“Gay Boys” on Daytime Television

On daytime television’s Days of Our Lives, two significant characters – Will Horton and Sonny Kiriakis – are gay and in-love. Sadly, Will slept with his ex-girlfriend (and step aunt) Gabi and impregnated her. Like the gay men do. Gabi then started to date Nick Fallon, Will’s cousin and recently released convicted murderer. Nick thought the baby was his, learned otherwise and decided a ready-made family was the life for him.

Fast forward through an aborted wedding, a glorious soapy disclosure that Will is the biological father and ensuing fallout by various Hortons/Bradys/Kiriakises and one Hernandez. Relationships fell apart, sonograms were had, other secrets revealed and the awesome “mama bears” came out to battle over their cubs (that would be Adrienne Kiriakis, Sami Brady and Kate DiMera.) Like the families of gay men do.

So, okay, it’s a soap and it’s actually an interesting story and they didn’t drag out the paternity secret. Setting aside the stupid hypocritical Catholic anti-abortion meme, it’s not bad. Except for Nick’s homophobia.

And his use of the slur “gay boy” to describe Will (and Sonny.) Nick is creepy and really pissed off that the father of his girlfriend’s baby is gay. There are allusions to some incident in prison that  I think might be a poorly handled rape scenario, but Nick is being a jerk. He’s embarked on a course to prove that Will actually shot his then-step-father EJ when in fact Will’s biological father Lucas Horton took the fall and went to prison (he then turned jail spy for the police and was released early.) EJ knows Will shot him, btw. They all get along.

Got that?

Anyway, gay boy. I remember when my brother would say things like – he was probably 12 years old. It sounded stupid and immature and exactly what a 12-year-old boy would say (who was not brought up better.) I understand that DAYS is not going to air the word “fag” at 3 PM in the afternoon. Nor, “homo” “queer” etc. And its clear from the writing that the slur is wrong because Nick is a creepy character. Most everyone else thinks Will and Sonny are totes adorbs and they are legacy characters related to almost everyone. In fact, Sonny’s second cousin (Ciara Brady) is Will’s first cousin once removed. Different sides of the family.

(I have to admit that I am a nerdy genealogy soap history person.)

Anyway, I think “gay boy” comes across as just — wrong. I mean DAYS is actually doing a reasonable job exploring homophobia in its various dimensions. Will’s Dad (Lucas) has struggled with his fear for his son and is seeking help at PFLAG. Sonny was assaulted and eventually reconciled with the guy who did it. And Will originally disguised his “discomfort” around the guys as something based on his Catholic faith. And you know, that would be okay, except he has no qualms about using the gay card to go after Will and drive him out of the baby’s life. If this does turn into a prison rape story, I’ll be disgusted.

Why not simply let Nick be a bad guy who uses Will’s sexual orientation just like any other bad guy would use someone’s whatever – Ashley, I mean Kristen is using Brady’s sexual lust to go after John. Chloe is using Jennifer’s guilt to go after her (and really after Daniel.) Stefano is using whatever to go after everyone.

It just adds a layer of silliness to the whole story. And that sort of reduces the impact of slurs and whatnot in everyday life. Will and Sonny aren’t going to care that Nick is using a slur – they are going to pretty pissed that he’s maneuvering Will out of the baby’s life and possibly into prison. Now that won’t happen – Nick is messing with EJ DiMera, Sami Brady, Kate DiMera and Victor Kiriakis. That’s quite an array of fierceness. And if EJ doesn’t testify … not much of a story.

I guess the one good thing is that Nick is using something about Will that is actually an issue – the fact that he shot someone – to question his parental fitness, not the fact that he is gay. Since Nick murdered someone, it seems to me that he and Will are pretty even. And the baby’s mother hired someone to stalk and menace her best friend so she could steal her fiance. Frankly, Will is looking pretty rosy here …

And DAYS does have the two gay characters front and center in a big storyline unlike the other soaps.

At the 6.01 mark, you’ll catch the “gay boy” reference.



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