The Second Coming (Out)
One December 3, Netflix released a 6 episode series regarding the coming out process of Colton Underwood. To tell the truth, I didn’t know anything about him prior to watching it. I remember hearing about his coming out and the drama, but I didn’t pay any real attention since I didn’t know who he was. I’m not a fan of football and don’t watch The Bachelor so he really wasn’t on my radar. Coming Out Colton popped up for me on Netflix so I thought I’d check it out. If nothing else, it looked like there would be some nice eye candy.
Colton Underwood was a football player and then was on The Bachelor. Googling his football career, it was a lot less spectacular than I would have thought the way it kept being brought up. He was never on an active team, jumping between teams practice squads before being released. After that, he made it onto The Bachelor where he would be narrowing down a group of girls for one girl to date him in the end. You might ask why a gay man would do something like this. According to Colton, he was trying to repress his gay side because he felt his god and the people in his life had expectations of him and being gay wasn’t part of that. Well, things didn’t go well between him and Cassie, the winner, for a number of reasons including him being a stalker and getting a restraining order placed against him. From what he said, hitting this point while trying to be a straight man is what finally led him to coming out.
The series isn’t just a look back at his coming out process. It documents the coming out process as it happens. This doesn’t make it a very relatable coming out story though. People are going to react very different to information when they know everything they say or do is being recorded and may potentially be televised. While people still come out well into their 50s or older, a lot of kids are coming out (or being outed) as teens nowadays while still in their parents’ homes. This has led a decent number of kids homeless because their parents didn’t accept them. At 29 and having just bought his own house, Colton didn’t have to worry about this. The only thing he had to worry about his the reaction from family, friends, and the public whose eye he had been in through everything.
His friends and family accept him fine even if it takes them a little bit to wrap their heads around the whole thing. He even has Gus Kenworthy, the gay Olympic skier, to guide him through everything. He gets to meet a bunch of gay guys who are all attractive with nice bodies. They hang out in gorgeous hotel rooms. I’m sorry but this was not what coming out was like for me. It makes me wonder how much was also set up by Netflix for him. This all seems more like a scripted show than a true documentary at times.
There are some good points during the show. His meeting with other athletes including Dave Kopay was interesting because of the stories of the other athletes. Colton’s priest didn’t hold back on their telephone call, letting him know that he thought being gay was a sin and wrong. You could see how that conversation affected Colton. I found Colton’s visit and talk with his old coach interesting too. The coach seemed pretty quiet which I think fell into the “what you say when there’s a camera on you” field again. I have a feeling that nothing Colton said made a difference to him. Colton in the sex shop was a cute bit too. Colton’s admission that he had tried to commit suicide was an interesting revelation One things that I felt reflected badly though was during the episode when Colton finds a gay friendly church. The way Gus reacted and spoke over top of everyone at the meeting came off as majorly disrespectful of the whole situation.
The final episode took place around the interview where he came out on Good Morning America. You see him the night before and the day of the recording. The most interesting part though was the next morning when he was with his father and Gus when the interview was aired. Right after it ended, his social media just blew up. He had a mix of support and condemnation and you could see how both affected him. The interview wasn’t in the show itself so I had to look it up online and found this on YouTube.
So, the real question at the end is how good of a show was it? I think that as nice of a guy as he at least presents himself as, Colton isn’t someone most people are going to be able to identify with. He’d be the pretty boy at the bar that everyone would be after. Through the 6 episodes, most of everything there came so easily for him given how much of a fight coming out was supposed to be for him. No average gay person can picture going on TV to come out either. It was entertaining for the most part but it’s hard not to think that the whole process was affected by the fact that it was happening in front of a camera to someone who had enough privilege to actually do a show about coming out. Don’t get me wrong. I wish him the best (He now has a boyfriend.) and I know coming out can be tough for just about anyone. I just don’t know that this series was really what it could or should have been.