Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

Luke & Noah in the NYT

Posted by Nick S. on May 20, 2008


I’m almost certain the clip they used for the story came from LukeVanFan’s uploaded YouTube ‘Luke & Noah Story’ saga – interesting PGP/CBS didn’t even send them a press kit (or that they chose not to use it).

Anyhow, they got a nice story in the New York Times, which goes into a bit of detail about ATWT and its ratings rise amongst a younger demographic, suggesting that Luke & Noah might be responsible. This is interesting, because I would have posited that whilst the storyline does attract a younger audience, that audience is mainly watching via YouTube or web streaming on CBS.

It also manages to actually get to a really interesting point in the final paragraph, and then refuse to take it any further:

“Class used to be the axis on which so much of the turmoil on soap operas turned. Years ago Luke’s parents provided the drama on the grounds that his mother was an heiress and his father a stable boy. “As the World Turns” hasn’t done anything revolutionary with its gay kiss — gay characters on ABC’s “Brothers & Sisters,” on Sunday nights, display their affection for each other constantly — it has merely discovered the currency of the culture wars.”

…why couldn’t you take that further, NYT? Why, Ginia Bellafonte, why? Anyway, hopefully tomorrow’s promise of an epic Luke & Noah storyline will result in even more media exposure (and, one hopes, audience) for ATWT.


11 Responses to “Luke & Noah in the NYT”

  1. laura47 said

    Well, what do you think they should have said at the end?

  2. Nick S. said

    I think it misses several fairly glaring points which should have been expanded upon.

    Firstly, the audience of a prime-time show has very different expectations than that of a soap. Brothers & Sisters has gay characters, sure, but it’s also broadcast at 10PM. There’s little credit offered to ATWT for actually placing a realistic gay romance inside a daytime slot versus a post-watershed time.

    However, the main problem I have is that As The World Turns hasn’t really discovered any kind of point of entry into the culture wars at all, let alone a currency. Rather, it’s actions of fans themselves that have produced this content, and I think it’s problematic (as well as degrading the efforts of fans) to suggest that the show itself has been responsible for the widespread proliferation of its online content. It’s also a little disingenuous to talk of the YouTube clip of Luke & Noah’s clip when there’s no real evidence to suggest a significant number of the 1.6 million people who’ve viewed it have gone on to watch the soap. Certainly, the fairly consistent numbers for the Luke & Noah story suggest this hasn’t been the case.

    Really, I just have a problem with the article closing by introducing this huge key term without any attempt at definition. What exactly is a ‘culture war’? Who’s fighting who? It seems terribly unclear to me. And even then, what’s the currency? Gay kisses? It seems unlikely. If class isn’t the axis upon which soaps now turn, what is? (…and I’d suggest that class is in fact still the main basis of most soaps, even if it’s bubbling away in a cauldron) in the corner).

    It’s great to see articles about ATWT in the mainstream media, but it’s not so great to see one that seems to be going somewhere really interesting but then kind of cops out at the end.

  3. Mark said

    “This is interesting, because I would have posited that whilst the storyline does attract a younger audience, that audience is mainly watching via YouTube or web streaming on CBS.”

    Hmmm. I know a lot of new viewers who came to ATWT because of the Nuke story are now watching the whole show. I think there is a part that follows the story on YouTube and another part that follows it on TV. I don’t think you can assume that all the new Nuke fans are only watching it on YouTube.

  4. fanofnuke said

    Yippee!! I was happy to see this article. Thanks for posting! I am glad the characters are finally getting the recognition they deserve!

  5. DakotaCelt said

    It will be interesting to see if the rise in numbers will hold as some younger audiences may do more watch.

    The publicity is good in regards to getting people to check the program out.

  6. samford said

    I agree that getting referred to in the New York Times is almost always a win, even if they treat you with somewhat of a condescending tone, as was the case here. I wrote about these issues more here and here.

  7. Mark said

    More attention for Nuke:

    Cyndi Lauper will perform on ATWT as part of Luke and Noah’s storyline:


    http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20202749,00.html (with a pic)

  8. Corey said

    Please update this blog. It is the most intellectual critique of soaps out there and needs more content. Plus, I think you should devote some time to the other soaps and stop giving ATWT so much props. Besides Noah and Luke, the show stinks like a pig pen right now. Try a little OLTL or B&B and see what soapy good drama is all about.

  9. samford said

    Hey Corey,

    This was a blog for a Spring 2008 class at MIT. We used ATWT as our source content for the semester, which is why there’s such an ATWT focus. We watched it as a class. The class ended in mid-May, which explains why the new posts have slowed down. As for your suggestion, I’ve heard good things about OLTL with Ron as head writer, but I tuned in recently on the wrong day, I think–it was prom and there was some High School Musical ripoff numbers, so I wasn’t able to really get a feel of what the show is like. As for B&B, my thesis advisor–Kay Alden–is one of the head writers for that show now. I hear a lot of good things.

    If you’ve liked this blog, though, you should look at the following places:

    My posts on the MIT Convergence Culture Consortium blog on soaps

    Lynn Liccardo’s Blog

    Sara Bibel’s Deep Soap

  10. Nick S. said

    Sorry I haven’t been blogging recently. As Sam said, class is done. However, I’m still watching ATWT (and quite impressed with the show recently, it’s been very good), so I’ll do something soon (well, in a bit. I’m back in the UK for a week, so sadly have to go without…)

  11. hothotmess said

    I ❤ TEAM NUKE!!

    Mr. HotMess

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