Bondage Fairies (French: Les pantalons tendus érotiques programment) is a weekly WWE program, which is aired Thursdays at 6:00 PM on Logo and draws an audience mainly from the demographics of so-called "leather queers" and macho wrestling fans who are mostly unaware of its underlying homo-erotic themes. Though only one plot-line in the show's history has been explicitly gay-themed, the program has received plaudits from some in the gay community for their unflinching portrayals of male bonding/bondage and tight butts.
Bondage Fairies was first broadcast Wednesday July the 3rd, 1979 at 10:30 on Cine-max. It quickly gained a devoted following among wrestling fanatics who admired it's hard, fast, tight and aggressive style of so-called "bare-back" wrestling.
In those early days before the Aids epidemic, a Bondage Fairies match was a fast and furious fight to the climax. As a result the show was a huge success in it's 10:30 time slot and the mood at live matches could be literally orgasmic. With the show flying high, the producers and wresters were engaged in a literal orgy of drugs and sex with men...
...and women... sex with men and women. Sex with men and women, as in: sex between men and women...
In the mid 80's however Bondage Fairies "Wide Stance" on self-regulation eventually landed the show in hot water when Larry The Submissive contracted HIV from The Dominatrix in an "anything goes" Sadomasochism match in which 7 pints of blood and bodily fluids were exchanged.
Rod Steele, commissioner of wrestling at the time immediately distanced himself from the show, saying that he had not approved of the script. The show escaped censure when the FCC ruled that though the show contained horrific violence and cruelty, it had not actually included sex.
The shows latent Neanderthal fans began to abandon it and its ratings took a precipitous decline, bottoming out in 1992 with only two viewers (one of whom was beginning to think that their was something slightly gay about hanging out alone with his best male friend and watching sweaty men grapple each other)
Narrative Focus in the 90's
A change of direction began in July 1996 when Bondage Fairies, threatened with cancellation, hired Aaron Spelling to act as head producer of it's 1997 season.
Under Aaron Spelling's direction the show gradually changed it's plot to focus on a group of late-twenties white people struggling with their internal conflicts about entering the "real world" in a brooding and sexy way.
It is in this era that the show began to receive praise from gay activists for it's treatment of male friendship in a much different way from the way it was when it was praised for it's tight asses and sweaty grunting and grasping.
The ratings rose, and the show was often nominated for Emmy,Tony, and Academy awards by people who (admittedly) had no say in the matter. With rigorous training, testing and a strict zero tolerance policy against the exchange of bodily fluids in-ring the show was eventually able to secure it's spot.
Critically acclaimed though it was during the 90's the show never reached the ratings peaks it reached in the early and mid-80's before the fall. The show eventually made a shift back to the exhibitionism of the 80's, and fired Spelling in 1998.
Upon the firing of producer Aaron Spelling (7th Heaven, Tori Spelling) a nationwide hunt was begun for a producer/director who could deliver the empty PG-13 action and bombast that the corporate offices of WWE were seeking. Eventually WWE executives settled on the Synthetically Engineered Artificial Creativity Replication Device (SEACRD) known as Michael Bay (Transformers, The Justifiable Urge to Kill Michael Bay)
The show had to walk a fine line in replicating the edgy antics of the 80's while still adhering to the strict standards of professionalism embraced in the 90's. The show began to showcase ludicrously unbelievable story lines which were designed to induce the audience to experience a wide variety of emotions including:Fear, sadness, happiness, anger, horniness, hornlessness, beaklessness, Sleepy, Happy, Dopey and Doc. The show also began to dabble topicality, emphasizing political commentary. From 2000-2008 Bondage Fairies has featured matches between George Bush I and Clarence Thomas, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, George Bush and Karl Rove, and Condoleezza Rice vs. Janet Reno as a specially broadcast match designed to appeal to female viewers.
With the strict drug testing regimen remaining in place and the constant presence of physicians, Bondage Fairies was able to attain new heights as a WWE broadcast night.
Gay Marriage Controversy
In March of 2004 Bondage Fairies began a controversial and explicitly homosexual plot-arch - the first of it's kind on the show. The plot involved the well known heels and tag-team partners Bondage and Discipline who were seeking a change in the rules in order to wrestle as a married tag team. The team was forced to wrestle through many embarrassing and humiliating matches to finally achieve marriage by winning a coffin match against Cardinal Sin and the OrthodoX Minister forcing Cardinal Sin to preform a marriage ceremony from six feet underground - a world record at that time. The show received many plaudits from gay rights activists for it's progressive stance on turning your children gay; not all gay rights activists were amused however, as some prominent GLAD spokespeople felt that the couple were cast as villains.
Despite their status as heels, the two proved to be popular villains and stereotypes.
Through it's many years of televisionalizationalismment Bondage Fairies has become a cultural touchstone. With so many media options today, culture has become fragmented and - success though it is - Bondage Fairies does not carry nearly the cachet that it did when it 1st broadcast in 1979. Since that date the iconic show has attracted many viewers and reviews, some of whom have bonded deeply over their shared experience. One thing that cannot be denied is it's impact on society. Still, through all it's praise and approbation one thing stands constant, the vague feeling that it is all just a little bit... gay.