Boy Meets Boy is a reality show resulting from two television phenomenons. One, reality shows are swallowing creative television writing skills whole, and two, the success of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy made Bravo see dollar signs, so they rushed another gay themed show on to air one hour prior to the hit show.
Here's the premise. Cute single gay "bachelor" looking for love meets 15 hunky guys and as he spends more and more time with them, he slowly but surely weeds out the bad and keeps the good (unless he's into bad boys, that is) until he eventually has to decide which guy is the man of his dreams. Ah…but there's a twist. The bachelor doesn't know that some of these gay guys are actually straight, and posing as gay. If the bachelor's final pick is a straight man, the bachelor is left with a blue pair between his pockets, and the straight guy walks away with his pockets full of green.
Our leading man is James. You see him, you think he's cute, nice eyes, good body. Unfortunately, this all-American looking gay boy is so boring! I found him to be so incredibly unappealing and uncharismatic, that from episode one of this six episode show, I was hoping some of the other guys would hook up with each other instead of James.
Next problem. James had his whiny fag hag/fruitfly Andra along for the ride. They are best friends, which you can definitely see, but she only came across as fun because she was standing beside James most of the time. And in all honesty, if I went on a show to try and win the affection of another man, I would resent that I also had to get the approval of some woman in his life (including his mother) and that was the case here. Every guy had to get to know Andra, and she had a huge say in whether he was Mr. Right for James. The show lost some more points with me for that one.
Now, the fun part was the other guys—and trying to figure out as a viewer which ones were gay and which were straight. We viewers were not let in on the secret until each man was eliminated, at which point we'd see a part of his exit interview and the truth would be revealed to us. There were a number of cute guys, and most viewers could probably find someone to get a crush on as they watched the show, although there was still a clear "type" cast—no twinks, no bears, and nothing in between. Mostly just that 'clean, handsome bordering on pretty, lean, muscular physique with not a strand of body hair to be found' type.
Oh yeah. There was one black guy. And he was in my opinion one of the hottest, sexiest men on the show, but unfortunately, he and the only OTHER guy I really liked were both voted off the very first episode. Things became quite Caucasian after that. But I stuck with it. It was indeed enjoyable to watch the first ever "dating" show for gay men, which is why I'm sure tons of gay men probably tuned in, aside from the hopes of seeing lots of hot bods and maybe a few bitch slap sessions. However, instead, Boy Meets Boy was just about the most sterile gay experience I've ever had, barring an occasional hot sponge bath. There were no real antics, no backstabbings, no unplanned hookups. The boys were all very respectable, which may have to do in part with the fact that half of the men were straight and just not sending out the right "vibes" to create sparks between the competing contestants.
My biggest frustration with the show is what bothers me about most reality shows. There's manipulation involved. Despite it being "reality," everything is carefully orchestrated. For example—and this is one major example—as James went through the process of elimination, the rules of the narrowing down process was changed on him. Instead of just discarding the two guys he didn't want, the men were broken into smaller groups of three for him and he had to choose one man from each of those groups! Therefore, if three guys he liked were all in the same group, he was FORCED to eliminate one of them! How can you follow your heart that way? But that wasn't really important for the producers. Their objective was to make sure that at least ONE straight man was left in the final selection! I mean, there would be no drama if that didn't happen. Unfortunately for the producers, despite there being a house loaded with gay men, there wasn't much drama anyway.
Even so, for a first shot at such a series, it was watchable. The box for the DVD calls it "season 1." I'm not really sure that a "season 2" would be all that enticing, because it just wasn't the exploitative blast we usually expect from reality trash. I don't know how well this show did in the ratings, and it did manage to stir mixed feelings. Some felt it was an ideal way to demonstrate to America that you really can't tell the difference between gay and straight men, and showed that even gay men are looking for loving, monogamous relationships. Other's felt it was a cruel trick to play on a gay man, with the possibility that the deception would make a straight man wealthy at the gay man's expense (as fag hag/fruitfly Andra felt). I say, gay or not, you shouldn't go on a reality show expecting everything to be all PC. "You want your fifteen minutes? Well fifteen minutes costs. And right here's where you start payin'…in straight."
The original Boy Meets Boy series was aired in full screen—and I guess it was filmed that way, because that's how it is presented here. So it's not like you're missing anything because of no widescreen format. The picture is sharp, clear, with vibrant colors. The original six episodes are split, three episodes on each of the first two discs. I wasn't thrilled that they didn't cut out the "previousy on…" and "next week on…" parts at the beginning and end of each episode. Why would they leave those on when you either just came from the last episode or are heading to the next episode?
The show is presented in Dolby stereo, no surround. But the stereo sound quality is amazing. Crystal clear, nice balance between highs and lows, and quite full and booming. On the two discs with the original episodes at least. The third bonus disc is bland mono, but it is mostly interviews, so I guess it doesn't matter much. But you do have to really crank up the volume on your audio receiver for the bonus disc as opposed to the outstanding audio on the two episode discs.
Tons of extras here, over 3 hours of it on Disc 3, as the box of the DVD promises. And it really is all footage that they did not show on TV when the show originally aired. Let's break it down and see what's worth it, and what's not.
Exit Interviews—these go on forever, with just about the whole cast. We start off with leading man James, of course. He's still annoying and boring. Fag hag/fruitfly Andra gets a little preachy about the message of the show to America. Dan, one of the most popular guys on the show, sounds smarter than he ever did on the show, and his interview was long because he made himself such a major love interest. Franklin, another 'star' contestant, also has a long interview where he talks all about his own feelings. Jason, one of the weirder prospects, talks about what may become of his military career as a result of being on the show. And cute, shallow, attention seeking Wes sounds like he's just trying to sound deep. And then there was everyone else. Mostly forgettable stuff.
Andra reacts to the twist—okay, we saw her initial reaction to the news that some of the guys are straight on TV if we tuned in. Well, this is just an extra 35 minutes of it (no, I'm not making a cruel joke). After James breaks the news to her, she cries and curses, and it's not bleeped out this time, then he follows her into the bedroom to make sure she's okay. He tells her he has to leave and they can talk later—and he says that about 10 times in the next half hour as she goes on and on. Yeah, it's a lot to take of Andra, but we do get to see how hurt she was that many of the guys she liked so much might be deceiving her.
Casting reels—this is also a really long segment (over an hour) but it's actually one of the most interesting. James still comes across as really boring…and rather high on his looks, but in his defense, it's all that he has going for him. And all the other casting interviews are a mixed bag. Some of the men tell genuine, honest stories that makes them very attractive, while some of the other men seem totally into themselves and determined to impress.
James & Andra's elimination #1-4—Believe me, the edits on TV were fine. This segment showed them analyzing every guy before each elimination round. When it comes down to it, all we really cared about was the part when he kicked people off, not so much why.
Mates enter the house—2 minutes long, but still excessive. Who cares? They come in, they make bad jokes, and act shocked at how cool the place is. We've seen this in every reality show. And there are a few quick interview reactions to first arriving.
More of the infamous shower scene—yeah, there's a shower scene and this time, they don't blur it out. Once again casting himself in a major role, Dan gets attention by pressing his cute ass up against the transparent glass door of the shower, twice. And he rubs it around on the door playfully. It's cute, but it's no porno. And it's the ONLY scandal you see in all the extras. You get no previously unseen nudity ANYWHERE. Apparently, these guys just never got frisky. Now, had the extras aired, they would have really shown America how gay men are just not the promiscuous creatures they think. I, for one, was disappointed to discover it through these extras, because I was hoping for a little whoring action.
Hula performance—Five minutes of pretty much nothing. The gang does hula with a couple of professionals. It's not charming, it's not cute, it's not interesting. Mostly just some really cliché gay banter.
Performance with Miss CoCo—Miss CoCo, the drag queen known for her hilarious scene stealer in the movie Trick, gets the spotlight here. It's a monologue all of her own on the night she was hosting karaoke for the guys. If you're a fan of hers, you'll enjoy this probably.
Original-never aired-Boy Meets Boy opening sequence—This 45 second intro is cute. There ended up being NO intro for each episode. I guess this is what they intended. It's all graphics, flashy silhouettes of men balanced by some lettering, set to an instrumental upbeat number, and together, it all came across as a bad opening imitation (the first few seasons of that show before the change). Ironic things is, this 45 second clip is basically used as the background for the menus in Disc 1 and Disc 2, so it's not unfamiliar by the time you get to Disc 3!
Cast biographies—this was all menu-like text pages with just a picture of each cast member. Each bio opened with the cast member's age/sign/home state/occupation/sexual orientation, and whether they were eliminated (which means all status showed as "eliminated" accept one).
Where are they now updates—These are again, text clips and photos of each cast member. They are written personally by each cast member—when available. Some of them just said "no update available." And that includes the page for leading man James!!!
Boy Meets Boy, the first full attempt at a gay dating reality series is a valiant attempt. But the twist, that some of the eligible gay men were actually straight, lost steam before the show came to its conclusion. And it didn't help that leading man James lacked any personality, and his fag hag/fruitfly lacked a fun personality usually expected of fag hags/fruitflies. There was no real drama or scandal to speak of, not even in the many extra, previously unaired moments included on this DVD. I'd suggest you wait for another station to come up with a gay reality show that's a bit more sexy, stylish and smart than this. Because as of right now, if you're looking for reality TV that has both gay and straight men at odds with each other, you can pretty much turn on anything from The Real World to The Amazing Race and be much more entertained. This one's just not a keeper, and isn't going to go down in history as some landmark gay television moment.