Queer Reality-TV Films

6 min read

“Reality-TV” and “Film” usually do not go together. Which is something I discovered with this month’s theme – despite Reality-TV being a legit genre. Reality-TV shows are typically more a TV/Web series rather than a film, and a film that has a “reality-TV’ genre is quite frankly just a documentary. So what exactly is the difference? And perhaps the bigger question is: does a queer reality-tv film actually exist?

I’ll confess that this month’s queer genre REALLY threw me for a twist! So rather than try to decipher it at the time, I put my faith & trust into IMDb’s classification and ranking – and gave it a slight deviation from normal. ALL five of these films are listed under the Reality-TV genre. But by its basic definition, only two of these are actually queer reality-tv films; the other three are actually TV/Web series rather than films. (But like I said, we’re going to ignore that technicality!)

So take a glance through and let me know what you think. Does a “queer reality-TV film” actually exist – or am I stretching the genre a bit?

[Note: Not all of these films have full reviews yet – but they’re added to the quickly growing list of films I plan to tackle soon!]

5 Queer Reality-TV Films

Former NFL player and “Bachelor” star Colton Underwood embarks on a journey to embrace his new life as an out member of the LGBTQ community.

When “Coming Out With Colton” was announced the same week when he came out on public TV, I despised its premise along with many others. It came across as a tone-deaf and a marketing ploy to improve Colton’s image of being a toxic boyfriend. To be honest, this post was only reason I finally watched this queer reality-tv series. After watching the series, I’m not as opposed to it – but I am equally not a fan. Most of this queer series was actually filmed BEFORE he came out publicly – it’s literally the raw messiness that we all have gone through in our own coming out stories. No amount of editing can make the series enjoyable to watch. While there are many other positive queer role models in the series and it discusses several important topics, such as acceptance in faith among others, overall the series is quite awkward to watch at times. Despite the realistic nature of reality-tv and the fact that I strongly believe that queer folks telling our coming out stories will help others be their true selves, I don’t feel “Coming Out Colton” is a positive role model for those who are questioning.

Watch “Coming Out Colton” on Netflix.

The original Fab Five: Ted Allen, Carson Kressley, Kyan Douglas, Thom Filicia, Jai Rodriguez. You never know what the Fab Five will do – or say – next as they travel across the US and deconstruct a straight guy’s life, giving him a fabulous new wardrobe, personal grooming tips, a signature recipe or two, some good-looking furniture, personal relating skills and a brand-new attitude.

Everyone knows “Queer Eye” on Netflix – but how many know that the latest Fab Five is NOT the original? Or that the show is a revival of the original “Queer Eye For The Straight Guy”? In fact, the currently running version wouldn’t exist (along with a lot of other queer TV shows!) if it were not for the original show. So before we dive into the current Fab Five, let’s jump back to 2003 when the show first hit the Bravo Channel – and turned into an Emmy award-winning queer reality-tv series! Interestingly enough, the concept that kicked off the five original seasons is the same one used in the revival along with some fabulous queer guys! So if you’re a fan of the current Fab Five, take a look back in time at the original group – their seasons still hold strong even today.

Watch “Queer Eye For The Straight Guy” on Prime Video.

Gay men and their pursuit of physical perfection. There’s no doubt that attractiveness is key to a man’s self-esteem and his impression on others, especially in gay life. The pressure to look good is even more intense in an image- driven culture where near-naked images of masculine perfection abound. From super models and muscle boys, to bears and twinks to average Joes, along with experts in the business of beauty, “The Adonis Factor” is a revealing look at gay men’s love or lust for all things pretty.

I actually did not mind “The Adonis Factor”. However, even though IMDb classifies this queer film as a reality-tv film, it’s not; it’s more a documentary. Quite a fascinating one, don’t get me wrong! I don’t think any of us would dare question the fact that physical looks play a huge part of the gay world and that there is an even stronger drive to look a certain way. “The Adonis Factor” supports this and even provides adequate evidence as to how this manifests – and some reasons why it remains such a powerful force, even when it can be harmful. Plus there’s a lot of yummy eye candy to look at! But seriously, even though this is not a queer reality-tv film, this queer documentary is enjoyable to watch.

Watch “The Adonis Factor” on Amazon and Prime Video.

Docuseries following a group of young, New York City professionals who leave behind the stress of their big city lives and escape to the magical sun-soaked oasis that is Fire Island Pines.

“Fire Island” is reality-tv. That alone sums up the kind of show it is, and I will freely admit that I am usually not a fan. I still watched the show because I was intrigued – and had nothing else to do. After watching the first episode, I was unfortunately drawn in for the rest because of the drama. Once you’re aboard a roller coaster, you’re stuck until it comes back to the station. “Fire Island” certainly is a roller coaster! If you’re looking for mindless, backstabbing drama set within a beautiful sunny island full of sexy men – then give the show a watch. If not – avoid like Covid!

Watch “Fire Island” on Logo and Prime Video.

The queer tv series poster for Logo's "Fire Island", showing the six gay guys shirtless walking along the beach.

Gay Hollywood Dad chronicles the first six months of single gay dad Quentin Lee juggling between raising his newborn baby by himself and making his means as an acclaimed independent filmmaker in Hollywood.

Watching “Gay Hollywood Dad”, I was utterly bored and nearly turned it off. However, I persevered hoping that it would get better. Overall, I had a couple issues with this queer film. While it is certainly a queer reality-tv film, it sometimes felt more like a documentary. Based on the synopsis, I believed Quentin and his son, Casper, would be the main focus yet at times Casper got set aside to focus on Quentin’s film making. In fact, shoved in a reality-tv film is the ENTIRE short film that of course stars Casper as a baby. Many of the interviews were not captivating, and the entire film lacked a central focus beyond the mere passing of time. Yet the biggest issue I had was that I could not connect with Quentin at all. I did know know his name before this film, and honestly don’t feel like I know him any better afterwards. I’d pass on “Gay Hollywood Dad.”

Watch “Gay Hollywood Dad” on Prime Video.