Friday, March 16, 2007

ATWT's Hansis Scores Emmy Nod, Sparks Discussion on 'State of Gays' in Daytime

Van Hansis, new Emmy nominee for playing gay teen/supercouple spawn "Luke Snyder" on AS THE WORLD TURNS will find himself with one heck of a cheering section come awards night.

Popular gay men's site
Towleroad (a pun on creator Andy Towle's last name) heralds the news of Hansis's nom, and links to a compilation of some of the key points in the WGI award-winning "Luke comes out" storyline (unfortunately, the clip focuses solely on the teen slant to the story and the effort by Luke's biological father to "cure" him, and misses the most powerful--and best acted--scenes in the storyline: when Luke comes out to his family, when his best friend calls him a "faggot" to his face, or the any number of moving discussions between adopted father and son, featuring Hansis and Jon Hensley, that have followed).

At the time of this post, over 25 comments had been posted in response, many expressing concern over ATWT's long-term commitment to the character--as everything from Luke's post-coming out lack of screen time, to the chances Luke will ever have an on-screen boyfriend/relationship of any significance. ALL MY CHILDREN's Bianca (played by Eden Reigel) is also cited.

Though fears that daytime is too conservative to show same-sex affection have been allayed in recent years by on-screen developments on AMC and PASSIONS, it is clear from the postings on Towleroad that the subject continues to be a sensitive one for gay viewers, who appear both agitated and resigned to the "fact" that gay characters are ultimately destined for marginalization, a concern it appears the not historically gay-friendly industry may have taken heed of: daytime now features multiple lesbians and gay men (many in core families, nearly all contract roles for the actors who play them) across all three networks, and one pre-operative transgender character (who we recently saw visit a transgender peer group). In addition to chronicling the ongoing travails of lesbian teen heroine Simon Russell (Cathy Janeen Doe), PASSIONS recently kicked of a groundbreaking "down low" storyline for core-family member Chad Harris-Crane (Charles Divins), and GENERAL HOSPITAL has announced plans to reinvigorate the character of "Lucas Jones" (last played by Ben Hogestyn), Luke and Laura's gay nephew, last seen chaperoning the local prom with a same-sex date.

Bringing it all full circle, Soap Opera Digest recently noted the casting of Luke's first love interest is complete, and promised Hansis's screen-time fortunes are about to reverse, so much of Luke's story (and Hansis's acting) may be yet to come.

(Read the post, see the video, or read the comments here.)

All copyrights retained by original authors. Original Soappipe and Soappipe|Opinion content copyright (2007, or current year) by Benjamin Bryant, all rights reserved.

Use of original Soappipe material either by reprint or linking permitted, as long as "Soappipe," "Soappipe|Opinion," or "Ben Bryant" is credited.