Luke Snyder and Noah Mayer


Luke Snyder and Noah Mayer
Luke and Noah (Van Hansis and Jake Silbermann)

Luke Snyder and Noah Mayer are fictional characters and a supercouple from the American CBS daytime drama As the World Turns.[1] Luke was portrayed by Van Hansis, and Noah was portrayed by Jake Silbermann. On Internet message boards, the couple is referred to by the portmanteau "Nuke" (for Noah and Luke). They are notable for being one of American daytime television's first gay male couples.

The two made history on August 17, 2007, when the show "featured the first-ever" gay male kiss in American daytime.[2] The YouTube video of the kiss was one of the top-watched the following day.[1] The now "legendary" kiss stands as one of the most viewed selections in the history of YouTube with over 2 million hits.[3]

In other press, the two were named one of television's top power couples by TV Guide[4] and one of the great supercouples by Entertainment Weekly.[5] They are American soap operas' first gay male supercouple.[1]

Contents

Background

When Noah Mayer arrived in Oakdale in June 2007 and entranced resident gay character Luke Snyder, CBS's As the World Turns "became the first soap to depict a fully realized romantic male couple as an integral part of the show".[6] There had been other gay male characters on U.S. daytime television, before; for example, One Life to Live's Billy Douglas (portrayed by a young Ryan Phillippe), but Luke and Noah represented a change in the genre. Noah was at first presented as heterosexual and devoted to girlfriend Maddie Coleman.[6] This soon began to change. The writers had always planned for Noah to be revealed as gay.[6] The storyline and his interaction with Luke were promised to viewers as the start of a depiction of a healthy gay male romance.[6]

Within the story, after spending time with Luke, Noah is seen struggling to come to terms with his sexuality, and is often angry and confused. Luke and Noah's portrayers, Hansis and Silbermann, spoke with magazine The Advocate about the attention the storyline has generated. "The fan response has been really great to both the individual characters and where we're taking the relationship," Silbermann stated. "Noah and Luke were voted top couple in a Soap Opera Digest poll. The funny thing is, a lot of people want them to be happy, but a lot want them to suffer heartache and tragedy — because that's what couples on daytime TV do. It's a good sign, actually."[6] Hansis said that "it does throw you a bit, especially since this was [his] first big role on television" and "You go from waiting tables to doing interviews with national magazines and people saying that you changed their lives. It's definitely tricky".[6]

Addressing the depth of his character's romance with Luke and its effects on people, Silbermann cited his disbelief. "I knew what the role was when I signed on," he said. "But I guess I'm jaded — I honestly didn't think it would get so much press. Of course, I'm grateful and honored to be telling this story and doing it in an interesting and respectful way."[6]

Actors' approach

Actors have been known to bring some part of their real experience into the roles they portray.[7][8] Hansis and Silbermann also spoke of this aspect regarding their own roles; they detailed what, if anything, they find useful in their lives when creating Luke and Noah. Hansis stated, "Luke is all about the need to be loved and accepted. I think that need is universal. Life is about acceptance from the people who you want to love you. If that means family, a wife, a husband, a girlfriend/boyfriend, a best friend, you just want people to love you for who you are. Anyone can relate to that."[7] Silbermann said, "I don't bring any specific experiences to Noah. I think we can all relate to an unrequited love or a romance filled with obstacles. That's really all this story is."[7]

As the World Turns executive producer Chris Goutman stated in a WGN radio interview that Hansis and Silbermann are "both very modest actors".[7] He credited them with having the ability to show the proper emotions in subtle and effective ways (i.e. "Luke's knowing smile and longing look at Noah, Noah's inner pain and fear of his father").[7] When asked if they rehearse together to decide which facial expressions they will use to convey these emotions in any given scene, Hansis replied, "No. We rehearse together to make sure we have the lines right. But it's not usually about the acting, its just running lines." He said that the "acting comes" when the cameras are on. "We are comfortable with each other as actors, so if one of us does something new during taping, the other just rolls with it and it usually creates some nice moments," said Hansis.[7]

Addressing the couple's possibility of marriage, children, and divorce, Hansis pondered "why can't people on soaps just date?" He said "maybe five years down the line they should have a kid, but not now" and that "[c]ollege has a whole slew of potential soap-worthy storylines. I think a lot of cool stories could come out of that".[7] Silbermann voiced not knowing what the writers may have planned for the couple, but that "the audience can assume it won't be smooth sailing".[7] Hansis clarified: "We have no idea what's happening until we get the scripts, which happens about a week in advance. We can talk to the producers if we want. I have done that once or twice, but they keep the writers and actors pretty separate."[7]

Hansis and Silbermann cited their offscreen friendship as the reason for their ease when portraying intimate scenes between Luke and Noah. "It makes them easier. Jake is a good friend. I know he's got my back and is not going to make me look like an ass onscreen. I hope I return the favor," said Hansis. "I think we work well together and I couldn't have asked for a cooler person to play opposite. Jake is just very down to earth and funny and open to different ideas. It makes every scene very comfortable."[7] Silbermann added, "I think we had become friends before the first kiss... If anything, I think it makes it more comfortable."[7]

Storyline

Luke Snyder realizes that he is gay after accepting that he has romantic feelings for his best friend, Kevin Davis. However, when Luke "comes out" to Kevin, he calls Luke a faggot and breaks off their friendship. Though Luke saves him from drowning in a lake and Kevin apologizes for the hateful slur, their friendship is never the same. After this, Luke swears not to fall for another straight or unavailable guy again.

In June 2007, Luke and his friend, Maddie Coleman, are working as interns at WOAK, a local television station in Oakdale. They quickly meet their fellow intern, Noah Mayer. From the start, Luke does not like Noah. In fact, Luke believes Noah to be an arrogant, spoiled brat. However, after spending some time with him, Luke realizes that he has developed romantic feelings for Noah, breaking his vow to himself. Luke keeps his distance and is more than hurt while on a trip to Branson, Missouri, he finds Noah together in bed with Maddie. Noah wrongly suspects that Luke wants Maddie, and Luke reveals his sexual identity to Noah in an effort to prove that he does not. A few weeks later, he confesses his feelings of attraction to Noah, telling him about his past experience with Kevin and his efforts to avoid falling for another unavailable guy. Noah makes it clear to Luke that while he, like Kevin, is not gay, unlike Kevin, he does not want to lose Luke as a friend.

Having somewhat resolved their issues, Luke, Noah and Maddie decide to go swimming at the Snyder Farm pond, but Maddie receives a phone call and has to leave. Luke offers Noah the chance to bow out of swimming, but Noah insists, and they go to swim by themselves. After the swim, Noah jokes, saying that Luke is soaking up the place and throws a towel at him. In the subsequent towel-tug of war, Noah falls against Luke and the two lock eyes, seemingly unwilling to move away from each other. Maddie walks in, but does not think anything other than innocent horseplay has been going on. Noah appears to be uncomfortable with what has just happened and convinces Maddie to go out for food as a couple, leaving Luke alone and questioning what just happened between him and Noah. In an effort to shore up his relationship with Maddie, Noah convinces her to think about staying in Oakdale for college.

After much thinking, Maddie decides to stay in Oakdale with Noah. An angry Luke argues with Maddie about throwing her future away for a guy she just met. Luke then tries to talk to Noah about the swimming incident, but Noah denies anything happened, affirming that he is not gay. Maddie interrupts Luke and Noah's conversation, and Maddie and Noah leave.

Noah's dad, Army Colonel Winston Mayer, shows up at WOAK out of the blue, surprising Noah, and meeting Maddie for the first time. The colonel asks them to join him for lunch, telling Noah to put on a tie and for them to meet him in an hour.

Luke comes back to the station with food as an apology for his behavior in front of Noah and Maddie the day before. Noah then realizes that he has lost track of time and has not gotten a tie. Luke goes to retrieve him one, while Noah finishes getting ready. Noah panics and cannot get the tie right and Luke offers to do it for him. Luke adjusts the tie and looks up to see Noah eyeing him strangely. He asks, "What's wrong?" Noah responds, "Nothing," then leans in and kisses Luke. Surprised, Luke pulls back at first, then gives in and kisses back. They are interrupted by a phone call from Noah's father, angrily reminding Noah that he is late. Hanging up and making small talk, Noah tries to convince Luke that the kiss was just a joke, his way of getting Luke to loosen up, but Luke asserts that they both know it was more than that. A frustrated Noah tells Luke not to make more out of it than it is, then rushes off to lunch.

Noah asks Maddie if she will move in together with him when they start college in the fall. She agrees and later returns to WOAK after lunch, and tells Luke about her new plans to move in with Noah. Realizing that this is the second time Noah has done something to shore up his relationship with Maddie after a close moment with him, Luke decides that he needs to tell Maddie about the kiss. However, Colonel Mayer interrupts their conversation, and eventually Luke decides that he does not want to reveal Noah's secret. Noah's father, however, presses Luke to share what is so important for Maddie to know, just as Noah walks in. Luke manages to get out of telling them about the kiss. Noah, before walking off, turns and thanks Luke for not revealing what truly happened.

Noah returns to WOAK, and admits to Luke that he did mean to kiss him. But he also tells Luke that it can never happen again, saying that while it is fine for Luke to be gay, it is not acceptable for him. Luke keeps trying to convince Noah that he needs to deal with his sexuality, if not for his sake, then for Maddie's. Citing their friendship, Noah asks Luke to keep what happened between them a secret. Luke reminds Noah that his actions are eventually going to hurt Maddie. The two end up close, and it seems they will kiss again, but Maddie interrupts them, and this time she is suspicious. She calls the pair out on their lies about what is going on, and demands the truth, saying that since Luke is gay, she knows they cannot be stuck in a sordid love triangle. Luke and Noah both share half-truths about what is upsetting them, and it is sufficient enough to calm Maddie down and get them all out of the discussion.

At Oakdale University, Noah sees Luke sharing coffee with another gay student. After facing questions about the other student from Noah, Luke quickly calls him out on his jealousy. Luke then asserts that once the intern project is over, they will go their separate ways, because he needs to find someone who is available to him. Noah asks why they cannot at least be friends, and Luke responds by asking if they were ever really friends. After a conversation with Winston, Maddie's brother Henry shares with Maddie his concerns that the colonel is homophobic, letting her know that the colonel also seems to think something is going on between Luke and Noah. She responds angrily. Henry apologizes and tries to take back what he said, but Maddie is not able to leave it alone.

Suspicious, Maddie approaches Luke at WOAK and asks him if there is anything going on between him and Noah. When Luke says that she has to ask Noah that, she knows the truth. At first unable to face Noah after the revelation, she and Noah soon break up, with Noah furious at Luke.

After Noah tells his father about his breakup with Maddie, the colonel threatens Luke to stay away from his son, and later follows up with a similar threat to Luke's mother Lily. After a last ditch effort to reconcile with Maddie, Noah comes to terms with his sexuality, and calls Luke to the station to apologize and thank him. The colonel decides to leave town, mistakenly believing Noah and Maddie are back together. Believing his father had left, and comfortable being out to Luke and Maddie, Noah shares another kiss with Luke. However, his father had not yet left town, and walks in on them. Colonel Mayer disowns his son, but later tells Maddie he will not lose Noah. Noah decides to confront his father, and tells him that he is happy with who he is. His father seems to come around, and apologizes to the Snyders for how he had behaved. He invites Noah and Luke on a fishing trip. Once there, he attempts to shoot Luke, but only manages to push him down a hill. The timely arrival of Noah and Luke's parents keeps the colonel from killing Luke.

Luke's fall results in swelling around his spine, and he is unable to feel his legs. Feeling that Luke will blame him, Noah stays away, leaving Luke devastated. However, Noah is eventually convinced to visit Luke, which finally lifts his spirits. Luke says that he wants Noah to be his boyfriend, and Noah begins to try to help Luke with his recovery.

Weeks pass by, and as Noah is helping Luke with his physical therapy one day, Luke realizes he has some feeling in his legs. Soon afterwards, Noah finds out that his father is being moved to a different prison. Luke urges him to tell his father how he feels about him before he is transferred. During their heated confrontation, in which Noah defends Luke to his father, Luke manages to stand up from the wheelchair and tells Colonel Mayer that he loves Noah. Noah has Thanksgiving dinner with Luke's family (who are going through a variety of problems due to Luke's parents' impending divorce).

Things become awkward between Luke and Noah, which Luke attributes to his saying that he loves Noah. He is uncertain of Noah's feelings, not knowing if Noah loves him or if he (Luke) has ruined everything. His father reassures him that if Noah calls Luke his boyfriend and spends a major holiday with him, their relationship is going well.

Alone with Noah, Luke brings up his previous declaration of love and says that he feels as though he always says the things that Noah cannot say or does not want to say. Noah acts awkward and says that he does not want Luke to take it back, but does not manage to be of much comfort to Luke. Luke's father Holden advises Luke that he should be patient with Noah, who is still getting used to the idea of being gay.

When Luke again tells Noah that he loves him, he becomes frustrated when Noah does not return the words. But on Christmas, Noah, still unable to say the words, does give Luke a card that expresses to him that Noah does love him. Luke and Noah begin to take their relationship to the next level.

As they prepare to start their next semester in college, Noah suggests that the two of them get an apartment together. Luke thinks that it will be better that they live in the dorms, as roommates. Noah, however, is persistent on living together. He confesses that Luke is his family and that when they are together, he does not feel alone, and that he is afraid of losing that. Luke later suggests that Noah move into the farmhouse with him and his family, and Noah accepts.

Shortly thereafter, the pair meet Ameera Ali Aziz, a young woman from Iraq, whose mother had a relationship with Noah's father when he was stationed there. She remembers a very different man than the one Noah and Luke describe. Colonel Mayer was kind to her and her mother, even protecting them from death. She has come to the United States to seek his assistance, but her temporary visa is set to expire, her money is running out, and she fears for her life if she has to return to Iraq. On a trip to visit Colonel Mayer in prison, the group is attacked because Ameera is from Iraq, and Luke and Noah are gay. Noah ends up being hospitalized briefly.

Luke and Noah decide to take Ameera out for a night on the town, only to be approached by officers with the Department of Homeland Security. They have informed Ameera that her visa is expired and that she will have to leave the country. In order to help Ameera stay in the country, Noah decides that he should marry Ameera. Luke asks Noah if it is indeed a marriage in name only or does he want to go back into the closet. Noah assures Luke that it is a marriage in name only and for the first time tells Luke that he loves him.

Noah and Ameera marry in the Snyder family's yard, and Luke and Noah are forced to hide their relationship in public in order to make Noah and Ameera's marriage look legitimate for the Homeland Security officers, who are still observing them. Ameera has made friends with Casey Hughes, and they are approached by a Homeland Security officer as they have coffee together. In order to throw him off guard, Luke claims that Casey is his boyfriend, which does not make Casey particularly pleased. Noah, however, thinks the idea could work: if Homeland Security believes that Noah and Ameera are a lovingly married couple and Luke and Casey are involved with each other, they will be less suspicious if Casey and Ameera are seen together.

Casey's friend Will Munson and his wife Gwen are moving from Oakdale; at their going-away party, it is decided that Noah and Ameera should live in Will and Gwen's old house, as having their own residence will make the marriage look more authentic.

Noah and Ameera move into the cottage and are helped by Casey and Luke. But when it looks like Noah and Luke might get some alone time together after all, the ICE agent steps in and Ameera sneaks from the back door to pretend everything is OK. Luke is frustrated with the whole arrangement and the fact that he and Noah could not be together, while Ameera seems to be feeling bad that she is left of out "parts of Noah's life".

Noah and Ameera are shown to wake up from the same bed. Ameera, like the dutiful wife that she wants to be, waits on Noah during breakfast and is pleasantly surprised and happy when Noah helps her with the chores and explains that husbands and wives share the duties in America. Luke thinks that making a movie about their lives will allow he and Noah to spend more time together and also come up with a way of fooling the ICE agent. Ameera is enthused by this, but when she is asked to talk about her past, gets very upset and stops midway. Luke is mad at Noah when he wants to comfort Ameera and sees them in an embrace when he exits the house. It is soon after this that the two have their third on-screen kiss, while shopping for a birthday present for Ameera.

Soon after Ameera and Noah begin living together and creating the film of their life, Ameera gets a phone call from the prison where Colonel Mayer is being held. After learning this, Noah decides to go to the prison alone after what happened last time they tried to go. He gets a chance to talk to his father and tells him that he and Ameera are married much to the Colonel's satisfaction, but the Colonel also learns that Noah and Luke are still together and this angers him. Noah returns to the cottage believing he had fixed everything and goes on living with Ameera and fighting off her advances.

While searching for his cell phone charger, Noah finds a letter that his father wrote to him several months before. He assumes that Ameera had some involvement in it, and he begins to worry. Later he and Luke find a note from Ameera where she says she has found another way to stay in the country, wishes the boys happiness and says that her marriage to Noah will be annulled at the right time. After reading this the boys are unbelievably happy at the idea of being alone, and start to become intimate with each other. Not long after this begins, the police knock at their door and tell them that Colonel Mayer had escaped from prison. Worried that he had kidnapped Ameera or planned to hurt Luke, Noah immediately tracks down where his father is located (New York City) and goes to try to save Ameera. Luke, scared and alone, books a flight not long after Noah's.

In New York, a street musician tells Noah where to meet the man that he believes is a helpful detective from Oakdale, but that it will only happen if he goes alone. When Noah follows these instructions, he is grabbed in a deserted street and beaten up by his father. Meanwhile, a worried Luke runs into Ameera, who has escaped The Colonel and his attempts to drug her. She tells Luke what she has overheard about the Colonel's plan, and they run into a battered Noah. Before they can go to the police, Winston calls Noah's cell phone, and threatens to kill both him and Luke if they don't deliver Ameera to him by noon the next day. The boys contact the police, and Ameera is taken into custody for questioning, while the Oakdale detective and his NYPD partner promise to keep all three of them safe. However, Luke objects to the detectives' plan to use Noah as bait for his father, and is promised that he can accompany the two detectives to watch over Noah during the meeting. Soon after the Oakdale detective takes Noah to the pier, the NYPD officer knocks Luke out and leaves him in Winston's abandoned hideout. On the pier, Noah is surprised to find himself abandoned by both the detectives and his boyfriend, but quickly realizes the two detectives have set him up; they hand over Ameera to an angry Winston, who drags her into a waiting speedboat. Noah fears for Luke, but ninja-jumps onto the back of the speeding boat in hopes of rescuing Ameera. Meanwhile, Luke wakes up and contacts his grandmother, who quickly arrives in New York, along with the real Oakdale detective they had expected. They arrange to have the police authorize the use of "maximum deadly force" in order to bring in Winston, whose speedboat has been delayed in the harbour since the previous day. On the boat, Noah confronts his father, and tries to convince him to turn himself in and not use Ameera as a bargaining chip for his own freedom. Just as it seems like the Colonel might be listening to reason, Luke, Lucinda, and the police show up in a boat behind them. Winston shouts at Noah, believing that Noah had been manipulating him as a delaying tactic for the police, before executing a perfect dive off the boat and into the water. He does not resurface.

Ameera is held in New York for questioning once again, and when Luke and Noah return to Oakdale, things become very tense between the two. Noah blames Luke for his father's "death" and asks to take a break in the relationship. He moves out of the cottage and back into the school dorms. Lily pressures Noah to come over for dinner, and Noah and Luke spend an awkward family evening at the Snyder farmhouse, which Noah says makes him feel all the more alone. However, Luke gets Noah to admit that he still loves him. Noah has begun working at Java to pay for school, and soon after the police contact him to let him know that although his father's body has not been recovered, he has been declared legally deceased. When Ameera finally returns to Oakdale, she tells Luke and Noah that she has plans to move in with some family friends in Los Angeles, and that she has started the process of getting her and Noah's marriage annulled. Because of this, Luke tells Noah that he was jealous of his marriage to Ameera, and Noah finally stops wearing his wedding ring. While Noah and Luke have still not made up, Noah catches Luke having a friendly conversation with Reg, misinterprets the situation, and becomes jealous. When Luke finds this out, he promises Noah that he will wait for Noah to sort out his issues in his own way before he'll ask to get back together.

Cyndi Lauper comes in town on her True Colors Tour and Luke interviews her for the Oakdale University newspaper. When Noah and another boy enter the club where he and Cyndi are sitting, he is very upset and Cyndi promises to help the two of them. She dedicates the set to Luke, and invites him up on stage during the singing of True Colors. Noah pulls Luke outside and tells him that he wants to be with him, sharing another one of their rare kisses. Soon after this, Noah reveals to Luke that he has enlisted in the army. Luke thinks that this is a bad idea and tries to persuade him.

While Noah is enlisting, Luke tells the recruitment officers that the two are a couple and they remind Noah of the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy. In his final interview, Noah reveals his sexuality and returns to the farm to be with Luke.

Noah begins living at the Snyder farm again, and the two are obviously frustrated with Emma's rule against them being in the same bed. When Luke learns of his fathers infidelity towards his mother, he leans on Noah more for strength and feels that he and Noah should be able to sleep together. Noah promises that they will be together as soon as it is right.

Luke's birth father Damian leaves him a considerable sum of money, which Luke decides to use to start a charitable foundation for sick children. Lucinda hires a lawyer, Brian, with a specialty in non-profit organizations. Although everything starts off well between Luke and Brian, soon Brian offers advice to Luke that he should hide his relationship with Noah due to the "conservative" nature of most philanthropists. While Brian says he has no problem with Luke and Noah himself, he warns that other investors might not look so charitably upon a group headed by a gay man... particularly one that involves kids. Luke is deeply offended by this, and feels that Brian is trying to force him back into the closet. Brian attempts to make it up to him by inviting Luke and Noah on a mushroom hunt/camping trip that was originally intended for only himself and Lucinda. While on the trip, all Noah's and Luke's attempts to be intimate are interrupted by Brian.

Noah goes to Rome to film a movie for one of his classes. While he's gone, Brian and Luke's relationship mends a great deal, until Brian expresses a problem with Luke advertising the organization at the university's gay film festival, an event Noah is helping curate. Luke decides to pass out brochures at their booth anyway. Shortly after, the school's board of directors voices its opposition to the festival, and tells Luke and Noah that they are going to let the student government president vote on it. Much to Luke's surprise, the only candidate running is Kevin, his first crush and ex-best friend. Luke decides to run against him so that the festival can continue.

Kevin's team runs a dirty campaign, including using homophobic language and creating an offensive animated video mocking Luke. Although Kevin disagrees with his campaign manager's tactics, he allows the video to stay up on "UsTube". Casey becomes Luke's campaign manager, and suggests that Alison Stewart spy on Kevin's group to help Luke. When Kevin's guys find out about Alison, they kidnap her and force her to strip for their amusement. When Casey finds out, he is furious, and he attacks the leader of the pack. Due to a lack of evidence for Alison's story, Casey is suspended from school and almost has his parole revoked. As the election wears on, it becomes clear that despite Luke taking the moral high ground, he is not going to win. Casey jokingly suggests they could stuff the ballot box in their favor, a tactic that Luke considers despite Alison's and Noah's protests. Noah tells Luke that if he cheats his way to the position, he will lose all respect for him, but Luke is so fed up with Kevin's attitude that he allows Casey to do it. When Luke wins by a landslide, Kevin complains to the Dean, who launches an investigation into the allegations of foul play. Both Luke and Noah are questioned. Luke denies any deceitfulness on his part but Noah, unable to lie for Luke, confesses the entire scheme, which he opposed from the start. Luke is subsequently expelled from Oakdale University and is furious at Noah. Noah moves out of the Snyder farmhouse (again). Shortly after, Luke apologizes to Noah, saying that he is now ready to take responsibility for his actions and to make things right, but that he needs Noah to be there for him. Noah refuses, because he feels that Luke still has unresolved issues about Kevin, and, out of misery, Luke starts to drink again.

Later, Brian, who had just that evening married Luke's grandmother Lucinda, finds Luke drunk along the highway and takes him back to the Snyder Farm to help him sober up. Turning to Brian for comfort, Luke opens up to him about how his life is going downhill, and Brian consoles Luke and kisses him. Luke is shocked, and begins to drink more as a response to this traumatic event. The next day, Brian refuses to discuss it, saying that he comes from a "touchy-feely" family and that Luke is overreacting. When Thanksgiving comes around, Luke is still hostile towards Brian. After Noah joins the Snyder family Thanksgiving dinner, Luke begins to tell him what happened with Brian until they are interrupted by none other than the man himself. Later, when Luke does get a chance to tell Noah, he doubts that it is true and thinks that Luke must have imagined it when he was drunk. Brian also dismisses Luke when he tries to confront him about it, saying he imagined it. When Brian attempts to kiss Luke again, Lily and Holden arrive just in time and Brian pulls away. Luke later confronts him, issuing a warning: if he ever makes a move on him again, he will tell Lucinda everything.

A few days later, Brian and Luke sit down and have an open, honest conversation. Brian finally admits that he did kiss Luke and that he's sexually attracted to him. Luke takes this as confirmation that Brian is gay. However, Brian refuses to label himself that way and insists that he loves Lucinda and wants to be a good husband. Brian and Luke call it truce and shake hands.

Soon after, Luke and Noah reunite for Christmas. They go for a walk around town, and Noah gives Luke his present: a watch engraved with the words "Worth The Wait". They reaffirm their love for each other by kissing on a public bench under the mistletoe, a conscious tribute to their Christmas the year before. Noah then spots Maddie, who has come home for the holidays. Luke instantly becomes edgy with jealousy as Noah and Maddie reminisce. Luke and Noah return to Luke's house, where Noah reassures Luke that he has nothing to be jealous about, and they kiss. As it turns out, Maddie is planning on rekindling the romance she had with Casey.

On New Year's Eve, Noah sends Luke some flowers with an envelope that says "Don't open till 2009". Luke and Noah meet at Metro for a New Year's Eve party and plan on having sex for the first time later that night. Noah tells Luke that he'll open the envelope in the morning when they wake up together. However, Maddie enters Metro in tears over Casey, and Noah leaves with her so they can talk. Luke sees them leave and gets the wrong idea. After having a couple drinks, he staggers out of Metro in a drunken state. Also at Metro is Brian, who sees him leave and follows him, expressing concern. He helps Luke sit down on a bench, where Luke suddenly grabs his face and kisses him. Noah is passing by and sees them. Thinking Brian is preying on Luke, he grabs Brian and punches him, leaving him on the ground as he takes Luke home. Luke confesses that he's the one that kissed Brian, not the other way around. Noah is furious and storms out. Luke then opens the envelope to find a heartfelt love letter, and is devastated about his mistake.

After the New Year's Eve mess, Casey and Allison try to get Luke and Noah back together by forcing them to talk through their problems, locked up on the roof of the hospital. The plan backfires as the guys are defensive about their own problems and accusatory about the others. Casey and Allison sheepishly let them back inside.

Luke's cousin Jade convinces Lucinda to find a way to get Luke and Noah back together so Lucinda goes to Java where Noah works and tries to convince him. Noah tells Lucinda that Luke and he will not get back together, and Lucinda gives up. As Lucinda is walking out, Jade walks in and Lucinda tells her that it did not work. Noah overhears Lucinda talking to Jade and Noah goes to confront Jade. Jade then leaves Java and Noah follows, still yelling at her. Over at the diner, Casey is trying to get Luke back with Noah, then Casey leaves the diner and Luke follows him. Then they all run into each other, and Luke and Noah start yelling at each other. When Luke accuses Noah of holding back on his feelings out of his fear of them, Noah passionately kisses Luke, and they head back to Luke's house and have sex for the first time. Then they have ice cream with Lucinda and thank her.

A few days later, Jade meets up with Luke and Noah, and Luke tells her that they spent the night in Noah's room. After that, just before Valentine's Day, Luke suggests that he and Noah should get an apartment of their own. After a discussion, they both agree that now isn't the right for them to move in together, but Noah promises Luke that it will happen one day.

Luke and Noah help plan a birthday party for Casey. Their friend Reg comes to the party and halfway through the night is seen outside with Elwood. Shortly thereafter, Reg collapses and is taken to the hospital, where he is pronounced dead of a drug overdose. When Noah handles Reg's coat, a bag full of white pills falls out. Luke and Noah believe that Elwood sold these bad drugs to Reg and killed him, and, with no school or job to attend to, Luke sets out to gather evidence for his theory. He enlists Kevin's help to keep watch on Elwood, and then breaks into Elwood's dorm room himself. Inside, Luke finds a short note: "Got you covered", signed by a mysterious 'M'. When Luke is then caught by campus security, he has to be bailed out by his parents and Noah, all of whom try to convince him to give up his amateur sleuthing before he gets in even more trouble. After a failed attempt at planting the bag of pills on Elwood to get him to confess, Casey starts to suspect that the 'M' stands for Matt O'Connor, his former cellmate and Alison's new boyfriend. Alison remains convinced of Matt's innocence, which causes a rift between her and Casey. Luke, Jade and Casey plan to fake a drug deal to expose Matt, even as Noah disapproves of their plan and continues to urge Luke to leave this matter to the police. However, after their plan fails, Elwood phones Luke and asks to meet him on the bridge: he's ready to give up everything. Noah and Luke race to meet him, but before they can talk, Matt's car comes out of nowhere and kills Elwood. Matt is arrested, although he has a valid alibi for his whereabouts at that time. Luke has now exhausted all his leads, but after a chance encounter with a nervous-looking Kevin, both Noah and Luke agree they have to investigate him further. In the end, it turns out the real killer is Mark Vero, Kevin's former best friend and election campaign manager, who had planned to frame Matt for the killings because he was jealous of Matt's relationship with Alison.

Brian comes back to Oakdale from his new job in Minnesota in order to attend one last meeting for the Luke Snyder Foundation. Luke, still depressed about everything, refuses to attend, angering Lucinda who accuses him of being "a spoiled brat". Noah and Lily go in his place, but after a heart-to-heart with his grandmother, Luke shows up to the meeting just in time. The man they meet with is unhappy to be associated with a 'gay charity', and, to everyone's surprise, Brian supports Luke's decision to deny them a partnership with the foundation. Following the meeting, Luke, Lily and Noah take Brian home to see Lucinda, and the two reconcile and decide to stay in touch. They all agree that Lily should take over Brian's former position as chief administrator of the foundation. Afterward, Noah tells Luke how proud he is of Luke's decision to work for the foundation full-time and to live his life with purpose. Luke agrees that he feels like his old self again, and they go off to be alone in Noah's dorm room.

Luke and Noah seem happy and Noah eventually asks Luke to get a place together, after being interrupted by Noah's roommate continuous times the night before. They contact a landlord, who denies them a room because they are gay. They decide, with the help of Lily, to focus the foundation's support on gay rights in employment and housing. Therefore, Lily visits WOAK in an attempt to schedule for an interview. Luckily, when Lily approaches Kim Hughes, she tells Lily that the mayor abruptly cancelled his interview. When Kim asks Lily and Luke to appear on the show immediately, they quickly accept her offer.

After a successful interview, in which Lily and Luke comment about the problems with housing discrimination, gay rights, and their own personal experiences, the station receives lots of positive feedback. However, when Lily, Noah, and Luke return to the Snyder home, Lily finds a package at the door containing very personal hate mail. At first, Luke believes the police do not need to get involved, but Lily and Noah convince him to contact them anyway.

Shortly after, Luke plans a rally at Metro to kick start the foundation's activism plans. Holden, however, worries about Luke's safety, but doesn't take action after Lily mentions the foundation's new plans have extremely motivated Luke. At first the rally seems to be successful, with a large turnout although the rally was short notice. Nevertheless, when Luke walks out to his car to grab some research, a mysterious stranger hits him with a car, leaving Luke unconscious. After another stranger carries Luke away from the crime scene, Noah, Holden, and Lily realize Luke's disappearance. Holden, immediately worried, contacts the police, who suggest the possibility of a hit and run.

Luke, still unconscious, has been placed in the hospital by the stranger, who leaves Lily's phone number with Luke. The hospital then calls Lily, and she, Holden, and Noah immediately rush to see Luke. When they get to the hospital, they find Luke bruised and still unconscious, but still fairly unharmed. After everyone leaves with Margo Montgomery Hughes to answer a few more questions at the police station, the stranger re-enters Luke's room. When the stranger holds his hand, Luke first confuses the stranger for Noah. However, Luke opens his eyes to see Damian Grimaldi standing at his bedside.

On November 19, 2009 Noah and Luke find out that Noah is fully blind because of a fireworks accident. Noah blames Luke for his blindness due to an argument Luke was having with him; he subsequently does not want anything to do with Luke. Luke's parents', Lily and Damian, want to adopt Noah and help take care of him. After, begrudgingly, agreeing to the adoption, as he has few other options, Noah is left depending on Luke and his family, but still extremely upset and resentful toward his boyfriend. On November 30, 2009, Noah agrees to go to a rehabilitation facility, and while the couple will be separated for Noah's treatment, Luke promises to be waiting for him when Noah is ready again.

The couple is reunited once again for Christmas thanks to the help of Luke's two grandmothers. Noah is still upset at Luke and tells him that he doesn't know what his future holds for him. Luke wants Noah to tell him why he wanted to come to the Snyder home for Christmas and not to blame it on his grandmothers. Noah finally admits that he was feeling homesick and wanted to spend Christmas with Luke and the rest of the Snyder family. However, Noah tells Luke not to read too much into this reason. Luke is sad, but says he understands and the two end up hugging. When it is time to put ornaments on the tree, Luke helps Noah put his on. Later, Luke reveals his present to Noah. It is a box full of objects from home that represent each sense: smell, touch, hearing, and taste. After Luke tells Noah what each is and lets him use each sense to figure out which objects are which, Noah reminds Luke that he is missing a sense: eyesight. This reminds Luke that Noah is still blaming him for the loss of his eyesight.

Noah does some research and decides that there is only one doctor, Reid Oliver, who could potentially help him get his sight back. Luke calls Dr. Oliver and asks him to come to Oakdale. However, the doctor refuses money and tells Luke that he would never waste his time in such a small town. Frustrated, Luke takes a page out of Damian's book and blackmails Dr. Oliver into coming to Oakdale. Dr. Oliver wants to leave as soon as he gets there, and turns out to be even more obnoxious and rude in person. The doctor ends up getting in a car crash with Kim Hughes in Luke's car, and even though neither of them are hurt, Reid faces criminal charges. Bob Hughes makes a deal with the judge, agreeing that Reid will work at the hospital during the weeks before his trial.

Reid and Luke initially show animosity towards each other, however during the course of the next few weeks, a friendship is fostered. On April 22, 2010 the pair shared their first kiss. Since then, there has been tension between them. Noah underwent surgery and has since regained some of his vision. His relationship with Luke is something Noah has said he wants to work on, however Luke is reluctant, since he is still hurt/angry at the way Noah treated him and has feelings for Reid.

They have had many starts and stops, and have kissed many times since the first. The first time they were about to have sex, Luke thought of Noah, who was in critical condition at the hospital and left. The second time Luke said he wanted to "go slow." The third time, Luke told Reid he couldn't because, for him, sex was still all about Noah.

While meeting with a potential invester in the Oakdale Memorial at The Lake View, Noah punches Reid in the nose, which leads to Reid thinking he broke it. Earlier that day, Noah had told Reid they were finished as doctor and patient.

Luke and Reid went to the hospital to check on his nose, all was fine. Luke and Reid started talking some more and kissed just as Bob Hughes walked in.

Luke leaves the room and Bob asks Reid to tell him he didn't just see that. Bob tells Reid that he can either keep his career or have a relationship with Luke, considering it is unethical for the top neurosurgeon to be dating the hospital's biggest donor. Reid decides to keep his job, telling Luke that after a few months and Bob's retirement, they can start their relationship up again. Luke refuses to wait around and storms off.

Reid realizes that he doesn't want to spend his life without Luke, so he resigns from the hospital. Luke and Reid begin their relationship but Reid is still angry with Bob for making him choose between his job and Luke.

Bob decides against letting Invicta buy Memorial, and Reid gets his job back. Bob also informs Reid that he wants to nominate him as Chief of Staff. Bob's son, Chris Hughes, is furious upon hearing this news. He decides that he wants to be Chief of Staff as well and he and Reid begin to clash as they fight for the position.

Chris is soon infected with a viral heart infection, which only Reid knows about after he walked in on Chris drawing his own blood. Reid begins to give Chris antibiotic injections but feels uncomfortable with Chris's deception and attempts to stop but Chris blackmails him. Reid tells Luke about Chris's condition and they both attempt to convince Chris to tell his family about his illness but he refuses. Reid calls a cardiologist, and former Oakdale resident, Dr. John Dixon to consult on Chris's illness.

Chris continues to hide his illness from his family and refuses to cooperate with Dr. Dixon and Reid. After straining his heart while playing golf, Reid rushes Chris to the hospital and is finally forced to tell his family what is going on.

Katie, who is dating Chris, is devastated. Reid tells her that if she can't handle it, go home - after Luke finally convinced her to come to the hospital. Luke follows Reid to Java where he gets upset with him for being so closed-hearted and confesses that he told Noah that he is in love with Reid. When Luke tells Reid he can say it back, Reid insists that Luke would think he was just saying it to make him happy.

Dr. Dixon discovers that the damage to Chris' heart is irreversible and he will need a new heart. Chris' brother Tom starts to pull some strings to get Chris moved up on the transplant list. He finally manages to secure a heart in Bay City. However, another doctor at Bay City Hospital decides to keep the heart for one of his own patients.

Determined not to let another "arrogant, self-proclaimed savior of man kind" take the heart that is rightfully Chris', Reid decides to go to Bay City himself to get the heart. Luke tries to talk him out of it, saying "I seem to remember another arrogant, self-proclaimed savior of man kind," to which Reid says, "I wonder what happened to him?" Luke follows Reid to the parking lot where Reid confesses that he isn't just mad that another doctor is pulling rank, but that he really does care for the Hughes family and wants Chris to be okay. Luke wants to come with him but Reid tells him to stay. Just before he leaves, Reid stops and tells Luke that he loves him.

n his way to Bay City, he comes across a railroad crossing, and trying to save time, starts across before the gates close as a train approaches. His car stalls on the tracks and though he tries to start it, it will not go. At the last few minutes he tries to abandon the vehicle, but his seat belt will not release, resulting in him being hit by the train. He does not die on impact but survives long enough to be at the hospital and say goodbye to Luke, give Luke "power of attorney" and tell a lawyer (Chris' brother) that his heart, if it is a match goes to Chris. Luke, of course, does not want to admit that Reid is dying, but after discussing it with Bob and after Reid's brain functions cease, with only the machines keeping him alive, he agrees. He talks to the lawyer and Bob saying "if it's what Reid wanted.." then he signs the paper giving his consent for Reid's heart to be transplanted to Chris.

Right before they take Reid in for the transplant, Luke comes in and says his goodbyes. When the transplant is finished, he vows to Allison that he will not leave the hospital until he knows Chris will be okay. Holden and Lily by this time have heard about the accident, and Luke has finally returned home, after Chris woke up. They talk about funeral arrangements and discuss what to do with Reid's body. They have the funeral home director come over to talk, and he is a homophobe, so Lily immediately orders him to leave, after the director says they need to find his closest living relative before they can do anything, its the law. Holden and Lily the commence a search for Reids uncle, whom they find, and he gives them his consent over "power of attorney." He also gives them a chess piece, which was the one that he gave to Reid when he lost his first chess game, to give to Luke. Lily and Holden return home and they decide to have Reid cremated, putting half of his ashes into the cornerstone of the new neuro-wing, and half of them to the Snyder's farm, where Luke puts them into Snyder Pond after saying "the rest of him is going to be here at the pond, with me."

After Noah punched Reid in June, he and Luke have very little contact. Although Noah actually helped Luke and Reid get together. In August, Luke is upset to learn that Noah is moving to Los Angeles in September. He had received a grant to make a film and will be going off to pursue his dreams of becoming a filmmaker. Noah asks Luke to go with him, but they both know he would say no.

In September, Noah admits to Luke that he is still in love with him and doesn't want to go to LA alone. Luke tells Noah that he loves him and will always love him, but that he is in love with Reid. Luke says that they will always be connected and wants to stay friends with Noah, but Noah says that he can't do that and walks off.

Allison informs Noah of Reid's death and tells him that Luke needs him. Noah is hesitant to go to Luke because they had not been getting along and it is awkward. He doesn't know how he can help Luke. But in the end, Noah finds Luke at his special place, Snyder Pond. There Noah comforts Luke and helps him to grieve. Luke realizes that he really didn't know Reid very well and has very few memories of things they had done together. He even admits to Noah that he and Reid had never had sex. Noah is there by Luke's side during the memorial for Reid.

As the time nears for Noah to fly to LA, Luke realizes that Noah is planning to stay in Oakdale to help him. Luke tells Noah that he cannot give up his dreams for him. Luke takes Noah to WOAK, the place where they met and had their first kiss. There, Luke gives Noah an expensive camera and tells him that both Lily and Holden have also purchased filmmaking supplies for him because they all believe in him. Noah is at first hesitant to accept such extravagant gifts, but then relents when Luke agrees he will visit Noah in LA.

Noah then tells Luke he knows he can't ask Luke to come to LA with him now. That Luke needs to stay in Oakdale to grieve and heal. When Luke acknowledges that Noah understands him, Noah admits it's because he loves him. Noah then tells Luke, "And maybe one day soon, when and if you're ready, you'll get on a plane, and I'll be waiting." Luke nods. Noah leans in and they share a kiss. Then Luke watches Noah leave the studio.

Luke and Noah's last scenes together aired the day before the show's finale. After a 54 year run, As The World Turns was cancelled as of Sept 17th 2010. Luke and Noah's story ended onscreen at WOAK, but as the Executive Producer of the show has said, "Their relationship will endure."

Reception and impact

Same-sex couples on American broadcast television are still rare today.[7] This adds to the inclusion of same-sex pairings being considered "a very big deal".[7] When Luke and Noah, a gay male teen couple at the time, were added to the soap opera As the World Turns, the decision especially constituted "an actual milestone" in gay visibility, stated Michael Jensen, Editor of AfterElton.com, a website that focuses on the portrayal of gay and bisexual men in the media.[7] CBS's As the World Turns "made that breakthrough in 2007 when Luke Snyder (Van Hansis) fell hard for newcomer Noah Mayer (Jake Silbermann). And viewers fell just as hard for the couple, quickly naming them Nuke as their growing popularity helped to push the show’s ratings up".[7] The couple became "so popular" that a 2007 poll named them "the most popular couple on As the World Turns and one of the seven hottest couples on all of daytime television".[7]

Groundbreaking kiss and romance

Luke and Noah kiss made famous in 2007.

On August 17, 2007, Luke helps close friend Noah adjust his tie. Their eyes meet. Without warning, and in close-up, the two young men kiss full on the lips.[1] The five-second kiss between Luke and Noah made history as the first gay male kiss on American daytime television. The guy-on-guy kiss "sizzled screens across America and sent the Internet into a tizzy".[9] Fans of the soap opera were divided on whether the kiss was a step forward or a sign of national moral decay.[9][10] The kiss has been described as legendary,[1] and stands as one of the most viewed videos in the history of YouTube. In 2008, over 1 million views had been given to the kiss.[1] It has currently been viewed more than 2 million times.[3]

Not long after the kiss, TV Guide named the couple one of soap opera's best supercouples,[4] and Entertainment Weekly listed their kiss as one of the Landmark moments in Gay Hollywood,[11] later titling the pairing as one of the greatest supercouples in the genre's history.[5]

More than six months after the kiss, Luke and Noah had "overcome Noah's sexual confusion and his stern, homophobic father, who shot Luke on a camping trip, temporarily confining him to a wheelchair. Noah nursed Luke back to health and helped him get back on his feet again. From there, their affection for each other blossomed."[1]

When Luke and Noah's love story began, the ratings for As the World Turns rose considerably. The serial was near the bottom of the ratings competition in 2007, but began to regularly rank third behind The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful in the daytime Nielsens.[1] This vastly contrasts from 1989, when As the World Turns sent a gay character away after protests from religious groups.[1] "I don't see it as that big a deal," Hansis stated. "I was just stoked to get a steady job as an actor."[1] "There aren't many gay characters on daytime," Silbermann said. "It means a lot to know that this story is part of something."[1]

YouTube and influence on other countries

In large part due to the internet, both actors have received mail from viewers in countries that do not air As the World Turns. "YouTube now hosts a version of the Luke and Noah storyline that is edited by fans. In countries where it may not be OK to be gay, people hungry to see themselves accurately portrayed onscreen can go to YouTube and follow the 'Nuke' storyline in sequence," stated David Alexander Nahmod of Bay Area Reporter.[1]

"Some producers balk at having their material posted at free sites like YouTube," Nahmod added. "Producers of the former NBC soap Passions, [which later aired on DirectTV's The 101 as a subscription-only service], pulled its episodes off of YouTube. Likewise, episodes of British soap Coronation Street were also pulled from YouTube." CBS, however, is content in letting the Luke and Noah love story stay on the file sharing sites because it is good and free publicity for the show. "Many gay viewers, for example, who are introduced to the Luke and Noah storyline on the internet may become interested in the whole show and start tuning into the CBS broadcasts. CBS also offers its own online broadcast of the show and www.CBS.com/daytime/ATWT."[1] Lisa Lugassy, press representative for As the World Turns, however, cited that [they] prefer people to watch the CBS airings. "It's the CBS audience, and not the online viewers, who give us our ratings," she said.[1]

Hansis and Silbermann have acknowledged that they would like to do other acting projects when time permits, but that they are happy and content with the jobs they have now.[1] "I hope to be playing Luke for a long, long time to come," said Hansis.[1]

Controversy and praise

Kiss debate, campaign and the media attention

Months after Luke and Noah's first kiss made national press, as well as their additional second kiss, the couple's time together was drastically reduced by the series. This was changed again when they were allowed to spend more onscreen time in each other's company but with an alteration; this alteration had the pairing no longer seen kissing onscreen. Any intimate interaction that took place onscreen between the couple was now showcased in the form of hugs, longing stares, talks and cut-away kisses (kisses that viewers do not see but almost get a glimpse of as the camera pans away or cuts to another scene). Frustrated, fans of the pairing organized what they called the "Kiss Campaign", in hopes to coax CBS and Procter & Gamble Productions into giving Luke and Noah another onscreen kiss.[10]

"Soaps, like all businesses, live and die by consumer response to a product," campaign founder Jerome wrote at AfterElton.com. "And while email complaint letters certainly get noticed, it's the more-grandiose gestures that usually succeed in eliciting a response."[10] In a different campaign, Jerome was responsible for the decision to have fans of the television series Jericho send thousands of nuts to network executives in order to get the once-canceled show back on the air, and advised Luke-Noah supporters to flood CBS Daytime Programs Senior Vice President Barbara Bloom with Hershey's Kisses. "The symbolism," Jerome noted, "is obvious."[10]

Acknowledgment of the kiss campaign soon reached prominent media outlets such as The Boston Globe and the Associated Press. Boston Globe reporter Joanna Weiss began her report of the campaign by stating, "Once upon a time, in the melodramatic environs of CBS's As the World Turns, there was a boy named Luke and another boy named Noah, and they fell in love. They shared in self-discovery, made it through a trying time when Luke was paralyzed from the waist down, celebrated his miraculous recovery, and kissed onscreen. Twice. Then they stopped kissing. And some fans were happy. And some fans got very, very angry."[12] Addressed was that fans of the romance, referred to as Luke-and-Noah champions by Boston Globe, pointed to two major near-misses since the couple's two onscreen kisses. Once, during an episode of the soap opera near Christmas, Luke and Noah moved toward a kiss, and the camera quickly panned to a mistletoe, an event dubbed "Mistletoegate" by frustrated and disappointed fans. Then, on a "very special" Valentine's Day episode, every other couple on the show shared a kiss while Luke and Noah hugged.[12]

Boston Globe relayed that AfterElton.com created a running ticker of the time that had elapsed since Luke and Noah last kissed on the lips onscreen. At press time, it was 157 days and running. Also noted was Luke-and-Noah supporters having launched a publicity drive. During the drive, they "blitzed" reporters with long, heartfelt statements about their feelings for the pairing.[12] "We appreciate so much that the show is doing this," stated George Hinds, a youth employment counselor in Cambridge who helps run the fansite lukeandnoahfans.com. Hinds praised As the World Turns for airing a gay kiss within American daytime television. "The campaign is really here to let them know we think it's time to move forward. We think America can handle it."[12]

Despite supporters of the Luke and Noah storyline, the producers of the series felt that showing a same-sex love story was a sensitive subject to show. "We're trying to make a show that appeals to our entire audience," said Jeannie Tharrington, a spokeswoman for Procter & Gamble Productions, which produces the series. Tharrington said that she had been receiving complaints and applause from all sides since Luke and Noah's romance first began.[12] The recent changes, she voiced, were implemented "because of some of the feedback that [they'd] gotten, and because of what [they] thought was best for the show creatively."[12]

Boston Globe detailed that gay characters on television are common by now, "both on cable and on network shows such as ABC's hit drama Brothers and Sisters". They noted that Luke and Noah "follow in a long tradition of daytime soap characters with coming-out stories and with daytime talk show hosts such as Rosie O'Donnell and Ellen DeGeneres, both openly gay, having attracted broad fan bases".[12]

Within the series, Luke and Noah had talked about love, and had conversations about when they would first have sex. All this, combined with their very occasional kisses, made Luke and Noah representative of a new aspect within the soap opera world. "This was one more programming frontier," said Andy Towle, who runs the popular gay-theme blog towleroad.com and keeps readers up to date on Luke and Noah developments.[12]

Luke's story of coming to terms with his sexuality began in late 2005, as the son of one of the show's longstanding couples, Holden Snyder and Lily Walsh. Bloom, CBS's senior vice president for daytime television, said the show's executive producer and head writer laid out a tentative long-term plotline in advance, unfolding it slowly so that the audience would conclude that Luke was gay before he officially announced it. From the start, she made clear, the writers hoped Luke would go on to become a central character, with everything that entails: "It's daytime television. It's the love story business."[12]

Luke's coming-out story garnered praise in the gay community and an award from the gay-rights group Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). Hansis and the actress who portrayed his mother (Martha Byrne) appeared in public service announcements on CBS.[12] Tharrington said that due to Luke's storyline being successful, the writers eventually added Noah. "Everyone in the town came to accept Luke as he was, and the viewers did, too," she elaborated. "What we kept hearing from viewers is, 'We love Luke. We want him to have a love interest, too.'"[12]

In 2008, Luke and Noah's story drew another GLAAD award nomination for the series. The storyline has often attracted gay men, who follow the show with "a mix of activist pride and love-struck glee". Luke and Noah clips on YouTube "have been edited from the episodes down to the relevant scenes". Hinds said he had started to watch the soap opera in its entirety, "because [he] just wanted the show to be successful — to support the storyline".[12]

Though the Luke and Noah romance garnered positive reaction, Tharrington and CBS officials said they heard complaints from viewers opposed to the storyline. They would not say which side draws a bigger response.[12] The American Family Association, a conservative group based in Tupelo, Mississippi, had received hundreds of complaints about the Luke and Noah romance — particularly their kisses, said Randy Sharp, the group's spokesman.[12] "It was a big turnoff for them," Sharp said. "The word 'repulsive' was used once or twice. 'Offensive' was used more than once.... It was overtly gratuitous. It's not necessary to the storyline itself."[12]

In 2004, Sharp's group supported a boycott of Procter & Gamble. They complained about some of its gay-friendly corporate policies. With the Luke and Noah story, Sharp detailed that group leaders had a phone conference with Procter & Gamble officials and asked members to contact the company.[12] "Our request to them was to do away with the homosexual characters," he cited. "Your writers can come up with good storylines that the general public would watch and not be offended by."[12]

In contrast to Sharp's views, Hinds felt that the show's approach of implied kisses without showing them was likely not pleasing anyone. "Conservative fans," he pointed out, "still see the intimacy."[12]

Despite the protests against the Luke and Noah pairing, Bloom stated that support for it had been solid. "We have never in any way asked them to censor that story or pull it back," she said.[12] There are signs that, overall, the story has been good for As the World Turns, Bloom further relayed. Over the course of Luke's saga, Bloom noted, the show had moved into a solid position as the third-rated soap across all networks.[12]

Though Bloom and Tharrington insisted that the series would continue the Luke and Noah love story, they made no promises in regards to it.[12] Drawn-out love stories, Bloom pointed out, are a daytime drama staple. "In the soap-opera business, you walk a very fine line between love stories, happily-ever-after, yearning, and obstacles," Bloom cited. "The drama comes from the quest."[12]

On March 2, 2008, David Bauder of the Associated Press put out an article regarding the controversy over Luke and Noah's non-kisses. "The love affair between two young men on the venerable CBS soap opera As the World Turns has triggered a protest campaign by angry viewers," the report opened with.[13] "It's just not the sort of protest you'd expect," stated Bauder. "Fans of the fictional romance between Luke Snyder and Noah Mayer are baffled about why the two characters haven't kissed on-screen since September, wondering whether it's a sign of squeamishness by CBS or show sponsors Procter & Gamble Co."[13]

"We totally support this show and applaud the show for doing this storyline," said Roger Newcomb, a computer worker from New York's northern suburbs and the man behind the campaign. "We just don't understand why they have to be censored or treated differently."[13] Newcomb found it unrealistic that Luke and Noah had not been shown kissing onscreen since their first kiss.[13]

Tharrington assured that there was/is no kissing ban on Luke and Noah, although she would not say what would happen in future shows. She described the mistletoe shot as a "creative decision".[13] "It's always hard to please a diverse audience," Tharrington added, "and we have a diverse audience."[13] One fan had recalled reading a handful of letters in soap opera publications after Luke and Noah's first kiss along the lines of "I don't care if Luke is gay, but I don't want to see it."[13] Bloom stated that there was a "minimal" negative reaction from viewers about the storyline. Despite this, she could not clarify what "minimal" meant in this case.[13] There had been no organized campaign by conservative or parent advocacy groups that monitor television content.[13] "It's entirely new to me," said Tim Winter, president of the Parents Television Council. "I hadn't heard anything about it."[13]

The American Family Association website took a "take-action alert" against Procter & Gamble. They called the company the "top pro-homosexual sponsor on television".[13] The group came to its conclusion based on the number of Procter & Gamble products advertised on primetime television shows with gay or lesbian characters.[13] As the World Turns were not mentioned.[13]

One viewer along with Newcomb were more bothered by other things they had seen on the soap opera. They cited that a 14-year-old boy shot a man who was attacking his mother in 2008, and that "one character was so desperate for a baby that she slept with her ex-brother-in-law and was nearly caught having sex in an elevator. Another woman, they said, led her children and ex-husband into believing she had a brain tumor just to get him back". They felt that these incidents within the series were more offensive than two men kissing, and that the show should not have gone through with the Luke and Noah storyline if they were not going to finish it.[13]

A complicated factor to the Luke and Noah controversy is the couple's popularity. At the time, some 140 scenes featuring the two were posted online,[13] a number that has since grown. The message board on Vanhansis.net gets posts from around the world.[13] While competitors One Life to Live and Days of our Lives saw double-digit drops in viewership over the past year, As the World Turns was down only 2 percent.[13]

Speculated was that the show's producers wanted and still want it "both ways" — to get credit for having a gay couple but no backlash from long-term viewers for showing intimacy, relayed Carolyn Hinsey, editor of Soap Opera Weekly.[13] Despite the speculation, Bloom stated that she would like to see Luke and Noah's romance continue. "If that means there is a natural progression to the physical relationship, I would be in support of it," she said.[13]

Tharrington laughed when asked about any behind-the-scenes debates over showing intimacy between the two men. "You wouldn't even believe," she told Associated Press.[13] Producers are committed to telling the story of the romance, she added, stating that she hoped the audience would recognize what As the World Turns is showing, instead of just what it is not: "We feel like we're doing so much right here. We're telling a story that no one else is doing. We're telling a story that has really engaged our audience."[13]

Within hours, all other news outlets such as CNN and FOX NEWS reported the Associated Press article, as debate about the no-kiss controversy became evident across the internet.[14][15][16][17][18][19]

On April 23, 2008, the two men kissed again for the third time onscreen, after months of campaigning from relentless fans of the couple.[20][21] Washington Blade stated:

After 214 days and an e-mail campaign by angry fans that generated international coverage, the gay teen couple on CBS soap opera As The World Turns finally got to share their third on-screen kiss.

During the episode that aired April 23, Luke (Van Hansis), and Noah (Jake Silbermann) went shopping for the birthday of a woman Noah married so she could get a green card. As they finished their shopping they pulled closely together and shared a series of quick, passionate kisses.[21]

Following Luke and Noah's third kiss, the show slowly allowed more and more physical intimacy between the two.[22] Throughout the month of August 2008, every episode featuring Luke and Noah also included at least one kiss.[22]

Consummation Clock

A debate regarding whether or not Luke and Noah would be allowed a sex scene led AfterElton.com to change their "LipLock Clock" to a "Consummation Clock" which counted how many days the couple had gone without having sex. This was done to try and persuade the producers and writers to portray their relationship with the same freedoms as they would a heterosexual couple.[23] On January 12, 2009, the clock stopped when the couple finally consummated their relationship; they had sex for the first time, which pleased a significant portion of the audience.[24] However, the love scene was not shown onscreen.[24] TV Guide columnist Michael Logan said that the lack of promotion for the sex scene may have been a deliberate strategy to avoid giving protesters a chance to pressure the network from cutting the storyline. "Are they being savvy or scared?" he said. "I don’t know."[24] In addition, Logan commented on how long it took the series to have the two become physically intimate with each other. "It was getting goofy-ridiculous how long it took," said Logan. "But it happened. It’s historic, I guess."[24]

Criticism

Supercouple title

Criticism arose over whether or not Luke and Noah deserved the title of supercouple so early in their union. Fans, straight and gay, voiced that the couple were not together long enough, had not been through enough trials and tribulations, and thus did not begin to compare to the legendary supercouples of yesteryear.

The criticism came after the couple's union of only a few months before being named a top power couple by TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly. Sentiment was expressed that the pairing only acquired the title due to being the only gay male couple on American daytime television at this time.

Airtime

Gay and Lesbian Times reported receiving 20 letters from fans complaining about Luke and Noah's lack of airtime as a couple. In June and April, Luke and Noah were showcased in a total of seven episodes,[25] which caused an uproar. Fans began campaigning in various ways in hopes of getting the couple featured more.[26]

In contrast to the usual praise for the couple's campaigns, the Gay and Lesbian Times criticized fans of the couple on September 4, 2008 for their campaign efforts.[26] They called it unbelievable that people counted the number of episodes Luke and Noah appeared in and shared together and that it would be "easy to laugh at the trivial nature of the fans concerns" if not for "the state of all nonfiction (read: real) gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people nationwide and internationally".[26] Gay and Lesbian Times stated that there are more important things in life than the romance of two soap opera characters.[26]

At the time, Luke and Noah had appeared in only 12 of 60 episodes and shared "a scant 36 minutes together" onscreen; the heterosexual couples had been sexually intimate 23 times onscreen, but not Luke and Noah.[26]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Alexander Nahmod, David (2008-02-07). "The kiss seen ’round the world: YouTube turns soap's gay couple into worldwide sensation". expressgaynews.com. Archived from the original on 2008-02-14. http://web.archive.org/web/20080214135514/http://www.expressgaynews.com/2008/2-7/arts/feature/4396.cfm. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  2. ^ Jensen, Stewart. "Daytime's gay kiss: What's next?". gay.com. Archived from the original on 2007-10-01. http://web.archive.org/web/20071017061404/http://www.gay.com/entertainment/news/?sernum=5237&navpath=/channels/entertainment/television/. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  3. ^ a b Fairman, Michael (2009-02-03). "All Things 'Nuke". The Advocate. http://www.advocate.com/exclusive_detail_ektid72247.asp. Retrieved 2009-02-13. 
  4. ^ a b Branco, Nelson. "Soaps’ best super-couples!". TV Guide. Archived from the original on 2008-06-12. http://web.archive.org/web/20080612070204/http://entertainment1.sympatico.msn.ca/TV_Guide/Soaps/Features/Articles/071018_supercouples_astheworldturns_NB. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  5. ^ a b West, Abby. "17 Great Soap Supercouples: Luke and Noah". Entertainment Weekly. http://www.ew.com/ew/gallery/0,,20174499_6,00.html. Retrieved 2008-01-29. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Avery, Dan (2007-10-07). "One Good Turn: The actors behind daytime television's cutest (and only) gay couple come clean for National Coming Out Day.". The Advocate. http://www.advocate.com/exclusive_detail_ektid49649.asp. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Jensen, Michael (2007-11-14). "As the World Turns' Van Hansis and Jake Silbermann answer your questions". AfterElton.com. http://www.afterelton.com/people/2007/11/nuke_answers_questions?page=0%2C1. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  8. ^ Bevilacqua, Joe (April 1999). "Celebrity Voice Actors: The New Sound of Animation". ANIMATION WORLD MAGAZINE - ISSUE 4.1. http://www.awn.com/mag/issue4.01/4.01pages/bevilacquaceleb.php3. Retrieved 2008-03-16. 
  9. ^ a b Original "Internet tizzy" report about kiss. "Soap News: ATWT: Luke and Noah Fans Send CBS Big Kisses". TV Guide. 2008-01-07. 
  10. ^ a b c d "Soap News: ATWT: Luke and Noah Fans Send CBS Big Kisses". TV Guide. 2008-01-07. http://community.tvguide.com/blog-entry/TVGuide-Editors-Blog/Soaps-News/Atwt-Luke-Noah/800030348. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  11. ^ S. Luckie, Mark. "Landmark moments in Gay Hollywood". Entertainment Weekly. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20153936,00.html. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Weiss, Joanna (2008-02-01). "Their soap smooch made history. Fans ask: Will it happen again?". The Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/ae/tv/articles/2008/03/01/their_soap_smooch_made_history_fans_ask_will_it_happen_again/?page=1. Retrieved 2008-02-03. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Bauder, David (2008-02-02). "Unexpected protest at a soap". Associated Press. http://cdn.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2008/03/01/entertainment/e210036S20.DTL&type=printable. Retrieved 2008-02-03. [dead link]
  14. ^ "We want more of gay story". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2008-05-12. http://web.archive.org/web/20080512115503/http://www.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/TV/03/03/apontv.missingkisses.ap/. Retrieved 2009-11-17. [dead link]
  15. ^ "Soap Viewers Want to See More of Gay Story Line". Associated Press. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,334551,00.html. Retrieved 2008-02-03. 
  16. ^ "Unexpected soap protest favors gay kiss". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2008-03-17. http://web.archive.org/web/20080317081057/http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AP_ON_TV_MISSING_KISSES?SITE=NYPLA&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  17. ^ "Soap's fans protest gay couple's modesty". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2008-03-18. http://web.archive.org/web/20080318211141/http://0-www.sfgate.com.mill1.sjlibrary.org/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/03/03/DD8BVCE2T.DTL. Retrieved 2008-02-03. 
  18. ^ Bauder, David. "Washington Post reporting Unexpected Soap Protest Favors Gay Kiss". Associated Press. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/02/AR2008030200002.html?hpid=entnews. Retrieved 2008-02-03. [dead link]
  19. ^ "npr.org reporting Unexpected Soap Protest Favors Gay Kiss". Associated Press. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=87840497. Retrieved 2008-02-03. [dead link]
  20. ^ Witnessed on-air. April 23, 2008, As the World Turns.
  21. ^ a b Schafer, Matt (2008-04-23). "Gay couple kisses on ‘As the World Turns’. Fans accused soap opera of censoring male liplocks". Washington Blade. http://www.washblade.com/thelatest/thelatest.cfm?blog_id=17887. Retrieved October 2008. 
  22. ^ a b Witnessed on-air. As the World Turns.
  23. ^ "As the World Turns". AfterEllen.com. October 2008. http://www.afterelton.com/TV/as_the_world_turns. Retrieved 2008-11-02. 
  24. ^ a b c d Hartinger, Brent (2009-01-13). ""ATWT"’s Luke and Noah (Finally!) Get Busy". AfterEllen.com. http://www.afterelton.com/blog/michaeljensen/atwt-luke-noah-finally-get-busy. Retrieved 2009-05-19. 
  25. ^ Witnessed on air. As the World Turns.
  26. ^ a b c d e "Drop the disco ball and pick up a sand bag, silly queen!". Gay and Lesbian Times. October 2008. http://www.gaylesbiantimes.com/?id=12964&session=99ef49b36bc2d6ef430d06b5caef486b. Retrieved 2008-09-04. 

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