From the diary: “November 11, 1985
“[S]ettled in for NBC’s AIDS drama An Early Frost. Hey. Was good. A tearjerker that actually brought tears to my eyes, made my nose itch. Glad [the protagonist] didn’t die in the course of the movie. Sure, it had its TV-movie-isms but blessedly they were few and lacking in virulence. Unfortunately the most sensual scene I’ve seen on TV between two men was in last night’s hokey vigilante movie when the leader of the bikers’ gang – a rapist, a real sicko – reaches through the bars into the next cell, takes a cigarette out of the mouth of the man sitting in the next cell, rests his hand there on his shoulder. The young man [one of the bikers] leans his face gently against the hand, touching it with his lips. That was nice. The two lovers in [An Early Frost] hardly touched. And Peter (the one without AIDS) proved that not all gay men are good dressers. Couldn’t they get him anything that fit? Also had a very likable character who dies in the hospital – he had a lot of funny lines – camped to keep his spirits up. Good movie. Had its problems – but good all in all.”
I’ve skipped over mentions of movies in the diary. Books! We do books here. But I remember the scene in the holding cells in the “hokey vigilante movie” better than I remember An Early Frost. Same sex sensuality is used as a signifier of evil. That was the problem Frost had. The moviemakers were trying to make the gay men sympathetic, but if the lovers were actually shown being physically affectionate they would be unsympathetic, they would be like those jailed biker creeps, they would be evil.
I still remember that jail scene as one of the tenderest, most erotic moments between two men on broadcast television. But maybe that had much to do with my needing to see something like that at the time.