A soft-ball approach to training feminine gay troops
I had read some negative comments about Gay Army before seeing the show, that it presented stereotypical gay men in an unflattering light as army recruits. That's true. But I don't think it was mean-spirited, and I don't think it was meant to be taken seriously. It's a "reality" show like The Real World.
The show has nine Scandinavian gay recruits trained by three US drill instructors (two of which are mostly ignored).
My complaints about the show are that (1) it was too repetitive, (2) it didn't include gay men of the sort who actually would likely join a real army, and (3) I don't think this "basic training" bears any resemblance to what real training involves, and is somewhat insulting to both gay people and armies. Two weeks is too short, and I think it was way too easy on the guys, some of whom were not at all serious about being there. I would not feel comfortable knowing these particular men were responsible for defending the country.
I would have cut out a lot of the repetitiveness from the show (such as the drill instructor telling us after nearly every commercial break that these were not his usual recruits) and thereby eliminated an entire episode, and brought up the pace to a better level.
I'm still trying to figure out what "Arouh!" means. Is that even a word? Military lingo confuses me.
I wanted to know what motivated these guys to sign up for this show. What made them think they were appropriate for an army? We don't really get that part of the picture during the six episodes, and that's too bad. Really, a full episode could have been devoted to that. Also, the other drill instructors should have been given more time in front of the camera, or eliminated.
At least one of the recruits acts like the character Brüno from the recent film. I thought that character was an exaggeration, but apparently he has real-life counterparts.
The men were selected based on their feminine characteristics, so rather than a gay army, this is more of a feminine army. They do mention this at the start, but the title of the show is misleading. Particularly in the context of US DADT law, that's unfortunate, because this sample of gay guys isn't representative of the entire gay community (not making a value judgment, just stating a fact) and certainly don't represent most of those who would sign up for an army. They say that themselves. I would have expected to see more aggressive team sports players, for example.
Nevertheless, I did enjoy seeing the interactions between the recruits themselves, and between the recruits and the drill instructor. It shows that unit cohesion is in fact enhanced when troops are free to express themselves openly. It also shows that a drill instructor can do his job professionally, without bias, even with a team of very feminine men. I wonder how he would perform if these were conscripts during wartime...
I'd like to see a show like this involving more representative gay recruits and actual basic training in a real army. Now that would be reality TV.
Still, this is an entertaining show, and at six episodes it is not overly long.
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