We Need to Talk About Mitch, the Gay Jock in 'ParaNorman'

By: Brandon Voss

The stop-motion animated zombie comedy ParaNorman was released Aug. 17, but convervatives are only just now starting to make a fuss over the film’s inclusion of Mitch Downe, who's being called the first openly gay character in an American animated feature.

Mitch, a musclehead jock and the older brother of one of the main characters, appears to be straight until close to the very end of the film, when a girl asks him out to see a movie. Voiced by Casey Affleck, Mitch responds, "Sure, you're gonna love my boyfriend. He's like a total chick-flick nut!" That's it. Cute and innocuous, right?

Well, William Bigelow of Breitbart.com is not at all amused: "You knew it was only a matter of time before the gay community, which has successfully integrated gay characters into every possible form of entertainment for adults, targeted children. Now, for the first time, an American animated feature features an openly gay character... It’s a time-honored technique of the gay community to hide the fact that a character is gay until the audience has developed a real affinity for him/her, then catch the audience off-guard by divulging that the character is gay. If they really were 'brave' they’d announce from the start that Mitch was gay and see just how many parents would take their children to see this movie." Please, just look at that chest-to-waist ratio, bitch — how did you not know?

National Review Online's Nancy French also clutches her pearls and warns, "Parents who take children to the new movie ParaNorman might have to answer unwanted questions about sex and homosexuality on the way home from the movie theater." The horror indeed!

Chris Butler, ParaNorman's gay screenwriter and co-director, discusses the film's subtle gay inclusion with Indiewire: "I wanted it from the start, absolutely. It seemed like the best bookend to that whole tolerance thing and to do it as a joke, a kind of throwaway thing, but something that has NEVER been done before. I think we're telling a story about intolerance, so you have to be brave about it."