Absolutely fabulous Beekman Boys are back
While saying the second season of Planet Green’s hit reality series The Fabulous Beekman Boys is star-studded - Martha Stewart, Rosie O’Donnell, Chef Marcus Samuelsson and Real Housewife Sonja Morgan stop by - viewers may think that the farm-based show has morphed into a scandalous Bravo-type series. However, fans of the show can breathe easy because the truth of the matter is that the new episodes that start airing this week are a continuation of the very much grounded-in-reality first season when a gay couple - former Martha Stewart exec Brent Ridge and writer/ad exec Josh Kilmer-Purcell - bought a farm in Sharon Springs, NY and their business Beekman 1802 was born. Celebrities may pass through this season but they’re as taken with the low-key haven of the Beekman farm and of Josh and Brent as viewers are.
The first season of the show focused on the new challenges of the farm and building the Beekman 1802 brand but this second season is focused on the question of can they keep the farm? Also, since Brent is on the farm full-time and Josh commutes back to Manhattan during the week for his day job in advertising, how can Josh fulfill his dream of being able to join Brent on the farm 24/7?
EDGE’s Jim Halterman chatted with the guys last week about the new episodes, how Planet Green never labeled the show as merely ’the gay Green Acres’ and what we’re going to see when Brent’s family (who doesn’t have much - if any - of a relationship with Josh) enters the picture.
Will Josh go full-time?
EDGE: Is it safe to say that the major thread of these new episodes is how to get Josh on the farm full-time?
Brent Ridge: Exactly. We call that the million dollar challenge because Josh and I sat down and looked at how much it costs to run the farm and the business, how much we’re relying on his salary and his benefits from his job in the city and if we can get a million dollars in revenue that would be enough to cover the mortgage and pay for our insurance and not lose the farm so he can quit his job.
EDGE: Josh, talk about your job in the city and how hard it is for you not to be on the farm except for the weekends.
Josh Kilmer-Purcell: Well, I still work in advertising and we need that paycheck. One of the challenges we’ve faced this year was could I quit and come full-time to the farm? But in order to make up the paycheck in the city, Brent could hire some people in the village and do things there. It’s a constant balance in the running of the business and the cost of me in the city.
EDGE: Can’t Planet Green just give you guys what you need to do this full time? [laughs]
Josh Kilmer-Purcell: Can you please put that in the article?
A fish out of water
EDGE: One thing I’ve noticed about the show is that while it doesn’t shy away from talking about the gay part of your lives, it also doesn’t dwell on it.
Josh Kilmer-Purcell: I have to say that Planet Green never saw this as a gay show or a straight show for that matter. They saw it as a couple trying to do something different with their life. It was always a fish out of water, not a gay fish out of water.
EDGE: You’ve said you hear from more straight viewers than gay. Is it a surprise that you’re hearing from so many straight viewers?
Josh Kilmer-Purcell: I’d say yes, it is a surprise. Especially in the very beginning, even though the show wasn’t about us being gay a lot of the media called us ’the Gay Green Acres’ so I was personally worried that people might feel like they didn’t relate to the show based on the media but I was surprised to find that at times the greater amount of mail comes from straight couples. It wasn’t that we ever thought that the show wasn’t universal; we were concerned that the show wouldn’t be portrayed as universal.
EDGE: Of the two of you, who is more of the mastermind behind projects like this?
Brent Ridge: Everything we do is very collaborative. Josh and I are on the same wavelength most of the time.
Josh Kilmer-Purcell: We both come up with the idea then we argue about them for four weeks and then we reach a compromise. We’re very good with creative differences.
EDGE: There’s a scene in the second episode where Brent brings Josh a glass of wine when he comes home and Josh immediately says ’What’s wrong?’ Everyone can relate to that moment!
Brent Ridge: Bribery takes part in every relationship!
EDGE: Things also change this season for Farmer John and how that affects Josh and his plans. Can you talk about how Farmer John is going to be a bigger part of things?
Brent Ridge: Because of the success of the business, Farmer John is now a full-time farmer and he is living his dream. I think it’s very tough on Josh because as the business is growing we’re helping all these others like Farmer John and crafts people to live out their dreams while Josh’s dream is still deferred so that must be frustrating.
Josh Kilmer-Purcell: I don’t think I even need to elaborate on that. [laughs]
Cook book on its way
EDGE: I think that’s another thing people can relate to with you guys and the show and how we all have our dreams and there are obstacles that get in the way.
Josh Kilmer-Purcell: It’s a balancing act and I’m really proud and rewarded by what we’ve been able to do for the town and the people in the community and at the same time I’m waiting for my turn.
EDGE: The second episode of the new season also has a story point about Brent’s family and the fact that they don’t really know Josh. Do we see more of that unfold this season?
Brent Ridge: The episode from season one that was the highest rated of the season was the one with our Mom’s at Thanksgiving. People really did enjoy seeing that aspect of our lives and that storyline does come to a conclusion during the course of the season. People will get to see how the situation with my family plays out. You know how in-laws are!
EDGE: You have a new Beekman Cookbook coming later this year. Tell me about it.
Brent Ridge: It’s called The Heirloom Cookbook Inspired by Beekman 1802 and there is just over 100 recipes and the idea was to create recipes that every cook should know and that were good enough that you could pass them down from generation to generation in your family so they become heirlooms of their own. It’s like the very best deviled egg recipe and the best meatloaf recipe or the best fruit tart recipe. The way we’ve constructed it is we really want people to use the recipe as a jumping off point and then adapt them with a particular taste of their own family. We’ll have a special place on www.Beekman1802.com where people can share their alterations to the recipe so each recipe then becomes a thousand recipes with all the variations that people have done.
EDGE: We have to talk about Polka Spot the llama, who has become a huge character on the show. Does Polka Spot know her name?
Josh Kilmer-Purcell: She is such a breakout character and we realized the other day that she has more Facebook followers than I do.
EDGE: That’s not true!
Brent Ridge: It’s true!! On April 12th, Henri Bendel, the department store on 5th Avenue, is throwing a party in honor of Polka Spot.
EDGE: So Polka Spot is really the Naomi Campbell of llamas like you say on the show?
Brent Ridge: Right!
The Fabulous Beekman Boys airs every Tuesday at 10et/pt on Planet Green. Josh’s book The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites became Gentleman Farmers is available in paperback beginning March 22nd. For more, go to www.Beekman1802.com.