We’re still a big puddle of tears on the floor after last week’s heart-wrenching The Last Of Us. HBO’s grim apocalyptic drama momentarily did away with the blood-thirsty fungi to make room for a story of queer love persevering, featuring plenty of Linda Rontsadt and bear-on-bear action. And it was beautiful.
But—surprise, surprise—not everyone was happy.
A number of homophobes logged on to IMDB to “review bomb” the episode (bringing that much-meme’d Tyra Banks Show moment to life), thinly veiling their hate with the complaint that the series deviated too far from the popular video game on which it was based.
Well, those “The Last Of Us purists” should be thrilled by the fact that the most recent episode perfectly recreated a scene from the game—down to every sticky little detail.
Episode 4, “Please Hold To My Hand,” picked up right where we left off, with Joel (daddy Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey) motoring across the country in the pickup truck they borrowed from dearly departed Bill and Frank (Nick Offerman, Murray Bartlett).
In the backseat, Ellie spies a magazine delightfully titled Bearskin, which is “light on the reading but has some interesting pictures.” Quite obviously, it’s an adult “nudie” mag that Bill and/or Frank used to pass the time when they needed a break from one another.
Ellie jokingly asks, “Why are all these pages stuck together?,” before tossing the glossy rag out of the car window—hopefully so some other wandering soul can find it later and, um, brush up on their reading.
Believe it or not the entire moment—down to every bit of dialogue—is extremely faithful to a cutscene from the game. As Twitter user Tom Zohar points out, even the magazine itself was perfectly recreated for the series. If that’s not Emmy-worthy production design, we don’t know what is!
Upon closer inspection, it gets even funnier. The entire Bearskin cover is pretty legit, touting features about “college hotties,” the “ultimate girls’ night out,” and a prompt for readers to “Vote!” for something—presumably the Queerties?
And we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention muscle-clad cover star Ace Von Champ (what a name!). When Ellie asks, “How the h*ll would he even walk around with that thing?,” we imagine she’s talking about Ace and his not-so-little Champ.
I’d give anything for a copy of Bearskin magazine btw. Ace Von Champ you will always be famous— Tom Zohar (@TomZohar) February 7, 2023
In the world of The Last Of Us, we like to imagine Ace Von Champ made it through the apocalypse, and is holed up in a bunker somewhere out there where he broadcasts his readings of softcore erotica across the radio, for all the weary and horned up survivors to hear.
Anyway, if you’re curious about just how loyal the TV scene was to the game, you can watch it below—Bearskin makes its cameo just after the 1:02 mark:
If we have one complaint, it’s that—in both the game and the show—aforementioned Bearskin cover stare Ace Von Champ appears pretty hairless. That’s not very bear-like, now is it?
In any event, the accurate scene-to-scene recreation should thrill all those folks who review-bombed the previous episode, right? We’re sure they’re elated to see the crusty gay men’s magazine make an appearance in the HBO show and will review the episode accordingly.
At least Gay Twitter™ is thrilled by it! We’ll leave you with a few more reactions to this stunningly faithful adaptation:
I would brave the halls of Comic-Con to get a limited edition copy— Fran Zaya’s alt (@salmattos) February 7, 2023
I was shook that it was a 1-to-1 recreation. Glad they didn’t cut that bit haha— Red Joseph (@survivorostorms) February 7, 2023
But I just want to hear more about “Ace von Champ! Can we keep him?”— Rupert (@rupertgood) February 7, 2023
When will this be answered?? pic.twitter.com/HCor6z2EK0
I know I was offended, woke, oppressed and shook all at the same time