By Max Jiminez
A relatively new online show has been creating quite a stir Stateside – In Between Men follows the lives of four friends in New York City living “in between” a gay world whose clichés they don’t relate to and a straight world they don’t belong. They are Dalton, Dane, Jacob and Ben; four attractive, successful men who refuse to be defined by their sexuality. Through wild adventures, racy storylines, joys and pains, In Between Men examines the relationships they share with one another, their colleagues, lovers, and the city of New York.
At first glance, the show appears similar to past gay series like Queer as Folk. However, where the characters in Queer as Folk lived in an insular gay world (eating and breathing the LGBT community), In Between Men depicts out gay men living in a mainstream world, not fully subscribing to the practices of gaydom.
“In Between Men is not a show about men trying to be straight or denying their sexuality,” says Quincy Morris, who in addition to being the series’ creator, is also the head writer and executive producer. “The characters are proud to love themselves and other men.”
Dalton, the lead character of In Between Men, is based on Morris. Like the series creator, he is a young man at the top of his game. He finds little in common with the superficiality of most guys in the city and struggles with a lonely love life, wondering if he should settle for Mr. Almost-Right or hold out for someone better.
The role of Dalton was originally intended for a black actor, but when few black actors showed up to the three Manhattan auditions, Morris gave the role to Nick Matthews. According to Morris, “playing Dalton came so effortlessly to him. Nick captured the vulnerability and the strength of Dalton.”
How much of Nick is in Dalton?
Nick Matthews: Dalton and I share a lot of the same characteristics. I can identify with his ambition and integrity; his work hard, play hard mentality. I’m juggling several jobs right now while I pursue my dream of being a full time actor.
What are your biggest differences?
I am a little bit more relaxed, less conservative, and I probably play a little bit harder than I work.
New York City plays a significant role in Dalton’s life.
New York is the fifth character in our show. She is a silent character that speaks volumes; from the beautiful panoramic views of Central Park to the busy hustle and bustle on the streets, her presence is always there.
What is it about NYC that draws men like Dalton (and Nick) to it?
There’s an energy and vibe to NYC. I’ve always been attracted to the craziness of the city and people. New York is one of those places that you can go out any night of the week and meet a ton of new, interesting people from every corner of the world. People from every walk of life migrate here to try to make whatever dream they have a reality.
What led you to NYC?
Acting, but also for the freedom to be me.
Is NYC as dog-eat-dog as it appears on IN BETWEEN MEN?
I don’t like to think that NYC is dog-eat-dog, because that doesn’t help motivate me to get up in the morning. But, I suppose, in many ways it is. The entertainment business is straight up cut throat. I’m never surprised to hear the great lengths people go to just to land a job.
Yeah, you know what I mean.
In Between Men turns gay stereotypes on its ear. Characters are depicted as regular guys that just happen to like guys.
It’s so important to show that regular gay guys exist because we don’t see many of them on TV today. I mean, it’s great that shows like Glee and Modern Family are being pumped into the living rooms of all Americans to expose them to gay characters. But, so many of the characters depicted on the show tend to me real effeminate guys. It’s time to break the image of the effeminate gay or at least show that other types of gay men exist. I don’t think it’s fair or accurate to constantly enforce images that are skewed simply for comic relief.
Are stereotypes dangerous?
Stereotypes are dangerous because they reinforce false notions. Young people within the community begin to mimic the stereotypes because they think it’s the norm and the way they’re expected to behave. Meanwhile, people outside the community feel they can use the stereotypes to define the community. Of course, every stereotype is based on some truth, but it’s not the reality for all. .
What message do you have for teen fans watching the show who may be struggling with their own sense of self?
Life is about survival. At the end of the day you need to do what you gotta do to survive and get ahead. If you are struggling with who you are or who you feel you need to be, first weigh the situation and determine if the charade is necessary and what the consequences might be if you come out now.
Are you suggesting they hide their true selves?
I’m not advocating being a coward and living a lie. What I’m saying is that if coming out is going to put you in danger, maybe the charade is worth it momentarily. Of course, being your true self is always the best way to be but it’s not always possible.
IN BETWEEN MEN depicts challenges young adults face as they’re trying to establish themselves in the real world. Sex, of course, is a challenge. Is there really so much sex in the city?
If there is, I am not having it! I find New York to be a great place for dating. You can date every night of the week, but when it’s time to move past the dating phase, that’s when things become tricky. There is always one in the relationship that is more serious than the other, and usually the one that’s less serious is afraid to risk missing out on what else might be out there.
Catch the series at: www.inbetweenmen.com