Wow, Scoopers, you are fired up! In my many years of writing this column, I don't think I've ever received so many negative e-mails, in a week, about the state of As the World Turns. And frankly, I'm concerned. I understand your frustration, and I'm here to provide some perspective. So, I'm putting on my body armor and wading into this heated debate
Week after week here, I nit-pick storylines, rave about the ones I love, and try to point out where I see potential problems. Yes, in the past year, there has been a lot to pick on (Paul, Emily, Meg, cast losses, characters acting out of character, etc.) but frankly; there has been a lot to celebrate, too. (Brad, Henry, an excellent cast, incredible child actors, fast-moving storylines, and much more.) The bottom line is that the show is missing a few key elements that we've come to expect from our daytime soaps, such as addictive romances like Katie and Simon, staying true to characters, instead of writing them to fit a plot line, and the one thing I miss most: fun. Does anyone even remember the last time we saw a scene where friends or sisters or brothers got together for some fun on this show?
Even with all those issues, ATWT is still better than any other daytime show I'm watching, an observation that makes me think soaps in general are suffering from a lack of creative writing. If you don't believe me, take a spin around the dial. All My Children has become the Kendall Hart hour. The writing is so horrendous that the Fusion girls are pole dancing, and the core couples are all flirting with one another's husbands/boyfriends/wives. Over on General Hospital, things aren't much better. If you're not involved with the mob, then you've got no storyline. The show has practically eliminated the core family, the always-enjoyable Quartermaines, in favor of the Sonny Corinthos show. There are weekly gun battles, murders and kidnappings, and characters we love, such as Scott Baldwin and Luke Spencer are seldom seen. Those shows can't seem to understand that balance is key. As the World Turns gets that. The show hasn't back-burnered entire groups of core characters; it tries to spread the storyline wealth, a move I appreciate. There's always a little Holden, Lily, Paul, Will, Gwen, Katie, Brad, Henry, Margo, Jack and Carly to go around. So even if you don't like a certain storyline, you can usually find one that you do.
In short, I know you're frustrated with the Meg/Paul storyline, the Sofie saga, Carly's antics, and the cast changes. But, hang in there. I have faith things will improve. This cast is overflowing with talent at every level. A few tweaks in the writing, and I think ATWT will be exceptional again. I believe, Scoopers, and I hope you will, too.
--Bravo to the writing staff for using history this week, when Katie realized that Henry's note was bogus because she knew he wouldn't go to visit his family. And an extra bonus for Brad, who realized that the note wasn't written by uber-smart Henry because of a misspelled word. Those are details I appreciate.
--Alison Stewart, give up your career in nursing. You are a Veronica Mars in the making. Those Nancy Drew skills should fast-track you to the police force or to your own P.I. firm. The Oakdale PD could truly use someone who can solve crimes. I think you're the gal.
--Remind me why again Paul hates Chris? Help, Scoopers. I swear I don't get it or even remember it. Did it suddenly just happen? Did it have to do with Emily? Where is all of Paul's hostility coming from? (Other than his James Stenbeck inherited genes, that is.) Paul needs to get some anger management.
--I know you're all upset that Gwen gave the baby back to Sofie. If I had invested in that storyline, instead of fast-forwarding most of it, I'm sure I'd be ticked, too. But, honestly, it makes sense with Gwen's character history that she would have major guilt about separating a child from its birth mother. Remember, she went through it herself.
--Speaking of Gwen giving back the baby to Sofie, I have to commend Will for how he took the news. He had every reason to be furious with Gwen for giving away his adopted daughter without even consulting him. But, he forgave Gwen and understood why she did it. Will could give Paul a lesson or two in humanity.
--The line to smack Margo forms here. Her rudeness this week to crime victims Henry and Carly hit a new low. She brushed off poor Henry, when he was trying to tell her he had been kidnapped. And her condescending remarks to Carly that "you killed the only other suspect we have" and that it was "quite a little story" (about Kit's murder) infuriated me. Um, Margo, you're supposed to HELP crime victims, not chastise them.
--Bravo to the writers of ATWT writers for the Cowboy Jack ongoing joke. I couldn't help but chuckle, as he kept popping up everywhere this week. Apparently, the wooden dummies are mass-produced. Kit used them to torment Carly, and Henry hung out with the big-eyed dummy, during his kidnapping.
--At this point, I'm not sure if it was Kit, Matt or Gray who killed Sam. I'm guessing Sam must have been in with the mob or Gray and his shady dealings. I'm still hoping Wally Kurth can come back to Oakdale. He was one of the brightest spots this year on the show. Is it possible Sam had a twin brother who is not a villain? Hey, I'm just putting it out there.
--I caught Hunt Block this week over on One Life to Live. No, I don't watch the show, so I don't know anything going on, but I saw Block onscreen and he drew me in. He's still fantastic and a scene-stealer. Sniff. Sniff. Come home, Craig!
--I can't wait for things to calm down with Will and Gwen and this silly baby drama, so we can get to the storyline I've been waiting for: Barbara's cancer. It's slowly been building that she's going through this ordeal alone, and I'm hoping once her family finds out, they'll circle the wagons and give us some amazing story.
--Oh, Emily. You make it impossible for me to respect you. First you shoot Paul (a move that I might actually applaud these days!) then you turn into a high-class hooker, and now you think it's a good idea to drug a doctor who is driving a car and practicing medicine. Ugh! What is wrong with you? I also blame Susan for Emily's latest error. Um, Susan, why would you possibly think it's a good idea to give your daughter, with the unstable, addictive personality, a sedative? Crazy.
--It's official. Paul has become the most annoying character in Oakdale. (Move over Meg.) This week, he invited Sofie to move in with him, with no regard for Will and his feelings. Um, Paul, this chick stole your brother's baby! Where's the loyalty and family allegiance? Shame on Paul for this latest twist. The one redeeming quality he used to have was his support of Will. I guess that's gone now too, with what's left of the Paul we used to know and love.
--I'm sure I'll set off a firestorm of e-mail if I even dare to criticize the Luke/Noah storyline, but as I mentioned earlier, I've got on my body armor, so here I go. Their relationship has turned into a snoozefest. I'm not sure when or why it happened. Noah is so wishy-washy lately, that he's working my last nerve. And this "marriage" to Ameera is just plain strange. If I were Luke, I'd be worried. Noah has a history of switching teams and bonding with women. If the ATWT folks want to see how to write an interesting gay relationship, check out the primetime show Brothers and Sisters.
--The Best Scene of the Week award goes to Henry and Brad. The scene where they woke up in bed together was priceless. Those guys are comedy gold. More please. And speaking of Henry, I loved that he was thinking of Katie during his kidnapping ordeal. He opined that he could "really use a conversation with Katie" because she has a knack for getting out of trouble, even though it usually involved him putting on a dress. Nice use of history, ATWT!
--I've been on the fence with the Jack/Katie/Brad storyline in terms of who should win the girl. My mind is made up now, folks. It's Brad all the way. He's not the scoundrel who came to town last year. He's completely in love with Katie (God help him) and those two have sizzling chemistry. Sorry, Jack, but I know you're going to end up back with Carly anyway.
--Did anyone else think it was sexy when Henry used his tongue to dial the phone while he was rolling around on the floor in restraints? Yes, I know, I'm sick. My Henry love knows no bounds.
Best Lines of the Week:
(Brad stares into space and rubs his head, as Henry looks on.)
Henry: "Thinking? It's always so hard to tell."
(Henry is kidnapped and held captive with Cowboy Jack, the wooden dummy, and tries to amuse himself.)
Henry (to Cowboy Jack): "Don't be shy. I bet you kill at karaoke. And don't tell me you don't know any drinking songs, because you've got a wooden leg."
(Henry tries to pass the time while he's held captive by singing the Bottles of Beer song.)
Henry: "No bottles of beer on the wall - That's the first time I've ever gotten to the end of that timeless ditty; I always thought it would be so much more emotionally satisfying."
"How many new characters is this show gonna throw at us? It seems that we don't have a chance to "bond" with one new character, when here come three more. I don't care about Gray, Matt, Ameera or Casey. And, I'm starting to NOT care about the rest of the group, because they are all just repeating the same storylines and dialogue day after day. Please, oh please, tell me that it's going to get better! Does the show think that if they keep throwing new cast members at us we won't notice that the show has become incredibly boring? We don't need new actors; we need some good writing. I think that one reason that so many of us preferred Hunt Block to Scott Bryce is that Hunt had some great writing behind him. His scenes with Parker were just the best; poor Scott just got to stomp around Oakdale screaming that his "life is s...".
"Hey Jennifer! I am so disappointed that Gwen gave the baby back to Sofie. I cannot stand Sophie! The actress clearly has some talent, but (I) sure do wish she was leaving rather than Will/Gwen. Since we fans are losing Will and Gwen, couldn't the TPTB allow them to move off happy with the baby? And I really hate how they've trashed Paul along with this storyline. I know he's a bad boy, but I just don't see him doing this to Will. I liked reformed Paul. I hate to say it, but I'm fast-forwarding more and more. Much more of Sofie, and I won't watch at all and just catch up through Two Scoops. It's just sad."
"Regarding Paul being Superman (that you mentioned in your last Two Scoops column) - are you forgetting who his father is? James Stenbeck is the king of surviving the unsurvivable. He obviously passed the talent on to his son. :)"
"Last week's scenes with Sophie and Meg applying the medication to Paul's burn wounds were sending a dangerous message for a real-life situation. Where was the hand washing, sterilizing the hands, then putting on sterilized medical gloves to apply the medication? Burns are more prone to infection than most other wounds. That was a dangerous example/lesson/message to put out to the masses. The general public is ill informed enough without letting them think that that is an OK way to administer topical meds to a burn patient. The writers showed how ill informed they are. I thought this was important to point out. Thanks very much."
"My suggestion is that a once wonderful show return to stories that long-time viewers have watched lovingly. The show has definitely deteriorated, as another viewer mentioned. I am only watching in hopes to see Carly and Jack reunited; otherwise I use the remote during the other disgusting storylines. The "new" viewers will not be sufficient to keep this show on the air much longer. (It's) almost nothing but trash these days!"
That's all for now Scoopers! See ya next time.