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NPR's On the Media looks at one man's ATWT fandom


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I was listening to my podcasts and ran across this story on NPR's On The Media. It focuses on the writers love affair with ATWT and Nuke but it makes points that can certainly be applied to the genre as a whole. Be warned: the interviewer has a low opinion of soaps and the people who watch them and makes no attempt to hide it.

"Darryl Pinckney is a serious writer and journalist who has been a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books for more than 30 years. He was also, for more than a year, a fiercely ardent fan of the long-running CBS soap opera "As the World Turns." How did he get hooked? In his piece "Lonely Hearts Club: A Star-Crossed Obsession with As The World Turns," in the February issue of Harper's Magazine, Pinckney explained."

Listen: http://audio.wnyc.org/otm/otm031910h.mp3

Transcript: http://www.onthemedia.org/transcripts/2010/03/19/08

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His article is great. He is off with a few facts but captures the essence of how ground breaking Nuke really was and what it meant to gay viewers. I remember Oprah talking about the first time she saw an African American, Diana Ross, on television and how it ushered in a new era for her. He also points out that Nuke has been unusual in thier ordinariness. Luke and Noah blend in as part of the community and aren't on a misson to paint Oakdale pink. Nuke can get on my nerves but I love the fact that the boys aren't out clubbing or having 3ways like they do on Queer As Folk. Nuke and Noah aren't campy, preachy, over the top, or flaming--they are just as boring as all the residents of Oakdale. I mean, these boys could seriously go on a double date with Bob and Kim and not get bored. I'm guessing things will be about the same with Luke and Reid but with a more sardonic twist.

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BOB GARFIELD: Now, was this slumming, or did you have some –

[OVERTALK]

DARRYL PINCKNEY: No, no.

BOB GARFIELD: - academic interest in this? How do you get hooked on something so – plebian?

DARRYL PINCKNEY: Ooh. You can get hooked on plot, you can get hooked on character, high and low. And, you know, the high stuff runs pretty much along the same motives as the low stuff, really. I think that watching this kind of series took the place of a sort of fiction I used to read.

BOB GARFIELD: This was the pulp in your diet.

DARRYL PINCKNEY: If you want to call it that. I sort of don't want to talk down to the genre or other fans, or even my own interest.

BOB GARFIELD: Well, don't worry about running down the show or the other fans. I'll be happy to assume the role of the -

DARRYL PINCKNEY: [LAUGHS]

BOB GARFIELD: - obnoxious snob for you.

PLEBIAN! Jesus. :rolleyes: I will freely admit that soap opera is, for better and worst, the pulp fiction of tv. But...

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I wondered if the interviewer simply read SOD in preparation for the interview or if he's a regular reader. He talks as if he's a regular reader. I don't read the mag so I don't know if fans regularly address letters to the characters and not the actors. It would surprise me if those sort of letters were published.

If' he's not a regular reader, he's made a lot of assumptions about soap fans based on one or two issues, I guess.

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