“Pardon Me! Isn’t That My Sex Organ?” or “Life is Easy” Explores Body-Swapping

For quite a while, Tiresias was the only being who’d experienced sex both as a man and a woman. If you recall, for killing two copulating snakes, he was transformed into a female for seven years by the goddess Hera. (Having a vagina was a punishment back then.) Not satisfied, Hera later blinded the gent, which seemed rather harsh, although it did gain him a major speaking part in Oedipus Rex.

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Tiresias learns it’s not nice to slaughter two copulating snakes.

Now, 2449 years later, Revry, the self-proclaimed “queer virtual cable TV network,” is showcasing a New-Zealand-based, 8-part situation comedy, Life is Easy, that explores what it’s like to suddenly have a non-surgically transformed crotch. Although we’re not quite sure where J.K. Rowling stands on this concept, we’ve found the end result, while not quite on the same laugh level as Schitt$ Creek and Little Britain, often quite amusing with a genuine knee-slapper now and then.

The first episode begins in 2006, the year Google purchased YouTube, Pluto lost its planet status, and a whale swam up the River Thames.

Far away from all of that activity is Curtis (Cole Jenkins), an awkwardly closeted Aukland teen, who’s standing on a school bench, peeping into the boys’ shower room while pleasuring himself. Suddenly, Jamie-Li (Chye-Ling Huang), a rather loud young lass with purple hair and a garbage bag full of used tampons, catches him in the act. Peeping in herself, she finds the sight before her rather amusing, but not for long.

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Curtis, newly inhabited in Jamie-Li’s body, tries to put her makeup on with style.

You see, the showering lads suddenly appear, so to avoid the wrath of these possibly queer-bashing bullies, the pair fake the act of cunnilingus. Afterwards, they discover they have the same birthday. What a basis for a long-lasting friendship!

Jump head 13 years to their 25th birthday. On the morning of that day, Jamie-Li phones her pal.

This lively, self-centered couple are a pair who neither watch their words — nor the words of others.

Jamie-Li, who’s now employed by a promotion company, has grown up to be a high-spirited, caustic, serial fornicator with a loving, hard-working mom and a “dead” Asian father.

Curtis, a lux furniture salesman with a very fem, touchy-feely boss, is finally out of the closet himself. Saddled with a sexy, sane, perfect boyfriend, our hero, still a bit uptight, really wants to queen it up and possibly not be as monogamous as he is.

[Please note that if you put the two lead characters’ names together you get the star of Halloween.]

Well, due to a metaphysical occurrence after a drug- and alcohol-fueled B-day party, the friends wake up in each other’s body the next morning in a swimming pool. You can imagine how unsettling it is to open your eyes and see yourself gesticulating at yourself.

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Is it a gay-male kiss when your soul is a woman’s?

After the initial shock and after fruitlessly trying to find out if there’s any info on the internet for folks whose bodies have just been swapped, Jamie-Li and Curtis start exploring their new physical states.

Soon the two are respectively achieving their first female and male orgasms. After that, of course, the complexities mount, the couplings compound, and eventually each changes the other’s life from haircuts, to jobs, to parental interactions.

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Curtis experiences his first female orgasm while ensconced in the body of his pal, Jamie-Li (Chye-Ling Huang)

What the show especially gets right is the inclusion of numerous Asian characters in major roles, the delineating of what it is to be a woman or queer man in modern Kiwi society, and the slow realization of how we are leading our lives, a perception that can only be perceived by stepping outside of ourselves and viewing what’ve we’ve been doing through others’ eyes.

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Curtis (Cole Jenkins), whose body is now inhabited by Jamie-Li, sits on a toilet in “Life is Easy.”

There is, of course, an over-the-topness to the whole series that is co-written by its two affable stars, who apparently know their own strengths. Maybe a little bit too much. There’s a whole lot of mugging here that might have bore more fruit if restrained an iota. However, balancing the scenes that are too loud, too busy, and somewhat obvious are the many on-the-up-and-up moving moments that argue quite persuasively that “life is not all that easy.” With each episode just about 15 minutes in length, this joyful ode to gender fluidity is in the end a breezy, enjoyable affair.

(Life is Easy can be found on revry Queer TV (https://revry.tv/), which is free, unless you want a connection to all of the channel’s content. Then you have to shell out a little bit.)

Brandon Judell has published in The Village Voice, The Advocate, and 50 or so other outlets. He is currently a lecturer at The City College of New York.

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