Posted at 6:00 AM Apr 23, 2009
By Kathleen Willcox
I usually abandon my generally lefty politics (as well as my pride, common sense and disdain for skunky highlights) when tuning into my stories, but it's tough to do that when plot lines get all up in my grill with their own highly subjective world view.
Take All My Children, for example. Now I'm all about Bianca. I think it's fabulous that soap writers have taken it upon themselves to drag viewers kick and screaming into the 21st century as the country's moral compass naturally evolves and its concept of what constitutes a traditional American family changes: namely, a happy couple who are together because they love each other, gender be damned.
(Incidentally, soaps have been partially credited for the gradual - but at this point quite clearly mainstream, Holla Obama! - normalizing of relations between people of various hues and creeds.)
Other AMC fans haven't been as thrilled with the Bianca and Reese's (temporary) factory o' bliss. AMC's head writer, Charles Pratt, Jr., has claimed that the love story was swiftly curtailed (their marriage was annulled about 2.2 seconds after they said their vows when Bianca found out that Reese smooched Zach the night before their big day) because Eden Riegel (Bianca) was leaving the show without his knowledge - and by the time he became aware of the situation, it was deus ex machina time. The fans weren't altogether pleased with the way the Sapphic romance played out. Check out this (hilarious) video that fans posted re: the Bianca debacle.
Disturbingly, Soapcentral.com recently posted a poll about the Bianca storyline: 58% voted that the storyline failed "because viewers don't want to see lesbian stories"; 26% voted that the show "did a disservice to same-sex unions with this storyline" with only 1% voting that "the storyline played out like any other soap story" (the remaining votes went to aisle-straddlers).
(Incidentally, when story lines starring black people and - gasp - interracial couples came out, many viewers also predictably flipped their wigs and whined about it. But now no one thinks twice - when Sami Brady hooked up with Brandon Walker on Days of Our Lives, we were all too busy wiping the drool off our collective chin to get jazzed about the sociopolitical implications OMG what about the children!)
Bottom line: like it or not, it's high time for mainstream gay romance to be portrayed in a respectful light (which, hasty exit aside, AMC accomplished). That alone should win over a few new fans to replace the old fans who are defecting because they "don't want to see lesbian stories."
NB: Riegel's coming back on April 24 to go to gay Paris ... with Reese!!!!! Whoopeeeeeee!