Jul 24, 2021

The Secrets of Sulphur Springs: Time Traveling Boyfriend and Girlfriend


Next up on the Disney Channel: The Secrets of Sulphur Springs, which premiered in January 2021.  A key word search on the title and "gay" yields: "this series is about two married gay men who get a divorce so they can marry other men."  I highly doubt that is the premise, but maybe there are some gay subtexts.

No, it's a ghost story-time travel mystery.  Griffin,  his dad Ben (Josh Braaten, left), and his young siblings move from the Big City to the tourist trap...er, resort of Sulphur Springs, Lousiana, where Ben grew up.  They are going to re-open the creepy, haunted Tarant Inn.  Thirty years ago, a young girl named Savannah disappeared there, while on a date with the young Ben: he heard an odd noise and went off to investigate, and when he returned, she was gone!  He is trying to work through the trauma and guilt, and the suspicions of the townsfolk, who think that he...well, this is the Disney Channel, so let's just say "knows something about the disappearance."    So he decided to come back?

Griffin (15-year old Preston Oliver, who is apparently a lot stronger than he looks) immediately latches on to a mystery-obsessed girl named Harper (uh-oh, I smell hetero-romance).  He invites her to dinner at the inn (uh-oh), and afterwards, presumably looking for a place to smooch, they discover a secret room with a time portal that leads to the distant-past year of 1990.  There they meet Savannah, alive and well, but constantly being pestered/hit on by the young Ben.  

It's a soap opera all around, back then: Young Ben (Jake Melrose, left) has an abusive father (Jim Gleason) and a stalker, the rich-bitch Jess, who is constantly trying to sabotage his budding romance with Savannah so she can seduce him.  These are 13-14 year olds on the Disney Channel, so no sex acts will actually occur, but all the tropes are there.

Meanwhile Griffin's sibs, paranormal enthusiasts, try to contact the ghost of Savannah to find out how she...um...disappeared.

The grown-up Jess still lives in town: her young son Topher (Bryant Tardy) was Harper's sidekick before she dumped him for Griffin.  Could Jess be responsible for the girl's...um... disappearance?

Spoiler alert: We find out what happened to Savannah in Episode 8.  Surprise!  She's not dead!  She used the portal to go back in time to 1960, where she's grooving on Camelot with a hip foster family.  But there are plenty more mysteries to solve, and a lot of time traveling.   The portal works in 30-year increments, so how about 1930?  1890?  Or ahead to 2050?  

Beefcake: No.  The show is occupied almost exclusively by women and girls.  

Gay Characters: No.

Gay Subtexts:  Since Griffin spends all of his time surrounded by women, he has no change to buddy-bond with anyone except Topher (whom he barely talks to) and the Young Ben (whom he interacts with only through the girlfriend).  

Skip it or Stream It: What do you think?


  1. The show sounds like a pass- but who it the hot shirtless guy in the first photo?

  2. To answer my own question the top photo is Josh Braaten, 44. 6'3'' and single. He is a very active actor

    1. Sorry, I accidentally got the names mixed up. Josh Braatan plays Griffin's father, Ben

    2. No problem you gave me a reason to do search on the handsome Mr Braaten

  3. Seducing a 13-year-old boy. Well, they got 90s heterosexism right. Can't show two guys kissing, but middle school boy knocks up teacher and everyone congratulates him, wishes they had a teacher like her, etc.

    My continued loathing for this godawful decade.

    Of course, I assume this portal also has a way of making sure you end up on Earth and not in outer space? Recalling the sun revolves around the galactic center.

  4. Time travel stories never worry about the movement of Earth through space. Or materializing inside a wall. Or the fact that the atoms that constitute your body existed back then, so now they are in two places at once.


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