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Let’s get at least one thing straight: Chris Carter and John Simpson, the duo behind the campy reality series “Chris and John to the Rescue!,” don’t sleep together. Never have. Never will.
“No, no, no, no. Not in any capacity,” Simpson, 24, clarifies from an Ottawa hotel. “I’m sure Chris knows what I’m answering to … ”
“Oh, God, no!” retorts Carter, 22.
The guys grew up in the Canadian boonies, and didn’t immediately latch onto each other upon meeting during an acting-dancing class in a larger, nearby city. When the studio closed, the duo’s parents carpooled to a facility farther away.
“That’s when we became really good friends and stole my mom’s video camera,” Simpson says, “and started having fun with it, doing pranks on people in the local park and filming it. We’ve basically been doing this show since we were 12 years old. Now the world’s actually seeing it.”
The debut season, which originally aired on Canada’s OUTtv and this year on here! Networks, was released on DVD last month, and chronicles the fixer-upper friends’ quests to lend a hand (not like that!) to their fellow queers. Together they pick the perfect “fag hag,” set up a gay bachelor and, in what Simpson calls one of the most “bizarre experiences in our lives,” replace a reporter at Canada’s LGBT publication, Xtra Magazine.
“The whole show in general is a spoof … (of) all those makeover shows where they have experts that come and help you – and (then there’s) us, who aren’t experts in the field of everything but we claim to be,” he says.
Basically, it’s “The Simple Life” with Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. Only with two gay men. Who aren’t wealthy.
“And we don’t have as many dogs,” Carter quips.
When Simpson and Carter trekked to Provincetown, Mass., to shoot the second season, they found folks more eager to be on TV – but just as tragic. “Lots of people need rescuing,” Simpson stresses, adding that there are endless requests for makeovers and matchmaking and they “can only do so many of those before it gets boring.”
And they’re all about shaking things up. Just look at their ‘dos, which went from long and blond to short and brown within two seasons. “It was an error in judgment,” Simpson admits about their Hanson-looking hair. “We’ve corrected it, and I’ll never be blond again – or have long hair like that.”
Who’s to say how – or if – they’ll transform their locks when the third season, which is currently in pre-production, starts shooting. For this round, they might end up turning around tragedies in Michigan, where Carter often visited while his father lived here.
“We might be coming your way,” Simpson says, adding that the plan, which changes more than their hair, is to stop in umpteen cities.
Carter’s nomadic dad’s pad was in Canton, until he moved to Kentucky. He hasn’t returned in six months, but he knows the area well enough to pick up on a Michigan accent – using an “a” sound for the letter “o,” he recalls. “We love accents. Part of the reason I’m so obsessed with the U.S. is all the accents – the styles, the fashions.”
And our absessian for reality shaws?