A little Nuke-lear reaction

luke_and_noahMy comments about Luke and Noah in this past Week in Review post started a spirited debate over at the Van Hansis message board.

Since so many people made similar comments there about what I wrote, I wanted to post a quick follow up.

Many of those readers were, to say the least, insulted by my post. I’m sorry about that; I was doing a quick mention of this point for a weekly summary, and it’s a comment that probably merited a longer post to explain a bit better what I was trying to say.

In my original post, I said that I thought Luke and Noah should break up, that they were mismatched at this point because their life trajectories, to my eye, seem to be going in different directions.

Fans felt like I’d been watching a different show. They also blamed bad writing, and that’s a point we can agree on.  ATWT has not been able to come up with a consistently solid story for the boys. And the writing might also be what’s made me (and a few others) so disinterested in Noah.

I mentioned that I thought Luke had grown as a character. I think “grown” may have been misinterpreted.

Luke seems to have more layers to me – or to be more specific, more layers that we have SEEN. But I agree, some of those aspects don’t paint Luke as a mature young man. He can be bitchy and selfish at times, which can strike me as bold or really boring, depending on the day. Who didn’t want to bitchslap Luke the other day when he gave Noah such a hard time for going to LA, after saying he could go? (Dude, your dad isn’t even dead, anyway.)

Dirtying Luke up a bit, and not making him the Gay Hero, is more interesting in the long term, I think. I mean, his biological dad IS Damian. His biological grandmother (Orlena) was a murderous bitch and his adoptive grandmother (Lucinda) is basically Auntie Mame with a great deal more money. Of course Luke’s going to be a little bitchy.

I just felt like they were really miles apart in the individual experiences that they’re having now. I thought breaking up and having new, “next level” relationships – something that would take them SOMEWHERE storywise – would be interesting, and make their relationship stronger if and when they reunited.

I still don’t see a substantial difference in Noah, but what I did NOT say, however, was that Noah was boring because he’s more laid back or low key, or that Luke was more “exciting” and deserved a more high-energy, high-maintenance boyfriend. I mean, in real life? I *am* Noah. I’m rooting for him.

I know Noah has made a lot of changes, but a lot of it seems like it was done to please Luke. Compromising for the one you love is sometimes necessary, but I wish the show would give him a story that tells us more about who he is outside of being Luke’s partner. I don’t see that right now.

Maybe Maddie’s return, and a renewed friendship between the two, could do a better job of that. I want to know who Noah is and what drives him to wake up in the morning, you know? I want that from any character I watch, and if I am “bored,” it’s because we’re not getting to see that on-screen.

I don’t think the filmmaking thing is doing a superb job of that; I think it’s a sneaky way to have Mason break these two up. And yes, I did want to see them take a time-out, but I wanted it to come very organically, not for any improbable reason (Noah cheating on Luke). Maybe that’s too boring and not very soapy of me to think, though.

I do think that there’s ideas and issues to be explored WITH the two of them, if the show would just go there. It would be a great story if they actually explored the differences between the two. The struggle between the very outgoing Luke and the more reserved Noah, could write itself. The show did touch on these issues last year – for about a minute, and then it was on to the next temporary roadblock. The ATWT storytelling style – a few weeks of intense story and then it’s done – is partly to blame here. The kind of scenes that I think could really build into something more aren’t those gunfire-and-bombs kind of scenes.

I’m sorry to any fans that felt I was picking on their favorites. From the objective viewpoint of a fan who’s been watching the show for 20+ years – and loves this couple – I don’t think that ATWT has done a great job with the character of Noah. I don’t know where the issue lies, and said so objectively.

Multiple people have met Jake and sing his praises – I’m sure he’s a great guy. God knows, he’s a very handsome guy. I wasn’t interested in “slamming” Jake Silbermann, or the character of Noah, or any of the Noah fans. What I said – and what I STAND by – is this: I don’t know where the issue lies.

It’s ironic that almost three years in, there’s still a sense of unfinished business with this couple. You would think ATWT would pay more attention to its most popular couple. (I would much rather see those airtime hogs Alison and Meg be banished to the back burner.) Hopefully, in all of the changes that have been happening at ATWT, the show will fine-tune this story and give us a better idea of who Luke and Noah are – or at least a definition that doesn’t change every 13 weeks.

7 thoughts on “A little Nuke-lear reaction

  1. You wrote : “Who didn’t want to bitchslap Luke the other day when he gave Noah such a hard time for going to LA, after saying he could go? (Dude, your dad isn’t even dead, anyway.)”

    I want to answer to you about that part of your article because you hit some unfairness here. Yes, the viewers knows Holden is still alive, but Luke thinks his dad is dead and in his mind, he burried him the day before. There should be some trauma in that kind of situation. Then, he wanted his boyfriend with him at the funeral, but he told him to go to LA to realize one of his dreams, even if in his heart, what Luke wanted was that Noah would stay anyway and that Noah would show him that his carreer isn’t more important than his love. But Noah choose to go anyway. Then, Luke was preparing a surprise for the return of his boyfriend and was going to get him at the airport, but intead, he found him huggind some other man in the town. In Luke’s place, I would be more than bitchy !! And as asson as seeing Luke, Noah kept talking about how his trip was great, about LA, about the party that was a blast and how it was wonderful to be there with Mason… when Luke was all alone, sad, burring his father ! Noah didn’t ask first how Luke was doing or if he was alright… No! He told him about the fun moments he spend in LA ! Luke must have felt totally left down and no more important that Noah’s fun occupations. And Mason never asked once how Luke was dealing with his situation. Noah and Mason ware so insentitive, even if Noah reassured Luke at the end. I mean, I really understand Luke’s attitude in that episode and if I was Luke, I would have done more than just bitchslap Mason and Noah.

    Lisa – thanks for your comment. I know Luke doesn’t know his dad was alive, and I was making fun of that fact (since this is Holden’s second time on the death go round).
    That scene is actually an example of how a very ORGANIC issue could come up between these two. Luke: mad at Noah for not being more sensitive. Noah: thinks Luke was being unfair/manipulative for coming down on him about LA after telling him to go.

    • I agree with Difficult Diva, and thanks for your candor.

      I also agree with you wholeheartedly on your thoughts on the Luke and Noah coupling.

      It’s been difficult to root for or even like this pairing as the writing, continuity and acting for “Nuke” have been so inconsistent and sloppy since the end of the Brian Wheatley arc that I no longer recognize the characters who first made a splash in the summer of 2007 in the landscape of U.S. daytime TV.

      I welcome a break up of these boys. And boys/young men these characters are. It makes me laugh when the Mason character calls Luke and Noah as “life partners.” A break up may very well be the shot in the arm “Nuke” need to revitalize a dying story, and it will likely benefit the characters to develop and grow separately and outside of each other’s orbit before the inevitable reunion.

  2. So, I’m one of the hornets that you stirred up over at VH.net, and I decided to wander over here.

    First of all, thanks for the second post-you clarified some things, and I agree with a lot of what you said here. Especially the idea that the writing is pretty terrible most of the time, and they don’t seem to have a clue what to do with Nuke, especially Noah.

    What I take issue with is why call for them breaking up? Why not instead request for more air time, or an interesting, front burner story to flesh them out? Noah, like Jessica Rabbit, isn’t boring at all, he’s just written that way. And he screams potential drama-he was raised by a bigoted nut, was an army brat, never knew his mother, who turned out to be a whore and was killed by his whackjob daddy. He’s never had a real family or friends or roots until met Luke, and he was also, until recently, deeply in the closet.

    C’mon! So no one can figure anything interesting to do with this person besides have him polish the Java counter? Really? There’s soapy potential all over the place.

    Winston’s recent return just about killed me-I though they were finally going to dig a little deeper into Noah’s past and massive daddy issues, but it was so sporadic, bizarre and tangled up in the Riley mess that I felt cheated. Again.

    I agree with you on one thing-it’s hard to know why this is so difficult for ATWT, but I have a theory, They hate Luke and Noah and wish they were gone. I think they thought they were going to have them on briefly, garner some credit for being ‘groundbreaking’ and then write them off. I think they were shocked by the attention, and felt pressured into keeping them, and the big kiss campaign was salt in a wound, They are stuck now, and want to back burner them as much as possible, even though Nuke is still quite popular.

    One last rant, and this is something I have the biggest gripe with from you first post:

    “Assuming it’s a creative choice, it’s a valid character trait – there are certainly young men like Noah who struggle with their sexuality and aren’t as open or comfortable about it. I just think that’s making Noah incompatible with Luke.”

    And here’s where we are truly watching another show. And in the beginning, Noah WAS this guy. So was Luke when he first came out-and it was good drama to watch them both come to terms with it. And Noah indeed had a tougher time.

    But if there is one great sea change in Noah, it’s in regards to his sexuality. He went from not being able to say ‘I love you’ out loud, to kissing his boyfriend in public all. The. Time. He organizes gay film festivals, sends Luke roses, and my god, once the sex FINALLY happened, Noah was a very, very, very enthusiastic participant. He TMI’d that dorm sex was ‘incredibly good’, has fantasized about Luke in a sailor outfit, made a very naughty hint to Luke after the Z kidnapping that would help with his ‘physical therapy’. Where is this current “struggle” and lack of openness you are referring to? And from what I’m seeing, Luke seems pretty happy about all this-who wouldn’t be?

    Noah loves Luke and being gay and having sex with Luke Snyder. End of story.

    Apologies for coming off as cranky or unreasonable. I know I fanwank. But I also feel that it’s a terrible shame to write off two characters that are so interesting, and broke so much new ground. ATWT still seems baffled by their own creation. You are an intelligent, thoughtful writer and I wish you would prod them to do something positive, instead of throwing up your hands and saying break them up! Which would consign Luke to limbo, and send Jake off the show. I realize that ATWT is on life support anyway, and all this could be moot, but if there is one way to garner publicity and attention, it’s to put their most controversial characters in the limelight and finally give them a story they deserve.

    Spookything, thanks for your VERY thoughtful comments.

    My whole break-Luke-and-Noah up came partly from the characters, and I agree, some of that may be because Noah is an underdeveloped character. But I thought it was also an organic next step, instead of goofy shit like faking someone’s death or throwing a third party in there. (They’re trying that with Mason, and as much as I like Forbes March and think he’s very sexy, I think they’d have to compromise Noah in order for him to cheat on Luke. Though I suspect there may be another plot twist happening, anyway……)

    I’ve known a lot of couples in my life who were perfectly matched when they met in their twenties. And then as they became older, they became very different people. I thought it would be interesting to explore that. The breakup didn’t need to be forever, but from my point of view, it should be long enough that they are involved, for a time, with others. Of course, that would mean more gay characters, something that ATWT is unlikely to do. And with Noah having no family on the show (and, if I am not mistaken, Jake is on recurring status?) you are also right that ATWT would probably not keep Noah/Jake on board.

    My suggestion to break them up actually means I’m asking ATWT to treat them just as they would any other couple. Make them star-crossed, give them obstacles to overcome. If it’s good enough for Jack and Carly, it’s good enough for Nuke.

    And you make valid points about Noah being comfortable. I completely agree that Noah is comfortable around Luke. I still think he’s more reticent when he is around other people, which again, I think is an interesting point. That’s the reluctance I see. Yes, he works with the foundation. But I thought the scenes a while back where Luke was played as more “out” than Noah was a very interesting, organic plot point. Again, I know many couples where that tension exists. Is it a family thing? Is Noah just a quiet guy? There’s a lot there to be explored.

    What you may think I’m describing as weaknesses, I think makes for an interesting story. The best stories are when imperfect people make bad decisions or have tension or conflict with others. As much as I love these two characters, I think having them totally blissfully happy would be a borefest.

  3. Thanks for replying in such a thoughtful way-and again, you make some really you make some really excellent points-points that those who live in the Nukeverse can pretty much agree on. (Although here I’m only speaking for myself.)

    Like wanting them to be like any other star-crossed couple, like Jack and Carly. Of course. Absolutely. Bliss is wonderful in real life, but no fun on a daytime drama.

    As much as I love Luke and Noah together, they are a soap couple, which means trials and tribulations and heartache should abound. They have had their fair share already-Luke being paralyzed by Noah’s psycho dad, Noah’s green card marriage, (which makes most Nuke fans writhe in agony) Luke being hit on by his step pee-paw and expelled from school.

    But-and this is quite possibly a symptom of what ails ATWT in general-they always seem to stop short when things could get very interesting and the real drama could start to take off. Case in point: the aftermath of the Z&Z kidnapping. As silly as some of this was, some really serious things happened to both Noah and Luke. Noah was held, and frankly, sexually threatened for days by the creepy Zac, then shot. And Luke was almost raped by Zoe.

    And I was like, “wow”! This could get really juicy! Luke would be traumatized and humiliated, and not wanting to discuss what happened to him, and poor Noah almost died.

    But we got nothing. Zero. Zip. Nada. I know that soap characters are a resilient bunch, but they guys were like Wile E. Coyote after the anvil dropped-they just dusted themselves off, and went on their merry way.

    Which was utterly baffling, since ATWT could have wrung out WEEKS of really major angst out of this.You could have gotten your break up here-Luke not being able to have sex with Noah, and Noah begging him to get counseling, Noah tormented by flashbacks and nightmares. Y’know, soap stuff.

    And one wonders if they would have treated a straight couple like the same way, but I don’t want to be really paranoid either. But they drop the ball with Luke and Noah constantly.

    You, for example, want to know why Noah is so reticent and uncomfortable around other people. (I think he’s fine, although he was behind a strange gay force field for ages. Luke, at least, gets to talk to friends and other family members. For a long period of time the only other character Noah talked to was, well, Luke. Seeing Noah talk to say, Lucinda, or having any scenes sans Luke is still pretty rare.) A good place to have figured out how Noah ticked would have been right after his father’s “suicide”.

    Noah felt lost and confused, broke up with Luke, and decided at one point to join the army-something you would have thought would have been the last thing he would ever, ever do.

    To me, that could have been the start of an amazing story- Luke finding out about Noah’s very mixed feelings about his father, who he must have both loved and hated. Growing up knowing he was gay, and living in the macho world of army bases, as well as wanting to make up for some of the terrible things his father did.

    Excellent fodder for the drama machine, and it certainly would have explained why Noah isn’t as outgoing and comfortable in his own skin as Luke is. But we didn’t get that-what we got was Luke stalking Noah and embarrassing himself hanging on to his cab, and Noah changing his mind and Cyndi Lauper.

    This sort of crap happens over and over. Luke’s drinking binges and alcohol addiction after his OU expulsion was never really addressed much by Noah at all, and this is a soap couple staple since God was a child.There are many fans that think that because neither Luke or Noah can get pregnant or miscarry, ATWT doesn’t really know what to do with them, As silly as this sounds on the surface, I think they may have a real point.

    And your request for a story involving the boys growing in different directions and changing-they started to do this when Luke was in a funk after being expelled, and didn’t want to go back to school, or get a job, or do anything really, except sit on his parent’s couch, eating Cheetos. Noah, in the meantime, was working and going to school full time.

    Okay-conflicts galore here, centered around Noah’s getting tired of Luke’s poor little rich boy act. But again, it really fizzled mid stream.

    There are truly moments where I want to just give up and pound my head against the wall. But I stay -and this is the reason Nukies are so rabid-because I see a really amazing chemistry between Jake and Van. Why ATWT squanders this resource, Van especially, is a question I would love to have answered.

    I also just know in my gut-just as you mentioned-if they really broke them up like Jack and Carly have been, Jake would be off the canvas, period. (And yes, Jake is not a contract player.) This is why, I think, we Nukies all got our panties in a bunch at your suggestion that they have a big, major break up. It just translates to the end of the one boys on the show, and the very diminished presence of the other.

    I think, summing it up, is that Nuke has been the most glaring example of what is wrong with ATWT, their canary in the coal mine. They tell stories that aren’t thoughtful or character driven any more, motives and histories change from week to week, and players like Noah, who have such great potential, are totally wasted. And they have completely forgotten how to write a romantic moment, which I think both Van and Jake excel at.

    I appreciate you being so open minded and at least listening to a unofficial rep from a fanatic fandom microverse, which, to the average ATWT fan must seem somewhat annoying and bizarre. But we are passionate, and I wish that the show would care enough harness some of that energy to drive up the ratings.

  4. Has anyone else noticed that Luke and Noah have not shared a real kiss in months? They’ve pecked recently but its been a while since they have shared a romantic kiss.

  5. I actually didn’t agree with some of the things you had to say about the couple, about Noah and about Jake, but I respected that you gave your honest and frank opinion that was bound to stir things up. But, I think it’s a shame you basically had to take back everything you said because a few fans didn’t like it and felt you had to apologize. That’s unfortunate.

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