Sexual orientation is a hot button topic in soaps these days, which is refreshing considering it used to never be discussed at all. But it also brings to light a lot of misconceptions about the Kinsey Scale and being gay vs. being bisexual. Many One Life to Live fans, for instance, are hoping for Oliver to turn out bi because he was able to perform with Stacy and Layla. But I think if Fish were bi, his struggle would be vastly different…perhaps just that of choosing between his ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend. That’s not the story that OLTL is telling. They’re telling one of deep denial, of repression, of self-loathing and anger. If he was genuinely in love with both Kyle and Layla, genuinely attracted to them both, he wouldn’t be lying so much and so petrified of Cristian telling Layla what he saw between Kish in the alley. And as for being able to perform…plenty of people, gay or straight, get through sexual encounters when they’re not completely invested, and even manage to have a little fun while doing so. “Close your eyes and think of the queen,” etc.
Take a different case: Verbotene Liebe‘s Oliver and Christian are both bisexual. And Christian’s journey was about accepting that he didn’t just like girls, but liked guys, too. Specifically Olli. He desperately tried to convince himself that he wasn’t attracted to Oliver (unlike Fish desperately trying to convince himself that he is attracted to Layla) but eventually came to terms with it. Now, they’re in a committed relationship. And when Christian recently kissed Miriam while plastered, it wasn’t so much an issue of “OMG! You’re straight again!” as it was, “Oh, you idiot.”
Whenever I have a conundrum about post-work plans, my colleague Joe asks, “Are you trying to talk yourself out of doing it, or talk yourself into doing it?” His rationale being that if I’m trying to talk myself into it, my heart’s not really in it. And that, I think, is apt for both OLTL‘s Fish and VL‘s Christian. The former is trying to talk himself into being with a woman, the latter tried to talk himself out of being with a man.
Switching gears just slightly, The Bold and the Beautiful, long criticized for never featuring a gay character actually had one last week — in the form of the ex-wedding planner and fashion show judge played by veteran comic actor Jim J. Bullock. And just in case the flamboyant, fluttering Serge’s orientation is up for debate, his name is pronounced…”Sir Gay.” Oh, brother. I’m not saying it’s wrong to camp it up and go all queen. That’s an absolutely valid choice; I know plenty of flamboyant guys. But if that is the only gay representation in your show’s 22 year history, it’s a little hinky. So, you know what? I’m calling Jarrett the Eye on Fashion reporter for the LGBT team, too. I love Jarrett. He’s funny, has a conscience, and I’m so glad to see his portrayer Andrew Collins get more of a role these days. He works so well as Bill’s Jiminy Cricket. I suppose you could use the ol’ “he’s not gay, he’s just British!” excuse but since the object here is to amp up faux LA’s LGBT community, why would we want to? So, yes, in the B&B that plays only in my head, Jarrett’s gay and it’s no big deal. At least until he falls for Thorne… LOL. (It’ll give Thorne an option besides dating his sister, right?)