old dogs & new tricks

Old Dogs & New Tricks
Season 3

Larilee Productions,

Arvin Bautista,
Derek Stricker,
John Cleland,
Steve Curtis,
Leon Acord

Written and
Created by:

Leon Acord

Leon Acord,
Jeffrey Patrick Olson,
Curt Bonnem,
David Pevsner,
Amanda Abel,
Curtis Wayne Brown,
Bruce L. Hart,
Parnell Damone Marcano

Unrated, 118 minutes

Hound Dogs
by Michael D. Klemm
Posted online May, 2015

Old Dogs & New Tricks, the brainchild of series creator Leon Acord, is a terrific web series that premiered in 2011 on YouTube. Its third season aired in 2014 and is now collected on DVD. I love this series and I’ll tell you the biggest reason why. This ensemble comedy features a group of gay friends in West Hollywood who are in their forties and fifties. It’s a refreshing change of pace from the more typical faire featuring 20-somethings in their underwear. A familiar formula is getting a facelift, and the 10-15 minute episodes are entertaining and addicting. Not to mention, sexy.

A quick note: the DVD includes the eight new Season Three episodes, along with the 22-minute “Weho Halloween Special” which was aired – as a teaser of sorts - between Seasons Two and Three. To make writing this review easier, I am referring to everything on the disc as Season Three.

Meet the characters: Nathan Adler (Acord) is a talent agent who is not happy about having just turned 50. His oldest buddy, Brad King (Curt Bonnem), was a new wave punk rocking one hit wonder whose song, “Bite Me,” was the Number #4 hit of 1988. He spends his time trolling internet hookup sites. Al Carter (Jeffrey Patrick Olson) is a trainer at a WeHo gym and everyone calls him “Muscles.” He’s the group’s conscience. Ross Stein, played by David Pevsner (role / playA Portrait of James Dean: Joshua Tree, 1951), is an out of work actor best known for co-starring with a bulldog in the Aaron Spelling cop show, “Max and Me.”

As the new season begins, two months have passed since we left the old dogs. Nathan hasn’t gotten over getting dumped by his much-younger ex-boyfriend, Damian. Brad has, predictably, ended his “period of celibacy” after getting a urinary infection because he stopped having sex. Ross had decided to separate from his longtime lover, Neal (Parnell Damone Marcano – taking over the role from Doug Spearman), and he has just learned that his ex has initiated ugly divorce proceedings.  The health-conscious Muscles is also single again after discovering that his seemingly-perfect beau has Herpes and didn’t tell him.

There’s more, of course. Much more. Most of Old Dogs & New Tricks is very funny, with a few dramatic peaks mixed in for good measure. The laughs are plenty and arise naturally from situations that are grounded in reality. Our boys are a likable bunch so be prepared to shed a few tears too as you get caught up in their stories. The cast is excellent. There is genuine chemistry between these guys and you believe that they are old friends. The teasing, the hugs… all of it feels like the real thing. The banter between them is terrific and they have great comedic timing. So many scenes are laugh out loud funny.

Without compromising the storytelling, the episodes are short and sweet without overstaying their welcome. It takes its time when it needs to but without padding out its running length with long, meaningful glances out windows, driving cars to gratuitous pop songs, and other clichéd time wasting scenes. The writing is sharp and the well developed character arcs, described briefly below, unfold with just the right balance of comedy and drama.

Unable to stop pining over his ex, Nathan has let his talent agency go to hell and he is forced to enter into an unholy working alliance with his arch-enemy, Nelson Van Eddy  (Bruce L. Hart). The office soon turns into the set of Whatever Happened To Baby Jane (even their secretaries go Joan Crawford on each other). Nathan gets another chance at love when the perfect man enters his life. Jake Tyler (Curtis Wayne Brown) is a former model and they “meet cute” when Nathan rear-ends his car. Older and well grounded (not to mention smolderingly hot), he’s everything that Nathan needs – except that he can’t stop thinking about Damian. Alas, we’ve already seen how good Nathan is at screwing up a relationship.

Brad has money problems when a candy bar company stops using “Bite Me” in its commercials and he can no longer live off of the residuals. Forced to get a job, and unsuited to even work retail, he decides to try being a rent boy. Meanwhile, Ross’ ex is trying to bury the hatchet but something always goes wrong. Ross finally catches a break when he lands a plum role in a Lifetime TV movie. “Well, trash imitates life,” he tells Nathan after acing the audition, “My life is a Lifetime movie of the week! Who knew?” And then a sex tape surfaces on the web.

My favorite storyline involved Muscles and his (very) muscular new boyfriend, Lucas (Dan Oliverio). Muscles is smitten with him until he starts to put on weight and thinks that Lucas is secretly trying to fatten him up. Muscles, of course, always eats healthy and Lucas tells him that “diets are for girls” and to “eat like a man.” In one of the series’ best scenes, Muscles asks Lucas to tell him his biggest fantasy – and I won't spoil one of the best belly laughs I’ve had in a long time.

Some of the humor is a little broader this season, but everyone involved knows when to be subtle too. I liked Lucas putting pillows on top of Muscles when they started making out. I also liked Brad’s brief stint as a department store Santa. When a boy asks him for a sparkle bracelet maker, Brad cheerfully tells his mother that “you have a future friend of Dorothy on your hands.” (Confused, she looks around and asks: “Who’s Dorothy?”) On the more outrageous end of the spectrum, Brad’s first trick as a rent boy looks like he stepped out of a Tim Burton movie, and Nathan fantasizes another catfight with Nelson Van Eddy. The Halloween episode provides the opportunity to let the cast have fun in costume. Nathan is outrageous as Wonder Woman, Ross looks ridiculous as a rabbi and Muscles rocks a Hercules toga. (The shower scene from Psycho parody was a bit much however.)

I enjoyed these episodes when they first aired on the web and it was nice being able to “binge-watch” them in one stretch… not to mention being able to curl up on the couch to view them on my big TV rather than on my computer. I’ve been waiting for a show like Old Dogs & New Tricks for a long time. It’s about time that we middle-aged (and older) queers get a little more visibility on the screen. Aging is addressed in playful, and serious, ways and so this 50-something reviewer can certainly relate to the characters. But that doesn’t mean 20-somethings can’t enjoy it – they can glimpse their future selves thirty years from now. Leon Acord has breathed new life into a genre that was losing its edge. These episodes are well shot, edited, and acted; this could be on HBO or Showtime, it is that good. Old Dogs & New Tricks engaged my emotions and it made me laugh. A lot. What can I say… I can't get enough of this show and I can’t wait for season four. These old dogs show no sign of getting put down any time soon.

And, like I said when I began my review of the first seasons:
I love the title.


The disc can be ordered at

Click here to read about season one

David Pevsner also appears in:
role / play
A Portrait of James Dean: Joshua Tree, 1951
Pornography: A Thriller
Adam & Steve
The Fluffer

Leon Acord also appears in:
Hot Guys With Gun