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


Riegel and Elizabeth Hendrickson (Maggie)The character of Bianca Montgomery was born (literally) on ABC’s All My Children in 1988, the daughter of Susan Lucci’s legendary and long-running character Erica Kane. Over the years, AMC fans have watched Bianca struggle with Reyes Syndrome, anorexia nervosa, the death of her father, and multiple actresses playing the role.

Then in 2000, actress Eden Riegel stepped into the role of 16-year-old Bianca, just a few months before Bianca became the first long-standing character on a soap to come out as gay or lesbian.

Every year since then, All My Children has been nominated by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) for its “fair, accurate, and inclusive portrayal” of a lesbian teenager and her mother’s process coming to terms with her daughter’s homosexuality.

On the surface, it’s a curious award for a show which in two years, has never given its lesbian character an on-screen girlfriend. This is partly because, so far, Bianca has had a bad habit of falling for straight women. But GLAAD Director of Communications John Sonego contends that “Many young, newly out lesbians fall for a close friend, only to discover the friend is straight” and that on television “Unrequited love…and heartbreak are what keep the viewers tuning in – and learning.”

Unrequited love is something which Bianca is quite familiar with — she is currently in love with her supposedly straight friend, Maggie (played by Elizabeth Hendrickson), who in a January 2003 episode of the daytime drama finally told a devastated Bianca “I love you, I really do…but I’m into guys.”

Hendrickson previously played Maggie’s twin sister Frankie on the show, another woman Bianca had a crush on, who was mysteriously murdered last year (don’t ask!).

Although GLAAD may be happy with Bianca’s storyline, two years of no on-screen romance doesn’t seem to satisfy BAM (“Bianca and Maggie”), a coalition of fans determined to convince All My Children to develop a romantic relationship between the two characters. Beginning last year, the fans have campaigned aggressively to make their feelings known to All My Children writers and execs — and it seems to be working: the leading soap opera magazines now routinely mention the ardent fan support for a Bianca-Maggie relationship, such as in the December 31st issue of Soap Opera Digest, which nominated Bianca and Maggie as the “Best Non-Couple” of the year:

“It seems that AMC’s hesitation to formally pair these two has actually upped their rooting value. While other recent duos spend more time baring their bodies than their souls, Maggie and Bianca have built their bond the old-fashioned way: through intimate talks and longing glances. If our mail is any indication, viewers are ready for Bianca to have more with her dearest pal than just an unrequited crush.”

TV Guide Soap Columnist Michael Logan dubbed the non-relationship as “Rip-Off of the Year” in his January 4th, 2003 roundup of “The Worst of 2002:”

“AMC teased and titillated us mercilessly with the flirtatious sparks between openly gay Bianca (Eden Riegel) and her buddy Maggie (Elizabeth Hendrickson), but the show-once famous for its boldness-didn’t have the guts to put the in a real romance, even though the fans are begging for it. C’mon, AMC! These two have more chemistry than any boy-girl duo in soaps!”

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