Media Relations: media commentary and criticism

Thursday, May 13, 2004

television

-- television -- but seriously...

...Oh, I give up. I just give up. (Again.)

Zap2it - TV news - FOX Casts a 'Seriously' Queer Eye on Two Straight Guys

The title of the show is "Seriously, Dude, I'm Gay." Three guesses which network is behind it.

Okay, so even if the headline didn't give it away, would it really be so hard to figure out? FOX has ordered this one-off unscripted special from the producers of "My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance" and will air it Monday, June 7.

In "Seriously, Dude," the network says the "current pop culture craze for all things gay is taken to an outrageously satirical extreme" by giving two straight "guy's guys" a crash course in gay culture and setting them off on a series of challenges.

(At least that's what the original press release said, along with the opening line "It's a heterosexual male's worst nightmare: Turning gay overnight." The network sent out an amended version of the announcement a couple hours later, apologizing for its "failed attempt at humor [that] was ill-chosen and inappropriate.")

Those include coming out to friends and family and going on a blind date with another man. The winner gets $50,000.

You'd think that having to issue an apology for the freakin' press release would be an indicator that perhaps, just perhaps, a particular show is ill-advised and you might rethink going forward with it. You might think that, yes, but then you would not be a Fox programming executive -- their normal thought process seem to run along the lines of, "How low can I go? ... No, we can go lower than THAT! Try harder! Everybody do the limbo!"

Why, one wonders, do all of these shows lately have at their core the requirement to deceive someone? This guy is going to come out to his friends and family, and then suddenly say, "No, wait, it was all a big joke so I could get some cash!" Said family and friends are likely to be furious at this deceit (albeit ultimately relieved -- hey, that's the way of the world; I certainly didn't make it so), and rightfully so. I'm assuming, for the sake of consistency, that the person with whom he goes out on a date will also not know the truth -- given that it's a single date, the person may well not find out the truth until the show airs, and wouldn't that be a great way to discover that you've been had?

As I mentioned before, I do understand that buried underneath the tinsel and tittilation, there's a vaguely serious point being made. And yes, getting the public used to seing Real Actual Gay People on television would be a good thing. (Mind, you'd think they could use Real Actual Gay People in a nondeceptive way to make that particular point.) But this incessant drumbeat of deception and "who's the real gay" dating shows is utterly and absolutely vile.

Posted by iain at 02:03 PM in category television