Feb 5, 2023

The Gay Plot Arc of Robbie Hobbie


In my search for the acting credits of Charles Vandervaart, I stumbled across Hollie Hobbie (2018-2021), a Hulu series about a young girl with Big Dreams in a small town in Canada.  Who would make a tv series about the 1970s doll who wore 19th century outfits?  And more importantly, was Charles' character, older brother Robbie Hollie, gay-coded, like older brothers in many other teencoms?  So I went through the entire first season, fast-forwarding to Robbie's scenes.

Season 1 Episode 1: No connection to the doll, except someone dresses like her during the opening credits.  We meet Hollie's parents (Dad Evan Buliung, left), boyfriend (Hunter Dillon, below), best friends, little sister Heather (the bratty, manipulate younger sibling cliche), and Robbie (the dimwitted jock cliche).

Ep. 2: Robbie's first B plot, sneaking into a bull pen with some friends to take photographs.  He doesn't get one, so he returns later with a girl,  and accidentally lets the bull out.  It then eats the an important cucumber.

Ep 3:
Robbie teaches little sister how to arm wrestle, so she can beat her frenemy and future boyfriend Levi, thus proving that girls are better than boys.  It's hard to distinguish him on fast-forward, since he looks a lot like Hollie's boyfriend.

Ep 4: Robbie tries to blame the destruction of the cucumber on Hollie's boyfriend.  It's a big mess.  Finally he comes clean.  No heterosexual interest yet, unless you count his bull pen companion.

Ep 5: As punishment for the cucumber deal, Robbie and Hollie have to build a chicken coop.  But Robbie blows it off to play football.  Hollie yells "I hope you break your leg," and he does!

Ep 6: Robbie on crutches.  He can't play football anymore, so he has lost his identity.  Dad assigns him the job of fixing a broken tractor, to teach him responsibility or something. No heterosexual interest yet, but some macho football stuff.  There are gay football players in real life, of course, but it's not a standard tv trope.

Ep 7: No centric.

Ep 8: Hollie and her boyfriend run away together.  I thought this was Canada, but it turns out to be small-town Wisconsin.  In the B plot, Robbie and Little Sister accidentally break the urn containing the ashes of their beloved pet, and somehow Dad mistakes it for brownies.

Ep 9: 
Ulp -- Robbie is all lovey-dovey with Lyla, who appeared in the bull pen episode, but hasn't had any scenes with him since.   He's got a new life plan -- skip college and become  Lyla's househusband.  He proposes, and she says yes, to the consternation of the parents.  But it turns out that they were just playing a joke, to get even with the parents for pushing college so aggressively.  So, was he actually dating Lyla, or was the relationship part of the joke?

To find out, I watched the last episode she appears in, Season 3, Episode 9:  Robbie's artisanal jam has become a hit.  A company in Madison wants to hire him to start a jam line.  Little Sister Heather calls them and says he doesn't want the job,  so he won't leave town.  He is angry, of course, but she explains that she doesn't want to lose her best friend (Isn't Madison like an hour away?).  Robbie  opens up his business right there in town, so problem solved. 

Robbie and Lyla don't have any scenes together.  She has become one of Hollie's friends.  

Season 3, Episode 10.  The series finale.  Hollie is moving to Paris for a singing job.  Grandpa is getting married.  At the wedding reception, Robbie is dancing...with a guy!  It's a "blink and you miss it" shot in the final montage of the last episode. But it's there.

So...couldn't Robbie open his artisanal jam shop in West Hollywood?


  1. The show is called Holly Hobbie

    1. Yes, I know Robbie is the older brother.

    2. Yes, Robbie is the brother of Holly, who gives her name to the show: Holly Hobbie (not Hollie Hobbie)

    3. Oh, I get it, you were nitpicking her name. Holly, not Hollie. Sorry, but it would be too much trouble to go through and change, and I'm sure only the most avid of fans will know the difference. I researched the show, and the doll, and still saw "Hollie" every time.


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