Failed Mystics (Ep. 114: Buffy, X-Men, He-Man, and Lwaxana Troi)

This Week's Guest: Anthony Oliveira

Have you ever been lucky enough to enjoy the sensation of villainy? My guest this week is Anthony Oliveira, who you might also know for his incisive tweeting as Meakoopa. Anthony's always felt a sympathy for monsters and villains -- or at least, the figures assumed to be monsters and villains -- even before he was old enough to realize that he might be considered one himself.

This Week's Recommendation: Bowser

Thanks again to Anthony for joining me and for his neverending stream of excellent tweets, which you can find at meakoopa. And that brings me to this week's recommendation -- not a book or movie or song or any kind of text, but a character. Specifically Bowser, the king of the Koopas, and an unlikely gay icon.

Let me explain.

Bowser's been around since 1985, and for those early first few years, he was depicted as your standard pixelated 8-bit monster. But as games moved into 3D and we started seeing him rendered in more detail, Bowser seems to have caught the eye of a certain fandom. He's big and burly, with leather spiked cuffs on his forearm and a perpetually wide stance. So of course, as Bowser entered his thirties, along with his earliest fans, he's become something of a heart throb.

This reached a sort of a peak in 2014, with a commercial where he was depicted in a cute polka-dot jacket with hipster glasses, and then again earlier this year when he was depicted as a responsible dad. 

As a result, it's now easy to find loving fan art, ranging from the chaste to the filthy, lovingly portraying Bowser as a sort of perfect boyfriend. My favorite is when he's styled as a "nerd dad," wearing dorky square glasses and a blazer, a tough-looking hunk with a secretly tender heart. But if you want something more explicit, I'm sure you won't have any trouble finding that, too. 

I'll always love when a character gets queered, but I'm particularly delighted by the queering of Bowser -- not just because big nerd dads are my type, but also because making him a dreamboat is about as queer as it gets. In his original incarnation, he was a literal monster, a mindless avatar for evil and fear. Turning him into various admirable gay tropes, from leather daddy to porn star to cool gay uncle, subverts every rule about what a bad guy's supposed to be -- namely, bad.

And if there's a sexy queer future awaiting the fire-breathing lizard as he matures, well, there's hope for any of us.

Clips of Stuff We Talked About



Parisian Kevin MacLeod (
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