I’ve had a review of Shame brewing in my drafts for about five days, but my thoughts on the Fassbendpeen are going to have to wait a bit longer, because I have more important things to consider: chiefly, some reflections on a cheap E4 gameshow filled with EVIL GAY LIARS.
I write this as someone who watched an entire season of Charm School with Ricki Lake and therefore considers few things beyond the pale where reality TV is concerned. Indeed, I write this as someone who remains disappointed that the incident Rick Edwards tweeted about during the filming of series two of Tool Academy UK in which one Tool shat in another Tool’s shoe never made it to air (unless it was in the best-of show that aired after the finale, which is still on my PVR waiting to be watched). So I’d be lying if I said I ever had any intention of not watching this show – though I did have some reservations about the vague subtext of “gays are evil liars” behind it.
After all, that is basically the thrust of the show – only the gay contestants go into it knowing what game they’re playing. Everyone else only has this revealed to them after filming has begun. Even when the conceit has been revealed, the focus is very much on the gays acting duplicitously and pretending to be straight – there seems little point in the straight contestants trying to act gay, unless they’re actively seeking elimination.
And yet – the show itself does feel pretty harmless. One thing I’ve enjoyed about it so far is how pretty much no one is taking it seriously. It knows better than to claim any science behind its “methods” – the eliminations are basically down to instinct and guesswork, and everything else that happens is usually just cheap campery designed to fill around 35 minutes of airtime and make everyone look a bit daft.
Also helpful in all of this is the fact that the woman at the centre of all of this, Cara, seems genuinely sweet and – once she discovered which show she was really on – has really embraced the whole challenge. She even mentioned in last week’s episode that far worse things can happen than her picking the wrong bloke at the end of it, so she has a healthy sense of perspective – something I’ve always found endearing in a reality show contestant ever since Stacey Solomon uttered the immortal words “there’s always Asda” on The X Factor.
I make no claim to have high-functioning gaydar – I did, once upon a time, but I think my general inability to attract a boyfriend in those days led to the powers that be deciding that it would be better served on someone who actually got laid occasionally, so I was stripped of my powers and since then I’ve been pretty clueless – but I do still have opinions, and where better to share them than the Internet?
Gay Or Nay?
– I actually think Cara’s hit on an interesting snag in the format. There are (or were) several boys in the herd that she clearly could not stand, but also seemed to be amongst the likelier candidates to be genuinely heterosexual. What to do here? Keep them around to hopefully increase the chances of picking a straight guy in the end and therefore win some cash, or send them on their way for being creeps while potentially decreasing your odds of winning the show? Last week she sent home Andrei, who took it ever so gracefully (effing and blinding and calling her a bitch), but I don’t think she ever thought he was gay – I think she’d honestly just had enough of him and was happy to get rid of him at any cost.
– I still can’t tell Danny and Dean apart, but one of them (at least) is an Essex boy, and this complicates things. We used to have a saying amongst my friends: “he’s not gay, he’s just from Essex”. So I usually assume all Essex boys are straight unless explicitly told otherwise, no matter how fey or well-groomed they are.
– The twins – now, I may be overthinking this, but my current theory is that they are either both gay or both straight, with no middle ground. My reasoning for this is largely that, since the gay contestants knew the nature of the show from the beginning, and the twins clearly knew they were both applying for the show (even though only one of them was on it to begin with), it would be rather difficult for one of them to have known about the twist and not the other. Of course, this all depends entirely on the assumption that they did both apply together, and also on precisely when during the audition process the gay contestants were told (did they know from the outset, or were they told at some point after applying while everyone else remained in the dark?), because that could throw a curveball or two in there.
– I have actually been enlightened with regard to David’s sexuality thanks to a Facebook-friend-of-friend who went to university with him. I won’t give anything away on that front, but I am quite enjoying how oddly he comes across sometimes. Like at last week’s elimination ceremony, when he told Cara that he hoped “for [her] sake” that she kept him in the show. I’m sure he didn’t mean it to sound like a threat, but…it did, a little bit.
I admit none of that was particularly enlightening, but I don’t think that technically I ever promised it would be. Still, I fully expect to tune in tonight and be proved wrong on pretty much all the above counts, because like I said: seriously crappy gaydar. It’s a miracle I ever found a boyfriend, honestly it is.