The puppet master

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The puppet master
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The week of February 4, 2008
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When a man shows up in town carrying a wooden dummy that he talks to on a regular basis, chances are that he's a little crazy. It's now obvious that Sam is a creep, and that he's after Carly.

When a man shows up in town carrying a wooden dummy that he talks to on a regular basis, chances are he's a little crazy (The man, not the dummy.) I had hoped that Sam wouldn't be that guy, but apparently those in charge had a different idea.

I begged ATWT not to make Sam a sleazy villain. I should have saved my breath. Apparently, the Powers that Be had already made up their mind to use the multi-talented Wally Kurth only briefly, instead of investing in him as a long-term character. It's now obvious that Sam is a creep and that he's after Carly (shocking, I know.) Sam has been revealed to be a two-timing cheat, on girlfriend Kit. Then, there's the fact that he threatened Parker. That was the indicator that he wouldn't be sticking around long. (No one likes a man who threatens children.) Sam, the puppet master, lied to Carly and manipulated Kit and Parker. I wouldn't be surprised if things get even uglier, before Sam finally beats a path out of town. In other words, watch your backs Parker and Carly.

It's a real shame that ATWT couldn't keep Kurth. They could have easily given him a viable character to play, instead of this cheating wacko, I assume, unless Kurth only wanted a short-term deal. With Dusty, Craig, Will and Gwen gone, Kurth could have filled the quality acting gap that will surely be felt. What a loss for the show, but especially for fans. As Cowboy Jack would say, "Well, partners, you've really got yourselves in a pickle now!" The chances that the ATWT honchos will find someone who has Kurth's talent, looks, screen presence, and fan likeability is slim to none. They haven't done it with the last three male characters they've cast, and I don't see it changing in the future.

In other musings:
--I couldn't help but laugh when Lucinda called Bonnie a "wet-behind-the-ears neophyte." Ouch! I hope poor Bonnie doesn't hear what Lucinda thinks of her lawyering skills. She may sue her for slander.

--Is it me or did Carly cut her hair mid-scene? It seemed she was talking to Jack about Parker's behavior one minute and the next she had a new 'do. If I were Carly, I'd be a little ticked. Jack, Sam, or her kids didn't even comment on her new style. Did they not notice that she lost about eight inches of her gorgeous hair?

--I'm pretty sure I know who killed Dusty. (Just call me Magnum, P.I.) My guess is Evan Walsh, the new guy in town who has forged no real relationships with anyone and who seemed desperate to push through his research project, at all costs. We all know the murderer isn't Lily or Holden or even nutty Emily. (Yes, she's proven she's capable of it in the past, but I think she's evolved a little.) The wild card is Chris Hughes. I'm 99 percent certain they wouldn't tarnish his character to that extent though, considering that he's the son of beloved Dr. Bob. Then again, look what they did to Casey.

--Barbara is breaking my heart. (And by extension actress Colleen Zenk- Pinter.) As she shared her oral cancer diagnosis with Lisa, she quietly held back tears, as her eyes filled with pain and fear. Barbara explained that she had a cold sore on the end of her tongue that wouldn't go away and that she didn't ask her dentist for an oral screening. That was a nice public service message, ATWT. Well done! I guess I've always thought that oral cancer happens to people who use tobacco or chewless tobacco, not elegant, sophisticated actresses like Colleen Zenk-Pinter. Kudos to this gorgeous woman for raising awareness that oral cancer can happen to anyone.

--I think new Casey may have potential. If he'd cut his hair so I can see his face, that would help. But so far, he's not horrible - a step up from what we've seen lately in the newbies.

--They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Well, call me crazy, because for the 500th time, I'm SCREAMING, "Give Henry Coleman a storyline ALREADY!" .... Sigh. After three years of writing this line over and over again in this column, usually accompanied by possible plot ideas for him or explanations as to why Henry deserves his own storyline, I feel like I'm wasting my breath. Nothing ever changes. Henry is always on the backburner, comic relief when the drama gets too heavy. I'm begging here and repeating myself again, but give this man something to do before he follows the rest of the talent out the door

--Rosanna is gone. The sad part is that I don't think she'll even be missed. Rosanna's return and subsequent exit is one of the worst storyline botches I've seen. I couldn't help but chuckle when the doctor explained that "stress" induced her coma. Wow. I had no idea that stress could induce a coma. If that were truly the case, I think half the town would be sleeping the deep sleep.

--Vienna, please stop meddling. She is absolutely obsessed with hooking up Brad and Katie, to the point that she's starting to annoy. I love Vienna, but please don't turn her into a love harpy. Katie is capable of choosing her partner. (Granted, she hadn't done a bang-up job in the past.) But, it's her choice. Let her make it. And I say for the 100th time, please give Vienna something to do, so she'll stop meddling in Brad and Katie's relationship.

--Poor Brad. He fell for a woman who was married to his brother and is still in love with him. I say cut your losses, Brad. The man poured out his heart, made a special dinner and orchestrated a romantic proposal. And it got him nowhere. Sure, it almost turned into involuntary manslaughter, when Katie swallowed the engagement ring hidden in her cheesecake, but Brad gets points for trying. Katie, on the other hand, has been nothing but rude and immature, trying to avoid Brad at all costs. Note to Brad: the town if full of beautiful single women. I say move on because it's clear Katie hasn't - or can't.

--Speaking of Katie, what is it about her that makes men lose their minds and propose so quickly? The woman has been engaged/married so many times she's well on her way to challenging daytime's legendary serial wife Eric Kane.

--Carly commiserated to Sam that she felt guilty about not spending enough time with Rosanna before she slipped back into a coma. Funny, I was thinking the same thing. It would have been nice if Carly had had some conversations with Ro when she was walking around Oakdale. Of course, that would have taken time away from Rosanna threatening Paul, Craig and Meg, and I guess we couldn't have that.

--The wrong two people were cut from the Meg/Paul/Rosanna/Craig quadrangle. Ro and Craig were by far the most interesting. Now, we're stuck with wishy/washy Meg and holier-than-thou Paul. I know it's mean, but I wish it were Meg and Paul that had stressed themselves into a coma.

--When Carly says, "it won't be a problem" it's a sure sign that it's going to be a problem. When she tossed off that line to Sam, nonchalantly, about coming back to her place, I just knew things weren't going to end well. Fast-forward to Parker having a melt down about Sam.

--Someone should tell the writers that Paul and Dusty were once best friends and brothers-in-law. How sad is it that Paul isn't the least bit emotional about Dusty's death.

--What did Bonnie do to her appearance that she suddenly looks so different? Did she get extensions or flatten her hair? I can't figure it out.

--Will and Gwen finally patched things up with Barbara and now it appears that Sofie is going to mess it all up. She stole the baby on Barbara's watch, and I just know Will is going to blame his mother. Here's a thought: Blame the nut job you befriended. Any woman who would have gotten involved with Cole is clearly deranged.

--This week's mailbag is overflowing with letters from outraged fans about the dismissal of Scott Bryce. I hear you, Scoopers. It truly is a loss that will be felt. As I've said repeatedly, Bryce is a talent. Still, plenty of you are ticked at me for my comments in my last column, that I preferred Hunt Block's Craig to Bryce's version. Many of you wrote to say that if I had only watched Bryce years ago that I would "get" his Craig. Well, I did watch him years ago, when he was trying to bomb Steve's truck and keep Betsy's affections. Bryce has a lot of fans that are upset with me because I'm not feeling his Craig. I guess the bottom line is that we all don't gravitate toward the same types of actors or characters. (I've never understood why people love Victor Newman on Y&R. In my opinion, he's an abusive, arrogant tool, but people love the guy!) Block's Craig was lighter, funnier, sexier, a flirt, a scoundrel, and a rogue. Now, whether that was due to the writing of the character or not, I don't know. Perhaps if Hogan was writing Scott's dialogue, I'd fall for him, too. But this Craig has left me cold. (It could be the stilted storyline with Meg or the ridiculous scenes with Paul. I don't know. I just know he seems to lack that sparkle in the eye, the smirk, the trademark sunglasses and the vanity plate that screamed Craig Montgomery!) I will agree with you that I'm sad the show has let Bryce go. He's too good an actor to lose, unless they've somehow snagged Block back, which I highly doubt.

Best Lines of the Week:
(Henry describes ladies-man Brad to Vienna.)
Henry: "He's a manimal. That's what he is."

(Parker told J.J. his plan to get rid of Sam.)
Parker: "I was getting rid of a dummy and his stupid puppet, too."

Reader Spotlight:
I had so much mail the last two weeks, I couldn't get back to everyone. I'm sorry. There were so many compelling, funny, well-written letters that I'm sharing more than I usually do. Thanks to all of you who take time to write in with your opinions. It's great hearing from you, even when we disagree!
(From Two Scoops reader Ailene.)
So Scott Bryce is out. Yes, he was needy, insecure and obsessed, just exactly like he was when he originated the role. But Bryce was also consistent, plausible, and oddly likable. Unless ATWT made a deal to bring back Hunt Block, they needed to leave Craig alone. The show is being ruined in the name of saving money. They could really save money if they'd get new and different actors each week to talk to each other - or better yet, talk on cell phones- in the hospital stairwell (the ultimate budget set!) Oh wait, that is what they're doing...

(From Two Scoops Connie.)
Will the last person out of Oakdale please turn out the lights? At this rate, we're going to be watching Michael Park do a monologue by June. Irritating decisions and boring storylines - I don't know how much more of them I'm willing to suffer through before we maybe get to some good stuff.

(From Two Scoops reader Kristen)
Can somebody please tell me where the show is planning to go with so many of the best characters exiting? I can't think of anybody that is left to care about. Sophie, Aaron, Alison, Emily, Chris? This new Casey is not going to work for me. I watched the show when Scott Bryce was on years ago and was so excited to have him back again. He humanized Craig to me. I do agree, however, that they could find something better for him to do than pine away for Meg. She acts like she doesn't care what man she is with; she just runs around with a big smile on her face acting so in love with whatever man she has that week. I was SO disappointed that Scott Bryce was fired and am seriously left questioning if the show even cares about ratings anymore at all.

(From Two Scoops reader Karen R.)
"My favorite line from Lucinda on ATWT recently was when Margo asked how Dusty's heart just stopped beating, and without missing "a beat" (sorry) Lucinda said "Well, I didn't think he HAD a heart..." ha ha LOVE LUCINDA!! She's the ONLY thing left on this show for me. Scott Bryce is always going to be Craig for me. He was the original and I love him."

(From Two Scoops reader Barbara B)
Jennifer, I usually agree with you, but this time I emphatically do not. Scott Bryce was brilliant as Craig. He invented the role of Craig, and he was brilliant back then too. He is the only reason that I was consistently watching ATWT. He can project the multi-layered personality of Craig in such a way that you can absolutely hate what he's doing, and hate him for doing it, but understand why he is doing it. It takes a master actor to do that. Other viewers share my opinion, and you do know that an effort is being made through viewer petition to bring him back, and to fire Goutman.

(From Two Scoops reader Mary M)
No wonder Grayson McCouch wanted to leave! Dusty has done nothing but grump around ever since Jennifer's death. Who can remember the last time they saw him laugh or even smile broadly? Now Jennifer Landon is leaving and I have loved her character and will miss her character very much. Totally agree that Jack & Carly's chemistry always makes the show worth watching, and even irritating Katie (my favorite character for departure) is less irritating with Brad as her foil and love interest. Now if they'd take your suggestion to give Vienna and Henry more air time and a real storyline maybe the show would attract less fast forwarding and more actual watching. There are going to be some awfully big gaps to fill with these departures, and I for one am tired of watching Lily, Meg & Rosanna agonize over one thing or another. One last note...Bonnie and Holden have NO chemistry...ditch that storyline!

(From Two Scoops reader Michelle)
I agree with your thoughts and opinions regarding ATWT, I have been watching it for 30 years and I am 37, however, I have to disagree with you about Scott Bryce's "Craig" while I LOVED Hunt Block as Craig, Scott Bryce to me IS Craig Montgomery, He was always crazy and obsessed about people, always destructive, and manipulative, and Bryce was and is a master at it. Let's not forget his "sparring" with James Steinbeck, John Dixon, and Lucinda Walsh back in the days, His obsession with Betsy Stewart(Meg Ryan) pushed him to fake being paralyzed to hold onto her. This "Character" has always been mental when it came to women. The actor can only be as good as his lines, and with the crazy things the writers are doing with this show over the last couple of years is sad. I really wish you could go back and see Scott Bryce's Craig of the 80's and you would agree he really is a magnificent force, and would give him the proper kudos he deserves. I am heartbroken the show has let him go! But ATWT never asks the fans what we want so I will suffer in silence. Thanks, keep up the good work!!

(From Two Scoops reader D.L.)
Chris Hughes should try out for the Olympic team as a sprinter. We know that time on soaps is not a linear concept, but Chris must have set some sort of record with his run from the bar back to the hospital when Dusty's body was found. I'm also continually amazed at how small Oakdale is. The Snyder farm must be located within feet of the town square. That's all for now Scoopers! See ya next time.
Jennifer Biller

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

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