So I watched Dan Savage’s new MTV show last night…

So the first episode of Dan Savage’s new MTV show was last night at 11/10c, and it was good.  For a first episode.  But also generally.  It was enjoyable, didn’t drag, made me laugh a few times, and also horrified (when the 20 year old guy said he and his girlfriend never use a condom when they go all the way – Dan basically told the kid he’s insane).

The show appears to be based on Dan visiting different colleges and doing big auditorium meetings, and smaller groups, or even one-on-ones with people who want advice about sex.  Dan is at his best with large audiences.  Even off cam, one on one, he’s different than the on-cam persona.  At least he is sometimes.  I’ve known Dan since he helped us take down Dr. Laura in 2000, and I consider him a friend.  And he comes off as more shy, or at least reserved, one-on-one.  Well, usually. Add a camera, and it only gets worse.  I suspect because the camera was there the small group chats felt more contrived to him.

I’m amazed at how much he knows.  Granted, he’s been doing this for decades, but still.  His answers are funny, interesting, and insightful.  Dan is no Dr. Drew.  And hallelujah for that.  I’ve always found Dr. Drew a bit uptight, and I’ll never forget the tirade he let Kathy Griffin go on about an-l sex once on their TV show (not the radio tirade), and I recall him agreeing with her (sorry, have to use the funny spelling or the ads flee).  Dan, however, is more of a midwest version of Dr. Ruth, without the accent.  Very self-affirming for the recipients of his advice (except for no-condom guy), which is nice to see.

Like most new shows, it needs to find its groove.  And I do think Dan is at his best when he lets his hair down.  And that’s not in intimate situations when a camera is on him.  I’d really like to see Dan do some of the format that Dr. Drew and that idiot Adam used on their old TV show, hanging out in a cool space with people – almost like a MTV unplugged set – having a good back and forth, watching the audience get into it, watching Dan play off the audience. I don’t think standing at a podium lends itself to good TV.  That Drew/Adam set did.

Anyway, it’s a good show and a good start, I hope it does well.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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