Sunday, August 15, 2010

Real Momentum - Review

Okay, so, I have a bit of a problem. I have two computers: the desktop computer visible in my videos and a laptop computer on a desk on the other side of the room, which I incidentally don’t film at because it doesn’t have nearly as interesting a backdrop. My desktop computer seems to be at the end of its run, being torturously hard to use, so I put all my video downloads (including those bought from iTunes) on a My Book external hard drive so that I could use access them from my laptop. Only now my My Book doesn’t work, and I can’t access the data. So, I’m afraid to sync my iPod out of fear that I’ll never be able to access my videos again. :( As such, I’ve decided to write blog entries about all the content before I even think about syncing. So, first up: Real Momentum.

Real Momentum is a documentary series from Logo (aka the gay channel), covering stories of interest to the LGBT community. The episodes I have are “Curl Girls”, “Beautiful Daughters”, and “Elephant in the Room”. “Curl Girls” is about lesbian surfers, “Beautiful Daughters” is about transgender women performing a trans version of The Vagina Monologues, and “Elephant in the Room” is about gay republicans.
“Curl Girls” follows a group of lesbian surfers as they prepare for a surfing competition. There is a bit of reality drama as a devoted couple now have relationship trouble and look like they’re going to break up as their one year anniversary approaches. My main issue with this episode is, like with all reality shows, I question how much of it is real and not just played up for the show. There’s some biphobia being thrown around too, with the lesbians all agreeing that they wouldn’t ever date a bisexual girl, perpetuating the negative stereotype that bisexual folks are prone to cheat on you with a member of the opposite sex. That said, it’s nice to have a look at some gay women who are just average people in the country.
It was apparently so popular an episode that it spawned a six-episode reality series. I watched a couple episodes on TV, but never found it to my liking. As I recall, it was also biphobic.
“Beautiful Daughters” is basically about empowering trans women in the setting of them learning their lines for a trans version of the play The Vagina Monologues. The women share their stories about bullying, coming out, and their family’s acceptance or lack thereof. My main complaint here is that it’s sometimes hard to tell when they are speaking as themselves or as their characters. I (and presumably the majority of the audience) am unfamiliar with the lines of the trans Vagina Monologues, and the show should have recognized that and made it more clear. There is also this African-American preacher who gives a trans-friendly sermon and then acts as a counselor to an African-American trans woman about her relationship with her mother. While I can appreciate his trans-friendliness, I don’t like his presence making the show religious in nature. All in all, though, it’s enjoyable for its message about empowerment.
“Elephant in the Room” is about separate members of the Log Cabin Republicans, republicans who support gay rights. There’s a man working to abolish a proposed ban on gay marriage in Texas. His thread shows the workings of LCR, with a peace room instead of a war room. In addition to republicans, democrats, libertarians, and others are all there to help out. Then there’s a farmer woman who goes to New Orleans with her girlfriend to help people out after Hurricane Katrina. She makes a point about how she helps because she is a charitable person, but that people shouldn’t be forced to help others via government policies. Her girlfriend is more left-wing and has trouble with her girlfriend’s “not welfare” policy of only giving aid to people who were employed or had cars prior to the disaster. Then there’s a guy trying to get a boyfriend to take to a wedding in which both of the grooms are named Peter, but has trouble because all the guys he goes out with are democrats who have trouble with him being a republican. This thread is the one I have the most issue with because it seems like extremely engineered trouble to emphasize the democrat vs. republican thing. As one of the dates points out, two things you don’t talk about on a first date are politics and religion, and the situation necessitated both being discussed profusely.
All in all, I liked this episode because I can understand what it’s like to be in the middle of the road like that. Like these LCRs, I think big government and socialism are detrimental, but I also oppose restrictions of gay rights (and others). I think I’m less right-wing than them, but the point is I can empathize. When you disagree with the stances of both parties, you hold your tongue a lot no matter if you’re with members of the left or the right. It’s horrible that people would say gay republicans are like Jewish Nazis. Demonizing the right (or left) doesn’t help anything.
To conclude, I’ve overall enjoyed Real Momentum, or at least these three episodes of it. It suffers from the same problems of all reality shows, which include contrived and somewhat sensationalistic attributes. Mainly, I think it’s nice to watch a show that explores the often ignored queer issues. I like being able to see gay and trans people who are just normal people and not, like, celebrities or something like that. Final verdict: three out of five stars.

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