Romance and marriage are staples of daytime dramas, and ABC’s All My Children is certainly no exception. On Monday, Feb. 16, the Emmy-winning, 39-year-old soap opera will depict a wedding like one never before seen on scripted daytime television: The marriage of female couple Bianca Montgomery and Reese Williams.
“This is a milestone in daytime drama,” says GLAAD President Neil G. Giuliano. “Bianca and Reese’s wedding is a joyful day that countless people – gay and straight alike – dream of for themselves and the ones they love. It’s a celebration of love, commitment and family, and we’re thrilled that All My Children’s viewers will be able to experience the joy of that day right alongside them.”
Bianca (played by actress Eden Riegel) is notable as daytime drama’s first contracted gay character that is also part of the show’s core family; her mother is Erica Kane (actress Susan Lucci). Bianca’s relationship with Reese gives the couple the distinction of being the only lesbian couple currently depicted on daytime or primetime broadcast television.
In recent weeks, Bianca and Reese have had their relationship tested. But during the coming days, the couple – along with family and friends, and Bianca’s two children – will travel from fictitious Pine Valley, Pennsylvania, to the state of Connecticut, where marriage for gay couples became a legal reality in late 2008.
Gay characters, and their romantic relationships, have been slow to evolve in the daytime genre. CBS’ As the World Turns currently features a same-sex relationship between male characters Luke and Noah. The now-defunct and campy Passions featured what was ultimately a comic relationship between Norma and Edna. After Passions moved from NBC to satellite carrier DirecTV, the show featured a symbolic commitment ceremony between the characters before the show was canceled in 2008.
During recent years, Bianca has made short-term visits to Pine Valley based on actress Eden Riegel’s availability. This story arc is no exception. While Bianca’s marriage is expected to happen, this being a soap opera, the twists and turns this relationship takes may play out off camera as well until Riegel’s next return to All My Children.
ABC is to be commended for its ongoing commitment to diversity, and their continuation of Bianca’s story when Riegel is available. “The best way to resonate with your audience is to be authentic,” Anne Sweeney, president of Disney-ABC Television Group, recently told the Los Angeles Times. “And you’re only authentic if you are holding up a mirror to your audience and saying, ‘I see you.’”
Please visit the official site of All My Children.