The final episode of Mark Trevorrow’s documentary/variety/talk show The Way We Were airs this Saturday and it might well be the most subtly radical program on TV this year.
Up until now, Trevorrow (aka Bob Downe) has presented topics such as sharks, children’s television and sunshine in a breezy magazine style format.
This week however, the subject is making babies, which proves much less conservative than expected. Conventional, nuclear family births are given a nod, but mostly the show is about new families, from IVF babies to lesbian parenting.
No lesbians make an appearance but Trevorrow does interview local gay man (and regular Sydney Star Observer letter writer) Paul van Reyk, who is the biological father of at least six children. He cheerily rejects the notion that being gay disqualifies one from parenthood, but the biggest endorsement comes from Anthea Polson.
Who? Polson is one of the first IVF mothers in Australia and believes everyone should have the same chance she and her husband had 22 years ago. If my chosen partner was a female, I don’t see why I shouldn’t have that same right, she says.
During the panel discussion comedienne and mother-of-three Mandy Moore mentions two gay male friends who had a baby with a lesbian friend. The woman had no desire to raise children of her own so acted as a surrogate mum. Now they have a family, she smiled.
Trevorrow hosts with caramel ease and in a sense his gayness makes especially perfect this week, given his naivete regarding childbirth.
Chatting to mothers who bore triplets he asks, Do they come out like a line of sausages? And when he dons a pregnant suit intended to engender empathy, he takes the opportunity to ape Demi Moore’s nude preggers photoshoot.
The Way We Were may go down in TV history as a curious hybrid, but it remains significant in another important way. The show is a nostalgic look at Australia’s past that casually and without fanfare includes lesbians and gay men -“ a rare creature indeed.
More please, Aunty.
The Way We Were concludes this Saturday 11 September at 9:30pm on ABCTV.