For anyone who's ever watched The Bachelor and thought, "I wish this was more forced and unrepresentative of real life dating," Logo and Lance Bass have the show for you!
Deadline reported that Logo has greenlit Finding Prince Charming, a nauseatingly titled gay take on The Bachelor that will see "13 handsome and sexy suitors" competing for the heart of one "heartthrob." This is, by all possible accounts, an absolutely terrible idea — everything that's wrong with The Bachelor and then some.
Let's start with the show's goal. Finding Prince Charming is taking The Bachelor's singular, outdated focus on seeking one true love and making it even more saccharine. Logo is branding this search with the image of a white knight in shining armor come to rescue the men. Even in its press release for the show, Logo frames the show as a search to "commit to an exclusive relationship."
It's remarkably heteronormative. In 2016, the most visible gay network is hosting a show that champions monogamy above all else. Certainly, monogamy is the goal for many couples. But to hold that up as the highest possible standard — the goal, and the only goal — risks telling younger viewers there is only one kind of relationship. Considering Logo is the same network that airs RuPaul's Drag Race, which just last season featured a contestant in a throuple, this feels like a surprisingly regressive step.
Yet considering Bass is the host, perhaps it shouldn't be so surprising. Since coming out on the cover of People, the former NSYNC member has constantly prized how "straight-acting" he is. This has been happening as recently as 2015, when he took part in an E! special called Lance Loves Michael: The Lance Bass Wedding. Throughout the 90-minute special, Bass obsessed over what was "masculine."
I haven't even mentioned the elephant in the room yet: Unlike The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, where all of the contestants vying for the star's heart are (presumably) straight, all of the contestants on Finding Prince Charming will be living in a house with men who are also attracted to men. The natural conclusion is clear.
Now, Finding Prince Charming will likely edit any sort of erotic tensions between contestants out to preserve their "search for exclusivity" storyline. But expecting it not to happen organically is so silly. This is an obvious complication with a show like this.
It's so obvious, in fact, that it's already been done. Jesse Tyler Ferguson and George Takei starred in a Funny or Die sketch back in 2013 that poked fun at a gay version of The Bachelor because it would result in the contestants falling for each other, rather than the suitor.
Speaking of "already been done": Logo's heralding this series as the "first of its kind." Pshaw, I say — have we all forgotten Boy Meets Boy so soon? Bravo featured a show back in 2003 that was a similar premise, with one key twist: Not all the contestants were gay. The suitor had to determine which were straight and which were gay.
Problematic? Absolutely. But it was 2003. TV networks were significantly less woke back then. Finding Prince Charming, however, has no place in 2016. LGBTQ viewers deserve a show that will allow for the many beautiful permutations of what their relationships, flings and instant connections can be.
Until then, will I watch every damn episode of Finding Prince Charming? Absolutely. Who knows? It could surprise me — or just make for a delicious hate-watch.