Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Kiss me, count me.

Television history was made last Sunday in the United States when Kevin Walker (played by the gorgeous, and WELSH actor, Matthew Rhys) was formally institutionalised (read married) to his boyfriend, Scotty (played by out actor Luke Macfarlane) in a rather touching family ceremony within the Walker mansion. Of course there was other drama, but none of it involving the gays. Well, not because they're gay.

More, and a clip, after the jump..

And it was touching. I enjoyed it. It got me thinking about gays on modern television and how we as a community react to it.

I can think of a bunch of gay characters and storylines on mainstream television around the world. The best of these, in my opinion, is Kevin and Scotty - because they have a shot at happiness, their relationship isn't based around the horrors of homosexuality, and it's portrayed with a real genuine feeling that all of the heterosexual pairings on B&S shows. They, to me, most accurately show a modern gay relationship on television. Next we have John Paul and Craig, or Father Kieron, from Hollyoaks in the UK. And it's a nice genuine story, John Paul isn't a stereotype, and in typical McQueen fashion nothing's perfect. But the shame that Craig had right up until the end put me off a little bit. There are others; one of my favourite shows right now is Verbotene Liebe, a German soap with a pretty wonderful gay storyline in the form of Christian and Olli.

Then there's Luke and Noah. Already crowned the latest supercouple of As the World Turns, Nuke captured America with their very first kiss in the middle of an student A/V room. Then there were a bit more kissing, and then, nothing. For over 200 days, not a single lip lock between the two. Through the use of clever panning and annoying interruptions, two thirds of a year went by before there was any more intimacy between them. CBS denied they were portraying the couple differently from any other couple. I think that's a load of codswallop, but hey, at least they're portraying something positively gay on daytime television.

This brings me to the point of this post. The gay community watches for gay kissing on mainstream television like vultures circling the heads of network executives. If we get it, we go absolutely crazy. When they are suddenly withdrawn, we go crazy, but in a bad way. But why is it that our community is still having to count the kisses on television?

I absolutely agree that any television show that wants to portray gay characters and relationships needs to show the physical side of that, just as much as any other relationships are shown that way (although I can do without Kitty marinating in Robert's juices, thank you very much). It feels sad to me though that whenever we hear about gay characters on TV shows, one of our first questions is "will he get a kiss," I've never heard a new straight character being interviewed and having to answer that question. Because it's just expected that it won't be an issue.

I find it pathetic in a way that we 'kiss chase' television shows when we hear of gay characters. I find it even more pathetic that we get all excited when it happens, then upset when it doesn't. But what I find most pathetic is that in 2008 gay kissing on mainstream television is still so shied away from. Brothers and Sisters has consistently done it, and it hasn't been an issue. But they're one out of a myriad of television shows that still quake at the thought of two guys macking.

So I guess it's really sad that we have to kiss count our gay kisses, when there are so many of our straight counterparts kissing we'd lose count in the first day. I understand that we need to keep pressing the issue. I just hope that I won't still be kiss counting in ten years time.

No comments: