For the second time in two seasons, a cast member on Bravo’s docudrama Million Dollar Listing is coming out as gay. But while Madison Hildebrand started as quasi-straight and eventually discovered his sexuality in about 90 seconds of thinly developed narrative, Josh Flagg’s dating life has never been a part of the show, although his Judaism and other aspects of his personal life have been included.
That changes on Tuesday’s episode, which, in a remarkable coincidence, happens to be the same day that Josh’s second book, a memoir that includes discussion of his sexuality, will be released. (He previously wrote A Simple Girl: Stories My Grandmother Told Me, which is about his grandmother, Edith Flagg, easily the best character on the show who has a pretty fascinating story herself.)
Last week’s episode hinted at Josh’s coming out when Josh discussed his book with someone who asked if “Colton” knew about certain content in the book. That wasn’t explained on the show–I wouldn’t expect Million Dollar Listing to have a coherent narrative–but he was referring to Colton Thorn, Josh’s long-time boyfriend/partner. Josh’s Facebook profile says he’s been in a relationship with Colton since October 24, 2007, and as this 2009 photo shows, they’re obviously together in public, just not on the show.
In an interview with San Diego Gay and Lesbian News, Josh said he waited to come out publicly until now because “I did not ever want people to think of me as ‘the gay real estate guy,’ I did not want that to be the only demographic that was watching me on TV or the only demographic to associate with me. I am very glad I did things the way I did because I feel I eased people into it and I made people comfortable with ME, and then kind of just dropped the fact that I like guys instead of girls. Many people knew, many had no idea.”
Josh also differentiates his decision to share his sexual orientation with viewers from Madison’s: “Madison did not beat me to the punch. Madison just decided to come out on national television before I did, but as far as I know, I was out to the people I wanted to be out to well before Madison was. At the rate we are going, we might have to change the title of the show to ‘Two Homos and the Straight Dude.’ … You know Madison chose to come out on TV and make a big to do about it, which I respect. I took a different approach, a more subtle approach, and I kind of like the way Bravo did it … slowly revealing my life, because for the most part no one knows anything about my life other than what they can read on the Internet or what they see on the show with my family, but my private life was always kind of a mystery. I guess I liked that, though.”
Meanwhile, in its fourth season–which is now missing Chad “My leaving the show was not a mutual decision and if you say so my lawyer will come after you” Rogers–the show continues to be a mess, but one I can’t stop watching. The newest cast member, Josh Altman, offers his own version of the awkward acting out set-up scenes by over-enunciating and doing a really great impression of a smarmy real estate agent (or maybe he actually is one). Real Housewives might have less authenticity, but feels more organic than a lot of Million Dollar Listing, which I blame on the production, because the cast members are really real estate agents who are doing real deals.
Why we can’t see that instead of fake conflict between them is beyond me, but I guess they know what they’re doing since I’m still watching, even if I’m rolling my eyes.
Update: In a highly annoying video interview conducted by someone in drag working for World of Wonder, the production company that produces Million Dollar Listing, Josh introduced Colton as his boyfriend at a bar last summer: