Hey guys. I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya, but you'll just have to take my word that shit be hectic. Still, I couldn't let another day pass without giving my, I am sure, hotly anticipated report on the Red Sox' appearance on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy on Tuesday.
While a beanball war was erupting at Busch Stadium, the episode, taped months ago and hyped to the hilt since, finally aired on Bravo.
First let me give you my credentials as far as commentary on the gay community goes. At my senior prom, my group went with two limos: one for straight couples and one for gay couples. Throughout high school, my group of friends was often referred to as the Gay Parade. I am firmly of the belief that gay men make some of the best friends to straight women, and have acted accordingly. I like to think of myself as a Gay Ally (to use the technical term), and ignorant straight girl though I may be, I think I have a better view than many of my ilk into the gay community. Or maybe not better, but it's still a pretty good one.
In college, in my various liberal arts courses (emphasis on the liberal), I learned about a concept called the burden of representation. The burden of representation is a phenomenon that applies to minorities in the public eye--be it the news or entertainment--in which the general population feels justified in applying their observations about said individual to their entire minority group.
In other words, Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre live the thug life out in L.A. Suddenly every black guy, in some people's minds at least, is going to whip out their 9 and bust a cap. Or, say, Carson Kressly prances and minces and is generally, I have to tell you, the most annoying queen ever to stalk the earth (and honey, that is saying. something.) and suddenly the population at large thinks all gay men insist on wearing pink jerseys even when the rest of the Fab Five do ok with the red, or that all gay men are going to, say, scream in the faces of little children and fall to the ground in supremely irritating excitement. That's the burden of representation.
So, there were some fun things (which I'll get to in a second) about the show, but overall, especially having heard the
fallout commentary afterwards, I thought it did a disservice to gay men everywhere--especially because, whether fair or not, given the Red Sox' appearance, they were probably getting a bigger audience than they normally would, of people that normally wouldn't watch. People, in other words, they had a chance to make an impression on.
I'm not saying that all or even most sports fans tuning in to Queer Eye are going to reinforce their own stereotypes of gays based on Carson Kressly. I realize that most people lead more enlightened lives. However, there is going to be a segment of the population looking for a reason to queer-bash that is going to seize on Carson, and the tragedy is that they don't know what the rest of us know: it's not cause he's gay. He's just. fucking. annoying.
I also thought it was in poor taste that the show fed the kids hot dogs. That's all I'm gonna say.
Okay, so now for the highlights.
My favorite thing about the show before the boys really showed up was Mrs. Varitek. Even looking at her among the blondes, you could tell she was different. When she speaks, you can tell there's someone home (this is not always the case with, say, Mrs. Damon, sorry guys, but it's true). She seems like a real, normal, intelligent woman with her own life outside of Jason's. I thought she was excellent. I also thought her observations on Tek were great.
Example. After Tek flew in on the helicopter (looking studly yet chagrined, something it seems only he can really master) and came in to find his teammates propped up on couches covered in various kinds of wraps and masks and gook, he was immediately greeted by Carson, who squealed, "Oh my god, look, it's Quadzilla! Come to mama!" (Okay, I have to admit I laughed at that). He then lifted up Varitek's robe to expose the Thighs of Freedom, for which most of the female audience thanks him, but try to imagine being Tek at that moment.
What's great about Tek, also, from what I've seen of him off the field, is how subtly yet clearly he communicates. A tone of voice, a facial expression, a gesture, sometimes speak volumes from him. After the assault by Carson, walking through the room to the clothing area, he stopped and pointedly kissed his wife.
Said she with a look of bemused affection after him, "He is so overwhelmed right now."
I love them. I love both of them. They win Best Couple.
Millar was hysterical, I have to say, which I know is his job, but of course they played on his buffoonery to the extreme. While the rest of the boys were made over normally, at one point Millar sat trapped in the chair, his feet wrapped, his hands in something, a pumpkin mask slathered on his face, his head wrapped in some kind of red material that made him look like Aunt Jemima. Only Kevin Millar could still look a fool after a complete professional makeover.
Why did they have to wax Wake so much? I was not aware that he was that hairy. And could he have been any more of a pussy about it? I think his wife put them up to it, personally. She didn't do much to save him, did she? Hmm.
Of all the boys, only Johnny Damon actually looked natural during the entire process. Only Johnny seemed metrosexual enough to know exactly what the gayboys were talking about sartorially and still seem manly.
In fairness, of the wives, Mrs. Damon seemed the most outgoing, in a good way. I especially liked her at Dunkin' Donuts when she was helping pick out Munchkins for the Little Leaguers, and one of the guys put a pink one in in case there was a gay child. Mrs. Damon then put another pink one in "in case there's two." I thought that was a very sweet moment, and she seemed so kind.
Who knew Doug Mirabelli was such a sarcastic man? Maybe it was only in this instance, especially given all we heard about Carson's serious encroachments into his chi space. But he seemed pretty harsh sometimes, especially when he pitched a fit about his outfit.
I guess ballplayers have a burden of representation, too.
But by far the best thing about the entire show was the look on the Little League kids' faces when they were told they were going to play with the Sox--and their faces when they actually took the field with them.
Of these moments, the absolute best was the following:
Voice to kid, off camera: "You excited?"
Kid: (gives look like 'You fucking idiot...') "Yeah. I'm playing with the Red Sox." (gives look like, 'Now get the fuck out of my face.')
Sign that kid up.
The game itself was fantastic. It was wonderful to see our virtuosi playing baseball in such a different way--a more natural way, a fun way. It was hysterical how they imitated "serious" aspects of a big league game. Like Wake "disciplining" Carson--"You are killin' me. You have to make that play". Or Millar charging out of a dugout after an out was called at third base, the picture of a puffed-up big league manager.
And it seems like our guys make mistakes out on the field every game, and one or the other of them probably do, but it was insane how polished they looked outside the big-league environment. Belli caught a kid's pop-up without looking up, while carrying a Dunkin' Donuts' iced latte, one handed...it was little things like that, where you could see just how many times they'd repeated that motion...it reminded me of musicians I've known, serious, gifted performers, for whom instruments behaved in their hands as an extension of their bodies.
Ultimately? The show wasn't the best thing I've seen on television, certainly. There were things I didn't like, things I strongly objected to. But I'm a freak when it comes to the Red Sox players. I don't care if it's footage of Millar picking his nose when he thinks no one's looking, I'm always interested in them as much off the field as on, always interested in observing what I can about their different personalities, their banter, the way they carry themselves.
They are my boys, and I love them. They could probably be on with Martha Stewart (my sworn archenemy) and I'd lap that shit right up.