Irreverent and twinky OUTtv personalities Chris Carter and John Simpson have created a series that chronicles their best run at celebutante divadom with the self-titled Chris And John’s Road Trip. The series, a simplified Simple Life, sees two queens in training reigning where heiresses dare not tread: from hunting for the “Trekkiest Trekkie” at a sci-fi convention to a stopover in our nation’s capital. These boys take Paris and Nicole’s artless formula of supercilious small-town interventions and poison it — possibly for the better. Where Paris or Nicky’s stylist might shape a bleach-blonde Marcel wave, the brown roots are unmistakable in Chris’s lanky locks and John’s quiffed fauxhawk.
The opening episode has the twosome descend on Erie, Pennsylvania’s Pride Picnic of 300 queers and it’s not long before Chris and John have overstayed their welcome. Trashing the group photo with water-balloons (trained on a man in a wheelchair) does little to win over the locals, while playing matchmaker between a low-key ruralite and a teenage Clay Aiken look-alike leaves Eros wanting. Disappointed with the phony date, the older gent says, “Chris and John have a great future in matchmaking… or porn.” This probably encapsulates most of gay Erie’s sentiments toward the pair.
In a decidedly more entertaining spin on the matchmaking theme, a later episode shows John’s attempt to pair off Chris with the natives back here in Canada. Funniest of all is when a most corpulent pretender fails another picnic wooing because he eats half of his planned hotdog-and-strawberry luncheon before he can even leave the street-meat vendor. Reflecting on this defeat, he says, “I’ll always miss Chris, but I’ll always have hotdogs. Hotdogs and memories.” I only wish that I had such a measured perspective on my own past heartaches. I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by spilling that the remaining two contestants end up bagging one another instead of Chris in the final fight for the host’s heart.
Overall, the series is mostly watchable. Some raucously humorous situations and funny folks met along the way counter a general sense of discomfort during the more invidious moments. Although I certainly don’t agree with the boys’ constant boasts of being “savvy culture aficionados” (summoning Jessica Simpson’s concussed confusion over the chicken of the sea, John admits to not knowing what paté is!), there’s no doubt these best friends are deft and driven. The show is created by 22-year-old John’s own production company, and both hosts regularly contribute to the series’ companion website, Chrisandjohnonline.com. The only thing missing is a teacup Chihuahua named Tinkerbell. Take a trip with Chris and John on Mondays at 9:30pm starting Jan 16 on OUTtv.
If you’re not really into 20-year-olds who terrorize Trekkie conventions, you can tune into OUTtv’s travel offering, Bump (Pink Triangle Press, which publishes Xtra, is one of the coproducers). With international syndication in Canada, the US, Israel and much of Europe, this show has purportedly become the world’s most watched gay and lesbian travel series. Sexy Shannon McDonough returns as host, joined by soap star Charlie David for the series’ second season with a full 26 episodes and 26 destinations for homos around the world. From P-Town to Paris (not the heiress, this time), the show takes viewers on a guided tour of some spectacular locales with an emphasis on X-rated clubs and triple-A dining. The second season premieres Tue, Jan 17 with repeats on Tuesdays at 9pm and Fridays at 8:30 pm.