Home and Away is set to polarise viewers by the end of the month as the program embarks on a same-sex relationship. Popular character and resident law enforcer Charlie Buckton (Esther Anderson) is set to fall head over heels for relative newcomer Joey Collins (Kate Bell), who we were introduced to as an employee on a prawn trawler.
Over five weeks the dalliance blooms into love, first with a dance followed by a kiss. Family groups have reacted angrily to the story in the PG-rated show, which has a large proportion of young viewers.
“They (Home and Away) continue to market to kids and they continue to develop quite sexualised plot lines,” Pro-Family Perspectives director Angela Conway said. “The plot lines that young kids and teenagers should be presented with should be about really authentic relationships that are not just sexualised.”
Anderson said kissing another girl “wasn’st that big a deal”, and young viewers would not react adversely to the scenes as it is a common part of today’ss society. “You learn pretty much everything at school,” she said. “I don’st think it’ss like I’sm lifting the lid on something they don’st already know about. To me there’ss no difference – love’ss love. The fact that your partner’ss the same sex is no different. You just want to be loved.”
On the other hand, Psychologist Dr Janet Hall has praised the latest love story, saying it allows families to discuss the topic. “Young audiences are basically aware of the whole gay thing anyway. All it’ss doing is reflecting society,” she said. “It sounds like it is being treated with sensitivity, and this is great for all.”