemma” distributor Universal Pictures to task for including the joke, and a quote from Allan Loeb’s original screenplay which was even more pointedly homophobic.

Is it offensive? Maybe not in context; I could imagine a scenario where “The Dilemma,” about a guy (Vaughn) trying to figure out how to tell his best buddy (Kevin James) that his wife (Winona Ryder) is cheating on him, speaks directly to the issue of male sensitivity and empathy. In that case the joke, while certainly in poor taste, could be emblematic of Ronny’s journey from cruel, uncaring jerk to a more open, honest person. Out of context, though, it’s basically just a homophobic crack at the expense of gays and the electric automotive industry (guess we won’t hear Vaughn’s voice gracing Prius commercials anytime soon). To say, as one film website did earlier today, that “electric cars are the butt of the joke” is to completely miss the point: you’re still using the word “gay” as a putdown. Replace the word “gay” with “Jew” in Vaughn’s speech, reread it, then defend it using that same argument. Would it fly?

Howard and his marketing team are as much guilty of bad timing as bad taste. As Lyttleton points out, yesterday was National Coming Out Day which, if you’re a conservative gubernatorial candidate for the state of New York, is apparently the perfect time to call a homosexual lifestyle less valid than a heterosexual one in the midst of a rash of antigay violence and sexuality-related suicides.

Lyttleton says that GLAAD wants the electric car joke removed completely from the film. We’ll see whether that happens when the film comes out on January 14, 2011. In the meantime, here’s the revised trailer, which does not feature any jokes about gay people or cars, but does make the character played by Winona Ryder look pretty awful. Let the claims of misogyny begin!

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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