In my Weekly blog and my column, I’m always talking about how much I love a slow-building love story and, lately, I’ve been using One Life to Live‘s Kyle and Fish as my example for that trope. In fact, I’ve been giving them a lot of kudos, and even got a little Twitter-happy about actor Brett Claywell‘s performance this week. Yeah, my Kish love is getting out of hand…because yesterday and today’s episodes have only cemented just how deftly head writer Ron Carlivati and his team are handling this story.
The funny thing about Kyle and Fish, though, is that they’re not actually a slow-building love story… they’re a love story that’s already happened, and the audience is picking it up in progress, in medias res. How cool is that? So the slow-as-molasses storytelling that’s making me tune in is actually more about 1)unfolding their past and how it affects their present and 2)acclimating OLTL viewers to a same-sex storyline, as ATWT and AMC have done before them. (The less said about Y&R‘s atrocious Rafe/Adam downlow game of fully-dressed Parcheesi and the non-story of Phillip III’s Big Gay Australian Adventure, the better.)
I’m cautiously optimistic about Kyle and Fish…mostly because I accept that they’re a C-string story on OLTL and am not outraged by the lack of airtime. They’re not part of the core families and as much as I heart them, I wouldn’t have as much fun, as much anticipation, if this story was being beaten like a dead horse five days a week like some others. coughRex/Gigi/Stacycough. I’m also cautiously optimistic because Ron Carlivati knows what he’s doing. He’s one of the few head writers in daytime who actually gets diversity and writes minority characters like people. (Novel thought, isn’t it? That we’re just normal folks?) He knows how to tell a story that’s not just a gay story or a Latin story or a black story…and yet IS all of those things at the same time. That’s a quality that GH: Night Shift season two head writer Sri Rao had as well. (And why that man is not currently writing for a daytime soap, I will never know.) Shady but sincere Kyle, tragically repressed Fish, Layla wanting to find the right man and ignoring that gut instinct that’s already told her the truth about Oliver, well-meaning, doofus-y Cristian. They’re a great group of characters, of people you’d actually want to hang out with if they were real.
That’s the kind of writing I appreciate, that I applaud… and that I wish I saw more of on my favorite shows.