Welcome to the Weekend Binge. Every Friday, we’ll suggest a binge-able title designed to keep you from getting too stir crazy. Check back throughout the weekend for even more gloriously queer entertainment.
The Screecher: Vicious
Maybe it’s all the love we got for our recommendation of Derek Jacobi’s work in I, Claudius. Maybe it’s the enthusiasm we saw for Ian McKellen in Gods and Monsters. Either way, we can never get enough of these two great, gay actors, so why not check out a show that casts them as a bitchy gay couple?
Vicious stars McKellen and Jacobi as Freddie & Stuart, a gay couple that has been together just shy of 50 years. Freddie still dreams of becoming a great actor…even while he takes bit parts on Downton Abbey. Stuart has retired from his job working at a bar, and now sits about their flat caring for their also-aged dog, and hurdling acidic insults at Freddie. When a handsome young man name Ash (Iwan Rheon) moves in to the flat upstairs, both Freddie and Stuart have their interest piqued. Quickly though, the older couple takes on the role of surrogate parents to Ash, nurturing him into becoming an upstanding adult.
McKellen and Jacobi attended the same school as teenagers. In an interview with James Lipton, McKellen also revealed that he fell desperately in love with Jacobi at the time. Little did he know that Jacobi had also fallen in love with him and, to quote Sir Ian, they “never did a thing about it.”
We hope they’ve since corrected that oversight. If nothing else Vicious serves as a sort of theatrical consummation of their longtime friendship, and with no shortage of wicked one-liners to boot. Both McKellen and Jacobi re-earn their status as two of the world’s greatest actors in the series, in that they play moments of broad, zinger comedy just as well as quieter moments that give both characters their humanity, and show off the true love between the couple.
Snappy, hilarious, and at times, quite moving, Vicious somehow makes us glad we’re single…and makes us pine for the day we find a man to spend half a century with. If he’s as cool as McKellen or Jacobi, we’ll be very happy.
Streams on Tubi, Amazon, YouTube, and iTunes.