Bravo has gotten a lot of buzz for its gay-themed summer programming. What do those who have seen either or both of these shows, "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" and "Boy Meets Boy," think of them? If homosexuality offends you, you should probably stop reading here
Me, I love 'em! "Queer Eye" sounded awful in the previews, but I was pleasantly and joyfully surprised. For those of you who don't get Bravo, "QESG" has five gay men (the "Fab Five"), each with an area of expertise, ie, interior design; clothing -- oops, couture; culture; hair and fragrance; and food and wine, do a make over on the look and apartment of a usually slobby straight guy. It sounds awful, but I think the personalities and lighthearted approach make it work. Plus the straight guy has some sort of romantic goal with the woman in his life; one wanted to fix himself and his place up so he could ask his girlfriend to move in with him; one wanted to propose to his girlfriend; one wanted to be able to take his girl dancing; things like that.
Anyway, I think it's great to see middle class straight men and a variety of personalities among the "Fab Five" interact. One, Carson, is an outgoing queen who is always ready with a choice remark. Sometimes the remarks are playfully sexual, eg, on the episode where the guy was going to propose to his girlfriend, Carson said to the very attractive straight guy, "Look, if your girlfriend says no, the consolation prize is that you get to marry all of us." OTOH, sometimes he's just funny. One guy was rather "plump," though he did look a lot better after the guys had gotten him the right clothes and fixed him up. The guy looked at his new self in the mirror and said, "So do I look like Ben Affleck?" The reply, "More like Ben and Jerry Affleck." The very fact that these very real guys joke around about sexuality is I think a watershed moment for television. (All right, the show is taped for now exculsively in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut, so they're not exactly in Kansas.) But I think it's wonderful to see the straight guys (one was even a port authority cop) taking the advice of the gay guys, some of whom are completely unaffected and businesslike, others, as I said, are quite colorful, look completely comfortable and ultimately be so pleased with the results. And rightly so. Both the men themselves and their digs look incredibly better after the makeover, which individually are really pretty simple. It's one of those "whole greater than the sum of its parts" deals.
As for "Boy Meets Boy," this seemed like it would be a simple gay version of "The Bachelor." In fact, of the dozen prospective romantic interests for the main guy, James, half of them were secretly straight. No one knew about this secret twist until the very last show, when it was revealed by the show to James that one of the final three guys from whom he had to choose to go on a romantic trip with him, one of them was actually straight. The audience did not know who was gay and who was straight until the end of each show and the sexual orientation of each of the three guys who were eliminated that show. What was most interesting to me was the motives of the straight guys for doing the show, which they talked about in prerecorded interviews on the final show. Some wanted to show that when it comes to love, it's about being human, not about which gender you love. One guy said he wanted to show his family that gay men are not all about sex since he had gay friends in real life and many in his family couldn't understand this. One straight guy said he had made an immediate friendship connection with one of the gay men. He said this guy both complemented him and challenged him and that there was a real spark between their personalities. Ultimately the guy said something like, "It's so rare to find that with another person, and these are the kind of people I want to surround myself with. I'm glad I found out that sexual orientation does not have to be a barrier to that."
I was also unexpectedly nervous when James had to make his final choice. Would he pick the straight guy? The audience didn't know, although the guy who turned out to be straight did give a few verbal giveaways just before he actually revealed it. Other than that, you absolutely could not tell who was gay and who was straight, or at least I couldn't and coming from a dance background, I've been around gay men from a young age. It was also interesting when the staight guy had to confront James, who was not informed of the "straight twist" until two days before he had to make his final decision. For the straight guy to get that close to the end (I don't want to give anything away) when, as he said, real feelings were involved, was extremely difficult. The other twist to the twist was that if James chose a gay guy, he would also get $25,000 dollars whereas if he chose the straight guy, the straight guy got the $25 grand. (Do these producers think up the tough stuff or what? Guess that's why they get paid.)
I can say this without giving anything away: All these guys got along together and behaved much better than any of the groups of straight women or men on the "Bachelor" or "Bachelorette" shows. Anyway, I think both "Queer Eye" and "Boy Meets Boy" made a quantum leap in gays on TV. It's one thing to watch "Will and Grace" or "Six Feet Under" and know they're actors; it's another to see guys who could be guys who work at your office going through contrived yet real associations in a combined gay/straight milieu.
So, I want the "Fab Five" to makeover me and my apartment. They just have to find me a nice straight guy
And I have to wonder if Bravo will do a "Girl Meets Girl" show. Of course now the twist is out -- I was going to say "now the cat is out of the bag" but I thought, "Nah" -- so they would have to come up with something else.
But I am interested in what other people think since obviously this is a controversial subject for many people.