LANGFORD’S PICKS AND PANS
People of the Valley
Will Iolo ever have a storyline?
I really don’t have a clip to present about this show as this is more of a commentary regarding why I haven’t had any coverage on this Welsh drama in months. I get a lot of requests and questions about it so I thought I’d address the issue. Regular readers know that I was a big fan of this soap. Iolo, their gay character has always been written well and the actor, Dyfan Rees, is terrific in the role. But Iolo hasn’t had a storyline since his relationship with Alun last year.
Yes, he appears regularly, but only in support of other storylines such as when his brother Macs was raped (a great storyline that the show inexplicably dropped with no resolution). I wouldn’t say he’s a ‘barely there’ gay, but he’s so little used and has no life of his own that he may as well be. I can only watch so many scenes of Iolo telling his family and friends that they’ll pull through their latest crisis. Oddly enough, the show’s lesbian couple are in a front burner ongoing storyline and pretty much have been for years. So the show isn’t lacking in gay storytelling.
Sure, I could present the clips that he’s featured in on a weekly basis, but there are so many other shows using their gay characters in actual story, and I’d rather spend my time and effort covering those. When and if Iolo gets a storyline, even if it’s not a romantic one, I’ll be sure to cover it. I hope this answers this oft asked question.
Good Times, Bad Times
Anyone who thinks Lucas is going to spend months and months grieving over Edwin hasn’t been paying attention to how this show operates. This soap doesn’t linger over storylines, and they certainly don’t drag things out. Also, like Nina pointed out, Lucas doesn’t like being sad, and he doesn’t like lingering over things so it won’t be too long before he’s on to the next guy. Besides, Edwin was a boyfriend of a few months, not a life partner or even someone Lucas had spent years with. It would be out of character for him to dwell on it for too long. It’s time to put that in perspective and get on with things. I think this episode demonstrates that.
No soap handles gay characters as well as Hollyoaks does. I may not always love the storyline, but at least this show continually gives its gays meaty storylines and treats them just like its straight characters, including romantic plots. Not only that, the show can have multiple gays involved in separate and different stories while other shows can’t even write for the one or two gays they have on the canvas. Last week was a good example of what Hollyoaks does well as Brendan, Ste and George were each involved in different and for the most part interesting storylines.
Let’s start with Brendan. Last week I griped about the show’s ridiculous plot of making pipsqueak Joel a competitor for Brendan, but now the show has completely turned the story around by having Joel become Brendan’s protégé. And the main reason why I’m intrigued by this plot twist is because I’m wondering where it’s going. Brendan’s decision to keep Joel around and take him under his wing makes little sense since Brendan was about to get everything he wanted. And I’m not sure why Joel would stay either as he was in line for a big payday.
What is Brendan really planning to teach Joel?
There is a sexual tension to Joel and Brendan’s scenes and with Brendan’s history and taste in men it makes you wonder if there is going to be a romantic relationship between the two of them. After all, Joel is just Brendan’s type. He’s young, pretty and in need of a father figure just like Ste, Macca and Vinnie. And the show made a point of mentioning that Joel looked a lot like Ste. So is Brendan out to seduce Joel just like every other twink that he’s taken a fancy to? Is this a sick attempt to revisit his lost relationship with Ste? I can’t imagine there being any other reason, especially since Brendan previously had no use for Joel.
As for Ste, here’s another storyline that I’m wondering where it’s headed. The big question seems to be who Ste’s new love interest is going to be. The show promises that Ste is headed for a big new romance, and it had been leaked that Ally was going to be his new guy. But so far Ally hasn’t shown any signs of being interested in men and is now dating Ste’s BFF Amy. Then again, this is Hollyoaks and that means nothing. Ally could be bisexual or simply closeted.
Then there’s Doug, Ste’s new business partner. Doug and Ste do have a nice chemistry, but again, Doug has never shown any interest in men. But like I said, this is Hollyoaks and sexuality turns on a dime. So it could be either fella. But which guy do I want Ste with? I like Doug, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a soap character with a nipple ring like Ally has. Since I thought that was pretty hot, I guess that’s my vote. If you think that is shallow of me, it’s only because I am.
As for George, I enjoyed the developments in his story. I like his growing closeness to the Kane family and how he’s becoming part of them, which is something this lonely kid really needs. His relationship with Callum continues to intrigue as the show keeps us guessing whether they’ll be just friends or something more. I keep changing my mind on what I want for them. I love them as friends since we don’t often get strong friendships between gay and straight men, but a romantic relationship could be juicy drama as well given that Callum is dating George’s best friend.
But the best scene this past week was George’s mysterious and heartbreaking phone call to his family that made you wonder what happened to estrange George from his family and had him wind up on the streets. It’s obviously not because George is gay as the show has made a point of having characters assume so and George is clearly only letting them believe that. So if that isn’t the reason then what is it? I can’t wait to find out.
There isn’t much to say here as we only got a glimpse of Chris and even less than that of Aiden, but I do have to comment. I love how the show is depicting Chris caught up in the joys of his first boyfriend. It was cute how his eyes lit up when he saw the text from Aiden and how he couldn’t wait to leave to go see him. And it was adorable how when Chris was talking to Summer he kept looking out of the corner of his eye to see when Aiden was coming.
But I don’t like how much of this relationship is taking place off screen. No, we aren’t only seeing them every other week like before, but we’re still hearing more about this relationship than seeing it. And that has to change or the show will ruin any goodwill I might have regarding this storyline.
Days of Our Lives
I know people are beside themselves about the big kiss on Days last week, which tells me something that I’ve always believed: if you let two guys kiss on screen, a lot of viewers will pretty much put up with anything. Because while it’s great that Days didn’t shy away from showing the smooch, which went on for a lot longer than I thought it would, I had a lot of problems with other aspects of the episode.
Frankly, the setup was ridiculous. In what city do college students, including underage teens, play beer pong in the town square? You’d think the police would be shutting the place down and issuing arrest warrants. But since half of Salem’s police force is headed off to some foreign country to get a divorce (in a horrible storyline for the show, BTW), perhaps they just don’t have the man power.
And well, this episode just made me more annoyed about something that’s bothered me for a long time in regards to Sonny, who is still being squandered by only existing as Will’s talk to. Folks were excited about Will’s kiss, but I could only wonder why Sonny hasn’t had so much as a date, much less a kiss. I just think about how dynamic and engaging Sonny was when he first came on the show and what he’s been reduced to and it all seems such a waste. He used to be so much more than the gay guy and now that’s all he is, spouting endless platitudes about coming out and accepting yourself in order to service Will’s story.
For example, the show teased us with giving Sonny a love life because of his interest in his friend Dustin, but that seems to have gone by the wayside. On the other hand, I’m glad we’re seeing more of his friends. Not only are they likeable and interesting characters, Days isn’t making the same mistake that so many other soaps have by making the main gay characters be the only gays in town.
I did enjoy the scenes between Will, Sami and Marlena as they dredged of years and years of ugly family history. They are well written and wonderfully acted. Chandler Massey, Allison Sweeney and Deidre Hall really seem like three generations of a family in not only physical appearance but how well they play off each other. And I have to credit Sweeney for managing to make her character likeable and watchable even though Sami is a horrible mother, incredibly self-centered and a narcissist to boot.
On a side note, I was disappointed in the scenes between Sami and Rafe after he discovered her tryst with EJ. Neither actor seemed on top of their game for such key scenes and it was all over rather quickly. This is a reveal the audience has been waiting months for and the confrontation scene took place in about 15 minutes or so. There was a time Rafe and Sami would have slugged it out for a least a full episode. And while many might not miss those days of old school soap, I sure do.
SCOOPS AND SPOILERS
Can Tom stop his son from doing drugs?
Waterloo Road – While Josh’s friends considered their pot smoking a one off, Josh is unable to stop using. When his father Tom finds out, Josh promises to kick the habit. However, Josh gets a phone call from his dealer Grady, who later shows up at school and shamelessly flirts with Josh and gets him into thinking they have a date. However, Grady only does this to manipulate Josh into buying more drugs. When Josh spots Grady making out with a girl he realizes he’s been duped and they get into a brawl. Tom is furious to find out what Josh has been up to and makes it clear that he’s not going to intervene should the school decide to punish Josh by suspending him.
Elsewhere, Matt is stunned when his BFF Rosie goes into premature labor, prompting fears that he could lose his baby daughter.
Neighbors – As his first semester at college begins, Chris is pleased when he and Tash heal the rift between them. But he’s not so pleased that Tash and Summer are still at odds. Meanwhile, Chris might be having a happy relationship, but Lucas isn’t and when his boss tells him about his painful breakup with his girlfriend, Chris offer some advice that causes Lucas even more problems. And when Chris and Aiden find themselves inadvertently attending a singles night, it makes them question the status of their fledgling pairing.
Will makes a failed attempt to come out to his mother…
Days Of Our Lives – Will continues to struggle with his sexuality, refusing to acknowledge that he’s gay despite his drunken smooch with Neil last week. But after talks with Sonny and Marlena, it’s getting harder and harder for Will to avoid the truth he’s been denying for so long. Will admits to Sonny that part of the reason why this is so difficult for him is that he’s terrified of losing his family once the truth is out.
Sonny tells Will that he can never be truly happy until he deals with this and stops living in denial. Taking Sonny’s words to heart, Will sits down for a heart to heart with Sami and tries to tell her what he’s been going through. Sami promises to listen to Will and try to be the mother he needs. But Sami being Sami, she quickly turns the conversation towards herself and her problems. Will lashes out at his mother, calling her selfish and telling her he wants nothing to do with her.
Later, Will’s life grows more complicated by the arrival of two men into his orbit. First up is the wicked and villainous Ian, with whom Will has a strange introduction. And second is his father Lucas, who makes a shocking return to Salem. But Lucas’ return to Salem could be just what Will needs right now.
AND ALSO THIS WEEK…
Shirley has had it with Ben…
EastEnders – Shirley plays hardball with Ben to get him to tell the truth about his father…
Holby City – Dan and Malick compete for a promotion…
People of the Valley – Iolo tries to support Ffion as she deals with a surprise pregnancy…
Good Times, Bad Times – Lucas’ mom worries as he grows closer to his estranged aunt…
Hollyoaks – Ste and Doug’s first day in business is a disaster…
Aaron and Ed have a difficult courtship…
We previously reported that Danny Miller, who plays troubled mechanic on Emmerdale was leaving the show, the only question is how he would be leaving. Will Aaron finally get a happy ending after all the pain and heartbreak he’s been dealt with in his young life?
It starts when Aaron begins to date Ed, a good looking rugby player. As you would expect, Aaron and Ed have a difficult courtship, mostly due to Aaron’s messy history. When Ed learns about Jackson’s death and Aaron’s role in it, he’s initially put off. Eventually Ed decides not to let Aaron’s past get between what they could have, and they spend the night together. How does Miller feel about Aaron’s second chance at love?
“Aaron has a chance to learn from his past mistakes,” Miller told Inside Soap. “This is a positive step for him getting involved with someone new. Jackson is gone now and Hazel has left the village, so this is about Aaron moving on.”
While Miller thinks this is a positive step for Aaron, how does the think the fans will feel?
“They might not take to Ed at first, but they will,” Miller promises. “Lloyd Everitt who plays him, is a great actor. He’s helping to make it all very believable.”
But Aaron and Ed’s moment of bliss doesn’t last long after Ed reveals he’s leaving for France in a month to play with a rugby team. Aaron is devastated to lose Ed just as they are finally getting together. However, Aaron decides to go with Ed and start a new life in France, until fate steps in.
Aaron’s best friend Adam has been dealing with the death of his father, John and he blames Aaron’s Uncle Cain for John’s tragic death. To exact his revenge, Adam sets Cain’s garage on fire, thinking Cain is inside. However, to his horror, Adam learns Aaron is inside instead. Adam risks his life and rescues his best pal. When it’s revealed that the fire was started by arson, Adam confesses all to Aaron, even though he’s afraid he’s going to go to jail for what he’s done.
Feeling his best friend has suffered enough, Aaron takes the blame for the arson and goes on the lam from the law, sacrificing his own happiness and a future with Ed as he leaves the village purportedly forever. Miller reportedly wanted the show to kill Aaron off, but they refused in hopes the actor will return to the soap to reprise his role. Miller is said to be happy with Aaron’s exit.
Look for Miller to make his final appearance on Emmerdale on April 5th.
Neighbours’ Bob Morely, who plays gay nurse Aiden on the Australian soap has been a bit of a mystery since first joining the cast late last year. But as the character’s storyline picks up over the next few months and he embarks on a gay romance with teenager Chris Pappas we’ll learn more about Aiden, starting with a bit of his background.
“Aidan is confident and comfortable with his sexuality, who he is, and where he’s going. He is a bit older than Chris and has been openly gay for quite a while, and unlike Chris, his family were very accepting. He’s had a lot of romances, so he is definitely more experienced than Chris.” Morely told Digital Spy.
But while we haven’t seen much of the romance lately, that’s going to change, Morely promises.
“It certainly picks up pace from now, until a major turning point in the relationship…” the actor revealed.
One of the concerns about this storyline, at least with some fans, is that we won’t see much physical interaction between Chris and Aiden. Not only is the show very conservative when it comes to depictions of onscreen love scenes (i.e. there aren’t any), this is the show’s first gay romance and the show’s previous executive producer, Susan Bower, downplayed any expectations of seeing Chris and Aiden being physically intimate onscreen in an interview last year. But Morely indicates the romance will be treated like any other on the show.
“The writers and producers are treating Aidan and Chris’s relationship as they would any other relationship in the boundaries of the G-rating.” Morely said.
While fans might be hoping for a long term relationship for Chris and Aiden, the reality is that Morely only signed for six months with the show. But would the actor be interested in sticking around longer if asked?
“Yeah, I would be quite happy to stay around, but the storyline would have to move beyond their sexuality for viewers to invest in them.” Morely said. “There has to be more to Aidan and Chris than just being the gay couple.”
There are more difficult times ahead for Will and Sami…
The last few weeks have brought Days of Our Lives’ Will Horton ever so closer to coming out of the closet. And over the next few months, more Salemites will come to realize that Will is gay, such as Will’s father Lucas, who will become aware of his son’s sexuality after he witnesses Will flirting with another guy.
And as we previously reported, Lucas will be okay with having a gay son. But what about Will’s self-absorbed, narcissistic mother Sami? When will she find out Will is gay, and will she stop talking about herself long enough to listen? Steven Williford, a director for Days, revealed on the Derek and Romaine show during a recent interview that he’d read the script where Will finally comes out to his mother and he promises long time fans of the show will love it. Given the show’s current taping schedule, we can expect to see those scenes on our screen come May sweeps.
Sonny (and Will) aren’t the only gays in Salem…
Over the past few months, we’ve been seeing a number of gays in Salem as part of gay Sonny Kiriaksis’s circle of friends. And Freddie Smith, who plays Sonny, tells Soap Opera Weekly that we’ll see more in gay characters in recurring roles in the near future.
“There are probably five gay characters that have been featured,” Smith said. “You’ll see more coming up soon. I like how the characters interact because it’s all part of life. It’s also great that the show just doesn’t have two gay characters and they end up together. Will and Sonny are friends. Meanwhile, we’re seeing there are more options for Sonny, who is playing the field. It’s an interesting take on the storyline.”
That’s a wrap for this edition of Langford on Soaps. See you next time!