‘One Life To Live’s groundbreaking gay couple, Kish, is being written off the show. According to TV Guide, Scott Evans (Fish) and Brett Claywell (Kyle ) will leave the show in April after their current storyline wraps up. Kish were the first gay couple on daytime television to have a sex scene. *Spoiler Alert* Fish will confirm what the audience already knows, that he is the father of Stacy’s baby. After gaining custody of the child, he and Kyle will raise the child off camera. Is it homophobia? Or is the show practicing a scorched earth policy surrounding the phenomenally unpopular character of Stacy (Crystal Hunt)? Scott Clifton (Schuyler), the other potential baby’s father was also let go. Stacy’s best friend Kim (Amanda Setton) is leaving due to Setton’s decision to move to Los Angeles.
While Kish was ultrapopular on-line, dominating messageboards and winning prestigious awards from the gay media, the show’s ratings fell while they were front and center. Given that numerous other stories were happening simultaneously, it is impossible to know what caused the fall. Perhaps the decision to link Kish to a farcical pro-gay marriage storyline alienated viewers who might have otherwise been interested in their love story. Perhaps Mitch’s less than compelling return was the culprit. (His character is rumored to be written off, too.) Perhaps some viewers did not buy Todd and Tea’s love story, which was a far bigger storyline. Perhaps Stacy really was enough to drive viewers away from Llanview. Whatever the reason, someone either at the show or at the network made the decision to shift the show in a new direction.
In the past couple weeks OLTL has embarked on a slew of new storylines: Jessica’s amnesiac regression to adolescence, Kelly’s (Gina Tognoni) return to Llanview, the Marty/John/Natalie love triangle. In my opinion, the decision to write Kish off is a mistake. I found their love story touching. They fit in seamlessly to Llanview’s police and hospital storylines. Kyle’s bitchy stand-offs with Kim made me want to see him as a power player — perhaps becoming involved in a struggle for control of Llanview Hospital. In recent weeks, the ratings have improved. The actors are talented and well-liked enough to merit Daytime Emmy pre-nominations. While there are always going to be some viewers who are uncomfortable with gay love scenes, there are also going to be viewers who dislike plots about a retconned child who messes up the show’s timeline. Dani and Tea are still around. I hope that Kish are not being scapegoated, but it is difficult to see this in any other way. Given the writers and producers obvious enthusiasm for the pairing, I assume this decision was made with a heavy heart. It is unfortunate that, with the impending end of As The World Turns, gay men are on the verge of disappearing from daytime, especially given the increasing visibility of GLBT characters on primetime.