clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Logo's 'In The Big House' tests stereotypes, homophobia and machismo

New, comment

In case you haven't seen it, Logo has a fun summer reality show on right now that I think our readers would also find pretty engaging. "In The Big House" follows two generations of the Verdi family in Los Angeles. Michel and husband Jay Krymis own a couple popular West Hollywood bars -- St. Felix and Fubar. For these two stars of the show there are moments of real struggle, particularly when they open up about problems conceiving a child. They also have a ton of fun.

But the real power of the show for me comes from the dynamic between Michel's father, Big Lou, and her younger brother, Louis, both of whom have strong rolls on the show. Big Lou spent a bunch of years in prison for his involvement with the Bruno Crime Family in Philadelphia. He marches around with all the hyper-masculine machismo you'd expect from a guy deeply embedded in organized crime of the 1970s. That includes some deep-seeded homophobia.

His son, Lou, is gay.

The struggle these two engage in is powerful and very real, as Big Lou isn't shy about sharing his rather bigoted opinions of gay people in front of his son. When the family organizes a "Fubar v. Gym Bar" softball game, Big Lou's advice for success is, essentially, get rid of the gay players because they can't play sports. He also confronts Louis' boyfriend, nearly threatening him to stay away from his grandson.

Louis doesn't take it lying down, and the two trade plenty of barbs. Louis told Outsports that he has gotten into blow-up fights with his father, and that the worst of those fights have not made it into the show.

"It sucks. I feel like he’s ignorant," Louis told Outsports. "It would hurt me more if other people said these things. But it’s my father, and I know he’s ignorant. It’s what straight people who don’t know gay people say. They’re not good at sports, they’re not good at fighting. They’re not good at anything that masculine men would be into. I know big gay muscle-heads who could probably kill my father, and I know gay people who like to dress in drag. I think stereotypes are stupid and they’re from people who just don’t know any better."

Louis is no stranger to sports. He was a varsity wrestler, gymnast and sprinter in high school. He was also a club swimmer in high school and is an avid golfer to this day. While his affinity for individual sports is stereotypically gay, his general passion for sports is not. He likes watching basketball; And while he doesn't love watching baseball on TV, there's nothing he enjoys more than an evening at the ballpark.

As for Big Lou, there are more fireworks coming this season. The family patriarch will try to "toughen up" Louis and his family in a boxing ring...and according to Louis, he holds his own. Through all of this, Louis says his father is making progress.

You can catch Louis, Big Lou, Michel and Jay on Logo's "In The Big House," Monday nights at 10pm. You can also find them in West Hollywood at Fubar and St. Felix (Louis works the door at Fubar on Friday nights).