Christopher Sean and Seeing More Asian Men On Television

Excellent interview with Christopher Sean on BuzzFeed:

The Actor Who Is Changing How We See Asian Men On Television.

Sean has been making waves on daytime television as a spanner thrown in the works for Will Horton and Sonny Kiriakis, the first gay married couple on NBC’s Days of our Lives. Sean is a terrific actor and has terrific chemistry with both Freddie Smith and Guy Wilson, who play Will and Sonny. I think the introduction of Sean has reinvigorated the Will and Sonny storyline and has created an additional cheering section rooting for Sean and either of the guys, but especially Sonny.

Eric Sheffer Stevens (l) joined As The World Turns in its last year on the air as Dr. Reid Oliver. His pairing with Van Hansis' Luke divided audiences between those who wanted to see the electric pairing of Stevens and Hansis and those wanting a happy ending for Luke and his former love, Noah, played by Jake Silbermann. Reid Oliver's death was central to the plot of the show's finale, though it did not satisfy many viewers.

Eric Sheffer Stevens (l) joined As The World Turns in its last year on the air as Dr. Reid Oliver. His pairing with Van Hansis’ Luke divided audiences between those who wanted to see the electric pairing of Stevens and Hansis and those wanting a happy ending for Luke and his former love, Noah, played by Jake Silbermann. Reid Oliver’s death was central to the plot of the show’s finale, though it did not satisfy many viewers.

Something similar happened in the now-iconic Luke/Noah pairing on As The World Turns. When the writers introduced Eric Sheffer Stevens as Dr. Reid Oliver, his chemistry with Van Hansis as Luke Snyder was palpable and it upset the fandom applecart in quite unexpected ways. In fact, ATWT’s headwriter at the time, Jean Passanante, noted that if the show had not already been cancelled that the actors’ chemistry could have easily led the writers to create a longterm romantic triangle. By the time the show came to an end — in qintessential soapy fashion when Reid was killed by a train but lived long enough to make sure his heart was donated to save the life of Chris Hughes (don’t ya love it! LOL) — the Nuke (Noah and Luke) and the LuRe (Luke and Reid) camps were already being drawn up.

Christopher Sean as Paul Norita on Days of our Lives. Sean plays a former professional baseball player who is wreaking good-looking havoc in the relationship of iconic couple Will and Sonny. |Image: Macey J. Foronda/BuzzFeed

Christopher Sean as Paul Norita on Days of our Lives. Sean plays a former professional baseball player who is wreaking good-looking havoc in the relationship of iconic couple Will and Sonny. When Paul came out to his Japanese grandfather on air, he spoke to him only in Japanese.|Image: Macey J. Foronda/BuzzFeed

On Days, Sean’s recently out ex-pro baseball player Paul Norita, has already slept with Will, saved Sonny’s life and it looks like he’s about to be exposed as Will’s grandmother’s stepson! Oh, did I forget to mention he’s Sonny’s ex as well? It’s a lot of soapy froth and I get a kick out of it. Sean’s chemistry with Smith was noticeable from their first scenes and Team WilSon (Will and Sonny) and Team PaulSon (Paul and Sonny) are already getting their standards made.

I am a hardcore member of Team WilSon, but I do love what Sean brings to the table. He’s a great addition to the cast and I love that he’s moving the needle on bringing more hues to a too-white canvas. And, dammit all, he is NOT hard to look at either!

Shamelessly Looking for Something Else: Real Talk About Pay TV Gays

HBO announced today that it was pulling the plug on its sophomore drama, Looking. The network says it will button the series with a movie.

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Frankie J. Alvarez, Jonathan Groff and Murray Bartlett were the original trio at the center of HBO’s “Looking,” which was cancelled at the end of its second season. |Image: HBO

I’ve had a rocky relationship with Looking ever since it debuted. I wrote some critical things about it when it originally aired and I wrote it a love note later on in its first season. I was excited about the second series but, with a few exceptions, the season left me cold.

It’s puzzling. I love Jonathan Groff as a performer. He’s a very easy, very natural actor. Russell Tovey was always that Brit that no one else knew and who left me gobsmacked every time I saw him. Raul Castillo I didn’t know pre-Looking, but I found him to be a lovely performer; smart, nuanced. And in spite of all of it’s positive elements, I just didn’t care enough about the main characters. And that was Looking’s Achilles Heel, I suppose,

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Daniel Franzese and Frankie J. Alvarez assayed a lovely, memorable plot about love and redemption told with humor and honesty — and a little something in the eye. It was the highlight of Season 2 of “Looking.” |Image: HBO

I found Groff’s character, Patrick Murray, as written, a self-absorbed, self-critical, immature stereotype. There was nothing there to like. Nothing there to root for. I mean, were we supposed to urge him to leave his lovely, smart new boyfriend (Castillo) to become the boy-toy of his boss, Kevin (Tovey), whose relationship he broke up? Were we supposed to feel for him when Kevin announced he’d like to try an open relationship on the day that they moved in together? No. You weren’t man enough to date the nice barber who you were really into because of some misplaced post-suburban narcissism since you felt deep down that he wasn’t good enough for your pampered lily-white ass. No. And no, thanks.

I was far and away more interested in the season’s B-plot: the redemption of Patrick’s roommate Agustin (Frankie J. Alvarez) and his blossoming romance with HIV+ bear Eddie, played to a fair-the-well by the extraordinary Daniel Franzese. If the whole series had been half as interesting as this storyline, I would be mobilizing the mob protesting its cancellation.

But, I just don’t care enough. Besides, I’m too busy obsessing over Shameless, Showtime’s powerhouse  what? — comedy — drama? — dramedy? — tragicomedy? — television theatre of the absurd? Whatever the hell it is, this defiantly unclassifiable show is like nothing else on television.

And there’s such a level of authenticity in the heartbreak and the love and the yearning of these characters — even in the most twisted of situations — that it makes you care for them on a visceral level. Never got that from Looking.

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Fans refer to them as #Gallavich. Cameron Monaghan is Ian Gallagher and Noel Fisher is Mickey Milkovich, perhaps the most improbable couple in the improbable world of Showtime’s “Shameless.” | Image: Showtime

When Shameless put Ian Gallagher and Mickey Milkovich together in the first season, there was no indication that they would become one of great television romances of all time. There’s been a lot of talk over the years of the stellar talents of young Cameron Monaghan as Ian, the instigator of this relationship and his nuanced development of the character over five seasons — and trust me, this takes nothing away from his electric talent — but the real unsung hero of this show is Noel Fisher, who brings a depth and beauty to Mickey that almost takes your breath away. There is a pathos there that can physically make you ache. Also, he’s funny as shit.

Here’s the thing: in lesser hands — with lesser writers, with lesser directors and with lesser actors, Shameless had the potential to become an absolute pile, but it didn’t. Instead, it became one of America’s most memorable series ever. (Thanks, Great Britain!) Warts, fistfights, evil newfound daughters, absent mothers, drugs, ‘hand whores,’ Sheila Jackson’s collection of dildos, and all.

To me, Patrick and Kevin’s story has been told a million times and I just don’t care anymore. Ian and Mickey’s story you’ve never seen and that’s what keeps me glued to the pay cable. It’s fresh and alive and a little dangerous.

See, I don’t want to have a cocktail with Patrick Murray in a trendy San Francisco bar, but I’d have an Old Style with Mickey Milkovich any day of the week.

It’s not the safe, politically correct thing to do. And that’s why I like it better.

Team Gallavich

I hope to God you’re watching Shameless, the knockout Showtime series that is halfway through its fifth season on the premium cable network. If you’re not: start.

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Noel Fisher (with gun) and Cameron Monaghan play improbable couple Mickey Milkovich and Ian Gallagher in the Showtime series Shameless. The couple’s fans use the portmanteau “Gallavich.”

Shameless, based on the long-running U.K. series of the same name, tells the story of the Gallagher clan of Chicago’s South Side. Led by alcoholic single dad, Frank (William H. Macy), the Gallagher children have mostly raised themselves, with the help of oldest sibling Fiona (Emmy Rossum) acting as surrogate parent in place of actual mom, bi-polar Monica, who comes and goes as the mood strikes.

This is a brutal show. This is a comic show. This is a bleak show. This is a whip-smart show. And this show is often hard to watch. It’s about the most astonishing thing on television right now. And what drives it for me is the relationship between Ian Gallagher (Cameron Monaghan) and neighbor Mickey Milkovich (Noel Fisher).

At the beginning of the series, teenaged Ian comes out to his older brother ‘Lip,’ and soon begins a relationship with Mickey, scion of a family that makes the Gallaghers look normal. Actually, relationship is entirely the wrong word. What Ian and Mickey do is have sex. Often brutal, often carnal, often animalistic, but love doesn’t enter into it. Mickey, at this point, may not even be capable of love. Ian is, however, and he slowly begins to fall for Mickey.

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Ian and Mickey after getting beaten up in a bar fight by Mickey’s father after Mickey comes out in Season 4 of Showtime’s “Shameless.”

Cameron Monaghan and Noel Fisher have tremendous chemistry and their performances have grown throughout the show. It’s been terrific to watch these young actors sink their teeth into this dense, layered material and see what they do with it.

Through twists and turns and near-death experiences, Ian and Mickey’s relationship slowly begins to shift. Ian slowly begins to change Mickey and Mickey slowly begins to realize that he is capable of love, of caring for another man, of loving Ian, but he doesn’t know what to do with that. It is information that he can’t process. He couldn’t even say the word gay in reference to himself, even though he was desperate for the physicality of the tenuous bond with Ian.

Season 4 is lovely because Ian keeps making demands of Mickey and each time Mickey refuses before almost immediately acquiescing and at the end of the season, Mickey finally comes out, announcing to the patrons at the local bar, “I want everyone to know, I’m fucking gay. A big old ‘mo.” He does it because Ian was going to walk away. He did it for love, to protect the one thing that he loved in the world, the one person who dared to love him. And then he immediately got beaten to a pulp by his father.

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Gallavich fans have created astonishing fan art. This piece is by Steorie.

But, Mickey was free and, because this is Shameless, his happiness lasted basically until the next morning when he awoke to Ian’s descent into the bi-polar abyss, a gift from his unstable mother. When he learns from Fiona what is likely wrong with Ian and that Ian may need to be hospitalized, Mickey is adamant: no hospital. He will take care of him. The tables have turned. It is now Mickey’s turn to be the strong one because, thanks to Ian, he now knows what it means to love and be loved.

Again, it’s Shameless, there’s no Pollyanna-ish moments coming. In Season 5, Ian’s bi-polar disorder makes him spiral further and further out of control. Finally, at the mid-point of the season, Mickey realizes that Ian needs more help than he can give him and he and Lip and Fiona convince Ian to commit himself. Like everything else, expect Shameless to confront mental illness head-on and without, well, shame.

Watching Mickey say goodbye to Ian and let him go into the mental hospital will simply rip you apart. Noel Fisher gives one of the most raw and most truthful performances I’ve ever seen on television in that scene. He’s utterly magnificent.

Back in Ye Olde Timey Times, the theatre where I worked was the most prolific producer of the plays of George F. Walker in the U.S. George is a Canadian playwright. He writes savage plays, hilarious plays and plays with characters that you never see on stage. He always said he wrote about a group of people he called “the articulate poor.” These are people, he said, that exist in every corner of the world, but we don’t put them onstage. And if we do, we seldom understand their reality or their needs. Just because you don’t have money, George argued, doesn’t mean you don’t have big ideas, dreams, knowledge, desires, wants. (George is the reason that I unequivocally believe Shakespeare was a glover’s son from Stratford-upon-Avon and not that bullshit about the Earl of Oxford.)

He also said that his characters never have subtext because the poor don’t have time for subtext. Everything is right here, right now. Only the rich can recline and ponder. And perhaps what I love most about Shameless is that there is no damn subtext. It’s all: right here, right now, what the fuck is that?, Jesus Christ move already.

The back six of the 12-episode fifth season begins to air on Showtime on March 1. You should watch it. I will be; right down front in the #gallavich section.

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HBO To Launch Standalone Streaming Service

Finally, a major cable player who has seen the light. More will follow, I’m sure.

HBO is cutting the cord.The company announced on Wednesday that it will launch a standalone streaming video service in the U.S. that will allow you to watch HBO programming without paying for an expensive cable subscription.

via HBO To Launch Standalone Streaming Service Next Year.

I, Do: The WilSon Wedding, Playing the Long Game, and Celebrating the Zeitgeist

I’ll be honest with you: I used to hate weddings. Now, because I can have one of my own, I guess, I’ve come to embrace them — real or pretend. For example, I’ve done a lot of television watching and crying for the last week as Will Horton and Sonny Kiriakis got married on the daytime drama Days of our Lives.

This is NOT normal behavior. Certainly not from this curmudgeon!

But I can’t help it.

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A veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of Days of our Lives’ royalty flank Sonny (Freddie Smith) and Will (Guy Wilson) at their wedding. On the far left: Marlena Evans (Deidre Hall) and Justin and Adrienne Kiriakis (Wally Kurth and Judi Evans). On the right: Sami Brady (Alison Sweeney), Lucas Horton (Bryan Dattilo) and Kate Roberts (Lauren Koslow).

And it’s a perfect example of why I’ve always been a fan of the genre of serial storytelling. It’s not because of any giant spectacle or sweeps month ratings grab: it’s because these important stories, told slowly over time can fundamentally alter behavior, lead public perception and change people’s lives.

I came out as a soap opera lover as a teen — years before I came out as gay — and I even studied soaps in college! Often, it’s been a maddening relationship. While soaps have sometimes been on the cutting edge telling some sociologically important stories, in others they have been unbearably slow in embracing a changing society.

Some Gay Soap History
Let’s take LGBT issues, for instance. In the seven years — yes, only seven — since the first gay male kiss on daytime, we’ve come to the first same-sex wedding*. That’s an impressively short amount of time, especially given how late Days came to the party by introducing Sonny Kiriakis in 2011 as an openly gay man and developing the long, sometimes painfully slow arc of Will Horton coming to terms with his own sexuality and falling for Sonny.

No, I won’t fault Days for finally coming to the table around the desert course, because they seized the zeitgeist by the horns, stopped the music and reset the conventions of the genre and committed to telling a contemporary love story in modern terms using today’s social norms and not relying on unfounded paralytic fears of an older, less wiser, generation. When so many people were predicting the end of soaps, Ken Corday did the right thing in trying to save his: he decided to shift the focus to contemporary values, begin to compress the time it took to tell stories in serial drama and let the naysayers be damned.

It’s the only way you make change happen. It’s the only way you become relevant.

No one should wonder — at all — why Days of our Lives won the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Drama last year.

Freddie Smith and Guy Wilson portray Sonny Kiriakis and Will Horton, daytime’s happiest gay supercouple. Would that we all looked this good in our own wedding pictures!

Why We Love Them
Nick Fallon, nefarious ‘smarmy’ evildoer — assayed brilliantly by Blake Berris — tried, in the days leading up to the wedding, to undermine Will’s confidence, something that was pretty easy to do in the past. He said that the reason that people in Salem were captivated by Will and Sonny was that it was a good old-fashioned romance where the worldly guy (Sonny) came back home and fell in love with the golly-gee wholesomeness of the hometown “total newbie” (Will). And, do you know what? He was right.

That’s why we love this story. It IS a good old-fashioned romance. We love this story for the same reasons that people have been crying at the end of romantic movies, plays and television shows since those media were invented: humans fall in love with love and we love nothing more than watching people fall in love. Oh, and we love happy endings.

The Grooms
When Sonny begins to come up the aisle, on the arm of his mother, there’s a moment when you think he may bolt and run up to Will. His is a character that knows his own mind and he knows what he wants and he has always known that he wanted Will more than anyone or anything else.

When Will sees Sonny coming up the aisle, realizing that he’s there for him, it almost takes his breath away. Forever questioning, forever wondering about his self-worth, forever feeling inferior, you realize at this moment that Will gets all of his strength from Sonny. Sonny has infused him with power, allowed him to be himself, allowed him to grow up and become his own man.

When Will says at the end of his vows, “But most of all, Sonny, I love you,” everyone knows how full of truth and how redolent with meaning that short sentence is.

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Wilson and Smith’s off-screen friendship and chemistry along with their respect for Will and Sonny’s relationship infuses and elevates their on-screen portrayals.| Image: @THEguywilson

Telling the Tale
The writing of the wedding arc has been as superlative as it gets throughout — careful and nuanced — and, in the very best traditions of serials, reaching deep into the story for anchors to bring everything together. Tad references getting told off by Victor Kiriakis in his best man speech; that’s from the summer of 2011, when Sonny came to town. Victor’s own arc from telling Tad “no one talks to a Kiriakis like that” to showing a bigoted associate the door with a “Family values, my ass!” has shown masterful continuity.

And more than that, the short scene in the park on the way to the wedding with Will and T seems like a throwaway, but, without saying it aloud, what Will is remembering is exactly where Sonny kissed him for the first time — an occurrence that began after Tad disowns Will. Then comes Sonny’s kiss, which Will is not ready for, leading Will to sleep with Gabi, T punching out Sonny, Gabi getting pregnant and setting the whole plot in motion.

In other words, they played the long game. Soaps NEVER play the long game. It’s so astonishing, I can’t even think of a time when a story was so well plotted and so well written in a multi-year arc. I was infuriated — just infuriated — when Gabi got pregnant by Will because it seemed an easy way to bust up Will and Sonny’s nascent relationship with every tiresome, hackneyed, eye-rolling, old-fashioned soap opera cliche in the book. Why? Because soaps NEVER play the long game. But here? Son of a bitch, if they haven’t neatly tied up every loose end.

As such, OF COURSE a reformed T is the best man, standing up for them proudly. OF COURSE Lucas has become one of Will and Sonny’s biggest champions. OF COURSE Marlena is the one to marry them, her long arc with Will’s struggles comprising some of the most special scenes over the last several years. OF COURSE EJ DiMera saves the day for a Kiriakis wedding. OF COURSE Sami, however inadvertently, throws a spanner into the gearbox. OF COURSE Justin and Adrienne are the most supportive parents in the world. OF COURSE there’s no “DAYSaster” event [Sami’s wedding is coming!] because it would ruin everything that’s absolutely, positively right about this story.

The Guys
What I think elevates it further is the power of the central performers. Guy Wilson, while a seasoned actor, had only been playing this role for a very short amount of time before these scenes were shot and his roughly four months of screen time — including many days where this story has not been shown — is an awfully compressed interval for someone to claim a character, stamp it as their own and make the audience believe in your characterization — especially an important character previously played by a popular actor.

I’ve watched Guy’s performances closely since he began and he started to charm me early on. He’s a subtle performer who commits readily to the material. His innate intelligence and commitment to the role and the story show through in his performances. As Will is now an older and maturing adult, some of Guy’s choices are bolder than his predecessor, but he plays true to the character brief. The character continues to grow.

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Freddie Smith as Salem’s ‘white knight.’ Sonny generally keeps true, but we all know he has an edge. His last name is Kiriakis, after all.

On the other hand, he plays most of his scenes opposite Freddie Smith, the young man who created Sonny Kiriakis and who is, for my money, one of the finest young actors on the air, so Guy has had to hit a pretty high bar every time he’s up. (You’ll note that I did not say “on daytime.” That’s because I believe that differentiating between actors on daytime and primetime — or now online — is a meaningless and often demeaning construct.)

Freddie is such an easy performer — smooth, solid, layered, confident — everything that Sonny needs to be. He always matches the show’s veterans note for note and lifts up the entire scene, not merely playing his own sides to showcase himself. It is the hallmark of understanding of what it means to be an ensemble player. And it’s damn rare, in this day and age, to find that understanding and ability in someone so young.

New Order Built on the Past
The thing about serials is that, for an audience to buy into them over the long-term, they need to develop relationships with certain characters and certain families. That multi-generational feeling was very much in evidence in Sonny and Will’s wedding and the powerful turns by veterans Deidre Hall, Wally Kurth and Bryan Dattilo [who made me weep like a baby, damn him!] and a lengthy knock-out of a monologue masterfully delivered by the peerless 86-year-old Peggy McCay, served to cement the couple firmly into the bedrock of this show.

I received a tweet awhile back in which the writer called Will and Sonny the modern day Tom and Alice. It was the perfect response. Perfect.

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Frances Reid and Macdonald Carey as Tom and Alice Horton, the original central “tent pole” characters of the long running NBC drama Days of our Lives.

If Days of our Lives is to have a promising and relevant future, its anchors must be placed in characters that both mirror modern life and reflect back on the long history of the show. For decades, Tom and Alice Horton were that center. Plenty of things happened to them, plenty of drama swirled around them, but Tom and Alice as a unit did not waver. Looking back, it’s hard not to think of one without the other. As the show nears the half-century mark, it seems to me that the next generation’s standard bearers of a rare solid soap opera relationship should be Tom and Alice’s great-grandson and the man that he loves.

It is the perfect way to honor the rich history of the program, to honor the genre and to show that the deep, deep roots of serial storytelling have a place in the modern world to tell today’s stories and tackle today’s issues.

In five years, I would love to see Will and Sonny raising their child — or maybe even more than one child by then — and interacting in fundamental ways with the other denizens of Salem while creating a loving and stable home at the center. It would be a powerful statement, one that Days seems to be on the cusp of making. It is certainly one that I would relish.

For the nonce, though, I’m just happy that this story has come into my living room (and smart phone and laptop) and that I was able to share in it. It was simply magnificent.


*Okay, okay, okay, fine! TECHNICALLY this is not the first same-sex wedding. Bianca and Reese on All My Children in 2009 were the first, but that’s a storyline fraught with controversy, not to mention poor plotting and lack of integration into the canvas. Also, their marriage would not have been legal where they lived, because Pennsylvania, where fictional Pine Valley is located, was not — and still is not — an equality state. Days has made Salem’s locale into an equality state in the plot — by fiat — and this is the first daytime TV same sex marriage in the post-DOMA era.

Other Days Ramblings:

See for yourself. Edit by 477mrfixit.

All images and video, unless otherwise noted, originated with and/or are the property of NBC, Sony Pictures Television or Corday Productions.

Hey, Y’all! Shut up and Crawl Back Under that Butter Dish Please

Paula Deen Compares Struggle To Michael Sam’s Coming Out As Gay.

How many times can this crazy old woman screw up while trying to apologize?

It’s one thing when you are honest-to-God contrite. It’s another when your apologies are just bullshit. I think this is the latter.

If she had said, “that football player” or that “football player who just came out as gay” but “that black football player who recently came out?”

Paula, honey, you ain’t learned a damn thing.

Where’s my favorite all-time Paula Deen image? Oh, here it is:

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Second Look(ing) – HBO Drama Gets Second Season Pickup

Glad to report that HBO’s drama, Looking, focusing on three gay friends in San Francisco has been picked up for a second series. The seventh of the original eight half-hour episodes airs this weekend.

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One of my favorite British imports, Russell Tovey, who plays Kevin in HBO’s Looking. He’s been upgraded to a series regular for the second series. The final two episodes in the first season begin airing March 2 in the US.|Image: HBO

I’ve become a real fan of this series after it had a pretty rocky start for me. I’m still of the opinion that the creators and HBO really screwed the opening. When they needed a home run — or at the very least a triple — they walked a guy. (Look at me with the baseball metaphors!)

That’s why it got the “boring” wrap. It wasn’t. It isn’t. It was just packaged incorrectly. The first two episodes needed to be one hour-long episode to hook people. There were no hooks in episode one. Some of us came back because we needed more gay content than just Will and Sonny — not that we don’t LOVE Will and Sonny, but you’d never get the equivalent of Looking Episode 5 on daytime!

Anyhow, even better, main character Patrick’s hottie Latino love interest, Raúl Castillo, his hunky English boss, Russell Tovey, and Dom’s hilarious roomie, Lauren Weedman, have all been upgraded to regulars for the new season.

Here’s a great piece, including an interview with series creator Michael Lannan, by Jim Halterman. I’m pretty much in agreement with Halterman’s assessments of the show.

Previous Looking Post … And the one before that.

HLN Announces the End of Journalism

Meme: Dave Franco and Zac Efron’s Homoerotic Handshake, HLN Announces the End of Journalism, “Pushing Daisies, The Musical”? – thebacklot.com.

HLN announced that they were abandoning their programming to become a social media focused network. And some of their shows will make you weep for journalism. I Can Haz NewsToons will serve up animated satire of current events, One.Click.Away will scour online classified for big buys, while Keywords is a game about searching and tagging trivia from the online world. Can somebody check and see if Ted Turner’s head exploded?

So, do you want to know what stupid looks like? Here it is. This is obviously some 50-year-old’s idea of how to attract 20-something social media users to engage with TV. Speaking as a 50-year-old (almost) IT’S THE DUMBEST IDEA EVER IN THE HISTORY OF IDEAS THAT’S NOT STARTING A WAR!!

Why? Why are corporations so stupid? Do you really want to engage young people? Turn your damn cable channel back into a NEWS CHANNEL and then — here’s a shocker — broadcast the news!

Soapland: Corrie vs. the Rest of the World

hulu — DAVE HOLMES TELLS YOU WHY YOU NEED TO BE WATCHING ‘CORONATION STREET’.

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The Rovers Return Inn, the local for Coronation Street on the venerable ITV drama.

Interesting piece by Dave Holmes, who thinks you should be watching Coronation Street. I don’t have anything against Corrie, per se, only if I was making a suggestion as to which British soap to watch, I’d encourage you to watch Emmerdale.

In fact, I already have. Several times. And Hollyoaks.

Like Holmes, I’ve done my fair share of disparaging American soaps, but I’m currently captivated by the Will Horton-Sonny Kiriakis love story on Days of our Lives, so I’m not going to say anything snarky about, you know, Stephano or annoying town gadabout Julie Williams.

But regarding Holmes, isn’t it convenient that the only U.K. continuing drama available on hulu is Corrie? Hmmmm??

WilSon, Love & Thanks – Thoughts for Valentine’s Day

This is a “Thank You Letter” of sorts.

On Valentine’s Day, after an elongated mulling-it-over period, the character of Will Horton on Days of our Lives is going to accept the marriage proposal of his longtime love, Sonny Kiriakis.

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Guy Wilson (l) and Freddie Smith play Will and Sonny, a young gay couple set to be married on NBC’s Days of our Lives.

I thank the DAYS producers and writers and NBC for that. For making a same-sex couple a part of the landscape. For treating that couple no different than any other young lovers. For weaving them into the fabric of the core families and for understanding the importance of allowing this relationship to play out over time. They should definitely be thanked.

I also want to thank the young men who portray these characters — Freddie Smith and Guy Wilson. They are doing yeoman’s work and they’re excited about doing it, which is even nicer.

“Will said no when Sonny popped the question last month because it’s a soap and it has to be dramatic,” said Smith in an interview with The Advocate that was published online on Feb. 13. “But when I found out they were finally getting engaged, I was thrilled.”

Also last month, when I wrote about the significance of Sonny asking Will to marry him, I got this:

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I was really quite shocked, I have to say, even though I had already heard through the grapevine that he’s a genuinely nice guy. No one, least of all me, expected him to (A) read what I had to say, (B) care that I was saying it, or (C) think it was important to let me know. That’s rare.

So, thanks, Guy. Not only was it nice, but he turned me from someone who was a fan of the character to a fan of the actor. In my loooong tenure in the theatre, I learned that while the business is full of prima donnas, the nice folks who persevere always finish first.

(Also, in my other life, part of what I do is explain branding and marketing and relationship-building to people. That tweet? That’s marketing.)

In the Advocate article, Smith also said that he’s received many letters from fans telling him of the impact of this story.

“In fact, one of those letters that touched me the most was from a young man who told me he was able to come out to his grandmother by saying, ‘Grandma, I want you to know that I’m just like Sonny.’ That really tugged at my heart because without this storyline he may have continued to keep his feelings to himself, but he was able to be comfortable enough to be honest instead. That’s why I’m so happy DAYS is showing this, because it’s part of life and people need to see themselves reflected on TV.”

So, thanks Freddie, for understanding the broad reach and importance that can come from telling bold, yet distinctly human stories over the long term and telling them well.

I’ve said it forever — and often loudly in defense of the importance of the continuing drama — but we humans only exist by storytelling, by sharing our experiences with one another, by finding out what we have in common with others and what sets us apart.

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Will said no to Sonny, when he proposed last month. How he could resist that face is beyond me!

I am so excited, as a gay man, that we are seeing so much more inclusion and diversity in society and having it being reflected back by touchstones of cultural significance, like DAYS; it’s such a positive step forward. We have to press on and not let this fall by the wayside.

As I write this, I do wonder how it would have been if, when I was in my early 20s and coming out, I had been able to say to my own grandmother, “I want you to know that I’m just like Sonny.” That’s probably how I would have done it, too. Grandmother did love her ‘stories!’ Guess that’s where I get it from.

Anyhow, thanks world, for changing and for welcoming our “tribe” more and more into the rich polyglot of society.

My own husband is upstairs in bed. I’ll join him in a bit. He said he wanted a nice dinner for Valentine’s Day, so, not being the roses and chocolates type, I took him at his word and I will cook something a little fancy for dinner. Maybe we’ll uncork a bottle of wine.

The rest of the day, we’ll both do a lot of “gay things” that are so foreign to the rest of the world: work, run errands, walk the dogs through the infernal never-to-melt snowbanks that surround us. I may even do what I’ve been threatening and look for work in the warm part of California! We’ll end the day talking about our future, how happy we are, and how we met more than a decade ago because, even though it’s OUR story, it’s a good and funny one. Maybe we’ll put on a movie. Or maybe we’ll watch Will say yes to Sonny all over again. After all, it’s good to warm your heart before turning in.

Thanks, finally, to those who read these scratchings. Your thoughts, comments, shares and likes are well and truly appreciated.

Go love somebody. Happy Valentine’s Day.