By Jake Biondi
Like others my age, I remember the moment when I heard about the death of Karen Carpenter, the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion, and Princess Diana’s fatal car crash. I also remember when I watched Dynasty’s Steven Carrington stand before his fictional family and declare, “I’m a homosexual, Dad. I’m gay.”
With the rich, shoulder-padded members of his family staring him down, Steven said the words that I hoped to one day be able to say to my family — perhaps with the affirmation of a sibling like Fallon, who acknowledged her brother’s orientation by stating, “Steven is gay.”
As a young, gay fan of dramas such as Dynasty, Dallas, and Days of Our Lives, I hoped for the day they would feature a gay character, someone I could relate to in some way. So when Dynasty introduced me to Steven Carrington, I was hooked. In Steven I saw someone who struggled with at least a few of the issues that were running through my confused, teenage mind.
Even though the show later altered Steven’s face by recasting the actor, adjusted his homosexuality by making him more bisexual, and killed off two of his lovers (one at the hands of his father Blake, and one in the show’s famed Moldavian massacre), as young gay man searching for people like me on television, I was grateful for Steven.
Three years after Dynasty was canceled in 1989, Fox brought me Melrose Place and its gay character, Matt Fielding. Ten years had passed since Steven Carrington’s coming-out moment, and not much had advanced in terms of gay characters on television. In fact, I recall the “hype” surrounding an on-screen kiss that was supposed occur between Matt and one of his boyfriends, which never aired due to concerns from the network and its sponsors.
Thankfully, things have improved quite a bit since those days. I now enjoy watching Will and Sonny on Days of Our Lives, and gay characters populate many shows on television and online. Still, I still keep thinking that there is room for more.
All my life, friends and family have told me that I should be writing for television. As those who know me watched as I engaged with my TV dramas, they saw in me something that, until recently, I didn’t see: a true passion for interesting characters and continuing storylines.
Once I recognized that passion myself, an idea was born: What if I created my own continuing drama that consisted mainly of gay characters? I started to ponder the idea more and more, and in June 2013 I began writing my drama focused on gay characters, BOYSTOWN.
Like all good soaps, BOYSTOWN needed a “core” family; thus the Mancini family was born. The Mancini brothers — as well as their friends and significant others — are at the center of BOYSTOWN. Emmett Mancini, the youngest of the brothers, is a bright, caring guy whose boyfriend has a few secrets Emmett has yet to discover. Derek Mancini and his wife Joyelle are BOYSTOWN’s straight couple — …read more
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