Soapside: Advocate 's Guide to Daytime
BY Michael Fairman
May 21 2009 12:00 AM ET
Every two weeks soap expert Michael Fairman will be weighing in on what's gay with daytime TV -- for this, his inaugural column, it's same-sex kisses gone wrong, Daytime Emmy nods, and a soap star's big comeback.
A Kiss is Just a Kiss?
The Young and the Restless star Chris Engen, who plays "straight" Adam Newman, reportedly walked off the set two days ago (while under contract), refusing to kiss costar Yani Gellman, who plays Rafe. the only (thus far) out gay character on the show. Engen is reportedly unhappy with the dark direction his character has taken in recent months, including "gaslighting" the very pregnant Ashley, inducing his partial blindness with Botox, and now, perhaps, kissing another man? The top soap immediately went to work to recast the pivotal role, and TV Guide has learned that Engen's replacement has already been found. Adam will now be played by Michael Muhney of Veronica Mars fame, and his first air date is scheduled for June 25.
Is homophobia setting in already at Y&R , just as the soap is finally launching its first gay male story line in the show's 36-year history? Stay tuned.
Young, Restless and Gay? In a related item ... you will need a scorecard to follow along, so here goes: Gay actor Thom Bierdz makes a top-secret return to Y&R as Langley -- or the "back from the dead" Phillip Chancellor III -- or someone else? (Read Advocate.com's interview with Bierdz ). Yani Gellman is playing Rafe, the first out gay male character in the history of Y&R , and John Driscoll (ex-Coop, GL ), is coming to the soap in the weeks to come as Phillip Chancellor IV, reportedly home from the war and rumored to be a love interest for Rafe. But what gives? Add to this the previously mentioned walk-off by Engen and his previously heterosexual character allegedly having an on-camera kiss with Rafe. Either the show is doing a tremendous job at throwing us red herrings, or telling a gay story for the first time on the number-1 rated soap is becoming very complicated.
Whatever is going down, it will certainly make soap history!
This week: Natalia (Jessica Leccia) told Olivia (Crystal Chappell) that she talked to Father Ray about her feelings, and after praying, she doesn't think they should live together yet ... but not because she thinks it's a sin. The duo wants to plan out a timetable to tell their children and the chatty Springfield community about their relationship.
Next week's Otalia preview: Natalia's son, Rafe, returns home, his legal trouble behind him. Dumped groom and sometimes doofus Frank offers to be the strong male role model for the troubled youth. And more trouble for our gals. Can they find the right time to tell Rafe about their love in bloom?