The internet is abuzz with mentions of a new, gay-themed dating series coming to television.
Finding Prince Charming, a Bachelor-style competition series hosted by former *NSYNC performer Lance Bass, will see 13 men all vying for the affection of Robert Sepulveda Jr., an interior designer who hails from Atlanta. Further details surrounding Finding Prince Charming (including, but not limited to, the identities of Sepulveda’s suitors) have yet to be revealed, but it is said that the “first of its kind” show will air on LOGO, which also houses the popular drag queen rivalry program, RuPaul’s Drag Race.
While the premise of Finding Prince Charming might be similar to that of the ABC mainstay, it turns out that despite the mentions of originality, it’s anything but. That honor actually belongs to Boy Meets Boy, a 2003 Bravo series that was noted as being the first-ever same-sex dating competition on American television. Week by week, viewers watched law administrator James Getzlaff, with help from his best friend, Andra Stasko, whittle down a group of 15 men in hopes of finding a love connection.
Many of the aspects were similar to that of The Bachelor and by reported connection, Finding Prince Charming. All of the men (minus Getzlaff) lived in the same extravagant house, there were group dates, and the occasional disagreement (unlike The Bachelor, things rarely went further than verbal contention), and of course, an elimination ceremony took place at the end of every episode (instead of roses, Getzlaff handed out flutes of pink champagne).
There was one major difference, however; one that caused quite a bit of controversy for Boy Meets Boy and in turn, allegedly stopped the show from progressing past its first season. Some of the gay men were actually straight.
Because of this, Getzlaff, who was told about the twist just as he selected his final three, was forced to change his plan from finding love to one that ensured that he wouldn’t end up a fool by choosing a heterosexual man as his love interest. The reveal also led to an outburst of emotion from Getzlaff’s BFF Andra, who went on a wild tangent over her closest friend being deceived.
The moment would go on to be parodied several times by MAD TV, with comedian Josh Meyers portraying Getzlaff, and Michael McDonald playing an over-the-top version of Stasko.
Wes Culwell, a motivational speaker and writer for LGBT publications The Advocate and Instinct, was ultimately chosen in the Boy Meets Boy finale by Getzlaff to begin a romantic relationship with, but the two never even made it to an airport together as there was never any real connection between them (the winners of Boy Meets Boy were given a trip to New Zealand, which Getzlaff and Culwell went on separately).
“I felt betrayed,” Getzlaff told Newsweek after Boy Meets Boy wrapped. “They told me they put the twist in there because they wanted straight people to watch. I said to them, ‘Well, you’ve played gay people as entertainment for straight people. Of course they’re going to watch.'”
Regardless of Getzlaff’s opinions, show creator Doug Ross was fully geared up to have another go-round of Boy Meets Boy; this time, with a new twist that Bravo higher-ups called “fun.”
“We’ve been talking off and on [with Bravo] about a second season for a couple years,” Ross expressed to After Elton in 2005. “They loved the [original] show, and it rated extremely well for them.”
Nonetheless, the season never came to fruition (the first season is currently available on DVD, however).
Although problematic, Boy Meets Boy was one of the first few open displays of LGBT culture in the mainstream. Without it, there wouldn’t even be a thought of bringing something like Finding Prince Charming to the table, much less, to the world at large. At a time where people are silenced forever just because of who they are or who they love, it would be wise to note and remember what occurred before this progressive day if only to ensure that we don’t make the same mistakes again, whether it be in life or just on our television screens.
In other words, Finding Prince Charming, no straight guys, OK?
[Photo by Patrick Riviere/Getty Images]