Oh my god, you’re sitting down?

— Reid (to Luke)

News and Updates | 23 December 2010

A few more year-end bests:

  • Soaps.com: Best character: Reid Oliver, Worst Storyline: duh.
  • Greg in Hollywood: Soap Star of the Year: ESS.
  • AfterElton.com Final Power Rankings: #5 Reid, #6 Luke; #6 best show: ATWT

Read more…

From Soaps.com: As the World Turns, Best character: Reid Oliver. He may have been a "House" rip-off but Eric Scheffer [sic] Stevens still managed to make him complex, grumpy and likable all at once. And he helped create the sexiest gay couple since Vincent and Chad.

And also from Soaps.com, As the World Turns, Worst Storyline: Jack and Carly’s predicable, cobbled together story had problems, but compared to Chris and Katie’s romance, their plot was masterpiece. Not only did the latter couple have zero chemistry, they had so little going on that they had to rip the heart out of Reid’s chest to try and give their plot some life.

Greg in Hollywood’s 2010 Greggys: The Soap Star of the Year is Eric Sheffer Stevens who invigorated ATWT’s final days:

When his character of Dr. Reid Oliver was killed off of As the World Turns shortly before the soap went off the air for good I wrote that I hadn’t been that upset since Bobby Ewing  was killed on Dallas.

The reason we mourned Reid so was not only because he had won the heart of our Luke Snyder, but he was played so deliciously by a very talented actor named Eric Sheffer Stevens.

Stevens brought something very unique to a daytime soap and the soap’s writers knew they had struck gold with the actor and his character. He could be so funny, he could be  such a jerk, he could be very sexy and in the end, he could break our hearts.

The seasoned actor was new to soaps and his chemistry with Van Hansis (Luke) was so crackling that many fans welcomed the split of longtime lovers Luke and Noah (Jake Silbermann) so Luke could be with Reid.

…The show is now long gone but if there is any justice, Eric will have a lot more than a Greggy Award to show for it: This man deserves to win a 2011 Daytime Emmy Award!

AfterElton.com’s editor, Michael Jensen has come out with his list of the top 25 gay characters of the year:

Here is a blast from the past! To mark the end of the year, I thought if fitting to bring back the Power Rankings to do the top 25 gay characters of the year so everyone could get mad at me and yell about what an idiot I am. (Or am I suddenly flashing back to the 6th grade again?)

To keep it to just twenty-five characters, I’m limiting it to only fictional characters and not real people (sorry, Yigit) who appeared in at least one episode in 2010. I’m also sticking with just U.S. characters for the same reason.

On your marks! Get set! Disagree with me!

5. Dr. Reid Oliver, As the World Turns (CBS)
Arrogant, prickly, pompous and unapologetically gay. Oh, and a total breath of  fresh air. RIP, Reid.

6. Luke Snyder, As the World Turns (CBS)
We watched you go from closeted teen to an out and proud gay man. Too bad Procter & Gamble couldn’t
handle it.

14. Noah Mayer, As the World Turns (CBS)
You were blinded by your love for Luke. Or was that just blinded by hatred for Dr. Oliver getting all of your lines?

And in case anyone’s interested

7. Oliver Fish, One Life to Live (ABC)
Oh, Fish, you stole our hearts. Then ABC broke them by giving you the ax. Too bad they aren’t half the (gay) man you are.

10. Kyle Lewis, One Life to Live (ABC)
From blackmailer to step baby daddy. Plus, you and Fish made daytime history with a soap-worthy sex scene.

Michael Jensen goes on to list the eleven best programs of the year, saying:

What do I think the eleven best programs of the year were? I thought you’d never ask!

Not to repeat myself, but can I just again remark on how cool it is that there are so many shows with decent gay content that I actually had trouble narrowing it to just eleven! (And I even cheated a bit. Sue me!) Which shows didn’t make the cut? The list includes Greek, The Sarah Silverman Project, Southland, 90210, Project Runway, Caprica, Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood, Dance Your Ass Off and a whole host of others.

My choices were based on a number of factors including how much time gay/bi characters or contestants got on their respective shows, how good I thought their storylines were, and how big an impact each show had on the culture based on ratings and buzz….

#6 As the World Turns/One Life to Live

I told you I was going to cheat a bit with the list. But I’m putting these soaps together as they have a lot in common. Both broke new ground in terms of gay male visibility with their characters and their storylines. And both seemingly got blowback for it.

My two cents. Michael Jensen has received a lot of flak for coming out (pun intended!) in support of ATWT both now and in September given the endings of the three gay characters on the show.

I’ve done a lot of thinking about it and I have to agree with his choice. If you’d asked me a year ago if I’d be writing a blog about two gay characters on a defunct soap, I would have completely laughed at the concept. But Luke and Reid pulled me in.

And consequently, it made me much more aware of a variety of issues ranging from bullying to Prop 8 to DADT. Not that I was completely unaware (I used to answer calls on a suicide hotline, so definitely was aware). But, without being too callous, with so many issues out there, from famine to child abuse and global warming, these had never been “my issues.”

These characters changed that for me. And as much as TPTB ruined the ending, it was also TPTB who introduced Luke and Reid and brought them to our screens in the form that made me fall in love with them.

Do I think the ending was a bad cliche? Yes (especially since the heart donor storyline was so much more integral to Otalia’s storyline, which I also adored). Did I think it homophobic? It certainly wasn’t my knee-jerk reaction – like the actors in earlier interviews, it just wasn’t something that obviously jumped out at me. The intensity of response in the ATWT/LGBT community was eye-opening to me – that is a good thing (not the response, but the fact that it made people like me think twice).

Would I have preferred Reid to live? Duh, of course. But would the world have been better off if ATWT had just never introduced the storyline where they would kill of the gay guy to save the crappy hetero couple? I don’t think so.

To me, despite the ending, we got to see a love story with great chemistry between two multi-dimensional, complex, interesting characters played by fantastic actors. No interior designers with faux European accents. No fretting about manicures or prissy clothes. No best friend sidekicks. But a sexy, snarky, super-smart neurosurgeon and a gorgeous, beloved, capable young man realizing how much he has to offer the world? How non-stereotypical was that?

Their relationship was not only “normal” (well, except for the artificial constraints on its depiction) it was almost “super-normal” in that it was normal done in a way that was so compelling. Does that make sense?

As a straight girl, it was always a love story to me, not a gay love story (I know I have read many LGBT posters who have said that they could not see it other than as a gay love story). But eventually, I think that’s where the world should be moving – to a place where such a story should be so commonplace (not this particular story, since I do think Luke and Reid were uniquely sublime, but gay love stories in general) that the genders of the lovers is a non-issue…regardless of whether the viewer is straight or gay.

The more the world sees compelling stories about interesting gay characters in loving, stable relationships, regardless of the end, I have to believe it’s a step in the right direction.  So (while ducking from the potential eggs that may fly this way), I’ll side with Michael Jensen in thinking that overall ATWT did more good than bad. I’ll be watching with interest to see what GLAAD does with their daytime award next spring (and to see who represents daytime as presenters! Eric and Van in tuxes? Swoon!).

In the meantime, whatever holiday you celebrate (if any) I wish you all a peaceful and safe holiday season and a very happy and “better” new year.


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