Thursday, May 20, 2010
Seeing Reality for Myself: The Fabulous Beekman Boys
The early morning fog was lifting, giving way to the warming sun as we approached the Beekman. Turning into the gravel drive, the familiar sights of the red barn, the rolling fields, and the heirloom garden were before me. After hours of driving, I was anxious to stretch my legs. I stood next to the car for a moment to visually take in as much of the 60-acre farm as I possibly could. The trees off in the distance were in the beginning stages of changing color, the sound of the goats could be heard in the barn, and the stately Beekman mansion stood proudly as it had for over 200 years. My partner David joined me in our moment of quiet in the driveway. “It’s good to be back,” I said. It’s going to be a great weekend.”
This was the weekend of the first annual Harvest Festival in Sharon Springs.
Brent warmly welcomed us as we walked up the steps to the porch. He was looking rather dapper in his suit (with muck boots, mind you), which actually struck me as odd, since it was early morning. As we were talking, the back door opened, and Josh approached, also wearing a suit. I suddenly felt quite under-dressed standing there in my jeans and sweatshirt! Being a curious sort, I had to ask, “ummm.. Do you guys always wear a suit at nine in the morning?” Brent laughed and explained that they had been busy that morning filming.
The filming was for the new Planet Green series “The Fabulous Beekman Boys” which debuts nationally on June 16th. As we chatted on the porch, I learned the crew would be there for the entire weekend filming the garden party, harvest festival, and harvest feast at the American Hotel. The film crew all weekend? Suddenly, it didn’t feel like this was going to be a relaxing weekend!
I have to admit, when Josh and Brent first shared the news of their upcoming television series, I had some reservations. I’m not a big fan of ‘reality’ television, and had twisted images in my mind of Brent and Josh in a “John and Kate plus 8 (goats)” situation. Yikes! That could be scary! Nonetheless, they had my 100% support for this new venture. We were introduced to the crew (very nice people) and did our best to stay out of their way while they worked. I wasn’t always successful in staying out of the way! I’m sure they had to do a retake or two, thanks to my forgetfulness! There was an instance when barged through the back door to find Brent, Josh, lights, cameras, and the crew in the kitchen. The looks on their faces said it all; I had interrupted the filming. It was at that point I did the walk backwards, out the door, apologizing all the way thing! Kitchen conversations… take two!
Watching the filming throughout the weekend was very interesting. They filmed everything! I never realized the number of people it took to shoot for a series. There were lighting people, sound people, camera people, various production staff and producers calling the shots on what scenes to film next.
In the months that followed our Harvest Festival visit, I was still challenged with thoughts of how the hours of footage would be edited and presented as a series. I still had those “John and Kate” visions. Those fears were set aside just last week when I had the opportunity to view the first two episodes. If first impressions are truly lasting impressions, “The Fabulous Beekman Boys” will intrigue viewers and keep them coming back week after week.
I found the show very revealing since I can relate to the personalities of both Brent and Josh. I share a similar ‘drive’ with Brent. I like things to be perfect. I can hang a picture on a wall and adjust it for an hour until I know it’s hanging absolutely straight from every angle. I can ‘style’ our hall bathroom before guests arrive, adjusting soaps in a soap dish, or folding and refolding towels until everything is just so. Even with my OCD moments, I also can also relate to Josh and his desire to relax, enjoy life without a list of things to do, and to take part in those activities that bring joy, happiness, and perhaps a bit of self therapy. Rarely do the two sides see eye to eye and it’s no different with these two guys.
The Fabulous Beekman Boys takes viewers on a journey into the shared life of Josh and Brent; a life dealing with the dreams and differences, while trying to make an impact in the lives of others through their ever growing website and business, Beekman 1802.com. The Beekman philosophy, to live a simple and self- sustainable life, is loosely woven into each episode.
Viewers will enjoy getting to know Sharon Springs and many of the eccentric people who call the village home. Doug and Garth, owners of the American Hotel are the supportive ‘best friends’ in Sharon Springs and will have you thinking they could easily be your best friends too. They are genuinely warm and friendly and as Brent mentions in one episode, helped pave the way for them to have their lives in Sharon Springs.
With a good mix of humor and drama (no gay men are exempt from drama), The Fabulous Beekman Boys will surely entertain you and inspire you to live out your own dreams just as these fabulous farmers are in the process of doing.
While you might have fully expected a friend’s review to be positive, I do have a suggestion: I’d like to see more of the philosophy behind Beekman woven into the program. After all, it is what Beekman 1802 is all about. We’ll see what future episodes will bring; I’m already anxious to see more. This, coming from a person who doesn’t like reality television.
By the way. the real star of this show? Polkaspot, the diva llama. She’ll steal your heart.