Soapside: Advocate 's Guide to Daytime

By Michael Fairman

Originally published on Advocate.com July 29 2009 11:00 PM ET

John Driscoll's Chance of a Lifetime

This past February, soap fans were moved to tears as Guiding Light 's handsome young hero Coop Bradshaw, was killed off, having sustained injuries in a fiery car crash that set the stage for some of the most riveting drama in the show's history. But Guiding Light 's loss was The Young and the Restless's gain when Bradshaw portrayer John Driscoll nabbed the role of Phillip Chancellor IV, who now goes by the name of "Chance." The character (who had not been seen since he was a tot) recently returned to Genoa City from his tour of duty with the military in Iraq. For months online reports were full of speculation. Would Chance be gay? Would he be involved with Rafe?

In a preview of Friday's exclusive Advocate.com interview with Driscoll, he had this to say about those rumors.

"I was trying to do some homework before I started on Y&R. One of the soap websites said there might be a budding relationship between Mac, Chloe, and ... Rafe? And I said, 'Rafe. What? That does not sound like a female's name.'" [ Laughs ] This character has been gone such a long time they don't know what his sexual orientation is. Is he gay, straight, what's the deal? I thought, You know what? If it's going to play that's way, that's OK. As an actor you are always looking for the next challenge, and I don't find anything taboo behind it. I played a gay character before on a short-lived series called The Book of Daniel with Aidan Quinn and Ellen Burstyn on NBC. I actually worked opposite Christian Campbell, formerly of All My Children, where he played Bobby Warner. We had this romance on the show, and if the series had not been canceled, you would have seen the budding relationship between our two characters. It was really funny doing double duty while I was doing Guiding Light. During the day I was having bedroom sexual scenes with a female, and then at night on set in bed with a man. It was crazy. I needed a couple of drinks!"

Recently we learned that Chance is a virgin and denied he was gay. Yup. He has never had sex with a girl. The character makes references as far as females go to say, "I have kissed a lot of girls. I just think I have not found the right one. I am sure she is out there." Driscoll weighs in on Chance's virginal ways and if this could really mean something else. "Honestly, who knows? As of right now they are playing him as if he is not gay. At this point, Chloe [played by Elizabeth Hendrickson] is the object of his affection, and he is attracted to her. Chance respects her, and there is a spark and energy between them."

And on today's pivotal episode of Y&R, Chance's wayward dad, Phillip III (Thom Bierdz), tells his son that he is gay, marking the beginning of the exploration of a gay father and his biological son, another first for Y&R. Driscoll shares his thoughts on Dad's on-screen revelation.

"First off, it's a great story. I think it would be a lot more emotional between the two characters if they had more history and something to pull from like, 'How can you lie to me?' But there hasn't. So you can't play the betrayal just yet. So he is gay, OK. But if he hurt Nina, Chance's mom, that is when he would get upset. Chance questions how the relationship between Nina and him went down. How did he cover it up? Was there anyone there? Did he have any relations with a man during that time period? His father said no. He used alcohol to cover up the pain and to hide everything. So for Chance and his mentality, a person is a person. I am sure Chance dealt with that in the military ... finding out that guys were gay, and that's fine. We will eventually see that connection between the father and his son as they rebuild their relationship. To find that point where you can look at each other and being able to say, 'I love you for being my father. Despite what you have going on in your life, or your sexual orientation, I love you for who you are.'"

Soap Soul Mates Launch Pod Cast!

I spoke with Roger Newcomb, the creator of We Love Soaps , about his latest venture. He and two buddies and soap associates, Michael Goldberg and Damon Jacobs, have launched a very gay-friendly soap podcast, We Love Soaps Radio. Yes, the three are all friends of Dorothy.

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Newcomb says. "You could not put us back in the closet. We are bringing the perspective of the gay men to soaps and we are doing it very vocally, and during our discussions, even though we may not be talking about the gay characters, it comes out. It's hard for it not to, especially discussing the gay story lines, and we do talk about gay issues. Damon credits former Daysof Our Lives star Patsy Pease for helping him come to terms with his sexuality in regards to some of the adversity he faced. He was treated very poorly and she was treated very poorly and he was inspired by her character of Kimberly on Days and Patsy's battles as well."

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The inventive and creative weekly feature focuses on news, interviews, and hot topics and banter between the threesome. They record their show on Monday night and release it on Tuesday morning so the content is current. Newcomb tells me the audio feature is a cross between ABC's The View and E's! Pure Soap (yes, I worked on that show, back in the '90s). So I had to ask, Which guy is most like which lady of The View ?

"I would be Whoopi. I don't try to make everything liberal, but it kind of always comes out in discussions. Michael is Sherri Shepherd. He is very funny and he is a comedian. Damon would be Joy. We would like to bring in an Elizabeth to have more conflict!"

So what does my fellow gay soap journalist have to say about the current misfires on some of the current gay soap love affairs?

"I am pretty sensitive on how gay people and gay men in particular are portrayed. I even commented this week that the first thing you see on ATWT was Emily and Paul sort of lying naked on a sofa. I thought, I will never, ever see this with Luke and Noah. I have never seen them in a bed or lying down together. It pops into my mind sometimes what a double standard there is, and until there is not that double standard, I will always be sensitive to certain aspects of their story. I think what is being done right at a high level is the good intentions of the producers to tell a story, but I think the problem is the complete underestimation of the audience's willingness to accept it. I guarantee you could show Luke and Noah in bed together or Kyle and Fish in bed together and the world would not end ... the ratings would not dip and the show would not fall apart. At this point with these soaps in threat, what do you have to lose? I could watch The Real World on MTV in 1993 and watch two gay guys give each other a peck on the cheek and hugging ... it's now 2009!"

Make sure to go check out their podcast here !

Daytime Emmys Exclusive! Get Close to Your Soap Stars on the Red Carpet!

How can you get a closer glimpse of your favorite soap stars at this year's Daytime Emmys? By coming down to the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles early on August 30 and being part of the red carpet preshow to air live on the CW! Due to the smaller venue for this year's broadcast, fans won't be able to buy tickets for inside-the-theater seating, as the limited capacity allows only for nominees and guests. Therefore, the only game in town for fans is to show up early for red carpet seating. Seating is available on a first come, first served basis starting at 11 a.m. the day of the show. Please note, there is only limited bleacher seating available, and no one will be allowed through to the red carpet for viewing after 1 p.m. due to security procedures. The red carpet preshow ends at 5 p.m. There are many paid parking lots near the Orpheum that are open all day Sunday. More details on my website exclusively next week.

Because Your "Kiss Is on My List"

Yes, the big day is near. Can One Life 's same-sex kiss between "Kish" make gay fans happy, or will the fans throw things at their TV? Here's a preview of next Thursday's not-to-be missed episode!

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Layla tries to mend fences with Fish, assuring him she doesn't think he's gay. Cristian overhears, emerges in time to see Fish kissing Layla goodbye. Once Fish is gone, Cristian asks Layla if the secret Fish's friend Kyle alluded to is that Fish is gay. Meanwhile, Kyle commiserates with Roxy,and we find out more about Fish. When Fish hears from Roxy that Kyle confided in her re their college "affair," he flips and confronts Kyle. Kyle kisses Fish, and someone witnesses.

Tweet, Tweet, Tweet ... Crystal Chappell Brings More News on Venice !

As we reported last column, Crystal Chappell is in the middle of casting her Web series Venice, coming in the fall entitled After exciting all gay fans with the news that Jessica Leccia was on board, Chappell announced today that Guiding Light 's Emmy-winning Jordan Clarke (Billy) will to play Gina's father, the colonel. Add to that the news that pal Hillary B. Smith (Nora, OLTL ) was jumping on the bandwagon to play Guya, and it's looking like daytime could be finding a great way to utilize its star-power on the Web! Here is what we learned through tweets this week between Smith and Chappell.

"You'll find Guya sharing knowledge of life experience to folks in Venice. You'll also see Hillary's amazing comedic chops. Guya was born with silver spoon in her mouth, then spoon went to the nose, and then she married for love, traded in for younger model, and has found most men obsolete but fascinating. She's changed her name from Jane to Guya and now offers love and crystals in Venice Beach. She's there to guide. Guya is Gina's aunt. She'll cut through the bullshit."

Otalia ... Is a Kiss Too Much to Ask For?

Lana Nieves has written a wonderful new blog post about Otalia and why it is important for Olivia and Natalia to share a real, passionate kiss before the light flickers out on September 18 -- the finale of Guiding Light.

"That thing in January was cute, but it wasn't a kiss. Not really. It doesn't count. Any lip lock that ends in one person yelling in fear, 'WHY? Why did you do that?!?!' does not count as a real kiss!"

You tell 'em, Lana!

Otalia Recap: This Week

Rick gave Olivia's heart a checkup. He questioned Olivia on her excessive drinking and told her she's jeopardizing her health. Olivia drank with the guys at Shayne's bachelor party. She danced with Josh, and Reva took her home. Olivia admitted to Ava that she and Natalia fell in love. Olivia explained that Natalia left because it was too much for her. Ava is happy that Olivia has found someone to love and believes that Natalia loves her just as much in return.

Next Week's Preview

The story line takes a backseat as the show focuses on advancing some of there other major stories and it heads towards the grand finale. But stay tuned. There is more to Otalia's story coming very soon!

Days Casting News: Louise Sorel, Michael Sabbatino Back!

Dare I call her the Auntie Mame of the soap world? Well, not exactly, since last time around dear Vivian Alamain buried Dr. Carly Manning alive!

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Now Days is banking on bringing Crystal Chappell and Sorel back together, so soap fans can relish their feud all over again. Sorel starts in September. Make sure to come back in two weeks to Soapside for my conversation with the wacky and wonderful Sorel.

In perhaps the tweet heard around the soap world late this afternoon, Crystal Chappell through Twitter let soap fans know that her real-life hubby, Michael Sabatino is returning to DAYS as Lawrence Alamain. Chappell says: "Michael will indeed pop up on DOOL. Carly 2.0 is not Bo/Carly redux. It's not what most would think. Watch!"

With Sorel, Sabatino, and Chappell back in Salem, looks like the gang is all here!

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Adonis 2009 Competition Update: Goddard Out!

Well, in another shocker in the Adonis 2009 competition, Y&R 's Daniel Goddard (Cane) was given the heave-ho! And once again B&B 's Brandon Beemer (Owen) ended up in the bottom three, and so too did our Luke, ATWT's Van Hansis. Now at week 7, we are getting down to the nitty-gritty, with the question, "Which soap hunk would you like to be stranded with in an elevator?" Would it be James Scott (E.J., Days ), Jake Silbermann (Noah, ATWT ), Mark Lawson (Brody, OLTL ), Steve Burton (Jason, GH ) or Hansis or Beemer? Voting for the top six finalists starts today, July 30, and continues through August 4. Remember, only one vote per day, so make it count .

So How Is Daytime's Favorite Cross-dressing Killer Doing?

Daytime Confidential has a juicy new interview for every gender, sexual orientation, and position with former Passions star Phillip Jeanmarie, who played the evil Vincent. Here is an excerpt of this must-read:

D.C.: What did you think of all the crazy plot twists your character went through on Passion s? Vincent went from being a down-low brother to a hermaphrodite, cross-dressing rapist/serial killer who bore his own father's child!

P.J.: I was actually figuring all of that out around the same time as you guys! [ Laughs ] I just learned not to overthink it, to go with your gut. It was fun. How many actors can say they got to wear high heels? OK, so maybe a lot, but it was a lot of fun! [ Laughs ]

Scene-stealers of the Week

This goes to two guys from General Hospital who over the last two weeks (since my last column) delivered some must-see moments. First off, the remarkable young actor who is now playing the young Morgan, Aaron Refvem. In an emotional tearjerker, concerned for the welfare of his mom, Carly, and her unborn child (who lies in the hospital), the young boy breaks down. He showed amazing acting chops. I needed hankies!

Then, Daytime Emmy nominee Bradford Anderson really made fans choke back the tears when in the pivotal karaoke episodes he got up and struggled through Foreigner's "I Want to Know What Love Is" for his beloved "Maximista," played by Kirsten Storms. In the end, she fell for "the geek who can belt out a tune" and the two finally did the deed! Check out this memorable clip!

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You can see more of Bradford and Adonis 2009 Hunk nominee Steve Burton in my exclusive video interviews from the 2009 GH Fan Club Weekend by clicking here .

Worst Catfight of the Week

We have to acknowledge in this week's column one of the worst daytime catfights -- sorry One Life to Live, you know I love you! When Gigi Morasco finally confronted her very own "Evilene" sister, Stacy, in the parking garage of the hospital for destroying her relationship with Rex and about the whole bag of blood issue (don't get me started), I wanted the fight to be the end all of girly fights. But what we were left with was Gigi giving one wallop to Stacy's face, and then the girls headed toward the hospital stairwell. Ah, you know what that means. Someone is going to take a fall.

Then. in an awkward moment where Gigi barely touched Stacy, the evildoer went tumbling down the stairs. All I can say is that poor stunt double earned her paycheck. and we still had Stacy to deal with when all was said and done.