This should be interesting. Television/film and voice actor Marc Anthony Samuel has been signed as contract player for ABC's General Hospital in the role of Felix Dubois, an openly gay nursing student. Samuel's character debuted Tuesday and will "play an integral role in helping return the annual Nurse's Ball charity event to General Hospital."
Watch Tuesday's episode of GH at ABC.com. Samuel is first seen at about 5:00.
The handsome actor is a familiar face from roles on NCIS, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and other shows. Marc Anthony Samuel also frequently acts in commercials and does voice-over work. He provides the voice-over in a new national campaign that just debuted. "While I'm not onscreen, I am doing the voice-over announcer for this AT&T spot," he announced on his Facebook fan page.
Felix only debuted two days ago and soap fans are already weighing in. "Can we keep the black gay nurse PLEASE?" begins one thread on SoapCentral.com. "I LOVE him and I think the show needs him!"
Others appreciated the new character ... but were upset that he was introduced by giving a (much-needed) makeover to Sabrina. "Every new character on the show start off as a big caricature, so that Felix guy isn't the only one," said another fan. "I'M not sure how he will bode on the show but its only been one show, we don't know yet the direction his storyline will take so I'M willing to be patient."
There is a different take at 'We Love Soaps". Several gay men took issue with what they perceived as "the sassy sidekick" characterization—"[T]he lipstick and insta-makeover was over-the-top in a character's first scene as way to establish he was gay. If those are the markers for gay, than that's lazy writing." But one fan perhaps hit the nail on the head:
"I know several guys just like Felix and many who are nothing like him. There's room on TV for all types of gay male characters. Daytime tends to play gay men as almost non sexual so I was happy on his first day Felix seemed to have a sex drive and noticed Patrick's hotness. We'll see where it goes from here and if there are plans for Felix beyond being Sabrina's friend. I hope so. ... I personally find it refreshing that a gay character could possibly be flamboyant and open and not a "macho" version of gay the writers think viewers will tolerate."
It's worth noting that Marc Anthony Samuel brings some much-needed diversity to GH. The soap historically had been ABC's powerhouse daytime serial but rarely featured Black faces in leading roles. There have also been very few positive Black openly gay characters on daytime. Some comments at messageboards acknowledged this."They need some flava," said one fan at SoapCentral. Another agreed: "He is black. And gay. And a nurse. ... We desperately need more AA characters on this show."
Marc Anthony Samuel is also the co-star of the upcoming Hot Guys with Guns, which is directed and written by Noah's Arc actor Doug Spearman. HGWG is described as a "gay action/comedy/thriller ... Boys Town meets Chinatown." The film also features R20 fave Darryl Stephens. The Indiegogo page is HERE. So far, about $30,000 has been raised.
Bravo to Marc Anthony Samuel. Here is hoping to seeing more of his character on GH ... as well as his upcoming films. Watch Marc Anthony Samuel's new AT&T spot and a rough cut of HGWG's trailer AFTER THE JUMP ..