Logo has been doing a better job at creating original programming that does not have RuPaul in it.
Tonight, the season 3 finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race will air, identifying Raja, Alexis or Manilla as the “next drag superstar.” That episode with be followed by the 10:30 p.m. premiere of The Setup Squad. As far as non-contest reality TV goes, it’s a pretty good one.
A cross between Queer Eye, Extreme Makeover and Millionaire Matchmaker, The Setup Squad is set as a company called Wings, which helps integrate clients into the dating world. On the debut, Wings’ adorable gay boy is tasked with bringing a middle-aged, straight single mother out of her shell, while the straight woman on staff (who describes herself as a gay man in a woman’s body) gets an awkward Noo Joisey gay gumbah (gaymbah?) to figure out how to date.
If the setups sound, well, set up, they don’t feel that way. Work Out, the lesbian-trainer-in-Hollywood series that used to be on Bravo, felt far less authentic. You really believe these guys work together and their clients are genuinely bad at getting dates. The office politics (the new girl on staff butts heads with the other ladies) does seem forced, but that’s easy enough to ignore: It really is about the makeovers.
It’s easy to forget how effortless Queer Eye was at giving guys a task to take over a straight man’s world and get him in touch with his metrosexual side. The show was never about behind-the-scenes personality clashes, and the straight guys really did need help. That’s true here, too, as the hopeless gay is a Jersey Shore wannabe who just happens to like dick. What’s nice about the episode is that the staff understands he’s acting on his own stereotypes: He doesn’t like gay porn, he doesn’t want to wear tight clothes or have random hookups or to act femme-y, all of which he perceives as “gay life.” (Some of the gays he meets reinforce this, telling him he needs to drink vodka, not beer, if he wants to fit in.) The solution is realist and fun.
Whether The Setup Squad will continue with keeping the focus on the clients and not the staff is yet to be seen, but it’s a step in the right direction for Logo.
Debuts tonight at 10:30 p.m. on Logo; airs Mondays.