Noah: I — I heard you, uh, stopped by the hospital.
Luke: Did Dr. Oliver tell you that?
Noah: Told me, yelled at me, threatened me, yeah.
— Noah and Luke, February 10, 2010

MAJOR SPOILER ALERT: TV Guide article

I normally will shy away from spoilers on this blog, but a few things caught my eye on this one. If you don’t want to be spoiled, do NOT click through here.

Yesterday, TV Guide’s Michael Logan posted an interview with ATWT Executive Producer Chris Goutman, which pretty much spoils every single major storyline. This piece was also quoted extensively in yesterday’s Michael Fairman blog.

I just left a (much shorter) variation of the following response on Michael Fairman’s blog as a comment.

[spoiler]I am (for now) choosing to stick my head in the sand and to ride it out. I feel like CG/ML ruined pretty much all the storylines for me with this interview, given the way the CG’s responses are phrased – I’m not sure I can understand WTH his motivations for saying all this are.

However, as a LuRe optimist, I NEED to point this out: while he talks about how other couples WILL or WILL NOT be married, or how they MADE THE DECISION on the ending, LuRe is the only couple in your excerpt that is described wishy washy language.

To (mostly) quote Chris Goutman (see original TV Guide article for exact quotes):

  • Barbara and Henry will finally make it to the altar….they know there’s no other way to complete themselves other than being with each other.
  • Emily and Paul will be able to see through all their mishigas and finally realize they are meant for each other. They are going to raise Eliza together and be a family."
  • Carly and Jack will also wed…odds be damned and differences be damned, these two belong together.
  • Chris is suffering from a dire heart condition but Goutman hints that they, too, will end on a blissful note. "We couldn’t wrap things up with Katie still in a state of mourning over Brad’s death.
  • Bob and Kim, will elect to go on to the next stage of their lives and their long-brewing argument — should Bob retire as chief of staff and spend more time with his wife? — will be resolved in the final episode
  • Meanwhile Tom and Margo, who currently have the longest-running marriage in soaps, will go out as a team.
  • But what to do about Holden and Lily? We made the choice not to marry them at the end of the show but we will leave them in a place where we know they will always be intertwined"
  • Lily’s buttinsky mom, Lucinda, also has some love in store — she and her ex-husband, Dr. John Dixon, will reunite when John comes back to Oakdale to try to save Chris’ life.

The phrasing of all of the above is so unambiguous as to be truly ruinous of any suspense (hence the term “spoilers”). So, what is notable is what’s left:

  • There’s an interesting little twist in store for them (Tom and Margo) and they will end the show as empty-nesters. I take this to be a reference to Casey and Ali’s reunion, though interestingly it is not mentioned as a third wedding. So presumably there’s only an engagement, if the spoilers about them playing a role in the discovery of Nancy’s death are true.
  • The complete absence of Dusty and Janet and the baby. Did Michael Logan forget to ask, did CG leave them out in his responses or does no one actually once a CarJack reunion has been finalized?

I suppose you could argue that the Bob and Kim spoiler is ambiguous, but is there much question that he will retire? And does anyone care when he does it? How about if Reid is not in the finale because he’s on duty at the hospital? Or Bob is the tragic death which has repercussions for Reid? I know, I’m reaching.

But this brings me to the LuRe spoiler.

  • Prepare for a tragic, yet heroic, twist to the Luke-Reid romance — one that’ll set the stage for a potential rapprochement for Luke and Noah. "Without giving too much away, I do think Luke and Noah will always have a deep and abiding relationship," Goutman says. "Reid came along and challenged that love and his presence made Luke and Noah grow up. Their relationship will endure." That said, Goutman admits that if ATWT had not been cancelled, Luke and Reid could well have been a couple for the ages. "Their connection was immediate and they are dynamic together," says the boss. "Soon after Reid’s arrival, we had a lot of diehard Luke and Noah fans suddenly rooting for Luke and Reid. It was the best of what soap opera can be."

My observations:

  • 8/10 11.38am UPDATE: Something someone posted on the TV Guide site just jogged another thought. CG says that there is a “tragic, yet heroic, twist” to the Luke-Reid romance.  Note he doesn’t say “Tragic end.” What if the person who dies is not Luke, Reid, or Noah (maybe they’ve just stolen from newssodark’s fanfic, ”Strength of the World” (which I’ll admit I’m saving for post –9/17) but is described as “Luke saves a young girl from being attacked….”
  • If he is actually telling us that Reid dies and Chris gets his heart, why the heck would he qualify it with “Without giving too much away”? There’s got to be more to this than meets the eye.
  • Saying that Luke and Reid could have been a couple for the ages does NOT necessarily mean that they weren’t the couple at the endgame. He’s being coy in his phrasing here.
  • I had an intuitive interpretation or “rapprochement” but I looked it up just for fun. Typing in define:rapprochement into Google brings up:
    “reconciliation: the reestablishing of cordial relations.” “Cordial” relations is hardly the passion we’ve seen with LuRe or the makings of happily ever after. Plus, it’s not an everyday word. There is NO WAY Chris Goutman could imagine an endgame interview without anticipating this question (and his potential response – god forbid he give away something he didn’t mean to). I have to believe he thought about what word to use to describe this in advance, and this choice to me is a strange one.
  • Similarly, he says, “their relationship will endure.” What relationship? Nuke have been on the rocks for MONTHS (since way before Reid arrived in January. Why not come out and say, "Luke and Noah will end up together." Or "Luke chooses Noah." Or "Luke realizes his heart will always belong to Noah." This passive phrasing again seems odd given that this had to be a premeditated quote.
  • Given that 100% of all the other named couples (i.e., all but Dusty/Janet and Casey/Ali) are unequivocally declared, it strikes me as odd that CG would single out Nuke as a “potential” final pairing.

Given how rabid the two fanbases are, CG is clearly still trying to string us ALL along – the Nukies with promises that Nuke’s “relationship will endure” and the Rukies by NOT coming out and saying so. I know it looks bad for us, but his wording is clearly set up to keep us ALL guessing. If he’s not trying to string us Rukies along, why not just use the same phrasing as for the other couples.

I see one additional possible scenario motivating the “potential” wording. I don’t believe for a moment that Luke is ready to get back together with Noah (unless they pull a reverse Black Monday and his “I think we could be (right for each other) is completely forgotten by next week.”

For all the other star-crossed and dysfunctional couples (Benry, CarJack, Lilden), they’ve been sowing the seeds of a potential reunion for MONTHS, with intermittent physical affection and ONGOING signs of MUTUAL longing. Nuke have been estranged forever, and Van and Jake’s films didn’t help. In the only scene where Luke expressed any regret (Black Monday), Noah “kicked him to the curb.” If Reid dies, Luke will be devastated (even if Luke decides to go back to Noah before Reid’s death he will be overwrought with survivor guilt) and in no shape to resume a healthy loving, reciprocal relationship with Noah.

So in the worst-for-all-fanbases endings, not only does Reid die a hero, but Noah returns to comfort Luke, and Nuke do NOT clearly end up a couple….just alive and friendly, with the POTENTIAL to reunite at some point in the future. For Luke’s sake, I would prefer that to Luke declaring his undying love for Noah by show’s end, but I think it’s an awful and unsatisfying ending from a creative and intellectual point of view.

Call me not quite (willing to be) convinced of the gloom and doom scenario. Yet.  I think there is a lot of writing on the wall, including Eric’s comment about Reid’s arc having a beginning, middle and end. So, I will openly acknowledge I am in denial and willingly being strung along.

Perhaps that’s why the spoiler/story is slanted the way it is – because LuRe fans so desperately love LuRe, TPTB (probably correctly) believe most of us will watch to the end regardless of the ending. I know I will. As further evidence, look at Black Monday – it generated more interest (as measured by posts and hits on LRO, LJ, and simultaneous users on LRO) than any of the pro-LuRe episodes. If the spoilers were pointing to a LuRe endgame, would Nuke fans be so invested? I’m not so sure.

There are so many reasons I think killing Reid off is a bad idea starting with the fact that this storyline has made me fall in love with Luke’s character (when he is with Reid). I think Reid has been absolutely fabulous to his development as a character and I adore Rooftop Luke, Grown-up Luke, and Sparkly Luke. Who the hell wants to watch more Whiny Needy Luke?

But here’s a final, and somewhat off-topic thought: As a not-so-closeted feminist, I actually didn’t notice that on my other recent obsession, SyFy’s Battlestar Galactica, in their supposedly gender-neutral society, pretty much all of the human women were dead by the finale. Roslin and Starbuck, of course. But also Admiral Cain (not sure if anyone was sorry to see her go), Racetrack and Cat. Even Cylon D’Anna Biers (Lucy Lawless’s Three) ultimately chose fatalism over survival.

It was SO sad that a show that went out of its way to create strong, compelling, complex women would then go and kill them all off (with StarBuck’s death being completely unsatisfying).

Ditto ATWT. Or at least, that’s where signs are pointing. Creating a compelling story with gay characters who have been embraced by thousands as just “characters”, only to have them be the only ones without a happy ending? If indeed the final episode was taped on the final day of shooting, and Luke is without Noah and Reid, what message does that send? A legacy character with five years history on the show ends up with mommy and daddy in the finale? If this comes to pass, shame on you, ATWT.

Breid, Chreid and the COS Endgame

UPDATED 8/10 8.10am EDT: I had one more thought. That is regarding Reid’s other major storyline – the battle for COS. OF COURSE Chris is the sentimental favorite. He’s connected to a legacy family and has been on the canvas for a long, long time. But given the scripting and storyline to date, all signs point to Reid being (WAY) in the lead. If Reid, dies, Chris wins the job by default. Woo hoo – can you sense my enthusiasm here? Even yesterday, Bob told Chris he had to EARN the position, as did Tom (I think) in their brotherly chat (show him that you’re the best man for it; fight for it).

I could actually see Chris ending up as COS, but he really needs to redeem himself in Bob’s eyes to do it – both to overcome Bob’s newfound affection for Reid, but also to compensate for his previous efforts to steal the job away from Bob himself.

In my fanfic, I made Chris COS because I just don’t see Reid wanting the job. When he’s stuck on the Mona tour, he asks “Am I saving lives” and is clearly not pleased to be stuck doing admin stuff. A LOT of the COS’s job is administrative (hiring/firing, approving budgets, etc) and people skills. So Reid not only would need more people skills (something I still don’t believe he could sustain within the next year), but they would actually become more important than his doctor skills. I can’t see him wanting that.

I think Reid is flattered that Bob asked him. I think his ego wouldn’t mind the stroke, but fundamentally I don’t believe this is a job he is suited for nor that he really wants. That being said, he doesn’t give up without a fight, so I think Chris needs to put up a legitimate challenge. Otherwise, the show will miss its chance to achieve true healing in the Bob/Chris relationship. If Chris actually ends up with Reid’s heart, they might as well make him a eunuch because they will have taken away any character strength he might have ever had.

When GL went out last year, the comparable relationship was Philip/Alan. Philip went to a lot of effort to heal their bond before Alan’s tragic and heroic death. If Reid dies, they will have not only messed up Luke’s story, but Chris’s as well.

The Hugheses are a legacy family. Tom and Casey have pretty much mended their bridges and Casey is on his way to law school (eventually) and that branch is having its happily ever after. Bob/Chris deserve this too, especially given that Franny and Sabrina are off the canvas.

[/spoiler]

2 Responses to “MAJOR SPOILER ALERT: TV Guide article”

  1. In college I bought my first VCR before I bought my initial textbook so I wouldn’t miss the show. Although working as a Universal Studios Tour guide I met a coworker who had a recurring part on the show as a nurse.

  2. Cecelia says:

    Nice to read that someone who is moved by Luke and Reid also loved BSG. I, too, consider myself a feminist and I loved Starbuck. But I didn’t hate the ending for her because I felt that she was lost and really searching for a purpose. When she found her purpose, (leading them to Earth)she seemed finally to be at peace. I believed that she and Lee were soulmates, but felt that her personal voyage was more important than a happily ever after with Lee. For some reason, it seems like Reid’s personal voyage to be a better man, involves opening up his heart and learning to have a relationship with this man that he loves, so I really mind him being denied this by the idiot writers, especially after he has come so far in his journey.

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