Queer Eye by Canadian Guys

By Michael Diamond

Originally published on Advocate.com October 08 2007 11:00 PM ET

Of all the wonderful things Canada has to offer -- Montreal,
universal health care, Anne Murray -- what could be
more charming than two cute, witty gay boys offering
affectionate advice to those in need? Enter John
Simpson and Chris Carter, hosts of Chris & John
to the Rescue,
a bubbly reality program currently
seen on Canada’s Out TV. The two come across as
likable if unnervingly upbeat, the types that end
every statement with an exclamation point! That
relentless and bald-faced optimism may prove to be an
asset when positioning themselves as life-changing
fairy godmothers. Season 3 sees the boys coming
to America, as they descend on the legendary gay
resort destination of Provincetown, Mass., working their
benevolent magic at this New England seaside getaway.

Chris and John with a client (395 wide, publicity) | Advocate.com

“Provincetown seemed like a great fit because
it’s this picturesque colonial village on Cape
Cod with a very heavy gay presence,” says
Simpson. “And we love colonial villages in Cape
Cod.” Adds Carter, “There are a lot of
people in P-Town who were in dire need of our unique
services. I honestly think that if we didn’t come to
that town and help those people out that things would
have gone downhill, fast. I’m talking John
Carpenter’s Escape From New York downhill.
You’d be surprised about how effective our
services can be.”

The two twinks from up north (Simpson is 23, Carter, 22) met
in the 1990s, when they were both studying drama and
dance in Toronto. They quickly became best friends,
and their simpatico comedy sensibility is evident in
their on-screen chemistry. They tease and cajole their
hapless rescue cases with a healthy dose of double
entendre and the sort of guileless moxie that is the
province of youth. Of the utmost importance is finding
candidates willing to play along. “Choosing our
‘rescue contributors,’ as we like to
call them, is a bit of a tricky process,”
explains Simpson. “People contact us, tell us what
their problem is; we confer with one another and
decide if it’s the right thing to do. Sometimes
we get a lot of obscure requests...for the record, just so
everyone is clear, I am in a committed relationship, and
Chris can’t bend that way.”

The dynamic duo sprinkle their magic pixie dust on a variety
of rescue contributors in P-Town (a.k.a.
Problemstown). Among them is “Deidre,” a
fag hag in need of a new fag. “She was looking for
someone who would go to a Kathy Griffin show with
her,” the hosts explain, “who had a great
sense of fashion, who could make a great sandwich and mix a
great drink.”

Next up were Tom and John, a gay married couple who utilized
Simpson and Carter as baby-sitters for their pair of
5-year-old boys. ”The first thing we tried was
singing and dancing for them...that didn’t work. We
then tried to play dress-up...that didn’t work
either,” Chris and John confess. And there
was “John M.,'” an aspiring drag queen
needing a total glamour makeover. “I found him his
outfit,” says Simpson, “and Chris wrote
his song and did his choreography. But...we weren’t
really impressed with how each other did, and that sort of
caused our first-ever on-camera fight.”The results of the boys’
handiwork were revealed during John’s drag
pageant debut, at the legendary P-Town night spot the
Alibi.

Was it hard for this unambiguously gay duo to find willing
participants south of the border? “People in
America in general seem very scared of the term
‘reality TV,’” explains Simpson,
“thanks to any number of Fox shows. We had to
be very careful about our wording so that people
understood that we aren’t like [the show] Big
Brother
and aren’t going to pull out
someone’s worst enemy from around the corner at
any given point in time. Other than that, most people
and businesses [in P-Town] were just as supportive as they
are here in Canada, perhaps even more so.”

Stateside, the show’s entire first two seasons will
begin airing in January 2008 on Here TV. “This
is our first foray into [what ostensibly can be
called] reality TV...it is unlike any other piece of our
programming,” says Josh Rosenzweig, Here
Networks’ vice president, corporate
communications. “We thought the show was fun and
funny, and Chris and John are incredibly
likable.”

Makeovers, love connections, morale boosting -- all in
a day's work for the self-described culture
aficionados, and their summer adventures in P-Town
proved especially gratifying for Chris and John. “We
really did help out our five rescue candidates this
season,” Simpson asserts, “and they are
better off in the world because of us.”