The first and possibly most offensive thing you will notice about this show is that it preys on every gay stereotype there is. Both of them are obsessed with personal appearances. The effeminate one is the mother figure, the provider, who slaves over a desk (or an oven). The masculine one (cleanshaven) orders the other one around almost to the point of being abusive and apparently is friends in addition to working with Martha Stewart. Both of them make it a point to let you know they’re gay. Both of them are obsessed with fashion and appearances. Both of them weirdly quote Sex in the City. I don’t watch Sex in the City and it’s heavy handed enough even I recognise the quotations. Which is to say they don’t seem like genuine, normal people – they seem interested in talking with a lisp and making convoluted gestures and trying to say we’re women in mens bodies. Therefor the show seems more about a gay couple than about a farm – albeit a gay couple who seems to be forcing a relationship. It feels awkward, frankly, much in the same vein as Tom Cruise and Kate Holmes. Seeing how I ran across this on Planet Green and not Logo, it surprised me when they also offered up “Farmer Joe”, who’s a Mike Rowe-ish manly man who tends the farm. Therefor we’re left with a program which isn’t about being green per se but more about being gay on a farm. Seeing as how nothing of value about farming is presented in the few episodes I watched, I’m wondering why this is on Planet Green at all. Talk about building raised gardens, or the goats and llamas, or the politics of pig farms which are innumerable and topical in the “animal rights” age. Now we’ve got a Gay Green Acres complete with meeting Martha Stewart in New York City.
One of the recurring topics on the show is “running a business”. This is where Farmer Joe fits in, he apparently does the actual farming while these two fuck off building raised flower beds. I can’t help but feel like these are two examples of missed opportunity. You could have a show which really ministers to the Future Farmers of America group or even people like myself who think owning a farm might be neat. You could have a show about building raised garden beds and the time over money investment. Instead we’re presented with the idea of one of these guys going into a local cheese shop to deliver cheese. Where did the cheese come from? What’s involved in “running the business”? Is it cheaper to take the train to NY or rent a truck for this cheese? What’s the cheese sold for versus the overhead of owning a goat, a farm, and the time it takes to make it versus what the goat is eating this week? We’ll never know, the show focuses more on their relationship than the specifics of the farm. This isn’t a plea to make it Dirty Jobs, it’s just that I was sold a show about two men owning a farm and the business aspects of it and that’s not what the show is about. It’s puzzling considering the fact that they have a website selling farm goods but there’s no mention of the production on the show. Cheese doesn’t make itself, and when they go on to describe the process and selling it to a cheese boutique, it would have been really neat to see them actually making the cheese and working out a deal with the cheese shop.
Now it’s not to say the show isn’t fun. There’s a guilty pleasure in seeing two people completely unprepared for the mud and blood of farming get eaten alive by it. This gets spoiled by the feeling that the farm is merely a set piece but seeing someone bounce an axe head off a log trying to split wood is fun. Seeing people getting knocked over by pigs into the mud is fun. Watching goats narrowly avoid having sex on camera is fun as is watching the llama fight the goats over food. It’s also cute. It looks like Pottery Barn threw up on the show but it manages to have enough trials to keep it fresh against the backdrop. It does have it’s moments of introspection, and this is nice because they do feel genuine. Talking about autumn and living close to the elements and the earth is a welcome change from the flash bang TV we’re used to. It’s something you don’t get out of the outstanding Dirty Jobs or Deadliest Catch which are entertaining but seem to lack a spiritual connection to the work.