Friday, 1 January 2010

Double exposures

Another TV milestone was made this week over in the States, as long-running soap 'One Life To Live' featured the very first gay sex scene to air on daytime TV. Given that the show runs on ABC, which recently caused a bit of a hoo-ha by cancelling Adam Lambert's live performances, this is something of a surprise.

To be honest, calling it a sex scene is a bit of a stretch. Characters Oliver and Kyle spend most of the scene either lighting candles or trying to undo each other's shirt buttons. By the time they fall into bed, they look so worn out from all the low-key face stroking that they can barely muster more than a chaste peck.

So far, the reactions seem to have been fairly neutral, with less of the fire-and-brimstone comments than we've come to expect. Writing in support of ABC's decision, one commentator on Huffington Post linked to a video that was made for a Maryland film festival in 2007. It's a compilation of 'scandalous' footage that theatre owners were forced to censor, or face prosecution. It's an interesting exploration of how society's definition of acceptability changes over time, as well as a major turn-on for any foot fetishists - apparently, a few seconds of exposed cankle was the 1920s equivalent of a daisy chain.

Back on this side of the pond, a different kind of over-exposure has also made the news. Matthew Horne has issued a mea culpa for his ubiquitous presence on our screens. As a result of his back-to-back appearances on Christmas Day in Gavin & Stacey and Nan's Christmas Carol. Still smarting from the beating he and James Corden endured over the worst sketch show since Russ Abbot was gainfully employed, he wrote on Twitter "I can only apologise on behalf of the Beeb for this scheduling. Even I’m bored of me."

TV schedules are full of things we don't necessarily want to see, whether it's two men spooning in slow motion or a comedy duo that has you longing for Hale and Pace to make a comeback. But as the Maryland video smartly argues, the answer isn't censorship, it's the off switch.

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