Gay marriage not in sight for House Husbands
Gyton Grantley concedes while same-sex marriage is still a no-no, his character will have to stay 'House Life Partner.'
“Season Three starts 18 months later from the end of Season Two which is obvious in some places and not so obvious in others,” Grantley says.
“In that time ‘Tom’ has been overseas assisting Indonesian firefighters and while he’s there it’s revealed he has been offered a job to train firefighters in Dubai. ‘Tom’ tells ‘Kane’ that he never really wanted this life. It was kind of thrust upon him with the death of his sister to look after his niece.
“Whereas ‘Kane’ is a born parent and wanted nothing more than this. So ‘Tom’ decides to follow his dreams and leaves ‘Kane’ in a lurch.
“‘Kane’ is not a husband anymore –not that they were technically, anyway because our Australian government won’t let them,” he continues.
“He’s a House Life Partner.”
With minimal research, it was Campbell who became Grantley’s touchstone in portraying a gay man on television. But his character was written out, leaving ‘Kane’ to explore new storylines.
“Tim was really my go-to, my coach, the one who held my hand. I was very lucky to have him by my side for the last 2 seasons,” he explains.
“There might have been times when I over-compensated. I’d go to kiss Tim and he would say ‘No, we wouldn’t kiss here.’ There’s definitely no PDA, Public Displays of Affection, at school. But then again when you think about it, you don’t see mums and dads pashing off at school either.
“So to begin with I guess I was trying a little too hard to ‘show gay.’ So Tim was great in that respect.
“The main point I’d like to say about playing ‘Kane’ is that I’ve never really looked at him as a gay person. I’ve always just looked at him as the father of a child whom he loves and he’s trying to raise as best he can. He has a partner and a job and it just so happens his partner is a man as well.
“What they do once they turn the lights out is up to them, really. At the end of the day they’re just both 2 parents who love their child and are trying to bring them up.”
Now’Kane’ finds himself a single parent for the first time but, in keeping with the show’s family premise, remains a parent to foster son Finn (Ben Crundwell) and Stella (Edwina Royce). Yet given ‘Stella’ is also ‘Tom’s’ niece, wouldn’t she logically be spending time with her uncle?
In the land of television drama, not everything stacks up so neatly.
“‘Stella’ is ‘Tom’s’ niece but ‘Kane’ is also an adoptive father and still has legal guardianship of her as well,” Grantley explains.
“But what a lot of producers, and networks don’t consider is that audience members do care about this stuff. They really do. The nitty gritty details are what worry them the most. And that’s the stuff where (shows) go ‘Oh they sorted it out behind the scenes’ …but no, that’s what the audience want to know.”
Indeed, if ‘Kane’ is no longer a home ‘husband’ to a partner at work, it’s arguable that he has already jumped the shark.
But ‘Kane’ is yet to become, in the eyes of the law, a literal husband at all. Now that his life-partner has exited, the show may have lost any immediate opportunity to tackle the subject of same-sex marriage at a time when others, such as Modern Family, are putting it front and centre.
“At the end of the last season ‘Tom’ and ‘Kane’ applied for marriage, but that’s as far as it was taken,” Grantley concedes.
“It would be nice to deal with those issues but dealing with those issues would directly draw away from the heart and soul of the show.
“There are many aspects to the show which is why it is so loved by so many different types of people, but the main reason is the title, House Husbands, as 4 men banding together to help each other along.
“So gay marriage is probably not the first and foremost issue that the show or Channel Nine really want to explore.”
But Grantley defends that by showing similarities between heterosexual and homosexual parented families, House Husbands is doing its bit to show common ground and wider acceptance.
“The way I see it portrayed in the show it doesn’t seem any different to a heterosexual relationship or family,” he suggests.
“In a way it helps that argument. If two people love each other and have a shared goal of raising a family then there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be allowed to be together forever and express it through law. Cement that through law.
“So I guess in a subtle way the show is making that statement by putting a gay couple on Australian television it’s helping the cause to fight for equality and fight for the right to marry whoever you like.”
This season newly-single ‘Kane’ will venture into dating once more, meeting a character portrayed by Darren McMullen.
“I’ve been friend with Darren for years. We had a ball on set and he’s very, very good,” he says.
“I’m not ashamed to admit I was a bit dubious about how it all might go.
“I really love the show. It’s a joy to work on. We all get along famously.”
House Husbands airs 9pm Monday and Sunday on Nine.