Remote Control - Saturday March 07, 2015

Less than 20 years ago, most British homes were restricted to just four television channels, meaning such was the lack of choice that the advent of Channel Five was welcomed by some.

Saturday, 7th March 2015, 8:00 am
Gay weddings would be rarely seen in Salt Lake City, setting for a TLC documentary called My Husband Is Not Gay
Gay weddings would be rarely seen in Salt Lake City, setting for a TLC documentary called My Husband Is Not Gay

Imagine that. Fast forward to today and most homes have access to hundreds of channels showing endless repeats, and the ever-repetitive 24-hour news – Teletubbies for grown-ups.

But if it wasn’t for the dish on the side of my house I would not have experienced the wonders of American telly – I am not talking about the utter genius of shows such as The Wire or Breaking Bad, but the ever-so-slightly nutty programmes which could only be made on the other side of the Atlantic.

Joining Cheaters and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is the gloriously dreadful My Husband Is Not Gay – an hour-long special made for TLC (Monday 10pm) which caused such a stink in America that well over 100,000 people signed a petition calling on it not to be screened.

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Their main objection is that it focused on a group of married chaps (and their wives), who were all Mormons in Salt Lake City. These definitely-not-gay Mormons, however, fancied other men.

This being America, there is a name for this scarcely known condition – SSA, which stands for Same Sex Attraction. But remember, these guys are not gay, because that is strictly forbidden in the Church of the Latter Day Saints.

The reason why this programme received such opposition was that there were many who objected to its portrayal as homosexuality as a lifestyle choice, and something that can be suppressed.

They needn’t have worried, because this was 60 minutes of the most hilariously ridiculous television to be broadcast in recent years, full of Are You Being Served-style innuendo.

The stars of this docu-drama played their parts well, and there were some cracking one-liners including my favourite: “I hear that they have a lot of SSA in Argentina.”

Has anyone told the Argentines I wonder?

There was one moment when one non-gay chap told his wife that he was planning to go camping with others touched by SSA. In a display of mock horror, the wife counselled against such a move, citing a recent party held when she was out of town. ‘You remember what happened then’, she recalled.

The programme finished with a badly set-up ‘blind date’ when the only non-married SSA chap met the friend of one of the wives. We were told it went well, although there wasn’t much evidence of that, particularly as he felt the need to inform her of his sexual preference, surely a first date faux pas?

She thanked him for his honesty and said she would gladly meet him again, at which point I stopped laughing and felt sorry for the lot of them.