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To Luke & Reid, With Love

ATWT: To LuRe With Love

It’s striking how well-layered and nuanced Reid is, and in such a remarkably short period of time. I do give (reluctant) credit to the writers for creating an original character, but mostly, I’m giving wild, mad props to Eric Sheffer Stevens, a relative unknown before this role, for fleshing out an instantly memorable and likeable-in-spite-of-himself character.

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I’m not always easy to surprise, but while I was busy watching all my long-time stalwart favorite ATWT characters, like Carly, Henry, Jack, Craig and Katie, a sly newbie strolled in and began to steal my heart, playing a sarcastic, droll, and enigmatic man. Very well played, Dr. Reid Oliver. Very well played, indeed.

Lately, new storylines and/or new characters just drive me up the wall, considering the tick-tick-ticking going on in the background with each passing ATWT episode. I resent the time and energy given to brand-new characters, or even worse, temporary day players that will contribute almost nothing to the legacy of ATWT. But in the case of Dr. Reid, the brilliant and arrogant neurosurgeon, I wholeheartedly say "Bring It On."

Beyond just being gay, and a potential love interest for Luke, the character of Reid is really out of the ordinary and fascinatingly fresh to me. He’s sarcastic to the point of almost being cruel, and yet he shows genuine moments of true compassion and empathy.  He’s driven and ambitious, but he likes to hang out with Katie and baby Jacob.  And he doesn’t seem to care what anyone else thinks of him, a trait I sincerely wish I could emulate. But most appealing to me, he’s acerbically, bitingly funny. I’m a sucker for really good sarcasm and for somebody not afraid to tell it like it is. And that’s Reid.

It’s striking how well-layered and nuanced Reid is, and in such a remarkably short period of time. I do give (reluctant) credit to the writers for creating an original character, but mostly, I’m giving wild, mad props to Eric Sheffer Stevens, a relative unknown before this role, for fleshing out an instantly memorable and likeable-in-spite-of-himself character. This character could have easily and quickly become a caricature; the insufferably rude and pompous ass; but instead Reid is a refreshing and original voice in a genre than can’t claim innovation very often.

And shockingly, Dr. Oliver doesn’t even have any convenient ties to any of the longer-term residents of Oakdale. He’s not somebody’s long-lost son or brother. He’s not the nephew or cousin of a Hughes or Stewart, or any one of those contrived relationships that give a new character instant entree into the world of Oakdale.  In the case of Dr. Oliver, he was thrown in to the mix with no safety net of a pre-existing relationship, and yet still quickly found his own niche. In that time, he’s also found his own vocal and already loyal fan base, too.

I hate to toot my own horn, (oh, who am I kidding? I love to toot my own horn), but from his first few scenes, I had a nagging suspicion my man Reid was gay, and was brought on specifically to revive the floundering Nuke storyline. And I was the one screaming at the TV, "I knew it!", when it was revealed Dr. Oliver was indeed gay.

By this time, I had sensed some underlying sexual tension between the good doc and Luke Snyder and I was really curious to see where this potential twist could end up, as it was shaping up to be a much-needed shot in the arm to a storyline that had totally run out of steam.

Without hesitation, I’m sorry for all the Nuke fans, because I used to be one of you, but Noah and Luke’s storyline flat lined a while ago and has been languishing on life support for months. Even Jake Silbermann (Noah) seemed truly bored and Van Hansis (Luke) was over-acting the heck out of his scenes, perhaps in a vain attempt to instill some desperately needed freshness into something that had gone decidedly stale.

That’s not to say Nuke isn’t the end game when ATWT fades to black come September.  I fully concede that the writers and executive producer Christopher Goutman may fully intend for Luke and Noah to end up happily ever after, especially considering the iconic status of the duo. And I might even be okay with that, if done organically, and if TPTB don’t just throw them back together in the last five minutes of the series, with no regard to the outrageous chemistry brewing between Luke and another man.

But then again, perhaps just like in real life, Luke and Noah may have finally and simply outgrown each other.  After all, Luke is a wealthy philanthropist, and although it’s rarely shown, he presumably has immense responsibilities and must make far-reaching and weighty decisions. It makes some sense for him to be attracted to, and have similar interests with, a successful, brilliant and highly educated neurosurgeon like Reid.  That’s, ahem, realistic. Teen romances rarely survive into adulthood, and if done right, the Noah and Luke love story could conclude sweetly, and still remain a fond and poignant memory for viewers.

Furthermore, if Dr. Oliver was brought in simply to rejuvenate a storyline that had fizzled, there’s just one teensy problem. It’s Luke and Reid that are seriously heating up the screen, not Luke and Noah. And I do mean Heating. It. Up. The first kiss between the good doctor and the young millionaire was absolutely to die for, and I’m a straight woman.  When Reid grabbed Luke’s face and masterfully kissed Luke like he had every right to do so, I was melting.  And the way he held on to Luke’s face, even after the kiss was over, made my little heart just go pitter-patter.  That was a great, instinctive touch by the actor and left me dying to see another. Danielle Steele herself couldn’t have penned a better first kiss.

At the end of the day, soap couples work because of chemistry. Either two actors share it, or they don’t. Or much worse, as in the case of Luke and Noah, the storyline gets so convoluted that the appeal is ruined.  And as much as I once saw that spark with Noah and Luke; too much has happened in the interim. And if I’m honest, I’ll admit Reid and Luke have even more pull for me than Nuke ever did.

Reid is an unusual, imaginative character and Luke has become a sincerely appealing and bright character once more, instead of the self-pitying fool willing to meekly accept the shabby way Noah was treating him.  Besides, and not incidentally, Reid and Luke truly look great together, and act exceedingly well off of each other.  They’re breathing exciting life into a show that desperately needs to go out with a solid bang.


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