Whenever you’re hungover or just simply feel like lying in bed all day rejecting the world, there is nothing better than watching something short, simple and with the potential for mind numbing acting. No complex storylines, some basic character models that you can relate to in some way, and one might even be the spit of your best friend. Enter the world of the gay web show.
There’s plenty out there, whether on YouTube, Vimeo or some other video sharing site. Each season is usually under 10 episodes, and each episode is about 10-20 minutes long. They’re my perfect remedy for hangovers or when I’m just feeling down; they’re oddly uplifting. They’re incredibly predictable yet strangely entertaining. Each show, in all fairness, seems to extend the basic character roles into their own unique individual style, making each show pretty interesting and worth a watch. I’ll be reviewing a few of my favourites over the next few weeks (the arts scene is dead for the summer so I’m left eating vast amounts of food whilst watching said shows), but here’s a run down of the most prominent features of such shows:
The story lines are pretty straightforward and designed to be relatable to the average gay man. Most of us aren’t unfamiliar to some kind of relationship drama, which the producers of these shows know full well. They are standard relationship story arcs with added camp and sometimes glitter. Boy meets boy and they fall in love, whether that be before the show starts or not. Obviously there is difficulty in their relationship, which usually involves some sort of infidelity. The two break up which may involve messy rebounds which one guy will immediately regret. The straight girl best friend tries to console one and hates the other. They might find other guys to fall in love with and they both live a happy ever after, and sometimes the two may reconcile. Before the happy ever after the guys will go through the standard trials of gay relationships. If you watch enough you’ll find the normal coming out issues; the parents don’t know or they might not even accept this struggling, whirlwind relationship.
The characters of these shows reinforce the stereotypes of gay men, which in some cases can be entertaining and relatable. However with this they also play on the perceived negative stereotypes of LGBT men. This is probably my main issue with this genre of show. Understandably, like I said earlier most of these shows aren’t really designed to create deep complex characters; the shows are just too short. The stand out show for me that tries to change this, even though still portraying some negative stereotypes is The Outs which I’ll get onto later. But basically there are four characters you will almost always find.
The Camp One:
This guy is more often than not used as the comedy or the show. Their cheesy, quirky nature provides laughs for the rest of the cast and keeps the show grounded. They will most likely be found drinking wine, talking about Cher and coming out with one liners that even Alan Carr would call camp.
The ‘Man’ One:
Probably the guy in the relationship with the camper one. He reinforces the ideal that in a same-sex relationship traditional gender roles are still enforced. Probably argued with the camp one’s girl best mate who tries to offer ‘advice’ to her heart broken friend. More often than not the one who screws up the relationship in some way.
The Bi or ‘Straight’ One:
It kind of annoys me that I even have to write this, but this guy is usually the antagonist. He’s probably a dick in some way. If he says he’s ‘straight’ then he probably cheats on his girlfriend with a guy or the bi guy might be the one who the guy in the relationship cheats with. Alternatively, he may not be out at all, and as the story progresses slowly comes to terms with sexuality.
The player might actually be one of the three above, or a separate character on his own. Stereotypically charming and handsome and ready to sweep any willing guy off his feet. Throughout the story the player might meet a guy and fall for him, willingly or unwillingly. Towards the end they will probably have come to terms with this and fallen in love for a ‘happy ever after’ ending.
Now obviously this is a rough, quite stereotypical account of most of the gay web shows I have watched. I haven’t watched them all, and there are still plenty more I will probably end up watching. There are some that don’t fit this guide and will probably be the most interesting. Over the next few weeks I’ll present and review the shows I think are the best of the best.