On Tuesday, the highly-anticipated second season of the critically-acclaimed EastSiders made its debut on Vimeo on Demand. The first three episodes were released, and the series continues to chronicle the very human, messed-up, and complex story of Silverlake-living Thom (Van Hansis) and Cal (Kit Williamson), as they struggle to define just what their relationship truly is, and where it is headed.
During season one where we met Thom and Cal, and their friends, viewers watched the implosion of their relationship in the aftermath of infidelity. Now in season two it looks like that these two young men have found a new way to experience one another and to be together – by adventuring upon an open relationship.
Raw, touching, and oh-so-funny, creator Kit Williamson infuses season two with witty dialog, and a no-judgment-look at couples exploring the boundaries of sex and love within the framework of the LGBT community. Through twist and turns and shared experiences, can Cal and Thom actually find harmony with one another? Or, will their new shared outlook eventually tear them apart yet again?
On-Air On-Soaps chatted with series stars: Van Hansis (beloved by soap fans for his performance as Luke Snyder on As the World Turns) and Kit Williamson, who continue to make EastSiders a must-see viewing. During our conversation they discussed: the decision to make an open relationship a major theme throughout the season, and what they thinks this means for their character’s journey as they navigate through some very steamy, yet humorous sexual encounters. The guys also share what went on during the filming of some of the standout scenes in the first half of the second season, and they deliver a preview of what is to come when the second half of the season arrives on October 1st. Here’s our chat with Van and Kit!
When creating season two of EastSiders, what went into the decision to have it be about these two guys evolution in their relationship, which was having an open one?
KIT: I thought a lot about what I wanted season two to be. I know a lot of people were very invested in the love triangle from season one. But, I don’t think you can retread the same storyline, especially when you take a break between the seasons. You have to let the characters evolve and change. It just seemed like the natural place to go when you have had your relationship completely redefined. You have to build it back up from scratch. After Cal moved out of his apartment with Thom and they start seeing each other again, they are tasked with redefining what that relationship is to one another.
Van, when read the scripts and found out that the next turn in Cal and Thom’s complex relationship would be that they would be having sex together … with other men … what was your initial reaction?
VAN: I thought the scripts were awesome. I went to L.A. in April of last year and we had a big sit-down with all the cast members and read through the scripts. Kit has mentioned that may be the direction the characters would be going in, and I really liked it. One thing that I liked about the first season was it was telling an old story in a new way – in telling a story of infidelity. I feel like this now is a logical expansion of that story. You see the stories that are cautionary tales such as, “Don’t do this, or it will ruin your relationships, etc.” That’s not the case with EastSiders. I think a lot of people can throw side-eyes at these characters for this, but they are having a good time for the most part. There are challenges within it, but I think the show does a really good job of exploring those challenges. Also, not being judgmental about where these characters are taking their lives.
In the third episode when Thom and Cal are having many a ménage à trios with guy, after guy, after guy, it was some of the funniest material I have seen! These men they hook up with all have twisted back-stories, or weird sexual appetites, and so on, and so forth. Did you have fun filming those moments?
VAN: Oh, my God! Those scenes were so funny! But the scenes with all of those guys we basically did that all in one day! First off, it was 9,000 degrees in the bedroom. It was filming in a sauna, basically. We were in states of undress, and I felt really badly for the crew who was dripping with sweat. But the stuff that those guys were doing was so funny. Numerous takes were just ruined, because people couldn’t stop laughing.
KIT: Yes! We shot in the summer and you have to turn the air conditioning off when you’re filming because of noise, and we were shooting all day.
And so after all of their trysts, they didn’t have a moment thinking, “Wow, this is truly creepy!” Or, perhaps were they thinking instead, “Wow, this so works!”
KIT: What I hope you see in that episode is that no matter how creepy the people that enter their lives and their bedroom are, and whether it’s a good experience or not, it’s actually bringing Cal and Thom closer together as they explore a side of themselves that they never have. I don’t think either of them got the opportunity to date very much before they found each other. I think this is part of why Cal lashes out so much in season one, and becomes such a sex monster. (Laughs) It’s because he was a virgin up until the point he started dating Thom, and put so much stock in fidelity, and in their monogamy. So when that was shattered, he had no idea who he was.
Originally, Thom was the dog in the relationship! Wouldn’t you agree?
KIT: Thom started out as a dog in season one, for sure. He was the one that sort of broke the trust and set everything rolling, but then he spends the rest of the season making up for it, and being faithful. Meanwhile, Cal is sleeping with Jeremy and his boss, and just generally being as self-destructive as a person could be.
Van, do you believe Thom is then truly happy with what is going on in his relationship with Cal at this point?
VAN: I think there is a lot of confusion of what is going on, but I think he is happy he is back with Cal, and that they are trying to find a new way of working things out. However, like most of the times on this show no one is ever just happy. No one is just upset. There are shades and variations of what is going on, so I think there is definitely some of that happening. They have never been in an open relationship before. I think, as Kit had mentioned, what is important to them is that this is their experience together. So there is always the thing of, “Are you enjoying this as much as I am? Is this making us happy?” It’s now about the “we” instead of … is this making “me” happy?
Is the sex-therapist/waiter, who they are sleeping with, truly, advising them in a therapist capacity? (Laughs)
KIT: This may be the last advice he gives, but he continues to play an important part in the show. (Laughs)
What about the character of Jeremy (Matthew McKelligon) at this point? He seems so lost now! Who did he truly want to be with? He slept with both Cal and Thom, individually, last season.
KIT: Yes. He’s a total mess. He is totally turned upside down by what happened in season one and getting his heart broken, and has kind of let his life implode. He’s lost all of his clients, and has had to move in with his sister and her wife. Jeremy is kind of freeloading right now in their guest room smoking pot, and babysitting their kids. I also felt he was most interested in Thom. I think he became interested in Cal as an extension of Thom, and to be closer to Thom. You will definitely be seeing more of Jeremy in the next three episodes.
What can you preview for viewers to look forward to come October when the final three episodes of the season are released?
KIT: I would say that things are not as peaceful as they seem, and that Cal and Thom have a lot more to work out then their sex lives.
There was one thing that remained a staple this season … the booze intake! There has been lots of drinking going on in season two!
VAN: Yes! They have an open relationship with alcohol. (Laughs)
KIT: I think the Cal is self-aware that he actually drinks too much, but I don’t think he believes he is an alcoholic. Like any other form of excess in his life, Cal is constantly trying to rein things in and finding it difficult.
In season two, Brianna Brown (Ex-General Hospital, Devious Maids) appears on the scene as Cal’s sister, and she drinks quite heavily in EastSiders too! (Laughs)
KIT: Yeah, she also plays a big lush! You can look forward to Traci Lords coming in and drinking a lot as well! (Laughs)
What do you make of Thom’s journey in all of this? Has he come to realize that he made any mistakes along the way in his relationship with Cal?
VAN: I think with Thom there is a sense of him trying to play by the rules, but the rules keep changing. I think he’s trying to adapt, but I think he has a lot of selfish proclivities, and he’s trying to work on those with Cal. I think now that they are seeing each other, but living apart, Thom knows what he lost. He wants that back, but the world that they have set up together now is so different than the world that they were in when they were a couple. He is just trying to navigate those waters, and figure out who they are to each other with their world being very different.
Do you think the end goal for this duo is … that there would not be three-ways and multiple partners, but they can just be sexually with each other and be content with that?
KIT: I honestly don’t know. I haven’t thought that far into the character’s future. If we do a third season that would definitely be a question. For me, it’s an interesting thing and as much as it’s the subject of this season and what actually happens, I think sex has become much less significant in their relationship by the fact they are having all of this sex with other people. The really core important part of trust and communication happens outside of the bedroom. That’s what I think they need to work on more than anything.
Overall, what do you think is the takeaway for season two? It certainly may be very eye-opening to some in the viewing audience.
VAN: I think this season is a bit more thought-provoking, because of its theme of open relationships and because it’s a story that is not told that much, nor is it a story told without judgment that much. I think when people hear about that, they can get a bit closed off, because maybe they don’t know about it, or they don’t know what that world is. We live in a society that it is looked down upon for people who choose to live like that. I think it will be interesting to see how people respond to a love story, especially in regards to what happens when two people are in love, but they are not exclusive with each other.
Do you think that Thom or Cal have any concerns that one of them could potentially fall for one of the guys they are having a threesome with?
KIT: I think they aren’t even thinking about that. And at this point in the season, there isn’t anybody who’s emerged as a danger. (Laughs) Mostly, they have been having sex with a lot of weird guys. (Laughs) For them, sex and friendship are kind of occupying a similar space, which is an angle on open relationships which I haven’t seen explored as often as the love triangle. They may not be entirely done with jealously, but this season is not about a love triangle.
Van, if there is a third season for EastSiders, would you love to continue telling the story of this screwed-up yet, very human and compelling couple?
VAN: I would do season three in a heartbeat! I love this show. Kit is an incredible writer, and one thing that I love about this season is that it is really, really funny. If we take this show further and after what Kit has told me, I am really excited about it. I, for one, want to see what Cal and Thom are doing when they are in a retirement home in their 80’s, and how much trouble they could be getting in there! (Laughs)
What do you think about the series taking a look at the ramifications on an open relationship between a couple trying to find their way back to each other? What did you think about Van and Kit’s comments on the second season of the acclaimed series? Have you checked out the new season yet? If so, what has been your favorite scene? Make sure to watch a trailer for season two below. Then, let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!