Nick Offerman Foreshadowed His ‘Last of Us’ Episode in a Foreword He Wrote For a Book of Gay Bear Photography
If any Nick Offerman fans find themselves yearning for dazzlingly well-composed images of hunky bearded gay men following Offerman’s appearance in the most recent episode of The Last of Us, then they will be happy to learn that the Parks and Recreation star has had them covered since 2013.
Ten years ago, Offerman offered a humorous and heartfelt forward to Manifest, an erotic photography book that featured images of furry, masculine men in tastefully provocative poses as shot by Blake Little. In the introduction, Offerman pondered the nature of “manliness” as it relates to issues of love and sexuality, and the actor and woodworker posited that masculinity need not be tied to heteronormativity. The Last of Us fans will find that many of the ideas that Offerman expressed in the Manifest forward are directly applicable to this past Sunday’s episode in which Offerman and The White Lotus’ Murray Bartlett engaged in a tear-jerking, post-apocalyptic love story that has already sparked conversations about the awards-worthiness of both Bartlett and Offerman’s performances.
Meanwhile, fans of both The Last of Us and big, bearded gay men may find that they need a box of tissues for the most recent episode of the HBO show and for Little’s Manifest — but for very different reasons.
In his passage, Offerman used the example of Queen singer Freddie Mercury and allusions to the work of homoerotic artist Tom of Finland to paint the picture of a wide spectrum of manly men whose sexual orientations had no bearing on their status as ideals of the male gender. Seeing as Offerman’s character of Ron Swanson in Parks and Recreation is considered by some to be the standard of masculinity in modern television, Offerman’s endorsement of an inclusive definition of “manliness” in a pre-Obergefell America is an admirable stance to take.
Offerman noted in the forward that, while he had a 1,000-word limit on his introduction, a picture is worth a thousand words, and an elegant, partially nude photograph of Offerman may serve Manifest’s purposes just as well. Confoundingly, Little denied Offerman’s offer in a decision that some would consider to be a more unforgivable sin than serving salad to Ron Swanson.