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Running Time: 255 minutes
• Select episode commentary with cast and crew.
• The Men and Women of Dante’s Cove featurettes.
• Out Actors featurette
• Backlot featurette
If you’re gay, then you’re in luck! You can now watch your own late night softcore that tries to pawn itself off as cheesy fun but actually sucks…wait…I mean stinks.
William Gregory Lee, Tracy Scoggins, Charlie David, Gregory Michael, Nadine Heimann, Erin Cummings.
Let’s go back to the mid 1800’s where, on the spot that is now Dante’s Hotel lived a witch named Grace. She was a powerful sorceress, but apparently not powerful enough to keep her husband Ambrosius (Lee) from pursuing his love of being a bottom. Well, lets just say when she walked in on her hubby’s sausage party, she didn’t take it well and chained him up in the basement to watch himself age into an old man for all eternity (yeah, I kinda was lost starting right at this point too). But After years and years of captivity Ambrosius escaped and is now taking up residence in the modern day Dante’s Hotel. And he’s not keeping a low profile either. He is chasing after Keith (Michael) who is currently being a kept man by Toby (David). And while all this is going on Van is just coming to grips that she may posses the forces of witchcraft, which is putting a big strain on her relationship with her cold fish girlfriend Michelle (Cummings).
I like campy things. While I cannot say I was a big watcher of shows like Melrose Place, I did enjoy Dark Shadows as a kid and I did sometimes indulge in the Passions soap opera on NBC, and I love any form of entertainment that’s end result is truly bad despite trying so hard to be good. So I should have enjoyed the wacky merging of these three shows (infused with some homosexuality for that special twist) into one Dante's Cove.
Originally produced for Here!, the gay themed pay channel, Cove is basically the same type of film that plays on Cinemax late at night, just…more gayccentric. Just like us straights really aren’t very concerned if the girls of Bikini Car Wash make enough money to save their 24 hour-a-day lingerie TV station, I’m willing to bet anyone watching Dante’s Cove isn’t going to be too angry if certain plot points don’t mesh up, as long as there are wieners flapping across the screen. I have no problem with having a product out there just to show off some flesh…you tune into it and you know what you’re getting. My problem with Dante’s Cove is the packaging (insert joke here you jerk).
The DVD case blares out at you on it's case that Dante's Cove is "...The Ultimate Guilty Pleasure". Hell, they even have shlockmeister Fred Olen Ray executive producing it, and that counts for a lot! But there is nothing about this show that would qualify it as a “guilty pleasure”. Yeah, there's plenty of bad acting. Everyone who got cast in thing seemed to have lined up and picked straws for what emotion they would get to play:
“Charlie…you get exasperated! Erin, you take paranoid! William, we ran out of emotions, so you just sneer in every scene.”
And that is about all Mr. Lee does. In fact, this low budget show could have saved even more had they just replaced him with a freeze frame of that sneering mug that made him the bad boy that the other boys love to hate!
It’s also pretty senseless, and not in a way that is endearing. Of course, I missed out on the first season, which consisted of two episodes (it’s not the size of the season, but the quality that counts), but from everything I have read, seeing the first season wouldn’t help you at all. What would have helped is if the writers had just condensed this season down to two episodes, and then that would have: 1.) cut a lot of scenes of actors saying the same things in scene after scene, rehashing the same old stuff, and 2.) allowed it to be mostly about sex and nudity, which is all the people watching this could possibly really want.
It’s just a complete mess that, if we are to believe is going for camp, doesn’t have a cast that has been clued into that fact and doesn’t have writers that know what good cheese is. And to top it all off, there simply is not enough sex going on in this show. Sure, the fellas take their shirts off quite a bit, but if I were gay, I would want to see a heck of a lot more than some man tit and mere flashes of the old bishop in a turtleneck (that ones for you fans of Hedwig and the Angry Inch out there) for my twenty dollars.
And that brings us to the white elephant in this article. How gay is it? And the answer is super gay, and that is the one concretely sound thing the creators of this show have chosen to do. Dante’s Cove and all its inhabitants exist in a world where it is assumed that pretty much everyone is gay, so it’s no big deal. That's refreshing, especially after seeing the umpteenth gay themed film or show that is trying to include every single issue ever faced by a gay person into its running time. In the Cove the only thing not being discussed is sexual orientation, and that is the cleverest thing the show has going for it. But it all comes down to flesh on the screen with a series like this, and while I applaud the creators of Dante's Cove for making pretty much a 100% gay production, if my gender was of the man lovin kind and I wanted a fun, strange, and adult entertainment experiance I would save my money and buy some Chi Chi LaRue movies and stay away from clunky, sloppy fare such as this.
This here 2 disc set has some bland featurettes with the actors and a slightly more interesting short wherein all the actors discuss there feelings on being out in Hollywood. There are also a few commentaries for certain episodes, but none of my DVD players seemed to be able to play them (trust me, they aren’t homophobic, just temperamental).