Eden Riegel departed All My Children (again) this week, and Tamara Braun is scheduled to take her leave next month. But many fans of the long-running ABC daytime drama checked out of this storyline a long time ago.
This might surprise those who have only followed the lesbian headlines from this storyline. It did include the first lesbian wedding on daytime television, after all, and Bianca was allowed to engage in much more on-screen physical affection with her girlfriend/wife this time than she ever has with her previous romantic partners — almost as much as the heterosexual couples this time.
But many queer and straight viewers began heading for the door when it became clear that the kisses and the wedding plans were just new ways to dress up the same old depressing and boring lesbian storylines about sperm donors, custody battles, and sexually confused lesbians. And we already get enough of that on primetime TV.
So what went wrong? And why?
Bianca returned to Pine Valley in October, pregnant with her second child via sperm donated from her brother-in-law Zach (Thorsten Kaye). Her architect girlfriend Reese arrived a few days later, asked Bianca to marry her, and showed her the house she planned to build for them and their daughters in France.
Reese (Tamara Braun) and Bianca (Eden Riegel)
Bianca said yes, Reese met the family, and everything was great until Bianca’s sister Kendall (Alicia Minshew) came out of her coma and discovered her husband was the father of her sister’s baby, and had developed a too-close-for-her-comfort friendship with Reese.
The night before her wedding to Bianca, Reese kissed Zach in a moment of drunken despair (after Kendall had dissed her in a toast). The two immediately broke it off, and agreed to treat it as a mistake that had never happened.
The next day, Bianca and Reese were married on All My Children, in daytime TV’s much-hyped first lesbian wedding.
Immediately after the wedding, all hell broke loose when Bianca was told of Reese’s moment of infidelity by someone who’d witnessed the kiss, and Kendall killed her best friend when she accidentally hit her with her car while she was arguing with Zach about Reese.
A devastated Bianca questioned whether Reese was even a lesbian (since she was previously engaged to a man), and then presented Reese with annulment papers and the announcement that Reese would no longer be allowed to see their children.
Reese steadfastly declared her love for Bianca, but vowed to fight her for custody, then finally gave up and told Bianca she was just going to hope that Bianca would forgive her some day.
On Tuesday’s episode, Bianca left for Paris with their children, while Reese chose to stay in Pine Valley a little while longer to tie up loose ends (and to annoy Erica and Kendall).
Bianca is set to return in a few weeks for a few days to tie up the storyline, which will most likely involve a reconciliation with Reese, and the two women deciding to return to France to raise their daughters, or something similar.