There's a storm brewing in my newest fandom, and it's fixing to be a doozy.
See, on As The World Turns, Luke has a new love interest, and it's sending some fans into a rage.
If you're not familiar with the background on Luke and ATWT, here it is in a nutshell. Three years or so ago, Luke fell for a supposedly straight co-worker, Noah. Turns out Noah was in the closet, and fell for Luke as well. They became the American soap opera world's first gay supercouple, spawning nicknames (Nuke), fan clubs, even fan events as far away as Europe. Even through the most ridiculous of storylines, fans stuck with them. They survived the Kissing Ban (the network refused to allow them to kiss onscreen for several months after their first two kisses, leading at least one website to put up a countdown clock), the green card marriage to an Iraqi woman, the homicidal father, the college prof who theoretically had a thing for Noah. (Here, again, the censors kept a tight rein on the storyline, causing it to be far more of a whimper than a bang.)
But Noah was blinded in a fireworks accident (and yes, I know how this sounds, as I type it. It *is* a soap, after all), and decided he needed a break from his relationship with Luke, to try to stand on his own two feet. They haven't been a couple for quite a while.
In the meantime, Luke has started falling for snarky, antisocial neurosurgeon Reid Oliver (I know! Give me a break. It's a soap!), and they've even shared a couple of kisses.
To the hardcore Nuke fans, this is a declaration of war.
Me? I'm not an early adopter by any means. I started watching this storyline just a month or so ago (catching up thanks to the magic of YouTube), and I'm a huge Reid fangirl. He's brusque, bordering on rude, and has a snappy comeback to almost any situation. He's also hiding a tender side that really humanizes him.
And the actor who plays him, Eric Sheffer Stevens, is fantastic.
I'm not the only one who's taken notice. The internet is buzzing with fanlove for Dr. Oliver, and the Luke/Reid pairing is gaining a lot of attention.
Me? I'm rooting for Luke to get together with Reid. He's refreshingly honest, he doesn't play games, and he makes Luke act like an adult.
To Nukies, though, that's sacrilege. Luke and Noah belong together because they're OTP (One True Pairing). One phrase I've seen more than once is that the writers owe it to them.
Part of the urgency and backlash, I think, is due to the fact that the show will be ending in September after 54 years on the air. (I said I wasn't an early adopter, didn't I?) Whatever decision the writers make now can't be taken back in the future. Whoever Luke ends up with - or if he ends up with nobody - will be the end of the road.
Maybe I'd have more invested in the Nuke pairing if I'd watched from the start of their storyline. Even then, though, I have to disagree with those who feel entitled to the ending they want, just because they've been fans for so long.
I don't think the writers owe anyone anything, other than a compelling storyline, well-written, with opportunities for all three actors to shine. At the end of the day, it's the writers' story to tell, and the actors' job to sell it.
So what do you think? Is there an obligation on the part of writers to fulfill fan expectations? What if the audience is divided? And what about in books? Do you feel disappointed if an author goes in a direction you hadn't expected or wanted?