The Advocate took a minute to explore ‘why gay men hate gay reality stars’ with a focus on the recent TV ratings failure, The Real Friends of WeHo.
"Tacky. Phony. Unwatchable. The Twitter reviews of MTV’s newest reality show, 'The Real Friends of WeHo,' were not kind," writes @nbroverman. https://t.co/U9EkfW82an
— The Advocate (@TheAdvocateMag) March 25, 2023
The show – which features Brad Goreski (a judge from Canada’s Drag Race), Todrick Hall (singer/choreographer), Dorion Renaud (CEO of Buttah Skin), Curtis Hamilton (TV series Insecure), Joey Zauzig (social media influencer), and television host Jaymes Vaughan – seemed almost doomed from the start.
Noting that the social media reviews of MTV’s newest reality show were not kind (“Tacky. Phony. Unwatchable.”), Neal Broverman of The Advocate asked reality show podcast host Zack Peter (No Filter with Zack Peter) where he thought the series went wrong. Were the negative reactions legit or unjustified?
Peter had a few thoughts.
One of the biggest issues with WeHo was not the sexual orientation of the cast but the inauthentic connections between the stars, he says.
A reality show always casts its stars, but the most successful feature family dynamics (Housewives of Beverly Hills) or friendships that pre-date the show (Housewives of New Jersey).
Aside from the issue with “Real Friends” being in the title, Peter said the setting also helped doom the show.
In the popular queer imagination, West Hollywood is associated with a gay superficiality that is less aspirational and more exclusionary. Whether true or not, WeHo often brings to mind thick bank accounts, thin waists, and “no fats or femmes” Grindr profiles.
Peter’s perspective is that a show about attractive, young-ish gay men working in the fashion and entertainment industries is a bit “too on the nose.”
“I want to see a variety of gay men; people who are career-focused or family-focused, relationship- and marriage-focused,” he says. “All the things that break the mold of what people think of as gay men.”
At the end of the day, though, Peter hopes another network will explore gay friendships in a reality TV setting because…we’re just so “entertaining.”
“Gay men have great wit because we had to develop a personality, a sense of humor, a sharp tongue as a means of defense,” said Peter. “Maybe, at the end of the day, WeHo is a good thing because it opened the door and provided an opportunity for more shows like this to come to fruition.”
The Twitterverse, of course, had some thoughts as well:
If it was cast well, I’d have been all about it. But the only tolerable cast member is Brad Goreski. Legit disliked everyone else. I refuse to watch another season of that cast.
— Alex Miley (@toxicboi89) March 25, 2023
i agree with the writer, the casting seems to represent outdated cliches of the gay community and not a cross-section of real people in today’s world.
— JT Finney (@jt_finney) March 25, 2023
We don’t hate gay “reality” guys we just hate this show. 😂
— Jeremy Lyons (@ly0ns) March 26, 2023