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Late (er) in life coming out...which soap characters would be suitable?


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The talk about a possible late in life coming out story on Days, got me thinking .

Which character, past or present on soaps would be suitable and believable to tell such a story?

I'm talking about characters we are familiar with, not the never seen sister who turns up in town announcing they're gay.

I'm mulling over my ideas...so over to you.

Should be a fun discussion.

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The first character that popped into my head was Anna on GH.  I could see Finola playing a story like this well, and Anna finding herself having feelings for a woman that matured into a relationship over time.

Also on GH- Michael has way more chemistry with Chase than he has shown with any of his romantic partners.  Back in the day a soap would have taken advantage of that chemistry if they were a M/F pair, so let’s get with the times!

Guiding Light- Reva was such a sexual character and lead by her her romantic feelings so much I feel that she could also have been in a same sex relationship and decided she was BI or even Pan easily.  And after Roger died and her other relationships crumbled I could also see this for Holly, a late in life coming out storyline.

Y&R-Michael.  Truthfully more to do with his performer than the character, although it might give him and Lauren an actual story.  Especially if he cheated on Lauren with a man- I can see that really getting to her.

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A relatively young choice, but how about Marley on Another World? Having her (and Vicky/Jake) deal with her new life as a lesbian would be more interesting than the rehash of their triangle. (And on a crass note, NBC in 1998 might not have minded the publicity/attention from rubberneckers for a lesbian character formerly played by Anne Heche!)

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There are some usual suspects who are problematic and would need to be treated with sensitivity (GH’s Michael due to his prison rape, B&B’s Thomas due to his mental instability). But I actually think, pre-Quinn, Carter on B&B might have been a good candidate. He wasn’t ever really explored that deeply and his relationships with women always read to me as overcompensating or trying to follow an expected path.

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2 hours ago, titan1978 said:

And after Roger died and her other relationships crumbled I could also see this for Holly, a late in life coming out storyline.

Claire Labine wanted to tell a late-in-life coming out story w/ Holly when she was still HW'ing GL, but P&G nixed it.

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3 minutes ago, Khan said:

Claire Labine wanted to tell a late-in-life coming out story w/ Holly when she was still HW'ing GL, but P&G nixed it.

I had forgotten that.  They should have, it might have given Holly a new life on the show.

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I think I would have a hard time with this kind of story being told with a long-standing character regardless of who it is mainly because I feel like there would be years and years of subtext missing from the character's story. Not hitting-you-over-the-head foreshadowing or campy winks and nods at the audience but long-term "knowing" on the part of the writers. If a character like, idk, B&B's Thomas was introduced post-SORAS with Brad knowing that he wanted Thomas to later come out 15-20 years down the line (which, I know, Brad planning that far ahead is hilarious) and having enough skill to carefully include it as a thin veil of subtext throughout the character's stories, then yeah, that would be great. But I just think smacks of trying too hard to have a character who's had these whirlwind romances with the opposite sex for decades all of a sudden "realize he's/she's gay." It sounds so progressive, but it ain't.

Now having them be bi later in life in a different story.

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Personally, I don't think a late-in-life coming out storyline would work with an established character.  It'd be too much to ask the audience to believe that he or she suddenly has romantic or sexual feelings toward someone of their own gender after god knows how many marriages (and divorces), affairs and one night stands with others from the opposite sex.  (And spare me the "Well, that's because he/she was gay all along and just never knew it!" retroactive b.s.  If that's the case, then just about every character that's ever been on a soap was gay or bisexual.)

Moreover, would TPTB go in this direction, because they truly see this as an aspect of the character that's always been visible, yet (up to that point) unexplored?  Or, would they go there, simply because that actor is too fey or too "butch" onscreen and can't convincingly play love scenes with anyone of the opposite gender?  Because, if it's the latter, then maybe a simple recast is the answer.

8 minutes ago, YRfan23 said:

If she were still on the show Stephanie Forrester B&B 

Again, if Brad Bell had actually "gone there," I would have had to question the motives behind his choice.  It was never stated or implied that Stephanie was gay or bisexual -- and no, the love/hate thing with Brooke does not count! -- and you couldn't have Stephanie suddenly come out as a lesbian just because Susan Flannery made Large Marge look like Little Nell.  It'd just be too unbelievable.

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It’s tough with soaps because the sort of long-term storytelling often needed to plant these sorts of seeds is rare due to constant writer/TPTB turnover through the years and a largely perceived-to-be homophobic audience.

I think a character who isn’t that well fleshed-out or has been consistently backburnered (e.g. hasn’t had a lot of stories told from their POV, yet has been a constant presence—like a Miguel on Y&R-type) might be the best candidates. There are fewer of them these days, since those are the ones who get the chop. 

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I have said all I had to say in the other thread about what I think of our minds immediately going to characters whose performer is gay, regardless of what the character is.
Michael is an attempted rapist/sexual predator of women (and that's how Kevin started too). Quite the stretch to turn him gay.

Personally, obviously, I would prefer it being told with a character who has either been hinted already to be sexually liberated (if RC hadn't leaned so much on the Leo joke, Xander could have been a good candidate) or where they dropped hints over the years. That'd be the way to do it; but that requires foresight.

I also think it would be hard to pull off with a character that has had successful high-profile romances. It'd work better with a character whose most pairings have failed. I don't think DAYS Lucas is a good candidate and I am a Lumi fan but in a vacuum it would work for him: all his romantic pairings have failed and we could accept Sami as his great love being straight because they have a special bond - that when it was the Carrie/Austin quatuor felt almost like a gay guy and his girl best friend.

On the shows currently, I think having Y&R Adam come out as bi and be written a proper gay romance next to his current straight pairings is the low-hanging fruit. Whatever one thinks of Adam it has been established that he has had gay sex. Never pulling that thread is a huge missed opportunity as, as I said, that kind of story works better when there has been hints along the way.
 

EDIT:
 

7 minutes ago, Faulkner said:

It’s tough with soaps because the sort of long-term storytelling often needed to plant these sorts of seeds is rare due to constant writer/TPTB turnover through the years and a largely perceived-to-be homophobic audience.

I think a character who isn’t that well fleshed-out or has been consistently backburnered (e.g. hasn’t had a lot of stories told from their POV, yet has been a constant presence—like a Miguel on Y&R-type) might be the best candidates. There are fewer of them these days, since those are the ones who get the chop. 


Looks like our minds match exactly. You wrote better the points I was busy rambling about at the same time.

 

 

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That’s why a character like Holly does work for me- already portrayed as neurotic, past full of trauma including rape.  Issues present to explore.  Terrible relationships in general, especially with men.  If this was being written by a good writer, and taken with care, it could easily work and not feel so out of place.  For me it can come directly from her character, not because MG is a lesbian in real life.

Even though I mentioned a character being gay because their portrayer is, I do think that is kind of lazy and a slippery slope.  Stephanie just does not seem appropriate.  Luke on GH also does not seem appropriate.

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Just now, titan1978 said:

That’s why a character like Holly does work for me- already portrayed as neurotic, past full of trauma including rape.  Issues present to explore.  Terrible relationships in general, especially with men.  If this was being written by a good writer, and taken with care, it could easily work and not feel so out of place.  For me it can come directly from her character, not because MG is a lesbian in real life.

My mind was too focused on gay men but now that you say it, you know who else I could buy it for?

Alexis on GH. She has the same type of character profile as Holly and while I loved her with Julian, I feel that she is not that associated with enough straight romances in the public's mind that if she fell in love with a woman now, later in life, the audience would go on the journey with her. It fits the character and you know NLG would love it and sell the hell out of it.

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5 minutes ago, Faulkner said:

I think a character who isn’t that well fleshed-out or has been consistently backburnered (e.g. hasn’t had a lot of stories told from their POV, yet has been a constant presence—like a Miguel on Y&R-type) might be the best candidates. There are fewer of them these days, since those are the ones who get the chop. 

Yes, this is what would work for me. I remember AMC had the very, very occasional recurring character Kenny, who was the Fusion girls' lawyer. I think he made some regular appearances in the early days of Fusion and then maybe showed up for an episode or two a few years later. He wasn't a fixture on the show in any way, but I *think* there was always a playful flirtation between Simone and he, and if he'd come back with a boyfriend at some point, I would have never questioned it.

Perfect example of a character being gay when they clearly weren't gay before: Doug Witter on Dawson's Creek. The entire series, Pacey made jokes about Doug being gay, and Doug denied it in a very unbothered "I know I'm not gay, but please stfu, Pacey" way. Then all of a sudden in the series finale, he's gay after all and was gay the entire time, and his boyfriend is one of his little brother's friends (who is younger than him by at least 7 or 8 years). Okaaaaay...and also another example of two characters being together just because they're the gay ones on the show.

In fantasy land, I like to imagine TV always being an accurate reflection of the real world and all of the public and personal dramas people have always had. Bill Bauer cheating on Bert with a man in the 60s would have knocked the light right out of the lighthouse.

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