Tom's European Vacation

How Tom survived gay London.

I have been to Europe twice before. One time was a drunken, you know, with my girlfriend when I was about twenty-one years old. It was basically just a drunken romp through the streets of London. I barely remember anything.

For my second time, I went with my parents and a church group. I basically went because it meant a free ticket to Italy. Because I was with a church group we saw all of the famous churches and historical landmarks in Florence, which was great.

Let's just say that with Kathy it was a completely different experience. We may not have seen many churches, but you know, we attempted to find the gayest bar ever. Replace Dante's tomb with boys' night. Yes, it was definitely different.

Walking around with Graham Norton on Old Compton Street, which is supposedly the gay section of the town, it looked more like Sunday night after a Steelers game -- people walking around drunk and aggressive and really just angry about things. It was very scary actually. A mob surrounded us, which is definitely not what I'm used to in West Hollywood.

I was very tense at first when Kathy played at the London club because it seemed like nobody knew who she was. But when she got up there and started doing her thing, she just won them over. But it was odd -- it was like starting over again for her, and I was actually surprised at the reaction.

I thought the audience was going to be a bit cooler than they were, but it turned out that they liked her! This was not only surprising because most of the people weren't familiar with Kathy, but also because the seats were filled with industry people, who are a bit harder to crack.

All in all, I think it went pretty well.

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Demolition Day

Executive Producer Danny Salles explains how he and his fellow producers reacted to Kathy's unplanned renovation.

Since the second episode aired, many of my friends have asked me, “Was that real when Kathy tore her house apart without having a plan? It’s just so hard to believe. Did you make it up for the show?” I know. It’s hard to imagine someone tearing out her floors and kitchen cabinets without having a rock solid plan – but that’s exactly what happened. 

One of my most vivid memories from producing the show was arriving at Kathy’s house the morning after she told us that she had decided to move on from working with designer, Kenny.  It was 9 a.m., and I was finishing up my coffee as I walked up Kathy’s long driveway. I started hearing noise coming from the house as I approached. The booming sound grew louder and louder. I entered the front door to find eight workers with sledgehammers and crowbars cracking the floors and counters. Dust was everywhere. The producer in me panicked – We’ve got to start shooting this now! And the homeowner inside me was screaming, "WTF!" There’s no plan. Needless to say I got cameras up and rolling in minutes. 

My next call was to Lisa, my fellow executive producer. My voice was faltering.  “Eh, Lisa….It seems that Kathy has started demolition.” “When will they get started?” she asked. “Oh, no.  It’s already started. The fireplace in the kitchen is gone.” “Are you…?” “Yes, we’re rolling cameras.” In reality TV, you’ve got to be ready to move on a dime, because, well, that’s the reality part.

I found Kathy in her bedroom happily planning out her day, blithely ignoring the boom, boom, boom of destruction in the kitchen. She was acting like nothing was happening. But she must have seen the shocked expression on my face because she added, “Oh yeah, that.” “Yes, that.” She started laughing. “I told you I move fast.” She explained that since she only had enough money to rent another house for a certain timeframe, she figured she would just get rid of what she wanted gone and plan it out as she went. In the meantime, her friend and decorating enthusiast, Lara Spencer (also known to many as the host of The Insider) would help her out with the creative ideas and with finding workers. Between Lara and Team Griffin, Kathy was confident it would go well. 

Having had work done to my own house, I was privately predicting disaster. Who's ever heard of a renovation going well under the best of circumstances? As a reality producer, I know that disasters often make for great episodes, so figured this could lead to some good comedy. You might think I had a moral dilemma. Nah. The comedy comes first. 

Leave it to Kathy to be the first person in history to have a successful remodel. Lara came though and Kathy’s crazy “improv-a-renovation” actually worked. Her house is gorgeous!  I may not have gotten the home disaster episode I dreamed of, but Kathy got gay man’s Palm Springs bachelor pad she dreamed of. And that’s what counts.

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