Tonight Logo will be premiering Cucumber and Banana, two new companion series by Queer As Folk creator Russell T Davies. Cucumber centers on Henry Best, a middle-aged gay man who’s work and love life are in a rut. Banana on the other hand follows a rotating cast of LGBTQ youth. Both shows share a core group of characters yet each has it’s own charms. Cucumber is a 40 minute show centered on Henry, while Banana is a 20 minute viewing that has a more experimental narrative structure. Both shows work together to form a complete tale of the lives of LGBTQ people living in Manchester.
Cucumber and Banana are a refreshing take on a show focused on LGBTQ people. For viewers that were burned by Looking‘s often lethargic pace and melodramatic storytelling, Cucumber and Banana offer up a modern view of LGBTQ people that isn’t bogged down by predictable schmaltz. Here are five reasons we love Cucumber and Banana:
1) The Diverse Cast – Unlike Looking that featured mostly white men at it’s center, Cucumber and Banana are filled with a ethnically diverse cast as well as several leading ladies. Cucumber and Banana show us not only what it’s like to grow up as a gay man, but a lesbian and a transgender person as well. One truly great Banana episode features a transgender actress playing a transgender character in a storyline that is a fresh twist on cyber bullying.
2) It’s Funny – Russell T Davies has an extensive filmography of stirring comedy into dramatic storytelling. Besides creating the critically lauded Queer As Folk, Davies was the showrunner for five years on Doctor Who and creator of Torchwood and Bob & Rose. Both Cucumber and Banana find a remarkable balance between humor and sentimentality. The two shows deal with complex issues like coming out, loss of virginity and aging with a darkly comedic wit.
3) Bridging The Age Gap – By splitting the world into two shows, Davies crafts an interesting experiment. The viewer is allowed to experience the world of Manchester’s gay life through the eyes of both middle-aged characters and youth in their early twenties. In doing so, not only can the two shows draw in a wider age range of viewers but each demographic can view how the other half lives. It’s very rare for a show centered on LGBTQ people to feature older characters and that in itself is quite novel.
4) Relevant Gay Issues – The two shows feature a lot of themes affecting LGBTQ people today. The show deals with gay marriage, hookup apps, acceptance of transgender people, and gay web culture. Unlike Looking and Queer As Folk, the shows also feature multiple lesbian perspectives which hasn’t been seen since The L Word. In a particular Banana episode, we see a character deal with his first gay experience in our smartphone obsessed culture.
5) It’s Touching – Cucumber and Banana excel in dealing with the struggles of their characters with a touching sincerity. Without spoiling anything, both shows deal with some very heavy topics. Both shows have strong actors who beautifully navigate the subtle complexities of their characters. While Cucumber and Banana are often humorous with a hint of camp, there is a serious humanity at the heart of both shows that pulls us into the world of Henry and his friends.
Cucumber and Banana premiere tonight on Logo at 10PM. They should be available to stream from Logo’s website starting tomorrow.