As part of Vice’s new television channel, the first batch of shows range from comedy (literally) to weed and strange people and their cultures. In true Vice fashion, these new crop of shows are strange, compelling, invasive, often times uncomfortable, and can be wonderful. “Gaycation” staring a freshly out of the closet Ellen Page and her friend Ian Daniel, sees them traveling around the world to explore gay culture.
The first episode of Ellen Page’s series takes place in Japan, a place where homosexuality is commonly drawn rather than seen. Page goes through the underground bar scene where she talks to lesbians, cross-dressers, and gay people to find out what the atmosphere is like in modern day Japan for gay people. She takes part in an unofficial wedding ceremony for same-sex couples, talks to young straight girls who love gay media, and she also helps a young man come out to his mother.
While the episode could as well be an episode of the HBO series, it does have it’s moments of actual teaching. The episode does a good job in exploring all the aspects of lgbt culture in Japan and Page makes sure to keep her bias out of the picture, and she makes sure to put her 2 cents in when necessary, but lets the people they’re talking to tell their story.
While the gay atmosphere of Japan doesn’t seem as drastic as some places around the world, it’ll be interesting to see how temperamental Page gets when she goes to less accepting parts of the world. The series itself gained attention when Page confronted presidential candidate Ted Cruz, which hopefully will showcase the hypocrisy that American politicians have towards lgbt rights.
While the series does go in depth with the culture within Japan towards lgbt people, hopefully it will show the darker side of the next places it showcases. While Japan isn’t the worst place for lgbt to live, it isn’t nearly as open as the show makes it seem at times. However the inclusion of an openly gay politician was a step in the right direction.
While the show walks the line of being a standard Vice HBO carbon copy, it does have it’s moments and will hopefully evolve into it’s own show that does some good.