He’s lovin’ reality

Published 1:15 am Wednesday, December 30, 2015


People who know Wesley Forsyth aren’t the least bit surprised by his recent role in a Panama City-based reality show, Gears.

“If I don’t look at you, I’m not being rude,” he explained while talking about the show. “It’s just when we’re filming, they don’t want you to look in the camera. That was the hardest thing. That and keeping my voice from cracking like a teenager going through puberty.”

Forsyth, who lives in Andalusia, said the broadcasting adventure began when he was asked to be an extra.

“Well, once upon a time, I was sitting at home and got a phone call that they were doing casting for a show in Panama City,” he said. “It’s at my cousin’s shop called Gears Transmissions. They needed extras. You know they had the people who work there, but they wanted to add something more to it. They called it ‘the spice.’

“I guess I’m spice,” he laughed.

Forsyth completed a screen test in Panama City, talking about himself, his likes and dislikes.

“I just babbled on,” he said. “I told them I loved Wind Creek and I loved Andalusia; that I was a good boy, but I liked to drink a little bit. And I told ‘em about my GGs.”

“His GGs” are his 79-year-old mother, Annie Mullen Forsythe, and her twin sister, Nannie Mae Mullen Lawson

who lives in Georgia. “GGs” is short for “Golden Girls.” Among the GGs’ claims to fame is that they once shared the Miss Pleasant Home School crown.

Forsyth said his cousin reassured him after his screen test.

“He said, ‘Wesley, if you don’t get picked, you can come and be an extra.’ He told me, ‘You did horrible.’ He said I didn’t have any personality.

“A week later, he called me and said, ‘They want you, can you come back?’ ”

Forsyth’s first cousin, Jay Furr, and his wife, Jamie, are the central characters of the show. Previously, the show was broadcast on FOX Network affiliates in Dothan and Panama City, Fla. Now, in Season 2, the show is moving to Panama City’s ABC affiliate, WMBB, on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. The show also has its own YouTube channel.

“We just did our Christmas episode,” Forsyth said, adding that filming is expected to resume next week.

In the Christmas show, Wesley Forsyth got up close and way too personal with a turkey.

“In the last episode, we filmed with a turkey, and those aren’t nice animals, I don’t care what nobody says,” he said. “Have you ever held one? It’s like holding a water balloon with claws on it. It’s name was Professor Plum.

“So they wanted me to ride with the turkey, but I wasn’t doing it by myself. They put my little cousin in there, so she’s holding it. She was scared of it.

“She handed it to me and it was like it wanted to get down, clawing at me,” he said. “I had on my sunglasses because I saw Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds and I didn’t want it going after my eyes.

Forsyth, second from right, at a film premiere. Florida’s film commissioner is at the far right

Forsyth, second from right, at a film premiere. Florida’s film commissioner is at the far right

“I just threw it. I thought the turkey was going to fly away. But they can’t fly.

“When it landed, it just pooted all over everything. Thank goodness, it didn’t do that in my jeep. I guess that’s why it wanted down.”

There are those tough scenes, but there also are perks to being part of a television series. For instance, while filming another episode, he got free Botox, Forsyth said.

“My cousin had had it done before, but I’m terrified of needles; I have nightmares about them,” he said.

“He wanted to do a joke on me. He said, ‘I’ve got a surprise for you.’ I thought just he was going to do it, but he set it up for me and him.

“I did better than he did when it came down to it,” Forsyth said. “I had his wife come and hold my hand.”

But he’s not a fan.

“It hurt. But you know what? I think the lines come back worse than it was before,” he said. “That’s how they get you hooked on that stuff.

“I asked the doctor, ‘Y’all ain’t got a cream?’ He let it slip. They are actually coming out with a Botox cream that you can do yourself.”

Another episode was filmed at Wind Creek Casino in Atmore. In this episode, Katie Furr is celebrating her birthday and so they bring the family to Wind Creek Casino & Hotel for some rest and relaxation.

But Forsyth is the focal point of much of the comedy of the episode. At one point, Katie Furr is about to enjoy a couples’ massage at the Wind Creek spa, but Forsyth sneaks in to replace Jay Furr — who they later find at the machines on the gaming floor.

While even reality shows need a beginning and an end, Forsyth said Gears is really about everyday life.

“They love to do like practical stuff,” he said. “But all of it really happened. Like I really am scared of ghosts.”

He was referring to an episode – Season 1, Episode 8 to be exact – in which Forsyth is convinced there is a ghost in the office. Because of this show, he got to meet the medium who appears in the television show Coven.

“I think it’s haunted,” he said of the building. “I have an office, but I won’t stay there by myself.”

He’s placed wind chimes and motion sensors in the office, because the medium suggested he do it.

“Those would go off when nobody’s in there,” he said. “We did an episode on it. I believe in angels, it’s in the Bible. I believe they are all around us all the time. But if you believe in good, you’ve got to believe in the bad that goes with it. So I don’t know who that (ghost) is that’s in the place.”

“I made them get anointing water and put around my door,” he said, adding that in that episode, “I screamed like a girl.”

Forsyth, who earned a degree in cosmetology, said he’s loved being a part of Gears because he’s traveled, met interesting people, and done promotional work for the show.

“I wouldn’t trade it for nothing,” he said.

When he was interviewed by a Panama City news station, he was coached to “wear something flashy.”

“I wore my hat with blinking lights,” he said. “It’s the only thing I had that flashed.”

Everywhere he goes, he said, he talks about Andalusia.

“I get homesick and want to come home,” he said.

Forsyth grew up near Lake Butler, Fla., where his father worked as a corrections officer at Raiford state prison. But he always visited family in Andalusia.

“When I decided to be a grown-up and wanted to move, this is where I moved to,” he said. That was 20 years ago, and he has no desire to leave.

“I’ve lived here so long and come here so long, most people think I’m from here,” Forsyth said. “I consider this my town. I took it as mine; I love it.”

Asked if he thinks the show will break out of the regional market, he smiled as if he might know a secret.

“National? Well … I hope it does. I think it has potential,” he said.

Meanwhile, he’s learned a lot about being in front of a camera.

“Just be yourself,” he advised. “It’s going to come through no matter what. That’s why I got picked. Because they could see I was myself. “

“With me, it’s from the heart. I’m a truthful person,” he said. “I like everybody. I hold nothing against nobody.

“Do it wholeheartedly and be yourself and enjoy it,” he said. “I love it. The stuff you mess up, they think it’s hilarious. Especially when I scream like a girl. I cry, and it’s true. Just be yourself and enjoy it.”

The episodes of Gears can be viewed here.