After percolating on message boards for weeks, fan discontent over the lack of a kiss between As the World Turns' Luke and Noah during the show's Valentine's Day episode exploded this past week. In addition to mainstream news articles about it, an online petition implored the powers-that-be to treat the gay couple ''in same manner as any other love story involving any other teen characters.'' During the V-Day episode, they were the only couple not to smooch during a kissing montage, and many speculated that not only was the show fearful of moving forward with a gay storyline, but that the introduction of a new female character would mean the couple's imminent breakup.
But fans shouldn't worry, says one show insider. Noah won't be switching teams and becoming romantically involved with the recently-emigrated Iraqi girl, Ameera, anytime soon. He and Luke will remain a united front, though one rumor, involving a deportation-avoiding marriage between Ameera and Noah, actually is true. Their nups are being written as a standard soap opera tactic of constantly-impeded-love, however, and there's no master plan to actually break up Noah and Luke, says the insider. For their part, both the show's home network, CBS, and its producer, Procter & Gamble Productions Inc., have pledged support for the couple's continued storyline and insist there's no censoring going on. ''We've purposely told Luke and Noah's story slowly to bring our viewers along with us and engage them which we've clearly done,'' says P&G's statement. It continued, ''We make decisions on how to tell our stories based on what we think is best creatively and for our diverse audience.''
And for some, like GLAAD spokesman Damon Romine, the pace of the story doesn't overshadow the magnitude of the relationship being on air. ''The fact that Luke and Noah have shared two kisses is historic,'' said Romine. ''Perhaps some compromises are being made on the intimacy front to allow their story to continue to be told, but let's keep in mind that if P&G or CBS did not want to tell this story, they would very easily have already brought it to an end.''
OLTL: Bringing Up Baby
Much to the consternation of some fans and her father Todd One Life to Live's Starr Manning (Kristen Alderson) took a big step and had sex for the first time this week. With a nod to the direction that the 16-year-old's storyline is heading in, ABC is teaming up with the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy to have Alderson blog about what Starr is going through with this decision and its consequences. Starr has already expressed some regret to her mother, Blair, about the night with her boyfriend Cole, and now the young actress, who's played the character since 1998, expresses her own views. ''I'm Starr's age and I'm definitely not ready,'' Alderson says via a press release. ''Think about sex and decide how important it is to you.... You can always say 'no,' even if you've said 'yes' before it's your decision.''
The weekly blog (on ABC's OLTL website), which will also feature statistics and facts on teen pregnancy, will launch after the Friday, March 7 show. ABC Daytime previously partnered with the National Campaign in 1998, during One Life to Live's story about 18-year-old Jessica's pregnancy, and again for Lulu's pregnancy on General Hospital in 2006.
Q&A: Ricky Paull Goldin
Ricky Paull Golden taped his last scenes on the Guiding Light on March 6 and is next heading off for a nice vacation before he starts work at All My Children. He took a quick stop to talk to EW.com about leaving his role as Gus and heading to AMC to play Tad's younger brother.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How was your last taping at GL?
RICKY PAULL GOLDIN: There were a lot of tears. I just love them all very much over at my old show.
How do you feel about where you left your character?
I really wanted to give some kind of closure to Gus and Harley. Not so sure that I succeeded with that.... It wasn't enough closure for me. They had gotten so separated and this was going to be their time, this year. I think it's what the fans are waiting for.
Can you address the rumors that you left the show out of dissatisfaction with your storyline and the new production model?
I’ve never said that I was unhappy with the new model. I have to take my hat off to [executive producer] Ellen Wheeler for trying this. Although it's not a complete reinvention. Shows [in other countries] have done it.... And it's no mystery to anybody who knows me that I'm a huge advocate of good story, compelling story, and also realistic story. Otherwise, why turn these shows on? You have to really care. And that's what I'm after. I'm after that integrity. I'm really into the writing of these shows.
What was it that led you to take on the role of Jake Martin, Tad's younger brother?
What drew me in first is Julie Caruthers [AMC's exec-producer], with her passion for her show. One of the things she told me was it's not so much the words that are written but the passion you bring to them.... I have a crush on her. I do, I think. She seems to be a very honest, truthful, warm person. All the rumors I ever heard about the show were positive.... I feel like I know a lot of the people over there. The feeling overall is one of excitement to play in the same sandbox as those guys.
Do you know a lot about what's coming up for Jake? Any trepidation about taking on the role that was last seen in 2003?
I don't know what's going to happen with him. We've had some secret talks.... I've got to erase some of the things that some of the other guys did with this role. But I know that people are very, very different in real life half a decade later. If you run into them on the street you don't know where they've been or what they've been up to. So I'm sure that I'll be a very different person than anybody that portrayed him before.
When do you start taping AMC?
During the week of March 30.
What will you with your downtime?
I'll try to clear out my head and try to let go of this character of mine and get him out of my body.