“As the World Turns” writer talks to AfterElton about the controversial ending to the Luke-Reid-Noah story
It’s been nearly a week since As the World Turns ended its 54 year run on CBS and the residents of Oakdale faded to black.
While many fans were satisfied with the endings for their favorite characters – all of them happy it seems – fans of gay couple Luke Snyder and Reid Oliver did not get that happy ending with Reid being killed off a few weeks before the finale.
Even fans of Luke (Van Hansis) and his ex-boyfriend Noah (Jake Silbermann) did not get a happy ending there as Noah left for LA at Luke’s insistence. So Luke is left in Oakdale alone, vowing to oversee a new hospital wing being built in honor of Reid (Eric Sheffer Stevens).
There has been backlash against how the story played out, backlash fueled by the fact that it seemed to fit into a stereotype that often has gay characters end up dead or alone.
ATWT co-head writer Jean Passanante spoke with AfterElton about the characters and how things ended. She says things would have turned out far differently for Luke and Reid had the show not been canceled.
“Because I love the character of Reid, I knew that our audience loved the character of Reid. I love the actor, and certainly if the show went on, he would have stayed on and on and on.”
Passanante also wants fans to know that they didn’t make the decision to kill Reid lightly and never meant to hurt viewers: “Never ever ever crossing anyone’s mind was ‘Oh thank God, let’s get rid of the gay guy before he can have a really great relationship with Luke.’ It just couldn’t be further from the truth. We had a great couple there and we knew it. We were killing ourselves that the show was coming to an end because let me tell you, I would have loved to have written the hell out of that thing for you. Really.”
“So it wasn’t something we set out to do to annihilate the gay guy, and people must know that. If it did add to a media stereotype, of course that’s horrible and I do feel terrible about that, but that was certainly never the intention. I do think we got a great story out of him and he became kind of a heroic character.”
She also points out the Reid wasn’t the only gay character on the show: “We haven’t killed off … I mean, we have three gay characters on the show and one of them died, so I don’t think we can be blamed for killing off the gay characters because we don’t know what to do with them. We certainly have the sense that Luke will go on and he’s proudly gay and openly out and everything else, and that Noah is as well, and that their lives will continue and perhaps intersect.”
Okay, she explained Reid’s death. But what about the ludicrous fact that two young and attractive men like Reid and Luke, obviously hot for each other, never had sex?
“All I will say is that if you think that was a decision that we made just all by ourselves because we thought that was the right way to do it, you know, there are obviously pressure on us and that’s just how it is. I don’t mean to sound so defensive – but of course, I would have liked that, too! And if we had more time I would have been able to get to a point where they were having an active and happy sex life. But as it was, it was all kind of curtailed.”
Asked what those pressures were and if they came from the show’s producers Procter & Gamble, Passanante says only “Well, you know, I won’t go into that. But I think it would be naive of any reader of your site to think that we just go off and do whatever we want. It’s a television show, you know?”