More than they Bargained for?
There has been a lot of discussion about this through several threads, but I have to think the explanation for most of the Producer / director / editing criticism comes from the simple fact that the production crew had no idea what they were getting into.
It never even occurred to the production company that they were playing with real feelings (“gay men don’t actually feel love, right?”) It was all about guaranteed “drama”. They even went the ludicrous extent that it wasn’t enough that 7 of the 15 guys were straight, but that after episode one it was an impossibility for there not to be a straight guy in the final 3. As was pointed out in another thread you can almost see the transition in the episodes from “gay’s just wanna have fun” (cue Cindi Lauper) to more of a documentary style. The Twist reveal here became almost apologetic and an attempt to reassure James instead of the Game Show Host glee you see on other reality show twist revelations. The mocking intercuts of Wes’ speech with the Karaoke vs. the all too raw emotion of James’ last two days.
There are tons more examples that I read more into and that are hard to write out to make sense, but the bottom line is that I think you had a production company who went in to film what they though would be a “party boy pool party” that suddenly found themselves documenting something much more important – both a reality program that went a little too far with playing with it’s contestant’s emotions, and a real shattering of the barriers that normally separate gay and straight, even if it was only for those 15 guys for 10 days.
Just some thoughts…
Since the producers are gay, I think they probably have some insight into the feelings of gay men. Again, I think they knew what they were doing and did it well.
Originally Posted by LaffTrax
Being gay and working on a gay show doesn't automatically make you more sensitive than a straight guy working for a straight show. It all depends on how you are as a person and what your priorities are.
It's true that there was a sense over time that the way the episodes were put together you see the transition in the show's direction. It's great you pointed this out. But in way, I can't say whether this was good or bad. I'm not sure how things would have differed if they had gone in already focused on the fact that this was going to be a more serious non-Cindi-Lauper thing. Maybe they would have been so self conscious of it that the episodes would turn into something too sober? The change in character of the show happened naturally, both from within (the way James and the mates handled things) and outside (the way they approached the gay and straight men to do the show, and the way the producers ended up putting the eps together). It was organic, and real in a way that no other dating show has been.
Originally Posted by LaffTrax
It is certainly a side to the show that makes it definitely different from other reality premises. I actually enjoyed the latter half of the eps a lot more than the first few (the finale having such an intimate feel), perhaps because of the difference from other reality shows -- that there is a sobering side to it, a change, and you can't quite be cynical about the contestants or the drama like in other reality dating shows. Those shows are more about ridiculing the contestants and how crazy they get with each other and how far they go to win the attention of the leading person. In this show, there was very little of that.
It was ludicrious for James to have only really 8 gay men to choose from the beginning. The ratio really should have been a little more in favor of James -- if they're going to put in a twist like that and then be apologetic about it!
That's not what I meant to imply. I got the impression from LaffTrax that he thought the producers were straight and, as a result, didn't have insight into the feelings of gay men. My point was that as gay men the producers had that insight. They may have approached things differently than someone else, but it was their show to do with as they pleased.
Originally Posted by eldee
Last edited by Lolasdad; 09-04-2003 at 05:12 PM.
Originally Posted by Lolasdad
They might have had insight, but they still created a show with 50% (46.6666%) of the mates unattainable, and no possible way for James to get rid of all of them. Even in "for love or Money" the contestant at least had a chance to get someone who was "in it for the money" to choose them instead of the $1M.
If they cared about James' feelings he would have known from day one. Still drama, still guessing. no anguish when it is revealed that one of these people can't possibly have feelings for you.
Hi Lafftrax, to follow up on your thoughts about the shifting character of the show, I think you'll find the answer in this interview James had -- thanks to Richard for posting the url (in another thread)
Originally Posted by LaffTrax
I think the reaction by the gay mates and James caught the producers by surprise. James says that despite their anger and feelings of betrayal, they gave the show back to the producers in the end and said 'here, you guys produce it and make it good'.... which is probably why at the end, the mood of the thing was directed to a more personal/intimate one, and there were so many voice overs from the straight mates (I think to show that they had better reasons than just money or malicious trickery) -- the thing they really left out was how angry James really was. Though they did put in the bit about why James decided to stay (knowing that there were still gay mates left who didn't know, and to leave them mid-way would have been disrespectful of their time).
Originally Posted by richard
Originally Posted by foody
Just a couple of thoughts about this excellent interview with James.
I think he is wrong about the result if he had decided to walk--even though I am glad he didn't--and it goes back to my point about the part of the gay community that objected to this show from the very inception. I seriously doubt that GE (the owner of Bravo) would have launched a breach of contract suit against anyone.
Brian once again showing the catch he is for some lucky person. He is certainly a bigger person than I am--I couldn't even speak to Dan again--let alone be freinds with him.
He is definately one of the people I feel most sorry for in this whole situation. Being rejected twice albeit for different reasons can't be good for the psyche.
And even though I personally think he made the wrong choice--I do respect that it is James' decision and I definately hope that everything turns out for him and Wes as they both would wish it too.
I agree -- I don't think they would have legally gone after him (too much bad press and all that). But how was James to know what the mood/reaction would be in the 'outside world'? What's really scary about being in a reality show of any kind is that you're sort of taken hostage... no one knows the twist until they announce it on commercials, so James would not have known if the world would say 'what a dork, you got yourself into it, you pay the consequences' or 'we're mad at the producers and will fight and scream for you'. It must have been so depressing being there alone (with Andra, thank god he had a friend along!) cut off from everything and suddenly thrust this twist. It was good that they voiced their opinions to the producers directly right after the taping -- that way the producers were able to shape the show into something perhaps more respectful than they had initially intended.
James handled it really well -- I think coming out of watching the show, it was really amazing to see how he handled everything. And now this interview -- he just amazes me. Why he decided to go on, how he dealt with the producers, how he confronted Franklin, and now with people clamoring for him to speak about his experience. How thoughtful he is -- he must have gone over everything in his head a thousand times, trying to find the best way to deal with all the issues related to his dilemma.
And now that you mention it, you're so right about Brian... he was! I didn't think of it that way. He's really shown a great heart through it all; from what I've seen of the show, it really makes sense that James, Wes, Robb, and Brian have become friends. They certainly need each other's support during this craziness!
On a different thread or site (I can't remember now), Robb posted something that said he was surprised the show depicted them all so sweetly. I think that perhaps the producers did edit out many more 'adventurous' moments, or scenes where it could have given an unfair depiction, for fear of generating a Cindi Lauper (referring back to your original post) attitude on the Gay Boys at the Pool Party.
Originally Posted by sethy11
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