LANGFORD’S PICKS AND PANS
Neighbors garnered a lot of talk last week because of the show’s first gay kiss and how it was handled. Many thought it was great that it was treated like no big deal in that Chris and Aiden were making out just like many of the other couples at the party had. But some viewers were upset that the kiss was in the background and not the center of the scene, which you would expect given that it was the first gay kiss for the show. While I commend Neighbors for how they handled the kiss, which was quite passionate and not awkward like many kisses between two straight actors can be, it’s symptomatic of the overall problem with this storyline. Like Chris and Aiden’s kiss, too much of the action is happening in the background.
Aiden and Chris’ kiss should have been in the foreground, just not this kiss…
For example, the show is patting itself on the back for not making a big deal about this kiss, but it should have made a big deal about Chris and Aiden’s first kiss, not because they are gay, but because they are a couple falling in love, just like they would any other romantic couple on this show. But Chris and Aiden started kissing and sleeping together off screen, and we only heard about it after the fact in a casual, off-handed manner. It’s nice that the show is being so matter of fact about Chris and Aiden having a sex life, but other couples aren’t treated with such a distant approach.
As I’ve said before, everyone else’s romances are detailed from moment to moment while Chris and Aiden continue to hit all the milestones and have all their major turning points when we’re not looking.
Yet another a relationship crisis solved in minutes…
Chris and Aiden can’t even have a disagreement that lasts longer than a commercial break. All of their fights and disagreements are handled quickly and cleanly. No fuss, no muss. In contrast, Summer and Andrew are having a long and protracted break up where we see all the angst and turmoil on screen. And this leads to another issue I have: Chris and Aiden spend far too much time wrapped up in and discussing the lives and romantic problems of their straight pals. There are a lot of issues that come with being a new couple, especially when one of them is as newly out and young as Chris. It would be nice if the show would explore those issues. Maybe then all their grandstanding about having a gay couple on the show might not seem like a bunch of platitudes.
Days of Our Lives
I realize that a lot of fans were excited about this past week’s episode. I’ve seen the comments and chatter on the message boards. And while these scenes were nicely acted by Freddie Smith and Chandler Massey, the writing itself just fell flat for me. It was just so full of clichés and had an ‘Afterschool Special’ feel to it that came across as unreal. I found myself not really interested in what Will and Sonny were saying because I’ve seen it so many times. The truth is, I was just anxious for them it get it over with so we could move on to the next beat in the story.
I also was annoyed that the show made it clear in the writing that we wouldn’t be seeing Sonny for awhile. He’ll show up in another few weeks if we’re lucky. After all, Sonny only exists to act as Will’s advisor or gay guru. Other than that, the show has no use for this talented actor and engaging character. And that’s just plain sad. As for the much discussed hug between Will and Sonny, it was nice enough, but I didn’t find it particularly meaningful. Nor did I think there were any sparks flying between the characters. But then, Sonny and Will’s chemistry, at least as a romantic couple, is still something I’ve yet to see.
I’m also quite concerned about the future of this storyline and these characters. With all the backstage changes and the show’s refocusing (again), I just have this feeling that the gays will be lost in the shuffle, especially Sonny. To be honest, I think the show is going to write him out altogether, especially since his character has been so marginalized and ill used. I think they’ll keep Will around, but only as a supporting character to the other stories. And while this is a strong feeling I have, and nothing more than that, I hope I’ll be proven wrong and the show’s new regime will find interesting stuff for their gays to do that will go beyond coming out and all the ‘seen it before’ drama surrounding that. And hopefully we’ll see it more than once every few weeks.
As much as I try, I can’t keep track of every show with a gay character. Sometimes a show gets by me. For example, the New Zealand soap Shortland Street did a gay storyline for six months last year and I didn’t find out about it until the day the gay character left the show. And more recently, Irish drama 6 Degrees, which had two prominent gay characters romantically involved, debuted last February and ended its 6 week run late last month. I totally stumbled across it by accident and after the fact. Because it’s worth talking about, rather than let 6 Degrees go by unremarked, I decided that this week and next I’ll present past clips from the show. So here we go….
I guess I’ll start by saying that this is yet another coming out drama. How many times have we seen some variation of the star athlete and ladies’ man who secretly has a thing for the guys. And yet, I enjoyed 6 Degrees. I liked it a lot actually. For me, it came down to the writing and the characters. I liked Colin, despite his issues that made him come off as a jerk. He’s a charming, engaging character, and the fact that he’s sexy certainly helps. Plus, his friends and the other characters in the show are also interesting and appealing.
As for the writing, it’s funny and smart, even if we’ve seen this story told before. It is to be commended when you can take an overused plot and make it entertaining, something Days for examplehas been unable to do. And on a more shallow note, how can you not like any episode of a show that closes with a steamy make out scene between two hot guys? Simple. You can’t. Especially when they have cute Irish accents.
However, I did question how that scene was presented as romantic when it was basically an Internet hookup and these guys barely exchanged names before tearing each other’s clothes off. But that didn’t stop me from enjoying the scene, of course.
I spent much of this clip confused by the story revolving around what was going on at the family business. It looks like some secrets were revealed and now the family is being sued for something. But I had no idea what the secrets were, or who is suing them and why. I take it this goes back into the history of the show, which I am totally unfamiliar with. If someone would like to clue me in to what this plot is all about, that would be wonderful. So I’ll move onto things that weren’t so puzzling.
I knew it wouldn’t be long before Woulter moved into Thomas’ place. But I think Woulter has always been homeless, and that story about his friend with the baby was simply made up. It always sounded fishy to me, and I can’t believe Thomas hasn’t questioned him on it. But maybe he was simply too blinded by Woulter’s tight abs to care?
I did like Antje calling Thomas out on his reasons for moving Woulter in, but I wonder why she and Thomas continue to stay together. I don’t see much love in their relationship. To me they seem quite miserable about the whole thing. But maybe a love match between a woman and her bisexual half brother isn’t destined to be a happy one.
I’m not familiar with the history of the show, only having watched these last couple of clips, but it’s obvious that Sammy has major issues about his sexuality and has spent a lot of time dithering about his romantic choices, including his feelings for Ollie. But the scene where he decided to give in to how he felt about this other guy was sweet and romantic.
I also enjoyed the scene where he told his friends he was dating Ollie. And the line where he said ‘I’m not gay, I just have a boyfriend’ made me laugh out loud for some reason. And later, when Sammy broke up with Ollie, I thought he was being a jerk, though I understood where he was coming from. But in the end, I came away confused. Did Sammy and Ollie get back together, or are they just friends? The show didn’t make it clear. Or perhaps I missed something.
At any rate, I enjoyed this past week’s shows. The dance backdrop is an interesting one and Sammy is a likeable enough character. But, I liked Ollie even more and I questioned why Ollie would put up with Sammy’s nonsense, whether they are friends or lovers. Hopefully the show will clear up the status of their relationship in a future episode.
Boy did this past week get people talking. That simple hug between Doug and Ste was like a shot across the bow of the Ste and Brendan fandom. For me, the scene where Doug became aware of his feelings for Ste was a wonderful moment and perfectly acted by PJ Brennan. But Ste and Brendan fans weren’t pleased. Most of them are furious about the notion that Ste would possibly fall in love with someone else, seeing Ste and Brendan as meant to be. On the other hand, there are plenty of fans of Doug and Ste, who are delighted at prospect of Ste finding love with Doug, finally moving past his abusive and violent relationship with Brendan.
It’s no surprise to me that Doug, who up until now has always been straight, or seemed to be, would develop feelings for Ste. It wouldn’t be the first time that something like this has happened in the history of this show. Hollyoaks has often had characters suddenly develop feelings for someone of the same sex, the romance between Jean-Paul and Craig being the most famous example. Heck, it happened with Ste when he fell in love with Brendan. And I suspect during the course of this story we’ll find out that Ste isn’t the first guy Doug has had feelings for. It’ll just be the first time he’s acted on it.
Doug enjoyed his hug with Ste a bit too much….
As for Ste and Doug as a couple, I do think they have chemistry and are very sweet together. There were some scenes of Ste and Doug with Ste’s kids from awhile back that I thought were adorable, and I could see them together as a family. I also like that these are two young men trying to put their messy pasts behind them and make a new life for themselves. They have a ‘you and me against the world’ quality that makes them an appealing duo. So I definitely want to see where this story goes, though I have some concerns.
One is that I want the show to treat this as a real romance and not something for Ste to do until he gets back together with Brendan. I am totally against Ste going back to his abuser, I think it would be a step back for Ste, who has found inner strength over the past few months. It’s been nice watching Ste grow and mature. Besides, Ste is a man with young children, and one of the things that has always bothered me about him and Brendan is that I don’t think Brendan should be a presence in those kids’ lives.
Doug struggles to deal with what happened with Ste…
Beyond his abuse of Ste, he’s a drug dealer and not exactly a healthy role model. And I say this as someone who loves the character of Brendan. I also don’t want Doug to just be a plot point in this story. I have always liked Doug. He’s one of the show’s more interesting and likeable characters and I want him to be relevant and viable. And that would mean making his romance with Ste a very real one.
I also don’t want this storyline to be all about Brendan. Like I said, I love the character and the show hasn’t been as good since last year when much of the show’s drama was centered on him. But I think the focus of the story should be Ste and Doug’s romance so viewers can truly become invested in it. I just don’t want it to be a backdrop for Brendan’s latest actions. With that said, I do think Brendan should be a big part of the storyline, because there’s so much potential for meaty drama with this triangle. And the show hasn’t had a big, juicy storyline in quite sometime. But again, this should not be a set up for reunion between Ste and the man who repeatedly abused him.
Think Brendan will be happy about Ste and Doug hooking up? I don’t think so…
I’m glad the show has always said that the problem with reuniting Ste and Brendan would be getting past and dealing with the domestic violence issue. They have never forgotten what Brendan did to Ste over and over and over. The show has rightfully taken the responsible and realistic route regarding this aspect of the story, even if many of the couples’ fans wish the show would overlook it. Or worse, pretend it never happened and put them back together despite the horrible message it would send or how it would ruin and demean Ste as a character. Brendan’s abuse is a genie that can’t be put back in the bottle.
SCOOPS AND SPOILERS
George is trying to move on with his life, and Phoebe is determined not to be left behind…
Hollyoaks – George is busy settling back into life now that he’d decided to stay in the village, but his concentration on schoolwork has Phoebe feeling left out. Desperate to do something to get George to pay attention to her, Phoebe comes up with a plan to help George when she finds out that he’s got an important paper coming up, but not enough time to finish it. Phoebe decides the best way to get George some time is to set the school on fire, sort of like swatting a fly with a baseball bat.
As you would expect, the plan goes awry and some of the students, including George’s lesbian pal Tilly get trapped in the flames. Thankfully, Tilly is rescued and no one is hurt, but George isn’t appreciative when he learns what his ‘friend’ has done. Tired of Phoebe’s antics, George cuts her out of his life for good. Phoebe feels guilty for what she’s done, but that lasts for about five minutes until she mistakenly believes George has reported her arson attempt, incurring her wrath. Given that Phoebe has already tried to turn George over to human traffickers, perhaps he should start looking over his shoulder.
Robbie’s day starts off bad and gets worse…
River City – Robbie’s day doesn’t start off well when he’s verbally assaulted by two young men who make homophobic comments about him. However, Robbie refuses to let the incident ruin his day and he goes out with BFF Hayley for the evening to lift his spirits. While out, he runs into one of the guys who apologizes for insulting him and insinuates that he’s gay and interested. The man asks Robbie to meet him later and Robbie eagerly agrees. Unfortunately for Robbie, he soon learns that he’s being led into a dangerous trap. But will it be too late?
Phil is stunned to read the results of Ben’s psychiatric report.
EastEnders – Ben isn’t happy when Phil tells him he’s going back to school. Phil wants his son to have as normal a life as possible, which isn’t easy for a teenage sociopath with one murder under his belt. Ben doesn’t want to go back to school and plots to use his psychological report to keep him from having to go, hoping that it says something so awful the school won’t let him return. Ben is able to intercept the report before anyone else sees it, but Phil catches him and takes it from Ben.
Phil is stunned to see that that the report says that Ben is desperate for his father to love him and he’ll do anything to earn it. Phil begins to wonder if Ben killing Heather is somehow his fault.
Meanwhile, Shirley begins to do some sleuthing to find Heather’s killer and Ben worries her detective work might lead to him. Manipulating his father, Ben is able to provoke a nasty argument between Shirley and Phil, which results in Phil kicking Shirley out and breaking off their relationship.
Elsewhere on the Square, Christian makes his monthly appearance when he pops up to provide Roxy with some romantic advice.
Is Chris ready to bring his boyfriend home for dinner?
Neighbours – Chris and Aiden have been dating for a few months now and things have been going smoothly. But perhaps the couple is about to hit a major bump in the road. Aiden grows more and more concerned as Chris hasn’t told his parents that he’s dating. But Chris is afraid that while his parents accept that he’s gay, they might not be ready to deal with their gay son being involved in a romantic relationship with another guy. But soon Chris realizes he has to decide if he’s ready for a completely public relationship with his boyfriend.
Days of Our Lives – Will finds out that you just don’t come out once, it’s an ongoing process, and this week he has to come out to his ex-girlfriend Gabi. Gabi comes to Will whining about her unrequited feelings for Chad and asks him to help break up Chad and Melanie. Fixing an election is one thing, but Will won’t plot to split up Chad and Mel.
Gabi is upset that, as with Will, a man she wants won’t love her, which prompts a guilty Will to tell Gabi that he’s gay and the fact that he wouldn’t have sex with her wasn’t her fault.
Gabi, who seems to grow more clueless by the day, blames herself for turning her ex gay. Will explains to Gabi that it doesn’t work that way and his sexuality has nothing to do with her. With that, Gabi’s attention returns to breaking up Chad and Mel. Unwilling to help Gabi, Will leaves to go find the next person he has to come out to.
Gabi blames herself for turning Will gay. Oh, Gabi!
AND ALSO THIS WEEK…
Dance Academy – Sammy seeks his father’s approval when he comes to watch Sammy perform on stage….
Good Times, Bad Times – Will Lucas’ testimony clear things up… or seal his fate?
Holby City – Overwhelmed by work, Malick wonders if he’s up to the task of being a teaching physician…
Ste and Doug’s new business venture leads to romance….
One of last year’s popular gay storylines was the dysfunctional romance of gay mobster Brendan Brady and Ste Hay on Hollyoaks. But the love story came to an end because of Brendan’s repeated abuse of Ste, who has since moved on with his life and gone into business with his pal Doug Carter. While it started as just friends, it looks as if things might get romantic between Ste and his supposedly straight business partner. And the notion has two factions of fans at odds: those supporting Brendan and Ste and those wanting to see Ste move on with Doug.
Citing the couple’s amazing chemistry, Brendan and Ste fans want a reunion between them despite their ugly and violent past. These Brendan/Ste fans have been flooding soap message boards and Hollyoaks twitter in protest. But those wanting to see Ste move on with Doug are just as vocal. And while the chemistry between Ste and Doug is more sweet that combustible, those who like the duo think they could have just as memorable a love story.
It all has the makings of a terrific gay love triangle. And over the next few weeks, things will continue to develop as Doug struggles to deny his feelings for Ste and even sets him up on a date with another guy. However, Doug will find himself jealous, and in a further attempt to avoid his feelings, he’ll hit the sheets with Texas, his roommate.
But that moment doesn’t turn out like Doug expects and just might be the answer Doug is looking for in regards to his feelings for Ste.
Look for Brendan to play a prominent role in Ste’s new romance…
While it looks like Ste and Doug are going to become romantically involved, Brendan will still remain very much in the picture. After all, Brendan did loan Doug the money for Doug and Ste’s business, so there’s that secret to be revealed. And one can only imagine how Brendan might react if Ste were to fall for Doug. After all, Brendan has killed in the name of his love for Ste.
Keiron Richardson spoke on the British chat show Live With Myleene, saying that while Brendan will continue to be part of Ste’s life, reuniting the couple would be difficult.
“Brendan’s always going to be in the mix. Obviously last year we did quite a big storyline – it was gay domestic abuse, which is hard to do.” Richardson said. “A lot of ’Stendan’ fans, they are desperate for Ste and Brendan to be together. We’ve got ’Stendan’ and ’Stug’ – I’m just happy that my name’s in both of them! The ’Stendan’ fans are going absolutely mental and want Ste and Brendan to be together.”
Richardson continued. “But I think if we really do take a serious look, it’s gay domestic abuse and we can’t be seen to promote that. So he’ll always be in the mix, but whether they’re going to be together is a questionable thing.”
Which is as it should be.
Does Days co-executive producer Greg Meng think women will watch gay romance?
Backstage drama continues at Days of Our Livesas the show made more changes in an attempt to raise the show’s moribund ratings. Four of the show’s actors, three of whom were brought on to ‘save’ the show as part of their infamous reboot Christie Clark (Carrie), Patrick Muldoon (Austin), Matthew Ashford (Jack) and Sarah Brown (Madison) were fired and the show says there will be more ‘surprising’ exits to come, though there are no hints as to who will go next.
The show is hoping these changes along with the work of the new writers will jumpstart the show’s poor ratings. But Days has a lot of work to do. Last week, the show posted its lowest ratings ever. While the show hasn’t said exactly what they have in mind, they have stated they plan to focus on romance for the show’s various couples, most of whom are currently broken up or breaking up. And again, fans are wondering what this means for the show’s gay characters. With Will and Sonny on the verge of a love story, might their romance be part of the show’s new mantra?
“I don’t know. I think it’s a beautiful story, and we are committed to it. But probably it’s not the story that most women are going to tune in for every day, the one they don’t want to miss.” Co-executive producer Greg Meng said to TV Guide. I think it’s a story everybody likes, but the women want to see romance. Our goal is to get back lapsed viewers – our family of viewers who stopped watching altogether or aren’t watching us every day.”
So gays can’t have romances that women want to watch? Apparently Mr. Meng has missed the memo.
The men and woman of Port Charles will be around for another year…
After months of its fate hanging in the air, ABC’s remaining soap General Hospitalgot some good news and a reprieve after ABC renewed the drama and cancelled The Revolution. The talk show has been a flop since its debut earlier this year when it took over One Life To Live’s time slot, only managing half of OLTL’s audience. The Revolution’s exitwill make room for Katie Couric’s new talk show. Word has it that GH will move up an hour and Katie’s show will take GH’s current slot.
As for how long GH will be around, it is believed that the show was renewed for another year and will live to see its 50th anniversary next April. But whether the drama has any life left after that remains to be seen.
Is Neighbours about to lose its hot nurse Aiden?
And finally, when Bob Morely joined the cast of Neighbourslast year as gay nurse Aiden Foster, a love interest for gay teen Chris Pappas, played by James Mason, it was known that Morely had only signed with the show for six months. Fans wondered if the actor would be asked to stay on permanently, especially after the pairing with Chris proved to be popular. Morely recently said that he would stay on if asked, but it looks like it is not meant to be.
Rumor has it that Morely recently filmed his last scenes for the show and is now working on a new project. There has been no official comment from the soap, nor any news on when and how Aiden will be written out. But it looks like poor Chris will go back to counseling his straight friends on their love lives.
That’s a wrap for this edition of Langford on Soaps. See you next time!