Everyone has witnessed the seeming decimination of a major LGBT storyline and plot points between, Sonny (Freddie Smith), Will (originally Chandler Massey, and last played by Guy Wilson) and Paul (Christopher Sean) on NBC’s Days of our Lives.
Prior to the show turning 50, and airing their anniversary episodes, several key plot points occurred. Sonny left the canvas, next the legacy character of Will Horton was murdered in heinous fashion by the nectkie serial killer, and the third part of this story, Paul Narita (Sonny’s ex, and who had an affair with Will) has no present story related to a romance or new character in town to spark his interest. Paul is, of course, going to be seen on-air in the coming months helping his father John Black (Drake Hogestyn) find out about his past.
TV Insider’s Matt Roush who does a terrific column, where he chooses question from his site readers and gives insight, spoilers, and answers them to the best of his ability was posed a question which said: “Does anyone in the TV industry know or care that Days of Our Lives exterminated their iconic gay legacy character and pretty much abolished all things gay on the show, just in time to celebrate 50 years on the air? Will Horton was killed off. Talented Sean Christopher, brought on as iconic John Black’s gay son, has been on possibly five times in as many months, and Emmy winner Freddie Smith left on his own, probably after being informed his on-screen husband would be murdered and they were not interested in writing any more same sex couples. Did Days of Our Lives turn away from the gay characters due to homophobic fallout? Did they blame the ratings decline on that? I notice General Hospital has backed off the Lucas/Brad romance as well. Is daytime afraid to be gay? — David”
To which Roush replied: “To address this provocative issue, which I am assured has caused some stir within the industry, I reached out to our resident expert in all things daytime, the great Michael Logan. He informs me that Days‘ executive producer and head writer have so far declined to comment on Will’s death, or, quoting Logan, “why [they] would agree to terminate such an important and groundbreaking character. … So we are left to our own suspicions.” This surprises me, I’ll be honest, given how soaps in general tend to be more progressive and inclusive in their storytelling, especially in light of recent social trends and advancements. And when you look at what’s happening in the most popular prime-time serials, like Empire and Shonda Rhimes’ Thursday dramas, which spotlight and celebrate all manner of sexual orientations and combinations, I wouldn’t expect characters like these to be deal-breakers in daytime. So I’m as puzzled as you are, and you’re obviously not alone.”
It it is curious that daytime dramas cannot seem to take note from any of Shonda Rimes series: How to Get Away with Murder, or Grey’s Anatomy where she has gay characters, ABC’s Nashville where they continue to tell the tale of a once majorly in-the-closet country western singer’s struggles in his career and his love life (played touchingly by Chris Carmack), or Lee Daniels smash hit on Fox, Empire. But is this just purely the case of a major part of the daytime audience tuning-out and not wanting to see two men on camera kissing and being together as a couple still in 2015? Perhaps, as much as we think the ratings numbers are solid for these storylines, they don’t really make enough of an impact or dent for the network? Could it be on primetime there is a more diverse and accepting audience watching in total? It is also curious that when you speak to any experts in the field of daytime soaps, females and gay men comprise the biggest segment and demographic of the population who watch their favorite shows. Yes, we still have Lucas (Ryan Carnes), Felix (Marc Anthony Samuel), and Brad (Parry Shen) on GH, and we are going to be having a bisexual character arrive on the canvas soon on B&B, but at the moment, none of these characters are driving major story like the DAYS trio had.
Weigh-in on: Why you think there is a lack of gay characters and major central stories for them on the canvas of the soaps in 2015 in the comment section below!