I Kissed a Boy review – the historic gay dating show is a queer summer treat

Jthere were plenty of legitimate complaints aimed at ITV’s brash but brilliant blockbuster Love Island – too much lighting, too few people of color – but it always felt a bit, well, heavy is the idea that the UK’s most excessive example of straight culture should get a little…more gay. For me and many other queer fans, there’s something so much more exhilarating about watching horny guys and guys from afar without feeling like none of their exploits affect or represent us.

But away from home, there remains a maddening dearth of dating shows that revolve around LGBTQ contestants. In 2016 there was Finding Prince Charming, a vapid attempt to replicate The Bachelor with gay people. But it was a one-season flop and since then, aside from a single season of MTV’s Are You the One? with bisexual contestants, it’s been an aggressive straight line from dating show to dating show. This year, however, after too long a drought, we are experiencing a sort of flood. Stormy Daniels gave us a cheap age gap contest For the Love of DILFS and later this month Netflix’s The Ultimatum returns with an all-queer female cast. But arguably the hottest lands with the boast of being the UK’s first all-gay dating show, summer series Love Island-aping I Kissed a Boy.

The basic ingredients are exactly as you’d expect – a secluded house in a sunny spot populated by singles as love-hungry as they are Instagram followers – but with a gay makeover and a relatively new twist. Every potential couple must kiss before they even introduce themselves, testing the longevity of lust at first sight. They are then paired with that partner until a “kiss” – a less compelling view of Love Island recoupling when they can choose to stay or twist with new guys entering the house throughout. Host Dannii Minogue is tasked with trying to legitimize direct lines like “Anyone who isn’t kissed tomorrow night will leave the masseria!”, an unwinnable struggle, though the singer is a charming entertainer, delivering genuine warmth on the outskirts .

The guys are a bit more “normal” than the usual Love Island guys, and a variety of body types provide a specific kind of diversity not often seen in this setting. They’re mostly pretty friendly too, with many arriving home a bit hurt by gay life. There’s no dwelling on the sadness in their stories – the family not accepting or the judgment of the community for not conforming – but it adds texture and character that influences the way they live. act and with whom they could meet.

A lot of gay content takes on the task of highlighting the extreme differences between homosexuals and straight people. Finding Prince Charming pushed the pendulum too far, with gay men almost disguised as boring Bachelor candidates, but I Kissed a Boy finds a sweet spot in the middle. The men are relatable rather than robotic or radical and prone to the same kind of repetitive terminology as their Love Island counterparts (“A little about me”, “I’m not going to lie”, “I shit myself” all on repeat). The formula is pleasantly familiar, and it’s thrilling to see it performed with an all-male cast.

It’s in the show’s easy balance of the basic and the specific that he succeeds best, conversations about who’s up or down casually mixed with mindless flirtation over cheap wine. At a cautious eight episodes, it’s unlikely to infect the nation in the way that all-consuming, all-consuming Love Island did, but it’s a fun, grounding reminder that we all deserve a chance to piggyback around the pool during a Dua Lipa song is playing. background. Luv is luv.

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