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No Gays of Our Lives


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With the firing of Kish on One Life to Live, the end of Guiding Light and the cancellation of As the World Turns, there will no longer be any gay 'super couples' or leading characters on daytime. Do you think this is just dumb luck? Do you think gay characters did more harm than good in terms of ratings? Do you think the infusion of gay characters bought GL and ATWT a few extra years? I am also curious as to why Y&R has done a 180 degree retreat as far as gay characters are concerned. Personally, I do not think we are going to see any new gay characters on daytime for a while. Seems to me that OLTL was fearful of being branded 'the gay' soap and that this attitude will be around for some time to come.

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I don't think Y&R did any about face. I think the plan all along was:

- create a shock value storyline with Adam to show how low he would go, since in the show's mind, being with another man meant depravity and craziness

- have Phillip return to clear up Cane's backstory, and since Thom Bierdz hoped Phillip could return as gay, that would be a part of the story.

I don't think any serious changes were made. Phillip's story was rushed through in about two weeks. They did all that before they would have had any chance to know audience reaction. I also don't believe that Adam and Rafe were ever meant to be anything. I think that Chris Engen quitting blew that whole story way out of proportion and Nelson Branco, wanting to get attention and also to help Y&R save face for Engen's departure, made the story out to be far more than it was ever going to be.

In the mind of the hacks who run Y&R, they got their story, and they were noble to tell that story. Remember that MAB was patting herself on the back before the stories started about how these were just going to be regular stories, not coming out stories. To her that obviously meant quick, meaningless little pathetic pokes at diversity which treated gays as sad people to pat on the head.

As for whether we will see any other gay characters on soaps -- no. Most of the people who run soaps don't care about gay characters and the past year will just reinforce their decision not to make the effort.

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I certainly don't think the lack of gay characters is dumb luck. It's clearly a decision on the part of TPTB. I think the best hope for gay characters right now is a Bianca recast. OLTL getting rid of Kish certainly gives me the impression that ABC wants to back away from gay characters, but time will tell. I wonder if they were being threatened with a boycott by the religious right or something. Does anyone even bother to boycott soaps anymore?

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If we see Bianca again she will probably be bi or straight.

Some of those anti-gay groups boycotted ATWT a few years ago. I haven't heard about any OLTL boycotts but something obviously happened to make them not only fire the actors, abruptly, but to slander them. That goes beyond a boycott. It's very desperate and personal and it makes me wonder if the falling ratings led to some sort of huge ugliness in the corporate offices.

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If we see Bianca again she will probably be bi or straight.

Some of those anti-gay groups boycotted ATWT a few years ago. I haven't heard about any OLTL boycotts but something obviously happened to make them not only fire the actors, abruptly, but to slander them. That goes beyond a boycott. It's very desperate and personal and it makes me wonder if the falling ratings led to some sort of huge ugliness in the corporate offices.

I was thinking something must have happened as well. If not a threatened boycott then maybe someone needed a scapegoat. It's ridiculous though because OLTL is only a point or two behind GH and AMC in the ratings. Sweeps stunts are what keep saving GH's ass, otherwise they were hitting 1.9's for awhile there too and we all know there isn't a gay character to be found on GH, since Lucus was rushed out of town. That happened pretty abruptly too come to think of it.

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With Lucas I wasn't that surprised because they obviously only cared about him long enough for the PSA.

I knew Kish wasn't going to be around forever but I didn't think they'd be dumped without even an official last scene and then the actors are attacked in the press. I just can't understand why that happened. Either after the firing they got more of a backlash from pro-Kish viewers than they had expected, which led to clumsy damage control, or someone at ABC had been wary of bringing in gay characters all along and now was getting in some vicious kicks since they had been proven right.

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I don't really have an opinion on whether gay characters hurt or help the ratings. I think initially Nuke helped ATWT, but I can't say what if any effect there has been in the long run. However, I feel entitled to a bit of an "I told you so" -- when people were falling all over themselves praising OLTL for Kish, I was saying, wait, they aren't core family like Luke, and whatever, we'll see if they're around in a couple years.

ATWT has remained committed to its gay characters, even as story has ebbed and flowed, and for that I will always believe that TPTB at ATWT, and even "conservative" P&G, deserve credit. They could have folded in the face of the boycotts. Luke will have been on the show continuously as a gay character, never completely backburnered, never written off to give the character a "break," with some kind of memorable story every year (some good, some not so good), for about five years when all is said and done. That's a lifetime in soap-gay-character years. It even beats Bianca's longest continuous run.

I think Agnes Nixon still has enough clout to stand up to any attempt by ABC to force AMC to drop any story they might have planned for a Bianca recast, so I agree that AMC will probably be "the" soap for any possible gay "supercouples" after ATWT goes off the air.

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The main difference with most of the ABC soap stories on gays and the P&G stories is that while the P&G stories were more restrained in their view of gay relationships, the gay couples were treated as more a part of the family, as people viewers would care about. The ABC characters, and over the last 5 years I would include Bianca in this, were treated more as special guests, as social issues, causes to get some press writeup. Never was this more blatant than "Breese" or "Rianca" or whatever they were, where ABC shamelessly sold them to the press as a daring couple with sex scenes and a wedding, while the story being told on the show was of a confused lesbian turning straight because of her hunky brother-in-law.

I thought Kish would be different, but it seems like ABC's virulent reaction towards them suggests they were punished for that difference. Now in the unlikely event we ever see a gay character on an ABC soap again it may be a return to, "Look, there's ___ cousin/old friend/classmate, he/she is getting beaten up/raped for their sexuality. Let's do a PSA!"

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I think the biggest problem with gay characters is the need to bring in new characters for them and only them. They would have no other romantic options. This is why soaps need to realize there is more than straight and gay. Hello bisexuals...

But then again, so what? why not bing in bunch of gay characters? they bring in newbies all the time.

The key would be to have gay characters tied to the canvas with connections to history. Pretty much the flip side of Kish (who were isolated, unattached, and disposable)

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It wouldn't have mattered if it was CJ Roberts and Paul Cramer (something previously attempted, and vetoed) - if ABC wanted the gays out, they would have been out, and that goes for bisexuals as well.

I think Kish are much more an organic part of the canvas than Nuke became on ATWT, odd given Luke. On ATWT it always feels as though everyone involved, onscreen and off, is doing this at gunpoint; like, 'here are your [[email protected]#$%^&*] gays, shut up and take their terrible stories all designed to avoid sexual intimacy.' No one on any level seems terribly excited or committed, they're just held hostage by one of their few remaining fanbases. Whereas at OLTL people were clearly proud of what they were doing, enjoying each other and committed to in-depth work, and they wove them into many aspects of Llanview society. That's why it doesn't matter whether someone is "core" or not; what matters is the work ethic and the approach.

I am clearly up too early, I keep mistyping. My brain always moves faster than my fingers, which move too fast for their own good.

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I think Kish are much more an organic part of the canvas than Nuke became on ATWT, odd given Luke. On ATWT it always feels as though everyone involved, onscreen and off, is doing this at gunpoint; like, 'here are your [[email protected]#$%^&*] gays, shut up and take their terrible stories all designed to avoid sexual intimacy.' No one on any level seems terribly excited or committed, they're just held hostage by one of their few remaining fanbases. Whereas at OLTL people were clearly proud of what they were doing, enjoying each other and committed to in-depth work, and they wove them into many aspects of Llanview society. That's why it doesn't matter whether someone is "core" or not; what matters is the work ethic and the approach.

Have you seen the Reid character? I know it probably won't last but so far he's been fit into ATWT surprisingly well, with various strands of characters (Katie and Henry, Bob at the hospital, and then the Nuke stuff). I agree with you about Nuke and how they often seem to come across but honestly that's how a lot of the couples have come across on ATWT over the past four or five years, or longer.

I think Kish had the potential to be a more organic part of the canvas, a circle of friendships and a sense of community. That's where they seemed to be going, and I was looking forward to it, because I don't believe having the same last name as Viki or Dorian or Bo automatically makes you an important character. But then the backlash hit and their roles have become progressively less valuable.

That's why I think they were an exception to the rule for ABC. So was Bianca, in her first 3-4 years as a character. Usually on ABC soaps the gay character has a big G or L stamped on their forehead, they're very isolated, treated as a special subject, and then written out within six months to a year, or less.

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The first year of Luke's story, during the coming out period and aftermath, was an exciting time and it radiated from the screen. Everyone was clearly committed to the story. In three years, would Kish still have felt as exciting to you as they do now, Vee? Can't answer that since it was always a given they wouldn't be around long enough.

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I think the biggest problem with gay characters is the need to bring in new characters for them and only them. They would have no other romantic options. This is why soaps need to realize there is more than straight and gay. Hello bisexuals...

But then again, so what? why not bing in bunch of gay characters? they bring in newbies all the time.

The key would be to have gay characters tied to the canvas with connections to history. Pretty much the flip side of Kish (who were isolated, unattached, and disposable)

Totally agree. Writers don't realize what a gold mine a bi-sexual love triangle could be. Say it was a man choosing between a girl and another man, and all the conflicting feelings he would have. It would be classic soap with a modern twist.

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With the firing of Kish on One Life to Live, the end of Guiding Light and the cancellation of As the World Turns, there will no longer be any gay 'super couples' or leading characters on daytime. Do you think this is just dumb luck? Do you think gay characters did more harm than good in terms of ratings? Do you think the infusion of gay characters bought GL and ATWT a few extra years? I am also curious as to why Y&R has done a 180 degree retreat as far as gay characters are concerned. Personally, I do not think we are going to see any new gay characters on daytime for a while. Seems to me that OLTL was fearful of being branded 'the gay' soap and that this attitude will be around for some time to come.

No. Otalia didn't even start until 2009, so it didn't buy GL anytime.

As for Nuke, I think they are overrated. It may have gotten ATWT buzz, but it didn't buy the show a few years. It would be going off right now, with or without them.

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