I'm going to come right out and admit this: I am not now, nor have I ever been, a gay man. Nor have I ever been a gay male teenager with a desperate hankering for fame, a trailer-trash bohemian for a mom, or a retard for a brother. Is that why I hated Candy Everybody Wants?
Fuck, no. There's so much more to hate than just the characters. There's also the plot! And the setting! And, most of all, the writing!
Candy Everybody Wants is about Jayson Blocher (he added the "y" for extra gay flair, you see), a gay teenager in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, who discovered he was gay while watching an episode of Donahue when he was 5. Ever since then, he's been on a quest for fame—filming episodes of a Dallas/Dynasty dual spin-off in his backyard with the neighbor twins and obsessing over a child star named Devlin Williamson and a cantankerous old fag-hag actress named Helen Lawson (like in Valley of the Dolls, get it?).
His break finally comes, of course, after 10 long, gay years. His mother tosses him off on his father, a gay pimp/talent agent who passed on his gay gene during a night when he was too drunk to remember he was gay. Then the plot really starts to get gay—he meets Williamson, who it turns out is also gay, and they are gay together, and then they are homeless and gay in the pregentrification Meatpacking District, and then he is gay in L.A. filming a gay pilot with Lawson, and then he's gay in the tabloids, and then he's gay with his mom again.
This is the worst kind of niche literature—meant for adults who understand that sexual orientation isn't an all-encompassing character trait and yet exemplifying the middle-school ethos that pride means that you have to shout it from the rooftops—gay, Gay, GAY!
Josh Kilmer-Purcell reads Mon May 19, Town Hall, 7:30 pm, $5. With James Frey.