Forget Monday Night Football as of last week the night officially belongs to the new gay basketball reality seriesShirts & Skins" on LOGO. After a somewhat lackluster premiere episode the boys are turning up the heat on and off the court in episode 2.
They pick up where the first episode left off with more of Swing Man and Beyonce impressionist Jamel's antics and self-loathing, but thankfully he doesn't dominate the entire episode with his idiotic views of homosexuality being a choice and his wavering position on his own sexual identity. I really want to like Jamel, but I'm finding it extremely difficult to watch him queen out constantly and in the next breath deny the obvious.
In preparation for the Gay Games and an upcoming challenge against ABA team The Rumble, The Rockdogs enlist the professional advice of former NBA athlete John Amaechi who is also openly gay. Amaechi who is now a licensed psychologist talked basketball but also served as a life coach in one of the most moving scenes of this episode involving the potential massive influence of The Rockdogs and the coming out process for 22 year old Mike.
In this scene Mike's vulnerability is evident as he addresses his fears of losing loved ones once they find out about his sexuality. A common fear that many gay men deal with and a major reason why many black gay men choose to remain closeted while simultaneously sacrificing their authenticity. The way John Amaechi handled this sensitive subject was wonderful and I think should be viewed by anyone struggling to come to terms with who they are. It also helped that Mike's teammates assured him that they would be there as a surrogate family in the event that others left him . Isn't that what we gays do? If we face rejection from one family we just create our own.
The second episode comes to a close as the guys whip some straight boys on the court in a pick up game in the neighborhood, team member Chris releases some sexual frustration with a late-night visitor caught on camera and the boys plan a fashion show to raise funds for their trip to the Gay Games. This last scene and the reaction from their manager "Papa Joe" left me feeling a little perplexed. Was I the only person who thought he was overreacting? Well I guess we'll have to tune in next week to see what happens next. I'm convinced this show is like fine wine and will get even better over time.
If you missed episodes 1& 2 you can watch them in full below.
Shirts & Skins Episode 1
Shirts & Skins Episode 2