Boy Meet Boy, 9/2/03: Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire
Well, this is it, folks. It's the final episode of Boy Meets Boy. Who is the straight guy that's left? Who will James choose? Will James choose the straight guy? Patience, patience…all those questions will be answered by the end of the show.
The show starts off with the requisite "Previously…" montage, and then it's off to the Mates' house, where the three Mates that are left are indulging some liquid refreshments of the alcoholic variety. Oh, why should I try to stand on formality here? The guys are getting plastered. At one point, Brian says, "As we get drunker, things start slipping out of my mouth." OK, that one is just too easy for me to respond to, so I'll move on. The guys continue to drink, and they decide to commandeer the kitchen camera. They take the camera to their bedroom, and Brian says, "So, Franklin, are we going to have sex right now?" No response from Franklin on that one. Wes asks Franklin to "show us some nipplage", and Franklin apparently obliges. I say "apparently" because we see Franklin showing something to Wes, but not to the camera. I guess Wes should have been more specific: "Hey, Franklin, show the viewing audience at home some nipplage." After some more horseplay, during which Wes jokingly says, "Screw James. It's all about us", the guys end up in their respective beds reviewing their final dates with James. Brian asks, "Franklin, did you get the kiss?" Franklin tells him, "No…just the cheek thing." Brian then asks Wes if he got a kiss from James. After some hemming and hawing, Wes admits that, yes, he and James did kiss. Brian teases Wes then knocks a plant over on Wes as he continues to tease him about it a bit.
We next get our first look at James and Andra on the big day. James tells us that it's now "a different mentality". Rather than being able to pick any one of the three finalists to go on the trip with him, he now has to worry about trying to figure out who's straight and not picking him. James goes to wake Andra up for breakfast, and then we cut back over to the Mates' house. The three of them are having breakfast together, and Wes tells us that, now that it's down to just the three of them, "the stakes got raised." Brian asks, "So, are you guys nervous?" Wes replies with a curt "No", and Brian says, "That's because you kissed him." Me-ow! Could someone get a bowl of milk for Brian, please? Anyway, Wes says in response, "I'm not sure what that means exactly." Wes, hon', it means that Brian is jealous as hell and wishes that he had been the one to get the kiss from James. Brian explains, "We're just jealous that you got a kiss and we didn't." Brian then grumbles about the fact that his date with James wasn't as romantic as Franklin's or Wes'. He says that they got elaborate dates and that "it doesn't compare to flames over your head and three pancakes at a hotel…the dates just don't compare." OK, I'm officially declaring Brian jealous and, in fact, he's bordering on whining. Brian, the dates are what you make them to be.
We're now back with James and Andra. They're trying to figure out who are the Mates that "played gay" in an attempt to win the $25,000. James says he thinks Darren is straight when, in fact, he is gay. We see a confessional from Darren where he says, "I'm not giving up on James, and when James gets back to Los Angeles, he's going to be hearing from me." Just remember, Darren, that there is a fine line between going after what (or who) you want and stalking. James and Andra both agree that Paul is gay. We, of course, now know that Paul is indeed straight, and we hear Paul telling us that the hardest part for him during the whole thing was his five-minute one-on-one with James and that he feels badly about lying to James. Regarding Jim, Andra says, "Of course, he's gay." Well, Andra sugah, we all now know that he's not. Jim tells us that the line-dancing episode will probably be the one that his father will watch and that he will probably call Jim and say, "OK, we need to talk." James tells Andra that he isn't really sure about Michael, and we are treated to a whole replay of the "bisexual" discussion from an earlier episode. Michael then says that the reason he said he was bisexual was because he "slipped up" and mentioned he had a girlfriend. I wonder…if Michael hadn't slipped up, how long would he have lasted?
We're back to the Mates' house, and we see that Franklin has started to spend more time by himself. He says he's "super lonely" and adds, "We've invested so much that no one wants to not get chosen." Brian and Wes are poolside, and Brian asks Wes, "What happens if you do win and then decide you don't like him afterwards?" Wes doesn't really answer Brian (Brian tells us that the jealousy "is starting to build"), but he tells us in a voiceover, "I have feelings for James, and I want him to look at me and feel the same way and know he totally won me over."
It's now time to hear who each of the Mates thinks will be the chosen one. They're not telling each other; they're only telling us via voiceover. That's too bad, really. There could have been major catfight potential there if they did tell each other. Oh well. At this point in the show, I am starting to wonder if my guess (James will pick Wes, Franklin is straight) is right or wrong. Anyway, Wes thinks that James will pick Brian. Brian thinks James will pick Franklin. Finally, Franklin thinks James will pick Wes. Hmmm…none of them think they themselves would get picked? I wonder if they really feel that way or if they are trying to be politically correct and not say, "I know he's gonna pick me. I mean, how could he not?"
We cut over to James and Andra, who are still poolside talking. The focus has shifted, however, from the Mates that have been eliminated to the three that are left. Andra says, "Brian's the wildcard." I'm curious to know what she means by that, but she doesn't elaborate any further. James says, "Wes…I just have a nice chemistry with. He'd be fun to hang out with, to go to movies with. He'd be fun just to be near. But, of those two, Brian would physically be there. Wes…I don't know if it would go anywhere." Andra adds, "I just don't think he (Wes) is ready for you." James continues, "With Franklin, I think it might be more just the physical." He adds, "I now have to figure out who's straight so I don't pick the straight guy." Andra tells him, "Just go with your gut." The conversation then shifts to Sean. Andra thinks he's straight, and James seems to agree, saying that he could "sense some reservation" in Sean. We then get to hear from Sean again, who says, "Stereotypes are bullsh*t", as they replay his performance at karaoke night and at the lap dance soirée.
There's not much time left now, and James/Andra arrive at the Mates' house to just hang out before the big moment. It sounds harmless enough, but we find out that Andra is on a mission. In other words, Andra is going to try one last time to see if one or more of the Mates will crack under pressure. They're all around a table outside, and Andra says, "Out of the 15, there had to be some that were playing the game, trying to get this trip and lie to me…I wasted so much one-on-one time with Darren when I could have spent it getting to know Sean or…" Franklin asks her, "Why do you think it was wasted?" Andra's response: "Because he was playing me, Franklin. He was f*cking playing me to get to James." OK, I think that Brian and Wes should slowly back away from the table, but nobody moves one inch. Franklin goes on to say, "Come on. I mean, this is not a life or death choice he's making here." Oh, God. That's it. Franklin, you just sealed your fate. I don't think there are enough flowers or candy in the world for you to buy to try to make up for that. Andra's emotions keep building as she says, "It's easy for you to say that, Franklin, because you're sitting here and there's a fourth person that's probably not sitting here because I chose you to be here." I do know what you mean, Andra, but don't forget that James did have some say-so in the whole thing (Some would argue that the producers did as well.). Andra tries to calm the situation down by saying that she adores Franklin and isn't trying to judge him and adds, "I just hope I made the right choice. That's all." Whew! I think a crisis was averted there. I'm not the only one who feels that way, as Wes tells us that the situation was "extremely intense". Franklin adds (via confessional), "I think Andra loves James so unconditionally that it may blind her from what's going on in the house." Huh? What does he mean, "what's going on in the house", and, more importantly, why isn't there any film of it?
There are only two hours to go now, and everyone is starting to get ready. James is getting dressed, and the Mates are packing their clothes. They find Dan's pillow, which prompts Brian to say, "I actually miss Dan. I don't know if he feels the same way about me, but I'll stalk him until he does." This leads to a visit from Dan, who calls the whole straight/gay debate "hysterical". He then talks about the line-dancing episode where he was partnered with Jorge, the instructor. He talks about how Jorge was all up on him and he says, "I was like, 'Whoa…what's that back there, buddy? That sure doesn't feel like a belt buckle!'" He tells us that he finally just decided to "let go and have fun".
It's back to the Mates now, and they're all dressed and are taking pictures with each other. They all seem to be calm, but you know that their stomachs are in knots. Anyway, as the picture taking is going on, Wes tells us, "I'm very nervous. I'll be shocked if James calls my name. Brian would be a more realistic choice for him." With one hour to go, the Mates join in a toast and wonder just how many bottles of Skyy vodka they've consumed this week. Franklin tries to turn the scene into a true Hallmark moment when he tells the other two, "I would never want anything to hurt you guys." Tito, get me a tissue…I think I'm going to cry. We quickly cut over to James, who's putting on his finishing touches and says that he's "still apprehensive" about what's going to happen. It's then back to the Mates to get some final words from them. Brian says, "I just want James to make the right decision." Wes says, "I've shown James everything I can." It's a shame we didn't get it all on film, though. Hey, Wes, you didn't show us "everything you can". Franklin adds, "I gave it my all."
We come back from a commercial, and the moment has finally arrived! James comes out and takes his spot next to a table with two glasses of champagne on it. Which Mate will come out first (so to speak)? It's…Wes. He joins James and poolside, and James tells him, "The fact that you wear your heart on your sleeve is very refreshing. That is a huge part of what drew me to you. I hope that when this is all over, there will be a place in your heart for me." Uh oh. I'm waiting for James to say, "But…" at any minute, but that doesn't happen. The picture freezes, turns to black and white, and then fades away. OK, I get it. Those editors are going to draw this out and build up the suspense as much as possible.
Franklin is out next, and he looks to be a bit more nervous than usual. James tells him, "You and Andra connected really well, and through that connection, I think we connected. But, there's more to this than just the game." OK, he's going to let Franklin down now. Nope…fooled again. The picture freezes, turns to black and white, and fades away.
Finally, we see Brian coming out to join James. Hmm…why is Brian the only one not in black? Anyway, he joins James at poolside, and James says, "I've had such a great time getting to know you. I knew from the beginning that you weren't just a quiet guy. I feel so privileged to know you, and I hope you're glad to have met me (Brian says he is)." OK, this sounds like a letdown speech, but will the picture freeze as it did with the other two? It does not, and James continues, "I want to make sure there isn't any hurt for you, and the only way I can do that is to not choose you. Please understand." OK, there you go…our first elimination. We get a "Brian Montage" from the past week, and Brian tells us, "I've learned that if I feel a certain way, it's OK to express it and not hide it." Good for you, Brian! Anyway, we come back to poolside. Brian says he does understand and then tells James, "I know I'll see you really soon." James agrees, and, with that, Brian leaves.
It's back to Wes now, and James tells him, "We've had some great moments. My cause in all of this was to champion that all gay men look for is love." OK, suddenly I feel like I'm at the "Gay Revolution" meeting that Sean must have lead while I wasn't looking. Once again, the picture freezes and fades away.
It's Franklin's turn now, and James says, "I was dropped the bombshell of the twist. Through my knowledge of the twist and our interaction, I had to assume that you were the straight guy. For that reason, I didn't choose you." I'm not sure if the look on Franklin's face is one of surprise, shock, or relief, but he definitely has a reaction. Franklin says, "I'm sorry. Um, you are correct. I'm relieved, because I was nervous all day." OK, so Franklin is the "Straight Mate". That means my guess is right and James is going to pick Wes! Anyway, Franklin continues, "I got involved to disprove stereotypes, but it got personal, and that made things so hard." We then switch to the "Franklin Montage", and Franklin tells us, "I did this show to prove I can't fit into any one category. The physical stuff was easy to convey. The emotional part was hard because I had this daunting sense of guilt." He concludes with, "Sexuality is like eye color. It's just a characteristic that each one of us has." We're then back at poolside where Franklin tells James, "Every story I've told you has been true, except for gender. But, every emotion has been there…for you." James finally speaks and says, "There's so much that as a gay man we have to fight against already to just have a glimmer of acceptance that the fear that we could be infiltrated for another goal in something we thought was just about love really hurts." Franklin shakes his head and says, "It's not like that. I came here to show we're all alike." The two exchange a few more words, and I can sense James' anger starting to build. Finally, the two have a somewhat awkward handshake, and Franklin leaves.
It's finally time for the big moment, and we see James tell Wes, "You brought the best out of me and all the while held on to sincerity, integrity, and honesty. Those are things I want, I look for, I value. I hope last night was a great evening for you, because it was for me. And to show you how sincere I am (*dramatic pause*), I'd like to take you on the trip with me. Will you go?" Wes smiles broadly, and the two hug. He then tells James, "The flashes I've seen of you have been fantastic. You have found a place in my heart." We then go to the "Wes Montage", and we get voiceovers from both Wes and James. Wes says the week has been a "fantastic experience" and that he wanted America to see "the truth about gay men". James says, "Because Wes was able to give me that sensitive side, I was able to be comfortable." Wes then says, "When I found out some of the guys were straight, I thought, 'what's changed?' Nothing. That's the lesson I hope America gets out of this." We then get some brief reminiscences from Sean, Dan, Brian H., Jim, Franklin, Brian A., and Matt, and then James winds this segment up with, "When it comes to love, dating, and relationships, everyone is the same."
We come back to poolside, and Wes humbly accepts James' invitation to join him in New Zealand (Who wouldn't?). He then says to James, "Let's go." James says, "Where?" and Wes replies, "I don't know." James tells him, "OK", Wes takes his hand, and the two head into the house. With that, the show comes to a close.
Well, all, Boy Meets Boy has come to an end. There already has been—and I'm sure there will continue to be—a lot of discussion about the "twist" and whether or not it was fair to James, whether or not it was fair to all the gay Mates, if it helped destroy or ended up reinforcing stereotypes, etc. Personally, I think the "twist" was unnecessary, and I also think that James has every right to be hurt, upset, and to feel betrayed. I wonder…if James had known about the "twist" from the outset, would he have done the show at all? What if he had never been told about the "twist" and then ended up picking a "Straight Mate"? You see, I think the "twist" provided more opportunities for harm than for good, but, thankfully, the "damage" that was done appears to have been relatively minimal. People have said that the show was an attempt to break down preconceived notions about gay people, but couldn't the show have accomplished the same thing if it was a simple gay dating reality show?
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