“Eastsiders” is campy and dark, but great entertainment

Cover of
Cover of "Eastsiders season 2" DVD

There is a lot to dislike about Eastsiders, which follows a gaggle of tremendously good-looking gays and lesbians as they jump in and out of bed with each other. It could be the fact that everyone is so ridiculously good looking (even the extras). Maybe it’s the gung-ho take on open relationships and the attitude that threesomes are good for the soul…?

Perhaps it’s the inconsistency in characters (“I’m an alcoholic and keep no liquor in my home, but now I’m drinking in a bar with zero repercussions”). Nonetheless, the sudsy feel of a soap opera, and the guilty pleasure we get by watching all the sex-crazed models ruminate on camera about their latest sexcapade, surprisingly keeps us interested and engaged.

Creator Kit Williamson, who triple duties as writer, producer, and star, created this passion project that hosts an impressive crew. Criminally underrated Stephen Guarino (Big Gay Sketch Show) and Constance Wu (Fresh Off the Boat) are part of well-rounded cast including John Halbach (Kit’s fiancé in real life), Van Hansis (after an amazing 400+ episodes on As The World Turns), and Matthew McKelligon (returning as too-cute-for-words Jeremy).

Season two of Eastsiders opens with Cal [Williamson] and Thom [Hansis] in bed with another man (their relationship having been left in limbo at the end of season one). We are obviously embarking to learn how an open relationship will work for them this season. Jeremy [McKelligon] is taking care of his sisters’ kids while her wife is sleeping with men. 

The terrific Guarino comes back to us in episode two, fiercely returning as epic party thrower Quincy alongside William Belli as Drag Queen Gamora, a perfect Yang to his Yin. These two provide the comedic relief, and they nail it. There is a great tongue-in-cheek cameo of former Queer Eye Jai Rodriguez as the ticket taker for all their parties. Guarino feels natural in front of the camera, as does Constance Wu, who has since found fame on ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat. She reappears in episode 2 as well, but due to her recent success will be missed a little this season.

Eastsiders bills itself as a dark comedy, but it comes off as sophisticated-campy and should embrace that. If you can stand to watch actors a little too old for MTV (but better looking) in a storyline worthy of that channel, then sit back and enjoy the romp.

I certainly did.

Eastsiders (season two)

Written, Produced, and Directed by Kit Williamson

Distributed by Wolfe Video

158 Min. • DVD release November 2015 • $24.95