HBO Gears Up for a Forbidden Romance
By Alex Wilburn
Soap Operas and daytime television seem to be all about their gay plot lines lately, and considering the response has been outright explosive -- fan sites and Youtube videos documenting every moment so even non-fans are tuning in -- it's a wonder no execs have tried to capitalize on what seems to be a growing trend with young female viewers.
Are gay boys the new vampires?
HBO may think so. The Hollywood Reporter writes that the home of Alan Ball's undead drama True Blood is set to adapt the gay subplot from Germany's more lively soap Verbotene Liebe (Forbidden Love) into a series for the cable network. Headed by Sam Martin, the channel's former Vice President, the rights for the "Christian and Olli" plot have been bought and the plan is to relocate the boys from their home in Düsseldorf (a city possibly settled by Professor Dumbledore and Blair Waldorf) to good ol' Portland, Oregon.
So I decided to check out what all the fuss was about with Christian and Ollie, and apparently there is quite a lot fuss to check. Just typing the couple's names into Google will get you 1,080,000 hits. Fanvideo, fanfiction, fanart. Obviously this brought me to episode guides and Youtube videos and oh my god this show is NUTS!
So Olli (played by Jo Weil, can we call him the German Ben Whishaw?) is gay, but his roommate, Christian (Thore Schölermann, my god if ever there was a name, definitely the German Scott Evans) is straight, except that Christian likes Olli, except he can't admit it, so he goes on a chatroom - and finds a friend - and confides his secrets - about his roommate Olli - to his online friend - who is really his roommate! Ah! It's like a gay Shop Around the Corner. Or, you know, for the Nora Ephron fans, You've Got Mail. Either way, as someone who only discovered the show this afternoon, I can tell you it is completely engrossing. And yes, all the episode clips are masterfully subtitled.
So go! Fly to Youtube, pop some popcorn, curl up by the fire on this Friday night and indulge yourself in some accented romance. Even through the subtitles there's a lot of charisma and chemistry in this thing, so if the show succeeds in making it's way to the U.S. shore, and carries any of its built-in, cross cultural fanbase with it -- it's going to be big. Mark my words. Edward Cullen who?
-- ALEX WILBURN
Previously > Degrassi: Struggles in the Canadian Closet