Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Bianca Gets It On: All My Children's Lesbian Finally Gets Some Lovin'. but Will Girl-on-Girl Action Help or Hurt the Ratings-Plagued Soap? (Television)

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Bianca Gets It On: All My Children's Lesbian Finally Gets Some Lovin'. but Will Girl-on-Girl Action Help or Hurt the Ratings-Plagued Soap? (Television)

Article excerpt

After more than two tortured years spent drinking from the well of loneliness, life is about to heat up for Bianca Montgomery, the only out regular character in daytime television. When Cupid finally comes calling this month for the popular All My Children lesbian, the show will make history by featuring soapdom's first same-sex kiss.

The lip lock, scheduled to air in late April (pending war coverage), should be just the beginning. After weighing the impact of such a move for months now, network executives say they're finally ready to go the distance with Bianca and her new love interest. "They will actually have a sexual relationship. We will see the seduction," promises Brian Frons, president of ABC Daytime.

As for Eden Riegel, the twice-Emmy-nominated actress who plays Bianca, she's looking forward to the story line. "I'm really excited about it," says the heterosexual 22-year-old.

For a medium so devoted to sex and romance, this is no minor glass ceiling finally being shattered. The end to Bianca's celibacy will occur "shortly after the kiss," says Jean Dadario Burke, the show's executive producer. (For anyone unfamiliar with soap opera storytelling conventions, "shortly" doesn't mean "after the next commercial break"--it means, as Burke says, "within weeks.")

Ironically, the move to provide Bianca with a girlfriend might disappoint the fans who've been cheering the most for it. When our lesbian protagonist finally gets her groove on, it won't be with Maggie, who flirted with Bianca for months. That potential pairing spawned a devoted fan club, BAM! (an acronym of the characters' initials), who lobbied the network in really inventive ways, even mailing Bianca-and-Maggie valentines. But the object of Bianca's affection will instead be the mysterious bisexual Lena (played by Olga Sosnovska), a newcomer to the fictional town of Pine Valley.

"There was wonderful chemistry with Bianca and Maggie," acknowledges Burke. But, Frons says, rather than trust that momentum, "cowardly network people that we are, we did some research." After polling 1,500 soap fans about Bianca's love life, the network found that many viewers wanted Bianca to have a romance--with someone else.

Enter Lena, a character with a secret agenda to undermine Bianca's powerful mother, diva extmordinaire Erica Kane. In classic soap form, Lena's love for Bianca will disrupt her nefarious plans and transform her into a better person.

The story line is welcome, if overdue, says Michael Logan, TV Guide's soaps columnist: "How much longer could they have a lesbian character who is young, who is attractive, who is really personable, and not give her a romance? …

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