Nuke needs to Kick it up a notch

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?

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25 thoughts on “Nuke needs to Kick it up a notch

  1. I mean, heaven forbid…what if there’s something bigger and better than Nuke out there for one of them?

    Preach it. I would love to see someone and/or something new for both Noah and Luke. It really is about time and for the folks that are wanting nohting and/or no one to come between them, then I wonder why they’re watching a soap opera. That’s how soap operas roll. Noah and Luke (at this stage of the game), should be onto their next “love of their lives” or they should be written off the shosw.

    When I saw your Twitter earlier today, I just rolled my eyes, because it’s the same damn BORING thing for those characters, even after 2 years. No one can or will every not deny that the NUKE storyline from 2007, paved the way for other gay/lesbian themed storylines (including the ridiculous Rafe/Adam on from Y&R), but at this point: that’s all they have.

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    • In two years, they haven’t had a real legitimate third party interruption. There were the girls –Maddie and Ameera– and the story with Brian that had potential but went nowhere, Zac and Zoe (who were psychos), and now Mason, who barely registers on the scale of…anything. Meanwhile, in two years, how many different partners has Alison had?

      Not that I want to use Ali as a yardstick, really, because she needs to settle down. LOL. We need a happy medium here for the twenty-somethings. Not completely domestic and not totally playing the field.

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      • Alison’s probelm is different. She keeps getting new guys because she doesn’t spark with most of the men thrown at her. The last one she really clicked with was Chris and they got rid of him. I wish TPTB would stop throwing men at her and realize the problem isn’t the men but ALISON. I have no issues with the actress but the character is a drippy, weak mess and I am tired of seeing viable men wasted on her.

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  2. Mala,

    I have been praying and waiting for you to comment on this, and I couldn’t agree more with your entry. Advocates of “the school of endgame coupling” seem to fail to see that not bringing in third parties in dyadic relationships in soap operas – a convention as old as the written word – shortchanges the audience, the actors and especially the characters.

    Indeed, no one can ever dispute that without Nuke, there would be no Kish; even Ron Carlivati said as much. But keeping and making Nuke “life partners” at their ages is just not realistic and it goes back again to the failed promise of ATWT to treat Nuke as they would any other couple in its canvas. Fortunately, Kish seem to be fulfilling, as of now, the promises that ATWT has failed to deliver.

    Thanks for putting your thoughts to electrons on this issue!

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    • I absolutely give credence and props to the Nuke storyline for what it has done, and am incredibly proud of ATWT for what they accomplished. There is no doubt about that. But once I realized that Luke and Noah were going to be standing still and that was that…I got frustrated.

      I’m a Carjack fan, too, and I love Lily and Holden. The fact that they constantly face drama, have been married to other people (and I even LIKE Jack and Janet), is maddening…but it’s soap! Part of watching ATWT for me is wondering how they’re going to get couples back on the same page. Look at Paul and Emily fans, who held out for years for a reunion and got one. Dusty and Lucy fans are hoping the same. Don’t know if that’s going to happen, but hey…don’t give up!

      Not giving Noah and Luke that same exact kind of push-pull, root-for quality, just throwing psycho dads and crazy non-twins at them and then writing endless coffee dates at Java… it does shortchange the characters.

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      • The biggest frustration for a many of us is that after over two years, no significant change has occurred with the Luke and Noah story. Luke’s contemporaries who are both and and off the canvas such as Will, Gwen, Maddie and Casey have gotten the Holden and Lily treatment, and yet Lily’s own son is ghettoized and boxed into stories where the character does not grow and evolve because Luke is not allowed to enter into non-familial and non-platonic interpersonal relationships outside of Noah. What if there exists that certain guy who will just rock Luke (or Noah’s) world? I understand the hesitation of TPTB in that there is a delicate juggling act in not wanting to portray gays as hedonistic sex addicts, but the polar opposite wherein Luke and Noah are more frigid than Bob and Kim is not acceptable either. The stories that Nuke have been given have boiled down to a series of silly little disputes resolvable before 2:54 pm ET in a single episode. And that does not make for good soap opera.

        Back in the day, Dusty and Lily were the “endgame” and yet a certain Holden Snyder came along and the rest is Oakdale history. Probably the most famous example of where allegiances and rooting factors for a couple deemed as the “endgame” changed – though loathe I am to use it because of the ugliness from which the relationship sprung – was in the now epic saga of GENERAL HOSPITAL’s Luke and Laura. If I am to remember my soap history properly, Laura and law student Scotty Baldwin were the golden couple until the anti-hero Luke Spencer came along. And again, the rest is now the stuff of soap opera legend albeit one tainted with shame because it gave birth to what is now termed as “rapemance” – a most unfortunate byproduct of Luke and Laura’s legacy that show runners simply will not dispose of.

        Point being, it’s beyond high time for Nuke to get their just deserts and be treated just like their contemporaries who simply happen to be heterosexual. You’re absolutely right: the lack of genuine conflict and that “rooting factor” that soap fans love cannot exist when the pairing one watches lives in a storyline vacuum. It has to end because as being told right now, the Nuke story is not doing anybody any favors by being stale and unable to mature and graduate from a junior high/puppy love romance into a full-blown adult soap opera love story.

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      • I don’t think anyone is denying that ATWT did it first and deserve credit for that. No one has ever NOT given them their due. But you can only rest on your laurels for so long before you start to ask: “What have you done for me lately?”

        Luke and Noah should still be growing and evolving and changing and maturing as a couple and as young men. And they simply aren’t doing that. And that is particularly frustrating to watch.

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      • ITA. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting more.

        I mean, far be it from me to open up yet another can of worms, but I think a similar debate could be made between VL and AWZ and how they’re handling stories. Olli and Christian are wonderful, adorable people. There is no denying that. But at some point, wonderful and adorable isn’t enough. And you look at colossal dunderheads Deniz and Roman, who make you want to throw something your TV, and that… that is must-see!

        (Of course, I’m also weeks behind on both shows, so who knows what’s going on right now.)

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  3. What? Something better than Luke and Noah and their increasingly dull relationship? Say it isn’t so! Mason should have been and could have been a hot, hot triangle for the boys. But the only thing that’s hot is Forbes March from all the layers of clothing the show forces him to wear.

    I couldn’t agree more with you, Mala. The key for me is that Kyle, Oliver and Nick act like adult men dealing with adult feelings, emotions and desires. I can’t say the same for Luke and Noah.

    I, too, have tried to not compare them. But it’s unavoidable, especially since they air opposite one another and the difference between them is so stark.

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    • I really have tried to keep my thoughts on the two shows and the two stories separate. But when they both aired segments yesterday, it was just so jarring.

      It’s like people comparing baby switches or heart transplant stories. You’re inevitably going to go, “AMC’s baby switch was WAY better than Y&R’s.”

      Forbes March is a fun, dynamic guy. He’s hilarious. Someone who has never talked to him, never seen him in anything else, would not know that from Mason. But it’s not even necessarily about the dour personality of Mason, as it is the set-up for the story. Three guys sitting around talking about a movie one of the guys is making? There’s just nothing there to *work* from. I hate to sound like a therapist, but how do Luke, Noah and Mason, *feel*?

      Whereas even pulling in the “new guy” Nick, on OLTL, involves an emotional component. Sure, he fell in love with Kyle way too fast, but it’s a soap and they knew they had to give the character more motivation and the story more of a personal element.

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  4. Luke and Noah need to be treated like a real couple who live together. It would help if we could see them live together in their apartment, but that aspect of their life is censored/hidden. Luke and Noah are barely allowed to touch each other. They act like beer drinking buddies instead of lovers sometimes. A triangle with Noah acting attracted to his sleazy teacher while he fist bumps Luke would be crazy. They should let Luke and Noah act like a couple before they start having Noah attracted to Mason But I don’t believe that Noah would cheat on Luke. To even consider it would be out of character. We hardly know anything about this Mason guy anyway, except for that he does not respect Luke and he’s a big sleazebag.

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    • Kelly – I understand your opinion on the NUKE/Mason situation, but here’s my POV:

      We, the viewing audience are not the ones writing what’s being produced and shown on screen. So, until TPTB who are the ones responsible for what is written and produced for NUKE (because IMO, they are not separate individual characters anymore) and Mason STOP treating them like asexual and precious figurines that can only be used on special days of the week, I’m not going to continue on hoping for more. It’s been over TWO YEARS now and I’m done.

      Did I really want to see Noah and Luke, to jump on a bed (and ONLY jump), after realizing they FINALLY had alone time with each other? NO

      Did I really want to see the Z twin storyline wrap up with no fallout of how Noah AND Luke (he should be used to it by now) felt about being kidnapped and attacked? NO, but it was like some trivial thing happened and off NUKE walked (hand in hand, with a kiss to appease) into another stupid storyline.

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    • I think they’re very much a real couple. Their love and trust in each other is quite clear. We never see Bob and Kim’s house, but they’re still a real couple…probably the most solid couple on the show, actually.

      But Bob and Kim had decades upon decades of cheating, scandal and drama before they got to the perfect couple place. I just feel that Noah and Luke shouldn’t already be emulating the AARP set.

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  5. Love this post. Total props to the trailblazing of Luke and Noah but . . . I’ve been struck by how precise and specific the writing is for Kyle/Oliver/Nick on OLTL – they use real specific words (e.g. beard, gay homophobe) to convey emotions and ideas that everyone can relate to on some level. For me, the best way to convey the universal is through the particular. Luke and Noah of late have been written in the broadest outlines and as a result their story don’t really resonate with me anymore.

    I agree with dkellergirl – fan and producer insistence on one true pairings diminishes soap operas. I understand the industrial reasons for selling these pairings but the serial coupling on soaps is such a great and sometimes radical alternative to the romantic coupling in other mediums. I’ve always loved how soaps trouble standard romantic fantasies – ideas that love with one person will save/fix/satisfy/complete you etc. This dates me, but I remember being totally committed to Phillip and Beth on GL but then becoming intrigued by and then totally committed to Beth and Lujack, largely because I enjoyed seeing Beth develop in an unexpected way. Seeing Kyle with Oliver and Nick fleshes out Kyle for me. And, even if Noah didn’t have a full fledged affair with Mason it would be interesting to see what new qualities of Noah could be brought out in a relationship with Mason. It’s true that this isn’t the only way to show depth and development. I like seeing characters work and have friendships too. But ATWT assembled the ingredients for a romantic triangle it won’t cook.

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    • But ATWT assembled the ingredients for a romantic triangle it won’t cook.

      This. Yes. But in addition to that, your point higher up about Noah and Luke being written in the broadest outlines is what really speaks to me. I look at a pair like Craig and Rosanna who, admittedly, have a LOT of history to pull from, but there is subtlety there, and a lot of deft work in the scripts. Ditto for Paul and Emily or the scenes with Lily, Jack and Damian this week. And then you watch Luke, Noah and Mason and it’s a completely different paradigm.

      On OLTL, even the kids Matthew and Destiny get scenes that mean something.

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  6. Thank you for your article, it’s exactly how I felt when I saw the Mason/Noah scene, totally unrealistic and unbelievable. Noah acting like an inexperienced teen at his first come on who needs to go cryin on his boyfriend shoulder and can’t stand for himself (and clubbing his dirty professor on the head) isn’t charming at all.
    About Kish, can’t get enough of this storyline maybe we’ll finally find a soap that treat gay couples and gay characters exactly like the straight ones.

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  7. Where is this hot and heavy Nuke triangle supposed to happen? At Java? Or maybe they could just borrow Hunter’s apartment? Maybe Nuke’s storyline would be more “human” if they were treated like all the other heterosexual couples and given an on-screen place to live and maybe even *gasp* a bed. Even Kyle has a room with a bed.

    So why doesn’t Nuke have an on-screen apartment? What does ATWT say? There are plenty of new sets all the time, so money can’t be the issue.

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  8. I think sexual harassment is a pretty serious issue and the show just blew it off. I think it was actually irresponsible of the show for Luke and Noah not to take it seriously. I think what’s going to happen is that it is revealed that Noah really feels something for Mason, otherwise he would have turned him in to the school. It seems to me there is a real triangle brewing. I think it will be revealed that Noah has feelings for Mason. Otherwise, Noah’s reaction to a professor hitting on him is very off putting. For anyone that’s ever been sexually harassed or sexually assaulted, it isn’t something to be taken lightly. It’s a soap, so Noah’s reaction can only mean one thing.

    I love Nuke, so I want them to have better stories. I wish they would turn up the heat on Luke and Noah’s love life. They really never kiss much or cuddle in bed. So to see Noah and Mason do anything like that would be an insult. As for Kim and Bob, they had a house and love scenes when they were in their prime. There is no excuse for Luke and Noah’s apartment not being shown ever.

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    • I don’t disagree that the show’s handling of sexual harassment where men is concerned needs work. I still cringe thinking of how Kim dismissed Brad’s accusations against Geneva Swift, when a year ago she blasted Brad for supposedly sexually harassing psycho Spencer.

      And perhaps you’re right, that Noah’s over the top reaction and then insistence that Luke drop the issue means he “doth protest too much.” It would certainly be a better explanation for why the scenes played out the way they did.

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  9. The problem is that ATWT does not treat Luke and Noah equally and never has. Despite fan campaigns, a vocal fanbase, ratings rising, and free publicity ATWT usually puts Luke and Noah on once a week for 5-7 minutes and tells a cliffs notes version of a storyline. Only Luke is a character that anybody can care about. Noah is just an extension of him. I do not understand why Noah has to be written so clueless and naive all the time. Plus why does that prevent him from putting Luke first in the relationship. He always puts someone else first-Winston, Ameera, Mason…And Mason? Who is Mason and why should anybody care? All we know is that he’s a guy that wears winter clothes in the middle of summer and his attraction to Noah came from out of nowhere.

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  10. Yes Luke and Noah do need a little spice. However Mason is not the character to give it to them. Mason and Noah have no chemistry. I think he’s even more boring than Noah. He’s a boring character who wears a scarf in the middle of July. How could Noah be attracted to that? Besides I am not buying that Mason is attracted to Noah at all. Forbes March is doing a terrible job showing that Mason wants Noah. It seems Mr. March is uncomfortable playing a gay man attracted to another man. I wouldn’t have known if Mason wanted Noah if the spoilers didn’t say so. All he needs to do is watch early Luke and Noah, when they were allowed to look at each other like they were attracted to each other. I know which character could have added a little spice. I really wish Kevin would have been gay. He would have been a viable threat to Luke and Noah’s love.

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  11. Ah, Friday’s Noah & Mason scene was a bit much, huh? I thought was pearl-clutching and so did my partner in crime (see: http://gaydaytime.blogspot.com/2009/10/as-world-turns-02-10-2009.html , I am in the comments section)

    I shared this link on TWOP and the Gays of Daytime Forum cause I am curious what others have to say cause I think you raise some great points about the writing being a failure for Noah/Luke (has been for a while), though it’s still an overall problem for ATWT. I would love a meaty story of some type for them, without or without a 3rd party. This whole triangle with Mason has been terribly written… but that’s not surprising.

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    • More linkage? And here I was hoping that this would blow over. LOL.

      In all seriousness, I do hope we see a change in this story coming up. More shows just need to realize that getting soap opera right is as simple as organically writing about characters, not about the next plot point.

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      • That’s a bigger problem on so many soaps but especially on ATWT where the focus is on plot points & playing characters to fit them instead of having the characters driving the the plots. At least ATWT seems to have put a moratorium on storylines wrapping up in 3 weeks. I hope that sticks cause i was tired of getting whiplash watching this show.

        I like to the think the links will provide you with more praise for bringing up valid points about the writing failure. =) Thing is, I think a lot of fans see it and complain constantly but it doesn’t seem to make an impact with TPTB. Could be fear, could be apathy but they need to do SOMETHING because while ATWT has gotten better, it’s still a mess mostly because of the writing.

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