Where have all the gays gone on daytime?

It’s the end of an era.

Last week, on “Days of Our Lives,” Will Horton (Emmy winner Chandler Massey) and his husband Sonny Kiriakis (Emmy winner Freddie Smith) walked off into the sunset – or at least the closest thing that passes for sunset on the NBC soap – Horton Square.

Will and Sonny stand as the first and only gay male super-couple on daytime.

Over the years, they’ve had their share of front-burner stories, including Will’s coming-out story; their subsequent romance; Will being “strangled” to death by Necktie Killer Ben Weston (Robert Scott Wilson); Will’s miraculous “resurrection” two years later; Will’s amnesia and his romance with Paul Narita (Christopher Sean); and Will being framed and imprisoned for the death of Sonny’s beloved mother.

Both actors found out they were being written out of the show … by reading their scripts.

No one from the production office bothered to tell them they were being dropped.

No matter how bad your job is, you have to admit, that’s cold.

The reason why they are being dropped is not clear.

“Days” in the throes of a record cast turnover wrought by a mix of producer error and budget constraints.

The show seems to be moving toward a model of recurring guest stars, performers brought in for a day, a few weeks, a few months, who are then rotated off the canvas again for an uncertain time.

It’s one way to keep costs down. It’s not clear whether the strategy will keep viewers.

Salem is now nothing but Jennifer Horton heterosexuals.

The door apparently is open for the actors to return down the line – for a visit.

That’s a terrible loss for viewers and for the LGBTQ community.

Across the networks, the picture is equally grim.

Of all the soaps, ABC’s “General Hospital” looks impressive on paper, with six characters representing the LGBTQ community.

There’s Dr. Lucas Jones (Ryan Carnes), a member of the legacy family the Spencers; his estranged husband, Brad Cooper (Parry Shen), now rotting in jail (more on that); Kristina Corinthos-Davis (Lexi Ainsworth), the lesbian daughter of the town’s mob kingpin; Felix Dubois (Marc Samuel), a compassionate nurse; Dr. Terry Randolph (Cassandra Jones), a transgender cancer specialist; and maybe bi-curious police detective Valerie Spencer (Paulina Lule).

What else do they have in common?

Not one of these actors is under contract.

Not one of these characters has any story.

Lucas and Brad were part of the soap’s biggest story of the year – the unfortunate recipients of a stolen baby via a baby switch. (Meh. It happens.) And even in that story, they were bit players. Brad went to prison and Lucas lost his entire family, but no one talks about him, and he’s apparently working all those graveyard shifts at the hospital off-camera.

There hasn’t been a Kristina sighting in weeks; Felix and Dr. Terry popped up as sounding boards for other characters to voice their anxieties; and Valerie returned after so many months in her official capacity to investigate the disappearance of the town’s greatest sociopath off a cliff.

You can catch transgender fashionista Maya Avant (Karla Mosley) almost every day on CBS’ “Bold & the Beautiful”

– in the opening credits.

Those haven’t been updated in at least two years, about as long since she had any story.

Even the show’s COVID-19 dummies, stand-ins for romantic scenes, get more airtime than Maya.

But, hey, Brooke and Ridge broke up for the 9,037th time, so that’s something to care about.

In what might be the slowest-burn relationship in daytime history, CBS’ “Young & the Restless” features Mariah Copeland (Emmy winner Camryn Grimes), a long-lost member of the powerful Newman family who has been involved with singer Tessa Porter (Cait Fairbanks) for two years now. Grimes recently advocated for the two women to marry, a moment that would be groundbreaking on daytime’s No. 1 soap.

It doesn’t appear that will be happening any time soon.

Viewers deserve better.

Now more than ever, representation matters. LGBTQ characters should be more than side dressing. They also serve a vital purpose with younger or closeted viewers as guideposts for what their own lives could look like.

Stolen babies and necktie killers exempted, of course.

 

Chandler Massey and Freddie Smith left "Days" hand in hand last week. (Photo: NBC)
Chandler Massey and Freddie Smith left “Days” hand in hand last week. (Photo: NBC)
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