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No Gays of Our Lives


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That's why I think What's Happening!! is so damn underrated. Here was a sitcom about black teenagers who had adventures that all other TV teens had at the time. All of the characters could have been white, and the stories would have still been the same.

What's Happening is one of the most offensive.

For several reasons.

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I remember the homophobic attitudes some characters had on AMC during the Trangender storyline. The guy was called a freak and other neg names. While I think this may have been a realistic take on common attitudes, the entire thing smelled like a PSA or After School Special. All gay characters on the ABC soaps are 'special guests' used for the purpose of shock and buzz.

Bianca's stories haven't always been very after school special. I thought her first romance had surprisingly little of that PSA feel and was not as focused on sexual identity as it could've been. And ATWT has been guilty of going all PSA on occasion.

On the other hand, the less said about Reece and Zach the better (though again--I think if done well a story about a woman who suddenly realizes she'sgay--like they also tried to do but kinda failed with with Maggie, is relevent... It's just not done well)

I agree. A late life realization of homosexuality or bisexuality or whatever can be interesting subject its just been badly done with Bianca's love interests. I thought Maggie's story was done better but they dragged on her sexual confusion and kept backtracking until they conveniently did not have to finish the story onscreen. Reese was a mess of a character who seemed to have no consistent motivation. Although that was true of a lot of Pratt's characters.

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:unsure:

What makes it offensive is totally over my head, then. But please, enlighten me.

WH eliminated the Black Father then made him a cheat, greatly reduced Mabel King's role each season to the point where she left & cast Fred Berry cause the network didn't want a Black teen heartthrob.

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Besides Nuke though, what are these other P&G characters who are treated more as a part of a family than, say, Bianca was her first two years, etc? Olivia/etc were always sketchily drawn IMHO and are a very recent thing. But I do see that point and somewhat agree with it.

Bianca was a very special case compared to almost any soap, at least her first few years. Other than her I don't think ABC has ever done a great job with integrating gay characters -- the closest would be Michael Delaney and Kevin Sheffield, but unfortunately Michael in particular only really seemed to have a purpose if he was in a gay-related story. I would have said Kish were an exception to this rule but I can't after the very virulent rejection of them by ABC.

Beyond Nuke, Hank Elliot was also treated as a part of Oakdale life for several years and was written as being a very heroic character, in that he took a bullet for Paul Ryan, in spite of Paul thinking the worst of him.

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I dunno Carl, I remain unconvinced that PGP has any better track record than ABC in this case. Hank is a character that even my gay friend who is in his 40s now and brags about watching ATWT since he was at least 10 has NO recollection of. I don't think he was exactly on all that much...

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I never understood why they didn't make Noah Mayer bisexual. This would have made for a great storyline, with Noah knocking up Maddie Coleman while falling for Luke. Instead , because they were the only two gay characters on the show, Luke and Noah had to fall in love and turn bland. I must say, though, that this latest s/l with Reid Oliver is wonderful. Reid was abrasive, shown to have a mysterious past, involved with core characters like the Hughes, Katie , Chris and Henry BEFORE he was known to be gay. It's must-see-TV for me these days.

On a side note, GH's gay storyline was the absolute worst.

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I dunno Carl, I remain unconvinced that PGP has any better track record than ABC in this case. Hank is a character that even my gay friend who is in his 40s now and brags about watching ATWT since he was at least 10 has NO recollection of. I don't think he was exactly on all that much...

He was on the show for about 2 or 3 years and was a major part of some of the stories at that time. The New York Times even ran an article when he showed up, as he was the first gay man on soaps. For someone to get to come on a show like ATWT and talk about their life, their coming out, how this affected their life and their relationship with their father, that's something which made an impact.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0HLW9NF-N8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUih2Un0SIo&feature=related

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Oh I know all that--and I've seen all those coming out episodes, and they're wonderful (though I also have three hours of the Devon AMC storyline on video and I think the scenes where she's explained why she's not a lesbian and why the psychiatrist is are extremely well handled, better than the soap press often makes them sound). But I still, despite some story impact as you mentioned, don't think Hank had much of a life witht he others much after his coming out--no big holiday scenes, and no big exit. And of course this was the late 80s--most gay storylines (including Kish...till now) have been a proresion from before. I just don't buy your hypothesis that PGP soaps have done better by gays than ABC.

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But I still, despite some story impact as you mentioned, don't think Hank had much of a life witht he others much after his coming out--no big holiday scenes, and no big exit.

I think that his story with Paul, where Paul rejected him and then he went on to save Paul's life and almost died in the process, was a very powerful moment, especially because it directly tackled the idea that a gay man is some type of danger to teenage boys. He didn't have a big exit, but the exit of holding his dying partner's hand had some power, especially back in the early 90s.

I just don't buy your hypothesis that PGP soaps have done better by gays than ABC.

The way I see it is ABC had Bianca, who had a coming out story that was very powerful, then sort of struggled for story until her rape and the loss of her baby, another very powerful story. Other than that most of her stories seemed to be a big ordeal for the writers, with the last one barely featuring her and instead trying to tell us that lesbians are confused and can go straight.

Other ABC stories -- AMC told a brief story on sexual confusion with Devon and Lynn. OLTL told a great story on homophobia which lasted for a few months in 1992, and then Billy slowly disappeared. AMC told a good story on homophobia in 1996 which ran for a few months, then the character slowly disappeared, although we got to see him chastely dating another man. Kevin had a good story on reparative therapy, which was a bold story, and then Kevin slowly disappeared. GH had a gay-bashing story with Lucas, and Lucas then ceased to exist. OLTL had a short-lived story about Mark's coming out, which was then undone by a very shameful, offensive ratings stunt that told us being gay causes you to kill. OLTL had a brief and forgettable gay marriage story with Marcie's brother Eric. OLTL had the gay wedding story with Dorian which was somewhat poorly told. OLTL had Nick, where, thanks to cutting the story short, viewers got an extremely questionable plotline which was all about a gay man being beaten and then using his attack to get attention from his ex boyfriend. Thanks to that being cut short, and Nick being so weakly defined, I heard comments like oh, he did that to get attention, oh, maybe he paid someone to attack him. And since ABC forced them to edit out the scenes of Nick being counseled by Marty and coming to terms with what happened to him, all we ever got was a gay-bashing victim put in a negative and manipulative light.

OLTL had Kish, which had amazing potential, but which was then not just cut short, but led to gays being blamed for ratings failure and the actors being slandered.

P&G had stories that were generally less about a PSA, or "Ma, look at my GLAAD award," or, as in recent years with ABC, a cover used for heinous storytelling (as ABC used Marcie to cover for the Coulson killings, used the gay wedding to cover for Reese being a confused lesbian, used Lucas to cover for the ugly violence and hate all over GH) and were more about those characters and their daily lives, how they interacted with people, their dramas, both romantically and family and friendship. The stories weren't always very good, but I rarely got the feeling of, "Let's pat these queers on the head and then send them packing after we got our positive publicity," which, sadly, I have gotten over and over with ABC. I think it's telling that no one at ATWT or P&G went to the press and said Nuke got their show canceled, Nuke got them low ratings. They were not fired from the show when the ratings fell as some attempt to convince anti-gay viewers that they could come home.

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I dunno, I get your points Carl, but a part of me thinks that PGP was just too scared to tackle anything that could look controversial--and yes like a PSA ;) (Witness the degrees PGP put on AW and their ridiculous AIDS story done at the same time as Cyndi's on AMC--even their medical authority ended up leaving because of the direction it took).

Your critique of the gay stories on ABC is fair, for the most part but I think elements are exagerated (and the Kevin S storyline sprung out of the Michael Delaney one--so I'd argue they weren't two seperate short term ones--they did give Kevin a bf right near the end but we know how that went... Actually didn't Billy have one right near the end too? He worked at the Palace?)

PGP did outright say that they wouldn't give Nuke a love scene--we all know about the campaign to even get them a second kiss went. And two stories on one soap in 20 years isn't too convincing to me. :P I think ABC has been reprehensible in this latest firing but I do, honestly feel ABC has censored their gay stories and controlled them far less (and no matter what you think of Bianca, the fact that even Frons--and yes there are many reasons for this--seems to realize she's a fan fave says something).

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PGP did outright say that they wouldn't give Nuke a love scene--we all know about the campaign to even get them a second kiss went. And two stories on one soap in 20 years isn't too convincing to me. :P I think ABC has been reprehensible in this latest firing but I do, honestly feel ABC has censored their gay stories and controlled them far less (and no matter what you think of Bianca, the fact that even Frons--and yes there are many reasons for this--seems to realize she's a fan fave says something).

Frons sees Bianca as a fan favorite in spite of her lesbianism. Every story for her under his watch had her as a neutered and, after the rape and baby switch (which I would put more on McTavish than on Frons, as McTavish, for better or worse, loved the Kane women), an increasingly irrelevant character. Oh look, Bianca's here to show us that Babe is love, and that we should be nice to a campy transsexual. The last time was hey look, it's Zach's brood mare, let's leer at her hot girlfriend played by Tams! She's a lesbian and that's so hot...no, really, well, until a big man comes along...

Noah and Luke had two or three kisses before the ban went into place, but I agree with your point. The story was never great and rapidly went downhill, and it was definitely censored, but the story remained, and Noah and Luke remained a part of the canvas. Luke has had stories for basically five years, not only as a gay man, but as a brother and a son. The stories were not that good, but unfortunately, that covers most of ATWT in recent years.

Kevin on AMC did have the coming out story but that was mostly about driving his brother to become a murderer. You're right that he and Billy both had boyfriends, but they both vanished right after this. I don't want to take away from Kevin's story because I think the reparative therapy story was VERY brave and very well done. But unfortunately beyond that he seemed to fade away as a character. In the end, to ABC, he was nothing beyond those gay stories.

I think that ATWT and GL made a lot of mistakes with Nuke and Otalia, and I think that Kish, in the few months they actually were together and weren't about Stacy or the baby, were the best gay couple I've ever seen on daytime, and better than most in primetime. But those few months of good story were punished with a very ugly backlash, not only against gays, but against the actors themselves.

So for me, other than a few years with Bianca, I think the message from ABC time and time again has been -- gays are here to give us some prestige and act as a cover and get some attention. They aren't a part of our show, not really. The message I got from P&G with their gay characters was -- they're a part of our show.

The next step in gay characters on any continuing show has to be making them a member of the community, instead of a quick visitor. I will never say P&G executed this well, or that they didn't heavily censor these relationships, but after the ugly backlash which ABC waged against Kish, reinforcing that no, these people are NOT mainstream, these people do NOT belong on our show, along with the way Bianca has slowly been given the same treatment over the past 5 years, I would tend to say I think P&G has done a better job in this area.

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Decided to chime in, I tried reading most of the posts.

For me, while Nuke has lasted longer on ATWT (which I give them credit for), for me, I think Kish has been the best attempt so far. Seemed much more natural and organic to me. While neither were related to a core family member, I think Ron was smart to make Kyle a doctor and Oliver a cop. On many soaps, seems at some point in time every character will visit the hosiptal or the police station. I thought that was a great way to intregate them into the core of the show without making them a relative of Dorian or Viki, etc. To me it seemed like Ron had long term plans for Kish and someone, be it Frons, or Frank or someone else, decided to end it quickly. Whether TPTB think the show was too gay or that the Kish story was simply a failure, IDK. I think the "Big gay wedding" was a little much and seems to be where the "too gay" stems from. I wonder had that not been written, would Kish still be written out now? I don't think Kish was a failure at all and did much more good than harm.

I hope out of all this, with Nuke ending in Sept due to ATWT being cancelled, and this big backlash/controversy over Kish firing, I hope one exec looks and see that, there is "a market" in soaps for a "gay romance". IMO, there's is enoigh people that want to see it, that a gay romance can be a lasting success. I just don't think any soap has gotten the formula down yet. Kish was very close IMO and I hope, another soap gives it a go and maybe the third time will be the charm?

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Carl, I actually agree with nearly all of that, though i still think ABC, to me, have a *sligthly* better track record. (I admit I'm really biased about the Kevin S storyline cuz I watched it literally when I was his age and dealing with some of the same issues, even a questionable shrink--though I had far more sympathetic parents than him. and you're right, outside that storyline--which was really well done, they didn't know what to do with him--they had the interesting, but non gay story of Kelsey falling in love with her best friend. Again this skirted the issue but I think it was relevent--it's something I've dealt with anyway. But they only delved into that half heartedly, then Broderick was out, Holidays exploded with Kev in it and for all I know McTavish never even had been given the memo he was more than a day player).

I guess my point is ideally we could have a mix of the two--how it's been dealt with on the PGP examples you state and on ABC. I still think it's a bit unfair to compare--PGP haven't done anything major *aside* from Hank (which was I suspect pushed upon them by Doug Marland) until very recently.

Wingwalker raises good points, and ones that I think the networks ARE ware of--or were. In Worlds Without End, the companion coffee table book to the 1997 Museum of Broadcast exhibition on soaps, there's a great essay about minorities on soaps. In the gay section it all but outright says that the reason ABC was so open to a gay story on AMC at the time was they recently elarned it was the top watched soap among gay demos--with other demos falling, they saw this as an untapped market, but apparently the advertisers were less willing to buy that.

Carl, I actually agree with nearly all of that, though i still think ABC, to me, have a *sligthly* better track record. (I admit I'm really biased about the Kevin S storyline cuz I watched it literally when I was his age and dealing with some of the same issues, even a questionable shrink--though I had far more sympathetic parents than him. and you're right, outside that storyline--which was really well done, they didn't know what to do with him--they had the interesting, but non gay story of Kelsey falling in love with her best friend. Again this skirted the issue but I think it was relevent--it's something I've dealt with anyway. But they only delved into that half heartedly, then Broderick was out, Holidays exploded with Kev in it and for all I know McTavish never even had been given the memo he was more than a day player).

I guess my point is ideally we could have a mix of the two--how it's been dealt with on the PGP examples you state and on ABC. I still think it's a bit unfair to compare--PGP haven't done anything major *aside* from Hank (which was I suspect pushed upon them by Doug Marland) until very recently.

Wingwalker raises good points, and ones that I think the networks ARE ware of--or were. In Worlds Without End, the companion coffee table book to the 1997 Museum of Broadcast exhibition on soaps, there's a great essay about minorities on soaps. In the gay section it all but outright says that the reason ABC was so open to a gay story on AMC at the time was they recently elarned it was the top watched soap among gay demos--with other demos falling, they saw this as an untapped market, but apparently the advertisers were less willing to buy that.

Carl, I actually agree with nearly all of that, though i still think ABC, to me, have a *sligthly* better track record. (I admit I'm really biased about the Kevin S storyline cuz I watched it literally when I was his age and dealing with some of the same issues, even a questionable shrink--though I had far more sympathetic parents than him. and you're right, outside that storyline--which was really well done, they didn't know what to do with him--they had the interesting, but non gay story of Kelsey falling in love with her best friend. Again this skirted the issue but I think it was relevent--it's something I've dealt with anyway. But they only delved into that half heartedly, then Broderick was out, Holidays exploded with Kev in it and for all I know McTavish never even had been given the memo he was more than a day player).

I guess my point is ideally we could have a mix of the two--how it's been dealt with on the PGP examples you state and on ABC. I still think it's a bit unfair to compare--PGP haven't done anything major *aside* from Hank (which was I suspect pushed upon them by Doug Marland) until very recently.

Wingwalker raises good points, and ones that I think the networks ARE ware of--or were. In Worlds Without End, the companion coffee table book to the 1997 Museum of Broadcast exhibition on soaps, there's a great essay about minorities on soaps. In the gay section it all but outright says that the reason ABC was so open to a gay story on AMC at the time was they recently elarned it was the top watched soap among gay demos--with other demos falling, they saw this as an untapped market, but apparently the advertisers were less willing to buy that.

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