gender, glbt, identity, love, sexuality, TLS, tv

Calpurnia is a genus, or Calpernia is a genius. You decide.

So last night was the premiere of Logo’s Transamerican Love Story, featuring Calpernia Addams as the eligible bachelorette. Ok, first let me just say: how cool is it that she commented on my last blog entry about this?!

Right, now on to a quick review and recap of the show:
The format of the first episode of TLS was quite like other reality dating shows: Bachelorette meets suitors, has a little shin-dig, spends some one-on-one time to get to know them, and eventually has to give one a kick in the pants out the door. Calpernia spent some time with each of them, attempting to get a feel for who they are and what kind of chemistry she has with each of them. Andrea James (who, by the way, is totally adorable) was Calpernia‘s sort-of-secret-spy-partner, asking open-ended questions and setting up secret cameras in the house to keep an eye on the guys while Calpernia‘s not with them. And Alec Mapa, that hysterical man, provided excellent comic relief. Perhaps I was thinking too much along the lines of VH1 / MTV-styled dating shows, but Mapa actually gets to play host – explaining the rules of the game, guiding the men into and out of activities. It’s a more respectable position than what I was expecting, thank goodness.

During the one-on-one, Mark the Razor (scary wrestler dude) couldn’t stop talking about Calpernia‘s boobs. Mike the Christian seemed a bit stiff, a bit nervous, but Calpernia seemed to feel a connection to him. Peter the Queen is totally adorable, and talks a lot and very quickly. I would totally love to get beers with him. Shawn seems more like an accountant than a concert promoter, so I’m going to call him Shawn the CPA. Because I’m mean like that. And Jim, who is a totally cute writer / teacher with a great smile, had some interesting news to share: he’s also trans. Calpernia was clearly surprised by the news, and her conversation with Andrea later was very interesting: she said Jim coming out to her made her realize, “Ok, this is what it’s like for the guys I tell.” It’s interesting to note that she’d never been in that position before.

After the one-on-one, Calpernia arranged a little harem-style party for the group. She had several belly dancers in attendance, and the men were required to wear what appeared to be gold loincloths and g-strings. Um – yikes. Anyway, she had the men fan and feed her while she reclined on a lounge, laughing and soaking up the attention. The men danced, drank, were mostly good sports about looking foolish. At the end of the party, Calpernia excused herself and joined Andrea in another room to watch the aftermath on a secret camera – one of the contestants, Barry the Actor, picked up a belly dancer, threw her over his shoulder and took off out of the house (“When you’re at a buffet, if the roast beef leaves, you gotta take the turkey!” he said). Rich the Yoga Guy spent some time comparing his body to the belly dancer’s, it seemed – there were several clips of him dancing alongside the belly dancer, but in each clip he seemed very focused on his own torso. Heh. Eventually the party died down and everyone turned in. The next day was not nearly as exciting, though there was some tension when other contestants started joking with Jim – having not come out to the rest of the house yet, he was concerned they might have found him out.

So here’s what I learned about the contestants from last night’s episode:

  • Mark the Razor is potentially homophobic. He seems to be really freaked out by the presence of other men of alternate sexualities. He made some derogatory comments about Peter, who is bisexual.
  • Blaine the Super Bald Guy seems to have more of a fetish about transpeople than anything else – he’s stated that he prefers pre-op trans people because it’s “the best of both worlds.” Plus, there was that whole trans-porn website thing, which is a little disturbing, considering what I know about the porn industry (from RESEARCH, people, not experience).
  • Jim the Writer is my new favorite.
  • Rich the Yoga Guy is potentially obsessed with his own body.
  • Mike the Christian so far seems ok.
  • I still think Barry the Actor is a waste of a good contestant slot – he’s a little slick.
  • Shawn the CPA needs to take the stick out of his bum.
  • Peter the Queen is actually pretty cool. And, judging by the promos for the upcoming season, he is not the one to create the drama. Go figure.

Right, so there’s your first wrap-up of the show. Probably not as clever as what the ladies over at AfterEllen can do for shows like the L Word and Bad Girls, but it’ll have to do for now.

I have a loose plan to recap each week’s show, so we’ll see what becomes of that.

3 thoughts on “Calpurnia is a genus, or Calpernia is a genius. You decide.”

  1. Oh, I just have to comment on this because a few days ago I watched the whole series of videoclips from the first show (I don’t have a tv)!

    Hardly ever watching tv, I had never seen a “reality” program before, so the enormous unreality of it was shocking. I mean–having 8 potential BFs all in the same place? And having a set of hidden cameras to kind of spy on them when you’re not there? Well, it is TV, it is Hollywood, and there is an audience to woo.

    I suppose the main thing is that Calpernia & Andrea are trying to show that transgender people are scarcely different from anybody else, but nonetheless of course I got sucked into it in the usual voyeuristic way, so here are my comments about these “characters:”

    The wrestler: boob-talkers may be beyond reforming. They’ll always be looking at other sets, too. A typical sex-obsessed dude.

    The yoga guy: also obsessed with physique, except mainly his own. A real “Adonis.” Hide the mirrors.

    The shaved-head guy: creeps me out with the porn. Also, he seems mainly interested in a woman with male genitalia so why is he on the show? Even worse–sounds like he’s taking a short break from an ongoing relationship to see if he can find “something better.”

    The show promoter: I agree he acts like he’s sitting on a corncob, kinda control-freakish and uncomfy in own skin. Smug. Wants to define what his children will be like? Yow!

    Well that does it for four of them.

    The good old boy from the South: To me a car salesman from the get-go. Uses (rather uninventive) humor as a barrier. Gonna be hard to find out what he’s all about.

    The button-down tall guy: he’s also opaque. I’d want to bore in on his “Christian” background to find out what that’s all about. But overall he seems like a blank so I guess he gets a pass for now.

    The yackety bi guy: I think he’s a good conversationalist which counts for a lot, and doesn’t seem too cynical, is spontaneous, and doesn’t take himself overly seriously.

    The transman: I feel for him in this situation as he seems really uncomfortable with the “secret.” I wonder if he feels insecure partly because he hasn’t been a man too long? Other than that, I haven’t gotten much of a read on him yet, but he seems nice enough.

    It’s a pretty dim cast. At least the first five of them above seem like the pretty typical “full of themselves” guys.

    Having a transman on the program is the most interesting part of the show for me. I should say that I’ve liked most transmen I’ve met. Jamison Green, who I’ve met a few times, is fantastic.

    One thing is that I don’t have a good grasp of what Callie is looking for…maybe the show will elaborate on this in the next installments.

  2. Oh, I just have to comment on this because a few days ago I watched the whole series of videoclips from the first show (I don’t have a tv)!

    Hardly ever watching tv, I had never seen a “reality” program before, so the enormous unreality of it was shocking. I mean–having 8 potential BFs all in the same place? And having a set of hidden cameras to kind of spy on them when you’re not there? Well, it is TV, it is Hollywood, and there is an audience to woo.

    I suppose the main thing is that Calpernia & Andrea are trying to show that transgender people are scarcely different from anybody else, but nonetheless of course I got sucked into it in the usual voyeuristic way, so here are my comments about these “characters:”

    The wrestler: boob-talkers may be beyond reforming. They’ll always be looking at other sets, too. A typical sex-obsessed dude.

    The yoga guy: also obsessed with physique, except mainly his own. A real “Adonis.” Hide the mirrors.

    The shaved-head guy: creeps me out with the porn. Also, he seems mainly interested in a woman with male genitalia so why is he on the show? Even worse–sounds like he’s taking a short break from an ongoing relationship to see if he can find “something better.”

    The show promoter: I agree he acts like he’s sitting on a corncob, kinda control-freakish and uncomfy in own skin. Smug. Wants to define what his children will be like? Yow!

    Well that does it for four of them.

    The good old boy from the South: To me a car salesman from the get-go. Uses (rather uninventive) humor as a barrier. Gonna be hard to find out what he’s all about.

    The button-down tall guy: he’s also opaque. I’d want to bore in on his “Christian” background to find out what that’s all about. But overall he seems like a blank so I guess he gets a pass for now.

    The yackety bi guy: I think he’s a good conversationalist which counts for a lot, and doesn’t seem too cynical, is spontaneous, and doesn’t take himself overly seriously.

    The transman: I feel for him in this situation as he seems really uncomfortable with the “secret.” I wonder if he feels insecure partly because he hasn’t been a man too long? Other than that, I haven’t gotten much of a read on him yet, but he seems nice enough.

    It’s a pretty dim cast. At least the first five of them above seem like the pretty typical “full of themselves” guys.

    Having a transman on the program is the most interesting part of the show for me. I should say that I’ve liked most transmen I’ve met. Jamison Green, who I’ve met a few times, is fantastic.

    One thing is that I don’t have a good grasp of what Callie is looking for…maybe the show will elaborate on this in the next installments.

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