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ATWT: As promised - Marlena on Luke and Noah


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As The World Turns' Luke and Noah: Will They Stay Real?



All eyes seem to be focused on the Luke and Noah storyline on As The World Turns. It's been promised to be a gay romance played out exactly as one between a boy and a girl would be on a soap. We're all so excited and anxious to see how this story is going to pan out. Even I have to admit to being a bit bored and impatient on days when Noah and Luke aren't on. You have to have a Ph.D. in Oakdale history and a good stiff martini to be able sit through and actually understand the endlessly talky Rosanna/Craig/Meg/Paul scenes!

But I digress. So far, the two best things about the Luke and Noah story are: (1) how natural and realistic the characters are, and (2) the meticulous care with which this story is being written and produced. Even last week's breakup between Noah and Maddie was sensitively done without histrionics.

However, a soap being a soap in this day of bells, whistles and cataclysmic sweeps events, Luke and Noah's budding relationship is bound to run headlong into a tabloidy stunt of some sort. It looks like this will happen sooner than later: Just this morning I read that this week Luke's homophobic, wife-murdering psychopath of a father, Colonel Winston (Daniel-Hugh Kelly) is about to shoot Luke on a fishing trip, leaving the college age kid paralyzed!

Now, it takes a lot to shock Marlena, but I was immediately very angry. Such a violent, out-of-the-blue occurrence can overwhelm a sensitive breakthrough story about realistic young love, no? And then I got depressed and remembered something key: viewers like me have to be a bit patient and remember that the Luke and Noah love story is a soap storyline in the crazily competitive soap world of 2007, not the plot of an introspective independent movie. It's up to the writers to balance dramatic plots that are spectacularly shocking with characters that are humanistic and real. Ay, there's the (soap) rub, and the challenge of being a soap writer.

Will As the World Turns' writers be able to use Luke's paralysis as a way to make Luke and Noah's relationship blossom into real love? We'll have to see. This soap being the traditionally family oriented ATWT, we already know that Luke has much love and strong emotional support from his parents Lily and Holden, his siblings and assorted grandmothers and uncles and aunts and cousins. How many of us are lucky enough to have a family like that in this day and age in America? No matter how fractured and tabloidy American soaps have become, most still provide, however tenuously, the kind of family context that make it possible to tell a real human story. Yes, even about two boys who happen to fall in true love.

In the case of Luke and Noah (nicely played by Van Hansis and Jake Silbermann, respectively), I am dazzled by just how authentically young and vulnerable these characters are. In a soap would full of contrived teen hookers, hit men, and 17-year-old expectant mothers and fathers, young Luke and Noah seem refreshingly authentic. They remind me very much of the college students I teach. They are just trying to find their way in the world. Only Luke and Noah have a much, much farther way to go. And it's not because they're gay. It's because they're daytime soap opera characters.

Creme De Lacroix: Guiding Light Brings On the Real Guiding Light!

Although I normally detest the third-rate writing team on Guiding Light, I've got to give them credit for their courage and audacity in bringing back from the dead a soap character not seen for a long time, namely God! If we're lucky, the newly minted Rev. Joshua Lewis (Robert Newman), although untrained, may mention Him now and then when counseling the sinners of Springfield (he did hold human wrecks Billy and Reva together for years, after all). The last few years, since the deeply religious head writer Michael Malone wrote about God through the character of Reverend Andrew Carpenter on One Life to Live, real, serious spirituality has been missing from soap operas. Is it because God is politically incorrect on TV? Will Josh really spread The Word on GL? Or, as you and I fear, will he be just a pompous preacher who preens in a collar?
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Well, it's safe to say that Noah's father is a problem in the short-term. Since Luke is the one with the deeper family ties, I think it was a mistake to have all his relatives accept him so quickly. Look at how many years Lucinda gave Lily a hard time about Holden, and sexuality had nothing to do with her protests. That family conflict is a goldmine for future stories! Even so, we won't see a balance with Noah's family once the colonel is behind bars or put out of his misery. These guys should have enough reality based issues without a dead hooker mother and homicidal father to contend with. That's why we should demand that the "crazily competitive soap world of 2007" strives for character development akin to "an introspective independent movie." It doesn't compromise the genre one bit to try.

My problem with God on soaps is that writers want to emphasize spirituality by using familiar accoutrements of religion without specifying a religion! That only seems to happen when characters are obviously NOT Christian, like Brad on Y&R or Nora on OLTL. You'll never hear Josh Lewis quote real scriptures, so his ministry holds as much credibility for me as Blake's did.

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"These guys should have enough reality based issues without a dead hooker mother and homicidal father to contend with."

So true--this aspect of the story, while I admit already it's given us some excitement and is MILES better than when Nuke were tied into the Cleo melodrama train track mess, is disappointing to me too. It' dbe coold if once Nuke are a coupel they get involved in some typical soap type stories like these (and would be a first to have a same sex couple go on adventures the way other couples do) but right now it feels forced to me and a bit too, for lack of a better word, soapy. We know Noah's dad is a close minded bigot who's way too hard on his son and tons of peopel can relate to that--does he need to be a near psychopathic killer too?

I didn't know Malone was "deeply religious" but he did try to bring back an lement of the church to both of his tenures at OLTL (as with all things he did it much more successfully the first time around)

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