Sorry there was no column last week, but the big U.S. East Coast storm left me without power for several days. Thanks to all of you who wrote telling me how much you missed “Langford on Soaps.” It’s appreciated!
LANGFORDS’ PICKS AND PANS
Good Times, Bad Times
When I heard that GTBT was going to give Lucas a potential new love interest in the form of Bilal, a closeted gay Muslim, I hated the idea. And now that the story has begun to unfold, leading to the badly-played season finale in which Lucas and Bilal kissed, I hate it even more. To be blunt, this is a horrible, clichéd plot on a show that has long had problems with solid and consistent storytelling. I’d taken a hiatus from this show for most of the last season because it was unwatchable. And I’m already thinking of not returning when the new season begins because thus far, the budding relationship between Lucas and Bilal is ludicrous.
Now this whole thing started because Edwin, Lucas’ dead boyfriend, appeared to Lucas in a dream and told him that Bilal, who is due to get married, was in fact gay and that he and Lucas would fall in love. I groaned when watching the plot device and I think the writers made a big mistake in removing any mystery in who Lucas’ new love might be. And having Edwin declare this future for Lucas in a dream means like it or not, the story is going to play out, even if it’s not working. And for me it’s not.
I really didn’t like Lucas’ reaction to the whole thing, who went from not really caring for Bilal, to stalking him around town, insisting he was gay and questioning his sexuality. To me it’s just forcing the issue instead of letting any relationship grow naturally and organically. Not only that, we have Lucas dragging another boyfriend out of the closet just like he did with Edwin last year. At least the show did mention Lucas has been through this before. It would have been a nice twist if Lucas resisted getting involved with another closet case rather than following his potential new squeeze all around town.
But the biggest problem is that Lucas and Bilal have no chemistry. Their scenes together are awkward and you just don’t see the passion and the chemical heat that would draw these two together. And while the show would like us to think that final moment between them was intense and combustible, to me it was melodramatic and over the top and a hoary plot point I’ve seen more times than I care to count. This storyline was a bad idea from the moment I heard about it and seeing it play out on screen has not only changed my opinion, but reinforced it. The show could do itself and viewers a favor and drop this mess now and start the new season fresh.
I was glad that the show broke up Marcus and Sean. These two are utterly incompatible and have always been. I never understood why they got back together in the first place given that they broke up because Sean was selfish and childish and that fact hadn’t changed in their years apart. And given Sean’s resistance to starting a family, the relationship was doomed from the start. You could just hear the clock ticking to its evitable end. But perhaps the show wanted to bring Marcus back and establish him before sending him off on his own storylines and a new path for his life without Sean. At least that’s how it looks. And I couldn’t be happier.
I have never, ever liked Sean and the character’s appeal continues to escape me. He’s an utterly unlikeable, unpalatable and to be honest, unneeded character. I still don’t understand why he remains a fixture on this show, but maybe British fans see something I don’t. I’m looking forward to Marcus’ upcoming stories as he such an engaging and charming character, even if it’s obvious where his storyline is going. He’s no doubt headed for a relationship with his co-worker Aiden and I fully expect Maria to offer to be a surrogate for his child at some point in the near future.
I’m usually not a fan of baby stories for gay characters because besides coming out, it’s the only story soaps want to write for gays. But I like Marcus enough to be willing to go along with it and see where it goes.
Days of Our Lives
Yawn! I am officially bored with this Will and EJ nonsense. When Daysfirst started this arc tying Will and EJ together I thought their scenes were fun to watch, mostly because of the potent sexual chemistry between the actors and the intriguing games they played with one another. But now it’s just gotten tiresome. Will and EJ are playing the same scenes over and over and it’s more obvious than ever that the show is playing up the sexual dynamics between the characters but there will never be any payoff. And that’s the problem. This is never going to its logical conclusion.
I’m not saying that I want Will and EJ to become lovers and that I’m disappointed that they won’t because I never expected them too. But the fact of the matter is that if Will were a woman (or if this show aired in the UK), there’s no doubt in my mind that the two of them would become romantically involved. It’s the natural next step that the story should take, especially given EJ’s history with Will’s mother Sami. Soaps thrive on such scandalous melodrama after all.
Unless they’re going to kiss, don’t bother, Days.
And I don’t think that the show is bigoted or homophobic because they won’t pair these two (though they are bigoted and homophobic for other reasons) because I get why they wouldn’t. After all, EJ is a man in his thirties who has had several marriages and a number of children under his belt. For him to suddenly have a yen for his teenage former stepson is a wee bit hard to believe, even if it would make a hell of a story. Then again, this is a show that has had demonic possession as a main storyline so anything is possible.
My point is since they are clearly not going to go there with Will and EJ, then they should stop with the teasing scenes and suggestive dialogue. It’s all so pointless and waste of air. It’s like giving Will a gay relationship without the sex. But unfortunately, for Days, maybe that’s the point.
You know what else I’m hating? The show’s continued misuse of Sonny. I have never liked that the show has only used Sonny to advise Will on his coming out drama once or twice a month and I really don’t like that Sonny is now sitting around pining over Will and being his ‘voice of reason’ over his plotting with and against EJ. I dreaded that the show would do this with Sonny and they have. It’s such a waste of a compelling and engaging character played by an appealing actor. But then ‘waste’ is how I would describe most of this gay storyline.
Before I get into this week’s shows, I want to discuss what happened last week on Hollyoaks regarding Lynsey’s murder. Soaps rarely every surprise me. I’ve watched them for so long and they tend to be so predictable that there’s little that happens that I don’t expect. But I didn’t see Lynsey’s death coming because it was so sudden. One moment she was there and the next she was gone. It was swift and out of nowhere, yet her death not only made perfect sense, it has galvanized this show in a way that has been missing for so long.
Because of Lynsey’s death, various disparate storylines and plots are finally coming together under one intriguing umbrella arc. The acting has been very, very good. Emmett Scanlan is great as Brendan like always, but I’ve really been impressed by Bronagh Waugh’s performance as Cheryl. Some of her scenes have just broken my heart. I’m also loving Jennifer Metcalfe as the scheming Mercedes. I don’t think she killed Lysney because as crazy as Mercedes is, I don’t think she’s a killer, but watching her benefit from Lynsey’s murder by worming her way back into Riley’s life has been delicious to watch.
PJ Brennan is good as Doug, but he reminds me how much Doug has had to cry over the past few months in nearly every scene he’s been in whether he’s happy, sad or angry. Most of all though, having Jeff Rawle back as Silas has been wonderful. I’d forgotten how creepy and sinister he was in this role. Rawle manages to give this character the right notes and touches, showing us now insane Silas is, but not being over the top or hammy.
However, not all the acting is impressive. Bianca Hendrickse-Spendlove is sadly one-note as Texas. She tries hard, but she’s simply not up to the task of playing against all these stronger actors in a central role in this storyline. The actress has the same expression and gives the same emotion no matter what the scene and is really the weak link in the storyline.
As for one of the other stories, I’m so glad to see George again, it’s been far too long. I’m not too sure about his storyline, but let’s hope that it’s better than what it looks like it might be.
SCOOPS AND SPOILERS
Syed worries his uncle won’t accept that he’s gay or involved with another man…
EastEnders – Ben is worried when he finds out that Andrew had been cleared for Heather’s murder, which means the police will be continuing their investigation. He wonders how long it’ll be before they come looking in his direction. Perhaps not long. Jay is stunned when he finds out Ben still has the picture frame he used to kill Heather with, even though he’d promised to get rid of it. Jay demands to know why Ben still has it and he doesn’t buy Ben’s story. Jay declares he’s had enough… he’s going to turn Ben in for murder.
Meanwhile, Christian and Syed are surprised when Masood’s brother A.J. turns up in town. They all get along swimmingly and go out for a night on the town together. But Syed is worried how A.J. will react to his being gay and his relationship with Christian and downplays things. It isn’t long though before A.J. discovers the truth. To Syed’s relief, A.J. completely accepts he and Christian and a bond grows between uncle and nephew.
Marcus makes his new roomie Kirk dinner to improve their rocky relationship, but will it work?
Coronation Street – Marcus wonders if he should have decided to stay in town and it’s not because of his issues with Sean. Maria’s brother Kirk returns from vacation and it quickly becomes apparent that the house is very crowded for Marcus, Maria, Kirk and Liam. It doesn’t help that Kirk isn’t exactly going out of his way to make Marcus feel welcome. Maria, still nursing a serious crush on her gay BFF, doesn’t want Marcus to go and tries to help Kirk and Marcus get along. Marcus gets the idea to make Kirk his favorite dinner and it looks like that might just do the trick. But something else might come along to ruin things.
Who will be Silas’ next victim?
Hollyoaks – Silas continues his reign of terror on the village, taunting everyone with the notion that another girl is going to soon turn up dead. Determined to find out if Silas is working with someone, Texas pays Silas a visit and his horrified to discover that he has been working with Will, Dodger’s brother. When Will is arrested for being an accomplice to Silas’s crimes, Texas thinks the case has been solved. But they may have been led down the wrong path.
Meanwhile, Joel is enjoying running the club with Brendan out of town attending Lynsey’s funeral, but he’s not happy that Walker is still lurking about and getting in his way. And Joel’s rule of the roost is short lived when Brendan returns to town, determined to find out if his enemy Sampson went after Lynsey to get revenge against him. And it isn’t long before Sampson strikes. But can Brendan stop him?
In London, George is enjoying his internship at a major fashion magazine. Ryan, one of the other interns, shows a romantic interest in George, but George has a hard time believing it… until Ryan kisses him. Romance quickly blossoms between the two boys and they enjoy an exciting day in London. But with George only in town for a week, things soon come to an end between the two of them and they part with the promise to keep in touch. But George is reluctant to pursue something that he feels has no future.
Is Dan ready to let Simon go?
Holby City – Dan’s decision to come out of the closet and be honest about himself and his love for Simon seems to have changed his life. Not only is he happier than he’s ever been, he seems more confident and sure of himself and has even become a better doctor. But Dan’s happiness doesn’t last for long when Simon delivers the news that he’s been offered a dream job in Leeds and is moving away. Dan is devastated and doesn’t want Simon to go. In fact, Dan begs Simon to turn down the job so they won’t be parted for the second time in their lives. But when Simon refuses to turn down the job, Dan has to decide just how much this relationship means to him.
Robbie faces his attackers in court…
River City – The tragic event that brought Will and Robbie together rears its head when the trial for the men that attacked Robbie finally comes to pass. Robbie is very nervous about his day in court and he receives little support from Will, who has to keep his distance given that he was the investigator on the case and their relationship could damage the chances of a conviction. Growing more and more anxious, Robbie takes out his frustration on Will, who responds by shoving Robbie into a door.
Will immediately apologizes and says he’s sorry. Robbie accepts his lover’s apology, but he’s worried about Will’s temper. Things get worse when the court case goes awry and both Robbie and Hayley are torn apart on the stand by the defense team. Chances for a conviction quickly grow bleak and Robbie braces himself for the possibility that his attackers could wind up going free after what they did to him.
Days of Our Lives – Will’s descent into evil continues and his parents are becoming worried about his quest for money and power. Lucas wants Will to get away from EJ, who is looking more and more guilty in Stefano’s murder, but Will defends his boss, insisting that EJ is no killer. Lucas is certain Will is hiding something, but Will isn’t talking, wanting to keep his hold over EJ’s head.
What’s ahead for Hollyoaks’ George?
While Hollyoaks gays Brendan Brady and Ste Hay might get most of the story attention, they aren’t the only gays in town. Fans might recall the story of George Smith, a gay college student, who had a big story earlier this year where it was revealed he was homeless and estranged from his family. While things looked dark for George as he was nearly sold into sexual slavery, he’s gotten his life back together. But a few complications are about to come George’s way in the form of his first romance with another guy.
This week saw George getting a chance to intern at a fashion magazine in London where he’ll meet Ryan, one of the employees there. It’s quickly clear that Ryan is attracted to George, but it takes George awhile to catch on. But when he does, George and Ryan have a whirlwind romance. Steven Roberts, who plays George, is excited about the show finally giving George his first romantic relationship.
George is about to have his first gay romance with co-worker Ryan…
“Yeah, I think it’s nice that it’s being explored now, especially because George has had such a tough year. But I think because of his past, he does find it difficult to trust people. “ Roberts told Digital Spy . “He knows who his friends are in the Hollyoaks village, he knows that he’s got his family back too, but he’s cautious of new people who come into his life.”
“Ryan is a lot more confident [than George] – he’s the type of guy who will go up to a bar and order a drink, whereas George would be worried about getting caught and not having an ID!” Roberts said of his love interest. “Ryan is more outgoing, but I think that’ll be good for George – he needs someone like that around him to encourage him to build his confidence. I wouldn’t say they’re chalk and cheese, but they are different.”
Do George and Ryan have a future?
George and Ryan say goodbye at the end of this week and it looks like the romance is over. But George will soon see Ryan again. Next week, George and his pals go on vacation, where Ryan and George are reunited. But George is nervous about seeing his London flame again.
“[Ryan’s return is] a complete surprise to George, and I think that’s when he suddenly sees his two worlds colliding.” Roberts said. “He gets on really well with his friends, but he feels a bit awkward about introducing Ryan to them – he’s not really sure how to deal with Ryan in front of his friends.”
But the big question is, do Ryan and George have a future?
“At the moment, we’re not sure. It’s blossoming and there is an attraction between them.” Roberts said. “It’s getting there, but I don’t know what the future holds for them yet!”
Will Hollyoaks’ Keiron Richardson nab the Best Actor award?
The nominations for the Inside SoapAwards are in and the gays of Hollyoaks managed to get a number of nods. Emmett Scanlan and Kieron Richardson, who play on again off again lovers Brendan and Ste were both nominated for Best Actor. And Scanlan was nominated for Funniest Male. Scanlan got a third nod as Best Bad Boy and Neil Newbon, who recently joined the cast as Walker, Brendan’s possibly gay henchman also received a nomination in that category. And Steven Roberts, who plays gay college student George Smith, was nominated for Best Newcomer.
Nighttime dramas Holby City and Waterloo Roadwere included in the noms for Best Drama and Neighbours received a notice as Best Daytime Drama. Best Soap nods went to Emmerdale, Coronation Street, EastEnders and Hollyoaks. Fans can vote for their favorites at the Inside Soap website.
Love… and tragedy is ahead for Chris on Neighbours.
For regular viewers of Australian soap Neighbours, not much has happened for gay mechanic Chris Pappas, played by James Mason, since breaking up with his boyfriend Aiden, a few months back. Chris has spent most of his time playing supportive friend to his straight pals problems and fans are starting to wonder if Chris will ever have a story all his own again. According to Richard Jasek, head writer for the soap, there’s much in store for Chris, including some family drama and the return of his former boyfriend.
“We love Chris too and his family is important to him, so we’ll continue to see them from time to time. He will face a terrible crisis later this year and his family will be there for him. “ Jasek revealed to Digital Spy. “As for Chris and Aidan, they broke up because Chris needed to find his strength and did so too late. But that doesn’t mean it’s all over for these two…”
And while Bob Morely, who plays Aiden returned to filming on the show several weeks ago, there’s no word on when he’ll be returning to our screens.
A man from Sonny’s past returns to Days, but it’s not a good thing…
Finally this week, Freddie Smith, who plays Sonny Kiriakis on Days hasn’t received a lot of airtime or story since his debut last year, but that’s going to change soon according to the actor. Sonny is reportedly going to have a huge storyline late summer to early fall. And while not much has leaked about what the story will be about, there’s buzz that it will involve an old foe of Sonny’s.
Fans might recall the character of Tad, known as ‘T’, who was a friend of Will’s. Tad, played Brendan Coughlin, hated the fact that Sonny was gay and soon fell out with Will and his pals because of his homophobic views. Well, according to this Days website, Tad is returning to the show in August and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to guess Days has a homophobia/gay bashing arc in mind. They haven’t missed a cliché yet with this gay storyline. Clearly they won’t miss this one either.
And to think there was a time I actually looked forward to this storyline.
That’s a wrap for this edition of Langford on Soaps. See you next time!