Gay people appeared twice in the original series, but not among the teenagers: a teacher is rumored to be a lesbian, and one of their older brothers announces that he is gay. Both episodes received howls of outrage from homophobic watchdog groups, and were not aired in the U.S. until later.
There was a huge cast of characters, including a number of hunks for the straight girls and gay boys to swoon over, often with underwear or swimsuit shots. The casual nudity was quite risque by American standards.
Joey had two close friends, Snake (Stefan Brogren) and Wheels (Neil Hope, left), but his strongest bond was with Wheels. Though each dated and had relationships with girls, as they helped each other through various crises, broke up and reconciled, got jealous over each others' outside friendships, they came arguably close to the passion and heat of a homoromance.