Some of you may recognize yours truly as the reality-TV-addicted writer of the critically acclaimed series ‘Gay Survivor Journal.’ I have received a promotion of sorts (or is it a demotion?) and have been asked to write summaries for some episodes of ‘Boy Meets Boy,’ the new series on Bravo (the ‘Gays Buy Advertising Products!’ network..) I took on this responsibility to ensure that the summaries will be fair and even-handed, and that everyone will be insulted equally (even, nay especially, My People.)
I also want to make a quick apology to Andra, who reportedly reads my columns, and who I have previously lavished with… harsh bitchy criticism. She does seem, without question, to be a lovely person and an amazing friend for James, and for that I applaud her. (However, I continue to stand by my statements that her attire and hairstyle choices on the series were less than ideal.)
Disclaimers aside, we move on to…
Boy Meets Boy, Episode Four, “Wanna Ride My Pony? (or The One with the Strippers)”
As has become the custom, our annoyingly British host Dani informs us…
“Previously on ‘Boy Meets Boy:’ When the mates tried their moves out on James, Sean brought the house down. But it was Wes who got up close and personal. In the end, James said goodbye to Dan (straight), Michael (straight) and Matt (gay). This week, only 6 mates remain. The only catch is; James and his best friend Andra (still) don’t know that some of the remaining suitors are actually straight. As they get closer to James, secrets get harder to hide. Who will James choose?”
(And with this quick paragraph, anyone who missed episodes one through three is now caught up, and spared the experience of meeting the annoying/gorgeous/straight actor-Dan! I wish I had been so lucky.)
This-weeks’ episode opens with a montage of Sunrise on the Desert, complete with the sight of a jackrabbit bounding into the foliage around James’ house. (Is this jackrabbit foreshadowing the rampant sex to come in this episode? Don’t count on it.) James is woken by an obnoxious alarm, and proceeds to make eggs (yolks and all, the skinny biotch can apparently eat whatever he wants. I, on the other hand, have to settle for Egg Beaters.) James and Andra chat by the pool (both with a serious case of bed-head) and ponder the difficult choices ahead.
Meanwhile at the Mates’ house, buff Brian and strapping Franklin work out. Franklin knows this round will be about connection, and is worried that the chemistry between he and James just isn’t there. Darren and Sean are apparently bonding, while the tight friendship between Robb, Brian and Wes continues. Franklin appears to be floating between the two groups (which I believe is a sign of things to come… more about this later.) Robb, ever the joker, has found some ‘horny goat weed,’ and while sniffing it, announces: “man, I’m frisky.” (Wow, if all it takes is a sniff, I’ve gotta get me some of that. Not for myself, of course, but for… well, never mind.)
Back at St. James’ place, he receives a cute little pony-on-a-stick, and an invite to horseback riding with all six mates, that includes the risqué phrases: “back in the saddle” and “giddy-up and get ready.” (Someone at Bravo was paid good money to write those cards. Meanwhile, I do THIS for free. Where is the justice in the world?)
The boys get their invite as well, and Wes takes a moment to tease Franklin with “Hey Franklin, wanna ride my pony?” I barely notice this, however, because Brian is standing nearby in a towel so low that I can nearly determine his religion. Wow does he have an awesome body. Where was I… oh yeah. Robb is hoping James can see past his ‘kooky side.’ Sean is still holding back, waiting for the right moment. Wes needs to make sure the attraction is mutual. And Darren is no longer playing a game, because his feelings have become involved. (Wes, ever the sweetheart, is confused as to why oddball Darren is still here. I have to say I agree with Wes.)
Finally, the two houses meet, and James (Avon Calling!) arrives to pick up his 6-man-harem. Again, I disregard what everyone says, as I am distracted by Franklin’s armpits as he leans against the wall. (I’m not normally a pit-freak, but his are particularly fetching.) They hop into the limo on the way to horseback riding, commenting on the fact that this is the first ‘outing’ that includes all the mates (now that the numbers have dwindled so severely.)
As the men mount their horses, we learn that Darren is a horseback-riding-virgin. Meanwhile, James’ horse pees, which makes Darren have to pee. The scatalogical humor continues, as James discusses the horses crapping habits, and Wes compares them to Darren. (This is a truly highbrow show.) Robb, in the back of the pack, is the lucky one who gets to watch the backs of all their heads and breath in their dust and fumes. He sarcastically comments: “I don’t think I’ll shower tonight.”
James is told he will have one-on-one sessions with each of the six guys today, drawing names from a hat one by one. The first one-on-one is Lunch with Brian. Obviously nervous, but happy to have his first alone time with James, Brian babbles and smiles incessantly. James is worried because Brian is a bartender, and therefore must sleep around and get groped by other guys six hours a night every night of the week. (Wow! If this is the job description, I’m obviously in the wrong line of work!) Brian assures him that the bartending is just a side job for the extra cash, and that he’s actually not interested in random hook-ups. To help this lie go down well, Brian follows it up with flattery so thick that James will need boots to wade out of it.
His second one-on-one is a drink in a little oasis with Robb. Poor Robb has only minutes to bond with James in wind so strong they can barely hear each other. When James asks: ‘if you leave tonight will you be disappointed,’ Robb says: ‘yes.’ (My only thought is Duh! What did you think he would say? “No, I’d be thrilled?”) James worries Robb will feel Robbed because they had so little time alone.
The third one-on-one is a Limo Ride with Franklin. They crack open the champagne, and Franklin assures James that there is interest on his part. James asks the lame question again, ‘if you leave tonight will you be disappointed,’ and Franklin eerily replies “I would find you and I would pursue you.” (And no doubt boil his bunny on the stove.) James’ instincts tell him “wow that’s incredible, I want that” and also “you’re lying.”
Meanwhile, the remaining 5 mates are stuck riding back together in the ‘dirty van.’ Robb shows his catty side (does he have another side?) and announces “Now that Franklin’s not in the car, let’s talk smack about him.” This is followed by a montage of seductive shots of Franklin’s mop of a hairstyle. Brian compares it to ‘waking up whacking weeds’ and Robb says ‘it’s like a Chia head.’ (Jealous biotches.)
James returns to his place, and meets up with Andra (who folds her laundry on the floor. What, they don’t have people to do their laundry? How cheap, Bravo!) James recants the day’s events, knowing he must choose the boy with whom he has the most chemistry. His fear is that he will pick somebody who is just playing the game, and he will be emotionally devastated. Andra assures him (naively) saying: “I would bet everything I’ve got that you can trust every single one of them.” (Wow, is she ever wrong!)
At dinner, Andra asks the guys what they want to do with their lives, and Wes starts by saying he would like to host a travel show with Andra (what a brown-noser!) Franklin goes on and on and on about wanting to be a wine importer, and about his trips to various places like the Argentine outback and Antigua (where he built homes for an impoverished tribe.) Andra is flabbergasted he has done all of this at 23, and Robb snidely mocks him with “I’m great, aren’t I?” Dani busts in on the dinner, for once to offer good news, James will make the decisions in the morning, and tonight he can sleep on it.
The fourth one-on-one is a dessert with Darren. It seems Darren has written James a letter professing his undying love, or something like that, which James doesn’t appear to be too excited about, but appreciates nonetheless. Darren ‘hasn’t felt that way in such a long time,’ which is sort of sad and pathetic, if you want my opinion. They end the date with a quick mouth-to-mouth kiss (which is, so far, the most physical contact we’ve seen on this all-too-tame show.) Franklin sees this though the window, and becomes jealous. (Or is he just ‘acting’ jealous? More on this later.)
Just as the boys settle down for a game of ‘Celebrity,’ who should show up but two low-budget strippers (another sign that Bravo in scrimping on production costs.) As Wes points out: “I don’t know where they found these two strippers, (my guess? The 99 cent store) but god love them, they were not my kind of guys.” The editor kindly leaves their strip-tease scenes on the cutting room floor. Andra suggests that James receive lap dances from each of the six mates instead, and I, for one, applaud Andra for the daring suggestion. Brian goes first, showing off that fierce bod of his. But the evening, unfortunately, goes downhill from there. Robb seems uncomfortable. Darren is just too damn skinny to strip. Sean is just plain pasty-pale and gross. Franklin, while hot, is sort of fake-aggressive in a strange way. And Wes, while perhaps the best dancer, has the body of a 14-year-old boy. Brian comments that he hoped to ‘shake the best ass that he could.’ In this reviewer’s opinion, he succeeds.
One-on-one number five is a limousine ride home with Sean, which seems uncomfortable. James asks Sean if he can imagine kissing any of the other guys, and Sean quickly says no. Then he adds, strangely, that he has asked himself that question about James, and has not come to a clear answer. James takes this as rejection (as well he should) and wonders if there is any chemistry. Nonetheless, they have a somewhat romantic ‘should we kiss or not’ goodbye hug at the door.
The sixth and final one-on-one is Breakfast in Bed with Wes. (This could be the title of his new travel show!) Despite a paucity of stuff in James’ kitchen, Wes is able to throw together a meal Martha Stewart herself would be proud of (and would no doubt serve to the other inmates.) James wonders if Wes is too ‘out there’ for him, but is reassured by Wes’ more ‘down to earth’ personality when they are alone together. They have a cute moment by the pool with Andra, as they playfully push each other in.
As the time comes for eliminations, James and Andra consider the six remaining mates. James knows that Darren likes him, and that they have a good time together. Franklin is great too, he assesses, and Andra likes the fact that Franklin wears his heart on his sleeve. She calls Robb a dollface, but thinks he and James have the least chemistry of the bunch. James tell Andra that he likes Wes’ more normal side. Brian, too, is very fun to be around, but may rank below a few of the others in terms of their connection. Finally, Andra thinks Sean is an ‘amazing find.’
Again, the guys are paired into three groups (this time there are only 2-per group!) and James must eliminate one from each group. (This time Andra isn’t given the lame Veto power. The producers must have realized she would never go against James’ wishes.)
The first pairing is Brian and Darren, which on the surface seems like an obvious choice, due to Brian’s stand-out lap-dance performance, and Darren’s obvious lack of charisma. (Of course, I could be biased against Darren due to his annoying ‘I don’t like effeminate guys’ comment last week.) Sure enough, James agrees with me and picks Buff Brian.
The second pair is, unfortunately, Wes and Robb. Poor sweet funny Robb has no chance against chef Wes, and is eliminated.
The third pair is an interesting one… one which James calls ‘the hardest choice…’ Sean and Franklin. Well, I know who I’d choose, after all, Sean was so non-committal in the Limo. Sure enough, he picks Mopheaded Franklin to round out the final three. As Sean exits, he makes an odd comment thanking the others for allowing him to be a part of the ‘gay revolution,’ as if this insipid exploitative trash actually had some social value.
James and Andra begin to cry, and she says a toast to the final three, and to “James’ heart not breaking too much.” Too bad I can’t take her seriously in those silly pigtails.
In his exit interview, Darren (who identifies as gay) is shocked, and hurt, because he felt they had chemistry. (Chemistry is a two way street, my friend.) Robb (also gay) is proud that he was able to be himself, and not worry that people will think he is too feminine, not good looking enough, or not funny enough. (The truth is Robb, you are cute, funny, and manly enough for me!) And Sean (who is straight) hopes this show can bridge the gaps between gay and straight, melting away fears of how different they are. (This is a sweet, if naïve, wish. Still, it makes me like him a lot more.)
Meanwhile, back at the Mates’ house, Franklin cries over a goodbye letter from Sean, and Brian comments that Franklin is passionate about life in general. Which is a nice way of saying he’s an emotional cripple.
And, finally, back at St. James Place, Dani sits James down to give him some information. James is leery (“When you talk it’s always bad news.”) It seems she is FINALLY ready to inform him of the twist. She tells him: “Of all the three final mates, Wes, Brian and Franklin, one of them is straight.” James’ only response is “Wow.” But it is a “wow” that is clearly filled with anger, bitterness, and complete disgust with the production. What a cliff-hanger!
Next time on Boy Meets Boy:
Andra freaks out about the ‘bullshit’ twist! Franklin joins James for a romp in the hot tub! Wes and James share a carriage ride! Brian and James sail off in a hot air balloon! And shooting flames nearly singe James’ eyebrows! (I’m not making this up.)
Tune in next week for more embarrassment, stereotyped behavior, random periods of dullness, stupid choices, and titillation (with no actual sex.)
It’s Real Gay Life! Bravo style!
There are certainly some who will scoff at my use of shallow, surface attributes to judge the ‘Boys.’ I say, to those who scoff: ‘Kiss my tanned, hairless, Stairmaster-toned ass!’
Larry Johnson is a comedy writer, currently working for Disney TV. Look for his weekly commentary about reality TV from a gay point of view. Please check out his website, if you dare: www.gaycomedyjournals.com.
CAUTION… SPOILER BELOW…
Even the most casual viewer should, at this point, easily discern which of the three guys is straight. It only stands to reason that the producers would want to make sure a straight man makes it into the final three… and the only way they could do this is by pairing him with another straight guy in the round of six. By this, I mean, it is clear that Franklin is the straight man, despite his well-acted performance these last weeks, because he was paired with Straight Sean. Tune in Tuesday to see if I am right!