The first time I was channel-surfing and went past “D.E.B.S.” I thought it must be some TV show I hadn’t heard of.
Maybe it was some syndicated or cable TV show – which might explain why I’d never heard of it – featuring Michael Clarke Duncan, the actor from “Daredevil,” as the supervisor of a bunch of young female spies, living in a dormitory – and hey, are those two young women flirting and kissing?
It was only later, after a cursory Internet search, that I determined I had stumbled upon a cult movie.
“DEBS” – as I’m going to call it from here forward, omitting the periods just like I do with “Agents of SHIELD” – isn’t a TV show, although it would be a natural fit on a progressive cable channel like Bravo or Logo. It’s a 2004 film written and directed by Angela Robinson.
It’s a lightweight and silly movie that’s become something of a cult classic within the lesbian community for three reasons:
It presents a light-hearted flirtation and romance between two young women without a lot of the heartache and tragedy of earlier movies like “Desert Hearts” and “Personal Best.”
There are some “oh my god I can’t believe you’re kissing another girl” moments, but mostly because the romantic leads are young women at the opposite end of the crime and punishment spectrum: Amy (Sara Foster) is one of the DEBS, a government spy recruited right out of school and Lucy Diamond (Jordana Brewster, more recently Elena of the “Dallas” reboot) is a criminal, prone to robbing banks and threatening the world with high-tech weapons. Lucy is kind of like Dr. Evil if he was a woman, weighed 100 pounds, had great cheekbones and to-die-for hair. And Lucy has better taste in assistants: Scud (Jimmi Simpson) is funnier and more understanding than Mini Me.
And thirdly, Amy and Lucy get – spoiler – a happy ending.
There’s no doubt there’s some intent to appeal to horny guys here. After all, the movie features the DEBS agents running around in school girl outfits and high heels.
But the movie doesn’t treat Amy and Lucy like pieces of eye candy – at least not solely for men in the audience. Judging by the online outpourings of love for “DEBS,” the movie has a cult following among the lesbian community. There are not only fan sites but fan fiction out there. That’s a sure sign of a cult movie.
An added bonus if you watch “DEBS” is Duncan and Holland Taylor in supporting roles and Brewster and Simpson (who more recently appeared in movies like “White House Down”) in early roles.
If you want to know more about “DEBS,” check out the fan site debsmovie.com.