On September 8th of this year, the newest dating reality show not on ABC aired. Logo, a network that primarily focuses its programming to LGBT people aired the first gay dating show. Finding Prince Charming follows thirteen gay men and their quest to “find” Prince Charming, Robert Sepulveda Jr.
Sepulveda is an award winning interior decorator, creative director, and LGBTQ activist. He’s the guy who spearheaded painting the 10th St. & Piedmont Ave. intersection in downtown Atlanta rainbow.
He was also an escort during college going and the only reason that fact is important is because of the controversy. Unfortunately his personal videos had been released by an ex-partner and unsurprisingly the response was all over the place. Some folks were appalled that someone with history of sex work could be considered Prince Charming while others were appalled that this wasn’t being used to discuss the scores of LGBT youth who do sex work to survive or for shelter.
The more pressing issue to me was that Logo was acting like they had no idea this was in Sepulveda’s past and then turning it into a “PR Nightmare” by stating that they had no idea. It seems to me more that the show’s producers meant to use this controversy to drum up ratings as opposed to well, anything else.
Unfortunately, this controversy does nothing to mitigate the bigger issues within the show. It follows the Bachelor/ette franchise’s methods of creating fights and focusing on problems between the contestants. There’s even the requisite contestants telling on each other to Sepulveda. However, unlike most of the bachelors or bachelorettes on ABC’s franchise who have actual charm and character, Sepulveda comes across as extremely stilted and dare I say it, boring in the first episode of the show.
The second episode, at least, had him opening up more about his family and I almost even cared that he’s Prince Charming. More interesting were the revelations that two of the contestants have been friends for years, that one of the first contestants eliminated knows Sepulveda from the gym, and that I’m pretty sure two of the contestants are going to end up with each other before the show’s over.
The show also follows the elimination pattern of ABC’s franchise, except Sepulveda gives out black ties instead of roses. And by give out I mean that he places the ties on each of the contestant’s collars and it’s super awkward.
As of the third episode, 5 of the 13 had been eliminated, with one more quitting after he spit on another contestant. If that’s not dramatic, I’m not sure what is.
The show is a big deal because it’s the first all gay dating show since Bravo’s Boy Meets Boy (except there were also straight contestants), and it brought light to the fact that there’s a long way to go when it comes to discussing sex work within the LGBT context. So if you like drama and attractive gay men getting to know each other, the show is for you. Just don’t expect to swoon over Mr. Prince Charming.
Images courtesy of Logo