Looking back at the stories this past year on "As the World Turns," one thing is clear. The writers weren't afraid to take chances. Emily became a hooker. Alison became a porn star. Lily became a pill addict. Paul got a psychic gift. Adam turned into a sleaze. Luke came out of the closet and got a boyfriend. Casey went to prison. And everyone in town went baby crazy.
Some of those risks paid off. Others became a reason to hit the fast-forward button. Here's a rundown of my picks for the best and worst of 2007.
Best new character: Sam Hutchins, or as I like to call him "Sam, Sam, the Puppet Man." Sure that dummy he calls Cowboy Jack is a little creepy, but Wally Kurth's dimples, swagger, and musical talent make Kurth a keeper. He's the most interesting thing to hit Oakdale since Vienna Hyatt. (Last year's best new character.) Kurth has an uncanny ability to play humor and drama and to go from ruthless business tycoon to soulful singer in a matter of seconds. It's not often I lobby for specific actors, but Kurth's presence in Oakdale is a no brainer. ATWT, you have a gem here. I beg of you, PLEASE DON'T waste him by making him the next crazy stalker, murderer or kidnapper. Find a day player for those roles and give Kurth something real. He has chemistry with Carly and, I'm betting, Vienna and half a dozen of the other Oakdale ladies. Plus, rumor has it that he looks great in leather pants.
Worst new character: Tie - Sofie Duran and Cole Norbeck. She's whiny, wimpy and a doormat for her abusive boyfriend. Sofie Duran was probably introduced as a possible love interest for Aaron Snyder. Turns out, I find her impossible to watch and even more impossible to buy as half of a potential couple. It's hard to respect a character that has so little respect for herself that she tolerates Cole's antics. Plus, I don't think I've ever seen a more boring character in daytime. I'm sad she's eaten up screen time that could have been given to characters that make me hit rewind over and over, instead of fast forward. (Yes, I'm talking about Henry Coleman and Margo Hughes.) Just as bad as Sofie, is Cole Norbeck. (I found it impossible to choose between them for Worst New Character.) As Gwen's shady brother, this role could have had potential. Think Sonny on General Hospital or Zach on All My Children. But, Cole was so one-note that viewers had only one choice: hate him.
Best recast: Austin Peck as Brad Snyder. From the day he hit town, Peck's Brad Snyder began ruffling feathers. He tweaked brother Jack, he infuriated Katie and Carly, and he exasperated matriarch Emma. But Peck's charm, arrogance, and comedic timing made Brad the guy we love to watch, and shocking as it is, root for. Peck is delightful in every scene and has oodles of chemistry with Katie, Jack, Emma, Carly, Henry, Vienna, and even the Snyder kids. Kudos to the casting department for landing Peck. If he weren't a recast, he would have earned the title of Best New Character, because frankly, that's what Brad feels like this time around, a whole new character with a whole new attitude.
Worst recast: Dylan Bruce as Chris Hughes. Before you send me hate mail, declaring that I haven't given enough time to new Chris, hear me out. This Chris simply doesn't look the part. He looks entirely too young, and frankly, way too metrosexual, compared to the last Chris, Bailey Chase. Maybe it's exasperated by Chris' competition with macho man Dusty for Emily's affections, but this Chris is coming off as slimy and wimpy. Is it too much to ask for a Chris Hughes that is sexy, manly, and charismatic? (Think Patrick Drake on General Hospital. Now that's a doctor I could see Emily tossing Dusty out of her bed for.) Bruce does have something about him, though. That voice is beyond sexy. Perhaps he would have made a better Cole. He seems to play vulnerable well.
Best storyline: Tie - Faith's bulimia and Luke finds love. A child with an eating disorder or a teen who is gay aren't exactly easy topics for parents to talk about. As the World Turns took two socially relevant issues and showcased them in a way that had people thinking and talking. And they did it without going for the easy shock factor. Through Faith and Lily's eating disorder storyline, some female viewers realized that their constant dieting and criticisms of their own bodies were affecting their own children's images. Others, while uncomfortable watching two guys kiss, believed that the gay teen storyline started a dialogue about sexuality in many households that otherwise would have stayed silent. Congratulations to all the actors and writers involved in these two story gems. They entertained, and they educated, a rarity in daytime.
Worst storyline: Cleo stalks Gwen. From her crazy teeth to her crazy antics, Cleo was the silliest storyline on the show this year. (And that's saying something considering we had "Carly-is-dying, oops, no-she-isn't" and the "snoozefest of Meg/Paul/Craig/Rosanna.") Jennifer Landon is talented, and frankly, I'm sick of seeing her as oh-so-serious-long-suffering Gwen, too, but whoever thought of dressing her up as a nutty psychopath who tied her enemies to a train track in Branson, should have rethought the idea.
Most ruined character: Adam Munson. As fast as you can say recast, Adam went from a sweet mama's boy of two true-blue cops to a sleazy, overbearing, violent, attempted rapist. It's sad when characters with long-term history are assassinated for silly plot points. The Adam we knew and loved would never have treated Gwen so horribly or broken his mother's heart.
Most wasted character: Henry Coleman. UGGGGHHHHHH!!!! I continue to be baffled and annually stunned as to why ATWT cannot see the gem they have in Trent Dawson. He's a fan favorite and can deliver comedy and drama. He deserves better than simply serving pepparkacker (my apologies to Vienna.) The year started out strong for Henry. He met a beautiful women, and it looked like for a millisecond that he was about to get a real storyline, a possible love triangle with Vienna and Katie or Vienna and Brad. Instead, he got a diner, Vienna as his girlfriend, and what seems to be a permanent slot as a supporting player with little or nothing to do. If ATWT makes one big character change this year, PLEASE let it be that Henry moves from the backburner to the fire. Give him some history, a past lover, a business deal with Lucinda, a rekindled romance with Katie, something. Anything. I'm begging here. Best love triangle/quad: Jack/Carly/Katie/Brad. It's must-see-TV when this storyline is playing. In other words, I never fast forward a scene when any of these four are on. This quad has chemistry from all angles, so much so that I've waffled throughout the year about who I want with whom.
Worst love triangle/quad: Meg/Paul/Craig and Rosanna. Years ago if you had told me that a storyline with Craig, Rosanna and Paul would be the main reason I fast-forward the show, I would have laughed at you. But with a recast Craig, a boring Meg, and no chemistry at all between Rosanna and Paul, I can't sit through more than a couple minutes of all the lies, jealousies, and accusations this foursome delivers on a daily basis.
Worst departure: Casey goes to the hoosegow. One day he was a struggling college student with a gambling problem, the next he's sharing a cell with Bubba in the big house. Let's hope Margo is planning a prison break soon. Honorable mention: Maddie exits, too. She at least got to tell Henry goodbye, but she should have shared a scene with her "surrogate" mom, Margo, before she was shuffled out of town so hastily.
Dropped storylines: Paul was psychic for a couple months, but apparently he's cured now. And Carly and Lily had a decorating business four about three minutes.
Please fix it: Gwen Norbeck Munson. When Gwen first hit town, she was an edgy musician who made all the wrong choices. She was dangerous and sometimes a train wreck. Fast forward to now, and she's become a heroine, so boring and predictable that I find all her suffering hard to take. I miss edgy Gwen. Please bring her back and put some life into this character, who seems to have lost all her zest, and sense of fun!
"Huh?" moment of the year: Lucinda tries to off Craig with drugs she stole from the hospital. Lucinda was always shrewd, never homicidal.
Missing you: Simon and Lucy, please come home. Oakdale isn't the same without you.
Here's to better things ahead in 2008 that hopefully includes:
Best Lines of the Year:
(Katie discusses the fan mail she and Brad are getting for their new talk show.)
"I think letters can be very helpful actually. Someone does need to do something about his hair."
(Paul interrupts his meeting with Lucinda to check his cell phone messages.)
Lucinda: "You have to do that? I thought you were clairvoyant. Don't you just see them?"
(Policeman Dallas calls Vienna to give her an update on her case.)
Vienna: "Dallas, of course you're on my side. We're both named after cities."
(Holden discusses Jack and Carly's love connection.)
Holden: "I think you can only arrest your wife so many times before that connection is broken."
(Vienna tells Jack that she is an innocent bystander in the jewel robbery/recovery, but her English isn't very good and Henry has to translate.)
Vienna: "I had nothing to do with stealing them. I was a pansy.
Henry: "A patsy. You were a patsy."
(Lily complains that Holden is constantly criticizing her.)
Lucinda: "He's a Snyder, dear, they're always holier than thou."
(Katie tells Jack she'll stay with the kids, while he and Carly look for Parker.)
Jack: "What about your brother's wedding?
Katie: "I'll catch the next one."
Happy New Year, Scoopers! Thank you for all your comments, support and shared laughs from the past year.