Occasionally you read a news article so absurd that you instinctively look at your calendar to see if you fell asleep and woke up on April 1: “MTV planning gay version of Jersey Shore ‘Under The Boardwalk’?.” Then when you realize that it is still January, you begin to suspect that the article must be satire, and you start searching for a credit to The Onion or a disclaimer. When no such disclaimer reveals itself, you start to panic.
Then you see that the article was published on the following domain: unrealitytv.co.uk, which you have never heard of before, so it could be a den of tabloid gossip for all you know. Then you note that the article has cited NBC and The Advocate as sources. Still, you don’t believe it. How can legitimate television producers create a reality show whose premise is throwing ten gay and lesbian guidos and guidettes in an Atlantic City
whore shore house? It simply doesn’t compute.
This means you have entered into the first stage of grief: Denial.
Stage 2 – Anger
You see the official casting call.
The accompanying caption reads as follows:
THIS IS THE REAL DEAL! DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A STAR? CASTING FOR A NEW REALITY PILOT!!! “UNDER THE BOARDWALK” AT CLUB IN OR OUT! WANTED: GLBT. LGBT: (LESBIAN, GAY, BI & TG. WOMEN & MEN TO LIVE IN A BEACH HOUSE IN ATLANTIC CITY, NJ, FOR THE SUMMER!
The all caps, overuse of exclamation points, and horrific aesthetics of the flier throw you into a blinding rage. Also, what is an “attitude contest”? Does “blinding rage” fall under the umbrella of having an “attitude”? You conclude that it does. You contemplate showing up in Hammonton, NJ on February 5 to knock some heads together and to collect $100. When you discover that round trip fare on New Jersey Transit from New York City to Hammonton, NJ is $42.40, which would leave you with only $57.60 at the end of the day, you only get angrier.
Stage 3 – Bargaining
Then you start thinking of the ripple effects that this show may have on the LGBT community. This show must be stopped! We have worked so hard to promote positive images of the LGBT community in the media! Lesbians are not orange, dammit! The pouf is not an acceptable queer hairstyle! If this show were to air, you might be expected to jump on the grenade so your best friend can get her smush on with the hottie. Entertaining grenades is not a part of lesbian culture, and it is most definitely not a part of gay culture! When there is a will, there is a way! Maybe, maybe if you just donate to GLAAD, you can make a difference.
Stage 4 – Depression
But then you have an epiphany. Lesbians are generally intelligent people. It is doubtful that a critical mass of the sisterhood would actually show up to audition for a part in this piece of trash. You could walk away at this point, but the video from NBC beckons to you like cheese in a mousetrap, and you feel compelled to press play.
Lesbian Erica McLelland really wants to be on the show. “I’m like a Snooki but a gay version, which is 20 times worse,” she says. Her eyes are filled with hope. Her tone of voice is earnest, eager, excited. She really, really, really wants to be on the show.
You reach for the Zoloft.
Stage 5 – Acceptance
Who are you kidding. If this show airs, you will watch it, possibly with one hand over your eyes, but oh, you will watch it. You will congregate in living rooms all over the country, flanked on all sides by your gal pals for support. You will be unable to look away, even though you know it may melt your brain. Accept the inevitable. This show already has you hooked.