Why ATWT’s Parker scares me…

This is NOT, repeat…NOT, a spoiler. It’s not even speculation based on spoilers. It’s one writer’s comment about where a storyline could potentially go, and what it would mean if it happened. As far as fans are concerned, ATWT’s writers might be penning a storyline about an angry, know-it-all, teenaged boy. OR they could be writing a storyline about a young man who is on the verge of becoming violent to the women in his life. I couldn’t watch ATWT after Parker’s display the other day. I found them disturbing. His verbal attacks on Liberty and his mother, his controlling actions toward Liberty, his lack of concern about humiliating her in front of ‘another man’… it all adds up to a potential abuse storyline, in my book. I could be overly sensitive, given the current media focus on the Rhianna-Chris Brown matter, I admit that.

Whether or not the writers are headed in that direction is unclear, but it’s the impression they leave on this viewer. If Parker ever smiled, I can’t remember it. The idea that he was once a happy child is lost on me, given his behavior of the last year or so. I don’t know if his current sour demeanor is a choice made by the actor, the writers, or the director – but it has become off-putting. I keep waiting for him to take a swing at either Carly, or his ‘wife’ in one of his fits of rage. Has no one notice his penchant for nonverbally referring to his mother as a ‘whore’, and even tacitly implying it with his dialogue? The look he shot Carly when she opened the hotel door and saw a disheveled Craig in the background made me want to shake that kid out of his shoes! The one person who has always been on his side, who has fought for him every step of the way, and he treated her as if she was renting that room by the hour. It hardly bothers Parker that his father is off with a new woman every other year. It’s that his mother isn’t sitting in a nunnery, waiting for his father’s rare returns to the family, that seems to disturb him.

At this point, as storyline with an abusive Parker would make perfect sense – as sad as that is. The question is, who would be is target? Liberty, Carly, or both? If Parker did become abusive, how would it not only impact the women he hurt, but those around him? Would it impact his father at all? Parker grew up in a home with a father who was at times loving, and at other times angry and verbally abusive to his mother. Parker, himself, became the target of his father’s rage when he married Liberty. Jack threw Parker out of a home he no longer lives in.

What impact would Parker’s abuse have on Jack? Would it lead him to reflect on the abuse he’s leveled at Carly in the presence of their children?

Would it cause him to reflect on how many times he’s referred to Carly as irresponsible, selfish, or deserving of his (and their) scorn in front of his children?

Would he reflect on how many times he sat silent while Parker berated his mother?

Would Carly FINALLY learn to stand up for herself and stop talking garbage from Jack, who has only ever been able to love her as long as he found himself able to ‘approve’ of the person she was? Would she realize that allowing Jack to verbally abuse her created an environment in which her son was put at risk?

Would Jack take some responsibility for Parker’s anger, or would he revert back to type and simply fault Carly for Parker’s actions?

Watching Liberty and Carly struggle to forgive Parker, while still loving him and wanting the best for him could be instructive and informative, no matter how sad. Parker’s behavior is every bit as angry and controlling as his father’s, except in Parker’s case, it’s far worse.

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Speaking of things that scare me… Z and Z?  How much MORE are fans expected to take?  I’ve had more than enough of these two and trying to figure out what purpose they serve is beginning to give me an ulcer!  I have been able to find the one silver lining in the dark ZandZ cloud: we know that Nuke’s love is solid!  They’ve avoided any sort of temptation, so far, at least.  That ‘Z” or “Z” could appeal to Luke OR Noah seems like an impossibility.  There’s nothing likable about the characters.

What also scares me is that I’m enjoying the prospect of Damian and Lily crossing the line.  I KNOW!  How many more affairs could Holden and Lily have in the course of one lifetime, but c’mon…he’s DAMIAN (Damiangodofallmen) and he’s been shirtless.  I’m weak… so so weak when it comes to Damian.  I can understand Lily being weak for him as well.

Having Damian back reminds me of a time when I utterly enjoyed ATWT.

Oakdale, 62268

Fine. I’ll admit it.  I LOVE:  Tori and Dean.  (Loved Spelling’s “So noTORIous” as well).  I was never a 90210 fan, and can’t say that I made it through a full episode in the entire time the show was on the air.  In fact, if you totaled every scene I’ve ever watched, it still wouldn’t get you to a full episode. It was while watching “T&D: Home Sweet Hollywood” that the question hit me.  Has NUKE become the daytime equivalent of ‘Donna Martin’?  What I  know of Donna was that she wanted to maintain her virginity until she was married.  Was she successful in keeping her pledge to maintain her virginity?  I have no idea, maybe a 90210 fan can email and let me know.

While I posited in an earlier blog (ATWT writers vs. THEMSELVES) that the writers are treating Nuke as a mix between a throwback to old-fashioned courtship and a slow build into a ‘controversial’ relationship (as with Jessica and Duncan before them), there is a third possibility.  If Nuke has become the daytime equivalent of “Donna Martin’, they have also become the show’s moral center – and I’ll leave it to you to decide if it was intentionally or unintentionally brilliant on the writers’ part.  Nuke is the one couple that seems to have realized that there are lines which should never be crossed – like, say, pursuing your spouse’s best friend for the sake of a sexual relationship.  At least they haven’t crossed that line YET, not even with one another. 

So if the Donna Martin comparison holds, are the writers waiting for the wedding night for Nuke to finally get together?  Oh cruel irony. 

Here’s another cruel irony.  While daytime has heavily courted, and failed to attract, the ever elusive ‘younger viewer’, it’s failed to pay attention to the cultural shift that’s taken place in the lives of ‘younger viewers’.  Shows like MTV’s “Next”, “Parental Control”, “Date My Mom”, and “Engaged and Underage” (among others) don’t have the skittish and dichotomized view of sexuality that daytime writers do.  The parents of straight and gay youth help find someone who will love and respect their children.  Youthful viewers see images of diversity (racial, sexual, religious) that daytime writers have yet to offer them.  Everyone is treated as ‘the same’.   Imagine that. 

ATWT writers are seemingly between a rock and a hard place. They’ve chosen what is still an “unconventional” storyline in a far too conventional medium.  Actors who’ve been involved in  unconventional storylines in the past  (namely, cross cultural love stories) have spoken openly about the audience’s initially negative reactions to those storylines, much of which has dissipated. The question is whether ATWT writers are willing to fully commit to the Nuke storyline or if they’re going to continue to stall it..

While ATWT’s writers have taken gay characters farther than any network show in daytime history, they still haven’t taken the couple as far as most other couples their age.  I have a hard time believing that fans will find a romantic love story between these two young men more controversial than some of it’s more recent storylines (mentioned below).

ATWT writers?

1 – You’re never going to attract younger viewers who are more culturally fluid and savvy than you give them credit for.  What you’re doing is groundbreaking work for daytime.  It’s old news for them.  My own son is a mid 20-something who has friends who are from all walks of life, of all religious backgrounds, differ in their political philosophies, and whose sexual orientations are never even a question because no one cares.  (BTW, I’ve received pretty negative feedback about referring to Luke and Noah as ‘young’ in the above mentioned blog… that depends of your perspective.  They’re younger than my kid – and yes, I still think of HIM as a ‘kid’.  C’mon folks).

2 – Old veteran viewer beeyotches like me are FAR more open-minded than you give us credit for.  We’re not bigoted control freaks who are afraid of young people in love. Well, we are afraid of Parker and Liberty, who  are more ‘in lust’ than love, and given how hormonal and reckless they are, uh, YIKES! 

The ATWT writers have  painstakingly shown us that Noah and Luke are kids with better morals than either set of parents who spawned and raised them – but where does that leave the couple?  Will they remain the male equivalents of The-virginal-Donna-Martin?   Will writers allow Nuke to become a full fledged couple and create network daytime’s first gay love scenes?  Will NUKE stay together long enough to create a family of their own?  If time tells all, she’s pretty quiet on this score. 

If daytime wants to pull itself into the future it’s time to let go of the squeamishness about race and sexuality.  (Read PGPClassic’s though provoking, July 15th blog entry,  “The Color of Race”).  Come on, daytime, we’re all bigger than that.

Brad Snyder – off the manwhore list!

Image from Soaps.com
Image from Soaps.com

Last, but not least: I friggin’ love Brad Snyder for stepping up to the ‘Real Man’ plate, and joining the moral center spotlight with NUKE this week. Don’t worry.  I get it.  This isn’t “Little House on the Prairie”, but I can’t help loving the balance the show’s provided with Brad becoming an active parent.  We have the drug addicted porn star turned nurse, Emily the former prostitute dating her son’s brother, some sort of drug poisoning that has everyone stripping to the birthday suit, Meg seeing the ghost of a murdered girl, Lily revenge dating to get back at her cheating husband, Vienna leaving Henry, Bonnie representing an obviously guilty criminal, and Brad the good father.  I needed the respite from the endless parade of muck!  It’s been my only warm fuzzy of this past week (that and watching Janet flip her hypocritical bean about being ‘lied to’ as Liberty’s parent).