A same-sex kiss between cop Charlie Buckton and deckhand Joey Collins in Australian soap Home and Away aired on Tuesday, despite rumors that the kiss would be cut as a result of pressure from conservative groups. These rumors sparked international media attention and even led to a protest in Melbourne, but it looks like the brouhaha was much ado about nothing.
The official word from Bevan Lee, Head of Creative Drama and Development at Channel Seven, is that although there was a second, more “lusty” kiss that was edited out, it was edited for artistic reasons. Lee, who is gay, stated the following in an article in samesame.com.au:
The kiss, as played, was two part. A very gentle, loving, sensual, tender kiss from which the two women pull back and then there is another, more lusty follow-up. There was a lot of discussion, artistic and not censorish, about where to finish the scene. We finally settled on the conclusion of the warmer, intimate kiss and not the more lusty follow through because we felt it was more in keeping with Charlie getting there by degrees rather than one kiss making her comfortable straight away with the full on pash.
I think the version that airs is much truer to the tone of the build up to the moment over the last few weeks. The decision taken was artistic and had nothing to do with running from the conservative right. This work was done before the article about the lesbian story and conservative reaction to it even broke in the Herald Sun and on Today Tonight.
The thing that saddens me, as a gay writer, is that a beautiful six week story has been reduced to a facile argument about six missing seconds of screen time and that the bulk of the commentators, both conservative and liberal, are making pronouncements on story material they know nothing of. We long for the day when we can run a story like this and they can just play in the context of the show.
Fair enough. So Charlie “will get there by degrees.” I predict that, in true lesbian fashion, they will sit around and talk about the kissing in subsequent episodes. And talk some more. Eventually, they will get tired of processing and kiss again in a more passionate manner. Aside from that pesky scene where Joey is almost murdered by Robbo, the development of Charlie and Joey’s relationship sounds about as normal as a story line can get on a soap opera.
OK, enough talking. Let’s get to the scene that aired yesterday.
So now you have seen the kiss that launched a thousand blog posts. I predict that no kids will be permanently scarred as a result of seeing the broadcast. Furthermore, for a show that regularly promotes sensational story lines featuring deranged rapist and homicidal maniacs, it is a good sign that the writers appear to be treating Joey and Charlie’s blossoming relationship with sensitivity — for now.