Lesbian Love in the Afternoon: Queer Women on American Daytime Dramas

 
 

Albeit a youthful storyline, "BAM" became the first same-sex soap couple with a "traditional" soap arc that faced seemingly insurmountable odds along their journey toward love. Gay and bisexual women of all ages were searching for their story to be told, and through this daytime depiction, they saw a reflection of themselves.

Maggie (Elizabeth Hendrickson) and Bianca (Eden Riegel)

Sadly, the most difficult obstacle turned out to be the writers. Was Maggie gay? Wasn’t Maggie gay? Every time the two women got too close for comfort, Maggie would fall into the arms the nearest Y chromosome, while AMC strategically dangled the possibility of a potential pairing with Bianca.

"Erica Kane’s progress in dealing with her daughter’s sexuality is a serious issue and it has been sensitively handled by All My Children," AfterEllen.com Editor in Chief Sarah Warn wrote in an article about BAM in 2003, "but if the writers don’t allow Bianca to develop the same romantic relationships as the other (heterosexual) characters on the show, they risk undoing much of the progress they’ve made by reinforcing the stereotype of the lonely lesbian destined for a life of rejection and unrequited love."

While Maggie remained uncommitted, Bianca became involved with another woman, Lena Kudera (Olga Sosnovska). 

Mimi Torchin recalls, "I was very much invested in Lena and Bianca, both from a soap journalist point of view for the historic aspect and as a viewer for the thrill of the romance and the story. Lena had ulterior motives (later revealed to be coerced), but she was redeemed by her love for Bianca."

"Lianca" led to daytime’s first same-sex kiss (even if it was unfortunately preceded by a parental guidance warning label), and for the first time in daytime television history, we had an all female love triangle. 

Lena (Olga Sosnovska) and Bianca (Eden Riegel)

Ultimately, however, "BAM" won out when Bianca chose to save Maggie from an abusive relationship with a man. Now, finally, there was no antagonist, no unrequited love, nothing left unspoken to keep the relationships from moving forward — or so it seemed.

The actresses decided to move on from daytime, and consequently, Bianca left Pine Valley for Paris, taking Maggie with her. They jetted off into the sunset together, but only after Maggie once again confessed her confusion and offered no promises to Bianca. 

After three years and a myriad of "growing closer" spoilers, we had BAM standing somewhat where they started — only the geography had changed.

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