Gays of our Lives: Jack (Finally) Gets His Man on ‘Shortland Street’


Riverdale  (U.S.)

The eternal triangle begins.

To be honest, Riverdale doesn’t have anything you haven’t seen before in a teen soap.  The character archetypes are all quite cliched: the hot jock who feels things ‘deeply’, the rich bitch, the sweet girl next door, the sardonic best friend, the sage dad giving sage advice.  And the stories of love triangles, mysterious deaths and scandalous secrets are well trodden material.

But Riverdale takes something the familiar and turns it into something delicious and addictive to watch, helped by a well-depicted sense of place and mood, sharp writing and good acting from it’s young and not so young cast.  The murder mystery and the surrounding stories are intriguing.  In fact, I pretty much love everything about Riverdale, except for one thing, which I’ll get to shortly.

KJ Apa is very good as the lead character Archie, who can act and has nice abs, which the camera loves to linger on.  Apa has improved immeasurably from his debut on New Zealand soap Shortland Street, where he was actually pretty terrible.  I also like Cole Sprouse as Jughead and Lili Reinheart as Betty.   Oh and I must mention Luke Perry as Archie’s DILF daddy Fred Andrews.  My, has he aged well.  I know this is a teen drama, but let’s forget that Perry is still a sexy dude.  I wanna see him getting his groove on.

I’ll give the writing for Kevin a few episodes before I get really mean.

But the star of the show for me is Camila Mendes as Veronica.  Sure, Veronica a rich bitch, but she has depth and she’s written with heart.  And Mendes plays her beautifully, stealing every scene she’s in.  She also has blistering chemistry with Apa, which doesn’t bode well for Betty in this triangle.  I also love that Betty and Veronica have a real friendship.  Sure they both like Archie, but they wouldn’t screw each other over for his D.  That is different in a teen soap where the girls are generally always rivals.

My problem with this show and something I hope they can fix is the portrayal of Kevin Keller, which is painfully, annoyingly stereotypical.  Sadly, Kevin is the girls’ BFF, obsessed with fashion, always bitchy and other unfortunate gay stereotypes. It’s a shame because the writing is sharp for the other characters but for Kevin, it’s like so many shallowly written gay teens I’ve seen on so many shows and movies.  We should be past this kind of portrayal and I hope the show fleshes Kevin out as the show moves forward and makes him more than just a one-dimensional teen queen.

To be fair, Casey Cott can act and his part is bigger than I thought it would be.  I just want better writing for him.  The show has time to give me that.   Oh and at this point, I’m not sure how I feel about Josie and the Pussycats, but again, I’ll give the show time to let them grow on me as well.

Rownd a Rownd  (Wales)

All right, it’s time for David to get his act together and come out.  His grabbing Dani so harshly makes me nervous.  Not only should he never treat Dani like that, I’m afraid of how he might behave if he and Rhys ever got into a fight.  I don’t want to see any violence in a relationship, ever.  And what was he looking at on that app?   He knew what Rhys’ date looked like, what else was there to see?

People of the Valley  (Wales)

Well, it was nice to finally have a scene with Tyler and Iolo together.  And I’m digging Tyler in that black tank top showing off those guns.   The scene of them rehearsing for the quiz was cute. They have such fun and romantic banter.  They still need a story though.


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.

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  1. So I just watched Shortland Street today …. Looks like they are spinning a story for Leroy now.

    P.s. I don’t know what you said or did Anthony, but someone started uploading Le Chalet on YouTube. I am so happy, so ….Thank you! You are amazing :)

  2. Riverdale: Well, a new guilty pleasure. It certainly is interesting that Josie and the Pussycats are all Black in this one. And their music style is a little interesting. Of course Robin Givens as Josie’s mother is interesting, too. Cole Sprouse actually surprised me as Jughead, though it looks like his comic love of hamburgers is virtually all but absent so far. As for Kevin, yeah…they do need to step up his game a bit, because he reminds me of George Smith on Hollyoaks (when he first appeared) with his attitude thus far. Mind you, this was FAR different from Kevin Keller in the comics (up until the revamp), who was less of a queen and more of a strait laced kid. A shame, too, because Berlanti could’ve used that version to good measure.

  3. That’s Cam and Jack from “Shortland Street”.

  4. From what show is the hot couple in the cover?

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