The soprano Ainhoa Arteta, a contestant on the current edition of MasterChef Celebrity, wanted to ease her tensions with the program judge Jordi Cruz by giving him « a good snogging. » The song You Sexy Thing by Hot Chocolate played. Next, Cruz invoked Flosie and proposed that he do the same with Pepe Rodríguez, another of the judges. Flosie is the effeminate alter ego that at times possesses the contestant and comedian Florentino Fernández, in a supposed parody of the stylist and also participant Josie. Pepe Rodríguez came out whistling right away. Flosie chased after him. The musical accompaniment changed to the menacing soundtrack of Jaws, by John Williams.
Flosie has become an almost constant presence in this edition of the popular contest. It doesn’t look like Josie. Not in the gestures, not in the voice, not in the diction. They have named him Flosie, simply because he is, along with the stylist, the other gay man in the edition. Flosie looks like a recreation of Crispín Klander with another Pepe (from Navarro to Rodríguez) as platonic love: Florentino Fernández became famous in the mid-nineties in Tonight We Cross the Mississippi with that character, a creature with a naive attitude and eccentric appearance (clothes bright pink print, platinum blonde curtains, tortoiseshell glasses) that evoked Chiquito de la Calzada but with extremely effeminate gestures. Crispín was obsessed with hooking up with his boss Pepe Navarro, the show’s host, but when asked about his sexual orientation, he replied that he was « modest. » Its repercussion was such that for a couple of years the term « little way » replaced « ladybug » in popular vocabulary: overnight, those who in class called the effeminate student « ladybug » changed the insult to « little way » .
Flosie’s presence irritates activists and network users on a weekly basis. « These jokes, comments and attitudes show that being homosexual (or, rather, having a pen) is a joke: a feminine man is worthy of laughter and ridicule and he deserves it », says Rubén Serrano, author of the book We are not so well (Today’s Topics) « The implicit message is that you can laugh at homosexuals, that it is funny and that nothing happens. »
Analyzing Josie’s body language while Florentino Fernández plays Flosie is inconclusive. There will be those who understand his shy smile as an accomplice approval (they are not laughing at me, they are laughing with me) and there will be those who perceive certain gestures (crossing their arms, touching their hair, moving away from the group) as signs of discomfort. Anyone who has been systematically teased at some point in their life knows that instinctively the initial reaction is to pretend that it is not hurting you. Josie confessed in an interview in this newspaper that it was not easy to be a boy as he was. The harmony of the community dictates that Josie must put up with sissy jokes in the name of entertainment.
The type of humor that is used here is so recognizable that the judges put the jokes on a tray: « The kitchen is built in, » said Pepe Rodríguez in a program. « Let them put me directly in, » Flosie replied, a phrase received with awkward silence that he revived saying « You’re very handsome, Pepe. » « Where is Florentino’s sausage? » Jordi asked him on another occasion; « David, let’s see if we can stay and honor your surname: p’allá, p’acá, p’allá, p’acá », one day Flosie proposed to the guest chef David Pallás. On one occasion, Jordi Cruz was also encouraged to imitate Flosie: Josie wore her patterned pajamas, as a nod to the scandal caused by each of her looks on the program, and Cruz put it on, immediately transforming into her imitation: she sighed “Oh , Pepe ”with an effeminate voice.
Every time the energy drops, Jordi Cruz invokes the appearance of Flosie. He transforms and lies on the table to ask for kisses like a child who has come out. Chases and struggles between Flosie and Pepe are frequent, accompanied by vaudeville music and setbacks from the rest of the contestants. « You’re going to end up getting fit, » Gonzalo Miró told the judge once while fleeing from Flosie. Fernández’s defenders clarify that there is no bad intention, as if the absence of malice legitimizes any insult, or gives license to make, for example, black jokes at the expense of a black contestant.
Current times dictate that those « ladybug » jokes by Florentino Fernández should be a golden opportunity for Josie to confront him, correct him or simply indicate that he is not amused. Josie either sees nothing offensive in these jokes or finds it in bad taste to argue and glancing activism on a family entertainment show. He does not represent his collective, but himself (and there is already a lot to represent). It displays its plumage like a peacock that has long since outgrown jeers.
One of the keys to the dynamic between impersonator and imitated is that, at least as the contest is narrated, they are not colleagues. Their interaction during the first programs was minimal and each one is there to recreate roles that had worked in previous editions: the cultured homosexual, extravagant, fast, ingenious and surprisingly involved in kitchen work (Boris Izaguirre, whose charisma led him to participate in two consecutive editions) and the funny official who turns out to be competitive (José Corbacho, Santiago Segura, El Sevilla). Flosie was born as a manifestation of the « sensitive side » of Fernández, who had been accused of being too rough, but quickly evolved into the recurring joke that he was in love with Jordi (he calls him Jorge), a syllogism that suggests that showing sensitivity is incompatible with being heterosexual. Two shows later he changed his focus from Jordi to Pepe because, it goes without saying, harassing a man was even funnier than a handsome man who posed shirtless on the cover of Men’s Health. Masterchef Celebrity not only brings the public together with celebrities from other times (in the current edition there are Raquel Meroño or Perico Delgado) but also with a humor from another era.
From the « fag of Spain » to ‘Flosie’
That « modest » replaced « ladybug » in street lingo in the mid-1990s is an example of the power of television to rewrite meanings. Through her, Spain began laughing at the « Fagot of Spain » on Tuesday and 13 and began the 21st century with a couple of men (Mauri and Fernando) fully integrated into society in the most popular series of the moment (There is no one here live). In the middle, television proposed recognizable archetypes that would encourage Spanish society to lose its fear of homosexuals: Jesús Vázquez (the handsome one, the one for whom hairdressers and their clients sighed “oh, what a pity that he’s gay”), Boris Izaguirre (the scandalous but charismatic) or Jaime Cantizano (the kind and dreamy son-in-law) stripped the homosexual figure of the sordidness and pitorreo with which he was still perceived. These new archetypes were adopted by various gay circles as disguises to present themselves to society with familiar, close and harmless features.
Faced with this new scenario, « sissy » jokes like Crispín Klander or the one with which heterosexual men reacted when they were asked to go to a gay bar (« I’m going to have to put a plug in my ass ») ended up going from fashion. Or so it seemed.