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[personal profile] starvinbohemian
In the wake of some sad news in the world of daytime dramas, I feel the need to pay a little tribute.

A little back-story: I was raised on soap operas. My mother has watched All My Children since before I was born, so I inevitably grew up watching it (and others later). Odd as it might sound, some of my earliest memories are of soap scenes. I've "known" some soap characters my whole life, and they feel like relatives. I rarely post about my soaps because it would be like posting about what your relatives are doing every day-- why?

Anyway, this little PSA is about a particular soap couple-- a gay soap couple.

I've been watching soaps long enough (twenty-three years if you count my whole life) to have seen every attempt American daytime soaps have made at introducing gay characters onto the scene. I can count them all on one hand, and the transition has not always gone smoothly. The first gay kiss on a soap, years after the first gay character had been introduced, was an entirely chaste, closed-mouth peck between Bianca and Lena, the first lesbians on All My Children. After weeks of hype, excitement from some and sheer terror from others, it was hilariously anticlimactic. Later, they would give Bianca another on-screen lover in the form of Reese, and they would have the first gay soap wedding-- and the first gay divorce just days later.

Another soap, One Life to Live, did them one better. The Kyle Lewis and Oliver Fish romance, called "Kish," has been the best-handled gay romance ever attempted on a soap. Oliver was already on the soap as a recurring character for a while before Kyle, a conflicted bad boy, arrived on the scene. We soon discovered that they had been frat brothers in college, where they had a fling as Oliver experimented with his sexuality. Kyle, never conflicted and always in love with Oliver, had an uphill battle with Oliver as he remained in the closet and denied his attraction. Finally, after lots of angst, UST, a love triangle, an illegitimate child, and a thwarted marriage (yes, this is a soap)-- they're together, in love, and happy.

What makes Kish stand out from the rest is that they have been written with the same respect and care as any straight soap couple. The writers and actors haven't shied away from anything. The below clip is of their first onscreen kiss (followed by many others), and it's a far cry from its predecessors.



Hell, they even got a love scene-- the first and only for a gay couple. Sure, there's a lot of cut-away shots to burning candles, but that's par for the course in daytime. The point is that Oliver and Kyle were allowed to be "real" characters in all their human dysfunction. No pretending that gay people are either magical unicorns or sexless eunuchs. They've been damn fun to watch and a heck of a lot more compelling than some of their straight counterparts on the show this past year-- thanks both to some excellent writing and very brave performances by the actors.

Now, for the sad part. After only two years on the canvas, One Life to Live producers have given the boot to Kyle and Oliver, firing the actors and ending their characters' storylines this upcoming month. Some anonymous source has implied that the firing was due to "unprofessional conduct" on the actors' parts during shooting, with the implication that Brett Claywell (Kyle) was uncomfortable playing some of his gay scenes with actually-gay Scott Evans (Oliver). Anyone familiar with Brett Claywell knows this to be bullshit, and he released a statement, saying,

"It's amazing to me that two people can put so much of their heart into a story that can be so passionate and serious and tell a story as honestly and as truthfully as we tried to and just open our hearts to the world and just try to make a difference, try and touch people and stories like this will come out that are absolutely, 100% false ... I'd love for anyone to watch one day of any of the work we've done and tell me that Scott and I were not 100% committed to what we were doing. We were so dedicated to our work. It's hurtful. I'm really offended that someone would make completely false claims. I'm angry. It's slander."

The true reason for their firing is much sadder, which is that they supposedly "didn't catch on with a mainstream audience." Bullshit they didn't. Kish has become a hugely popular soap couple. Just check out YouTube to see how much people don't care about this couple. The truth is that the soap world still isn't entirely comfortable maintaining a long-term gay storyline. Several gay characters have been introduced only to be quietly erased from the show as soon as the shock factor has played itself out.

And it's a damn shame.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-03-31 02:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jaina.livejournal.com
That was a damn hot kiss.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-03-31 02:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starvinbohemian.livejournal.com
It really was!

(0.0)

Date: 2010-03-31 03:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] purplemoonwoman.livejournal.com
omg. I quit watching soaps and they GET HOT!!!!

I am all a twitter. (pant, pant, pantless)

Re: (0.0)

Date: 2010-03-31 03:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starvinbohemian.livejournal.com
LOL. It's true! Kish is very, very hot.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-03-31 04:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kuridee.livejournal.com
You bring up a ton of good points here! I know a whole hell of a lot of people watch soaps. But...my grandma is the first person who comes to mind (she has been watching Days of Our Lives religiously for as long as I can remember, so I automatically associate her with soaps). So here's my two cents as to why soaps keep messing things up for gay couples:

I know the network said that it "didn't catch on with a mainstream audience" which to me would mean online fandom, but then...there's the Grandma Demographic, and I don't know about other grandmas, but mine barely goes online for anything. I know this is a really broad generalization, but I don't know a whole lot of grandmas who are totally comfortable with gay couples. I'm sure there are plenty that are, but based on my experience, more of them aren't. Which sucks. And if the Grandma Demographic is a big part of the viewership, that could be why gay couples aren't handled very well.

So I could be totally off the mark here, but...anyway, I totally agree with you. It really is a shame. D:

(no subject)

Date: 2010-03-31 04:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starvinbohemian.livejournal.com
Haha, while it's true that a lot of grandmothers watch soaps, the demographics for soaps span all throughout the age groups. One Life to Live, in particular, has a lot of teen-driven stories to appeal to the younger half of the spectrum.

The mainstream audience is technically everyone except the online fandom. The mainstream folk are the ones that just watch it daily on their televisions and bring in the ratings and buy the advertised products. Online fandom is the subculture. But the network's argument that they aren't "catching on" is bull anyway, because the Kish pairing has brought them a ton of attention and support from outside groups, and attention is not something soaps can afford to waste these days. :(

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-01 08:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kuridee.livejournal.com
I figured. Like I said, I just automatically associate grandmas with soaps. My high school friends did love them some General Hospital, though. XD

And that makes sense. Even though online fandom is what I'm most familiar with...I forget sometimes that there are other people who like series, too. Hell, I'm not active in any fandom but I fangirl over things like mad. It's weird to think about.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-03-31 09:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sparkleloli.livejournal.com
I guess the world still has a few more steps to go before it's a better place. :(

Oh, that scene. INTENSE.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-03-31 04:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starvinbohemian.livejournal.com
I know, right? I love that scene. :)

A few more steps and a few more miles, I suppose.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-02 05:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaysa3.livejournal.com
that's so so sad :.(
I've never seen a soap, but I've seen some adds and clips and that one was a lot more 'real' than any heterosexual 'realtionship' I've seen them try to portray. And by that I mean you could tell the characters care deeply about each other and there is actual conflict about something that matters a lot.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-04-04 12:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] starvinbohemian.livejournal.com
Yeah, I really liked how these guys were written. *Sigh*

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