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Seth Rogen’s Evolution From Homophobic ‘Superbad’ To Pansexual ‘Future Man’

Entertainment, Featured  

By Evan Lambert

Living in 2017 can sometimes feel like a long and tantalizing march towards dystopia. Every time Donald Trump opens his mouth, the future looks more authoritarian, and also the bees are dying. But despite the fact that we have a President openly addressing anti-gay groups and a Vice President who wants to “hang” the gays, there’s still hope for a better future — and it can be found in Seth Rogen. Hear me out. Despite once having to apologize for homophobic language in Superbad, which he initially wrote when he was a teenager, Rogen has spent the last several years quietly and subversively creating a future in which everyone is queer and homophobia is a thing of the past.  

Rogen’s latest project, Future Man, which he executive produced with his writing partner Evan Goldberg, is often homoerotic. As I have already bravely reported, the sci-fi comedy begins with Josh Hutcherson’s character, Josh Futterman, accidentally cumming on a male character named “Wolf.” It also features a sweltering re-creation of the volleyball scene from Top Gun. However, in a departure from all that teasing homoeroticism, the comedy eventually has Wolf and Josh engage in full-on sex as part of a larger pansexual orgy. Yes, you read it here second: Josh Hutcherson has gay sex in Future Man.

Wolf, a warrior who has traveled from the future to help Josh save humanity, hails from a society in which pansexuality is the norm. In fact, sex isn’t even called “sex” where he’s from: It’s called “charging,” and it’s a rote form of physical release. Thus, when Wolf feels a charge sesh coming on, he offers to “charge” with not just his female partner, Tiger, but also with Josh. He ultimately chooses them both.

From left, Derek Wilson, Josh Hutcherson and Eliza Coupe in “Future Man”

While Future Man never explores the ramifications of this moment, it still seems to regard pansexuality, in the form of Wolf, as a natural manifestation of human progress. And that’s not just a pipe dream: According to a 2017 study, more than 57% of young Americans between the ages of 18 and 32 now identify as non-heterosexual. Rogen, by embracing this trend himself — whether directly or not — is essentially nudging his fans toward embracing same-sex love.

Future Man isn’t the first example of a Seth Rogen/Evan Goldberg project embracing pansexuality. Fans (and even haters) of 2016’s Sausage Party may recall that the animated comedy, which Rogen and Goldberg wrote and produced, culminated in an extended orgy involving every combination of gender and sexual position known to humankind. Reportedly, the duo planned the scene to be eight minutes long and spent three years animating it. That’s a lot of gay stuff.

“Sausage Party”

Even before Sausage Party, however, Rogen provided the voice for the lead character of Paul, a 2011 film that imagined Paul, an advanced form of alien, as casually bisexual. “Everyone’s bi on my planet,” intoned Rogen, before adding, “It’s all about the pleasure thang.” And while Rogen didn’t write the film, he still seemed to endorse the idea that an advanced society would embrace queerness.

Elsewhere in the comedy universe, Rogen’s former Freaks and Geeks boss Paul Feig recently proffered his own queer vision of the future with his 2015 series Other Space. The dearly departed sci-fi comedy, which aired on Yahoo! Screen for one season, conjured a future in which men wore skirts and everyone was bisexual. In fact, bisexuality was so pervasive and commonplace in Feig’s utopia that no one even addressed it until a character made a throwaway remark about having boyfriends in the past. While the show failed to attract much of an audience, it was still another example of a Hollywood heavyweight suggesting that pansexuality might be the next logical step for humanity.

“Other Space”

As a rule, sci-fi stories have often imagined futures in which sexual orientation is a non-issue. As early as 1979, the novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture included a scene in which Captain Kirk declared that his “best” sexual experiences had been with women. More notably, CBS All-Access’ current hit Star Trek: Discovery is making leaps and bounds with its portrayal of queerness. In fact, Anthony Rapp’s character Lieutenant Stamets may be the first fully realized queer character on a mainstream sci-fi television show. In addition to being a fascinating, complex, difficult man, he’s also incredibly comfortable with his queerness and doesn’t bring it up until well into the series.

Meanwhile, Rogen and Goldberg are developing several new sci-fi projects including the series Singularity, starring Damon Wayans Jr., and The Something, an “astronaut comedy” starring Rogen, Bill Hader, and Zach Galifianakis. We can only hope that, with these projects, Rogen and Goldberg continue to embrace queerness. After all, they still have a lot to atone for — and a few positive depictions of pansexuality aren’t going to cut it. In addition to the pair’s casual use of “faggot” jokes in Superbad, there’s Rogen’s round of “you know how I know you’re gay” in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, as well as his endless homophobic banter in The Green Hornet. Judd Apatow wrote Virgin with Steve Carell, while Rogen wrote The Green Hornet with Evan Goldberg.

From left, Seth Rogen, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Bill Hader in “Superbad”

Plus, we could all benefit from more positive depictions of queerness in mainstream comedies right now. The mainstream comedy of our nation’s government just isn’t making us laugh anymore. So here’s looking to a brighter future … man.

 

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