Most people I talk to have never heard about the gay soap-opera Dante’s Cove. Which I think is a bit of a pity since it is the perfect (and only?) youth soap opera about gays that combines hot sex with black magic. Dante’s Cove is an island once famous for its hot springs. In the 1800’s it was a popular tourist resort for rich New England families, but also a place for witches and warlocks belonging to the religion of Tresum. In the show, we follow a group of young polysexual crowd who now live in the once grand hotels and residences. We see them struggle with love and life, as well as with the supernatural danger surrounding them.
Tresum is about harmony and balance between energies. The magic flows from two natural sources; the moon (female) and the sun (male) and only the right practitioning of this magic re-assures peace on earth. There is a prophecy that says that one day there will be no need to practice magic for there to be peace, but a child will be born who combines both moon and sun and earth will be in total harmony forever. The prophet child will be neither moon or sun, but a so called Sky child. The Sky child could be read as a “third gender”, belonging to neither one of the Moon-or-Sun houses.
An ancient ritual is the Conjunction, where an important act is heavy same sex couplings. No Tresum sect has realized this yet, but the gay fucking is what will bring the Sky child into the world. And the Sky child will be come out of “non-traditional sexuality”. This implying that there will be no actual birth, but more a person’s entrance in the world by coming out of the closet. Salvation lays thus in the understanding of basic queer theory.
The super witch and high priestess Grace is the villain of the show. She is over 200 years old and was born into a sect of women with a special interpretation of Tresum. They believe that the coming of the Sky child is hastened if the Moon house is able to absorb the powers of the Sun house, meaning that all the powers of Tresum would belong to the women. This misreading has put the world in disorder, causing the hot springs of Dante’s Cove to dry up. Common for all the the meaning of “male” and “female” in the books of Tresum is the idea that Moon and Sun is about biological sexes of people. In fact, the definition of male and female has very little to do with the actual sex or gender of the witch/warlock.
If you actually know about Dante’s Cove or have even watched it, you are most certainly one of the three following types:
Type 1: You are a sucker for soap operas and just thought you had seen them all, until you found this one. The only reason you nearly missed it is because it was filed under both “Supernatural”, “Soft porn” and “Sunset Beach” so you actually thought you’d already seen it.
Type 2: You recently came out as gay and haven’t been to a single date yet because you were too busy catching up with gay pop culture. You lost a few friends during your Will&Grace marathon but on the other hand, you realized it was worth it the moment you reached the year 2005. Somewhere in between image searching “Sheryl Swoops” and watching all the best clips of Americas Next Top Model’s cute tomboy Kim, you happened to find this gem of gay drama!
Type 3: You are simply both pretentious and super horny. This show was practically invented just to get your juices flowing from your brain to your pants and then back into your brain again. The title probably caught your eye while you had slow Internet and tried to stream Lexx, then after failed attempts you caught a web trailer of Dante’s Cove instead. They won you over with the words “ritual sacrifice and sexuality” and you found the images of half-naked men and women having gay desires in the name of ancient magic very… interesting. From an intersectional queer feminist perspective, of course!
SOME INSIGHTS TO THE SHOW
The “female is evil” setting might seem weary. But one could say that this plot enables a welcomed change in the visual representations of power relations. One where the male is always threatened and often killed as passive victims while the female plays an active role by seeking and retrieving knowledge to either save or destroy the world.
Queer lesson: The necessity of a dead patriarch and the victimized male
According to the local interpretation of the religion, the patriarch must die for all the magical powers of Tresum to manifest themselves in the female heir. The super villain of the show, high priestess Grace, witnessed her mother killing her father when she was a child in the 1810’s.
Van is the hero of the story, leading the way for a scared Toby.
Van lifting a spell from main character Kevin, who is naked and in pain. His worried boyfriend Toby doesn’t know what to believe.
Though the characters do not yet know it, the Tresum prophecy will be fulfilled by persons of non-traditional sexuality. That is the reason for the very high presence of gay energy in Dante’s Cove, as nature’s way of trying to restore harmony after the Moon house put the island in imbalance.
Queer lesson: Redefining gender
Diving teacher dyke Brit and waitress Michelle, who is under an amnesia spell cast on her by her girlfriend…
Soft porn moments are plenty in Dante’s Cove
The inhabitants of Hotel Dante (the historical hotel of the island and once home of Grace) are young people far away from their blood family. They are searching for a new family by heart (well, mostly flesh). In Tresum you connect through teaching and practicing the powers. You become family by finding a more powerful avatar and grow through her (or him), while rejecting your traditional relationships.
Queer lesson: Building family outside of heterosexuality and biology
Grace answers Van on her question about how to earn the powers of Tresum: “Tresum is a jealous mistress. You can have no other in your life. No brother, sister, mother.. or father.”
“People always let you down, Van. But the moon, the water… they’re always there.”
There has been announcements of a 4th season on and off since 2009 but that have yet to materialize. I guess it is in the hands of Tresum…
Curious? Watch Dante’s Cove here!
By Åslög Enochsson