'The Outs' Cast Returned to Save You From Boring Straight People
It was a little over four years ago when a group of obnoxiously hip 20-somethings from Brooklyn stole our hearts and made party cardigans a staple wardrobe piece. Straight from the gay mind of Adam Goldman and funded by a Kickstarter campaign, The Outs was a show that offered an often painfully realistic look at life in New York in all its gloryhole-sized glory. Not content to simply direct and cowrite the show, Adam starred in the seven-episode web series as Mitchell alongside fellow cowriter Sasha Winters (Oona), Hunter Canning (Jack), and Tommy Heleringer (Scruffy). Through holy socks, gallons of wine, at least one human dildo, and a 45 minute Chanukah Special season finale, the four tried to figure out their lives and attempted to do some adult things in the process.
Despite being a short one-season web series, the show has become a cult classic with a devoted fanbase eager for more. It should come as no surprise, then, that last year’s surprise announcement that The Outs was returning for a second season may have sent fans into a fit of euphoric screaming. Of course by “may have,” I mean “definitely,” and by “fans,” I mean “me.” I’m admittedly a huge fan of the show (and have learned some essential life lessons from it), so when I had the chance to sit down with Adam, Hunter, Sasha, and season two newcomer, Mark Junek, I was certifiably panicked. It turns out, they talk about tops, bottoms, and subway vomit just as much as I do. Ahead of the March 30th launch party for season two, here’s what you need to know about what to expect, what’s changed, and the truth behind Scruffy’s return.
How did this new season happen after so many years?
Adam: Vimeo approached me because they wanted to make more original work. We discussed doing a second season of The Outs or Whatever This Is. I was a little hesitant to revisit The Outs originally, but the more I thought about it, the more sense it made.
Sasha, your character is a published author in the new season. How did she go from drinking wine and having threesomes to getting into publishing?
Sasha: Well, she had started a blog and that got popular and blew up. One of the things that this season explores is that Oona might think it’s more about her writing, but the publishers she’s with are more interested in her as this kind of bitchy naysayer who criticizes everybody.
That’s definitely her forte. You also have Scruffy coming back his season.
Hunter: The secret’s out finally.
Adam: He’s not in the show.
Hunter: Right. He’s just in the trailer. [Laughs]
Adam: He’s off doing his own thing. He has a job working at an auto shop.
Hunter: He’s in Witness Protection.
Adam: He has a restraining order against Jack—
Hunter: For emotional damages!
You incorporate the subway heavily into the show. I’ve seen people making out and other people almost get knifed, which is apparently the new thing to do. What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen in the subway?
Sasha: Heavily making out is like a best case scenario of things you can see.
Adam: Sasha and I were at Grand Central the other day and a guy was walking about eight feet in front of us—
Sasha: It was rush hour morning. It was go time.
Adam: This guy vomited and kept walking without breaking pace. It really felt like he had some place to be.
Just like everyone else who’s gay, straight, or whatever, we’re all a little bit alone in an urban area. It’s just you and your bubble.
Mark, your character Rob is new in the second season. What role does he play?
Mark: He’s the new boyfriend. He’s English and he’s a chef. The whole package, right? They have a Facebook “It’s Complicated” relationship at the beginning.
I think one of the best things about the show is that it captures, very realistically, how we meet people and interact in the New York gay scene.
Adam: It’s interesting because I don’t know what the scene is or if there’s a particular milieu. It’s about a small handful of people. Maybe what it is—and this might be a little depressing—is that there’s not so much of a scene. It’s more alienated. Just like everyone else who’s gay, straight, or whatever, we’re all a little bit alone in an urban area. There is no scene. It’s just you and your bubble. That’s very depressing.
It is really hard to meet people here, despite there being millions of people living here. Trying to find someone good is such a challenge.
Adam: I also don’t love going out. I know Sasha’s the same way. I don’t know about Mark.
Mark: To the clubs? There was a time. I also lived on 49th between 10th and 11th. I didn’t know Hell’s Kitchen was this new gay spot. I feel like The Outs taps more into the Brooklyn gay scene than the Hell’s Kitchen gay scene. I like drag shows but at this point, I can go get a $50 vodka soda elsewhere.
Adam: It’s funny to me because I don’t watch that Daredevil show on Netflix, but it’s supposed to be set in Hell’s Kitchen. If the show were realistic, it would be much gayer. It’s like this early ’80s view of Hell’s Kitchen. If you brought it up-to-date, it would just be gay men on their way to the gym and the villains would be fabulous drag queens.
The name Daredevil even sounds like a weird gay club.
Adam: I would go to a club called Daredevil.
The television landscape is focused on diversity more than ever. Have you incorporated any different kinds of people from the LGBT community that weren’t in the first season?
Adam: No. I mean, it’s an interesting thing because I like to say that, as queer people, we eat our own. Particularly in this barren landscape in media where there’s so little representation. There’s a notion from some corners that any representation of queer people should be a representation of all queer people. If that’s not the goal you set out with, that can really dilute the product.
It’s a frustrating notion because no piece of media is ever going to hold up. With straight people, nothing represents all straight people—except that they’re all boring. If you’ve seen one TV show about straight people you’ve kind of seen them all.
Sasha: Come on. All of the shows that he loves feature straight people so I don’t know what he’s talking about.
In terms of this season, what are the major themes this time around?
Sasha: I think because everyone is a bit older and time has passed in real time, just being an adult this time.
Hunter: There’s more responsibility, right? Accountability.
Adam: It’s really interesting to revisit the show a few years later because in a lot of movies and TV shows, whether they have happy endings or not, they do have endings. Life doesn’t have that. It was interesting to come back and see that Oona wanted to be a writer, Jack wanted a job, and Michael was fatally single. At the beginning of season two, everyone has moved into the direction they wanted.
Within the New York gay scene in my experience, there’s always this emphasis on tops and bottoms. The show doesn’t really tackle that and I’ve wondered if it was a conscious decision since other shows have made that a central issue.
Adam: You mean Looking specifically? [Laughs] I guess I don’t think of it as much as an issue in my life so it doesn’t necessarily seem relevant. I haven’t had a lot of experience myself or with my friends where they encounter that particular crisis from Looking. I met a guy and we were in the heat of the moment and he was like, “Time out. Is Mitchell a top or a bottom?” I was just like no that’s not relevant.
Hunter: [Laughs] Everyone on the show is vers.
Mark: What I like about the show is that it’s more about physicality and intimacy in relationships, not just sexuality. You see a lot of tenderness. In some ways, it relieves us of the power dynamic that comes with tops and bottoms.
Adam: When push comes to shove, anal sex accounts for a really small percentage of being gay and gay relationships. A lot of gay people, although it’s under-publicized, don’t have gay sex at all. They just don’t want to or don’t feel like it or it’s not for them. It only comes up in that specific set of circumstances where you’re in bed with someone and want to do that thing. For all I know, besides Jack getting fucked in the first episode, none of these men likes to have anal sex.
Mark: Or maybe none of them have butts?
Adam: That’s the big reveal.
The Outs will be released at midnight on March 30. If you’d like to preorder, head to the Vimeo page.
Images shot exclusively for Milk by Kathryn Chadason.
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