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Old 03-04-2008, 04:50 PM   #1
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Fans Protest Soap Opera- Gay Couple Needs To Kiss More

(AP)NEW YORK — 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.

It's just not the sort of protest you'd expect.

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.

The fans have started a letter-writing campaign, posted an online petition and even have a Web site that counts the days, hours, minutes and seconds since Luke and Noah last locked lips.

"We totally support this show and applaud the show for doing this story line," 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."

"As the World Turns," which premiered in 1956, had the first gay male character in daytime drama in 1988. Last August was another milestone- believed to be the first time two gay men kissed on a soap- when Luke surprised Noah with the sign of affection.

They kissed again in September, at a time Noah was still coming to grips with being gay. But since officially becoming a couple, their lips have been sealed.

Fans first sensed the new attitude around Christmas, during a tender scene where the two men proclaimed their love for one another. It was clear they were about to kiss, but the camera instead panned up and focused on some mistletoe.

"I've been watching soaps for decades," Newcomb said, "and that doesn't happen."

Valentine's Day featured fantasy sequences involving several of the show's couples. All the stories ended in a kiss, except for Luke and Noah's. They hugged.

That's when the campaign started.

"There are some people who want to see sex between Luke and Noah," said 34-year-old Theresa Webber, who lives north of Boston. "I've been watching soaps long enough to know that they're a teenage couple, so it's not going to happen anyway. But for them to not kiss at all, it's a little extreme."

The soap is owned, produced and written by Procter & Gamble Productions Inc., a subsidiary of the consumer giant that makes Bounty, Crest, Pampers, Mr. Clean and Ivory soap. CBS executives consult on the series, but the creative direction is set by P&G.

There's no kissing ban, said Jeannie Tharrington, spokeswoman for Procter & Gamble Productions, although she wouldn't say what will happen in future shows. She explained the mistletoe shot as a "creative decision."

"It's always hard to please a diverse audience," Tharrington said, "and we have a diverse audience."

Webber recalls reading a handful of letters in soap opera publications after last summer's first kiss along the lines of "I don't care if Luke is gay, but I don't want to see it."

Barbara Bloom, CBS senior vice president for daytime, said there was a "minimal" negative reaction from viewers about the story line, although she couldn't define what that meant. There was apparently no organized campaign by conservative or parent advocacy groups that monitor television content.

"It's entirely new to me," said Tim Winter, president of the Parents Television Council. "I hadn't heard anything about it."

The American Family Association Web site has a "take-action alert" against Procter & Gamble, calling the company the "top pro-homosexual sponsor on television." The group bases its determination on the number of P&G products advertised on prime-time TV shows with gay or lesbian characters.

"As the World Turns" isn't even mentioned.

Webber and Newcomb said they've been more bothered by other things they have seen on the soap, like when a 14-year-old boy shot a man who was attacking his mother. One character is 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 led her children and ex-husband into believing she had a brain tumor, just to get him back.

All are more offensive to her than two men kissing, Webber said.

"It's 2008," she said. "It's something that's real. If they were not going to follow through with it, they shouldn't have started it."

The story's popularity complicates matters. Some 140 scenes featuring the two actors, Van Hansis and Jake Silbermann, are posted online. The message board on Vanhansis.net gets posts from around the world. While competitors "One Life to Live" and "Days of Our Lives" have seen double-digit drops in viewership over the past year, "As the World Turns" is down only 2 percent.

The soap's producers seem to want it both ways, to get credit for having a gay couple but no backlash from long-term viewers for showing intimacy, said Carolyn Hinsey, editor of Soap Opera Weekly.

CBS' Bloom said 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.

Tharrington laughed when asked about any behind-the-scenes debates over showing intimacy between the two men. "You wouldn't even believe," she said.

Producers are committed to telling the story of the romance, she said, adding she hoped the audience would recognize what "As the World Turns" is showing, instead of just what it isn't.

"We feel like we're doing so much right here," she said. "We're telling a story that no one else is doing. We're telling a story that has really engaged our audience."
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Old 03-04-2008, 04:54 PM   #2
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Old 03-04-2008, 04:58 PM   #3
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I had to check it out, for research purposes

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Old 03-05-2008, 09:14 AM   #4
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My wife watches ATWT and Guiding Light, so I catch the odd ep that she TiVo's and watches at night. Now both of these are CBS soaps. GL featured an intimate relationship between cousins that went on for months, but ATWT is squeamish about showing 2 men kissing? Seems strange to me.
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Old 03-05-2008, 09:21 AM   #5
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Originally posted by CTU2fan
GL featured an intimate relationship between cousins that went on for months


First cousins?

Seriously though, that passes the FCC crackdown? Since that the soaps supposedly can't be as graphic in sex scenes-but that has zero to do with this gay couple on ATWT in my opinion. It was a great kiss too, much more authentic and hot (for lack of a better word) than the straight kissing you see- which is usually just a quick (and often unattractive) prelude to the bedroom action.
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Old 03-05-2008, 10:32 AM   #6
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Didn't ATWT show a kiss between two women?
How often have they kissed then?
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Old 03-05-2008, 12:37 PM   #7
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I agree with the protests, actually. If they're going to push the envelope by including a gay couple, they might as well not be prudish about it, avoiding physical contact. That would be completely hypocritical and pointless.
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Old 03-05-2008, 04:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Pearl
Didn't ATWT show a kiss between two women?
How often have they kissed then?
That was All My Children that had the lesbian character and the kiss- one of the characters is still on sporadically and she is now involved with a transgendered person. They live in Europe so there's no kissing shown
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Old 03-06-2008, 06:06 PM   #9
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It's a pathetic world we live in when people actually take the time to write a network letters insisting that two guys kiss more. Geez Whiz.
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Old 03-08-2008, 05:58 AM   #10
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I find it very interesting that on "Will and grace" you had openly gay characters but throughout the entire run of the show you had Grace kissing Ben and her other boyfriends but neither Will or Jack showed ANY affection to ANY of their boyfriends/dates.

I find that strange....and very hypocritical.

Personally, I'd rather see two guys kissing and having sex in a tender act of love then any of the action/violence on TV these days.
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Old 03-08-2008, 01:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by AchtungBono
I find it very interesting that on "Will and grace" you had openly gay characters but throughout the entire run of the show you had Grace kissing Ben and her other boyfriends but neither Will or Jack showed ANY affection to ANY of their boyfriends/dates.

I find that strange....and very hypocritical.
Just goes to show you how prudish the American audience still is...
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Old 03-08-2008, 01:55 PM   #12
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Just goes to show you how prudish the American audience still is...
Or, more aptly, how prudish and cowardly our network executives are. Of the ones I'm familiar with, they have pretty much no creativity or, for that matter, an original thought at all. The very few who do, over the course of history, of course, typically end up as "mavericks" who do really well. But most executives are strictly sales and business-centered. They're not asking how they can make a show better; they're asking how they can get more advertisers and how they can get more shows that appeal to the demographics that advertisers want. And, of course, they would never want to do anything that might drive away advertisers, for any reason, so they are extremely conservative and risk adverse.

I think, generally speaking, this is why most American television is the equivalent of the output from a "cookie cutter." That's because it is.
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Old 03-09-2008, 08:46 AM   #13
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On Brothers and Sisters, which is a prime time show, there are gay characters who kiss often. I don't know how it compares to how much the straight characters kiss, I haven't done a statistical analysis But I would bet it is still less. One of them (who was a boyfriend of the main gay character) is even a minister.

Will never kissed anyone on Will and Grace? Or Jack? I watched that show but at this point I don't even remember. That show was produced by at least one gay man, if I remember correctly. But of course the network still controlled all of that.
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Old 03-09-2008, 09:10 AM   #14
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Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen

Will never kissed anyone on Will and Grace? Or Jack? I watched that show but at this point I don't even remember. That show was produced by at least one gay man, if I remember correctly. But of course the network still controlled all of that.
There was one episode where Jack was protesting this very point. That he was expecting to see the first gay kiss on network television but that didn't happen either.

So Jack and Will go down to the NBC offices at Rockfeller Center and after meeting an executive (who was GAY..lol) they go down to where Willard Scott is greeting people. Jack asks Willard Scott how long it will have to take for him to see two men kissing on TV and Will says "Not as long as you think". He grabs his face and plants a big wet one on Jack's lips.

But other than that......nada.
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Old 03-09-2008, 09:12 AM   #15
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I remember that episode. At least Willard Scott wasn't kissing either one of them or anyone for that matter *shudder*
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