Thursday, January 06, 2005

Not A Dry Eye In The House

Last night The Bill gave us television's first gay wedding. Or at least the first one in a continuing drama series. Certainly the first in a cop show. But whatever kind of 'first' it was we must give it a small cheer.
It was actually a 'commitment ceremony'. They ran the storyline too early for it to be one of the new Civil Partnership ceremonies. PC Lance and Sgt Mark (Tactical Firearms Unit) wore matching pink jackets in a slightly more subdued shade than the Petunias in today's picture.
Just to annoy racists as well as homophobes (and doubly annoy people who are both), the wedding was interracial as well as gay. PC Murphy (the ex-Nolan sister) rustled up an elderly Catholic priest to preside at the ceremony. The poor old chap would surely be excommunicated if this leaked out.
Lance and Mark each made short speeches about their deep love for the other. Hardened old copper Tony Stamp's eyes watered and even this cynical old viewer was reaching for the Kleenex.
Earlier some black Christian friends of Lance had kidnapped him in an attempt to derail the ceremony. In the exchanges between them, with Biblical quotes being batted to and fro, writer Joe Turner made sure that the Christians got the worst of it. Not that resort to violence and kidnap hadn't already undermined their credibility.

It seems only the other day that the first gay kiss on Eastenders caused such an uproar, with one of the actors, Michael Cashman, having bricks thrown through his windows. Incredibly, all he'd done was give Barry a quick peck on the cheek as he left for work.
What's been so admirable about the current Bill storyline is that they've treated the gay relationship no differently than they would a straight one. There have been no instant cuts the moment Mark and Lance's lips touched. Several times we've seen them snog each other's faces off. In peak time. In one of British television's ratings-topping programmes. Neither character has manifested a single gay stereotype (unless you count the complaint of some women that gay men are all drop dead gorgeous which, believe me, they're not). And, apart from the disapproval of some family and colleagues, there's been none of the angst and agonising over sexuality that characterised the programme's last gay storyline.
For years there has been a convention in television that you can deal sympathetically with gay characters so long as the story has an unhappy ending, often with one partner discovering he was straight after all. Admittedly, happy endings don't always make good drama but let's hope that, just this once, Lance and Mark are allowed to live happily ever after.


Because hundreds of thousands of Americans with my real surname have variants of my AOL email address, I often get misdirected mail. Unlike mis-delivered snail mail which is usually sealed in an envelope, these emails instantly reveal the details of people's lives, whether it's this week's Lacrosse match or the guest list for Saturday's barbecue. Sad maybe, but it's one of the things I love about the internet.
Today I find myself in the loop for some desperate emails winging between California and Illinois about fire retardent materials and meetings with the Los Angeles Fire Chief. I'm only blogging while I await the next exciting instalment. If I didn't have a few moral scruples left I could cause chaos by emailing the others to say the meeting with the Fire Marshal has been cancelled and the contract terminated. Or I could email Susan, one of those involved, and invite her to dinner at my hotel with hints of mouth-watering desserts that aren't on the restaurant menu but might be available in room 522.

With wrongly addressed personal emails I usually tell the people of their error. But this once led to me being cyber-stalked by a woman who was about to visit Britain. Apparently, just the thought of an English accent got her juices flowing. It became a problem when she started to constantly instant message me and become increasingly angry when I refused to tell her what the weather was like in London, not that I would know. Eventually I put a block on her instant messages.
I just hope she wasn't disgustingly rich and could have been content with me reading Brideshead Revisited in her ear in my sexiest Middle England tones. I could have been typing this at the side of a swimming pool in Hollywood while a Mexican houseboy gave me a pedicure or something.


At 1:23 AM, Blogger The absent referent said...

I've had odd instant messages show up from absolute strangers before. It's very unsettling, isn't it? I had one recently from a woman who in about two lines of typing wanted to have cyber-sex. I told her she wasn't my type, she said, why, was I woman? That was OK, kind of interesting because she'd never had cyber-sex with another woman. But apparently she wasn't interested in cyber-sex with a gay guy, which was quite a relief, and she went away.

But the pedicure sounds very soothing.

At 9:07 AM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

Many of these opportunistic IMs are from commercial porn companies. I've had those too. But the case I related arose from me pointing out an incorrect email address. I may not have made it clear but the woman never said anything explicitly sexual. She just wanted to be my friend. Somehow that made it worse.

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