Remembering Doug Blasdell — This week’s episode, the season finale, picks up a few weeks after Doug’s passing. His friends at Sky Sport decide to honor and remember him by doing something he loved: hugging. No, they’re going to go bike riding. The trainers gather at the gym with their bikes (lugging them up to Sky Sport’s penthouse floor for no reason other than it makes a nice video shot) and sit out on the deck putting on their helmets. There is absolutely no way to look cool in a bike helmet. Everyone looks like either a mushroom or a human-alien hybrid from Alien.
Doug did like to ride. He taught spinning classes and rode in many events over the years. We see him in some home video footage from the California AIDS/LifeCycle in 2000. Ceo is there too. On camera, Doug looks fit and young and proudly says that his team raised over $100,000 for the event. Watching old footage of him is eerie.
The trainers make their way out of downtown L. A. and head toward the beach. As they do, the show inter cuts interviews, where the gang shares their thoughts about Doug.
Erika: I can’t believe that Doug is gone. Here’s someone who was so healthy and beautiful and kind and nice …
She trails off and starts to cry.
Zen: I thought about Doug and what I was going to miss … and things that I didn’t get to say. Why don’t I tell people that I love them before they’re gone? Why? He helped me through a tough time.
Flashback to last season when Zen was depressed after a breakup and Doug helped her get through it. They went for a hike in the hills, and like any gay man worth his salt, he listened to Zen’s straight-girl problems all the livelong day.
At the beach, the gang gathers ’round a fire pit in the sand to watch the sun go down and reminisce. Zen feels like Doug is still with them. Andre tells everyone Doug was the first gay person he was ever close to who didn’t skeeve him out — that’s how special he was. Mr. PFLAG thinks that’s a high compliment.
Jesse: In retrospect, in all honesty, you have a man who lived his life with his heart. And he took care of everyone in his life. And he was caring and giving and beautiful. So, he wasn’t just a good role model for the gay community, he’s a good role model for everybody.
Unlike Jesse, who’s no kind of role model for anyone, except maybe petulant drama queens.
Brian, who thought of Doug as a brother, was hit hardest by his passing. Brian keeps Doug’s principles, handwritten on a scrap of paper, in his wallet now: "Just for today, do not worry. Just for today, do not anger. Honor your parents, teachers and elders. Earn your living honestly. Show gratitude to all living things." Brian gets choked up and has to leave the interview chair.
Back at the beach, Brian stands alone, pensively watching the tide come in. There’s a shot of an empty sky. Now he’s sitting on the wet sand talking to the waves: "I’m gonna miss ya, man. I’m gonna miss ya."
It’s real and it’s tragic that Doug died so young, especially since he was the only halfway normal person in the gym. And I fully believe Brian misses his friend dearly. But talking to the ocean? Hello? Producers of this show: Put the trowel away.
Nobody heard me, because next, we watch a montage of Doug Hugs: hugging a client, hugging Jackie, hugging another client, hugging Cheo. OK, there’s a lingering shot of Doug with his shirt off, man nipples and all. A genuinely nice guy with a ripped body, caring heart and giving personality. It really is a shame, and I’m not even a gay man.
Jackie wraps up the beach tribute to Doug.
Jackie: We could finally come to terms with what had happened. Doug will be missed. He brought a light and energy to Sky Sport that was undeniable, and I miss him every day that I walk into my business and I don’t get to see his face and those beautiful blue eyes smiling at me.
"Every day that I walk into my business." She never, ever misses an opportunity to say me, my or mine. She’s as reliable as an atomic clock. And about as charming.