The Bold and the Beautiful: Maya/Myron is a Transgender Person

 

By Marlena De Lacroix a.k.a. Connie Passalacqua Hayman

To commemorate The Bold and the Beautiful’s 28th anniversary last Wednesday, executive producer and headwriter Bradley P. Bell staged a daytime soap cliffhanger that is the shock of the soap century: revealing that Maya Avant (Karla Mosley) is really Myron, a transgender person.  She was born a man.

You go, Bradley!

Karla Mosley: Her Maya Avant revealed to be transgender

Maya is a model at Forrester Creations and the live-in love of Rick Forrester (Jacob Young). The couple currently hosts the Forrester Mansion.  It was in the living room at the end of last Wednesday’s episode that Maya’s sister Nicole (Reign Edwards) told Maya that she is not her sister but her brother.  Wowsa!  What a beginning to a storyline!  The episode  trended on Twitter immediately!  B&B had managed to keep this stunning reveal top secret. Miraculously, there had been absolutely no spoilers!

Maya/Myron is not daytime’s first transgender character, contrary to what The Daily Mail (England’s gossipy newspaper/website) reported this week.  That honor belongs to Azure C (Carlotta Chang) on The City.  And then there’s Zarf /Zoe on All My Children.  I loved Wendy Mercury (played by herself) the transgender bartender on One Life to Live.  The great and mighty headwriter Claire Labine (Ryan’s Hope, General Hospital) created Wendy in 1997 in collaboration with her sub-writer children Eleanor Mancusi and Matthew Labine.

In real life, Wendy was/is an opera singer who back then acted by day and performed by night at an infamous drag club and restaurant on the Lower East Side of Manhattan called Lucky Chang’s. She is just superb!

Maya/Myron is of course an homage to Myra Breckinridge, the 1968 novel by the late Gore Vidal that became a movie in 1970. Vidal was a noted author, playwright, satirist, raconteur and television personality with a taste for the flamboyantly shocking.  His sexually explicit, luridly campy tale of a man who becomes a woman amid the sleazy culture of behind-the-scenes Hollywood was considered high scandal in its day.

Myra/Myron was film’s first transgender person, played in the equally explicit and truly awful movie version (some say the worst film of all time) by Raquel Welch, then hottest thing on the screen. It also co-starred the iconic Mae West (“Come up and see me sometime”) as Letitia Van Allen, a sexually voracious Hollywood agent with a four-poster bed in her office. It was the first movie for a very young and hunky Tom Selleck, before  he made his breakthrough soap role on The Young and the Restless as Jed Andrews during that soap’s premiere year, 1973. In the movie, Selleck was billed simply as “Stud.”

Y&R was  the first soap to focus on young people. It was co-created by the late legendary  Bill  Bell and his wife Lee Phillip Bell.  They are the parents of Bill Jr, Bradley and Lauralee (Christine/Cricket Williams) and the co-creators of B&B as a spinoff  to Y&R in 1987.

Raquel Welch as Myra Breckinridge

Of course Vidal’s Myra/Myron was created to sell the novel and the movie.  She was a phenomenon of the late 60s just as the as mores of Hollywood were quickly changing. Old taboos were falling everywhere, and the book and movie were emblematic of a new era of sexual explicitness that would have seemed impossible just a few short years earlier. Myra/Myron, book and movie, brought in audiences by the zillions, just as Vidal planned.

And that’s exactly what Bradley P. Bell and CBS Daytime want Maya as a her/him to do for B&B, which already is the most popular soap opera worldwide. B&B doesn’t need to do this.  But they did it.  How high will the ratings spike for this week?  For B&B, CBS and Bradley Bell, the sky is the limit!

This is not to disparage the subject of transgender identity and the very real issues it poses for many people who want and deserve society’s respect. GLAAD, the leading advocate in the media for gays, lesbians and transgender people, has come forward in support of  this ostensibly ground-breaking storyline. Okay, but with all due respect to this worthy organization, this is not really such a groundbreaker for soaps. It will succeed or fail in proportion to how genuinely sensitive and realistic it is. Otherwise, it’s just another stunt.

 

Big Changes at Marlena and Five More Passover Questions

By Marlena De Lacroix a.k.a. Connie Passalacqua Hayman

We’ve made some changes here at marlenadelacroix.com in an effort to upgrade our service to you, our Thinking Fans. We’ve added a search box, all the better to help you locate what we’re had to say in the past about your favorite soaps and their characters, casts and storylines. And we’re added list of links to our fellow soap opera sites and others we think may interest you, a list that is likely to grow. There’s more to come, as this site continues to evolve. As you know, darlings, Marlena has been and always will be all about you, the soap fans and faithful readers loves ever do dearly.  It makes my day to get your comments to this column. We’re here to serve you, always!

Toujours l’amour!

Five More Passover Questions

1.  Remember Jewish Jake Meyer (Sam Behrens) the lawyer on General Hospital? Adored him! Happy Passover and Happy Easter! Wasn’t Behrens great with Jackie Zeman (Bobbie Spencer)?

Jackie Zeman, 39 years and counting!

Isn’t Zeman being her usual timeless self in the Luke/Fluke story?  Thirty-nine years in soaps!  She was a sensation in her soap premiere role Lana McClain on One Life to Live in 1976, and, after all these sensational years, she’s a soap icon today.

2.  Speaking of, how much do we all miss OLTL and my fave soap of all time, All My Children? Viva forever Agnes Nixon, their creator and the greatest writer of all time, along with her mentor Irna Phillips, the mother of daytime soap opera. Miss my Agnes, who is 88 now. She is a mother to us all!  Those soaps we miss so sorely were her children, you know! In addition to her four real children and numerous grandchildren.

3.  Two four six eight, who do we appreciate? Two time Emmy winner Maura West (Ava Jerome, GH; ex Carly Manning, As the World Turns)! She deserves this year’s and next year’s Emmys for her work as Ava. I like her better than her Carly, and Carly was immortal.  Of course Ava, who was given a terminal cancer prognosis by Dr. Silas Clay (Michael Easton) is going to live.

4.  Didn’t the ever handsome (those dimples!) and sublimely talented Maurice Benard (Sonny Corinthos GH, also a Emmy winner) look like an impressionist painter with the beard? So glad he shaved it this week!

5.  Who isn’t sick of GH’s amnesiac Jake Doe/Jason Quartermaine? I certainly am! He’s on every day, and stays, and stays, and stays. Even the superb Emmy winner Billy Miller (ex-Billy Abbot, The Young and the Restless) who plays him can’t keep this interesting. At this point, I just don’t care whether or not he is with Elizabeth Webber (Rebecca Herbst)!

Six Passover Questions

By Marlena De Lacroix a.k.a. Connie Passlacqua Hayman

1.  Isn’t it a shame that CBS Daytime (The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful) is going retro just for ratings? Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott) and NeIl (Kristoff St. John) running over pregnant Christine (Lauralee Bell) on Y&R? She sadly had a miscarriage. Running over a soap character is so ancient and revolting!

2.  Victor (Eric Braeden) revealed as a Catholic in oh so dated confession scenes! Religion again on daytime soaps! What about the Jews? Remember Jewish character Nora Hannon Buchanan on One Life to Live, played by the mighty Emmy winner Hillary B. Smith? Miss her!

3.  Wasn’t the highlight of the whole week when Ryan’s Hope character Delia Reid Ryan (Ilene Kristen) now revived on General Hospital sang  “Danny Boy” service to baby Avery at Ava’s (Maura West) memorial?  This is just before Ava revealed herself to her mother as still being alive.  “Danny Boy” is of course what Maeve Ryan (the great Helen Gallagher) used to sing to beleaguered characters.  It was the trademark of the show.  And here’s a hug for Claire Labine who, along with the late Paul Avila Mayer, was the co-creators/headwriter of RH.  Irish forever!   Did you know the Ryans were modeled on Claire’s real family?  She still is and always will be a daytime legend.

4.  Isn’t it incredible (and truly careless head writing by Ron Carlivati) to have so many General Hospital characters pardoned all within a few weeks of one another? Murderers Sonny (Maurice Benard), Jake (Billy Miller), Julian (William de Vry) who didn’t really do it, and Anna (Finola Hughes), who was pardoned off-screen. Ava is next! Yes, and even police chief Sloane (Grayson McCouch, ex As the World Turns and Another World), who really did do it and is corrupt as hell. How much more of him can we take? Anna in the FBI, gee!

Jacqueline MacInnes Wood

5.  On The Bold and the Beautiful isn’t perpetually bikini-clad Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) who is staying at ex-husband Liam’s (Scott Clifton)  beach house, so very sexy?  You just know Steffy will lure her ex-husband Liam away from his present love Ivy (Ashleigh Brewer).  Go Ivy!   As I’ve written, I love  Liam’s independent, truth-telling, intelligent girlfriend . She’s Marlena’s current gal.  This blog  is Soaps For the Thinking Fan, after all!

6.  Isn’t it unbelievable that Luke (Tony Geary) bit off half of Scotty’s (Kin Shriner) ear on GH, just like Sir Anthony Hopkins’ legendary Hannibal Lechter character did in Silence of the Lambs? Or Mike Tyson?  The doctors were able to repair it thankfully. For this genuine shocker, bravo Carlivati!

General Hospital: Spencer Becomes a Burn Victim

Nicolas Bechtel

By Marlena De Lacroix a.k.a. Connie Passalacqua Hayman

Who could have imagined there’d be an ongoing end of sweeps storyline that is so shocking it could practically upstage the mighty and controversial six month old Luke/Fluke story on General Hospital?

But here it is: ten-year-old Spencer (Nicolas Bechtel) was severely burned on face and body this week in a fire that broke out in the living room of  Wyndemere. Thankfully, he was rescued by Nikolas (Tyler Christopher) and Patrick (Jason Thompson), but when last seen at the end of the week was in Shriners Hospital for Children in Boston.

Shriners is a real place, of course – one of a network of 22 world renowned nonprofit hospitals that specialize in treating children with burns, orthopedic conditions, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate.   Initially, Spencer was taken to General Hospital, then transferred to Shriners for the advanced care he could receive there.

Shriners is partnering with ABC and GH in this storyline set in a real hospital, dramatizing the invaluable work it does for victims and their families. Thousands of children have been treated in burn units like the one Spencer currently occupies, and thousands of parents like Nikolas have been at their bedsides throughout.

I am of two minds about the entire fire story.

First of all, I am very disturbed by it.  Whatever happened to the old soap rule that you don’t do stories in which children are harmed or killed? (The rule has been broken several times in the past.) It is felt that mothers especially can’t bear to watch children being harmed.   GH must be desperate to do such a story, and that doesn’t work for such a classy show. The last time I was so disturbed by an endangered child story was in 2008 when twelve-year-old Michael Quartermaine (then Dylan Cash, now Chad Duell) bought a gun to imitate his mob boss father Sonny.

But this storyline does provide a service for the viewers that is admirable.  The storyline is great for the prestigious Shriners, which has never advertised on daytime before. And it’s even greater for GH.  This storyline, which is sprinkled with commercials for Shriners, is a public service,  and a feather in the cap  all those at the network, and especially executive producer Frank Valentini and headwriter Ron Carlivati.

The fire started after Spencer’s birthday party when Cameron (Michael Leone) accidentally knocked a swag bag onto a candle as he was leaving. Emma (Brooklyn Rae Silzer) and Spencer were alone dancing and unrealistically didn’t hear the alarm or smell smoke.  Emma escaped unharmed and ran for help to her father who was elsewhere in the mansion with Nikolas. Spencer went back into the fire to get his personalized boxing robe, a gift from Sonny he had received at the party.  Part of the roof caved in and Spencer was trapped.  He suffered the burns when the fire escalated. Nikolas and Patrick found him in the nick of time and rushed him to General Hospital.

At General Hospital something very unusual happened.  Absurd chief of staff, ex-criminal Dr. Liesl Obrecht (Kathleen Gati) — the chief of staff  of General Hospital always was and should be always a good guy — was given the honor of revealing Shriners participation.  As you know, Obrecht is always the personification of evil — until now.  I was shocked.

This storyline was designed as well to capitalize on the talent of the Bechtel, a child actor I have praised in the past.  This charmed child can do anything, comedy or drama.  Of course, the story wouldn’t work without Christopher.  He is always so natural.  I love their father and son scenes together, especially in this storyline. They are so powerful. Near the end of the week there was a scene in which Nicolas assured Spencer that the Shriners doctor would help him recover. I cried!

So this week, I will continue to watch the Spencer is burned story with tissue in hand.  As intended!

For more information about Shriners Hospitals for Children and how to make donations, click here.