No, they didn’t want you to take them seriously: “That tongue-in-cheek thing [we had] took on a life of its own,” Farley says. “We’d sign autographs, and some of these girls, they’re like 13 or something, go, ‘You guys are my favorite boy band,’ and I would say, ‘Now, you know we’re joking right?’ And they go, ‘No you’re not, you guys are the real deal!’ So I always said to the guys, ‘Let’s make sure that we stick to being a comedy group, because I certainly don’t want to bleed into being a real boy band.’ We wanted it to remain comedic. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen another band like our band -- maybe The Monkees, but that was such a long time ago.”
Why the band's name might've been their most inspired joke: “We just felt [the name 2Gether] was so utterly ridiculous," Brian says. "It’s not particularly clever. The idea of 2 with the first syllable replaced with a numeral just seemed so uninspired that it cracked us up. It’s someone’s idea of cool, but not ours, exactly. [Laughs.] We even had some fans say that there was a hidden meaning in there, that 2Gether was supposed to be broken down into 2-Get-Her, almost like, vaguely predatory double entendre -- that didn’t even remotely occur to us.”
The moment they knew 2Gether was more than just a TV movie: When the group attended 2000’s iteration of Wango Tango a couple months after the 2Gether movie premiered, Farley remembers feeling like they were the stars of the show. “We were sitting together in the stands at Dodger Stadium, and all of the sudden people started recognizing us from MTV, and we were chased out of there,” he says. “Security said we couldn’t sit in the stands anymore because we were causing too much of a raucous. That was when it started to hit us: We’re like, ‘What is this? This is strange.’”
They opened for Britney Spears… kinda: “[Our manager] said we would be on Britney Spears’ tour and we were all excited for that,” Farley recalls, referencing Spears’ Oops!... I Did It Again Tour in mid-2000. 2Gether was on the bill, but not quite in the way they were thinking: “We were driving up to the Verizon Center in Irvine outside of LA, and it’s a huge parking lot. We saw this mini stage to the right of the stadium and said, ‘Who’s on that stage?’ and [our manager] goes, ‘Well, you guys.’ We had hay bales, and as people walked by this tiny little stage to go to the Britney show, we would do our songs.” He adds with a laugh, “Maybe that’s when I knew we were going to get cancelled.”
How fellow boy bands felt about the satire: Though Mark asserts that 2Gether’s real-life contemporaries “were totally open to the joke,” Farley remembers things a little differently. “They didn’t really acknowledge that we were funny,” he says. “They were in such a big business, they had to be serious about it. Backstreet [Boys] weren’t that friendly, but *NSYNC was more friendly to us. Chris Kirkpatrick was a good friend -- he had a great attitude about it all, and he just thought it was fun.”
Regardless, actual boy bands served as major inspiration for both the group and the Gunns. “We sort of wallowed in boy band culture for a while there,” adds Brian.
The heartbreaking reason they split: In the middle of filming the second season of 2Gether: The Series, Cuccione -- who was diagnosed with stage 2A Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1994 -- began suffering health complications from his earlier cancer treatments. Brian says he and Mark considered writing Cuccione out of the show so he could focus on his health, but “his doctors and his family, and Michael himself, always said that the show was the main thing he had to look forward to, that it was something to live for.”
Cuccione passed away on January 13, 2001, eight days after his 16th birthday. “That was a big blow to everything,” Farley says. “Everybody was so sad that it was hard [to continue] after that.” Mark echoes Farley: “We all felt like, the season was over, and it was a perfect time to sort of all move on and do other things.”