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,’ 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.)
Disclaimers aside, we move on to…
Boy Meets Boy, Episode Six, “Testing James’ Gaydar” (or “The One with the Somewhat Happy Ending)”
As has become the custom, our annoyingly British host Dani informs us…
“Previously on Boy Meets Boy: 15 mates competed for the chance to win James’ heart. What James and his best friend Andra didn’t know was that some of the suitors were actually straight. Taking the mates on a whirlwind of romantic adventures, James got closer to finding Mr. Right. As some of the mates sparked romance, others failed to find chemistry, and despite their behavior, appearances weren’t always what they seemed. Trusting his intuition and his best friend Andra, James narrowed the mates down to three, only to find out that one of them has been hiding his sexual identity. Last time, James went to the limits of intimacy, trying to get the straight guy to crack. This week, with only three remaining in the battle to win James’ heart, nerves shake the mates’ household, Andra makes a final accusation, and with only hours left, James must choose either Brian, Franklin, or Wes. Will James make the right choice? Find out now, on the dramatic conclusion of Boy Meets Boy.”
Wow. I could have simply watched the first two minutes of this episode, and saved 5 precious hours of my life.
The new footage for this week… as limited as it is… begins with Franklin, Wes and Brian drinking like fishes (Brian: “The lushes are retiring to the West Wing. Do you know how many bottles of Skyy Vodka we’ve gone through?”) and commandeering the camera for an embarrassing moment of flirting, dishing, and general clumsiness. Wes starts the whole thing off with the comment “Let’s go shoot!” and it all goes downhill from there. Brian, in his ironic “Don’t Waste My Time” T-shirt, asks Franklin playfully if they are going to have sex, and Wes adds “should we make out, all three of us, right now?” Then Franklin shows Wes his nipples (unfortunately, this happens off camera.) They fight like teenagers over the cam (Brian: “I’m like, girl, let me see what you look like!”) And Wes caps the whole embarrassing segment off with the statement: “screw James, it’s all about us!”
Later, as they are finally beginning to feel the effects of the vodka, Brian notes presciently: “I just hope tomorrow there isn’t like some strange twist!” (Like lambs to the slaughter, these silly gay boys are. I actually begin to feel sorry for Brian, or at least as sorry as one can feel for a boy with day-glo teeth, ocean-blue eyes, and a body to die for.)
The crawl reads, faux-ominously, “Seven hours until the final selection ceremony,” and I’m left wondering if the episode will actually be that long… or, worse… just seem like it.
Next, we are treated to the view of scrawny James in his boxers and bedhead, making breakfast. Cut to Franklin making breakfast for the Mates. (Note that Franklin is using a cube of butter in the pan, which should be a major clue to skeptics who still think he’s gay.) Franklin and Brian are nervous, and also jealous because Wes apparently got a kiss from James at his date, though Wes doesn’t really know what the kiss means. (Golly jeepers, Beaver! A kiss! Do you think we’re engaged?) Brian comments that his dates weren’t as romantic as the others were. (Could that be, chemistry-challenged Brian, because you were there?)
The crawl reads, faux-ominously, “Six hours until the final selection ceremony,” and I’m curious if we will get updates like this every hour, or will be left to flounder in our confusion over the actual time.
James and Andra show their complete cluelessness in a montage where they discuss the sexuality of the mates. They decide that Darren was straight. (Wrong! We are treated to a clip of Darren promising to stalk James after the show.) Paul, they determine, was gay. (Wrong again! Paul, in his clip, admits that the thought of being gay crossed his mind, but he was pretty sure he’s not. Pretty sure? Not too convincing, my friend! Sounds like you may be three-drink-gay.) About Jim, Andra states “of course he’s gay!” (Wrong yet again! Where did they find these gaydar-challenged people? Jim’s clip shows his dancing scene, where he apparently worried what his dad would think. We all saw your dancing, Jim, and I’d be worried about more than just your dad at this point.) Finally, they decide that Michael was honestly bisexual, though James thinks he “seemed very gay.” (James and Andra are zero-for-four at this point. Michael, in his clip, admits that he screwed it up when he accidentally mentioned his girlfriend, then back-pedaled by claiming to be bi.)
Back at the Mates’ house, Franklin sits alone and lonely, as Brian and Wes have segregated themselves from him. (Please note that they have done this instinctively, without the knowledge of the twist. This should be clue #2 for skeptics who maintain Franklin’s gayness.) Wes admits to Brian that he has feelings for James, but Brian asks the age-old question… “What if you win, and then find out you don’t like him?” Wes shrugs, but in his mind you know he’s thinking “at least I will have beaten you out, b!tch!” Meanwhile, Franklin admits that after all they have put into this, “no one wants to not get chosen.” (Check below when he seems to deny feeling this way.)
The crawl reads, faux-ominously, “Four hours until the final selection ceremony,” and I’m angered. What happened to my five-hour warning? How can I properly prepare for the shock and amazement of the ending without the necessary hourly warnings!
Still at the Mates’ house, Wes is doing his ab routine (which appears to be working, the b!tch.) Wes thinks that James will choose Brian, because they both live in Los Angeles (Wes is in San Diego.) Brian thinks Franklin is in the lead. And Franklin, proving that someone is paying attention, thinks Wes will be chosen.
Back at St. James Place, Andra thinks Brian is the wild card, while James thinks that he and Wes have nice chemistry, but that Brian would physically be there. With Wes... could it go anywhere (due to the distance?) Andra pipes in that Wes may not be ready for James. And James wonders if the chemistry between he and Franklin is purely physical. Turning their attention again to determining who was gay and who was straight, they finally get one right! Sean, they determine, was straight. James bases this on Sean’s uncomfortable response to any affection. (Duh! He was the straightest one there! In Sean’s clip, he admits that lying was a burden, and admits to worrying that people would notice when he wasn’t aroused by his lap dance. “I downed my drink right there” he admits. My first clue was that Sean didn’t know the words to “I Will Survive.” Puh-lease, like he could be gay!)
Finally, the limo pulls up with James and Andra. Franklin (in viewer clue #3) is making burgers and hot dogs on the grill. Brian playfully discusses the awkwardness of the situation. “You’re dating all of my roommates… when he calls the house… ‘It’s James!’… Who’s it for?” Andra confronts the guys in a lame effort to get one of them to admit his deceit. She is angry that some guys were there just to play the game, and accuses Darren of ‘playing her just to get to James.’ (Wow, is she off base here!) Franklin says, defensively (clue #4) that this is not a life-and-death choice for James. (He’s right, Andra… your histrionics do seem a bit out of place. It’s one week of your lives, for god sakes.) Andra replies, accusingly, “that’s easy for you to say, you’re here! Someone else is not because I chose you to be here!” (I’m confused… I though James made the choices? She’s really living vicariously through James. I think, after the show, the girl should get some therapy.) She continues: “For me it’s hard because I love this guy so much.” Franklin notes that her love may be blinding her from what’s going on around here. This is the obvious statement of the night.
The crawl reads, faux-ominously, “Two hours until the final selection ceremony,” and I’m thinking: “Two hours? For the love of God, get it over with!”
Next we are treated to a Mates-Packing montage meant to inspire tears. Brain (who is ickily packing Dan’s pillow) finds himself missing Dan, and promising to hunt him down after the show. (Again, I find myself feeling sorry for clueless Brian. In a clip featuring your favorite ‘straight’ exhibitionist-narcissist, Dan remembers his encounter with dance-instructor Jorge: “Whoa! Bro, what’s that right there, it doesn’t feel like a belt buckle!”) The three mates take one last photo, and Franklin, in a moment of foreshadowing, admits: “I never want anything to hurt you guys.”
Meanwhile, back at James’, he is apprehensive about confronting the straight guy. “If I were to pick the straight guy, I think my world would just come crashing down.” Wow, James’ world is pretty fragile. I wonder if he considers suicide when he breaks a nail.
Finally, with no ‘one-hour warning,’ it is time for the final ceremony. James will confront the remaining mates one-by-one, and give them the results. (Who knows, by the way, what order they were filmed in. For the sake of the ‘drama’ they have jumbled these three meetings into an annoying montage.)
First, James thanks Wes for wearing his heart on his sleeve. Wes can share and be open, care and be cared about. James hopes that when it’s all over, there is a place in Wes’ heart for him (or someone other than Wes.)
James tells Franklin that even though they shared passions, dreams, interests and goals, there is more to this than just the game.
Then James tells Brian that he had a great time getting to know him. He wants to do everything he can to make sure there is no hurt for Brian, and the only way he can do that is to not choose Brian. Brian says he understands, but looks somewhat like a puppy that just got kicked into a bush. (The subsequent ‘Brian Montage’ seems bound and determined to prove his gayness… the boys see him in a gay magazine, he is shown being afraid of the baby tram and the lame rock climbing, and in his gayest moment of all, he admits to liking Britney Spears. I reach new heights in my pity of him.)
Back to Wes, James tells him it has been a roller coaster, with great moments, and tough ones to come. (This was the moment when the producers lamely tried to fake us out that James was going to choose wrong… but alas, we jump back to Franklin.)
James tells Franklin that once he knew of the twist, he had to assume Franklin was the straight guy, and because of that he doesn’t choose Franklin. A relieved Franklin tells James: “I’m sorry. You are correct. I’ve been scared all day. I got involved with this to discontinue stereotypes, but it became personal, and that made things so hard.” There is a somewhat tense moment where bitter James accuses Franklin of ‘infiltrating’ the game for other goals, which hurt James. A defensive Franklin (now I’m feeling sorry for him as well) says: “I came here on your side. I’m here to show we’re all alike.” James politely hopes Franklin’s mission will help (though you hardly believe he is sincere with that bitchy smirk on his face,) and Franklin apologizes again and admits that he will “leave here and never be the same.”
Finally, we jump back to Wes. James goes on and on about how wonderful he is, which seems like the first sincere expression on man-to-man emotion we have seen in the entire series. He tells Wes: “you brought out the best of me… made me feel comfortable when I was really nervous… and held on to your integrity, sincerity and honesty.” And, to show Wes that he is sincere about his feelings, James asks Wes to go on the trip to New Zealand with him. Wes, of course (fighting back tears,) says ‘yes.’ (The ‘Wes-in-love’ montage that follows includes: The moment he met James by the pool, The time Wes’ tiny eyebrows were nearly singed by the candlefire, Wes helping weenie James up the cliff, the two of them singing gaily together, Wes stripping for James then making him breakfast, and the two of them pushing each other stiffly into the pool.)
Finally, the two of them share a somewhat real (though still tame) kiss, which is edited to seem longer than it actually is. (My though is that if James is this bad of a kisser, I’d be happy to be Brian at this point.)
To cap the whole thing off, we get a quick montage of some of your favorite stars of Boy Meets Boy, sharing their post-show feelings. James has learned that Andra is an amazing friend, and hopes that he and Wes can find something together. Wes admits that when he learned about the twist, he felt at first angry and deceived, but later came to realize that these guys were still the same guys he had grown to like. Sean hopes he helped ‘bridge the gap.’ Dan uses the cliché: “at the end of the day, we’re all just people.” Brian knows that he and Dan (and a lot of the straight guys) will be friends after the show (but you can hear the disappointment in his voice.) Jim opines that sexuality doesn’t define you. Franklin is amazed by how quickly they all became attached. Brian A. claims he did it not for the money, but to prove that gays and straights can be comfortable together (which worked for him for all of one day.) Matt says that before this he had no straight male friends. And James wraps it all up by saying that every couple is the same, just two people in love.
And, in a cute (though somewhat rehearsed) moment, Wes and James go off into the sunset with the following faux-profound dialogue:
Wes: “Let’s go.”
Wes: “I don’t know.”
I would love to say I was fighting back tears at this point, but I’d be lying.
With all the questions finally resolved, we are left with still more questions…
Will there be a Boy Meets Boy 2? (Or will there be a Girl Meets Girl?) And, if so, will Bravo be able to find a ‘leading person’ who is stupid enough to be caught off guard by a cruel, annoying and exploitative ‘twist’? And ‘mates’ naïve enough to believe that their appearance can better the world as we know it? Finally, and most importantly, will Bravo be able to find an audience to watch this train-wreck again? All of these questions will no doubt be answered by tuning in to Bravo next season! Do so at your own risk.
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.