Universal Studios has responded to criticism that a live show at its Hollywood theme park is homophobic and offensive, featuring a lisping, sexually aggressive gay Superman who is mocked and punched repeatedly.
"[Bill and Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure] appears during 'Halloween Horror Nights' in limited run and is specifically intended to be shocking and satirical in tone, focusing on adult themes," Universal spokeswoman Audrey Eig said in an emailed statement to The Advocate. "The show lampoons across all areas of our culture and it was not our intention to offend or upset anyone. We know there are a range of opinions on this issue and we will respect them as we consistently review and refine the show's content."
In its review of a recent performance of Bill and Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure, an annual spectacle at the Los Angeles theme park that spoofs pop culture, Vice noted that the character of Superman assumes a succession of stereotypes after a witch sprinkles him "with fairy dust, turning him gay."
"After becoming gay, Superman's voice and posture changes," Vice reported. "His lips purse, his toes point inward, and his wrists become limp. His new voice sounds like a homophobic uncle doing a drunken impression of Richard Simmons, complete with lisps and frequent use of the word 'faaaaaaabulous!'"
The protagonists Bill and Ted -- inspired by the 1989 cult film Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, which features slackers traveling through time -- lament Superman's transformation, as it renders him useless in their latest adventure, which involves battling witches in the Land of Oz.
"Who could possibly make a worse Superman?" Bill asks Ted, referencing the newly gay Man of Steel. "Ben Affleck?" Ted responds.
After assuming his new sexual orientation, Superman takes off his shirt and makes several sexual advances toward Bill and Ted. He exits the stage after encountering a fictionalized George Takei, presumably to have sex.
Vice also reported jokes aimed at women and other minority groups, including racially charged characterizations of Kim Jong-un and Nicki Minaj. The play also incorporates a date rape gag after Minaj is dragged unconscious off the stage by Wreck-It Ralph, a spoof of a Disney character from a 2012 film of the same name.
In addition, the tornado that transports Bill and Ted into Oz is called "Cory Monteith's ghost," referring to the Glee star that died of a heroin overdose earlier this year.
Watch the below clip of the scantily clad Superman losing a fight to a villain in the Universal Studios production. "Dude, we need Superman to man up," Ted says.