The drama starts as the boys go on a very gay vacation.
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.
Anyway, Patrick is bad, but he’s often right about everyone just needing to calm down, not worry about seeing a penis or two on the pool deck, and go along for the ride. That is absolutely impossible for Cheyenne, who is the kind of gay dude who was probably picked on when he was younger and his revenge is to get a perfect body and then be an absolute tool for the rest of his life, or at least until people stop paying attention to him because he’s hot. Cheyenne is the kind of dude who will tell you that he’s in an Uber to meet you at the train station when he’s really trying on slutty bathing suits in Chelsea. That sounds like such a gay cliché that it seems made up for effect, but, in fact, it is very, very real. The world revolves around Cheyenne, and the rest of us are just the anonymous likes on his thirsty Instagram selfies.
His whole thing about going to the underwear party after he had a boyfriend was so annoying it made me want to bunch him up in a little ball and throw him into the ocean so that one of Fire Island institution Robin Byrd’s dogs can carry him around in her mouth for a month. He was complaining the whole time he was there because he didn’t want to be at an underwear party because he now has a boyfriend. If you don’t want to be there, then go home and quit your whining, queen. Stop harshing on everyone’s mellow.
I spent a summer taking money at the door at that underwear party (it’s a living!), and it was always the sexiest guys who didn’t want to take their clothes off, as if the world owed them some sort of special treatment. It’s an underwear party, not a shirtless-and-in-your-shorts-with-a-conspicuous-bandanna-around-your-neck party. Cheyenne is totally the guy who would show up at a pimps and hos party dressed as Alicia Silverstone in Clueless and expect you to gag at his lewk.
He behaves just as badly when the party erupts in the house, storming out in the middle of the night because he wants to go be with his boyfriend. Whatever Cheyenne wants, Cheyenne gets, and if you keep him from it, he’ll just sit and pout until he gets it. I felt the worst for Justin, whom Cheyenne was going to help at his art show. Not only does he apologize for skipping it to go pick up his boyfriend, but he then tells Justin it was “totally worth it.” He giggles a little bit at the end of that sentence, like it’s supposed to be joke, but no one thinks it’s funny. He does this all the time. God, I think he might be the worst, and I hate myself because I would totally still sleep with him.
Everyone else in the house seems pretty fine though (and I mean “fine” in every respect of the word). Khasan seems lovely, even if his boyfriend Jason is as spicy as vegan cheese. Brandon is young, hot, and a little bland, but, hey, I’ve had relationships based on worse. Justin (who, full disclosure, I know a bit socially) is a good guy, but, we get it, he’s worried about his body image. It’s like the producers told him he had to bring it up in every possible setting, and he’s just really doing what he’s told. As a man who thinks that Funny Bones are their own food group and who is also 10 years older than Justin, I totally get it. But, lordy, give it a rest. Justin is still super sexy and gets as much tail as he wants.
Oh, and then there is Jorge. His relationship with Khasan is (dot, dot, dot) complex. I don’t know what Cheyenne means when he says they’re Cinderella Slipper Sisters, but I love that and I’m stealing it. I don’t think that they have sex, but Jorge is obviously in love with Khasan, whether or not he denies it. What was up with them wrestling on the bed? That is the type of wrestling that happens in a teen movie, and it knocks off Rachael Leigh Cook’s glasses and Freddie Prinze Jr. realizes for the first time that she’s hot, and they stop wrestling and start making out. That wasn’t roughhousing. That was foreplay.
Also, if I were Jason, I would smack Jorge in the face for being so dramatic every time I wanted to spend time with my boyfriend. Jorge thinks that he’s joking, but we all know he’s not. We all know he is dreadfully serious. It’s going to be a long summer on Fire Island as they fire in their islands and Fire Islandly Fire Island to the Fire Island Pines Pines Island Island Fire Island Fire Island. God, they really use that word like “smurf,” don’t they?