When you think of gay Italians in the media, do not cast your mind to those tiny twinks from Luca. Nay, there was gay representation before them and it was found in Lenny from 2004’s Shark Tale.
You’re probably thinking: “Pedestrian, why does everything have to be gay, shut up,” but to that I say my brother in Christ you clicked into the article. I’m sorry. You’re gay too now.
Lenny was a shark who didn’t fit in with the expectations of his family because he was a vegetarian. A family who, in case you forgot, were hardcore Italian mafia sharks. Yeah.
Not only did Lenny have unflinching desires to live his life differently from what his father wanted, he also did the shark equivalent of drag by dressing up as a dolphin.
Remember the whole Sebastian the whale washing dolphin scene? Queer representation at its finest. Nothing is gayer in my opinion.
I mean come on, that’s so fkn camp.
Lenny’s character arc was, to me, an obvious play on coming out of the closet, being different, being QUEER. In the end, his family came around to how different he was and embraced him, but it isn’t without an initial struggle.
Look, I know I sound insane making arguments for my case that a cartoon shark was a homosexual icon, but he just was. It was 2004, when being flamboyant and vegetarian in cinema was basically a way of saying “super gay”.
If heterosexuals got to witness the sexiest animated fish in existence voiced by Angelina Jolie, then why can’t we gays have this one win? A crossdressing flaming homo of a shark voiced by Jack Black. It’s number five on the gay agenda checklist.
So next time you watch Shark Tale, whenever that may be, pay attention to the subtle nuances of Lenny’s character. The pressure from his family to conform. The way he practically runs away from home in fear of what they’ll do if they discover he’s different. As a gay Italian myself, this shit hit home.
Time for a rewatch I reckon.