Tuesday, May 12
"I never came out of the closet, I came out of the armoire." -- Next Food Network Star Contestant Michael Proietti
The show has had a sprinkling of gay contestants before. Season one winners Dan & Steve were publicly out, but I don't think they ever said that in so many words on Food Network. Did they?
With season two runnerup Reggie Southerland, well... we just assumed.
Paul McCullough from season 3 announces he recently got married to his longtime partner Jeremy in his "Where are they Now?" video. Congrats, but I don't remember Paul being that upfront during the show.
From my vantage point, we haven't had anyone just say it from the beginning: "I'm gay, and I want to be the next Food Network star." Is the world of food TV just as hesitant to say it as Hollywood still appears to be? Are producers still hesitant? Hell, even the biggest reality show in America, American Idol, can't get its obvious front-runner, Adam Lambert, to just say it.
And so for just saying it, Michael Proietti, I commend you. I hope that armoire comment makes it into the first episode and that it wasn't just a Web-only tidbit that'll hit the cutting room floor.
I know people are going to say "why should it matter if he's gay or not." Like what the author of the EW article I reference above writes, it shouldn't matter. But unlike, say, Aaron McCargo Jr., who spoke openly about the wife and kids he was missing and how he was competing for them, some gay contestants feel they can't disclose similar info, either for personal or strategic reasons—worries that straight contestants rarely face.
So........ I'll be interested to see how far Michael gets on the show. Bob Tuschman writes in his blog that Michael wasn't even in the top 10 originally. Another contestant dropped out, and Michael was put back in to be on the show.
Giving us his first impression of each contestant, Bob indicates Michael's negatives were "bitchy" and "too over the top", adding: "I wonder if his 'I’m so outrageous' act will get old, and if he’ll be able to find depth underneath it to avoid becoming a cliché?"
So that means the non-bitchy, not too over the top Guy Fieri has avoided becoming a cliche? Hmm.....