Today, as All My Children airs its final episode with actresses Eden Riegel and Elizabeth Hendrickson (who have left the series to try their luck elsewhere), we say goodbye to one of American television’s longer-running lesbian storylines — a storyline which has alternately entranced, infuriated, delighted and frustrated viewers over the last four and a half years.
It began in July, 2000 when Riegel was introduced on the ABC daytime drama as the latest actress to play Bianca Montgomery, the daughter of the show’s matriarch, Erika Kane (Susan Lucci).
Bianca had been played by several different actresses over the years, and Riegel stepped into the role when the character was a teenager who reappeared in Pine Valley after a long absence in which the character was explained to have been living with her father in Seattle.
Shortly after returning to Pine Valley in 2000, Bianca came out as a lesbian — first to friends and short-term love interests, then to her mother, who did not initially react well to the news. Erika eventually warmed to the idea, however, and the mother-daughter relationship was restored after much drama.
Bianca became friends with, and then fell for, Maggie (Hendrickson), but when Bianca finally declared her feelings for Maggie in January 2003, Maggie gave her the “you’re my best friend and I love you, but I’m straight” routine.
A few months later, Bianca met Lena (Olga Sosnovska), a woman who initially feigned interest in Bianca as part of a plot to steal her mother’s perfume formula, but unexpectedly found herself developing real feelings for Bianca.
When Bianca and Lena fell in love, Lena gave up her evil ways, but before they could get too cozy, Bianca was raped by Lena’s former partner, and ended up pregnant, eventually giving birth to a daughter she named Miranda.
Lena was written out of the series in April 2004 when Sosnovska landed a leading role on a British television series. Lena and Bianca kept up a long-distance relationship (Lena had returned to Poland) via the phone for awhile, during which time Maggie decided she was in love with Bianca. Bianca turned her down because she was in a relationship with Lena, but by the time Lena finally broke up with Bianca in late 2004, Maggie was just getting serious with new boyfriend Jonathan (Jeff Branson).
Meanwhile, Miranda was kidnapped and believed to be dead from March to December of 2004, and Bianca spent much of 2004 embroiled in that storyline.
Throughout this time, Bianca and Maggie maintained their friendship, and there were moments (including a few kisses) where it looked like their relationship would turn romantic despite Maggie’s initial claim to be straight, but the timing was never right — until now.