The person that is being interviewed is the host of the show. I thought some of the stuff she said was really intresting.
Gaywatch: "Playing It Straight"
by Christine Champagne
March 3, 2004
"The Bachelorette" meets "Boy Meets Boy" on "Playing It Straight." Premiering on Fox Friday, March 12 at 8 p.m. EST, the new reality series finds a single, straight woman named Jackie seeking her perfect match among 14 sexy bachelors. There is a twist, of course -- some of her suitors are gay.
Early on in the show, Jackie is told of the twist and informed that if she ultimately chooses a straight man, she and he will split a $1 million prize, however if a gay guy fools Jackie and winds up the last man standing, he will leave the show $1 million richer, and Jackie will wind up with nothing.
Gaywatch recently got the scoop on "Playing It Straight," which was shot over a month on a dude ranch in Elko, Nevada, from show host Daphne Brogdon. A comedian based in Los Angeles, Brogdon has previously hosted programs including "The X Show" and "Perfect Partner."
So are you single?
Would you ever go on a reality TV show to look for Mr. Right?
That's a really good question. Well, with the potential to win a half million dollars, it's pretty tempting. I would say the money part would make it tempting.
I'm sure being the contestant on one of these shows is potentially much more lucrative than being the host.
Believe me, yes, it would be a lot more lucrative! [Laughs.]
The participants on these shows are always sequestered. I've always wondered: Is the host sequestered, too?
Yes. I was in Elko, Nevada, for almost a month, at the High Sierra Inn, or something like that. They would drive me up to the ranch when I had stuff to do. Sometimes I would just hang out on the ranch because it was awfully pretty. But I swear to God, I should look like Courteney Cox Arquette for all the time I spent in the High Sierra exercise room because there wasn't a lot to do.
So "Playing It Straight" was your life for an entire month, just like it was for the show's participants.
Yeah, and that's why you get attached [to the people]. There were certain guys on the show that I had empathy for, that I had feeling for. I've kept in touch with some of the guys. That's the thing: On reality shows, it always looks so goofy when people are affected, but you are affected because we are each other's whole lives.
It must get intense. Actually, on these shows, it oftentimes seems as though the host gets really protective of the bachelor or bachelorette. Did you feel that way about Jackie?
That's very, very observant, Christine.
It's because I watch all of these reality shows obsessively.
There were instances where she was getting very emotional, and I hugged her and was crying with her and had my arm around her. But I also threw my arms around some of the guys later, too. You know, it really gets rough when a guy has to get up and say, "OK, well, you think I'm gay, but you know what? I'm straight." Or, "Yes, I've been pretending to be straight, and I will never do this to myself again. This has been really painful." This isn't like "The Littlest Groom." There are going to be some heavy moments in this.
Am I right to assume that you are the one who informs Jackie that some of her suitors are gay?
Yes. She's there for over a day before she finds out, and the guys didn't know at first either -- at least the straight guys didn't. So it all happens in episode one. I tell the guys, and I tell her. I felt bad because I'm the big grim reaper.
On all of these reality shows, people go in knowing there is going to be some kind of twist. But did this one surprise her?
She is very surprised. She is taken aback. There is no doubt about it. Then there's all the stuff you don't see, like when she's off camera right after I told her. She comes walking out, and she looks at me totally flipped out and goes, "Is this what this is about?" That was one of the times when I wanted to go up and give her a hug, but then the producers whisked her away to go do her interview.
Did you watch "Boy Meets Boy"?
I had to. When that was showing, we had just done [this show].
I was thinking that James from "Boy Meets Boy" could have given Jackie some advice. Unfortunately for him, he didn't know that some of his suitors were straight men pretending to be gay until about halfway through the show. At least Jackie finds out the truth early on.
Yeah, I didn't love that show. I thought that screechy fag hag was kind of a pain, and I thought it had bad production values. Ours looks pretty.
Did they tell you which guys were gay and which guys were straight before you began shooting the show?
First of all, you've got to know that when I did this show all they told me was that it was "The Bachelorette" on a dude ranch with a twist. I didn't know until the contracts were signed, and I was flown to Nevada and put my bags at the inn and went up to the location that afternoon. That's when they told me the concept, and I said, "Do not let me know [who is gay and who is straight]." They would have told me, but I didn't want it to influence how I was acting. Like if the gay guy was flirting with me, I didn't want to give him a look like, "Oh, honey, come on." And also, it wasn't like there was a whole lot to do in Elko, Nevada. It was fun for me to try to figure it out, too. But toward the end, when it was down to just a few guys, I finally said, "I can't stand it anymore," and I went up to the monitors where the producers were and watched [the final reveals]. My chin was on the floor. I was totally surprised.
So your gaydar wasn't good?
My gaydar blows! This is coming from a girl who lived in San Francisco for eight years, all right? My gaydar is worse since this show. I question myself more.
Have you ever had a crush on a guy or dated a guy only to find out that he was gay?
Oh, yeah! Well, in college it seemed pretty obvious that my friend Larry was going to go that way. Freshman year he did modeling and stuff. So we had this little spring break fling, and then the next year he was modeling in Japan and writes me and was like, "Well, I've come out." I was like, "Oh, fine." We're still friends, and we always joke about it. I was one of his few female lovers.
I only once felt kind of pathetic. I was in Italy with a bunch of friends, and we had rented a villa, and there was this English guy there, and he was gay, and I was like, "Oh, God, I wish he was straight." He was just so fantastic. But, no, I really like them when they're into me.
Overall, what were the guys on "Playing It Straight" -- straight and gay -- like?
Sweethearts. Very good looking. Real sweethearts. Nice, genial. They knew how to handle themselves. There were probably only a couple who were a little rough around the edges. But definitely good looking. That's what makes it so hard. That's a truffle I can't eat. Are you kidding me?
Did you learn anything about gay stereotypes from this experience?
I was dead-on convinced [I could tell who was gay] from looking at their photos. There was one in particular where I was like, "OK, queer as a three-dollar bill here," and I was wrong. I would say that there was one that I was sure was gay, and he was, and there was one that I was pretty sure was straight, and he was, and then there were a couple that I was dead wrong about both ways, and then with the majority I kept going back and forth the whole time. I'd go, "Yeah, gay. No, straight. Maybe he's gay? Maybe he's straight?" I got very confused.
I think the thing is, when you're not actually trying to make them your boyfriend, it is even harder. There is a certain vibe you're used to getting from a man, although I told this story to the Cindy Adams column in the New York Post last week -- I was just in Palm Springs with a bunch of gay guys, openly gay, and one of them started French-kissing me. I was like, "Dude, you're gay!" And he's like, "But you're so fun."
That's a common phenomenon. I've been hit on by self-declared gay guys several times. I've even been sexually harassed by a few. What's going on with that?
I think that sexuality cannot be put in a black-and-white column. You know, it's like the way some girls do junior lesbian, and some guys get drunk and do whatever. Not everybody is totally one way or the other, so hopefully that'll be one of the things this show shows.
Were there any situations where any of the guys who was revealed to be gay had actually developed feelings for Jackie?
Absolutely. One of them even told me that. He said that in the first few days -- because remember, we're in a laboratory man like little rats together -- he did feel like that, and then after a couple more days, he was like, "No." But, hey, some of them developed more of a friendship with her. Some of them could have cared less, and some of them did feel friendly.
So did any of the gay guys hook up with each other?
Hey, Christine, no comment! [Laughs.] No, I'll tell you. Something did occur, but it did not occur on camera, and it did not continue after [the show ended]. I can tell you that.
I have a pitch for you. Why don't the producers of this show turn the tables on a straight man? They could have him being pursued by a mix of straight women and lesbians. You could host!
I think it would be great -- especially now with "The L Word." Actually, I was just [talking to the producers], and I said, "Are we going to do that?" And I think it all depends on if this show is successful. If it is, then they might do it.