In the coming weeks on "The O.C.," Marissa develops a female love interest. But what some fans really want to know is whether there's more than just brotherly affection between the show's male leads, Seth and Ryan. "Well, yeah, they're lovers," creator Josh Schwartz tells NEWSWEEK.
He's kidding--but not everyone's so sure. These days, looking for romantic tension between male TV characters is a popular side attraction to the actual plotlines. A phrase has even sprung up in the blogosphere--"HoYay!" meaning "Homoeroticism Yay!"--to describe awkward glances or sexually ambiguous dialogue between guys. "The director sets up a soap opera--two male characters clenching their jaws--and you're totally thinking to yourself, 'Just kiss already!' " says Sarah Bunting of TelevisionWithoutPity.com. "It's almost funnier when the writers aren't aware."
They usually are. Schwartz acknowledges "The O.C." has HoYay!-like moments "from time to time"; the boys' hetero love interests even mock them about their relationship. In addition to Seth and Ryan, other couples attracting online attention include Clark and Lex on "Smallville" (maybe it's a love-hate relationship?), several of the characters on "Everwood" and most of the men on "Lost" (wouldn't you get lonely on a desert island?). But some online forums are flooded with fans who see HoYay! in almost every scene, even in dramas like "ER," "The West Wing" and "CSI." Hence the need for the HoYay! backlash to begin with "HoNay!" which, as you can probably guess, stands for "Homoeroticism Nay!"