Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Kate's Current TV Crush - Eric Sheffer Stevens

Yes, it's true. I've fallen for another man.

And so has Luke Snyder. :)

Over the past few months I've gotten sucked into another fandom. This time it's As The World Turns, which kind of sucks because the show's been cancelled and will end its 54-year run in September. On the one hand, I'm clearly not an early adopter; on the other, I'm thoroughly enjoying the ride to the end of the line.

One of the biggest reasons? This fella right here.

Seriously, guys, Eric Sheffer Stevens is one of the best actors I've ever seen on US daytime television, hands down.

No, scratch that. He's one of the best actors I've ever seen, full stop.

Yes, the character is fantastic. Yes, the dialogue is crackling and hilarious. But in the hands of a lesser actor, it wouldn't have the same impact, the same quality, the same SPARK it has once ESS has gotten ahold of it.

I'm a former theater nerd. And there are moments when watching Eric on the show that I have to actually pause the DVR and marvel over his choices. The line readings! He's got the best dialogue on the show, hands down, but even simple lines are powerful in his hands. My personal favorite? It's from the episode where Luke and Reid are discussing Luke's relationship with Noah (over an unconscious Noah, in the hospital following brain surgery. Hey, it's a soap.). Luke says he never thought he'd ever be with anyone but Noah. Reid nods and says, "that explains a lot."

(Right now you're thinking, this poor writer has gone around the bend, because how in the hell is that an interesting line? Believe me when I tell you, thanks to his interpretation of it, that line MAKES THE ENTIRE SCENE. I've been flailing over it for weeks. Don't believe me? Take a peek at the episode.)

(You may also note the kissing at the beginning of the episode. Um, rowr. This is US daytime television? Not German? Amazing. Also, Chemistry 101, in action.)

In the few short months Eric Sheffer Stevens has been on As The World Turns, I've become an unabashed Reid fangirl. The character is nuanced, interesting, challenging, and fun to watch. He's cranky and arrogant on the outside, but with enough hints of vulnerability and gentleness to balance out the character (and make the audience understand how Luke could fall for him).

So the character is fantastic, the actor is amazing, and the storyline is outstanding. Why is As The World Turns being cancelled, again? Oh, right. Because they didn't hire Eric Sheffer Stevens early enough.

No matter. As long as ESS is on screen, I'm along for the ride. Here's hoping he stays through to the very end - and goes on to a wonderful, long-lasting career once it's done.

(And I'm not crushed that I wasn't able to get a "Hi Kate" picture of him from Soapfest to add to my photos of soap actors holding a "Hi Kate" sign. Well, maybe a little. Fingers crossed that he makes it to at least one more fan event so I can find someone to take one for me--or go myself!)


Notoriouslyunique said...

Excuse me for a moment, I was going to post an intelligent comment but got distracted staring at the pic...

I think one of the best decisions the writers made regarding his character, is allowing him to step away from Luke for a while and interact with the other characters (like Katie, Henry, Chris, Bob, and Kim), therefore ensuring that he is 3 dimensional and fully-integrated in the scene by the time he starts falling for Luke. This way, you have 2 characters dealing with their mutual attraction, instead of 1 character and a prop.
It has been done with straight characters a million times, hell, Luke's parents have divorced 4 times in the last 5 years primarily using that technique. This speaks of a certain respect they have started to show gay characters, mainly by not having a token "gay" on the show and getting day players to take care of his storylines.
And why have they acquired this respect (and talent) all of a sudden? I'm pretty sure it has to do with the cancellation...
Now that they don't have cancellation to worry about anymore, they are more concerned with giving us good TV and going out with a splash.

Oh, and ditto on everything you said about ESS. He has a theater background, which he says he doesn't want to leave for long. Putting my disappointment that it means we won't be seeing him in Hollywood blockbusters aside, I at least hope he heads out to Broadway now, because he deserves it and more.

esda said...

Totally agree with you in all points: well written, well balanced character in a great storyline played by an amazing actor. I haven't had such a crush on an actor and fictional character like I'm currently having on Eric and Reid right now. <3

Tamera said...

I've been watching ATWT off and on for a few years now and had a twinge of sadness when I heard it was cancelled. So, I decided to watch it again until it ended...which will be on my birthday btw :(. That was about a month before Eric came on the scene and I was becoming reaquanted with the stories and with the new actors and not really getting that invested in the show. Then Dr. Reid Oliver arrived! He was interesting and spiced up the rest of the show. Pretty soon ATWT has become about Luke and Reid and I fast forward through everything else.

Not only has Eric spiced up the show, but he's introduced me to Luke in a way I never saw before. Now I know why people say Van is a good actor, Eric definitely brings out the best in him.

I hope the end of the show doesn't triger Eric fading back into the woodwork. I have mixed feelings about him being on a soap. There's a huge audience for soaps, but that doesn't always translate to other areas of entertainment. So, I want him to be a rising star where everyone can see him, but I know he will always have an audience in soaps.

Traci said...

I have been watching ATWT for almost 40 years, and in that time I have never been in awe of a character or the actor that plays them. ESS is a breath of fresh air on this show, and his presence makes the actors around him better. The scenes between he and Van are especially electrifying and I wait to watch on the days I know they are going to be on.

Like you, I am hoping he goes on to do some big things. I heard a rumor the other day that he was going to be doing a play in Vermont in July, where I will be on business. If he is, you'd better be sure that I will be there to see him!

Jeff said...

Kate: And here I thought I was the only one thinking about the specifics of Eric's line readings. What I've noticed is the way his voice changes registers in order to convey emotion. One of the many scenes that blew me away was right before the second kiss, when he defends himself against Luke's accusation of hurting Noah purposely. He starts out in his "normal" voice talking about all he has done and how he has cared for the man Luke loves, but then when he gets to "whether you're with him or not" his voice rises and gets pointed, like it's flying right out of his cheekbones. By the time he gets to "Is that who you think I am?" it goes way up into his head voice and then just lingers. All of that in the space of about 10 seconds. Incredible.

Lisa said...

I completely agree. I've never been into daytime soaps before, mostly because the acting is so campy, but I stumbled upon Luke and Reid and have gone gaga over them. I love Eric's character and think he's a wonderful actor. I hope that after As the World Turns is over he goes on to bigger and better things. I'll be supporting him the whole way!

Jane said...

Can't believe I've been missing out on seeing Eric's work. I haven't watched "As the World Turns" since high school

Kate Davies said...

Notoriouslyunique - I was going to include more pictures but wasn't sure I'd ever be able to finish the post. *stares dreamily at photo*

I totally agree that the interactions with other characters have really given Reid Oliver a depth you don't often find in "the other man". He could have been just a plot device (Mason, anyone?) but he's really been woven into the fabric of Oakdale. It's lovely.

And I'm pretty sure that the freedom that's come with a guaranteed end date has a lot to do with how daring ATWT is being these days.

Esda - so nice to know I'm not alone in my Reid/Eric crush! My poor family and friends, having to put up with me quoting him all the time. (Although they're probably glad they don't have to deal with the German as much anymore, now that I've added a US soap to my rotation.)

Kate Davies said...

Tamera - I so agree with you about Eric's impact on Van's acting. I always liked him as an actor before, but there's something about working with Eric that's really stepped up his game. I know that when I was acting, the better my partner, the better I was. They just feed off each other's talents so well.

I think Eric is destined for so much more than just daytime. His range and skill will take him far, if there's any justice in the world.

Traci - that would be so cool if you got to see him in a play in Vermont! Darn this whole "living on the other side of the country" thing. LOL (And I may hit you up for a "hi Kate" picture if you do go. ;) I need to add Eric to my collection!)

Kate Davies said...

Jeff - yay! I feel validated! :) Seriously, I keep sending clips of the show to a theater friend, telling her "watch this scene" or "can you believe what he did with that LINE?" I loved the scene you referenced, for the same reasons you mentioned. His voice and how he uses it tells so much about the character.

Case in point. The scene after kiss #2/3 (do they count as two separate kisses, because they aired on separate days? Or just one kiss, because it's a continuation? Whatever...), Reid shifts from seductive to plaintive to hurt to sarcastic to tender -- effortlessly! He COULD have gone with just one tone, but he made it so much more nuanced. *loves*

And your "flying right out of his cheekbones" comment? OMG perfect.

Kate Davies said...

Lisa - I've heard that over and over - how people have gotten hooked on ATWT now because of ESS's portrayal of Reid Oliver. It's so amazing!

Jane - oh, my, yes. Definitely watch. I'm seriously in awe of his performance, and the storyline has been golden. I'd recommend happyinchintz72's YouTube channel if you want to get the full effect of his character. She's got every scene he's been in since day one.

Maia Strong said...

I am *so* telling Dennis and Igor that you're cheating on them! ;-)

Kate Davies said...

Hahaha! I've already confessed all on IJ so I'm sure they'll get the news somehow.

...and I love how everyone is concerned about Dennis and Igor's feelings and not, oh, say, MY HUSBAND'S.

He's a patient and understanding man, he is.

Jan said...

Would also like to add that Eric in my opinion most definately should be classified as a versatile actor indeed. A definition of a true versatile actor, is one who does theatre AND a gay role(s)....voila, Eric!

You may want to share this new YouTube link I just discovered to all the Eric and LuRe fans/fandom.... the link is of a live theatre clip of Eric acting in a play! ENJOY!

Jan said...

For most of the time, I had been watching the Luke & Noah storyline and was a fan, but was beginning to grow weary & frustrated how uneventful they were as a couple. I didn't watch in the beginning, when Eric first started on ATWT's, but it didn't take long for him and the supposed romance that was to develop with Luke, to get my full attention and I got hooked! I definately want Luke to be with Reid in the end!

Agree with you Kate, that TPTB knowing the soap is soon ending, hence the daring sexually charged and passionate kissing scenes were getting the pleasure to complaints here!

Luke & Reid need their own song, don't you think? Would also LOVE to see them dance together! That would be a powerful scene in and of itself because, we all know and suspect very well that dancing would NOT be something that Reid would ever be into or "his thing" as he say's....Would certainly make for some epic television indeed! *sigh*

I'm SO looking forward to watching Luke & Reid's love story unfold this summer....I can't wait! As you've said and many others as well, Eric as an actor portrays Dr. Reid so freaking well, and the character can be so freaking funny. Wonder if they maybe have a comedy writer, for all of Reid's hilarious one liners, lol?!

Since I got on the LuRe train, I'm not getting off for any reason and can't get enough of them or info on Eric especially.

I was an avid watcher and big fan of Kish on OLTL, but I'd have to say I feel in many ways that Luke & Reid's blossoming romance & chemistry surpasses Kish in many ways!

Kate Davies said...

Jan - Thanks for the link! Everything I've seen him in, he's been great. (All hail YouTube!)

(And yes - Kish was wonderful, but more on the sweet side; LuRe is hot and passionate and edgy. Two different styles, appealing to a wide variety of fans. Too bad we couldn't keep them both around!)

Laura said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laura said...

Hi Kate! I am a member of a website devoted to ESS at and I hope you don't mind that I have posted and linked your comments at the forum there. I loved the post and couldn't agree more. We have exquisite taste. :)

Kate Davies said...

Wow-- thank you so much! I love your site and am honored to be included.

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