Google "gay twins" and you might wind up with something unexpected—a new reality show from MTV's Logo called Jacob & Joshua: Nemesis Rising and starring the Miller Twins. Don't get too disappointed yet. They're not having sex with each other, or in the vicinity of each other, while leering at the camera. But still, the show, while bound by some of the seemingly unavoidable concessions all reality shows face (namely, tons of the situations are made up), should be as addictive as crystal meth to the gay community. Except, you know, way less bad for us.
You've seen the promos for the show for weeks, and a music video for "#1 in Heaven" by the Millers' band Nemesis has been #1 on Logo's bizarrely static Click List (fending off evergreen clips from Jason & Demarco, God-des and Dangerous Muse) longer than "The Hampsterdance Song" has been on Radio Disney. But it's all build-up for the October 16 premiere of the series. Which, in turn, is all build-up for (finally) launching the career of Nemesis.
If you can accept these cynical commercial realities (did Logo's viewers really conveniently vote the song to #1?), the show is a treat.
Jacob and Joshua Miller were raised in a strict Jehovah's Witness family in Montana. When Jacob discovered his sexuality in his first same-sex relationship, Joshua figured out what was going on and contemplated ratting his own twin out to the church, which would have kicked them out and forbidden all of its members from associating with them. Instead, he wound up being gay, too. Aside from manflesh, the brothers also craved fame and the spotlight and shared a love and respect for music. The latter led them to form their band, and their humorously adversarial relationship inspired the pithy name: Nemesis. They're even rocking opposite hair colors.
The first episode quickly establishes their family history via some slightly forced conversations with Jacob's partner of six years, Nick, whose homebody pose in the show is balanced by his hardbody pose on MySpace (see image) and the unambiguously gay duo's power manager, Garry Kief (of Barry Manilow fame, natch). Along with witnessing some hilarious unscripted banter between Mr. Night and Mr. Day that at times is reminiscent of bickering hubbies, we're also brought up to speed that their record label Curb is ready to pour some dollars into their careers if they're willing to market themselves as openly gay, using the one reality that almost no one in Hollywood ever uses.
Gay's okay, but Curb wasn't as flexible on the sex-appeal thing—they weren't born with bodies like that, their hair reflects careful thought and owing to a flaw in one of Jacob's irises, he wears blinding sunglasses throughout their first video. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder—they remind me of the famous Naked Poet Gavin Geoffrey Dillard (pictured with snake)—and homosexuality is not, so it's interesting that Curb would sweat the small stuff and embrace the 800-pound gay elephant in the room.
Years ago, I met Nemesis. They were working a rock sound that had a bit of a religious aftertaste to it (much like their new single, while secular and sexual, manages to reference "heaven"). They were perfectly nice guys, seemed smart and were more analytical than the usual aspiring musicians. They corrected each other in front of me with a Moonlighting-esque pace and they impressed me with their talent. Nice-looking then, they've clearly been working out every minute since—they appear shirtless at every turn in their show and Joshua disrobes right up to the point where Logo must shyly divert its gaze. As much as they've developed their bodies since I met with them, they've also clearly worked hard on their whole image and outlook.
The constant refrain in the first episode is that this coming-out gambit could destroy them. It makes for dramatic TV, but I don't buy that. The way I see it, they have nothing to lose and everything to gain by exposing themselves—almost, but not quite literally—to an enormous, curious new audience. Radio would never play some new duo on Curb Records. Radio still may not. But fuck radio when you've got your own TV show. Good music, whether it's deep and serious or just three minutes' worth of pure fun, can no longer wait around for radio to get over its singular obsession with hip-hop. Hip-hop was once the underdog. It's now the oppressor. So when you're a pair of white "faygs" (as they say it) from Montana with a snappy pop sensibility, what do you have to lose by letting it all hang out on TV? Not a thing.
Pretend you're worried for them, enjoy their witty skewering of each other (undermined just often enough by their obvious love) and check out their music when it comes out. Jacob and Joshua Miller are choosing a ballsy way around the usual path to fame by coming out. If you think their song is as catchy as I do, let's make sure they have a reasonably supportive fanbase to come out to.