While the lesbian S&M action in Tipping The Velvet and gay kiss in The Bill has captured the attention of our illiberal newspapers, the US version of Queer As Folk has been getting away with all sorts, tucked away, as it is, after midnight on BBC Choice.
The series began by following the storylines of Russell T Davies’s original Channel 4 version, but is now wandering off on its own, stripped of the light, camp touches of the British production, but full of intelligent storylines and mindless sex.
This week, Brian got given an advertising award. The man who gave it to him soon got bent over a balcony and a frantic screwing in return. No sooner had that finished, Brian was getting a blowjob, too. A truly amazing rate of recovery!
Then Ted went clothes shopping with young boyfriend Blake. They ended up having sex in the changing room, silhouetted through the curtain but ignored by the grinning female assistant. And some phone sex was thrown in, too, as Michael and an out-of-town David fantasised about making love. (Strangely, they masturbate frantically beneath the sheets although they are both alone – but even US cable channels can only go so far).
Amid all these flesh-on-flesh encounters was a serious stor. HIV-positive, hollow-eyed Vic is in court on a trumped-up cottaging charge, the victim of homophobia. Will he fight? Or will he crumble? It may have been corny, but he fought – and won.
Series three highlights included:
• Justin getting his college fees paid by Brian; and then linking up again with Michael to produce another edition of comic book Rage
• Brian getting rejected for once and having to resort to forking out $300 on a rent boy who looked like ex-boyf Justin
• Justin (the one with the 1970s haircut) recalling shags he’d had with Brian in the luxury loft apartment
• Ted and Emmett’s hopeless attempts to shag for the first time after deciding to switch from being best mates to being boyfriends
• The burly bears turning up at Lindsay and Melanie’s eighth anniversary party to discuss the best china to buy
• Debbie telling Justin’s sexy new boyfriend Ethan that he’s adorable
• Bad Boy Brian’s response when the youngster he’d shagged claimed it had been “one of my top 10 f**ks”. Brian – “Yeah, definitely one of my top 10,000.” And Brian’s reaction to the sickly loviedoviness of Emmett and Ted. “I’m gonna heave my hash browns.” And Brian kidnapping Meek Michael and forcing him to attend an underwear party
• Bad Boy Brian becomes generous for once. “It’s Nine Inch Night at Babylon. Anyone with more than nine inches gets in free so I thought I’d buy you tickets.”
• Emmett’s failed attempt to get out of a tryst with Dijon (“like the mustard”)
• The lesbians-in-a-bath-surrounded-by-candles scene
• Ted and Emmett being invited by overbearingly nice neighbour Sunny Reid to a happy homeowning cocktail party. The pair fear the worst but are regarded as exciting additions to the neighbourhood. “I can’t wear pastels, they make me look dumpy, but you gays can wear anything.” “We’re doing Mame as the school musical.” “I have a cousin who’s a lesbian.” “I have a brother who’s a tranny.” Sadly, Ted and Emmett’s popularity took a nosedive when Ted was arrested for employing an underage assistant at Teddy’s Wack Shack, his on-line masturbation empire.
• Emmett becoming Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen as he planned the decor of the new house (“This shade of apricot on the curtains screams out for a plum carpet…” “How dare these dykes tell us how to decorate. Don’t they know Laura Ashley went out with rotary phones?”) but then he changes his mind and opts for mocha, chocolate and charcoal when he decides he wants to fit in with the rest of the neighbourhood.
• The steroids storyline: Brian initially approves of Michael’s boyfriend Ben using steroids – “A small price to pay for an amazing body.” But he changes his mind when he gets shoved into a locker by Ben at the gym (where they are surrounded by men in pristine white briefs). “Ben needs more muscles like I need another cock,” Brian declares. Debbie also has strong views on steroid use – “It makes you meaner than catpiss” – although she was happy enough when Ben managed to move the fridge and rescue the ring from the Joan Rivers Collection she’d dropped.
• Justin and Ethan in the bath together. Very moist. Ethan (who we think is getting a bit too smarmy) then got to play his fiddle at a big concert – but disowned Justin, telling a journalist he’s a cousin. “Who gives a s**t who a violinist is f**king?” asked Justin’s angry pal Daphne. Justin, though, sneaked into the concert – only to be heartbroken when Ethan is chatted up by a young fan.
• Brian’s work on nasty police chief’s election campaign, coming up with a homoerotic ad for the homophobic candidate.
• Michael going three days without masturbation before becoming a sperm donor, but then he’s given a copy of Hustler (“Not a dick in sight”) and fails to deliver.
• Ethan’s superb violin performance, and the moral dilemma he faced when an agent told him to dump Justin. “He doesn’t exist as far as your professional career is concerned.”
• Brian zooming in on a cutie at a party – and shagging him up against a toilet cubicle wall
• Brian being as unethical as ever by working for the homophobic police captain Stockwell.
• The performance of Aqua’s Barbie Girl at the Babylon club