Saturday, December 15, 2007


As 2007 winds down, I've been looking back at what happened in Toobworld over the past year in preparation for the annual announcement of the Toobit Awards. And there was one moment that could be considered ground-breaking: on August 17th, American daytime TV (i.e., soap operas) had its first kiss between two male characters on 'As The World Turns'.

The first gay kiss happened back in 2003 on 'All My Children', between Bianca and Lena. But this was between two guys and that's still considered more controversial. The participants were Luke Snyder, who came out last year in Oakdale, and Noah Mayer, who recently arrived in town.

I didn't get a chance to see the episode (although I saw the kiss today on YouTube), but learned of it through the blog of the Hartford Courant's TV columnist, Roger Catlin. (You'll find a link to "Roger Catlin, TV Eye" at left.) His report included info from GLAAD about how rare the sight of two men kissing is in the TV Universe:

1994 - 'Melrose Place' could have been the ground-breaker, but the scene was edited out of its episode.
2000 - 'Dawson's Creek' and 'Will & Grace' both had episodes which featured two men kissing each other on camera.

I suppose it was always implied that so much more happened between men in these shows as well as in many others - I remember an episode of 'The Rockford Files' ("Requiem For A Funny Box") in which Jason Evers played a mobster who came out to his Dad. But don't expect to see anything more than a lip-lock for some time - unless it's in a premium cable offering like 'Queer As Folk', 'Six Feet Under', etc.

I think GLAAD was only compiling data from American TV shows; I think male characters have been snogging - and shagging - each other on TV in Great Britain for quite awhile. A "kid's show", 'Doctor Who', had the Doctor getting kissed by Captain Jack Harkness back in 2005 with implications that Jack would be amenable to so much more. (In this new incarnation of the series, I don't find much about it that really is a "kid's show"; in fact, it's better than most of the crap that's touted as adult sci-fi being presented here in the U.S.!)

And of course, Jack has moved on to 'Torchwood' where he's getting action now from his co-worker Ianto (and had a brief fling with another Captain Jack Harkness back in the 1940s).

There's also a Catalan language soap opera produced and set in Barcelona, 'El Cor de la Ciutat' ('The Heart Of The City'?), which was heavily influenced by 'EastEnders'. In that daytime show, two teens named Enric and Max have explored their attraction to each other over the last season, which means that in the world-view of TV, it predates that of Noah and Luke. (When Enric finally confessed that all he thinks about is Max, he said that he couldn't even watch TV. So I KNOW that boy had it bad!)

This being Toobworld, of course, I can't just leave it be with this 'ATWT' scene as just being a pioneer in same-sex relations on American daytime TV. There's more to it than that within the "reality" of the TV Universe.

The facts are these:

Luke Snyder is currently being portrayed by Van Hansis, but two other actors have played the role in the past: Jake Weary and Christopher Tavani.
It could be - as with many TV characters who live in the soap opera towns - that Luke might have been replaced by quantum leapers from the future. These un-named characters have taken turns to come back to study Life in this era as an already existing participant rather than remaining as outside observers.

If I'm following the dates of involvement properly, Tavani was the first actor to play Luke. Therefore, in the quantum leaper scenario, he would be considered the true Luke Snyder. (If I'm wrong, I hope an 'ATWT' fan out there will correct me.) Jake Weary would be the first leaper to replace Tavani and now Hansis could be playing some future visitor inhabiting Luke's aura.

So it could be that the true Luke Snyder isn't gay, but instead the quantum leaper currently impersonating him is. And by making it look as though Luke came out, this researcher is studying the effects of that revelation on those surrounding him in Oakdale.

I realize that this might look as though I've set back the advancement made for the presence of gays in mainstream TV, but I also have to deal with the quirks of Toobworld, such as re-casting. Personally, I still see it as ground-breaking and way overdue.

There is another aspect that could have come into play which would combine the leaper theory with another soap opera tradition, and still make Luke's same-sex kiss with Noah be the real thing - SORAS (Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome).

Christopher Tavani was the first actor to play Luke, and he just turned 14 this year. In 2005, the age of the character was amped up on the show, so Tavani was replaced by Jake Weary. That way, Luke could become involved with the more adult storylines in Oakdale. His new age is one of many soap opera examples of SORAS.

The reason why - within the "reality" of Toobworld - a character might be afflicted with SORAS can vary. With the Newman children in Genoa City, Wisconsin, (as seen on 'The Young & The Restless'), it's my contention that it was due to their being shipped off to boarding school in Switzerland. Although it wasn't addressed within the series, Nick and Victoria must have been subjected to bizarre experimentation at that school, which caused them to become adults before they returned to Genoa City. (I like to think it was probably an old Nazi scientist still tinkering away after making an appearance on some show like 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' or 'The Avengers'.)

In Luke Snyder's case, he was sent into the future to be replaced by the leaper played by Jake Weary. Unfortunately the time-shifting must have been askew, because even though he was only gone from this time period for less than a year, the true Luke spent more than three years in the future. And now he's back, about 18 years old, and played by Van Hansis. (Toobworld gives a pass when it comes to recasting for aging.)

So that would splain the recastaways and keep the integrity of the same-sex kiss between Luke and Noah intact.

You can visit "Noah and Luke" to see clips from their relationship.....

Toby OB

And for more information about SORAS, check out this Wikipedia article.

(It also has some very snarky and funny info on de-SORASing with regards to Susan Lucci's character of Erica Kane on 'All My Children'!)


caturse14 said...

There is also a German soap called Verbotene Liebe ( Forbidden Love) that features a budding and romantic relationship between two men.

Christian and Oliver are perhaps among the popular gay couple nowadays.

In El Cor de la Ciutat, Max and Iago( not anymore Max and Enric) have been making raves among the Internet and gay communities.

Toby said...

Thanks for checking in, Caturse, and providing me with the added information. I'll have to check YouTube to see if scenes are available there.....