Knowing how most of the major storylines will end really takes a lot of the fun out of the finale. Even when it wasn’t difficult to see where these plots were going, having (almost) every suspicion confirmed is deflating. But we can’t un-ring the bell so I’ve decided to post some thoughts on the storyline that seems to have two opposing fan bases most up in arms.
Writing a fresh column has been a huge challenge ever since As the World Turns executive producer Christopher “Loose Lips” Goutman granted that now- infamous interview to Michael Logan of TV Guide. I’ve sat down to write countless times since that story was published and I come up blank every time. For really, what is there to say after the boss of the entire show has let almost every cat out of the proverbial bag?
I just want to say that knowing how most of the major storylines will end really takes a lot of the fun out of the finale. Even when it wasn’t difficult to see where these plots were going, having (almost) every suspicion confirmed is deflating. But we can’t un-ring the bell so I’ve decided to post some thoughts on the storyline that seems to have two opposing fan bases most up in arms. And funnily enough, it’s because we still don’t know precisely how this one ends. Isn’t it interesting how that uncertainty makes it more appealing?
I’m of course referring to the LuRe storyline. With the spoiler news that there will be a “heroic and tragic” twist involving Reid (Eric Sheffer Stevens), Reid devotees have alternated between despair that their hero may meet an untimely end and optimism that tragic doesn’t necessarily mean death. As a documented and unabashed fan of Dr. Oliver, I’m completely hoping there’s some chance of an ending for the good doctor that doesn’t involve meeting his maker. May I just add that Goutman’s somewhat vague wording on this storyline proves my point that speculation is, well, fun. And this is why I don’t want to know how it all ends up beforehand. Vague, hard-to-interpret spoilers are the norm and many fans (this one included) love to take a peek at them. There’s a huge difference between cryptic spoilers and flat-out telegraphing each end point. But I digress.
In recent weeks, there have been some hints that a terrible “event” is about to befall the sexy Reid. Case in point: Dr. Oliver telling Luke (Van Hansis) that “life is sometimes very short.” A few days later, Luke tells the good doctor he has “a good heart” (perhaps referencing Chris Hughes’ spoiled need for a new heart). If that’s not foreshadowing, I don’t know what is. Couple that with all manner of “leaked” pictures and taping schedules, fans’ rumored conversations with cast and executives, supposed “insider” info and it all seems to point to one final, and fatal, conclusion.
I’m of the opinion, however, that we still don’t know. Not for sure. Are we being set up for death, or for something less permanent than that? As nail-biting as it is, the excitement really is in the not knowing. And as completely as I have fallen in love with the character of Reid, and with the brilliant Eric Sheffer Stevens, I really want to enjoy the time that’s left with him. I don’t want to know how it’s to end; not before his last scene. And as much as I’m holding out hope that the brilliant neurosurgeon remains alive and spouting sarcasm at the end, with his devoted partner Luke at his side, I also keep reminding myself that as of September 18th, EVERY character will be gone and my journey with ALL of Oakdale will be done. So whether LuRe is end game, or Nuke, or none of the above, I want to be surprised.
On the other side of this storyline are the Noah fans. It was revealed that Jake Silbermann (Noah) has only three air dates remaining between Mid-August and the last episode. This news has sent Noah/Nuke fans, understandably, through the roof. Whether you’re for a LuRe, or Nuke, endgame, the Noah/Luke pairing was historic. Yes, it was a flawed and painfully conservative attempt by ATWT to show a gay couple on American daytime television. But it was the first and as such, deserves respect. To have one-half of that couple completely fade into obscurity is a bit of an insult. Again, bringing up the complaint I’ve been spouting for months. Why did ATWT continue in casting “guest” actors, who ended up with more airtime than all of the Noahs, Susans and Lisas of the cast combined? It’s an executive decision that I will never understand and in my opinion, is a colossal mistake.
So here we are. Less than four weeks remain on the longest-running show left on television. And with all that storied history, and decades upon decades of classic soap opera story-telling under their belts, the executive producer decides it’s a smart move to reveal the endings. Don’t get me wrong: I adore the endings for most of what Goutman revealed. My previous columns are proof of that. But that doesn’t mean I wanted to know all this, without any doubt a month before the show goes off the air.
And yes, I think it’s telling that the one storyline (LuRe) that still has some element of surprise and suspense left is generating the most buzz. Coincidence? I think not.