The odd thing about Fire Island the show, as opposed to Fire Island the place, is that it is never exactly what I want it to be. I want it to be a silly show where hot guys romp around in their tiny bathing suits having inappropriate drama and hooking up with other hot guys, parading around in their tiny bathing suits and then bitching about it the next morning (who are we kidding — afternoon) over English muffins in a beautiful kitchen in a house by the sea. You know, kind of like Fire Island the place. Instead we get Logo Presents the Dead Parents Hour Brought to You by Kleenex. I get that everyone was very emotional about their parents and they all have really awful stories to share, but this is not what I want to do with my Thursday evening. If I wanted weepy drama, I’d stream a Meryl Streep movie on the Netflixes.
It starts with Jorge, who is upset that it’s his father’s birthday. Jorge’s father passed away a few years ago shortly after his birthday, so it’s a double whammy for him. To make it even worse, this is happening at dinner at the Island Breeze in Cherry Grove, which has the distinction of being the second worst restaurant on an island notorious for having the world’s worst eateries.
The fight at dinner is about how everyone needs to be more respectful this weekend because everyone’s parents are going to be around. That is entirely the right sentiment, but that is also why no one brings their parents to Fire Island. There are plenty of places on the face of the earth where you can sunbathe with your mom in a completely appropriate atmosphere. If I wanted to be in an appropriate atmosphere, I would not be in Fire Island, where you can wear a Speedo (or nothing!) and not worry about judgment. It’s where you can hook up with a guy on the boardwalk in the middle of the night and not worry about anyone caring. It’s where you can show up unannounced at the neighbor’s house in nothing but a wig and a pair of heels and do a lip sync of Madonna’s “Rain” that ends with you diving into the pool and the wig floating around like diseased seaweed. No one wants to do any of that in front of someone’s mom.
Justin’s parents arrive next, and they seem like lovely people, even though everyone is on their best behavior in front of them. Justin’s father is very winning and charming, and his mom is just drooling all over every guy who walks down the beach, including a hottie named Alex with a long lithe body and Patrick’s bang (note the use of the singular). No one explains who this Alex is or why he is around, but he is welcome to crash my Fire Island house anytime. Justin’s parents cook a huge Italian feast, which looks so delicious I got an electric shock licking my television screen. It all seems lovely and nice, until we find out at the very end of the episode that Justin’s father recently passed away as well. Jesus. When will it end?
Next up is Khasan’s mom, who is gorgeous and gregarious and looks exactly like her very attractive son. She gets off the ferry with a half-finished drink in her hand. If you’re going to have a mother in Fire Island, then you want one who comes to party and will make pancakes in the morning. Then, just when you think that Khasan’s mom is going to be all rosé and Robyn covers, she unleashes a torrent of horror stories. First she tells us about being gunned down in high school in Compton when she was pregnant with Khasan. Then she tells us how his father abandoned her and Khasan. Then we hear about how his father was murdered working in a store a few years after Khasan met him for the first and only time. I mean, there are episodes of Six Feet Under that are less depressing than this.