Reality shows have always been an interesting place to see gays and lesbians, and now transgender folks, on the small screen, competing for cash, prizes, or even love. While scripted shows have seen our numbers dwindling over the past few years, these competitive counterparts, where there are, uh, no scripts (right!) have become a place to see a friendly gay face.
But, are we putting our best face forward when we are standing ‘neath the pink spotlight on these shows? And, does reality television make great strides for the community, or just reinforce decades old stereotypes? Sorry for all of the questions, I just re-watched the entire six seasons of “Sex and the City.”
Still, I truly admire the gay people that do go on reality shows, because I don’t have the fortitude to do what they are doing, unless they were doing a reality show back in my younger years called “Survivor: Bathhouse Edition.” Talk about a contest of endurance and stamina, but I digress.
Plus, some of the gay contestants have come out on, err, top, like Richard Hatch of “Survivor,” Reichen Lehmkul and Chip Arndt on “The Amazing Race,” and more recently, Christian Siriano, won “Project Runway.” His catchphrase of “that’s fierce,” was on par with the win, and even though he was out, he was in.
For some reason, maybe ’cuz there is what seems to be a gay explosion (sounds naughty) of could-be and most-definitely-are homosexuals in rivalry on TV right now; jockstrapping, I mean. jockeying for positions of keeping their eyes on the prize, is why these questions are coming into play for me once again.
Here are the two shows that are making me help but wonder. And, no, one of them is not “Dancing With The Stars,” it does have gay curb appeal – but the only way I’d watch is if Priscilla Presley had a dance-off with her old face!
I’m Watching You, Big Brother
I was really excited to learn that “Big Brother” was coming on in February to fill the void in programming by some strike or something (usually it is a summer show for those not in the know – yay, I could have a career as a rapper. How does “Grand Master Media Whore,” grab ya? Well who asked you? Oh wait, I did!).
Anyhoo, I love “Big Brother,” and was excited to learn that there would be two gay men, Joshuah and Neil that would be competing as a couple.
Unfortunately, Neil, dropped out unexpectedly early on, so their gayme play dynamic, and the possibility of them having a “showmance” was never really explored.
Maybe Neil had a parade to get to; you know how we gays love those! Rumor has it that it involved a family incident, incidentally.
I do have to say that this season of “BB” is off the hook with drama, and plenty of OMG moments, making it one of the best ones to watch in recent history.
There has been a faux lesbian couple, Sheila and Allison, who told a few housemates they were married and had a child! The funny thing was, no one doubted them, and the not-so-funny-thing was it got Joshuah’s ire up.
And, this may be his weakest link in staying in the “Big Brother” house, his temper and mouth has gotten the better of him – making himself a potential target for eviction, delivering lower blows than getting a hummer from a little person well-positioned behind a trashcan in an alleyway. And, no, I do not know this from personal experience.
And, I could have done without Joshuah pretending to be a French maid and dusting the other housemates’ rooms. Or that being on “slop” (a “Big Brother” food punishment) is not helping him lose weight, since it is loaded with carbs, and we already know that carbs are from the Devil! But, he countered that by praying to The Lord to help him lose those last ten pounds, while soaking in a hot tub. Baby Jesus would be proud.
But, an unexpected gay twist has surfaced outside of the house, when it was discovered that James, he of the, ahem, pink Mohawk, did some gay porn – both of the solo and not-so-solo variety for Dirty Boy Video.
I was hoping that it was Matt, a wicked hawt studly lad from Boston, sigh. On the upswing, it wasn’t Adam, who is nicknamed “eight baller,” because of his pool shark prowess and surprisingly not for the fact that he can’t seem to blink…ever! Dude, seriously – I will give you the prize money if you can blink! That’s the safest bet I’ve ever made.
I want to put my money on Joshuah and say he’ll come out the winner. But somehow, I sadly don’t see that coming to fruition. And before you declare me a bad gay, I would love it if he could pull it off; and maybe he will, because this season of “Big Brother” has more twists and turns than Dolly Parton trying to fit into a too-small bra. As of this writing he’s still in da houze.
OK, first I need to get this off my chest…I think that Ryan Seacrest and Simon Cowell need to rent a hotel room and just work it out, girls! The claws have been out and there is some kind of gay vibe between the two this season on “Idol,” and it may have spilled over to the contestants. Clean up on aisle five!
We had Danny Noriega, a sassy little Miss Thing who was not afraid to stand up to the icy demeanor of Simon, with pithy comebacks and a neck twist combo, which would put most drag queens to shame. Ironically, and of course, speculatively, someone with that much sashay should have nailed a gay song like, “Tainted Love,” alas he was voted off for not doing that.
David Hernandez’s bump-and-grind-it past as a stripper at Dick’s Cabaret, a gay strip joint in Phoenix, (that’s subtle – by the way, you’ve got to try their hot dogs and special “dipping sauce,” nudge, wink) was brought out of the closet. While that didn’t necessarily bring him out of his – he claims to be straight, just like Clay Aiken! He was also voted off for his rendition of the Beatles’ “I Saw Her Standing There”- perhaps he should have sung, “Can’t Buy Me Love?”
The only hope, and again, this is of a speculatory nature, may be in David Archuleta’s young hands – the gay force seems to be strong in that one. I’m just sayin’ and I’m just gayin’
Cut! Print! That’s A Wrap!
So, I guess the real question that begs answering is: To Gay or Not to Gay? And these two shows, in their own way, do at least feature real life or alleged gays; and in these feast or famine times of not seeing our kind on the tube is a fact that we have to face and to deal with.
So the short of the long is: bring it on, sisters, be who you are! And really isn’t that what being gay is all about – the freedom to be who we are? Perhaps I was having an aversion to all of the “straight acting” that gets bandied about these days, and that just takes me back to dark corner of humiliation that I called Little League.
In a way, it’s refreshing to see a younger generation bringing queeny back, and perhaps the defense mechanisms of some of these contestants, with a sharp tongue at the ready, is just a sad reminder for us all, that the best line of defense is sometimes an offense.
Hey! I found the root of why I am the way I am! Thanks, “Gaywatch!”
Until next time that’s all of the news that’s fit to print.
This column was first published in March 2008.