James (elven_wolf) wrote,

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From Melrose Place to Torchwood

And General Hospital in between.

One of my presentations in college was about portrayals of homosexuality on television. I spoke at length about Xena and Hercules, about the Ellen debacle (she'd just done the coming out episode then, wow and has it really been that long?), and I don't remember what else. In a lot of ways, we'd come a long way, in others, we're still behind.

For example, when I was in high school my best friend Ivan got me into Melrose Place (let's not think too much on the hows or whys and just go with it), and there was one gay character there, whose name escapes me at the moment. While every hetero in that damn apartment complex was shagging each other's brains out, he got to hug guys. Not even a kiss. Just a hug. And then they'd cut away to more hetero screwing, which is 10 times more clean and saintly and good for the kiddies than omg them sick homos hugging. Hugs are bad, okay?

But at least he was there, and he didn't die of AIDS or anything.

A decade later and you have Queer as Folk, brought to us by those nice openminded folks in Britain. The American version of this show had to be on Showtime, but in their defence, some of the stuff they got up to would've been a little too hot for broadcast even if it were done by straight couples. There really was no straight sex in QaF, was there? Now I haven't seen all the episodes so correct me if I'm wrong. This was basically Melrose Place in reverse. Straight people got hugs.

Then the same lovely folks who brought us QaF have given us Torchwood, which isn't an all you can shag buffet in the same manner as QaF US was. Torchwood isn't a show about bisexual people, it's a show about alien hunters who just happen to be bi. It's a show where Jack's main purpose in life is to protect civilians from invasion, then to shag Ianto if there's free time. ;) I've always wanted that. I wanted a happily queer show that wasn't about being queer. It's why I was always drawn more to shows where teh ghei is subtext, like Xena, Stargate, Due South... Because you know it's there, you know such and such are doing it, but they're saving the world and all that fun stuff first.

And yet, when I look back on the past two series of Torchwood, I'm reminded a little bit of that gay/straight divide, that at least until 'Adrift', was alive and well. We get a lot of big gay talk from Jack from day one (or rather, 'Everything Changes', tehee), but while episode two brings us deadly!alien!sex in the lavatory, and masturbating to said alien sex, it's not until episode four that Jack kisses Ianto, and even then it's more of a 'I CAN DO CPR, NO RLY!' on Jack's part. Then nothing until the Jack/Jack scene and then one kiss to Ianto to close the season.

The good news is, we've graduated from hugs to kisses as far as the civilised world is concerned (let me touch upon 'Nuke' of General Hospital As The World Turns (thanks, action_doll) fame, which I don't watch but there was a blurb in the latest Advocate about--apparently they were all gung ho about letting them kiss on camera, but the housewives bitched and moaned and we're back to hugs, which reminded me of poor Melrose Gay Boy). And finally, in 'Adrift', we get some of ours in the famous 'hothouse scene'. It's two seconds and some rapid editing, but it was undeniable what we saw.

I wonder where they'll go with this next. Here we have a steady relationship between two central characters, which everybody in the cast knows about. I don't necessarily want need to see Jack bend Ianto over the desk, but can we get a little romance? Just a bit? Some foreplay? I'm a big fan of foreplay. The scene between Tosh and Adam-Sue was longer than the hothouse scene. Can we have a Janto scene like that? That'd be nice. I figure the UK will be ready for that before the US is, but teh interwebz make everything okay.

I'm just loving series 2, even with all the spoilage I've gotten regarding the finale. I think in a way, if some of the nastier rumours are true, it'll be kind of inevitable. Some character archs can only go so long. But we'll see. I won't speculate until I see the episode.
Tags: meta, qaf, teh ghei, torchwood, tv

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