I believe in evolution. I firmly believe what we see around us is the mutation, over years and years, of an original, intelligent design. Only the fittest survive, and the rest are relegated to a certain unheralded history. I know what you’re thinking…dinosaurs, right? Man? Nah, I’m talking about the American soap opera. When I heard that All My Children and One Life to Live were saved from extinction by Prospect Park and a future trip down the internet super highway, I was happily surprised. These long-running institutions deserved better than to be preserved in amber for eternity, never to be heard from again.
My attention turned back to the daytime serial, AMC in particular, I am confounded that flying under the media gay-dar until recently, is the latest in a line of lesbian(?) relationships for AMC’s “Bianca Montgomery”, the gay daughter of uber-diva, “Erica Kane”. I know what what you are saying, “‘Schmootz, didn’t she get historically hitched?” True, our lovelorn “Bianca” was a blushing bride in the first, and yet worst, conceived gay marriage in daytime television history. Given her past, though, it only seems fitting she would be the defendant in daytime’s first gay divorce.
Now, being no novice viewer of the daytime same-sex relationship in a canceled soap, I was curious to see where this would go before the September done date, so I started paying a little more than passing attention to the now ever-sunny Pine Valley. Would this thing have legs (preferably wrapped around each other) or would this go the way of mere hand-holding and head-bumping, kisses blown instead of planted, and unprotected baking? I have to be honest, I was not hopeful that ABC would be any more courageous than the eye wide shut of CBS.
The pairing already moniker’ed with a portmanteau, I KNEW there had to be fan clips. GO HERE. I soon found that the initial slow build of “Bianca” and “Marissa” (“Minx”, really?) picked up the pace after the announcement from ABC that Agnes Nixon’s original creation would soon come to an end. In a little less time than it takes to age a small soap child, “Minx” goes from being locked in a closet by a madman minister, to busting out of the closet with a prideful pronouncement. What is this, BAM second generation with an Intel core processor?
Ok, Ok, you know, that I know, this is not a “Bianca” and “Maggie” re-do. Eden Riegel is not Bianca (Christina Bennet Lind) anymore, and Marissa is not Maggie. Sarah Glendening’s “M” stands alone. That being said, I do enjoy the historical angst the AMC writers are bringing to this storyline. Let’s face it, from “Laura English” to “Maggie” to now “Marissa”, “Bianca” has the ever so hurtful habit of involving herself with straight girls that are just a little bit bent. Watch:
As someone who was there from the beginning of “BAM”’s interminable flight into the soap sunset and “Otalia”’s exercise in affection futility, “Minx” seems to corner this queer thing on rails. Apparently, “the heart wants what the heart wants” in only three episodes. No wonder “Bianca” is a little confused, her head is spinning from the vertigo. Standing in front of her is a beautiful woman professing confident love for her without a single, “I don’t know…I don’t know if I will ever know.” Yes, “Bianca”, there IS a commitment clause.
“Bianca” is not backing away, she is passing out. Could she actually have a lover without having to save her first from bland processed HAM, bad up-do’s, and an abusive boyfriend? Hell, all this one took was a music box, a Fanta, and a few Krispy Kremes! Hot..NOW.
Bravo! AMC for having the courage to once again move forward with the tough social issues. Though I haven’t always applauded the route you have taken or the vehicle you utilized to get there, you at least move forward along the road to fruition. September is quickly approaching, and already we have the lead lesbian character professing her feelings for her best friend without the liquid encouragement of champagne. We have an acknowledgement of those feels with a confident and strong reciprocation. We have a same-sex kiss by a bug-laden pond (Willow Lake?) in a public park…still no alcohol in site. (Tip: Give Sarah Glendening some deep woods Off, the scratching is distracting.) AND we have Marissa telling her ex-husband that she kissed a girl and liked it. All this in less than half an hour of screen time! Holy hell, this is not BAM!
Now, I would be remiss if I did not caution those unfamiliar with the real soap genre. It always makes me laugh a little when I read comments complaining about the cheesy music, the long stare into commercial, and the melodramatic and kitschy dialogue. These are soaps, people, and the characters aren’t real either. Even though this “Minx” storyline is set to warp speed, there will be bumps along the way to slow it down. Though the outside shots look eerily similar to southern California, this is Pine Valley, PA, and nothing comes easy. (Can I just add an aside here? Susan Lucci playing the part of a french fry eating female, impersonated, is brilliant.)
I’m going to continue to watch…for now…because I am curious to see where this goes. But believe me, if “Marissa” starts standing behind shopping bags, tall chairs, and suspiciously placed cyprus bushes, the viewer is fracked, or rather she was…by a good man.
Continue to surprise me, AMC, more than you have already.