I started watching Days Of Our Lives back in late 2010 after As The World Turns was sent off the air into soap opera heaven. This leads me into why I’m currently writing this.
If you’re not watching Days Of Our Lives these days, then you are missing what is most likely one of the most realistic and more importantly, well written storylines on Days in recent memory. It is the Will Horton (played brilliantly by the charming Chandler Massey) coming out as a gay man storyline. As some may or may not know, Will came out to his Grandmother, Marlena (Deidra Hall) on both Wednesday and Thursday this week. On Wednesday, it was a bit nonchalant. He tells Marlena, “I’m gay.” Then he gets up from the table and leaves. Then on Thursdays episode, both Will and Marlena really get into this deep but very wonderfully touching discussion about how Will feels now that he can officially say that he is gay. Granted, he’s not at the point where he’s ready to just shout it from the roof tops. He’ll definitely tell Sonny (Freddie Smith) about it. But as we all know, Lucas (Bryan Datillo) and Sami (Alison Sweeney) will eventually be told that Will has finally admitted that he is gay. The part that is going to interest me in this entire storyline is the Sami/Kate (played deliciously by Lauren Koslow) angle. As we all know, Kate is out to get Sami for being the mole at Countess W. But they will set their differences aside so that they can work together helping Will with the coming out process that he will go through. With Sami, she will make it all about her and her failings as a Mother to Will, which will indeed irritate Will to no end as Sami has another case of “open mouth, insert foot” disease.
Why is this storyline so important you ask? Because Days’ now former head writers Marlene McPherson and Darrell Ray Thomas (both writers were fired the week of April 4 and replaced by former Executive Producer Gary Tomlin and Chris Whitesell, which shocked a lot of fans of Days, myself included) took their time with this storyline so as to for lack of a better phrase, “not shove the gay storyline down viewers’ throats”. The gay storyline started off with Sonny Kiriakis coming home to Salem to his approving parents Justin (Wally Kurth) and Adrienne (Judy Evans-Luciano). He eventually came out to Victor Kiriakis (John Aniston, father of prime-time and silver screen star, Jennifer Aniston), who Sonny wasn’t too sure would be accepting of his sexual orientation but was surprised when Victor accepted the fact that Sonny is gay. So, with Sonny now having come home to Salem, it set in motion the slow pace in which the writers took to tell Will’s coming out storyline, which culminated with his coming out to Grandma Marlena this week. Will has already told his Grandmother that he is no where near ready to start dating guys. He even went on to say that he needs to apologize to his former girlfriend, Gabi about why he couldn’t be intimate with her. That will be an interesting conversation and I look forward to Gabi’s (Camila Banus) reaction to Will’s news that he is gay.
My sincerest congratulations to Days Of Our Lives for taking huge risks in doing this storyline since many other daytime drama’s had done gay or lesbian storylines only to have those stories fizzle out before the story really got off the ground. The Young and the Restless tried a lesbian storyline with Catherine Chancellor (Jeanne Cooper) way back when but there was viewer backlash and the show dropped the story very quickly. Then Y&R attempted to do it again when Phillip Chancellor III (Thom Bierdz) came back to Genoa City and stunned everyone by showing that he was very much alive and that he did not die in the car crash back in the late 1980′s. That storyline didn’t go anywhere and like a hot potato, it got dropped. One Life To Live (went off the air in January of 2012) did a gay storyline a few years ago but decided to end it because of fan backlash and the fact that their ratings were sinking rather quickly. They sent the gay couple known as ‘Kish’ along with their child out of town. All My Children had Erica Kane’s daughter Bianca (then played by Emmy winner Eden Reigel) come out as a lesbian. The character of Bianca stayed in Pine Valley through the end of the show’s 40 year run on ABC in September of 2011 . Guiding Light (went off air in September of 2009) and As The World Turns (went off the air in September of 2010) also did gay storylines but introduced those gay characters too quickly and thus the stories ended up suffering as a result and were not played out very well.
There are so many beats yet to be played in this very important storyline. However, with new head writers, my fear is that the new writers will ditch this storyline. I just hope that Gary and Chris won’t ditch this storyline at all, but continue to write this storyline with great care and precision in the way that Marlene and Darrell Ray wrote it.