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Gays of our Lives: I’m Back! Did You Miss Me?

HTF- Season 3, Ep. 3
HTF- Season 3, Ep. 3

I’m sure there are those who are wondering, what is this column all about? Some of you might know my work from the gay oriented websites the much lamented AfterElton.com/The Backlot and later NewNowNext where I wrote about television shows, airing all over the world, featuring gay characters in prominent storylines. And now I’ve been given the opportunity to continue that work here at TVSource Magazine.

Each and every Monday in Gays of Our Lives you will find links to the clips of the shows, my thoughts on the stories and the characters, spoilers and teasers and even some news from time to time.

But why? Well, so many viewers such as myself are hungry to see the lives of gay characters reflected in such a powerful entertainment medium such as television. Despite all the progression that gays have made over the years that need hasn’t changed. Perhaps it’s even stronger.

There’s nothing I love more than introducing folks to an interesting gay themed story or a relevant character that they didn’t know about. I am committed to providing a place to find — and discuss — those much needed stories. And it gives me a chance to do some writing when I’m not working that unpublished novel I might finish once day.

So without future ado, the first edition of GAYS OF OUR LIVES.


PICKS AND PANS

American Crime (U.S.)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you’re not watching this show, you should be. The acting across the board is flawless, the writing is tough and unflinching, tackling subjects you rarely see anywhere, much less on a weekly television program.

This past week was no different. The powerful opening sequence, with Taylor giving a statement about the night of the alleged rape, was probably the strongest of the hour as Connor Jessup gave a painful, heartbreaking performance.

There were plenty of other solid scenes. Felicity Huffman’s character is soulless, evil and heartless, but you cannot stop watching her. The scene of her in the meeting with other school officials while she callously planned to use Eric’s being forced out of the closet to place a smoke screen over the rape scandal had me gasping in shock at how truly odious she was.

vlcsnap-2016-02-07-10h25m45s51Regina King was fierce (again) when the police told her that Kevin wasn’t going to be charged with anything, but the case wasn’t going to be dropped. And Mama Terri simply wasn’t having it.

In addition to the earlier scenes where he recounted the rape, Jessup further showed how talented he is when Taylor was confronted by his girlfriend Evi and was forced to deal with her very pointed questions about why he’d always wanted rough sex with her and if he had picked her because was boyish. Yipes!

Eric had it rough too. Home from his suicide attempt, no one in his family wanted to talk about his being gay when he clearly desperately needed to discuss it. He had my sympathy even if, as the police noticed, he showed no regret or sorrow over what happened with Taylor.

The question of whether Taylor was raped or not is still a question yet to be answered, but I have a feeling there’s so much more to be revealed. Kevin and the other players are obviously hiding something.

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Another highlight? Taylor’s near kiss with the cute blonde in the bathroom. That was kinda hot. And judging by the look of temptation on Taylor’s face when he later thought about it after getting a text from the guy he thought so too.

But what was with Taylor gazing at that violent picture on the wall when he thought about his near hook up? Does that tie into his need for rough sex? Hmm….

Next week we’ve got Lili Taylor and Regina King squaring off face to face? I’m there.

 


Emmerdale (U.K.)

I think whoever makes these decisions needs to just give Danny Miller all the awards because I can’t imagine any UK actor giving the kind of performances that he’s giving during this childhood rape storyline. I think this might be the best I’ve ever seen him and I’ve watched Miller through out his entire career on show during some pretty intense stories.

But while I loved the scene where Aaron detailed his father’s sexual abuse to his mother Chas, I thought the earlier scenes of Aaron and Chas at the beach, thinking about better times were really well done. Danny Miller and Lucy Pargeter are such a believable mother and son duo and no better in scenes like that.

Chas confronting Gordon were terrific scenes as well, with Gordon spinning a very believable tale of what really happened until the mask fell away and Gordon admitted what he’d done. And while Gary Mavers was chilling in those moments, I not only have a problem with Gordon confessing, I have a problem with Gordon in general. His character makes little sense to me and is really more a plot device for Aaron’s angst rather than a fully fleshed out character.

I still don’t understand why Gordon would come back after all this time with this secret hanging over his head and not expect it to come out. Sure, Chas explained what she thought, but her spun out of whole cloth theory doesn’t have much credulity. I also found Cain’s role in the story to be unnecessary because we’ve seen Cain do this so many times. Kidnap, bully and threaten to kill someone. It’s dull because he’ll never follow through and it’ll be much ado about nothing.

It would have been more powerful would have been Chas deciding to exact vengeance and Aaron stopping her. But then I’d guess we’d miss out on Cain the bully, which this show seems to enjoy depicting a few times a year. Oh joy.

Additional Scenes:

(430) Aaron & Robert 4th February 2016

(436) Aaron & Robert 5th February 2016


Hit The Floor (U.S.)

Wowza. That sex in a closet scene between Jude and Zero was pretty hot. We haven’t seen anything like that on a mainstream TV program in like… awhile. It’s nice when a show treats gay sex scenes just like the het ones. Actually we saw more of Jude and Zero’s steamy moments than the other straight romantic scenes in that particular episode. Yay!

vlcsnap-2016-02-07-10h48m03s121But, didn’t take long for reality to crash in on them when Jude realized he was still Zero’s secret and he got angry. I do kinda think that Jude is being hard on Zero though. Yes, much has changed for gays, but I still think coming out would probably be the end of Zero’s career and it’s a lot expect Zero to give all that up. Jude used to be a sports agent so he should be able to appreciate Zero’s position. I think it’s kind of selfish that Jude doesn’t seem to get it.

As much as I enjoyed Zero and Jude making out, watching Zero scheme and plot his way to gain more power and control on the team was just as fun. Nothing I like more than a bad boy being bad. And Zero is so good at it.

Overall this is fun show and I love it, not just for the entertaining gay storyline and the other sudsy stories, but that the cast is mostly people of color, another thing television could use more of.


River City (Scotland)

I spent most of this episode being really annoyed with Robbie, first of all for judging Angel for her affair with Alex given his own history of infidelity. I’m glad Angel reminded Robbie that he had cheated on Will.

vlcsnap-2016-02-07-13h06m15s80Of course Robbie went on being as hypocritical as ever, blabbing about Alex and Angel’s affair to Kelley-Marie’s family. He was totally out of line and completely inappropriate. I’m no fan of Alex, but he should have tossed Robbie and his big mouth out.

But at least Robbie reflected on things and realized he made his life a big of a disaster as Kelly-Marie had and that like her, he had to get his act back together in the wake of a relationship falling apart, even though he had no idea how to do it.

Given all that Robbie went through with Will, not knowing how to move on without him is a realistic situation to be in. When this plot arc startled, I couldn’t help but think this is Robbie’s exit story. I still believe that in part because I think the character is past his shelf life and it’s time to move on. He’s just not that interesting to me anymore. And we’ve got Patrick now, who’d I much rather watch.


Shades of Blue (U.S.)

vlcsnap-2016-02-07-09h47m38s178I had no intention of watching this show even though it looked interesting. I love cop shows but it’s hard for me to add anything new with all the other stuff I watch for fun and for my ‘work’.

But when I heard that the show had revealed that one of the leading characters was bisexual, I had to tune in. I forced myself to binge watch all the aired episodes and I’m glad I did. It’s a pretty good cop show.

I know Jennifer Lopez has done lots of movies, but I’ve never seen her in anything before. She’s actually a pretty good actress. I was surprised at how well she handles the lead role and how believable she is as a bad ass cop.

Ray Liotta is excellent as Woz. But this is the kind of actor who can do this kind of sleazy, despicable role in his sleep. And I love, love, love that he’s bisexual. I know some are griping because the bad guy likes dudes, there’s nothing wrong with a villain who is queer, especially since his sexuality has nothing to do with him being a crooked cop.

Gay/bisexual characters don’t have to always be likable. Though was the show sending a mixed message of Woz saying he wasn’t ashamed of his sexual tastes even as he had a rival forcibly raped in order to keep his own secret? That did give me pause.

The supporting cast is solid as well, especially Gino Anthony Pesi as Harlee’s sexy D.A. lover and Warren Kohl as Robert, the FBI agent who’s just a little too fixated on Harlee. BTW, that scene of Robert answering the door in a towel and his assistant openly gaping at his delicious body was gratuitous. But I wasn’t complaining.

vlcsnap-2016-02-07-09h46m16s130However, I don’t care much about Tess’ marital problems though, especially since her cheating husband remains off screen, taking a lot out of the story.

 

And while I’m enjoying the show, I’m not sure how I feel about it’s being renewed for a second season. Shades of Blue strikes me as a single season series and I don’t see how they’re going to squeeze an ongoing show out of the premise, which while compelling, is limited in scope.

I hope that they don’t start coming up with silly plot twists and turns to keep the show going. They’re already doing that with Woz suspecting someone different as being the mole every week only to find out he’s wrong. Sometimes I wish US shows took the British model of telling one story, one season and moving on.


Shadowhunters (U.S)

This was a tough hour to sit through. I nearly turned the show off during the climactic battle with the memory demon. It was terrible. I don’t mind some cheesy plotting and less than spectacular special effects. As a huge fan of the genre, I’ve watched a lot of sci-fi/fantasy over the years and you get used to it.

But I need to see some better performances out of these young actors. There’s a lot of green here and a lot of struggling to get through the heavy exposition in many of the scenes. The actor doing his best and in the process making his character the most appealing is Alberto Rosende as cute nerd Simon. He’s the only character I’m truly invested in. I really loved last week’s episode about Simon’s being kidnapped by the vampire clan and I definitely want to know more about about his sudden yen for blood.

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As for the gay storyline, I guess Magnus (Harry Shum Jr.) and Alec (Matthew Daddario) are going to have a star crossed romance with the conflict being Alec’s being repressed about his sexuality and Magnus’ hedonism. Not to mention Alec’s unrequited feelings for Jace (Dominic Sherwood).

But there’s a couple of problems here: the show repeatedly tells us about Alec and Jace’s tight (platonic) bond, but the actors have no chemistry and there’s no real warmth or heart in their scenes together. For example, Clary went on about how intimate the spell the guys cast together was, but none of that came across in the performances.

I’m also not buying Magnus’ sudden attraction to Alec. Alec might be cute, but he’s such a boring stiff (the acting doesn’t help), I’m not seeing why someone as dynamic and flamboyant as Magnus would give Alec the time of day.

Hopefully as we get further into the storyline that will change. But I do find it funny though that in world of vampires, demon hunters and magicians, Alec can’t handle being gay. Seriously?


The Haves and The Have Nots (U.S.)

This show has the tendency to play out stories for so long that you sometimes forget who knows what and that it actually still matters. Like Candace finding out that Wyatt had been driving the car that nearly killed Benny and that Jeffery knew about it the whole time.

vlcsnap-2016-02-07-09h49m56s249This is a storyline that has been playing out for over 2 years now. And because of that the reveal fell flat because it had been hanging out there for so long.

Besides, Candace didn’t seem too upset at Jeffery (or at Wyatt for that matter), but I did like her reminding Jeffery who his real friends are and telling that she has always been there for him in a way that no one else has.

I agree that eventually Wyatt will show his true colors in regards to Jeffery and he’ll go running back to her. Wyatt has always used Jeffery; this is no different. i just hope that next time, Jeffery cuts ties with Wyatt for good.

 

I’m glad that Jeffery hasn’t changed his mind about making sure Veronica never gets out of jail, though I have no doubt she’ll get out somehow and exact revenge on him.

Veronica always puts herself first, shown in that scene where she told David not to worry about Jeffery but to get her out of jail. Mother Love, that one.

About the author

Anthony D. Langford

I watch a lot of television, probably too much. But can you really watch too much TV? I've yet to find out. Anyway, I especially love TV when they give us positive portrayals of gays, something that has gotten better but we're still fighting for. I've written about gays in television for many years first at the much missed After Elton, then New Now Next and now at TV Source. It's kind of a passion of mine and I look forward to sharing it with you.

  • belle

    I’m glad to follow you over Anthony. I will disagree slightly about Woz’ sexuality having nothing to do with him being a crooked cop. The impression I got, especially from them showing those black and white scenes from when Woz recruited Harley and what’s happening with the rookie that shot the unarmed man – this unit seems to be made up of people who tried to start out as good cops and got compromised. Harley by framing someone for murder and the rookie by shooting someone unarmed which left them vulnerable.

    Even though Woz seems to be okay with himself, he also doesn’t appear to be out to his crew even though he keeps calling them his family. It makes me think that someone found out about his sexuality when he was a younger cop and used that as leverage to ease him into the life of a dirty cop. I doubt if the drug dealer had seen him kissing a woman in the movie theater, the rest of the story would have played out quite so brutally.

    Maybe Magnus likes a challenge? For me it’s just nice to see Harry Shum get to do more. As much as I enjoyed his dancing on Glee, it’s nice to see him doing something else.

  • pent234

    Count me among those thrilled that your column hasn’t disappeared into the ether, Anthony!

  • donks09

    I’m sad to see another piece of theBacklot gone. But I’m glad you didn’t disappear but merely moved.

  • Warren

    Glad you’ve found a new home Anthony – and I’m glad to have found it so I can keep in touch via your always perceptive coverage of the soaps here and abroad.

  • Josh Campbell

    Agree with Ryan, glad you’re still here.
    I wondered about Jude and the new kids in The Fosters too.
    Adds on Johnny rocks up and Paul ends up with him.
    Emmer dale has been cracking.
    Loving HTF.

    But sorry Ryan, I’m all for Robron!

  • Ryan

    I’m glad that your column didn’t disappear.

    AC: My guess is that Kevin spiked Taylor’s drink in order to embarrass him. Eric then went ahead with his plans with Taylor either not noticing or not caring that Taylor was more out of it than could be explained by a few beers.

    ED: The juxtaposition between the happy day at the beach and the tearful confession was powerful. More shows need to learn that characters need moments of happiness to create a feeling of loss when the sad parts come.

    The only explanation that I have for Gordon is hubris: he thought that he had gotten away with the rapes and could safely try to rebuild his failed marriage.

    I don’t care how “genuine” Robert’s feelings are. He’s not what Aaron needs in a partner.

    EE: I’m glad that Johnny will be coming back. It’s always awkward when a character leaves under circumstances that don’t prevent them from coming back to visit for important events.