Drake and Josh (2004-2007) was a Nickelodeon teencom about two high school stepbrothers.
Like The Wizards of Waverly Place and The Suite of Life of Zack and Cody, the program was not shy about subtexts. While both dated girls, Drake and Josh shared a physicality, an emotional connection, and an exclusivity that would elsewhere mark them definitively as romantic partners.
And there was an even more overt gay couple.
Network censorship forbade the nerds Craig and Eric (Alec Medlock, Scott Halberstadt) from being explicitly identified as a gay couple -- not on a program aimed at a teenage audience -- but they were as open as they could be without actually Wearing a Sign.
They danced together at a wedding.
They went on a double date with a heterosexual couple.
They bemoaned the loss of their pictures taken at Niagara Falls (a stereotypic honeymoon destination).
They broke up, realized how much they care for each other, and reconciled (while Drake sang “Beautiful Dreamer").
In the series finale, the tv-movie Merry Christmas, Drake and Josh (2008), they were shown holding hands.
In a 2007 episode, Drake comes very close to saying the word "gay." In a feeble, half-hearted attempt to Be Discreet, Eric tells Drake, “Girls are nothing but trouble. That’s why we don’t have girlfriends.”
Drake stares at him for a long moment, a curious self-satisfied grin on his face. He is obviously dying to Say the Word. The studio audience goes crazy with excitement. Will they finally hear it spoken aloud?
It looks for all the world like the actor is trying to decide whether he should stick to the script or say something like "You don't have girlfriends because you're gay," and risk a reshoot.
But, in the end, he sticks to the script: “There are a lot of reasons why you two don’t have girlfriends,” leaving the viewer the option of pretending not to know what those reasons are.
Juvenile tv programs are often loaded down with hints and innuendos -- Even Stevens, Hannah Montana, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, and The Wizards of Waverly Place come to mind.
But we're still waiting for a program aimed at teenagers or children to break the silence.