Back in May, David Walliams and Matt Lucas appeared in adverts for the Nationwide Building Society, prompting me (and quite a few others) to complain about their portrayal of transgender characters and its contribution to the marginalisation of actual transgender people, lending, as I described it, “a model and a vocabulary for people (people who have never even met me) to treat me as a caricature“.
Walliams and Lucas have completed a new series for the BBC; the first episode of Come Fly With Me was aired on Christmas Day, and was described in the Daily Express (surely the spiritual homeland of those who watch lots of telly on Christmas Day) as “quite the worst “sketch show” or “sitcom” ever to have gone out on a Christmas Day“.
I finally got to sit through the second episode on I-Player, to see what the hoo-hah with David Schwimmer and transsexual porn was all about. It took two attempts, as I gave up ten minutes into it the first time round. There is surely something in this programme to offend everyone; or at least, anyone with a sense of humour being asked to find this funny… though at least it saves the trouble of deconstructing the various other ways in which it is offensive; unfunny comedy has a pretty short shelf life.
…anyway, leaving all that aside, what’s with the brief appearance by David Schwimmer? -He plays himself, arriving at a UK airport and having a pile of transsexual pornographic DVDs confiscated by Customs. This gives Walliams, as the Customs officer, the opportunity to reel off the titles of the offending DVDs- “Chicks With Dicks, Shemale Orgy, Tranny Mania, Ladyboy Lickfest, Shemale Sandwich”. Schwimmer is deeply embarrassed, claiming they are for a friend and loudly proclaiming that they are disgusting. “You’re sick and you need help,” says Schwimmer to the camera, addressing the supposed recipient.
Fair enough. I happen to find all pornography disgusting, as it happens. But I am surprised that they should claim that it is illegal to import it to the UK, given the amount of pornography that is available in all bad high street stores and, apparently, being viewed as perfectly acceptable by ‘nice’ middle-class people- or at least, middle-class men. And boys. Is ‘tranny’ porn somehow less socially acceptable than cisgender porn?
It’s an odd little scene, that’s for sure, not least as it has been claimed of Walliams that “he has stood up and spoken out for the trans community for years. They are very important to him and he has always felt as one of them.” If so, then maybe this is an exercise in self-flagellation.
If you want to see it but have no patience with the other stuff, it’s about 25 minutes into the programme, which you can find through this link.