2009 Year in Review: Television

 
 

One of the bright spots on an otherwise deserted horizon was Friday Night Lights‘ inclusion of Devin Boland (played by Stephanie Hunt) as a recurring lesbian teen. Devin, a bass-playing hipster born and bred in Dillion, TX, came out as a lesbian in November 2008. Her presence on Friday Night Lights has been small, but she shines when she’s included in the show.

The highlight of Devin’s story in 2009 was the episode “East of Dillion,” in which she convinced her best friend to accompany her to a gay bar. Devin spent time drinking and flirting, and while it wasn’t a huge part of the episode, it did give viewers in the Bible Belt a glimpse inside a (fictional) lesbian bar.

About her role as Devin, Stephanie Hunt told The L.A. Times:

There’s conflict in that because there’s not a lot of confident lesbians in high school that could just be together. So there’s a feeling that she’s a little bit alone. It would be easy for her to say she’s not gay just to be able to fit in more. Fighting for what you want could be a little more challenging, as well as more lonely. That’s what Devin is going through.

There are 13 recurring queer characters on broadcast television. Devin is the only lesbian. The rest are either men or cartoon robots.

Daytime

2009 saw the end of the only two lesbian couples on daytime television.

After a series of super-hyped ABC promos, All My Children‘s Reese and Bianca (played by Tamara Braun and Eden Riegel) participated in daytime TV’s first lesbian wedding.

The next day they participated in daytime TV’s first lesbian annulment.

Reese was originally AMC‘s peace offering to the LGBT community — their Jessica Capshaw, if you will — after three years worth of foreplay between Maggie (played by Elizabeth Hendrickson) and Bianca ended up igniting and fizzling off-screen.

In 2008, Reese and Bianca became the first lesbian couple to have a sex scene on daytime TV. They followed that with their ground-breaking proposal and wedding in 2009.

Unfortunately, the night before the wedding, Reese became suddenly, inexplicably confused about her sexuality, so she kissed Bianca’s brother-in-law. Bianca found out; the annulment happened; and Bianca skipped town — again. She later returned, snatched up Reese, and flew her off to Paris so that they could work out their issues, off-screen.

We do not know when (or if) the couple will return Pine Valley.

The other lesbian couple we said goodbye to in 2009 was Olivia and Natalia (played by Crystal Chappell and Jessica Leccia) on CBS’ Guiding Light. They didn’t jetset to Paris for international couples counseling; their show was canceled.

Otalia started out as a progressive, refreshing couple. They were enemies; they were pals; then, they fell in love with one another. Unfortunately, GL‘s double standard when it came to physical intimacy prevented the two from ever even kissing. They pledged their lives to one another, decided to raise an ill-conceived child together, but the closest they got to a smooch was an occasional smacking together of foreheads.

In the series finale’s flash forward, the two were still together — but we still don’t know if they’ve been together, together.

Guiding Light‘s town mayor Doris, the last lesbian standing on daytime TV, came out to her daughter in 2009. It was a beautiful development after years of being closeted, and it happened just in time for the show’s cancellation.

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