Feb 20, 2015

Home and Away: Gay Subtext Soap Opera

When I was working on my doctorate at USC, I spent the summer in France, and I watched a soap called Summer Bay (original title Home and Away), an Australian soap opera (1989-) centered on a group of foster children, their parents, and the residents of a nearby trailer park. I'm not much for soap operas, but this one seemed to feature a lot of buddy-bonding.  No gay characters, but enough gay subtexts to fill a book  (and a lot more swimsuit and semi-nude scenes than One Life to Live).

Blake Dean (Les Hill) moves to town, clashes with adult authority figures, and can't find a true friend until the hunky Simon (Richard Norton) moves to town.

Nick Smith (Chris Egan), a foster kid on the run from a drug lord, buddy-bonds with Duncan Stewart (Brendan McKesey), until Duncan's bad behavior forces a breakup.

The foster child relationships themselves provided moments of homoromantic buddy-bonding, as with school principal Donald (Norman Coburn), who opens his house to a surprisingly number of hunky teens, including Sam Marshall (Ryan Clark).

Even when there was no subtext, there were lots of hunky actors, such as Geoff Campbell (Lincoln Lewis). Nearly every hunky actor in Australia started his career with a season or two as a troubled teen on the beach: Heath Ledger, Julian McMahon, Guy Pearce, Ryan Kwanten....