I tried to warn you all, but did anybody listen? Nooooo. The instant those pernicious Queer Eye for the Straight Guy poodles were unleashed upon society, I told you they would be the undoing of all that is limp-wristed and lovely in this world. I knew they'd only be peeing on the fire hydrant of poofter popular culture, as it were. While everybody else was running around squealing girlishly about the feather-boa'd emancipation we were all going to experience now that heterosexual men were willing to put a little mousse in their hair, I alone dared to suggest that perhaps it was time we ask for more than cute shelving and canapés from five homos on national television in the 21st century. I mean, hey, I value a bitchy wisecrack as much as the next fairy, but I'd like my future to include a little more room than Paul Lynde's center square.
Oh, the onslaught I suffered for speaking out! Lighten up, you all said. Get over yourself and have some fun, you said. We're all going gay, gay, gay! So I bit my tongue and went back to my quiet little life. I flinched a bit when Bravo, encouraged by Queer Eye's success, pulled that insulting we're-hiding-some-brave-straight-guys-on-a-gay-dating-show bunk on us with Boy Meets Boy, but said nothing. I mostly kept quiet while ABC rolled out the stereotypes of It's All Relative's gay dads (wait a second—two men? Together? Oh, that's rich! That's hysterical!). I remained calm with the hope that surely something gay and good would come along; I found temporary solace in Troy, a film in which a sweaty, soiled Brad Pitt removes every last bit of his ancient Greek armor and proceeds to bathe himself (an act that caused me to inhale so sharply I think I swallowed my uvula).
Well, I'll never be silent again: While I sat there wondering if Brad's loincloth would turn up on eBay, Fox TV was busy prepping Seriously, Dude, I'm Gay for its June 7 premiere. The original press release: "It's a heterosexual male's worst nightmare: turning gay overnight. Can two very straight men convince everyone they know that they are actually gay? Well, two guy's guys are going to try to do just that. The current pop-culture craze for all things gay is taken to an outrageously satirical extreme in this hilarious reality special from the creators of My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancé. . . . Each day the guys will complete a challenge that tests their ability to pass for gay. If they master each of their challenges, they'll stand before a panel of judges made up of gay men from all walks of life. This jury of their queers will declare which of the two guys they believe is actually gay . . . and that guy will win fifty thousand dollars! It's one thing to have yourself and your home made over by a group of gay guys, but this wildly twisted contest pushes things one step further." You want gay fabulousness? You got it.
Oh, sure, Fox has since apologized for its sledgehammer sensitivity (calling the press release "our failed attempt at humor"), but the fact remains, kids, that this is what our willingness to play along with the joke hath wrought. It's been almost 30 years since Billy Crystal's confused queer Jodie Dallas cracked wise on Soap, but most American television still considers homosexuality a punch line for "cutting edge" straight consumption. Wouldn't it be nice if one day the rest of the country laughed with us instead of at us? I firmly believe that comedy can change people, but we'll never get the keys to the kingdom until we stop playing the jester.