One of the best examples of multi generational storytelling over the past several years on As the World Turns, was Luke Snyder’s coming out.
It was Holden, the man who delivered (can’t remember the last soap opera baby who arrived in a hospital delivery room), and raised Luke (whose father is Damian Grimaldi) as his own, who first suspected. Holden’s conversations with his cousin, Jack, were heartfelt, and a welcome refuge from the rest of the show’s hyper-pacing.
The reactions of Luke’s family to his homosexuality were both predictable, and pitch perfect: Holden was accepting, but concerned; Damien wanted to reprogram him; his mother, Lily, was torn; one grandmother, Lucinda, fully embraced the news, his other grandmother, Emma, was more reticent. His siblings didn’t seem to care much one way or the other. Not that they didn’t care about their brother; it’s just, what’s the big deal about being gay?
Then came time to find Luke a nice boy; a film student at Oakdale U, Noah Mayer, seemed to fit the bill – except for his father, the homophobic Colonel, and his mother, the madam. Of course, viewers didn’t know that Emily’s madam, Cherie, was Noah’s mother until shortly before the Colonel murdered her. Noah didn’t even know – as far as I know, he never even met her. As for why Emily was turning tricks and getting the living shit beat out of her by a john (Deborah Jarmello has an essay in the forthcoming, The Survival of Soap Opera…, in which she examines every frame of that harrowing episode), I guess it was just a phase she was going through – she seems to have grown out of it.
Once again, an opportunity squandered to develop and explore a family, however dysfunctional. This would have been a particularly rich story to tell, if, as many hoped, the Colonel had been gay and closeted, and as that was revealed over time, he could have slowly come to understand both himself and his son. But turning the Colonel into a murdering sociopath (in addition to murdering his ex-wife, and son's mother, his transgressions include shooting and paralyzing Luke, who, of course, made a full recovery) was just so much easier.
© 2010 Lynn Liccardo
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