This Is Us usually has me in tears, but last night, I was cheering—not because of happy developments in the storyline, but because of a certain Las Vegas strip show that made a guest appearance.
After a two-week break, This Is Us returned with Kate and Toby’s bachelor/bachelorette episode set in Vegassssss, baby! While Chippendales claims to be the “hottest male revue show in Las Vegas,” Kate decides to take her bachelorette crew to Magic Mike Live in the Hard Rock Hotel—and, wowzer, do things heat up. We’re talking topless men, sky-high lap dances and abs on abs on abs.
Granted, Kate and Beth (plus, a surprise appearance by Randall) steal the spotlight from the hotter-than-hot men dancing around them in last night’s episode. But, TBH, even when there was some serious Pearson drama going down, I found myself wanting the camera to zoom out a bit so I could still watch the strip show going on around them. Even though Magic Mike Live was just a backdrop for This Is Us, this male revue deserves a closer look—and not just because of the rock hard bods involved.
— Sterling K Brown (@SterlingKBrown) February 28, 2018
For the uninitiated, man-of-our-collective-dreams Channing Tatum brought Magic Mike from the big screen to the Vegas stage last year and promised audiences that it would be a show unlike any other. I had the pleasure—and oh, do I mean that—of witnessing this on-stage masterpiece a few weeks ago during a friend’s bachelorette trip, and while I expected to see super-cut men with insane dance moves, I was not prepared for how empowering this strip show could be.
Yes, you read that right.
Even though I had a goblet of rum and coke, and half-naked men dancing around me with novelty dollar bills flying like confetti, I found myself taking notes because this show is something special.
— Chrissy Metz (@ChrissyMetz) February 28, 2018
Without spoiling the show, let’s just say that this 18+ production isn’t the typical balls-in-your-face type strip show that bachelorette parties everywhere have come to expect. In fact, a male revue is the last place I thought I would hear about equality in relationships and issues surrounding consent. Literally at one point, the emcee talked to us about how the secret to a “woman’s space” is that before you enter, you need to make sure you are welcome. I may have “woo-hooed” louder for that than for anything else.
“Ladies, do you feel powerful?” said the emcee, prompting cheers and raised goblets from the audience. “You should.”
But Magic Mike Live wasn’t just refreshingly relevant, it was also just a rockin’ good time, complete dancing men in suits and men *ahem* out of suits. In an essay written for Cosmo, Tatum recognized that while men and women have long been put into defined roles, those definitions are finally be questioned and broken down.
“Women, especially, are realizing that they no longer have to conform to certain standards of social and sexual behavior, and this changes what they need from men and the role of men in general,” he wrote. “I decided to turn Magic Mike into a live show because I wanted to create a space where we could really explore these themes in a fun, provocative way. I want women to feel what it’s like to exist in a world where men really listen to them, where they treat them like goddesses, and where they can feel comfortable and proud to express the full force of their sexual energy together.”
And for a TV show like This Is Us that continues to break down barriers around what we expect from ourselves and each other, Magic Mike Live was the perfect cameo.