Disappointing all who love legitimate theater, Universal Studios Hollywood has closed “Bill And Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure,” its annual, adult-themed revue in which the time-warping characters revisit ancient pop culture references and, according to the reports that led to it being shut down, some of history’s most famous stereotypes. It all began with a write-up in Vice, where Jamie Lee Curtis Taete (who had his own recent brush with becoming unstuck in time recently by attending Corey Feldman’s birthday party) chronicled how the “super homophobic (and also racist and terrible)” show revolved around a Wizard Of Oz-inspired storyline that saw Bill and Ted recruiting Superman to help them overcome four evil witches, as well as a hellish, Friedberg/Selzer’s Inferno level of celebrity spoofs.
Unfortunately for them, but fortunately for people who hate the elitist comedy of “jokes,” Superman is sprinkled with “fairy dust, turning him gay,” causing him to immediately rip off his shirt, make limp-wristed advances on Bill and Ted, speak in a voice that “sounds like a homophobic uncle doing a drunken impression of Richard Simmons, complete with lisps and frequent use of the word ‘faaaaaaabulous!’,” and, eventually, steal away to have sex with George Takei on the Starship Enterprise. This is all very funny, because gay men are mincing, indiscriminate nymphomaniacs and there was a Star Trek movie out this year.
Taete’s review—which also noted gags about Kim Jong-un being unable to pronounce the letters “L” and “R,” Ron Burgundy making a joke about Van Nuys being “filled with lots of unemployed people who barely speak English,” a Nicki Minaj caricature apparently based entirely on a gang member the writers once saw on Miami Vice, and a joke about Wreck-It Ralph “wrecking” an unconscious Minaj’s ass—was soon picked up by other media outlets, prompting Universal to issue a statement saying it would “review and refine the show’s content.”
However, today Universal posted another statement saying, “after thoughtful consideration”—presumably in which its writers asked themselves, “But what’s funnier than a gay Superman?” and, after hours of brainstorming, admitted defeat—the park has closed the "Bill And Ted" revue for the “remainder of its limited run.” (“Sorry folks, show’s closed,” park employees will now have to say. “Gay moose out front shoulda told ya.”)
As Taete noted in his original article, this isn’t the first time the "Bill And Ted" show has fallen back on the gay ex machina as its comedic plot twist: In 2006, it even featured another homosexual Superman who loved ribbons and shouting the word “rainbows,” as a nod to both that year’s Superman Returns and to the timeless difficulty of writing satire for a wide audience.
Neverthless, it’s hoped that, should the show return next year, it follows Bill and Ted’s original maxim of being excellent to each other, regardless of race or sexual orientation, and that it can recapture the kind of sophisticated comic sensibility that went into past shows. Like this one from 1997, as reviewed on the fan site Bill And Ted’s Excellent Online Adventure:
At the end of the song Bill’s cell phone rings and it is the villain from Scream, who appears from a building in his hood and mask . . . then he throws off the disguise to reveal it is Austin Powers! Everyone dances to the Austin Powers theme, then the Men in Black interrupt and start performing their theme song. Next Elaine from Seinfeld butts in and starts singing "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls. She is joined in the song by the Borg Queen, Batgirl and Poison Ivy. Finally Wyld Stallyns take center stage with Captain Kirk on lead as they perform "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana.
See? Now that’s the kind of comedy that everyone, regardless of their personal background, can acknowledge as referring to things with which they are familiar, then go home and immediately forget about.