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This site is about the tv cop show Nash Bridges, starring Don Johnson, which aired on CBS with 122 episodes in 6 seasons. The series is currently syndicated in many television markets and is available on DVD.

 [The Original Unofficial NASH BRIDGES]

Hilarity and Homophobia
April 22, 1996

Gordon Hom

In a previous commentary, I described one of the appeals of Don Johnson as having a "comfortable masculinity." After this episode 5, some amends are needed to that "comfortableness." The race issue has been dealt with in episode 2 (the Chinatown episode), gender issues have been continuously dealt with culminating in episode 4 (the Mad Bomber episode) with women as out-of-control bombers, and in episode 5, NASH BRIDGES confronts the homosexual issue with comedic trepidation.

With the presence of the incredibly tall and beautiful RuPaul (whoa, people, did I mention that I was heterosexual?) all the NASH BRIDGES characters are suddenly strongly heterosexual humping fools. It's not enough to declare oneself heterosexual - we must have visual verification that the NASH BRIDGES characters are indeed practicing heteros. Evan Cortez, who must later go undercover in drag, is shown coitus accompli with his passionless girlfriend who did not have an orgasm. Nash is seduced by Captain Sandra McCormick on her desk at the end of the episode. All doubts must be eliminated - hmm, what about Harvey Leek? In the past, Harvey's the weird guy who has phone sex, so it's appropriate that he voyeuristically serve as back-up while Evan is trying to pick up men on Polk Street.

In what seems like an overly extended hilarious sequence in the men's washroom, RuPaul advises Evan on how to dress and behave as a transsexual hooker to attract men. Nash bumps into Evan in the washroom. Evan (in a dress), asks the advice of Nash, the man's man, on what to do about Evan's passionless girlfriend. In a great bit of acting motions by Don Johnson, we hear Nash's zipper open as Nash prepares to contribute to the porcelain gods, all the while giving Evan advice on women. Nash finishes up, shaking out that last drop, and zips up as RuPaul makes an outrageous pass at Nash.

The kind of overcompensating masculinity present in this episode contrasts to the overall weakened norms of masculinity represented in various ways in NASH BRIDGES. Previously, the weakened norm was represented in Nash's father Nick with his Alzheimer's disease. Outside institutions (other than the police) are presented as feminine - the military (normally associated with the masculine) is represented by a female captain. In the previous episode, the representative of the city - the Mayor - is a woman. NASH BRIDGES presents a central core of masculine values (centered in the police profession) amidst a larger terrain of femininity (the city of San Francisco). The imbalance of homosexuality is presented as sexuality gone amok as symbolized in the search for the big gun. The kinky criminal who wants this big gun is the homosexual Vincenzo Diamond who picks up transsexual prostitutes. So disturbing is homosexuality to the sexual norm that Nash actually ends up protecting the mobster Vovokis by diverting Diamond's "big gun." Straight crime (the old man Vovokis has a young woman on board) is preferable to homosexuality.

Given this view of homosexuality, we mentioned before that one of the appeals of Don Johnson was his "comfortable masculinity" - it's more than comfortable, it's fortified and entrenched. How dare this episode storyline cast even the smallest shadow of doubt? In a hilarious twist, everything is thrown out the window when Evan's girlfriend sees him in drag - she's so turned on she jumps on Evan like a...uh...uh....I'm not sure what she is. That RuPaul sure has shapely legs.

* For more, see synopsis for Episode 5


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