Note to readers: Reggie is out this week but will return next week. Meanwhile, I'm happy to fill in. Enjoy!
I should probably put on my body armor and take cover before I say this, but here goes. Craig Montgomery returning is the best thing to happen in Oakdale since Brad Snyder hit town. Before you fire off the e-mails ranting that Craig is an evildoer that doesn't deserve even a crumb of Pepperkacher let alone screen time hear me out.
Craig is playful, fun, and ornery. He reminds me of Tom Sawyer or JR Ewing. His schemes never end the way he envisions and yes, sometimes, people get hurt. I'm not defending that. He's a villain, no doubt about it. But he's a villain I love to hate. At times, I can even empathize with him and understand why he does what he does. Craig is excitement personified. He jazzes up the characters around him, that sometime seem stale. Jack is better, Carly is better, and Katie and Margo are better when Craig is in scenes with them. There is no denying it.
The writers seem to be doing Craig right this time, by interacting him with his family members. And having Katie take his side was brilliant. Sorry, Craig haters, but if it were your brother, you'd have to think twice about keeping his son from him, too, at least I would. Craig and Katie have history (some of it not so great at the hands of the writing staff.) And it was nice to see them bond, even if it was only for a moment.
As for Craig's past evil deeds, again, many of them cannot be defended. But he's supposedly back this time to make amends and get back on track with his family. Writers, I'm begging, make that happen. I don't want him to become a do-gooder, but it would be nice if he were written as more than just a one-note villain that the entire town blames for every bad situation that's ever happened. I don't want Craig to be a killer or kidnapper; leave those roles for other characters that can easily come and go. Craig deserves to have longevity in Oakdale, for the sake of viewers and his family. And to have longevity, we need to have a character we care about. And that's hard to do when he's plotting to kill people. (Hello, Paul Ryan!) Kudos to ATWT for giving us Jon Lindstrom in this role. He's perfect. And so far, so is Craig's storyline.
(For a different view on Craig, please check out the Fan Reader Spotlight at the end of this column.)
--Wow, that scene with Henry and Vienna reading a love scene to one another at the diner was just painful. I was so uncomfortable I was squirming. I'm not sure how that dramatic interpretation would have enticed anyone to buy a book, unless the customers thought they were getting soft porn.
--Speaking of Henry's book, if anyone out there has read it, please drop me a line and let me know if it's any good. I love Henry, but I'm not sure about the book, after hearing the aforementioned excerpt.
--Was Dusty always this much of a bully, and I didn't realize it? Please writers, soften up his character a little. It's getting harder and harder to like him, when he stomps around town yelling at everyone, from Barbara to Katie. Simmer down, Dusty!
--I don't know what it is about this Josie character that works my last nerve, but she does. Maybe it's the way she calls Dusty "Donovan" all the time, or the fact that Paul hired her to impersonate his dead sister. The point is, there are way more interesting characters in Oakdale I'd rather see get the kind of screen time she's been getting. In fact, one of them is a red head. Paging Margo.
--This Jade is a keeper. I'm loving her scenes, especially when she's throwing down with Lucinda. When she spilled the beans about Brian, it was a great moment. It takes a talented actress to hold her own against Elizabeth Hubbard, and so far this young lady is doing great.
--I'm sure this will ruffle some readers' feathers, but I can be silent no longer. I'm so sick of everyone treating Jennifer Munson's memory like she was a saint. She wasn't! Let's revisit history, shall we? First, she cheated on boyfriend Bryant with his cousin Billy. Years later, she got drunk, came on to Craig, and slept with him (Bryant's father... EWWW!) Then, she had serious remorse when she realized their liaison had produced a baby, so she made the decision that Craig wouldn't be allowed in her baby's life. To cement the deal, she lied in court about Craig physically pushing her to paint him as a threat to her son. Jennifer wasn't a saint. In fact, she made plenty of bad decisions, several of them premeditated. So, please writers, the next time a character gets the urge to wax poetic about how perfect Jen was, don't do it. History doesn't lie.
--Lucinda has every right to be ticked at Luke. He is her grandson, and he should have told her that her husband was gay. I guess it's true that the wife is always the last to know.
--Kudos to the writers for the Henry and Katie hospital scene. These two have one of the best friendships in the history of the show. Henry would definitely have been there with Katie, and I'm glad we got to see it. Well done.
--Are Luke and Noah truly done? It seems that way, from their scene on the rooftop. I can't say it's a surprise, if it actually happens. Luke is so jealous and insecure, and Noah doesn't exactly instill confidence in his partner that he loves him. Noah always seems much more interested in whatever lady friend of his that is currently having problems (hello Maddie, Ameera, etc.) Either sure up this relationship or let them move on. This limbo is driving me crazy.
--I couldn't help but chuckle when Craig tweaked Jack at Al's Diner by putting his hands on Janet. That was classic ornery Craig. No one pushes Jack's buttons like Craig. It was delicious!
--The line to smack Lucy starts here. She is the only parent that Johnny has ever known, yet she abandoned him when he was in a big scary hospital and surrounded by strangers. Craig may be criminal and a cad, but Lucy's decision to ditch Johnny is one of the cruelest things I've ever seen. Can you imagine leaving your little boy in a hospital surrounded by people he doesn't know? It's brutal. I understand her fear of going to jail, but I'm sure if she would have explained to everyone that she didn't want Johnny to be alone, Craig would have worked something out with her. Then again, he heard her threaten to steal Johnny again, so maybe not. The bottom line is, most parents wouldn't be pried away from a child having a bone marrow transplant. She couldn't get out of town fast enough.
--Holden and Lily should just start a loan service. Everyone goes to them for cash lately. Good for them for saying "no" to Carly. I'm 100 percent sure it's not a solid investment.
--What has Craig been doing that he can just write out a check for $200,000 and not bat an eye? It seems Craig is like the government; he has an unlimited supply of cash to give away. I know he's trying to get in Carly's favor, but can you say "bad investment?" Metro has been through three owners in just a few years, and no one can seem to make it work. And let's face it; Carly isn't exactly businesswoman of the year. Every venture she starts usually ends up a flop. It would be refreshing this time around to actually see her succeed, but I'm not holding my breath.
--Note to Janet, if you want to live in a house with a monthly mortgage, then you'd better get a better-paying job than a "server." Your husband is a cop, and last time I checked, they don't make big bucks, especially considering Jack pays child support for three kids.
--If Henry is half owner of Metro, why isn't he half responsible for coming up with the cash to save the place? Carly has taken the whole debt upon herself. Henry, step up, man!
--It's too bad that those condos Simon and Carly were working on never came to fruition because Oakdale is in serious need of some housing. Jack and Janet, for example, could rent and not have the debt of a huge mortgage. It would solve their privacy issue and give them some time to save for a large down payment on their dream house.
--Brad and Katie may be headed for trouble. Katie is ticked at Brad for his involvement with Dusty, and who could blame her? I sure wouldn't want ranting Dusty mad at me. That guy is scary these days.
--It looks like Ali and Casey may be heading toward a potential romance, but I'm not feeling it. He smoldered with Emily, and maybe it's just me, but he and Jade definitely had some sparks, too. Ali has lost her sparkle for me lately. Chris needs to come home and maybe she'd be interesting again.
--Thanks to all of you who wrote in to fill me in on the Dusty/Meg back history. I had no idea that they took one another's virginity or that Meg used to be a conniver! I wouldn't mind seeing Meg as a schemer. Maybe it would make her character more fascinating.
--Good for Barbara for standing up to Dusty to defend Paul. I loved how she told him that since he was a parent now, that someday he'd understand. You go girl!
--So Casey Hughes just wants to fall in love, get married and have babies. Well, well, well. I'm sure his parents will be thrilled to know that he's setting his priorities a little higher lately.
--It's too bad that ATWT can't land Oprah for a guest spot. How funny would it be if Henry's book made it on her book club list? Can you imagine how much fun watching Henry do the Oprah show would be?
--Maybe it's the postpartum hormones, but the scene between Craig and Katie at the hospital left me reaching for the tissues. I know Jon Lindstrom is new in the role, but it felt like these two have been family for decades. It was heartwarming to watch. Bravo!
--Debate this if you'd like, but I think Lucy was wrong about her father. She said she knew that his "lullaby" speech was bull and that he was up to no good. I truly think Craig meant every word and that he intended on reconciling his family, until he heard Lucy plotting to steal Johnny again and hit the road with Dusty.
--Once again, I'd like to thank all of you who take time to read this column and remind you that if you e-mail me, please make sure my e-mail address won't be rejected when I reply to you. I had several e-mails come back this week, when I tried to reply. (Carly, yours was one of them, so I've included my response below.) Thanks so much everyone for taking time to write. I do appreciate your feedback, even when we disagree!
--I know I sound like a broken record, but I'm so sick of characters blaming Craig for Bryant's death. First of all, it's cruel. Losing Bryant was the most painful thing Craig ever went through. I recall watching those scenes at the hospital, with Carly there to comfort Craig. It was brutal to watch. He was devastated. So, I'll say it again. Craig was NOT responsible for Bryant's death. Bryant was! He drove recklessly. It was tragic, yes, but not Craig's fault. (For a different opinion, check out the Fan Reader Spotlight at the end of this column.)
Best Lines of the Week:
(Henry tells Katie about the plot of his new book.)
Henry: "In the book I play the hero."
Katie: "So it's fiction?"
(Jade sees Casey for the first time since she returned.)
Jade: "How was prison? Any bromance in the big house?
(Craig shows up again at Carly's house.)
Carly: "Why are you here."
Craig: "I thought you'd like to hear the good news."
Carly: "You're leaving town?"
(From Two Scoops reader Carly.)
Jennifer, I hate to burst your bubble, but Craig IS primarily responsible for Bryant's death. And the dissolution of Hal and Barbara's marriage. And Rosanna's coma. And the fact that Lucy would rather skip town than let her father near her infant brother. Let's review...Jen broke Bryant's heart. Bryant went to Craig for solace. Bryant found out that Craig, his own father, was using him for cash. He stole his son's trust fund. THAT was the final impetus for Bryant's reckless driving. I've always blamed Craig. And would you let that kid near Craig? Bryant's dead, Lucy was kidnapped by her own father so that he could play the hero and "rescue" her. Craig then killed the kidnapper. He's set multiple car bombs. I mean, come on, I liked Scott Bryce once upon a time, but Craig has been an evil SOB since the part was first recast. And how could you enjoy Carly being friends with the guy after what he did not only to Carly herself, but her sister?
Carly, you're right that the writers have made Craig an evil SOB, dating back to when he first put a car bomb in Steve's truck. But the beauty of this character, in my opinion, is that he's a villain we love to hate and at times can even see his motivation for his actions. (At least I do!) But, I have to respectfully disagree with you about Bryant. Craig had been a good father to him, up until he stole his money. And that was not what killed the kid. Bryant was driving recklessly without a seatbelt. That's what killed him. And if people want to blame someone other than Bryant, Jennifer is equally as responsible as Craig for upsetting him. He was devastated when he caught her with Billy. As for Craig's list of other crimes, you're right on. They cannot be defended, especially the kidnapping plot of Lucy. But I think Craig is the kind of villain that most people can empathize with or at least want to because his is such an entertaining character. He didn't mean for Lucy's kidnapping to go all wrong, he didn't mean for Rosanna to crash her car during that high speed chase...but his villainous actions always end up with the worst results. Hence, the town and many viewers hate him. As for Hal and Babs' marriage, he definitely knew what he was doing there and made no excuses. He's a cad, but I like him, the way I liked JR Ewing on Dallas. You know he's a bastard, but you can't help but enjoy watching his latest antics. And I do enjoy Craig's relationship with Carly. I always have. Her shenanigans and plots never seem to end well either, and I think on that level, she understands Craig more than any other character on the canvas. They've always had a chemistry between them that perhaps is rooted in their mischievousness. And if Carly can get past what happened with Rosanna, then I can, too. Thanks for writing, even though we disagree.
(From Two Scoops reader Diane.)
Hi, Jennifer. Great column, as usual. I have to agree with Opal (from last week's reader spotlight.) I really missed the usual "sappy" Christmas show. Don't the writers know that long time fans really want to see the Hughes & Snyder families celebrate the holidays? Do they care? I realize everyone is experiencing economic hardships, but the lack of (expensive?) veterans and the excessive number of (cheaper?)newcomers is seriously damaging the show. The cost cutting is already painfully obvious -- how many scenes do we have to have in that stairwell? The last couple of weeks have been nearly unwatchable. Too many newcomers, too many moments that ignore or twist history. Lucy and Johnny were gone a year (and that was mentioned several times!), but the kid aged five years. I agree with your assessments of the nuLucy and nuMaddie - yuck! Maybe they'll match up nuJade and Dallas, wouldn't that be a treat? I do admit, though, I love the new Craig. And I LOVED Hunt Block. I think Jon has just the right amount of cute, wit, and smug to be a great Craig. I really want him to hook up with Carly. Yes, she belongs with Jack, but if he's too dumb to see it, then bring back the smart, feisty and fun Carly.Right now, the only scenes I really enjoy are with Carly and Craig, Parker and Liberty, and anything with Casey -- LOVE him! I also admit I can't keep my eyes of the screen when Brian is on; he's creepy, but what a great storyline.
(From Two Scoops reader Joe.)
I know ATWT is pretty much a kiddie show, but why can't they at least show Nancy ( the great Ms. Helen Wagner) in the opening or middle photo displays? They toss out the older characters, but she at least deserves the honor of being shown as the longest running actress ever in daytime. Everyone write in!
That's all for now Scoopers! See ya next time.