By Frank Lowe
Originally published on Advocate.com March 11 2014 4:00 AM ET
Of all of the many joys that come from being a parent, none is quite as entertaining as taking the little man to the movies. Although there are tons of flops (Free Birds, Turbo, Escape From Planet Earth), every once in a while we discover a Frozen. This past weekend, I was pleasantly surprised in another way. We took him to see Mr. Peabody & Sherman, and within the first 20 minutes, I realized we were witnessing a possible metaphor for adoption by gay people. It was so subtle that it probably went over the heads of the entire audience, but I knew exactly what I was watching.
In the film — which for the record is simply OK — we follow a caper with a hyper-intelligent dog, Mr. Peabody, and his adopted son, Sherman. What’s that you say? A dog adopted a human boy? Outrageous and unheard of? Of course it is, but that’s exactly the point. It actually is a decent portrayal of adoption, as opposed to the negativism that is usually shown. Mr. Peabody simply adopted Sherman because he wanted to be a dad. Technically he found Sherman, which is totally weird, but he still made it work.
As the movie progressed, his adoption was questioned, and it felt very familiar. Perhaps it's only because I was watching it through my gay dad eyes, but it wasn’t lost on me. The majority of the film was about Mr. Peabody proving he makes an excellent father, and the bond between him and his son was clearly strong. At the end, there was this whole moment that felt very In & Out (1997). Sherman was defending his dad, who was accused of being a dog, and then he stated that he was a dog too. Subsequently all the humans around him raised their hands one by one to claim they were dogs as well. In that moment I thought, if you substituted the word “gay man” for “dog,” it would have totally worked.
You will have to see the pun-filled movie and decide for yourself, but after seeing Frozen — an obvious metaphor for coming out, it makes me wonder if this is the new thing. If so, I love it, and hope it only gets more overt with time.
FRANK LOWE is The Advocate’s parenting writer. Follow Frank on Twitter @GayAtHomeDad and on Instagram at gayathomedad.