I still have to watch the Dec. 8 episode of One Life to Live in its entirety, but the glimpses I caught yesterday of both Kyle/Fish and Cristian/Layla bear discussing all on their own — for the virtue of being things I glimpsed while multitasking and channel-flipping.
Because here is the thing: you flip the channel over to As the World Turns and there’s no chance of you seeing a Latin man and a black woman making love. You flip the channel to General Hospital and you’re not going to see a gay couple lighting obligatory candles o’ sex and unbuttoning each other’s shirts (that Jason and Franco are engaging in courtly love hitman-style is a whole different conundrum). Diversity on daytime is about having the opportunity to tell these stories and for all the things a soap does wrong, if they at least have that then they’re ahead of the game. It’s why I came down on The Bold and the Beautiful for years for being the whitest white that ever whited (an honor that ATWT has apparently inherited). But now they have Marcus and Justin and there is a chance to tell their story with Donna.
What is that saying? You can’t win the race if you don’t have a horse in it?
And OLTL has a whole lotta horses. In addition to the Quad of Awesome, there’s Markko, Langston, Greg, Rachel, Shaun, Destiny, Amelia, Nick, Noelle, Téa, Dani and Nora. And Carlotta! And probably other people I’m forgetting because I need more coffee!
And then there’s the second tier of the issue at hand.
I think I’ve said this before, but I have no vested interest in characters getting busy. Sure, it’s a storyline payoff, especially if you like the characters immensely, but I come from the land where musical numbers stand in for kissing scenes (not to be confused with “The Land Down Under”). I’m all about a good saga; people don’t even have to hug if you have an effective yarn. And if the writing doesn’t convey the emotion, the tenderness and the bond between the characters, then no amount of mattress tango will do it. So having Kyle and Fish and Cristian and Layla get smoochy and shirtless is nice and all, but if the writing for them sucked…? I wouldn’t be invested. (See the ongoing saga of Blair/Todd/Téa. All that cabaña sex was a snooze for me.) Once you have the pieces on the chessboard, once you have the opportunity to tell diverse stories, a show needs to pay proper service and play a damn good game. Don’t half-ass it, don’t make sloppy moves.
And, yes, that’s the extent of my chess metaphors. I don’t think I have anymore in me this morning.
But seriously, I am thrilled that OLTL treats all its characters equally and that yesterday’s episode was business as usual for them. And if even one person was channel surfing and stopped because they saw something different, something they could identify with or something they didn’t expect from soaps, that’s something to cheer!