Josh Hartnett has been receiving quite a bit of attention lately since the premiere of Showtime’s Penny Dreadful. Most have reacted with great joy at the actor’s apparent return to the public eye. Indeed, after being the “it” boy in Hollywood for a while, Josh Hartnett had sort of seemed to fade to obscurity. However, no length of time away from the spotlight is enough to dim his own starlight, evidently, because only four episodes into Penny Dreadful, his name is once again on everyone’s lips.
Showtime has a solid reputation with me for producing some of my favourite shows, including Soul Food and Queer as Folk. Penny Dreadful, it seems, may be the newest addition to the list. In the latest episode of the horror series, Josh Hartnett locks lips with actor Reeve Carney, who plays – be still my geeky literary heart – Dorian Gray! For those who aren’t aware, Dorian Gray is an iconic character of one of Oscar Wilde’s most famous works, The Picture of Dorian Gray. In the story, Dorian Gray is a devastatingly handsome young man who unwittingly barters his soul with the devil in exchange for eternal youth and, consequently, his eternal beauty. As years go by, while he realises that he never physically ages, Dorian Gray loses pretty much all sense of his once-possessed scruples in lieu of whatever hedonistic pleasure most immediately strikes his fancy. However, although his physical beauty never wavers, his soul understandably rots and withers with every immoral and unethical action that he partakes in. The most fascinating part is, while the rest of us age-inflicted mortals have no tangible means of viewing the condition of our soul, Dorian Gray is tragically exposed to the effects that his lifestyle has on his own soul, as his soul is enshrined within a painstakingly-crafted, incredibly lifelike portrait of himself. Though once a virtual reflection of Dorian Gray’s glorious youthful beauty, the figure in the portrait grows gnarled and hideous and portrays to Dorian, in vivid clarity, the form that his mutilated soul has taken due to his excessively debauch, self-gratifying and egocentric lifestyle.
Someone posted about this aforementioned gay kiss from Penny Dreadful and wondered if they should now start watching the show. Unsurprisingly, another person – gay nonetheless – responded with a snarky comment, asking if this same-sex kiss is the only reason that they’re going to watch this otherwise amazing show.
Um, no. I don’t think that’s the point. The kiss may definitely be a catalyst to this first person beginning to watch the show, but it is highly unlikely that it will be the deciding factor. I mean, come on. If this person just wanted to see man-on-man lip action, there are literally thousands of adult movies that could fulfil that; why get yourself invested in a full-length series just for one kiss? The thing is, with all the hate that’s thrown our way on a daily basis, it’s always nice to see gay individuals positively portrayed in the mainstream media, and when we feel this sort of acceptance and endorsement, of course we’re going to lend our support to the source. I think that instead of taking this high morally-superior I-watch-this-show-for-better-reasons-than-you attitude that this second person adopted, they should have explained the possible selling points of the show and even perhaps given their critiques as well.
Guys, we all like feeling important and good about ourselves, I get that. But we shouldn’t do it at the expense of other people’s feelings. I’m sorry to come off as preachy and self-righteous, truly I am, but it doesn’t take anything from us to be kind to other people, even – and probably especially – strangers on the internet.
So, for those of you who will opt for the adult movies instead of investing your emotions and time into the entire Penny Dreadful series, but still want to see the sexy Josh Hartnett get it on with Dorian Gray Reeve Carney, I’ve included the scene in gif-tastic format below. But, my opinion, give the show at least a chance. It just may be your newest favourite thing… or your second favourite right after your adult movies. No judgement from me.