TV Review – Daddyhunt: The Serial – Season 3
In December 2014, Carl Sandler launched Daddyhunt, a mobile, gay dating-app for older men and their admirers. He wrote and produced a web series to promote his app called Daddyhunt: The Serial (2016). It consisted of five episodes that were between 1 to 2 minutes in length. The whole thing was 7 minutes total. It was a very simple and adorable story about an older man who meets a younger guy in a new apartment building but a misunderstanding threatens their coupling. In April 2017, a second season was released that picks up right where the first season left off. It was a little bit longer. This time, it was divided into seven episodes or seven parts, each part being about 2 minutes or less with the exception of the last part. The second season in total was 13 minutes and involved the two men discovering their different sexual habits and worrying if those differences mean they won’t be a good match. The last part seemed to suggest a fairy tale ending with the two walking off happily in love.
Reportedly, the total viewership for both seasons of Daddyhunt: The Serial was about 5.7 million. The success of the show then prompted this third season, which has changed the format slightly. First, the opening credits are new. It’s only four episodes but each episode is between 7 and 8 minutes in length, making the total about a half-hour. Therefore, it’s literally double the running time of the first, two seasons combined. The episodes have a new director. Ra-ey Saleh directed the first season. Now, Geoff Ryan takes the helm with filming taking place in various locations all about the city and the cast growing exponentially.
Broadway actor Jim Newman stars as Graydon, a name that no one says until the end of Season 2. Up until then, he’s merely referred to as “Daddy.” Graydon is a long-time resident at the apartment building at the center of this story. He works as a lawyer, but he’s mistaken for being a handyman because he is somewhat handy when it comes to fixing locks or even plumbing, kinda. His exact age is never stated, but presumably he’s in his 50’s and seems a little uneasy about dating or is simply cautious, probably due to bad past experiences.
Model and actor BJ Gruber co-stars as Ben, a name that again no one says until the end of Season 2. Up until then, Ben is merely referred to as “Boy,” but in terms of biographical information, his label is probably the most appropriate because that’s the most we get, beside learning he has a love for North Carolina barbecue. Ben is in his 20’s and is a bit more brazen when it comes to dating but not as brave or confident as he would perhaps like. He’s only not meek when he’s drinking or when he’s not trusting of something or someone, which seems to be the source of the various conflicts throughout this series.
What transpires between Graydon and Ben is minor drama. Newman and Gruber are mostly just eye-candy to propel the May-December romance fantasy that is at the heart of what Daddyhunt as a company is selling through its app. For this third go-round, Graydon and Ben are really just confection, the dessert or at best the side-dish. What might seem ostensibly as the side-dish is actually the real meat and vegetables of this season, and that is the story line involving the supporting characters of AJ and Andrew.
David M. Farrington plays Andrew, the best friend to Graydon, who perhaps still harbors feelings for Graydon but who can’t act directly on those feelings, considering Graydon’s obvious attraction to Ben. Andrew therefore swings from being supportive to being slightly shady about Graydon and Ben’s relationship. However, the creators behind this show give Farrington a bit more substance this season as a visit to a health clinic reveals some disheartening information for him. Farrington who has an incredible gift for facial glances that are both sinister and seductive offers something akin to lovelorn and anxiety here.
Dancer and Baltimore-native Michael Snipe Jr. plays AJ, the best friend to Ben. He’s there to encourage Ben against all odds, be a shoulder to cry upon and a homie to have Ben’s back. In the second season, it was revealed that AJ was HIV-positive but had an undetectable viral load. Instead of just being a sounding board for Ben, this season AJ gets his own storyline, which includes a boyfriend named Richard, played by David J. Cork (The Breeding and Bi: The Webseries). We get a taste of what HIV-positive men have to face in the dating world.
Through AJ and Andrew, and a little through Ben, the show gets at important issues facing men in the LGBT community. These issues raised aren’t by accident. Daddyhunt partnered with Building Healthy Online Communities (BHOC), a consortium of organizations like the National Coalition of STD Directors and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, along with web sites like Grindr and Gay.com. The point of BHOC is to provide information from the health organizations to users of the web sites in order to prevent the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases.
This series merely dramatizes that information and lays out a possible roadmap for how gay men could handle certain situations regarding that information. This is not the first time a web series with this intention has been produced. In 2010, the Los Angeles LGBT Center and WehoLife created a series called In the Moment, that was designed to help promote HIV prevention. Last year, Action for AIDS Singapore and Gayhealth.sg created the series People Like Us, for the purpose of safer sex education, which is right in line with what this series and BHOC are doing.
Not Rated but for general audiences.
Running Time: 7 mins. / 4 Eps.