A gay ol’ time in Paradise Falls

Paradise Falls is going gay — more gay — proudly promoting its third season on Showcase as “the gayest CanCon on TV.”

Paradise Falls is going gay — more gay — proudly promoting its third season on Showcase as “the gayest CanCon on TV.”

“That’s hilarious. That’s funny. I hadn’t heard that,” says series regular Salvatore Antonio, who plays gay B&B owner Sasha on the prime time soap.

“But that is one true statement. The show is kind of like Twin Peaks meets Desperate Housewives meets Queer as Folk. It’s one quirky show.”

Quirky is a good word to describe Paradise Falls. Long before the conniving cougars arrived on Wisteria Lane, Paradise Falls was offering up a heavy dose of cottage-country bad behavior — all done with a sly wink.

“I think what sets it apart from the usual soap is that it doesn’t take itself seriously,” says Antonio, who joined the show in its second season.

“It has humour but it also deals with serious issues. But yeah, we are taking the piss out of a lot of stuff.”

Not surprisingly, Paradise Falls hasn’t had a typical broadcast life on TV either. Though this is its third season, the show first aired in 2000. This season was in fact filmed in 2007, and has already aired in the U.S. on the specialty network Here-TV.

Co-creator/writer Paula Smith says the sporadic broadcast history has proven a creative plus for the show.

“It’s allowed us the time in between to regroup and reinvent the show,” she says. “I think a lot of journalists who didn’t like the show in the beginning might be surprised we’re still around 104 episodes later.”

Smith says the increase in gay characters and storylines came about gradually and is, in part, an acknowledgement of its audience at the gay-oriented Here-TV.

“I think when we first began it was more like 10 per cent of the show, but we’ve become much more gay as we’ve gone along,” she says. “But it’s still the same show. We’re still taking the soap opera conventions and turning them on their ear."

That includes a third season opener featuring a gay wedding that threatens to turn into a ménage-a-trois before the honeymoon is even over. “Without giving too much away — it’s a long wedding night,” laughs Antonio.

• Paradise Falls returns for its third season Sept. 2 on Showcase.