Aug 15, 2007

ATWT/ALL - Tactical Nuke

Friday, 2 PM EST, CBS.

So now then.

I haven't followed the ATWT story with Luke and Noah that closely. I've been pretty cynical about it, because we've been burned before. Before Nuke, all ATWT had was Jack and Carly's two lesbian daughters. I thought the guy taking over as Luke last year, Van Hansis, seemed pretty cute but bland and not that strong an actor. I thought the stuff they gave him was lame. I thought the guy playing Noah was really cute too but not a great thespian. And the episodes I've seen recently have had some howlers on the dialogue score, despite having heartfelt intent behind it. I absolutely winced at some of the lines between Luke and Noah last week with the now-infamous (and fucking hot) Snyder kitchen scenes. Until now I didn't think they'd actually go there with this. I'm still not convinced that they won't default to offscreen loving, or Noah choosing Maddie Coleman, or the guys disappearing from the canvas, or worst of all, one of them getting Bianca'd - raped and heterosexualized in the most bizarre way possible while a callous writer complains that it's for the good of "storyline potential." Just imagine all the layered, multigenerational stories you can tell with rape victim pregnant Luke that you can't tell with gay Luke - I mean Bianca! But you know, all those caveats mean nothing right now, and despite not caring for most of the stories on ATWT and hating the work of Jean Passanante, I applaud Van Hansis and Jake Silbermann and all the people involved in this, because ATWT did it and they got there first, and that means absolutely everything, if CBS allows it to.

I have always said, and still believe, that whoever breaks the forbidden glass ceiling of gay intimacy on daytime television is stepping into a goldmine if they so choose to. I do not believe in daytime management's relentless quixotic pursuit of a "youth demographic" beyond that youth demo which they already have had. I don't think the new people are out there, at least not the ones that haven't been watching since they were pretty young - that's when you get them, from within the family or from a friend or because they need to find a family and a world of their own on the tube. I think most of the ones you currently occasionally will catch with Brian Frons gimmicks or whatever do not stay because they have no brand loyalty. So I don't buy the demo quest. I do, however, believe in the power of Teh Gay. I've seen it. Who really writes slash fanfiction? Who Netflixes or buys the most amount of Queer As Folk boxsets? Who keeps Netflixing films like Velvet Goldmine? What is the demographic, and what is the gender? I think TPTB would be surprised. I know the rest of us aren't. That's what this is about.

The first soap to show kissing boys, and to stick with it, has a lock on a new block of viewership if they decide they want it. It's also one of the few new initiatives that can help save a flagging genre; it certainly can't do it on its own, but it's one part of a puzzle IMHO. You show the boys kissing - when I fanwanked it for OLTL, I chose Rex and C.J. Roberts (long rumored to have been planned as a gay character), but it could be anyone. You show boys kissing. You put it on Entertainment Tonight (as ATWT did) and Access Hollywood. You put it on the sides of buses like they used to do with Jax and Chloe and Sonny and Hannah on GH during Wendy Riche's ill-fated Bus Billboard Summer. You put it fifty feet high in Times Square. You put it everywhere and you make sure everyone can see. And then you go ahead with it. Like any love story, like Jason and Liz or Will and Gwen or Nick and Chelsea. You work up towards any full-on intimacy, such as a love scene, you find ways to ease the existing audience into that - keep certain aspects implied in the very first love scene, perhaps, but not enough to turn off the fans who came to play - and you make sure you promote that scene the same way you promoted the first kiss. And then you do the same thing with the next scene. And the next scene. And the next storyline. And so on and so forth.

I don't know that ATWT will get the boost from it that others could. Though I think most CBS soaps are head and shoulders above ABC's in terms of quality, it still skews old, as does ATWT, and a lot of younger viewers are drawn to ABC regardless of shitty product. But at least they didn't follow up their first award-winning gay storyline with a goddamn gay serial killer. I think they should try courting the fans. They have the momentum now; they are the first out the gate. Anyone who takes the baton and runs with it full-tilt has this all to themselves if they want it. Everyone else will be stuck as emulators.

I must add that I am still bitter to find out about Luke and Noah's current professions, and feel that ATWT has blatantly plagiarized my pathetic mental fanfic, in which C.J. was the harried writer, Rex the cost-cutting production executive, and they both ran a struggling Fraternity Row in a savage meta-commentary on daytime television. But I will get over it, ATWT. No lawsuit. No lawsuit. You guys have got it all over me; you dropped the tactical nuke.

For credit's sake, the screencap above is done by superherofan. And now, the clippage. See you tomorrow when we bury Asa.


Grinaldi said...

So far, I've been fairly pleased with the story. It's old school as far as coming out stories go (it seems dated to have the Act One Captain Von Trapp father for instance). But so far I'm liking the performances and the pace at which it is going. I could do without the inevitable Maddie is pregnant crap or whatever else Passanante decides to throw in. But I'm loving Van Hansis. He feels so authentic. And the kiss was damn hot. Love that they showed it in flashbacks for three days running.

This is what you could have had with Bianca/Lena, ABC.

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