bravo: the cable channel that makes fun of gay men so you don't have to!
May 28, 2003
Bravo TV network launches a reality dating series for gay men: The Bravo cable network is going where no television dating show has gone before: matchmaking gay men. "Boy Meets Boy," a six-episode series that will premiere in July, also twists reality show conventions by secretly including straight men among the pool of dating prospects. No dating show, from "Blind Date" to "The Bachelor," has promoted same-sex unions, said Scott Seomin, entertainment media director for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. It appears "Boy Meets Boy" will handle it in a lighthearted, non-exploitive way, he said. The show is being made by a gay producer, reality veteran Douglas Ross of Evolution Film & Tape, Inc. "I wanted to be involved with a series I could be proud of," Ross said.
"Lighthearted." "Nonexploitive". "...a series I could be proud of."
Somewhere in the depths of Bravo lurks a programmer that needs a good swift kick in the balls. Perhaps several kicks. In fact, definitely several kicks. I'd volunteer! I have several pairs of boots! I could use a different boot for each ball, and then start all over again!
The series, with Dani Behr of "Extra" as host, will feature a gay leading man choosing from 15 potential suitors. Midway, he will be told that some of his potential dates are actually heterosexual. He won't be told which ones, of course, and Ross is still debating at which point viewers will be let in on the secret.
Um ... I'm guessing that viewers will be let in on the secret, like, NOWish. Since it's been written about in several articles today, making any sort of secret of it from the viewers at any point during the series would be utterly ridiculous. Not unlike the premise of the entire series.
The puzzling thing, from the way this article is written, is that the series seems not to have been filmed yet. And the information of this series is already a meme run rampant through various sites and newspapers. So ... if that is the case, and it hasn't yet been filmed, then how on earth do they expect to find a gay man who doesn't know about it? Where do they expect to find him? Outer Mongolia?
If it weren't for the fact that they're putting themselves in this position, I could almost feel sorry for the straight guys. At some point, one of them is going to be faced with the whole "goodnight kiss" situation, and one way or another, that will wind up being intensely unpleasant for all concerned.
Nobody gets to come out of this looking good. No matter what happens, the gay guy gets made a fool of; assuming that he gets told midway through about the "twist", how can he really back out at that point? If he does decide to back out, he's a quitter, he's not a good sport, and so on and so forth. The straight guys look like moneygrubbers ... although there is this: a significant number of people they know won't believe that they're not gay after that, just because that's the way that people are. So the straight guys' reputations take a two-for-one hit!
Apparently, being acquired by NBC has caused Bravo's ethics to head straight for the toilet. It's hard to believe that this is the same network that created and aired "Gay Weddings." (Although, unfortunately, it is entirely possible to believe it's the same net that created the various "Fire Island" clones of "The Real World.")
Bravo is also scheduling a series this summer, "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," where five gay designers make over the wardrobe of a heterosexual man.
No comment. None. Whatsoever. (Except that it sounds like an even sillier version of TLC's "What Not To Wear". And I can imagine that All The Right People will be attacking it for perpetuating stereotypes, except that it's a curiously difficult target to attack. I mean, what do you say? "Hey! There are fashion impaired gay men out there! and stylish straight men!" I mean, somehow, that just doesn't fly, does it?)Posted by iain at 12:53 AM | Comments (5)
May 7, 2003
Raw Copy by Seth Mnooken: A Week to Remember in Memphis (Newsweek web exclusive, May 6, 2003): Last week, the Stax Museum of American Soul Music opened in Memphis. It was a glorious, weeklong celebration, featuring movies, lectures, and two nights of achingly good music. On Wednesday, a gala in Memphis's rococo Orpheum Theatre included Percy Sledge, Isaac Hayes, Al Green, Mavis Staples, Chuck D., the Allman Brothers' Warren Haynes, and Booker T. and the MGs and many, many others. [...] But, with the exception of myself, there were exactly zero national magazine reporters on hand. No one from Rolling Stone. No one from Vibe. No one from Vanity Fair or Entertainment Weekly or The Source. Only one national newspaper reporter showed up—Jon Pareles from the New York Times. The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, even USA Today all passed on covering the opening. PBS filmed the concert for a fundraiser; besides that, only a single CBS crew was on hand. No one from VH1, no one from MTV, no one from BET. (“I’m shocked,” a CBS cameraman said as we walked through the museum. “I thought we’d be fighting to be first on a story like this. To have no one else here…it’s weird.”) "It's unate that black cultural accomplishments are often respected only after a delay,” Chuck D., the voice of rap’s Public Enemy, said at the Orpheum, minutes before sharing the stage for a rousing reworking of the Bar-Kays’ “Soul Finger.” “There’s kind of a cultural echo chamber. It makes this type of celebration bittersweet.” On Monday, when it became clear that there would be no outpouring of coverage, Chuck was disappointed, but not surprised. “This is the usual response from mass media when it comes to black culture. Personally, it was the most significant thing I’ve ever been invited to in my life.”
There's this. On the one hand, yes, it is a good story, and there should have been more media there.
On the other hand, I'll bet that, given the music media's focus on youth, relatively few people covering the music beat have actually ever heard of Stax. Yes, it's an institution, it's very important ... and if you don't know a fair amount about music history generally, this probably came over the wire and you thought, "Eh. One little label is doing a museum to itself. Big deal," and moved on.
There is also this: Stax may have been both grittier and more integrated than Motown, but Motown was simply bigger. Its stars were bigger, its hits were bigger, and eventually, the label itself was simply bigger. That's one of the reasons that we have things like the Motown celebration of its various decades.
Another, and probably more important, reason for the difference is that Motown is still producing, albeit much watered down and as part of a conglomerate. Stax went into bankruptcy in 1975, lost all its assets in 1977, and was torn down completely in 1989.
All of that said ... I'm actually stunned that Vibe, The Source and BET didn't cover the opening. Granted that they are, in their music coverage, very youth oriented, but BET especially has shown a better sense of history than that. It's especially odd given that BET, like CBS, is now part of the Viacom lump; you'd think that someone at CBS might have said, "Hey, guys, want to share the coverage with us?"
The museum itself has a site at Soulsvilleusa.com; the Flash introduction takes you through some quotes while playing some of the labels hits in the background, or you can jump around the intro completely.Posted by iain at 03:05 PM