Thursday, June 09, 2005

Johnny Damon: Caveman at a Garden Party

I must confess that until this week, I was a Queer Eye for the Straight Guy virgin. Of course, being the popular culture nut that I am, I was quite aware of the existence of QE's Fab Five. I could even name some of them.

Okay, I could name Carson.

I finally decided to go all the way with Queer Eye this week, thanks to the latest episode--the one about the Red Sox. (Don't worry if you missed it--they're showing it several times this week. As they say, check your local listings.)

How SFNE can you get? The team that gets a makeover is from Boston!

Accompanied by their wives, five of the Sox's finest--Johnny Damon (known around my house simply as "My Johnny"), Kevin Millar, Doug Mirabelli, Tim Wakefield, and Jason Varitek--submit themselves to the ministrations of Carson and gang. They get spa treatments, wardrobe upgrades, facial hair trims, back hair waxes, and lobster-and-mango martinis. All of this takes place in the spring training camp facility in Florida. (It was filmed back in March, so the episode's premiere actually took place while the Sox were playing Tuesday night.)

We soon find out that not only have these straight guys agreed to the makeover (or "make-better" as the Bravo Channel so diplomatically calls it), but they even play an exhibition game with the local Port Charlotte Little League teams whose field was devastated by Hurricane Charley. The teams get to run the bases with the Sox and receive a big check at the end ($100,000!) to restore their field to its former luster. Apparently Little League is a not-so-little part of the lives of these kids.

(There's more about how you can help the kids and the Sox's reaction to the filming here.)

I have to say, I have no idea how this episode compares to a regular QE segment. It can't be too similar, because the situation didn't allow for any cooking lessons or interior design. On the other hand, Jai got to sing the national anthem at the Little League/Sox game. Jai has pipes, man.

Given the current political climate, it was both bold and good-natured for five of the Sox's leading players to agree to appear on the show--and not one of them tries to backpedal by saying it's only because of the kids and that torn-up field (at least not on camera). They clearly had fun making the episode, and I had fun watching it. And let's face it: I love these guys, but they are one scruffy bunch. They certainly don't come out of it being true QE metrosexuals, but they do clean up nicely.

I was a tad concerned that My Johnny was going to have his locks shorn, but not to worry--he just gets some foil highlights and a sassy new outfit. After Carson kvells over Johnny's manly "caveman" appeal, Michelle Damon looks at him in his dashing new blazer and ready-for-the-yacht-club slacks and says, "Well, now he looks like a caveman at a garden party."

Which he does. Which is just one of the many reasons he's My Johnny.

To everyone involved, I say: Bravo!


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