Brothers (1984) … Could it happen in daytime (2011)?

My latest entertainment obsession is TVLand’s “Happily Divorced” starring Fran Drescher, John Michael Higgins (Peter), Tichina Arnold (Judi), Valente Rodriguez (Cesar), Rita Moreno (Dori), and Robert Walden (Glen).  The premise:  “Fran” is awakened in the middle of the night by her husband, “Peter”.  After 18 years of marriage, Peter realizes that he’s gay! It’s news to Peter, news to Fran, but not news to anyone else in their lives.  Loosely based on Drescher’s life with ex-husband Peter Marc Jacobson, what follows is the transition of “Fran and “Peter’s”  life together as a happily married couple to happily divorced friends who still share their lives, while also sharing an unsellable home in a tough housing market. Each enters a process of self discovery that neither had the courage to engage in 18 years before.  It’s warm, funny, and an all around entertaining show. 

As I’m watching, it’s actor Robert Walden who has changed the most over time, for me.  I can recognize the face, but not place his name.  As I look him up I not only realize who he is, but search youtube to find the clip below  from an earlier show in which he played a lead character.  That show?  Brothers (1984) .  Even with the first clip of the first episode, it’s clear how progressive the writing is given the time.  The writing would be progressive in the current field of daytime shows!!! 

 The clip below features at least one daytime star well known to BnB fans and one primetime star well known to, nearly, all “Fresh Prince” fans.  Enjoy!

As a woman of color, I’ve always felt robbed by daytime’s difficulty with diversity.  As the genre is winding down, it would be nice to know that someone will have the courage to bring back characters like Victoria Rowell’s transformational Druscilla, or introduce Asian characters (shame on you OLTL… Blair Daimler – though I am loving the fractured Patel family).  Sexual diversity is just one more diversity failure.  Whether there are  gay characters who get to have fun with straight stereotypes about gay characters (as with the second “Brothers” clip, or a character on the journey of self-discovery (as in the first clip), daytime is lacking.

OH, and just in case you’re into all sorts of trivia – here’s one more tidbit, not that the cast and melding of shows above hasn’t provided enough trivia to keep you busy for years, Brandon Maggart (older brother, Lou Waters) is the father of singer, Fiona Apple, and actor Garett Maggart.  Joe’s daughter, Penny?  Penny is played by actress Hallie Todd, better known to Disney fans as “Lizzie Maguire’s Mom”.