The Thing About Harry
The Thing About Harry
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Thing About Harry is a TV movie about two young men who fall in love despite romantic obstacles. The leads are charming and accept themselves and are supported by their loved ones; at the start of the movie, both men are comfortably out of the closet. Sexual content is strong for network television: Two men have sex in a gauzy montage (no private parts are seen, mostly what we see is kissing and bodies shifting next to each other); the next day, we see them in bed waking up. There are references to casual sex, passionate same- and opposite-sex kissing, and a man sinking to his knees in front of another man, presumably to perform oral sex. Jokes about sex and body parts are also common. Messages of communication and integrity are clear from storylines about living an authentic life, accepting others and oneself, and making amends for mistakes, but there are some negative messages too, like when some characters are mocked for being unattractive while others are rapturously praised for their looks. A man who has had many partners is called a "slut" and a "man-whore." Cursing is infrequent -- expect "s--t," "a--hole," and "hell" -- but there are vulgar terms for body parts ("balls," "d--k") and language that could be homophobic used playfully ("homo," "queer"). Characters drink at parties, gatherings, and clubs, and at one point a main character says he's "kind of wasted." Mainstream romcoms with LGBTQ characters are rare, certainly on network TV, so The Thing About Harry stands out for that.
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What's the Story?
When Sam (Jake Borelli) is recruited to give his high school bully Harry (Niko Terho) a ride to their hometown for a party, he soon discovers THE THING ABOUT HARRY is that he's no longer a closeted jerk. In the years since high school, in fact, Harry has come out as pansexual, and though Sam's attracted to Harry (and vice versa), a series of misadventures keeps them apart ... but for how long?
Is It Any Good?
All the romcom clichés are on full display (romantic misunderstandings, love triangles, a big fancy wedding), but what's remarkable about this TV movie is that the romance is between two men. It's not the first LGBTQ romcom, but it may well be the first on network TV, accessible to more viewers than indie movies or streaming fare. Even better, there's no tiptoeing around sexuality. Sam's been out and proud since high school, and though Harry took longer to embrace his pansexuality, he announces his orientation without a particle of shame, and is generally relaxed about having both boyfriends and girlfriends. So without the usual source of tension in mainstream LGBTQ-themed fare (which often focuses on coming out or hiding, all the better to snare gay audiences without turning off uptight ones who presumably don't want to watch a gay couple kissing), The Thing About Harry is free to focus on the kind of plot devices found in hetero romcoms.
It's pretty silly, of course -- most romcoms are -- but it also goes down sweetly, thanks to the chemistry between Sam and Harry, and the hijinks that keep them apart for the duration of a two-hours-plus-commercials movie, including the intercession of manic pixie dream girl Stasia and Harry and Sam stubbornly pretending not to be into each other. Some of the roadblocks are pretty unlikely, but romcoms aren't about logic, they're about romance, and the slowly building one between Sam and Harry is easy to root for. Let's hope that this cheesy, predictable, lovable movie won't be remarkable just for existing in the future, and that romcoms about all kinds of couples are on their way.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the kinds of characters romcoms are usually built around. Describe them. How are the characters in The Thing About Harry different from or like these typical characters? Other than the fact that the main couple is same-sex, how is this movie different from other romcoms?
Are the things that happen in this movie realistic? Does that detract from your enjoyment, or not? There's a movie critics' cliché that says "Every movie gets one miracle," meaning the viewer can ignore one silly or unrealistic plot point, but not more. What's The Thing About Harry's miracle? Is there more than one?
How do the characters in The Thing About Harry demonstrate communication and integrity? Why are those important character strengths?
- Premiere date: February 15, 2020
- Cast: Jake Borelli, Peter Paige, Britt Baron
- Network: Freeform
- Genre: Comedy
- Character Strengths: Communication, Integrity
- TV rating: TV-14
- Last updated: February 27, 2022
Our Editors Recommend
Affecting, lovable romcom about gay teen has a little edge.
Fosters spin-off is a little racier but sweet and lovable.
Quirky comedy has terrific premise, tons of mature content.
For kids who love LGBTQ characters
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