Fire Island recap: 'I Love My Boys'
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.
In the morning, Khasan’s mom meets his BF while cooking breakfast. I had forgotten just how incredibly attractive Jason is, and I wish he were on the show a whole lot more wearing a whole lot less clothing. But it’s also weird that everyone on this show has a boyfriend. Isn’t that a little antithetical to the fun-time hookup vibe that the show wants? Again, it’s just not what I want it to be.
Cheyenne talks to his boyfriend about how all of this parent talk is making him depressed because his mom passed away, too. We find out that Cheyenne’s mom was an alcoholic; he had a very traumatic childhood full of custody battles and a revolving door of his mom’s boyfriends, and he is worried that he’s going to end up just like her.
I can’t. I just can’t anymore. I showed up to this show ready to party and have a sweaty night out at an underwear party with guys whose pecs are better developed than most luxury condos on the Lower East Side, and now I’m clutching my hankie and afraid to make fun of their vapid arguments because all of their parents are dead and they are damaged, empty people who need the validation of the gay masses in order to survive. This is not what I signed up for. It’s like booking a gay cruise and then finding out that everyone else on the boat is there to dispose of their loved ones’ ashes at sea.
The one bit of drama that we have to discuss is Brandon and Jallen, and even that’s sad. I agree with Brandon that bringing Jallen around is bad form, especially when he invites him to dinner with the rest of the housemates. Sometimes you need a “family dinner” without outside intrusions, especially if every single person in the family has discussed the size of that intrusion’s member. It’s also shady of Patrick to force a conversation between Brandon and Jallen, but not nearly as awkward as Jorge forcing a conversation between Brandon and Patrick. I mean, everyone heard exactly what he was up to on the beach. He wasn’t fooling anyone.
But Brandon isn’t totally in the right, because he has still never told Jallen that he doesn’t want anything with him. He needs to just definitely say, “I think you’re a great guy, but I’m not looking for a boyfriend, so we need to stop fooling around.” Yes, it’s hard and will hurt the weepy Jallen’s feelings (he looked like Crying Michael Jordan when they were having this talk on the beach) but it’s necessary. Instead Brandon keeps giving him hope. “Down the line, who knows?” he says. Um, you know. You know, and the answer is that you don’t want to have babies with this gargantuan Mormon gay. Just tell him. Poor Jallen. He’s the real victim here. He’s not even on the show, and he’s been humiliated the worst.
But finally, at the end of the hour, Fire Island is the show I want it to be. All of the housemates get together on a blanket on the beach to talk about how they’ve become a family and they can put their petty squabbles aside. That’s the closest the show has come to approximating what it’s like to be in a Fire Island house. But there’s a very simple reason why the beach is desolate. Everyone knows you don’t go to the beach to watch the sunset; you go to the bay side of the island, which faces west. That is, you know, where the sun sets. God, Fire Island can’t get anything right.