Opinions Soaps

Gays of our Lives: Goodbye, John Paul

In this week’s Gays of our Lives, a lot of gay characters make their exits….

  • Hollyoaks said goodbye to its longtime character John Paul McQueen.  And while it wasn’t a wholly satisfying ending for one of everybody’s favorite gays, there were things to like.
  • On Emmerdale, two gays threaten to leave town, but only one does.  Who is it and will we ever see him again?  In other news, Aaron suffers.  A lot.  The sun also rises.
  • A gay also says goodbye on Shortland Street when Cam gets a job opportunity that will take him out town.  That doesn’t bode well for he and Jack’s future.
  • While neither David or Rhys are leaving Rownd a Rownd, their relationship will be lost in the wake of Dani’s accident.

All this and more!

PICKS AND PANS

Hollyoaks (U.K.)

All in all, John Paul did get a nice send off.  I’m so glad he wasn’t killed off.  Myra has lost enough children and the show has enough dead McQueens.  A nice beat was Myra mentioning that JP has always been the heart of his family.  Curious how things will change for them with him gone.   I wasn’t even mad about the tease about JP getting back with Craig, which I know the long time fans loved.   That was a nice treat for them.  Craig was never my favorite JP romance though.  I loved JP and poor dead Father Kieron, followed by James.  As I said before, John Paul is one of my favorite soap characters ever and I will miss him.  But at least he got a relatively happy ending.  And on this show, that’s rare.  I think it’s also a tribute as how beloved this character was.

Only in soaps can you decide leave town one day and have a new job and a new life within hours.   JP didn’t even take most of his stuff!  But that scene between Sally and Jean Paul in her office was beautifully written and well acted.

One of things that has annoyed me the most about the last year or two of JP’s stories was how they treated the John Paul/James romance.  They were a terrific, well matched couple and could have been one of the show’s most popular duos.  Instead they were barely written for and lacked direction and focus.  I guess much of it had to do with James Sutton’s decision to leave but that was no reason for the shoddy, neglectful storytelling.  I really hated how it was shoved aside to revisit the awful John Paul/Ste pairing, a toxic relationship that nobody liked.

They also did such damage to JP’s character (which contributed to the actor leaving, I guess) with John Paul being so fickle.  JP accepts James’ proposal, but sleeps with Ste because James has to leave on a business trip that he talked to JP about before the proposal?  Overall, I didn’t like the shabby way JP treated James.  James never deserved that.  He wasn’t the perfect boyfriend, but JP crapping all over him like that will always leave a bad taste in my mouth.

But with JP gone now, I just hope the show not only writes for James, but gives him some prominence.  He’s too good of a character and Gregory Finnegan too good of an actor to be wasted.   I presume there will probably be a new gay character or two added soon as Hollyoaks always has multiple gay characters involved in different stories so I’m sure James will eventually have a new love interest.  But can James please have nothing to do with Ste?  Ste drags everybody down, mostly because the show insists on making every story about him at the other character’s expense.

Speaking of Ste, did I miss a plot point?  Didn’t Amy just take Ste to court over custody of the kids because of Ste’s brain disorder, which made him a clear danger to them?  Now she wants Ste to move in and help raise the kids with no mention of his problems?   And since when is Amy unable to raise her children on her own? Hasn’t she been doing that for years?


Emmerdale  (U.K.)

Why does everybody think that Aaron deserves a shorter sentence?  He is guilty.  And with his record, he’s lucky he didn’t get more than a year.  I’m not sure on what grounds his sentence can be appealed, not like the show is saying anything.

Did we really need an all prison episode?  I mean, it’s not like the story doesn’t eat up tons of airtime and we get all the angst with Aaron and Robert.  Just seemed like a bit much, especially given that it wasn’t a turning point in the story or nothing hugely significant happened.  Though I guess Aaron using drugs, which was no doubt going to happen, was supposed to be.  I realize that Aaron and Robert are hugely popular, but sometimes the show wallows in its own success and this would be one of them.  I also think the angst has gotten excessive.  Prision, addicted to drugs, being a drug mule and Robert and Liv’s problems as well.  It’s overload!

I’m glad Lawrence and Ronnie made up, but I wonder what the show is going to do with them.   I want them to have a story, not just exist in the background of village life.  Will they ever address the issue of them not sleeping together… or did that change off screen or something?  I’m still glad that we get to see an older gay couple though.  TV usually doesn’t feature gays past the age of 30.

Ross helping Finn trying to find a man was a cute bit, though this show really seems to have no idea what to do with Ross anymore.   His romance with Rebecca isn’t going anywhere and his love story with Debbie was snoozeworthy.  I’m really surprised the show has wasted Micheal Parr for nearly a year now.  The actor is way too talented not to be in the forefront.

I did like that bit about Finn rightfully assuming his Mom had stolen his passport, which was totally based on history.

But if I hadn’t read otherwise, I’d think Finn was gone from the show permanently given how he left.   When he does return I’d like the show to move in a new direction or perhaps he could go back to making his way in business before the show let him drift for all this time.  Maybe the show mentioning that is an indication where they plan to go with him.  And he should have a romance that lasts more than a few weeks.  Aaron and Robert/Lawrence and Ronnie shouldn’t be the only ones with a long running love story.

ADDITIONAL SCENE

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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.

  • Nathan Convey

    Well the character is meant to be gone for around 2 months and they film around 7 weeks in advance.

  • Sarah_McL

    I like your optimism. Do you know how far ahead Shortland Street films? If the actor is really only gone for two months, how long would he be off the screen?

  • Nathan Convey

    I was 100% Cam wouldn’t be coming back, but the way it ended made me rethink that. They could have easily just written him getting a permanent job in Wellington, why put a two month limit on it? Also, the way he and Jack had their last scene, it felt so unfinished. Would they really base a character exit on one character telling another not to come back in the heat of the moment? I know the writing can be dodgy-as but that strikes me as odd, even for Shorty. Even the official twitter had a question mark after their ‘Farewell Cam’ post, which was weird in itself. Plus, the actor seems to have been doing nothing but travelling since he stopped filming, rather than doing other work/looking for other work. Maybe I’m being optimistic though lol

  • Ryan

    I hated that scene between Ronnie and Lawrence. Ronnie said that he wasn’t happy with how their relationship was affecting him, and Lawrence ignored that completely and said that he liked Ronnie’s affect on him. It’s as if Ronnie exists solely for Lawrence’s enjoyment with no regard to the cost Ronnie has to pay for it. It reminds me of other abusive relationships where a declaration that one needs the other is seen as the highest form of love.

    JP and James could have been such an interesting couple if Hollyoaks were interested in more than love triangles.

  • UiscePreston

    I agree about Michael Parr being wasted on Emmerdale. I have no doubt that the boy could make it big anywhere. He could even put his US passport to good use and try his luck in NYC or Hollywood at this point. (P.S., his mum is an American.)

    And I concur with Sara_McL, David and Rhys are bound to get caught out. Barry knows. John basically knows. I bet even the twins have figured it out. Yeah, the secrecy is going to drag out for a bit. But then it is going to blow up because David has always felt the pressure of being under the control of both Dani and Wyn. Now though, the demands of his rehabilitating beard and her family will just drive him more and more to Rhys. And when everyone finds out what a two-timing deceptive lech he is – especially while his supposed love is in a back brace, lots of drama. Remember David’s half-brother is married to Dani’s mother. So his fake girlfriend is also kinda his semi-step-niece-in-law. Or something. Oh Wales, you’re like the American South of the British West.

  • Sarah_McL

    I absolutely love David and Rhys. They are my favorite soap couple at moment although that might change once Kush and Denise reunite. Their story is so soapy. David crying was heartbreaking. I think he was crying out of frustration. He wants to come out and start with Rhys, but there was Dani lying there in pain and afraid. David and Rhys’ romance won’t remain a secret for long if they keep kissing and hugging in public.

    Anthony, I wish I shared you confidence about Jack and Cam. I think that Shortland Street is poorly written all the way around, Jack and Cam just get the worse of it because they are gay. By introducing Cam’s confusion about his attraction to Jack, the show seemed to be putting a pin in their relationship. However, maybe it is just the show’s typical bad writing. Are we certain that Cam is returning? Just wondering because the farewell party and Jack telling him to stay away felt far more permanent than Cam just leaving for a couple months.

    Aaron is such a fun strong character with so much potential. Yet he is constantly sidelined and is now stuck in this potential relationship with wet blanket David. Everyday that Aaron isn’t paired with David is a good day because when it does happen is bound to be weak.

  • popcultureguy

    I’m not a regular “Hollyoaks” watcher, but I watched a bit of JP’s exit and I really found it refreshing that he got a simple happy ending where you could easily bring him back someday, which soaps more often than not – especially the US soaps – dismiss as boring, not explosive enough, etc, especially when it’s one character vs. a couple. I actually really liked his little speech to his son on the plane, that was very sweet and spoke to what I think of JP as being like. And while this was partially because they didn’t have the actor, I liked the little touch with the Craig call, and that they left it ambiguous, and James Sutton did such a great job letting so many emotions flitter across his face in those few moments. Just a nice job all around.