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4 hours ago, DRW50 said:

The main problem with the Daniel story was that not only was he a generic closet case murderer, but the only other gay character on the show was made to be his piece of ass and then shipped out as soon as the story was over. And there were no other gay characters on the show from that point on for years. 

I don't want to belabor this OLTL story on the ATWT board but my point is: those were gay characters that were different from cookie-cutter boring gays and people reacted badly to it like you are here. You can criticize bad writing but that was equally true of straight characters around that time. Sometimes gay men manipulate and are manipulated just like straight men/women are and reacting to this to gay characters, while understanding because of limited representation, is why characters like ATWT's Luke end up being vanilla and boring because soaps didn't dare create more layered characters lest the reaction be this.

 

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2 hours ago, DanMan869 said:

Yes, yes, and yes, Mitch! All three of these hit the bullseye, IMO.

 

Oh--and as for Jake Silberman (who played Noah Mayer, Luke's boyfriend), I don't think he was a very interesting actor. The writing was basically there to bring this relationship life and potential interest, but Silberman was just so dull to watch. Van Hansis ticked two boxes for me in his portrayal of Luke Snyder: 1) he was a good actor, and 2) he is gay. Silberman ticked neither of those boxes and the on-screen relationship suffered because of it. Think of Carly and Jack, the show's central couple the last 10+ years: some of their trials and tribulations were really good, some were not so good, but what carried things through the entire time is that both Maura West and Michael Park made them INTERESTING because they were/are good actors. I think the fan boys out there WANTED Luke and Noah to be interesting, so they insisted they were. The storylines (some of which for Luke and Noah were admittedly quite lacking) were only able to take things so far. Together, Hansis and Silberman were not hot and they were not interesting.

Did you get to see Silberman on the reunion show? He was so dull and it was obvious he didn't want to be there. Hell even Agim Kaba noticed and kept flirting with him. It was hilarious.

Edited by Soapsuds
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55 minutes ago, FrenchBug82 said:

I don't want to belabor this OLTL story on the ATWT board but my point is: those were gay characters that were different from cookie-cutter boring gays and people reacted badly to it like you are here. You can criticize bad writing but that was equally true of straight characters around that time. Sometimes gay men manipulate and are manipulated just like straight men/women are

 

Of course they are. That doesn't change the fact that the OLTL story could've been great and sucked because of the exploitative way in which it was told with nihilistic violence and endless humiliation for beloved characters like Nora, and also because we didn't know or really care about either Mark Solomon or Colson. Both were introduced on the show in the prior year and both were supporting players with minimal development in several unpopular storylines. It wasn't just irresponsible, it was poorly constructed. Its failure isn't because we only want to watch saintly gays. I've been for darker LGBT characters since OLTL originally planned to make Rex Balsom a gay villain, and so were other fans when that scuttlebutt became public all the way back in 2002, several years before the story you are invoking. So the claim that gay people just didn't want to watch those kind of gay stories is simply untrue. The story sucked because of other reasons that do not prove your point.

Edited by Vee
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At the risk of belaboring this topic, I wonder how much the daytime execs considered their viewers who were gay men vs. their fans who were women? It seems as though many of these writers/producers/network executives were catering to what they believed their core audience wanted, which is why you had a Hank, a confidante to Barbara (not a threat to Hal) and Iva (not anywhere near a romantic possibility) , defacto big brother type to Andy and Paul. You could argue that, to bring up that mythical Midwestern housewife who they often cite as the reason they put the kibosh on certain storylines, tptb probably assumed that characters like Hank could best be introduced to that audience as the milquetoast confidant with no possibility of being anyone's romantic rival by presenting them as close to a asexual as humanly possible.

Edited by DramatistDreamer
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The problem with limited representation without creative input is that these attempts on daytime are often clumsy, neutered, and either safe or exploitative (and not in the fun way), and are always disposable.  The shows rarely invest enough in these characters.

 

ATWT really was an exception with Luke.  He stayed a core character, had a couple of relationships, and I get the feeling that if Van had left the show they might have recast Luke.  I wish he had better stories, but that was really a wish about every soap character at that point.

 

As a gay person, I don’t mind a villainous portrayal.  I think one of these shows would benefit with a gay vixen character to shake up old fashioned triangle tropes, and the idea of a closeted, powerful gay man killing people to keep his secrets has good bones.  Just not the way OLTL did it.

 

These shows need more representation on screen and their writer’s rooms/writing teams.

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The poor execution of gay characters and minorities is P&G fault. Liz Hubbard and Scott Bryce debacle with executives. Lauren B. and other black actors meeting with P&G executives. P&G were clueless on what fans wanted to see.

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The problem with Luke and Noah were they were often very neutered and safe characters, as titan said above, with incredibly poor writing and stories at that juncture. The show prefabricated a couple they expected fans to go for sight unseen and didn't bother with truly good stories. They also had actors who, particularly in the case of Silbermann, often seemed like they really didn't want to be there. Any potentially spicy or exciting stories for them, like Luke's dalliance with Laurence Lau as his grandmother's new paramour, were ended quickly, just like any other potential good story on ATWT in its final years. The show was unwatchable to me.

 

If I wanted vanilla gays I'd have watched them. I didn't because the show sucked and the story sucked. OLTL's Daniel Colson story was a mess for different reasons detailed by several of us, but it wasn't because the story wasn't about saintly cardboard cutouts. Most of us around here have been eager for gay villains on soaps for decades.

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28 minutes ago, Soapsuds said:

The poor execution of gay characters and minorities is P&G fault. Liz Hubbard and Scott Bryce debacle with executives. Lauren B. and other black actors meeting with P&G executives. P&G were clueless on what fans wanted to see.

 

In a nutshell. The sad fact of the matter is that every single P&G soap has been off the air for a decade yet the problems of representation still persist.

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1 hour ago, DramatistDreamer said:

At the risk of belaboring this topic, I wonder how much the daytime execs considered their viewers who were gay men vs. their fans who were women? 


That's actually a very interesting angle.
As anyone who has watched RPDR, has heard of the funü phenomenon in China or been to a gay bar in the past ten years, knows, there is a huge market for women-who-are-into-gay-men.
We can debate the merits, drawbacks and psychology of that but come to think of it based on your comment, it does seem to me that the dynamic between Luke/Noah or Will/Sonny on Days seem more directed at the image a female audience has of a gay relationship and that gay characters on soaps seem to fit the expectation of women rather than what gays would recognize as each other.
 

1 hour ago, titan1978 said:

As a gay person, I don’t mind a villainous portrayal.  I think one of these shows would benefit with a gay vixen character to shake up old fashioned triangle tropes, and the idea of a closeted, powerful gay man killing people to keep his secrets has good bones.  Just not the way OLTL did it.

I think it is important to note I am NOT endorsing the Daniel story whatsoever. But placing yourself from the perspective of writers and producers, it is not hard to see how they could read the audience's reaction, justified or not, as being partly about blowback from creating an unsympathetic gay storyline.
We will disagree on the extent to which that was grounded in reality but it seems pretty clear it wouldn't have helped writers feel adventurous about how to write such characters going forward. And the best proof of that for me is that they ended up overcompensation wildly in the other direction with how preachy the early times of Fish as a character, not too long after, were. And to be fair, *that* was about as poorly-received by fans.
Perception of what they can get away with is often a huge factor and if they misunderstand the audience's reaction one time, overcoming the bad memory can take a long long time, even if the reaction was simply to the quality of the underlying story or the actor.

Soap execs are pretty temperamentally conservative: not risk takers by nature. "Once bitten, twice shy". Or as we say in French, "A scalded cat won't get anywhere near even cold water"

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The Kyle/Fish story was poorly received by bigots in middle America, which is why it was curtailed. Not the same thing. A lot of the audience loved it, but it was divisive. I don't think you can call it not adventurous when it culminated in the first gay love scene on daytime TV and a mass LGBT wedding in Angel Square years before gay marriage was legalized. Meanwhile, Luke and Noah consummated their relationship by jumping on a bed.

Edited by Vee
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Regarding Hank and AIDS, wasn't Doug Marland's original plan to have Hank contract HIV or to be dying of AIDS, but that the decision was to not pursue that line because Hank was the only gay man on daytime television. Also, I think the idea of having gay parts in the 1980s would have been great, but wasn't an actor taking a gay role seen as pretty much a career killer at that time? I don't see many people willing taking on that sort of role. I think the idea of a broad range of gay characters seems unrealistic for the time period in question. 

 

I do like to consider writer's other aborted attempts to tell this kind of story. I believe Marland intended for Tom Carroll to be a closet case who married MJ Match. Instead, Tom ended up being a child abuser. In the opening months of "Loving," nurse Noreen Donovan was considering taking a job on an AIDS research project, but either didn't accept the position or the story point was dropped completely. Having Hank as someone who was open about who he was and wasn't dying was a pretty big step for the entertainment industry. I feel like some of that might be lost in the passage of time.  

 

Regarding AIDS storylines, NBC wanted the Dobsons to tell a storyline involving AIDS as per the agreement to air the show, but the storyline never made it to air. The plan was to have the elderly Mother Superior at Mary Duvall's convent die of the disease after having contracted it during a transfusion. The Dobsons didn't really want to tell the story so they ended up not doing it. 

 

One thing I have noticed about some of the gay storylines of the late 2000s / early 2010s was that because they couldn't always go there with triangles and physicality that there were more periods of emotional angst and longing. Not always terribly well written, but definitely something that a lot of the their straight counterparts weren't always getting and would have enhanced the stories. Its a shame we never reached a point with combined compelling plot, angst, and physicality. 

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ATWT 30 years after the fact (the Reagan years, at that) gets a lot of criticism for what it/Marland did and didn't do, while look who slips under the radar-- Y&R, B&B, still on the air, neither has featured a relationship between two men. Y&R, which features a relationship between two women, finds this more palatable. I ko longer actively watch either show so I couldn't tell you what goes into the decision making on that end.

It's laughable that two soaps that heavily feature the fashion and the cosmetic/skincare industries feature no gay men among their characters.

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16 minutes ago, DramatistDreamer said:

 

It's laughable that two soaps that heavily feature the fashion and the cosmetic/skincare industries feature no gay men among their characters.

It is crazy.  I have never really watched B&B, but from the boards I know there have been so many sets of teens and young adults introduced over the last 20 years, and none of the major players are gay?

 

And when they do go there, with a trans character, they sideline them pretty quickly after telling the initial story.  And Y&R blinked on making Adam bi or fluid, which could have lead to many years of actually interesting storylines and twists.

 

For me, Luke and Noah had exactly one hot moment, the early scene with the towel and almost kiss while shirtless and wet.  And they lived on that one moment for me while I waited and hoped that something else close to that would happen again, then finally gave up.

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2 hours ago, Vee said:

The Kyle/Fish story was poorly received by bigots in middle America, which is why it was curtailed. Not the same thing. A lot of the audience loved it, but it was divisive. I don't think you can call it not adventurous when it culminated in the first gay love scene on daytime TV and a mass LGBT wedding in Angel Square years before gay marriage was legalized. Meanwhile, Luke and Noah consummated their relationship by jumping on a bed.

We are not going to agree at all, it seems, on OLTL gay characters because the Luke/Fish was poorly received pretty widely because of how extremely preachy it was. I am gay and even I felt talked down to. It had the subtlety of a hammer on a nail. 
And to be clear we are discussing the characters themselves - the mere fact of featuring them was 1) good 2) daring, I suppose, although a gay wedding in the late 2000s was not as gutsy or adventurous as it would have been in the 80s or 90s.

But let's not redefine as adventurous just writing in a gay character, at least not in the context of this discussion. We are trying to determine what makes a character type and storylines for a LGBT character conservative in nature vs "adventurous". 
We all agree a show writing a LGBT character deserves credit and was usually a pretty adventurous endeavor in itself.

The fact OLTL gave it several go over its history is to its credit.

 

53 minutes ago, titan1978 said:

And when they do go there, with a trans character, they sideline them pretty quickly after telling the initial story.  And Y&R blinked on making Adam bi or fluid, which could have lead to many years of actually interesting storylines and twists.

B&B never having featured a gay character is certainly ridiculous. 
However I will defend them on the transgender character by pointing out that they sideline EVERY character not from the core six after a heavy storyline or two so it wasn't specific to her. They actually used her and kept her and Rick married pretty long by the show's standard. But the fact Bell brings in new characters and actors to make a splash and then quickly loses interest is a pattern that has happened three dozen times in the past twenty years, regardless of gender or sexuality.

 

As for Y&R, yes. Absolutely. Adam's bi- or pan-sexuality has been dropped altogether - despite the fact Muhney was eager to go there (even if it was probably because he would have liked the attention). It made sort of sense at first because they wanted Sharon to be the endgame but it has been a lost opportunity not to nod at it further since.

Where YR  deserves credit is that Greg Rikaart is still the only openly gay actor to have come out during his run and continued to be featured (both on YR and DOOL). And they brought back Thom Bierdz as an openly gay man as well (story was horrible and so is he as an actor but still credit where credit is due).


In the end AMC's Bianca is still the only LGBT soap character that I consider to have been well-rounded enough with several girlfriends/wives, non-lesbian related storylines, well-woven into the cast, sympathetic but also real. And even she had to endure some atrocious writing (the rape is still a sore point for all of us I think).
Will and Luke got saddled with "soulmates" almost right away and never had a chance to spread their wings into full realized characters.
 

53 minutes ago, titan1978 said:

For me, Luke and Noah had exactly one hot moment, the early scene with the towel and almost kiss while shirtless and wet.  And they lived on that one moment for me while I waited and hoped that something else close to that would happen again, then finally gave up.


Will's first kiss (not with Sonny) was also strangely aggressive and there was a weird tiptoeing around Will suggesting a threesome with Paul one time.
But it is true that soaps have been reluctant to show gay intimacy. We are above "Matt only hugs his boyfriends" on MP but there are ways to go.

 

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