Bad Daddies



We like to joke about how As the World Turns is a schizophrenic show but today it really did seem as if ATWT had at long last rounded the bend to multiple personality syndrome or, as fans of One Life to Live know it all too well, dissociative identity disorder.

BAD DADDY #1

On one hand, we had a series of terrific scenes between Luke (Van Hansis) & Brian (Laurence Lau). The Gay Snyder  finally had a heart to heart with his step grandfather about The Kiss.  Not only did Brian finally admit to kissing Luke after weeks of trying to convince Luke that he'd misinterpreted what had happened, Brian even went so far as to admit that he found Luke attractive. "Who wouldn't?," added Grandpa Down Low.

These scenes were sensitively written, well acted, very nicely paced and rang true to life. There are many gay and bisexual men who are not comfortable with labels and Brian, whose usually inscrutable facade cracked just a little, revealed hints of the pain and anguish he's lived with as a gay man not accustomed to the freedom of being "out"  that, from his perspective, has come to Luke comparatively easy. In this context, many of Brian's actions and past statements come into sharper focus and we can see why he has been hard on Luke. Ok, I couldn't resist. Lau let his eyes communicate his pain and modulated his voice with just enough pitch to express his internal discomfort as he opened up to Luke.  

Scene partner Hansis had the tougher job of communicating Luke's grudging empathy for Brian's plight juxtaposed against concern for Lucinda's happiness. The actor had to sell the unbelievable idea that Luke would "keep quiet" to protect Lucinda from the knowledge that her new husband made a pass at him (and found him attractive, who wouldn't?) but Hansis did so rather effectively. Of course, this suggests that Luke is also attracted to Brian and I am not entirely opposed to the idea, yet there are three glaring problems so far:

The first is this story should be a three-day-a-week front burner A story instead of a two-day-a-week B story. This tale is pretty ground breaking when you think about it and there is emotional baggage and fireworks potential for all of the characters involved, especially if Luke and Brian were to have a full out affair. Second, the rooting value for Luke & Noah (Jake Silbermann) is undermined because they have not had sex. At this point it is safe to say Luke & Noah are glorified friends without benefits and the lack of sex between them is making it harder and harder (couldn't resist again) to view them as a bona fide couple as time goes on. Finally and more specifically, Noah inexplicably has been relegated to "talk-to" status (so far) in a story where he could grow some cajones and be as up in Brian's grill as much as Janet and Carly were in each other's faces over Jack. Noah is almost an afterthought in this tale and his near total exclusion just doesn't make sense. (continued)


Comments

bonobochick's picture
Member since:
3 December 2008
Last activity:
45 weeks 6 days

I agree with you that it is very weird that Noah has been relegated to an almost invisible element to what's been going on with Luke this past month or so (and TPTB need to stop that & work on making Noah a more layered character).

I totally disagree with you that Luke having any empathy for what Brian is going through & deciding to spare Lucinda the news of her husband's sexuality means that Luke is attracted to Brian. You can sympathize with a person & agree to putting someone else's feelings before your own and NOT be attracted to that person. I have not seen a whiff of any type of romantic or sexual attraction from Luke towaard Brian (though I have obviously seen the opposite from Brian toward Luke).

J Bernard Jones's picture
Member since:
9 September 2008
Last activity:
6 hours 48 min

I didn't say that Luke actually feels attraction for Brian, merely that it is suggested.

There have been several scenes between Luke & Brian over the past two weeks that have been VERY ambiguous (like when Luke was cleaning Brian's shirt and that moment they were GAZING into each other's eyes) that easily could be left open to interpretation.

darcolover55's picture
Member since:
16 December 2008
Last activity:
4 years 19 weeks

This whole "they were never really boyfriends because they didn't have sex" thing just works my nerves.

It's like the writers are mocking the audience every time they have Luke talk about it as though he has "no idea" why they haven't had sex. Do the writers think we all suffer from memory loss?

Um, Luke JUST NOW figured out he could leave the "Farm of Only Chaste Gays" AFTER he and Noah broke up (despite how many times Noah asked if they could get an apt so they could be alone)

We know the "real world" reasons why the couple hasn't had sex (P&G/CBS) but within the context of the story, they have both been guilty of not taking the intiative and letting other things get in the way.

That said, they were MOST CERTAINLY boyfriends because the script SAID they were boyfriends and we saw them be a couple and some of us new to soaps jumped right in with them.

If they had been Parker and Liberty and had been dating for 16 months and had "decided" not to have sex (if only) no one would dare say the weren't a couple. (chaste yes but still a couple)

I think it does the characters and the actors a disservice to imply that they were never really boyfriends (no matter how frustrated we as the viewers might be with the fear of the gays getting it on displayed by the writers)

NUKE are not "glorified" anything right now because they are broken up and we barely get to see Noah ever.

But they were definitely boyfriends and very much in love. I refuse to let anyone take that tragically beautiful romantic reality away from the characters.

Noah is gay and proud (if hard-headed) he came out under extreme duress because he fell in love with Luke.

FROM MY COLD DEAD HAND DO FOLKS GET TO TAKE THAT AWAY!

J Bernard Jones's picture
Member since:
9 September 2008
Last activity:
6 hours 48 min

You bring up valid points, darcolover. But...

The problem here is that although Luke & Noah are "broken up" the question still remains "Broken up from what?"

Presumably, Luke & Noah are not over as a couple because a) they are played apart but not over each other or as having "moved on" and b) they still have considerable rooting value for fans as a couple given their popularity.

In soap operas, even when couples are broken up they still have rooting value despite what comes their way including but not limited to new girlfriends, boyfriends, multiple marriages, mystery children, amnesia, mob abductions, or one or both of them being presumed dead. Just ask any random CarJacker whether or not they feel Jack & Carly will find their way back to each other eventually. So whether Luke & Noah are together or apart at this moment in time is not wholly relevant to their rooting value as a couple, especially when no one else is in the picture for either one of them as far as we know.

Second, you misread (or perhaps I miscommunicated) the issue of "sex" versus "relationship." I don't take your comments as a direct criticism of my observations, but I'll answer for myself given that your comments are in this blog:

I never once said that Luke & Noah were not a couple or in a relationship because they've never had sex. My criticism has been related to that of other fans who are dismayed that they never did "it" or each other AT ALL despite those 16 months you point out. The point I've made (repeatedly) is that it is the lack of sex between Luke & Noah that makes it harder to invest in their fate as a couple, past, present or future.

This does not mean that sex equals a relationship but it became rather ridiculous that Luke & Noah, two healthy young men in their early 20's, weren't doing it. As I pointed out in another blog, what would be a legitimate reason for them not doing so be from a NARRATIVE point of view? In Parker & Liberty's case, it would make sense if they had made some sort of chastity pledge and/or Liberty wasn't ready; as it turned out both the little teens were horny and wanted to kick each other's tires. In the case of straight couples, we could see the whole "holding out until we get married thing" even if nether partner was virgin because this, too, is a part of what happens all the time.

None of these reasons apply to Luke & Noah, where Luke did express an interest in having sex with Noah (when some unspecified time was right DESPITE the fact they had numerous opportunities, even offscreen) but Luke never seemed to find it. And they couldn't be "holding out for marriage" since Illinois doesn't have gay marriage. So there was no good reason, on the page or not, for them to not have done it. At least once. I actually covered these issues in another posting a few weeks ago.

Furthermore, there is no reason for Luke & Noah to not do it NOW. Couples who have broken up have sex all the time on daytime. It is not inconceivable that Luke & Noah could still be overcome by enough passion, frustration, and lust to burn down Emma's barn.

See, their coupledom, in soap opera terms, is not rooted in sex or even their currently being together in a relationship.

The idea here is that sex between these two healthy, presumably horny young gay men who LOVE each other would simply underscore and increase the stakes between them, whether they are currently together or apart as a couple.

darcolover55's picture
Member since:
16 December 2008
Last activity:
4 years 19 weeks

I completely agree with you and thanks for responding in such detail. I think you are correct in that part of whom I'm responding to is other viewers who have just "jumped ship" over the sex thing instead of just continuing to demand and argue for a resolution of the ridiculous chastity enforcement of the network, etc.

It's just shameful that in the 21st century a US network would go to all the trouble to bring in a gay couple as compelling as Nuke has been and I believe will be again and not have the cajones to allow them to be sexually active.

This is a nation where you can watch any number of untoward things happening on soaps on every channel. Every possible kind of sex and pairing going on all around and they just drop the ball with Luke and Noah (and so overtyly and cowardly) and completely waste such talented young actors and such a potential fun and sweet and entertaining storyline.

At any rate, I love how you write and I'm glad to hear someone making a case for something other than Brian and Luke hooking up which seems to be the trend of late with Nuke viewers.

Peace

J Bernard Jones's picture
Member since:
9 September 2008
Last activity:
6 hours 48 min

Exactly, darcolover.

Generic Straight Soap Couples: "Darling, do you remember the time we first made love in the old railroad car down by Miller's Crossing that night when the stars were twinkling like your beautiful eyes?"

Reese & Bianca (All My Children): "Girl, you better get me out of this dress before I sell these dental dams at the flea market!"

Cad & Vincent (Passions): "Damn, bruh! I didn't know DL meant 'down low on your knees'!"

Luke & Noah: "Do you remember the first time when we were truly alone when we took the time to jump up and down like third graders in Will & Gwen's old bed when we could have ripped each other's clothes off instead of waiting three scenes to take off our shirts before we got interrupted?"

darcolover55's picture
Member since:
16 December 2008
Last activity:
4 years 19 weeks

What's pitiful is I actually thought the jumping up and down on the bed things was adorable and endearing until they got interrupted and everything went to hell.

It was like here are these two late teenage gay boys (rapidly approaching GAY MANHOOD) who are being goofy and dorky because they are SOOO happy to be SOOO in love and together and alone in a bedroom for the first time EVER.

They had been through hades at that point in order to be together so that a tiny bit of silly giddiness made sense i thought.

I've certainly done some silly/childish things when I was suffering under the first blush of young love (lalalala) and alone with a girlfriend (actual pillow fights and chasing each other around the room) particularly in my early 20s

It's the lack of follow through on the writers part that in retrospect makes us all now want to yell

"WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU TWO? DON'T YOU KNOW YOU'RE GOING TO GET ,AHEM, "BLOCKED" IF YOU DON'T HURRY UP AND GET ON WITH IT? THIS MAY BE YOUR ONLY CHANCE TO GET IT ON UNTIL XMAS 2008! THERE IS NO TIME FOR GAMES!

Which is kind of sad... Wink

Member since:
4 April 2008
Last activity:
15 weeks 1 day

Very good take on the show J.

I was planning on watching the Brian/Luke scenes in ffwd mode, thinking they would just be a rehash of their prior scenes. Instead, I sat there and watched a very intelligent, well-acted scene between the two that brought up some very interesting ideas of sexual identity. The writers could have made this storyline into just some tawdry case of the creepy closeted uncle marrying the older woman for her money while secretly lusting after the grandson. Instead, they've created a story of true conflict and intelligence. I actually believe that Brian does love Lucinda and that perhaps he has reasons for not labeling himself a gay man that go beyond just shame. It has become a very interesting storyline to me.

As for the second storyline you mentioned...I agree with everything you say (particularly what a good job Lindstrom is doing as Craig and the potential sparks there with Carly) except yesterday was one of the few times I did not mind ATWT going Mach 5 with their plots. The Spencer storyline had gone on long enough and I was fine to see it brought to a close with Dani disappearing in the night and Brad and Katie agreeing to not tell Margo about it.

ATWT is such a bizarre soap to me because it varies in quality sooo much from week to week and it goes through plots like kleenex. But this week, so far, has been one of the good weeks, imo.