The Bold and the Beautiful’s executive producer and head writer, Brad Bell, and two members of his writing team, who are part of the LGBT community, Patrick Mulcahey and Tracey Ann Kelly, spoke with On-Air On-Soaps Michael Fairman for an exclusive interview at FrontiersLA.com about their GLAAD Media Award nomination for the writing and the portrayal of the “My Two Moms” storyline, a first for the soap in its 26-year history!
Creating the story of same-sex parents Karen and Dani, played by Joanna Johnson and Crystal Chappell, and their accepting daughter, Caroline played by Linsey Godfrey, and the lack of LGBT representation on network soap operas, are just some of the topics covered in the interview.
B&B will be competing with Days of our Lives in the Outstanding Daily Drama Series category which will be handed out in ceremonies in Los Angeles on April 20th. Here now are some excerpts from the interview with Brad, Patrick, and Tracey, as we take a look at how writers construct an important story of our time and raise awareness for the masses at home.
Patrick on how the storyline of “My Two Moms” came into being: “This all came from Brad, although we talked about, ‘Is this the time?’ I don’t know about anybody else, but we would bring in gay characters on the soaps in the 80’s and 90’s and they would come in for five days and weep and then someone would love and accept them, and then they would go away forever. I am sick of that, and I never wanted to do that. Brad seemed to never want to do that, either. So the trick was to find the right core family member – so it’s a familial story, yet a social story. I do remember nagging Brad going, ‘Why is Caroline’s name ‘Spencer’? Where is her father? If her mother’s name is ‘Spencer’? Finally Brad said, ‘She’s got two mothers!’”
Brad on if it bothered him that a soap about the fashion industry never had a gay character on the canvas: ” I think it bothered all of us and it bothers me, and it still does. There are certainly, as you point out in fashion, room for more gay characters. It’s something I really look forward to doing, especially with Joanna who is so talented in many ways, but she really has been unavailable to us for much of this story, which at times is frustrating, but she is hard at work producing the new primetime series, The Fosters!”
Patrick and Tracey if they are frustrated not seeing more gay characters represented on daytime soaps: “I identify with the characters we have on our canvas … with Taylor, Brooke with Eric, for example. To me, it’s about what we say all the time. I honestly believe it, ‘Love is love.’ When we are in the middle of writing people’s relationships and their tangled defenses, fears, and desires to belong, I feel right at home in that milieu. Also, there is an awareness of our audience. The pedigree of soap operas is about heterosexual romance, and that is what the audience sort of clamors for. If we had a different dial of audience, we might choose to show the characters differently, but we have the audience we have. We like to keep them happy, and have fun with them.” TRACEY: “I was personally thrilled to see my life portrayed on the show that I worked for. I was deeply gratified to see my life, and my daughter’s life, portrayed on daytime television.”
Brad’s initial reaction to the writing team receiving their first GLAAD Media Award Nomination: “It was great and so exciting! I was so happy for everyone involved. I am proud of the story. I felt we built the story to Bill Spencer Jr’s (Don Diamont’s) reaction of his sister’s sexuality. We knew that Bill’s father was ignorant and oppressive. So we wondered if Don Diamont’s next generation Bill would feel the same way? As it turns out, he was mature and evolved enough that if you fight nature it’s no good for anyone. It seems with Bill readily accepting his sister, and her relationship with another woman, we were trying to lead by example for any of the viewers who are not on board, and hopefully change their way of thinking by watching Bill and how he dealt with the situation.”
Patrick on if there might ever be an evolution of a daytime gay soap: “I wonder if there is another evolution to come? Remember back in the days when the interracial romance was taboo? You could have black characters, and you could have white characters, but the audience wasn’t ready for it and all the b**s. I wonder if that is going to happen with gay characters on daytime right now, because they will only be able to interact romantically with each other. Can you imagine three main gay characters on one show on maybe an hour soap? I can’t! So there is going to be this ghetto, until somebody breaks convention and creates the genre of Gay Soap.”
Make sure to read the entire interview and candid conversation at FrontiersLA.com. What do you think about Brad, Patrick, and Tracey’s comments? What are your thoughts on the “My Two Moms” storyline? Do you think there might ever come a time when we see a daytime network television gay soap opera? What do you feel about the representation of the LGBT community in daytime? Weigh-in!