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Anthony Herrera
The devil made him do it
For the Week of February 15, 2010
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Mick Dante is either schizophrenic, or James Stenbeck is more powerful than I ever imagined. Mick claims that he is a victim of evil James's mind control. The goal: to get Mick to carry out James's final wishes. If that's the case, where do you suppose I could get one of those hypnotizing flashlights? Mick wouldn't be the first person in Oakdale to fall victim to James's brainwashing, but frankly, if that's the case, this storyline is a tough" treatment" to swallow. Here's why.


I've been critical from day one of Mick and his magic "treatments." Mostly, it annoyed me that intelligent, independent women like Barbara and Emily would allow a complete stranger to inject them with mystery serums. (Let alone the fact that he got Paul and Ali on board, too.) But I have to say kudos to the writers and to Colleen Zenk-Pinter for so beautifully explaining why Barbara succumbed to Mick's scheme. Her heart-wrenching confession to Henry that she would do anything to be young, alive, and beautiful, to attract him, was almost worth putting up with all this Mick nonsense. But not quite.


No offense to Tom Pelphrey, whose performance I have enjoyed immensely, but I'm not a big fan of these supernatural storylines. (Yes, Brad's ghost falls under the supernatural category, but it was so well written and performed that I couldn't help but love it.) The Mick storyline has dumbed down several ladies in town, from Ali to Barbara, and that exasperates me. Making the women of Oakdale look moronic to fit a contrived plot-driven storyline is a big mistake that frustrates and alienates viewers. Believe me, I've got the disgruntled fan e-mails to prove it. It's no secret that Pelphrey is a fabulous actor. But, creating an exciting short-term storyline for him should not have resulted in the demeaning of other long-term characters.


Here's what should have happened, in my opinion. Pelphrey is a powerhouse villain, who can also play sincere moments well, so we should have seen him as James's offspring, coming to Oakdale with a chip on his shoulder, not a split personality under the control of a dead man. We need to have a villain in town we love to hate. (I know we have Craig, but who says we have to be limited to one shady character? General Hospital has an entire town of morally challenged characters.) Mick would have been fantastic at needling Paul, hitting on Barbara and Emily, charming Lucinda, hatching sinister plots, etc. The possibilities are endless. I don't like the James mind control angle. If James Stenbeck was going to return to Oakdale, I would prefer it to be in the body of the talented Anthony Herrera.


As for Mick and the way he's switching personalities constantly, I think Meg may have to give up her room at Deerbrook to him. That's where he's headed with all his crazy talk that he is James Stenbeck. If Mick were to stay in Oakdale long-term, a sensible solution is to say that James had a chip implanted in Mick's brain, just like Paul, that caused all the erratic behavior. The old "chip in the brain" seems to be an easy way for fans to forgive characters for past insane choices. I wish it were that easy to forgive the show planners for these plot-driven decisions.


Meanwhile:
• "That kid is not my father!" Go Paul! He couldn't have described Mick's ridiculous claim any better. I think this line could rival the infamous "Luke, I am your father" line in soap pop culture. I was chuckling out loud.


• Jack Snyder used to be an honorable guy, but lately, his behavior is mirroring town Lothario Craig Montgomery. Vowing his devotion to his wife one minute, then kissing his ex in another, is a sleazy move. In even more poor taste was using his ex-wife - who he is still in love with - to pick out a Valentine's Day dress for his wife. Note to Janet, let this bird go, and fly back to Carly. He's already left the nest, mentally, anyway.


• Henry and Paul need to strike up a brotherly friendship. Henry needs to find a pal to commiserate with, and Paul could use a male confidant, too. They are both charming and funny, and I'd love to see someone on this show have some male-bonding time. Plus, the hilarious one-liners would probably have us in stitches.


• Liberty's battle with cancer is a heart-warming storyline. Kudos to Meredith Hagner and Julie Pinson for such honest portrayals. Watching Liberty get manically excited about her prom dress in one breath, and soberly depressed in the next, as she realized she may not be alive to go, was a touching scene. And Janet's struggle as a helpless mother, desperately trying to save her daughter, has gotten me teary eyed on more than one day. Bravo to all in involved in this tale.


• Oh, Ali, fidelity just isn't in your blood, is it? I'm so frustrated that she repeated her pattern of having an affair the night before her wedding. Did she learn nothing the last time this happened? Ali is always in a rush to marry someone. I think she's becoming the new Meg. Note to Ali: you don't always need to have a man in your life. The fact that Ali is marrying her sister's ex-husband and her ex-fiancÚ's nephew should have been her first clue that this wasn't going to work.


• Paul is on my list this week for being mean to his mama. Barbara tried to explain her desperation and reasons for using Mick's treatments, citing Paul's earlier statement that she was looking younger, but Paul explained he was lying. He told her she didn't look younger: "You just look like a fool." Ouch. That was harsh, even for Paul.


• I was cheering on Holden this week when he said that he didn't think he could ever get over Lily marrying Damian "ten minutes" after Holden was pronounced dead. Neither can I, Holden!


• Henry may have met his match in schemer Dr. Reid Oliver. Falsely locking up Henry in quarantine for TB, as retribution for Henry investigating him, was a nasty move. Dr. Oliver should do some investigating of his own though. Henry can give as good as he gets, and he's been known to don a dress and high heels to do it.


Best Lines of the Week:
(The police rush in and arrest Mick, who claims to be James Stenbeck.)
Barbara: "What are the charges?"
Paul: "Fraud, assault, impersonating a lunatic."


(Katie tells Henry she's meeting her new brain-surgeon roommate for lunch.)
Henry: "Isn't it enough you have to share your place with McBrainy? You gotta have lunch with him, too?"


(Barbara tells Henry she resorted to Mick's treatments because she wanted to feel young and alive to compete for Henry's affections.)
Barbara: "Despite all your faults, you are alive."
Henry: "What faults?"


Reader Spotlight:
(From Two Scoops reader, Janice.)
This story-line with Mick/James must end soon, as it is driving me away from my hour of ATWT. It's ridiculous storylines like this, paralleled with poor writing, that is spelling doom for soaps. Give me more Carly and Craig, Lucinda, Lisa, and the old Stewart women. Also, give Meg a backbone; her forever-the-helpless victim is tired.


(From Two Scoops reader, John.)
I couldn't agree more (with you): Luke and Noah have zero chemistry. Noah and Maddie have way more chemistry. I've never liked (the Luke and Noah coupling) and I'm gay.


(From Two Scoops reader, Marie.)
Jennifer, Yup. You got that one right: Dr. Oliver is the most overbearing, obnoxious character I've seen on TV in a long time. But where Mason was sleazy and unbearable to watch, this guy has me in stitches. This actor is one of the best finds ATWT has come up with in a long time. I hope he keeps up this chip-on-the-shoulder attitude and doesn't have a sudden change of heart. I laugh out loud at his impressions of Oakdale Hell.


(From Two Scoops reader, Peggy.)
Before the show goes off, please put Henry with Katie, Jack with Carly, and James with Barbara. How exciting!


(From Two Scoops reader, Janet.)
If the show continues with this Mick thing being James I think I will be glad to see it go off the air. I could vomit every time he is on, and the thing with Alison (sleeping with Mick) was totally disgusting. I'm also fed up with whiney Luke and Noah. No wonder the show is tanking. Guess I am old fashioned. I want to go back to the family days of the Hughes and Lowell's and the Snyder's. The show seemed to have some meaning then.


That's all for now Scoopers! See ya next time.
Jennifer Biller


Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of soapcentral.com or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen, what has happened, and to take a look at the logistics of it all. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same view point.



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