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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Boy Meets Boy: 'Will You Accept ... This Glass of Champagne?'
by GAY BOY RIC
2003-07-23

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'One exceptional gay man ... Fifteen extraordinary suitors all vying for his attention ... In a world where gay is the norm. And straight men must stay in the closet!'

With these words, saucy Aussie host Dani Behr introduces Bravo's new irresistible and hysterical gay dating series Boy Meets Boy. The show, which premieres Tuesday, July 29 at 8 p.m., is simultaneously a very real reality dating show—and a near-perfect laugh-riot spoof of The Bachelor, For Love or Money and all of those straight dating shows.

The leading man of Boy Meets Boy is James, a handsome, 32-year-old benefits administrator in the human resources department of a law firm. During the show, both James and his 15 potential mates will live in luxurious but separate accommodations. The suitors vie for his affections by participating in group activities and attending one-on-one dates while the leading man —with the advice of Andra, his best female friend—will whittle down the dating pool as he eliminates men at the end of each episode.

In a brilliant twist, instead of offering each man a rose, James asks them to stay by asking, 'Will you accept ... this glass of champagne?' (It will be funny to see if any of the rejected men sigh Bachelor-style and bemoan, 'I really thought I was going to receive a glass of champagne!'

In a funny moment, when James and Andra get their first look at a wall of 15 photographs of the men, James's first comment hints that he may have had some familiar bad experiences online: 'Wow ... I hope they actually look like this!' Adding to the suspense is the widely publicized surprise that some of the men are secretly straight—and neither James nor Andra know this. The audience at home will be involved in the guessing game, always wondering who among the suitors is gay or straight. The series culminates with James making his final choice.

If James selects a gay man at the end, the couple win an all-expenses-paid dream vacation to New Zealand—and James receives a $25,000 cash prize. If James selects a straight guy, the straight man receives a $25,000 cash prize, while James gets an all-expenses-paid dream vacation for himself and his own chosen friend—but no $25,000.

Last week, James expressed his feelings of betrayal at the surprise straight twist. 'I felt betrayed,' James told Newsweek. 'They told me they put the twist in there because they wanted straight people to watch.

I said to them, 'Well, you've played gay people as entertainment for straight people. Of course they're going to watch'.' (What James seems to be missing is the fact that the show is, more than anything, great entertainment for gay people—and that anyone entering a reality TV show of any kind should expect unexpected twists.)

The show is proving to be a learning experience for both the real and fake gay suitors. One of the gay candidates said that the series' experience made him realize that he has many gay and straight female friends, but that he didn't have any straight male friends.

On the other hand, one of the closeted straight guys said, 'It was interesting, because throughout my life I was just who I was, I never had to pretend until this show to be someone of a different sexual orientation.'

'All of these gay guys that I'm hanging out with had spent years going through what I had spent a few days doing, having to pretend that they had a different sexual orientation. It's not easy trying to fit in sometimes when you feel like you have to pretend to be something you're not. It got so emotional, and so intense for me that I threw my arms up and said I can't do this anymore, I need everyone to know who I am! I think that parallels a transition that a lot of these guys had to go through during their lifetime when they threw their arms up and said, 'You know what? I can't do this anymore.'

'I hope that this whole experience and this interaction will open people's eyes up a little bit, and allow them to see that there's a lot of cool guys out there to hang out with, and sexual orientation has nothing to do with it.' The series was created by Douglas Ross of Evolution Film & Tape, Inc., who also produced the Gay Weddings mini-series for Bravo.

'We hope to open up the hearts and minds of gay and straight viewers,' Ross said, 'as they experience both the romantic journey of our leading man—and the adventure of the straight mates having to walk a mile in a gay man's shoes.'


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