The Battle for Bianca and Maggie on “All My Children”

In February, 2003, BAM stepped up their efforts through letters, videos, t-shirts and roses to All My Children, and it paid off with multiple mentions in the leading soap opera magazines.

On February 4th, ABC Soaps in Depth included this blurb:

"BAM Fans lobby for Romance! Fans behind the BAM (Bianca and Maggie) campaign, which hopes to see the AMC pair become more than friends, are sending out catchy videos, 'Love is…BAM!' T-shirts, and white roses symbolic of the one Maggie once gave Bianca. 'We want the obvious: a romance between Bianca and Maggie," says the group.'

A February 2003 issue of Soap Opera Weekly mentioned them, as well:

BAM fans keep championing their favorite couple — Bianca and Maggie — even though the show is going ahead with plans to hook up Maggie with Henry. The fans have been inundating the soap (as well as WEEKLY) with t-shirts, videos, testimonials and other paraphernalia. But will they be victorious?

Although the two actresses in question are heterosexual, they have been very public about theirsupport for taking their characters' relationship beyond friendship. In response to the statement that "fans want a romance between Maggie and Bianca" in a November 5th, 2002 interview with Soap Opera Digest, Riegel replies "We want it, too. I think Liz [Hendrickson] will agree that it would be an amazing storyline. It would be an important storyline."

Hendrickson answers "Definitely. I am more than willing to go that way."

Although both actresses are quick to point out that they don't have any say in the storyline, Riegel remains optimistic, commenting that "when it does [happen], I think the show has proven itself capable of doing the storyline in a very sensitive and positive way. Nobody could do it better than All My Children."

The actresses have also taken note of BAM, telling Soap Opera Weekly in February:

[BAM] sent me and Liz [Hendrickson] this big package with presents, hats and posters that say 'Absolute BAM'" marvels Eden Riegel. "All of them wrote us these wonderful notes about what the characters and the storyline means to them. I don't know how this happened, but I'm incredibly inspired and energized by it.

So what about the All My Children writers, for whom all this campaigning is intended? The message is clearly getting through, but the writers are predictably noncommittal. In a February issue of Soap Opera Weekly, All My Children head writer Gordon Rayfield did acknowledge the BAM campaign, saying "We just take that as a commitment to our characters, and we're hoping to not disappoint them. But sometimes the fun is in waiting to see the scenes that you want to see and the relationships you want to see."

The question is how much longer Bianca and Maggie fans are willing to wait.

The level of visibility to which the BAM campaign has risen, however, is unprecedented in soap opera history, which historically has hardly been a hotbed of homosexual activity. There have been other gay characters on soap operas, but they are mostly men — with the notable exception of Donna Pescow as Dr. Lynn Carson on All My Children in 1983 — and usually don't last more than a year or so (if that long).

Gay and lesbian relationships, however, are almost non-existent in daytime television, which is why a relationship between Bianca and Maggie would be so ground-breaking.

So far, however, the show has chosen to focus mostly on the important but less controversial topic of Bianca's changing relationship with her mother after coming out.

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, but if the writers don't allow Bianca to develop the same 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.

Granted, this is a soap opera, where unhappiness, betrayal, and ruin are pretty much the order of the day — but let's give the lesbian character the same chance to screw up her relationships as everyone else on the show.

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