It’s safe to say that I watch a lot of TV. And within that, I watch a lot of gay-themed TV. So I do a lot of comparison and contrast with the various shows: pondering Greek‘s Calvin vs. Brothers & Sisters‘ Kevin, Guiding Light‘s Otalia vs. AMC‘s Breese, etc. And today, I couldn’t help but compare As the World Turns‘ Noah, Luke and Mason with One Life to Live‘s Kyle, Fish and Nick.
On ATWT, we had Noah’s professor casually mention he’s cute and Noah act like he’d groped him like a drunk at a strip club. I mean, if Noah had pearls, he would’ve clutched them! He sputtered, he jumped back. He practically hugged the door as Mason extolled his virtues. After Mason realized Noah can sense he’s attracted to him, Noah bolted to tell Luke how he’d been violated. Much righteous indignation and crying of sexual harassment ensued. They marched over to tell Mason what a bad, bad boy he’d been and he summarily apologized. He assured them he wasn’t a “homewrecker.”
Don’t you actually have to inch towards first base to be a homewrecker? “You’re cute” does not a bulldozer make! Do these three characters even know they’re on a soap? Newsflash: Guy hits on you, sexual tension and potential jealousy from your significant other ensues. That’s how you tell a soap story… and also a human story, not the story of three department store mannequins masquerading as people.
On OLTL, it was distinctly less PSA. Prompted by pal Cristian to go for it, Fish told Kyle he’s ready to be with him. Kyle, who has a steady boyfriend, did not clutch his pearls or flinch away. He gently, rationally explained to Oliver why their timing was off…though their eyes said otherwise. And when Nick walked up, surmising that something had gone on between the old flames, he didn’t react with fury and indignation but instead trusted Kyle’s explanation that it was the “break up fight we never had.”
Just the way they’re written is like night and day. I honestly couldn’t relate to the Nuke/Mason scenes at all. I laughed. I thought, “My God, I do not know any healthy 21-year-old male who would act like a nun when an attractive person indicated their interest.” And, sure, you could play the “he’s Noah’s professor” card, but it’s a soap! Luke made out with his grandmother’s boyfriend; a professor ain’t nothin’. Why is there so much fear at putting another man in Nuke’s story? Whereas, over on OLTL, there’s no question that Kyle and Oliver are soulmates, but Nick remains viable. He’s a good character in his own right, and it’s perfectly okay that Kyle’s with him now. There’s room for change, room for growth and no one’s afraid to even touch each other or acknowledge a sexual attraction.
I think it’s fairly obvious how I feel about the Kish/Kick storyline. And I’ve really tried not to judge ATWT, as they’ve effectively paved the way for OLTL. If there wasn’t a Nuke, there wouldn’t be a Kish. But Luke and Noah should not rest on their laurels just because they did the heavy lifting a few years ago. They need to change, to grow… and be allowed to have a real triangle. You know, like any other soap couple. I mean, heaven forbid…what if there’s something bigger and better than Nuke out there for one of them?