Review: “Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys” is Better Than You Might Expect

Closewise from upper left: Rosebud and Sahil; Crstyal and Nathan;
David and Elisa; and Sarah Rose and Joel

Wait. A show about gay men and their female queer-peers? Didn’t that meme sputter out around 2003 when Will & Grace started to feel old-hat? And haven’t we basically already seen this dynamic in a hundred other reality shows, many of which feature female leads with their gay BFFs? What could there possibly be left to say?

Truthfully, not that much. But it’s a credit to Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys, which premieres December 7th at 10 PM on the Sundance Channel, that it’s a smart, watchable show anyway.

The key to its success is that, unlike Will & Grace, it isn’t really "about" gay guys and their female pals. Sure, the show establishes its gimmick early on, with one of the woman saying, "He’s the man who won’t ever leave me," and another saying, "He’s an even better friend than he is gay. And he’s really gay!"

With that dispensed of, the show quickly becomes about four very specific pairings, each of which is interesting and unique in its own way. Better still, none of the relationships is perfect, and only one is what might you think of when you think of this type of relationship.

Crystal and Nathan are two upper-class African Americans involved in a film production company, and easy-going Nathan, in his early 30s, desperately wants to become a father. But Crystal, who is almost a decade older and more than a little controlling, seems to view Nathan more like her child than a friend. 

Meanwhile, free-spirited Rosebud is friends with Sahil, a gay man who comes from a traditional Indian family and has major hang-ups about being gay and about the GLBT community in general, and it’s up to Rosebud to try to knock some sense into him.

Then there’s Sarah and Joel, which has an unusual dynamic because it’s Joel who is happily partnered and getting married, and Sarah is decidedly jealous of his domestic bliss.

Finally, there’s Elisa and David, who are perhaps the most "cliche" gay/straight pairing, with David being a high-strung neurotic with major age-related issues and Elisa being a sensible, down-to-earth type.

There is nothing too flashy going on here, no cat-fights or bar brawls. They’re all smart, interesting, mostly-dignified people (translation: no one is the
kind of insufferable fame-whore who is becoming increasingly common on reality shows
these days). 

The show is produced by Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey, the gay producers of RuPaul’s Drag Race and The Fabulous Beekman Boys (and also The Eyes of Tammy Faye and one of my favorite documentaries, Inside Deep Throat). It shows: this is a quality production.

Check out these clips from the show!

Rosebud and Sahil

Sarah and Joel

Elisa and David

Crystal and Nthan