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.)
For those of you who may have missed Episode One, please read my summary “Secrets and Leis (or The One with the Luau”) and pay particular attention to the character descriptions or else you’ll be hopelessly lost with all the names. I refuse to describe all these people again! Last time it took seven pages!
Disclaimers aside, we move on to…
Boy Meets Boy, Episode Two, “Ride Me, Cowboy (or The One with the Ho Down)”
Previously on “Boy Meets Boy:” ‘Leading Man’ James met 15 potential ‘mates.’ With his best friend Andra he set out to determine which three he’d have to send home that night. Dan revealed the shocking secret that he has a boyfriend in New York (and they have an ‘open relationship.’) Wes showed interest, and James felt some sparks with him, but it was Franklin who caught James’ eye. In the end it was Chris, Brian A., and Jason who would be sent home. Remember, James and Andra still don’t know that some of the gay suitors are actually straight.
Tonight, the previews promise that James is in for a real shock. In fact, Dani is quoted as saying: “There’s something I have to tell you and it could change everything.” Will she inform them of the gay/straight twist? Will Bravo actually take the high road here? Or is this just some sneaky way to get us to watch the show through until then end, only to find that the ‘something she has to tell him’ is really pretty uneventful and lame? (Don’t they realize we watch Survivor and we’re not easily fooled by overblown promos?)
We fade up on James making breakfast, wearing only plaid pajama bottoms, with a cute ‘bed head’ hairdo, and I can’t help but feel like my dream has come true. Make me some pancakes, honey! (Damn! It’s only TV! I have to keep telling myself.) He goes on and on about how horrible the eliminations were, and how it was one of the worst things he’s ever had to do. (Puh-lease. Those three losers had to go.)
Next, we are treated to a tempting montage from the ‘mates’ house, with half naked boys lounging around the pool. I, being the observant gayboy that I am, notice that Sean is as pale and scrawny as I suspected, but some people like that, I suppose. Franklin, Michael, Wes, Marc and especially Dan all look tanned and toned, as expected. Even Darren was buffer than I initially assumed. Jim is entirely too dressed for the poolside, which leads me to think he’s hiding his beergut under that shirt. All in all, though, not a bad bunch.
Wes comments that this is a bizarre situation to be thrown into, with 15 guys together. Dan has to keep reminding himself that even though it’s fun, it’s still a competition. And Robb states: “With 15 guys, there’s bound to be some craziness going on, and hopefully I’ll find myself in the middle of it having fun.”
Soon enough, we see Robb and Franklin rubbing their hands, and Dan questioning what they are doing… and why they ‘look guilty.’ Robb assures him that “It’s not lube, it’s lotion.” Robb then checks on someone who is dawdling in the bathroom, notifying him that “If you shake it more than twice, you’re playing with it.” (This guy makes me laugh. I’d keep him around just for that!)
Then we jump back to Andra and James, who are now formulating a plan of attack. James plans on talking more to Franklin and Darren today. They wonder about Matt… is he too tame? Or does he only show his wild side when he’s comfortable with someone? Andra reminds him that Sean is quiet, but engaging in one-on-one conversation. (We, the viewer, have yet to see this geek be all that engaging.) Marc, Andra opines, is a ‘man of few words.’ But maybe after the first day he’ll be more comfortable. Paul is a tough one, not rude, but very quiet. And they agree about two-timer Dan, “his honesty is what saved his ass.” (What? This confuses me. He was spared because he admitted he was a pig? Wow. I should admit my sins a lot more often!)
We jump again to the scene around the pool, where flirty Dan (looking fierce in his blue/white floral board shorts and totally ripped bod) points out Brian’s ‘happy trail.’ (For the uninitiated, this is the little line of hair that leads from the navel to the… well, you get the point.) “Have you seen his trail here? It’s adorable. Check it out. It’s one of the cuter things I’ve seen in a while.” If Dan is actually straight, he’s one hell of an actor, that’s all I have to say. Give him an Emmy!
Again we jump back to James and Andra (the Editor was feeling bored and creative) as Dani arrives. (She’s wearing a hot pink sleeveless T that accentuates her large fake (?) rack, and odd ¾ length black pants with huge side pockets. Her hair looks better today; it’s straight and in a twist.) The plan, she announces, is to do some country line dancing (despite the fact that James hates country music.) She puts a cute hat and bandanna on him, (“to complete the very gayness that is Boy Meets Boy”) and he looks just about as uncomfortable in it as a whore in church. (Despite this, I still think he looks dreamy.)
Back at the Mates’ House, Dan, Robb, Marc, Franklin, Michael and Jim (Group 1) get their invitations to a ‘honky tonk 2-stepping good time,’ along with boots and hats to wear. They seem thrilled, though Robb explains: “half of us were really excited to go, and the other half were really excited to dress up and put on new outfits.” James arrives, looking fetching in a black tank top and snug jeans, and they all hop into a jeep bound for the middle of nowhere.
After a quick commercial break, the boys arrive at a tiny western town, where James notices that a “Rico Suave” guy is waiting to greet them. Jorge (in TIGHT jeans that are blasted in all the appropriate areas) introduces himself (in a thick Spanish accent): “You are going to dance today, and I’m going to be your instructor.” (Me first! Instruct me, Papi! Wait… I forgot again… it’s just a TV show, I’m not actually there.) Jorge playfully asks “where are all the girls?” When Dan answers “it’s just us, baby,” Jorge says: “That will make it interesting.” Franklin explains that Jorge was very aggressive… not necessarily verbally… but with his hips.
As the boys learn some line dances, I take a moment to notice what the boys have chosen to wear. Michael seems overdressed in a rust button-up rayon shirt. Dan is sexy as always in a tight baby blue sleeveless T with white side-stripes. Marc dresses for the occasion in a cream colored western shirt. Robb ignores the occasion in favor of his penchant for slogans, and wears his black ‘Free Winona’ T. And Franklin looks the cutest of all in a tight retro-70’s burgundy and cream striped T.
Marc seems the most comfortable, and is the first to volunteer to dance with Jorge (which surprises James, who had written Marc off as a wallflower.) Next Jorge proceeds to teach them to ‘shadow’ (which for the uninitiated is basically dirty dancing, gay country style.) When he decides that Marc is too tall, Dan too eagerly volunteers: “I’m your man!” Jorge explains: “You will be right here on my front,” and puts Dan into a position where he is basically grinding him from behind. Dan (in reference to the microphone pack he is wearing down the back of his pants) asks: “You’ll check my batteries?” And Jorge playfully answers: “I will recharge your batteries, don’t worry.” He then proceeds to take Dan’s hands, and rub them up and down Dan’s body, at one point lifting his shirt to reveal his abs.
This whole exhibitionist show has James in a flutter: “I think at that point I was beginning to dislike Dan. All he wanted to do was dance with Jorge, and I thought that was inappropriate.” (Sounds like jealousy to me, James. Could it be you have feelings for Dan? If you didn’t, perhaps you wouldn’t care so much.) Dan, in his defense, admits: “It was quite an experience. I can definitely see where Jorge got the worn out bottom in his pants.” (This is definitely the Quote of the Week.)
The time comes for him to choose someone for a one-on-one dance and conversation. Though he notes that he and Robb have made a connection, (Robb says: “James is the closest to the perfect ideal guy for me that I’ve come in contact with up until now.”) James stays true to his plan from this morning, and chooses Franklin. He and Franklin share a (somewhat clumsy looking) dance, and then retire to a tiny checkered-tablecloth table with hay bales for chairs to have their one-on-one time. (As James puts it: “Okay, I’ve been just fondling you basically for ten minutes, let’s go sit down and talk.”) Franklin proceeds to lather James with compliments (including the backhanded comment: “…you have this masculine jaw and these feminine eyes and this mix just melts together and it’s just gorgeous.” Afterwards, Franklin feels “fully confident,” (but to me it seemed like their hug goodbye was forced and spark-free.)
Later, back in the limo, James and Andra discuss the event on the way to dinner. James’ assessment is as follows: Marc was surprisingly outgoing. Michael is emotional and lovey-dovey, but can be fun. Jim is hilarious. James’ one-on-one with Franklin “probably” included sparks. (Andra rightly argues “there’s no probably… there either are sparks or there aren’t.”) Finally, Dan, as always, was annoying, and ‘a player.’ Andra jumps in to defend Dan (why?) with the comment: “He said he’s only been with one person in the last year.” To which James replies: “Probably last weekend.”
Back at the ‘Mates’ House,’ the other six suitors (Group 2: Sean, Darren, Matt, Wes, Brian and Paul) receive an invitation, along with hiking boots. “Be ready at 9:00 a.m. to strap on your harness” it reads, which causes some chuckles. (These guys have such filthy minds. I love it.)
Sure enough, then next morning the guys find themselves in an underground S&M dungeon. (Just kidding, actually they are on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which goes high into the mountains for a spectacular view.) Brian is terrified of heights, and he and James commiserate. (What total babies! I’ve been on this thing and it’s completely tame.)
Back again at the ‘Mates’ House,’ Andra (in a gauzy earth-toned dress and ‘sassy’ boots) arrives to take the remaining boys on a shopping trip, to buy gifts for James. The guys will have to rely on Andra’s advice to find a gift that James would really like. While there, she and Dan have a 30-second in-depth conversation, in which he dismisses the New York boyfriend as just a friend. “If it was the love of my life, I’d drop everything,” he rationalizes, which almost makes sense, unless you’re the New York Boyfriend who thinks YOU’RE the love of HIS life. Later, Dan tells the camera: “As I slowly unveil that I definitely could never see myself with that guy ever, then she’ll feel a sense of relief.” (This all seems like an elaborate web of lies to me. Why ‘slowly unveil’ the ‘truth’? This ‘actor’ is up to something.)
Meanwhile, back at the Tramway, the boys have reached the top and will now get some rock-climbing training. (Unlike Jorge, this instructor should cause no jealousy. He has a long hair and beard, and looks sort of like Ted Kaczynski. So when he strapped on the climbing gear and offered: “you could probably get two of you in these things,” no one jumped to invite him along.) One by one they climb a relatively simple rock face, and I notice that Wes and Darren look particularly good in their tight thermal T-shirts. Paul is surprisingly aggressive, but wimpy James goes last. About 1/3 of the way up, he “wanted down,” complaining “there’s not a lot to grab onto.” (Don’t you hate when that happens?) Dramatic “Fear Factor” music ensues, as if the editors intend us to wonder ‘will James survive this death-defying situation?’ Then, of course, we go to commercial.
(During this break I notice an ad for ‘absolutemuscle.com’ that seems to include a model that looks a lot like Dan. Very interesting. You wouldn’t see this ad on CBS! In the name of journalistic integrity, I’ll check the site out and let you all know.)
When we come back from the break, Wes encourages James, offering him a hand, and a shaken James makes it up the weenie hill at last. Again, James is offered a one-on-one, and again despite the connection he has made with Wes, he defers to the earlier plan of choosing Darren. They have a rather forced discussion in which Darren admits to wanting to find a lover, a house, kids, dogs, the whole fairy-tale thing. (He seems way too young to be ready for this.) James seems pleased, but again there were no sparks visible.
Back again at the House, the Group 2 mates return from rock climbing, sit down to beer and CPK pizza with the Group 1 mates, and Andra announces that the mates each have presents for James. Here are the presents, in the order given (note that not all presents were shown):
1. Jim gives James martini paraphernalia, including a shotglass and a recipe book.
2. Dan gives James a ‘Hope Pillow,’ to represent their hope for finding love. (Puh-lease! How completely lame.)
3. Bartender Brian gives James a ‘drinking chess set.’ (A brilliant combination of a dull game with a depressant beverage.)
4. Robb’s present isn’t show, but James reads the card, which says: “Are you gonna come quietly… or are we gonna wake the neighbors.” (That Robb. He’s such a card.)
5. Wes gives James a travel book, in response to Andra’s advice that James loves travel.
6. Paul gives James a book on San Diego, in hopes that he may one day give James a tour.
7. Matt gives James wind chimes and candles. (This is the gayest possible gift. I love it.)
8. Michael decides to brown-nose, and gives ANDRA a picture frame, which makes her teary-eyed. (This girl is SO easy.)
Finally, Dani steals James and Andra away to make their deliberations. They enter the ‘Deliberation Room’ and proceed to the ‘Wall of Fame.’ (These are her words, not mine.) And now comes the moment of truth… the promised event that “could change everything!” It seems that the elimination ceremony will be run differently. They will be divided into groups of four, and James must eliminate one member from each group. (This would seem like an ideal way to make sure some straight guys stick around. Just put them all in the same group. Good thinking, Bravo!) Because he won’t know the groups in advance, he must decide as he goes.
Andra is all-atwitter at this change: “If they put my top 4 guys into a group together, I’m gonna have a complete fit! Let’s say they put Franklin, Robb, Matt, and Sean in one group. Who are you gonna kick off.” (I’m confused by her ‘top 4’ because it includes boring Matt, and pasty Sean, but her point is a valid one.)
The first group is Jim, Franklin, Sean and Dan. Asked to stay (with James’ quotes) are:
1. Dan. (“I hear that you and Andra had some pretty honest talks today.”) Again, honesty seems more important to James than fidelity. Go figure.
2. Franklin. (“You don’t cease to impress me.”) I think this was a no-brainer. And Franklin looked so cute in his little black glasses!
3. Sean (“You’re a very quiet guy… but that’s just who you are.”) Is this a compliment?
Jim is the first to go. No one is surprised, as the nerdy, funny guy never wins these things. James is actually relieved Jim was in this group, because there were no romantic sparks so the choice is easy. (I’m relieved because Jim and James have the same name, really, and it will be less confusing to only have one.)
The second group is Wes, Michael, Robb and Paul.
1. Wes. (“You shared my terror of rock climbing and helped me get to the top.”) This one was also a no-brainer.
2. Robb. (“You’re easy to be around and I’d like to see where that goes.”) Robb is another front-runner at this point.
3. Michael. (“You have a very kind heart, let’s just go from there.”) I’m staring to think Michael may be straight… more on that below.
Paul is the second to go. James struggles between Michael and Paul, but in the end decides to keep Michael, who is older and therefore more stable (and also more attractive to James, though I’m not completely sure I agree.)
The third group is Matt, Brian, Marc and Darren.
1. Matt. (“You’re a grounded person.”) Translation: “you’re dull but cute.”
2. Darren. (“For whatever reasons, you and I have had the most time together.”) This sounds almost like an insult to me. It’s certainly a lame reason to pick him.
3. Brian. (Today you were so active, so adventurous, so fun, and so funny!”) As opposed to yesterday, when he was nearly comatose.
Marc is the third to go, again no surprise.
As is the custom, the booted suitors are interviewed and we learn their orientation.
Marc (who identifies as gay) says there simply was no connection between he and James. Paul (who identifies as straight) feels a bit rejected, despite his sexual orientation. And Jim, (who also identifies as straight) claims he is going to be seeing things through different eyes from now on.
(I think it’s interesting that Paul and Michael were placed in the same group, when they were the two James had been deliberating over, and they are the two who seem the most ‘straight’ to me. It seems clear that Bravo is doing what they can to keep some straights on the show, and that James is doing a great job of kicking them off!)
Next time on “Boy Meets Boy:”
Robb, Franklin and Sean do a strip tease to entice James!
Brian gets the hots for Dan after seeing him in the shower!
And Andra, in the next overblown-surprise-twist, is given Veto Power!
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.