Monday, May 12, 2008

Mazel tov Kevin and Scotty!

I'm a day late with this, but a very big mazel tov to Scotty Wandell and Kevin Walker (Luke MacFarlane and Matthew Rhys) who had their commitment ceremony Sunday night, on the Season 2 finale of ABC's Brothers & Sisters. Just tell me where to send the blender!

It was great to see Kevin surrounded by the loving, supportive Walker family - his mother, his uncle, his brothers and sisters and their children. Despite Kevin's protestations that he wanted to keep it simple, his mother, family matriarch Nora (Sally Field) went over the top with her preparations. She told him, rightly, that he deserved as wonderful a ceremony as his siblings had on their wedding days.

My favorite comment in that regard comes from Steven Frank at, who expresses amazement that Kevin and Scotty are opposed to having a big shindig: "If it were me, I’d want a huge, glitzy wedding with tons of guests so that I could finally start recouping the $34,789 I’ve spent on other people’s wedding gifts." Isn't that the truth!

In The Boston Globe, Matthew Gilbert's article notes that Kevin and Scotty's ceremony was used by ABC as a May sweeps event, designed to increase viewership during a month when advertising rates are set. He compares it to "so many early, pioneering network attempts to show gay people doing what straight people do, such as simply talking in bed, which triggered protest in 1989 over an episode of thirtysomething. When Ellen DeGeneres came out of the closet on Ellen in 1997, there was brouhaha and there were boycotts."

At it's heart, Brothers & Sisters is a soap opera, and there were the usual plot twists and moments of intrigue. In fact, a Los Angeles Times story that referred to a controversial kiss had nothing to do with Kevin and Scotty, who have kissed many, many times. It was about Kevin's brother Justin (David Annable) and his blossoming relationship with Rebecca Harper (Emily VanCamp) who, it turns out, isn't his half-sister after all. Whew, what a lucky break. Thank God for DNA testing!

One of the reasons I like the show is that it reminds me of one of my favorites from the 1980s, Falcon Crest. They're both about California family dynasties - just substitute the Walkers' organic produce company for a vineyard, and they're practically the same show. Although Sally Field's Nora Walker is much warmer and more likable than Jane Wyman's conniving Angela Channing.

Except that it involved two men, Kevin and Scotty's commitment ceremony wasn't any different from the countless weddings that we've seen on television over the past 50 years. And the utter normalcy was nice, even down to the cliches. I mean, there's the obligatory meeting beforehand, with a tender moment between the two. Then, during the ceremony, Kevin forgets the rings. (Wow, that's never happened before in a movie or television wedding!)

While they've had their ups and downs, we've seen Kevin and Scotty gradually become a loving, committed couple over the past two seasons, so this was a logical next step for them. Although the way the proposal came about wasn't exactly the most romantic: Kevin wanted to be able to have Scotty covered by his health insurance plan, which he could do if they were registered as domestic partners under California law.

The law, enacted in 1999, gives gay and lesbian couples hospital visitation rights, adoption rights, access to family health insurance plans and survivor pension benefits, the ability to file joint state tax returns, and a host of other legal protections that married heterosexual couples simply take for granted.

For me, one of the nicest moments came before the ceremony, when Scotty thanks Nora for everything she's done for him, and she responds, "I should be thanking you for making Kevin so happy, and I get another son." Even though Sally Field's character is supposed to be Jewish, and she makes the most unconvincing Jewish mother ever, that moment was pretty sweet.

I give the writers credit for not portraying a totally rosy picture of the reaction to Kevin and Scotty's relationship. Scotty's parents aren't as accepting as Kevin's family. Scotty's mother and father refuse to attend the ceremony, despite a personal plea from Kevin. "We're doing this because we want to be a family and we cherish family as much as you do,'' he tells them.

While they assure him that they love their son, Scotty's mother admonishes Kevin, "Don't ask us to celebrate this contrived event. We can't sit there and have you rub our noses in this pretend wedding. It is too painful and too insulting." But Scotty's father appears to be a little more conflicted. As Kevin is walking to his car, he rushes out to him, tells him to try and understand that "we're not bad people," and gives him a pair of cufflinks that he promised long ago to give to Scotty on his wedding day.

It'll be interesting to see how Scotty and Kevin evolve in Season 3, whether they'll adopt, whether Scotty's family will become more supportive. Through the first two seasons, the Walker children have had their share of rocky relationships. Kevin and Scotty may turn out to be the most stable couple of all.

"They will be a family," producer Monica Breen told USA TODAY. "Kevin deserves a stable relationship in the same way that [sisters] Kitty, Sarah and all the others deserve it. He will be facing many questions in his life — but now he has someone to share that with."


Vance said...

Gays do NOT need another blender. Actually, who does? lol!

I hadn't read that AfterElton comment yet but I laughed because I just wrote something to that point in a different post I'm working on. Seriously, I'm inviting EVERYONE I know. I want my gifts back damnit!

Loved Nora's speech and I liked that Scotty's parents had the reaction they did. It was an interesting and realistic take, and I figure since they cast Jayne Brooks, that we will see more of them in the future (though I still say she looks FAR too young to be his mother).

Esther said...

Well ok, maybe you're right about the blender!

I know, that AfterElton comment is pretty funny. It reminds me of one of my favorite Sex and the City episodes, "A Woman's Right to Shoes," when Carrie gets to make up a little bit of what she's spent on gifts over the years.

I've never heard of Jayne Brooks. I'll have to look her up on imdb. BTW, have you ever heard Matthew Rhys speak in his normal Welsh accent? It just makes you realize what an amazing job he does as Kevin. You'd never know he didn't grow up in California!

But yeah, Scotty's parents did make a good counterpoint. That point of view, as sad and wrong as it is, had to be there. They weren't totally unfeeling, they don't reject their son, but they can't quite take that next step.

Actually, they should have sent Nora to speak to them. I mean, c'mon, who could resist Sally Field!

Vance said...

Jayne Brooks was on Chicago Hope years ago with Mandy Patinkin and since has guested on a lot of shows (especially lately actually, I feel I've seen her a few times on a few shows this year). She's great!

Oh yeah, I remember that SATC ep! Totally! And I've started hitting the baby period of life too now, eegad... more gifts. I'm going broke just going to weddings and baby showers.

And yeah, I've heard Rhys. Plus Griffith's too (she's Aussie though has done more US stuff before).

(Though, if you watch Without A Trace, like 3 of them are Aussie or Brit).

Im assuming Nora vs Scottys parents is saved for next season! She could bring flowers!

Anonymous said...

good post

Esther said...

Thanks Mike! Too bad Kevin and Scotty didn't wait a month - they could have had an actual, legal wedding ceremony. Then what would Scotty's mother have said? It wouldn't have been "pretend" anymore!