March madness
by Jennifer Biller

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March madness
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The week of March 20, 2006
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Last week, the best scenes were between Margo and Casey. Their arguments about parental trust and teenage rebellion were realistic, and their frank talk about sex was something that is seldom seen on daytime or primetime.

We're smack in the middle of March Madness, which means a short week of ATWT and plenty of college basketball. (Go WVU!) That said, Oakdale is experiencing a little March Madness of its own that has nothing to do with hoops. I don't ever recall a time in Oakdale when the majority of characters were outright liars, until now. Welcome to March madness.

Just in case you've lost count, here's a current rundown of the devious deceivers: Carly, Nick, Will, Gwen, Casey, Maddie, Henry, Emily, Paul, Meg, Jade, Luke, old-reliable Barbara, possibly Emma, if she lies about the gun, and Holden, if you count lying to himself that his son is gay. See, the town has turned into a cesspool of fantastic fibbers. It's madness people! Whether it's little white lies or lies of gigantic proportion, it seems no one can tell the truth. I'm a little frightened when Katie is the moral compass of Oakdale.

Every show needs some liars and troublemakers, just to make things interesting, but this many is a little strange. I'm telling you, it must be a March thing.


--What has happened to Emily? My bet is good drugs. That's the only thing that could explain this character transformation. Yes, she's always been the town harlot, but cold-blooded-premeditated murder was never her style. Now, she's threatening to kill people on a weekly basis. Did she suddenly start working for Tony Soprano? I'm going with the theory that those drugs Barbara slipped her last year have done irreparable damage and made her this side of wacky. (Yeah, I know. Denial - it ain't just a river.) I love bad girl Emily; Killer Emily, not so much.

--The best scenes of the show this week were between Margo and Casey and their arguments about parental trust and teenage rebellion. This was realistic, charming storytelling between a parent and a child. Their frank talk about sex is something seldom seen on daytime or primetime. Margo is such a cool mom, who carefully walks the line of friend and authority figure. I hope to see more of her parenting style, with this winner of a tale. I'd forgotten how fabulous Ellen Dolan is, and that's a shame. She hasn't been on screen much the past year. Why can't she get a front-burner storyline? She's had nothing to do at the cop shop lately, and that's a travesty. All the cases have been given to newbie Nick, suspended Jack and clueless Hal. Get Margo back on the job, and let us see her managing her mom duties, with a son she can't trust and a husband who works as much as she does. That's realistic drama, and in Dolan's hands, must-see-TV.

--Scoopers, you know I love Henry, but do you think Emily could float him a loan to get his hair trimmed, or maybe just buy him a comb? I know the messy look is in, because Jack, Nick and other guys in Oakdale are sporting the former Casey-do, but this is Henry, who always has his suit pressed, his hands manicured and his hair precisely combed. Henry is the poster boy for metrosexual. So, unless his appearance is supposed to represent his downward spiral and gambling problem, a la Jennifer's drug-addict hair curls, then it just seems off for Mr. Martini. I'll buy the messy 'do on the blue-collar Kasnoffs, mixed-up Jack, or former stable boy Holden, sure. But not Henry. It's out of character.

--I'm taking bets, people, on who has Dusty hog tied and blindfolded. The best odds are on James at this point. Other contenders include his former mafia enemies, Molly- for his shabby treatment of her, dark horse Barbara- because frankly, it seems about time for her to start interfering in Jennifer's life again, and perhaps Rosanna. However, fingers crossed, I'm hoping it's Craig. Seriously, how cool would that be? He and Dusty have been enemies since the Lucy kidnapping, and Dusty was a major player in thwarting Craig's scheme about the baby. (Maybe it's just wishful thinking on my part that they'll pan up from those shoes to reveal a smirking Craig.) But, place your bets, people. This one has me stumped, and I love it when that happens. To see some readers' guesses, check out Reader Spotlight at the end of this column.

--I know I'm probably in the minority here, (it's not like I haven't been there before) but I was sorry to see Will and Gwen's tie the knot. Yes, I know it will create intense conflict and drama, due to their family's objections, but these are kids. Call me crazy, but I would have liked to have seen them get to be kids at some point, with all the teenage drama that comes with it: prom, dating, brooding and school. In the past, the show has had trouble finding enjoyable teens. They hit the mark with Will and Gwen, only to age them to adults too quickly to play adult storylines such as marriage and employment. Maybe Casey and Maddie will fill the teen void for them, now that the Munsons have moved into adult land.

--Regular readers know I try to stay spoiler free. However, I couldn't help but read some trade news about the upcoming 50th anniversary episodes. I won't spoil you, but I will say this. If these scenes play half as well as they sound on paper, then it's going to be landmark daytime television. I can't wait.

--Fan reactions are mixed on the rumor of a Rosanna recast. Some have offered suggestions as to whom they'd want to play the part: Heather Tom, Tamara Braun, Nancy St. Alban. Others don't want her back, since Craig is gone, and so many of their favorites are currently simmering on the backburner. Others would rather see Molly. I have to say, I wouldn't mind Rosanna back, if she's given a decent storyline. But, if she ends up like Sierra or Margo, then no. Stay away from Oakdale. Rosanna has rich history with Mike that could be revisited, and that could be interesting. And I always enjoy her scenes with Carly and Paul. If these rumors turn out to be true, I hope the recast is good. Cady McClain left big shoes to fill.

--Welcome back Katie the meddler! We haven't seen you in a long time. Who here can't wait for the scene where Carly comes after Katie for telling Jack the truth? Me either. Katie hasn't meddled in years, and this time, she did it to help someone other than herself. I'd say that's maturity, on a Katie scale, anyway.

--Emily should have taken Henry up on that Bermuda trip. It looks like Paul and Meg are falling for each other, and I don't think Emily is going to take it well. Look at how she reacted to Paul dumping her the first time. Note to Meg: Pick up a bulletproof vest while you're at the police station.

--I don't know who was more shocked - Lily, or me - to see Jade and Luke in bed. I knew this girl was going to be trouble. It's about time we had a new bad girl in town. I can't wait to see what she has in store for the Snyders.

--Now that Maddie has been kicked to the curb from the Hughes household, maybe this will be a wake-up call for Henry to get it together and become, dare I say it, responsible? But not too responsible, we want Henry to keep his edge. However, it would be nice for him to have a roof over his head.

--That fight between Jack and Carly was emotionally brutal. These two are so good when they're dealing with trust issues. How many times can Jack forgive her for her lies? I'm thinking his patience has to be wearing thing. However, Carly does have some leverage, considering Jack's hookup with Julia.

--This is completely off topic, but I know many of you are "Veronica Mars" fans. So, I wanted to let you know about an interview I did with one of the show's cast members. (Shameless plug.) Check it out at my blog

Best Line of the Week:

(Emily accuses Meg of concealing Dusty's bloody wallet to hide the evidence in the murder investigation.)
Emily: "So, what'd you do with it? Did you throw the wallet in the river?"
Meg: "No. I buried it at Wrigley Field right next to Hoffa's body."

Reader Spotlight:

(From Melissa)
"Hey, I just wanted to say that I too think James is back. The moment when Dusty turned around and recognized his "killer" I knew. This is totally classic ATWT and James. The only thing missing is the mysterious phone calls from someone in Oakdale to someone in an armchair, where we only see their hand or arm. Or maybe it could be Tonio Reyes! They never did find his body...and I've been waiting for him to resurface. Just something to toy with."

(From Marie)
"It can't be, can it? After watching the teaser at the end of last week's last show, my mother is convinced that the "feet" walking toward Dusty belong to Emma. If Meg didn't do it, and Paul didn't do it, and Emily or Jennifer didn't do it ... EMMA?"

(From Sandra)
"This is about every episode. So many of the actors are "whispering" their lines lately. Is talking extremely low the latest acting method? I am so tired of having to change the volume up and down or TIVO back to find out what they said. Or maybe my hearing is just going!"

(From Pat)
"I look forward to your column Jennifer. I agree with you on most of your views, where we differ is Craig. I don't miss him at all. We do agree about "One Kasnoff Too Many," or Nick, as they insist on calling him. Funny when he's the only one, my name still fits. With an ego the size of Texas, he rubs me the wrong way. I like Paul with Meg. They seem so natural together in scenes. Poor Emily looks ready for a nice padded room."

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

Jennifer Biller
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