I have been going to Fire Island every summer for more than a decade, and I can tell you one thing for certain: People who go to Fire Island do not say “Fire Island” as much as the young hard bodies on Fire Island. By my very unscientific analysis, these nice young gentlemen who only eat grilled chicken breasts, steamed broccoli, and 5-Hour Energy say “Fire Island” 36 times in the series’ first hour (which is really 42 minutes without commercials). That is almost once every minute. That means that Patrick spends more time saying “Fire Island” than he does grooming his mustache, and that is certainly a sizable investment of his time.
There are many things about this show that are off from what longtime Fire Island visitors know and love about the place. Khasan and Cheyenne aren’t even New Yorkers. Most people get into a Fire Island house and, rather than going out every single week, go out one week a month for the entire summer. You can’t expect someone from L.A. to make that trek back east every single week — unless you have a reality television company footing the bill. Plus, their first weekend in the house is the weekend of the Pines Party, which is always at the end of July, so they already missed the bulk of the summer before the cameras turned on.
And the people in this house aren’t close friends, going to parties, cooking dinner, getting sloppy at tea and embarrassing themselves, getting lost walking through the woods on the way back from Cherry Grove at 4 a.m. as the sun is coming up… you know, the usual. In most Fire Island homes, everyone’s there for the same reason. There are those houses that just want to slut around and party, and then there are the houses where everyone wants to relax, do the Times crossword puzzle, work on their Ann-Margret decoupage project, and maybe spend an afternoon sunbathing nude.
Not everyone in this house is on the same page — but that’s how you get the drama. Jorge thinks they’re going to have a “family barbecue,” which is nearly impossible on Fire Island, where everyone does everything as a house. If you invite one friend over for hot dogs, he’s going to drag along the five to seven other dudes in his house. If you invite 10 people over, next thing you know, it’s packed, and Jorge is freaking out because some people want to remove their bathing trunks before going in the pool. He needs to chill. There are only two rules in Fire Island: Swimsuits are always optional, and no high heels in the pool.
Patrick and Cheyenne are certainly here for different reasons. It’s clear that Patrick is the member of the house here to party and be Mx. Congeniality. When the other guys want a chill night at home, he invites all his friends over, and next thing you know you have a big fat party like it’s the end of a John Hughes movie. The best way to handle this is, well, to just enjoy the spontaneous party that erupted in your living room and maybe find a nice gentleman with good teeth to make out with. Then, in the morning, you say to your housemate, “Girl, that was real fun, but maybe next time let us know when you’re going to invite people over? Okay, thanks. Now will you please tell that guy in my bed it’s time to leave?” It’s easy — if the people in your house are your closest friends.
Cheyenne and Patrick clearly are not on the same journey, but they are in a no-holds-barred steel cage match for the title of The Absolute Worst 2017. My problem with Patrick is that he is a walking affectation. Everything about him is about as real as his collection of multicolored eyeglass frames with no lenses. When Justin says dinner is at 8 p.m., Patrick says, “So gay 7?” Girl, that is not a thing. Don’t try to fetch this into existence.
Patrick is just a Britney Spears concert “Scrop Top” — which is his “skank tank” and crop top combination (patent pending) — and neon leopard Speedo posing as a human being. And that hair. Ugh. It is like the evil Transformer of hair. It is like the Megatron of hair, and it is either a flamboyant bang (note the use of the singular) or a tiny little nubbin that looks something like a pumpkin stem. Either way it’s a horrible Decepticon.
There is absolutely nothing real about Patrick, but, that said, I often find myself agreeing with him, at least when it comes to life on Fire Island. If you’re going to be in the kind of party house that Patrick wants, you have to sort of go with the flow, not care when people get naked, and just try to get over yourself when the night doesn’t go exactly the way you want it. Patrick is not selfish, so much so that I think it becomes a negative. Patrick needs so badly to be popular that he will hang out with absolutely everyone. He says he’s not judgmental, but that’s bad. You need to judge some people because otherwise, as Cheyenne points out, you just start inviting meth dealers over for dinner, and they don’t eat a thing, and they steal your laptop before getting on the last ferry never to be heard from again. I know this from personal experience.
Just look at Patrick’s wannabe boyfriend Trick Brandon (so named so he won’t be confused with Boo-Hoo I’m 21 and It’s So Hard Brandon, who lives in the house). Trick Brandon has angel wings tattooed on his back. I mean, that’s really all that we should say about him and leave it at that. When Patrick asks him what his housemates said when he arrived, he says, “You expect me to remember what they said?” Oh god. Really? Go back to the high school drama department from whence you came, Trick Brandon.