TV: Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys

A real-life Will & Grace explores the relationships between straight women and their gay male friends

Where would straight women be without gay men? And vice versa? Comedian Margaret Cho, in her show I’m the One That I Want, sums up the time-honored relationship between gay men and straight or bisexual women quite well, saying, “I am a fag hag. Fag hags are the backbone of the gay community. Without us, you’re nothing. We have been there through history, dragging your sorry ass though the Underground Railroad…We went to the prom with you!”

And while there’s plenty of debate about whether this quirky term of endearment (fag hag) is appropriate to describe the fascinatingly complex relationships between women who like men and men who like men, the Sundance Channel recently introduced a new reality television that delves into what makes these partnerships so, well, fruitful.

Debuting Dec. 7 (10 p.m. EST), Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys chronicles the lives of four “couples” who are navigating life and love in New York City. While these pairs are not paired in the traditional way (there are no wedding rings or vows per se) they have each seen each other through the better and the worse. The one steady in each of their lives is their sometimes unconventional friendship, which seems to survive – bitchiness and all – through even the more trying moments (breakups, illness, dating, family, work woes, you name it).

After catching the first two episodes set to debut this week and next On Demand, it was clear that while the show depicts folks who are definitely on the up and up (two are published authors, two are movie producers, others are actors, musicians and shop owners) the show definitely helps define what makes the chemistry between straight women and gay men so darn potent (think: Liz Taylor and Montgomery Clift or Rock Hudson and Doris Day).

The couples are also rife with jealousy, like when one friend finds love (and the other doesn’t). For one of the couples – Rosebud and Sahil – coming to terms with his closeted sexuality is causing a strain as he rejects her attempts to submerge him in Manhattan’s gay nightlife. And for Sarah and Joel, his marrying Mr. Right (a doctor from the Midwest…who’s a top) makes her pine for her own marital bliss. Nathan also faces a little hostility from Crystal, a single divorced mother, when he discusses wanting to become a single dad by age 35 (he’s 34).

If you’re looking for some compassion loaded with occasional camp that – if you are gay and have a straight lady in your life or are straight and have a gay men you call best friend – the show is a fairly true-to-life depiction of fag haggery. It picks up where sitcom Will & Grace left off, with a heavy dose of real life between friends who can say just about anything to each other and live to tell the tale. For most of these couples, it was “platonic love at first sight.” Here’s a clip of one of the stories:

Philadelphia Cinema Alliance with TLAgay.com is hosting an exclusive premiere of the show tonight (7-9 p.m.) at Tabu Lounge and Sports Bar with a cash bar, drink specials and free appetizers. There’s free admission with the opportunity to win door prizes from the Sundance Channel. RSVP to tcardwell@phillycinema.org.

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