In the five-plus years that Soap Central have been online, never has there been a back-to-back Inside AMC column. However, the fan reaction to the Bianca storyline has been so overwhelming, that I felt it necessary to return again this week with a look at what people are saying.
One day while in the shower (most of my good ideas come while I'm showering, but that's neither here nor there), I thought of an extra point that I'd really like to see explored during this Bianca saga.
My idea is one that I think would provide some truly powerful scenes. I'd like to see Erica and Brooke somehow end up alone with each other after the news of Bianca's homosexuality comes out (no pun intended). It would be extremely powerful to see a sobbing Erica remark that she's lost her little girl, the little girl she expected to see walk down the aisle on day. Brooke, then, could set Erica straight by reminding her that she hasn't lost anything. Bianca is and will always be here little girl. Coming from Brooke, a woman who has truly lost her daughter, I think that these scenes would be extremely touching and powerful.
Now, it's on to some of the many, many comments received over the past week. There were so many, that it's simply not possible to post them all in the space of this column. So, I have selected a handful that I think stand out from the others. For those of you curious about the ratio of for and against messages, I believe that it has evened out this week to close to 50/50.
"This storyline is totally unbelievable. Bianca cannot possibly be [gay] because her mother is Erica Kane and Erica is an excellent mother. No good parent could ever have a gay child" - R.A.
"Although soap operas have never pretended to be about real life, in real life mothers and their children DO have to face the ramifications of a child revealing that they are not only less than perfect, but that they do things that the parents find appalling. For the people that chose to quit watching All My Children, there is a bigger, deeper problem in their own life that they need to look at- and maybe the hour away from the show can be spent in reflecting upon why they are so bothered by a fictional character's life and the life that thousands around them lead on a regular basis in real life." - P.K.
"There are a lot of teens out here struggling with their sexuality. Gay is not a choice, I believe it is inherent and it is time for the world to face it. It will not go away because some find in negative. Gay is here. I for one do not believe it is for anyone else to judge another's sexual preference or what goes on in another persons bedroom. I hope AMC stands strong and handles this subject tastefully, it is not necessary to air sexy scenes to get the issue across." - C.F.
"I think it is totally ridiculous to present Bianca as being gay. What happens down the road when viewers are tired of seeing this. Will she then become Not Gay? Does she leave the soap like all the other gay characters that have been on soaps?" - S.T.
"For Bianca to be gay risks two outcomes that would ultimately work against the goal of promoting gay visibility and acceptance: 1. Bianca would remain essentially asexual and would eventually disappear like gay characters on daytime have in the past; Or, worse 2. Bianca would remain essentially asexual (after all she is only sixteen), then go away for a while when her current storyline arc is exhausted only to return straight, or at least romantically linked to a man. Her return to "normal" (Dr. Laura are you listening?) could be treated in different ways. The worst would be that her sexual past would be ignored - as the pasts of so many characters have been rewritten to meet storyline demands -- and she would simply come back with a boyfriend or husband in tow. More benign, but still problematic, she could reappear after a semester at college or a trip to Europe having discovered that her lesbian sexual experimentation was just that and nothing more, excused perhaps by the trauma of her eating disorder-- often seen as a rejection of sexuality -- and her discomfort with her body. Most daringly she could discover that she is bi-sexual and let the writers off the hook, so they could pair her with a man but always hold out the future option of a dalliance with another woman." -V.G.
"I am disgusted that AMC has decided to take sweet, innocent Bianca and turn her into a lesbian. This is the last straw for me. It was bad enough when they dropped the tender Leo/Becca romance in favor of a Leo/Greenlee sexfest." - J.H.
"Our children are inundated with gay characters on almost every show on TV lately. Teenagers are still impressionable and forming their sexual beliefs and values. How can a 16-year-old girl who has never had a relationship know whether she is gay or not?? " - C.L.
"I am a 24-year AMC veteran. And I've quit watching for a while at times, most recently when they had 2 dead guys running around behind the scenes, but this is an issue I'm proud to see AMC address again, yet in a different light. There is far too much prejudice in America today. Perhaps more storylines like this will decrease it. Although I still have trouble picturing Bianca as gay, I support the storyline. I would not object to more minority characters on the show either so long as they weren't just tokens and had a really storyline. And not that it should matter, this is coming from a Caucasian, Christian (Presbyterian), heterosexual female. And you know, I really believe the fact that it's a lesbian versus gay male storyline is what bothers so many viewers. Though I do not feel it is ever my job to tell others how to live their lives so long as they are not infringing on my freedoms, as a heterosexual female it is much easier for me to envision a man being gay than a woman. And every friend and family member I have, we've discussed this topic at one point or another because I have gay friends who will be my friends for life. Without fail, men can more easily understand women being lesbians than men being gay and vice versa. The majority of the AMC audience is female, right? Done properly though, some of the "nay sayers" will come around. And those who don't can buy ads to keep Dr. Laura in business." - A. H.
"I enjoy reading your column, you are to the point and fair. After reading some of the comments other readers have made I have to wonder what they are thinking. One person states they realize that this situation can happen in real life but do not want to see it on their soap. Don't they realize (although at a minimum) soaps try to talk about issues that are on the front burner in real society? Why would people stop watching if Bianca is gay? I wonder if they had the same opinion with Kevin and Laurel's brother. Erica is the diva of Pine Valley, just as Susan Lucci is of the soap world. Maybe they should bring on Cher for a few guest appearances, as she is called a true diva and has a daughter that has come out. Cher has excepted her. Just a off the wall thought!" - C.W.
"I'll have to agree with the majority of letters you've received that are against Bianca being gay. My main problem is that once the storyline has run its course Bianca will be written out and that would be horrible. The Bianca character should be a staple of AMC for many many years, as is Erica . Another option I see happening is she will be gay for a while and then "convert" and that would be extremely insulting to homosexuals and probably bad for PR. Maybe the storyline will be about just exploring the possibility of being gay. Something I sure many straight teenagers tackle all the time. I sure hope so because I don't think daytime is ready for a full time gay character, complete with romances, just yet. I know I'm not, especially an under age one at that! " - G.B.
"My opinion is that it's too bad that the storylines nowadays are "scooped" so far in advance. In this case, the storyline "came out" before the character. Unfortunately, I think it loses some of its impact because of it. It has barely started and I'm tired of it already. I'm afraid that once it gets going it will take over the show. I probably will take a break from watching for the next few months after being a "lifetime" AMC watcher, from "day 1." Contrary to all the hoopla I read, I actually find the idea of this storyline boring. Maybe it's just me, but a number of my coworkers and by extension, friends, are gay and so I find myself thinking, "So, she's gay. . . . so what?." I think this story will be a wonderful opportunity for Susan Lucci to chew scenery and get nominated for another Emmy. Other than that, I've already heard as much as I want to hear on the subject. . . ." - S.S.
"I like Bianca and I think she is a great actress. If [the writers] decide to pursue the gay storyline, I am familiar with the remote control." - Y.N.
"Homosexuality being immoral? Don't want to see it on my TV? As far as I know and last I heard lying, cheating, stealing, bed hopping, adultery and a host of other immoral behavior patterns were the stuff soap operas (and life) are all about. " - L.B.
"It's a sad state of affairs that EVERY program on TV now has to explore the gay agenda. AMC has been down that road, and I refused to watch at that time. I will not watch if Bianca is gay. Homosexuality is blatantly wrong, and AMC should not give the impression to young people that it is OK by letting Bianca's "coming out" be accepted. There are enough programs already stuffing it down our throats." - V.G.
"First I want to say that your opinion of this situation, Dan, has shown me you are a man of much 'class' and dignity. I really appreciate the clear way you have discussed the gay scenario and commend you for your writing. I'm a straight middle aged Latina that is fortunate to have both gay and straight friends be a part of my life. As I wrote in a previous post, I feel blessed to have this kind of enrichment. Love is a precious gift, when you find the right one (and what "package" they come in) is truly a gift." - T.H.
"While the hostility some viewers express about "another" gay storyline, doesn't surprise us, my partner and I find it amazing that no one seems to consider that gay people watch AMC too. We are thrilled that AMC will address Bianca's coming out and expect it to be handled with the care and sensitivity that the Kevin plotline was. We also find it extraordinary that someone would stop watching the show over the plotline - as if Pine Valley were the epicenter of the moral universe. Sure, embezzlement, murder, adultery, child pornography, drunk driving, alcoholism, and divorce are fine, but we must - GASP! - change the channel if a young woman comes to grips with her sexuality. Give us a break." - L.B.
"I have two problem with the Bianca being "gay" storyline. First, the storylines always fizzle and the actor is let go as was with both Kevin Sheffield and Michael Delaney. The second problem and it is a much bigger problem is that all the shows on TV are promoting "gay" is normal. At my son's small high school there is so much confusion about sexuality that kids who are going through normal puberty sometimes can end up thinking they are gay. This not only ruins the person's high school years, but can have a negative effect on the rest of his life. It too bad that along with everything else teenagers go through that now sexual confusion is added to the list." - K.K.
"I am not upset that [Bianca] is gay for any sort of moral reasons. I have nothing against homosexuality. However, in a daytime drama, especially like AMC, so much of the story revolves around romance. This is where I have the problem. Bianca's options will be so limited by making her gay. Now every time a new lesbian character shows up in town, we'll know that person is there to have a relationship with Bianca." - A.H.
"[Homosexuality] is WRONG and if [Agnes] Nixon is really writing this storyline then I'm happy to see her retire...Homosexuality is WRONG!" -- S.B.
"As a 20 year old determining [my] own sexuality at this point, I'd have to say that I feel better about the way AMC is handling this and I am shocked at the anti-gay comments on the boards. The close-mindedness is totally shocking." - T.M.
"Dan, to all the visitors of your site who believe AMC should not have representations of gay people, should not, as they put it, "support the gay life-style": AMC is not "encouraging" anything, except possibly, tolerance and respect for what is. I did not choose to be gay any more than you choose to be who you are. I did choose not to pretend to be someone I am not; by coming out, I chose not to live a lie. I also chose to include my parents in my life. Keeping my orientation a secret from them created a huge gulf between us. I came out to avoid losing them. Now, thankfully, I can say that my parents and I have never been closer." - E.S.
"I am a gay mother and grandmother and a long time AMC fan. The Bianca storyline is important. I found this interest stat: According to a 1989 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study, up to 30 percent of successful teen suicides are by gay or lesbian youths, and gay teens are two to three times more likely to attempt suicide than are other youth." -- M.T.
"I will also stop watching AMC if this gay sickness continues. I have watched AMC for more years than I can remember, but this will definitely get me to leave the audience. This is sick!!!!!. It does not belong on AMC." - S.P.
As always, comments are always welcome.
Dan J Kroll
You can contact Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org
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