As I watched this week's show, I couldn't help but notice all the complex antiheroes I've come to love through the years in Oakdale, especially Dusty Donovan. Craig called him an outlaw this week, with a "Dodge City mentality," who likes to solve his problems publicly in the street in a shootout. While I'm enjoying the mental picture of Dusty in chaps, slinging a gun and a shot glass, the truth is he was an outlaw when he came back to town years ago, dodging the mob.
Dusty isn't above lying, attempted murder, planting evidence, or whatever crimes he feels are necessary for the greater good of society. Usually that greater good involves sending Craig to the big house and securing custody of Johnny. Nonetheless, I can't help but love Dusty. He's a complex guy, and that's what As the World Turns seems to excel at: creating layered heroes with genuine flaws, but that still elicit admiration and sympathy from viewers. The sexiness doesn't hurt either.
The Oakdale crop of men all have admirable qualities and are always ready to save a damsel, level a threat, or protect their turf, depending on the situation. That said, I'm not sure any of the Oakdale guys would technically qualify as a hero in the traditional sense, because they've all got some issues. Between Dusty, Henry, Paul, Holden, Jack, Chris, and Craig, we've got a couple attempted murderers, a gambling alcoholic, several adulterers, and a few blackmailers. They're far from perfect, thankfully. Personally, I like my heroes a little flawed. It makes for good television, and what a time we've had through the years with these "good" fellas.
Was there anything sexier this week than that look that crossed Dusty's face when he realized Blackie was threatening Johnny? He practically marched off with his guns blazing, leaving Craig in a cloud of dust. That's what these men do. They protect the people they love, sometimes by using illegal means. But, at the end of the day, I don't mind. No one delivers a threat like Dusty Donovan. No one.
Even the guys who seem almost perfect slip up. Holden slept with his wife's best friend. Jack impregnated Janet, knowing all the time he was still in love with his ex. Craig is deceitful when it comes to business and stole Parker's trust fund money. Henry is a chronic gambler and married a woman he didn't love. These men, they're not so great at making decisions, but they sure are great at delivering one-liners and keeping me glued to the screen.
If there were an awards show, this is the part where we'd roll a tribute clip to the gents, showing all their heroic and loveable acts, while Bon Jovi's "Blaze of Glory" played in the background. Since this column doesn't come with visuals, feel free to make your own mental tribute and take time to remember one thing: No matter what show you prefer, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more entertaining, realistic, fictitious version of the male archetype in so many shapes, sizes, and varieties than we've been treated to on As the Worlds Turns. Maybe good guys really do finish last.
• Chris Hughes, I just want to inject you with a shot of truth serum in that cutie behind of yours. Katie just buried the man she loved not long ago, and enticing her into a relationship with a man who may not be long for this world is kind of cruel. I'm sure Chris will beat this heart-infecting parasite, but the fact that he'd even put Katie, potentially, in the position of having to bury another man she loves, makes me want to smack him with his stethoscope.
• What a treat to have Dusty and Lucy back together for the few short scenes we got. I'm sick of seeing him run tirelessly after Janet. But, the Lusty reunion was short-lived, and I knew that it would be. Dusty just didn't seem into her. He's still hung up on Janet, and poor Lucy just got hurt all over again. I don't blame her for wanting to catch the next flight out of Oakdale.
• It's always been evident to me that Henry Coleman needs to reopen his detective business. He seems to be one of the few people in Oakdale who can solve a crime these days. He single-handedly is driving the Barbara investigation, and I'm sure will inevitably be the person who helps find her. Plus, he's got a psychic brother in Paul who could join the team, too. CBS, I smell a primetime spinoff here; I know the way you love a good crime procedural, and the hilarious one-liners would never stop with Paul and Henry. (I'm starting a spec script now!)
• I love Reid Oliver the way Katie loves a patterned dress. I know he's lobbying for this chief of staff position, but I think he's much better suited to being a doctor instead of a bureaucrat. Leave the boring pencil-pushing to Chris, Reid, and get back to the operating room. Someone in Oakdale always has a brain tumor lurking.
• The line to yell at Janet starts here. (No smacking, Scoopers, the woman is pregnant!) Why this gal is so indignant that Dusty slept with Lucy is baffling. Janet has done nothing but push Dusty away for months. So, no Janet, you shouldn't be shocked that the guy actually moved on.
• Is Molly gone forever? I hope not. What a poor ending to her story with Holden if that's all we get. Sorry, but Holden can buy Lily back her necklace a hundred times and it still won't buy them chemistry.
• I'm hoping Sierra can stick around for some time. I loved her scenes with Lucy and Lily. And she and Craig spar on a level that he usually only hits with Carly and Jack.
• Note to Emily: when you come across your missing mother-in-law, bound and gagged in the wine cellar, it's probably not a good idea to start a verbal fight and wait around for the crazy kidnapper to return. Has Emily never watched a horror movie in her entire life?
Best Lines of the Week:
( Enemies Craig and Lucinda trade barbs, when she walks in the room and kisses Lucy hello.)
Craig: "What, no kiss for me?"
Lucinda: "No, I haven't had my tetanus booster shot."
(Carly tells Craig she knows that he was the silent partner in her fragrance company.)
Carly: "Cut the bull, Craig. I know everything."
Craig: "No one can know everything. It's mentally impossible."
Psychic: (Picking up the giant clown doll) "This clown knows the secrets of this room."
Paul: "Not the only clown around here who says he knows something."
(Luke coaches Reid on how to dress appropriately for a hospital board meeting, without wearing a lab coat.)
Reid: "Are we done, because I really need to rush home and find the perfect chinos, polo shirt, jacket combination so I can look as unlike myself as possible. .... I'll see you at Al's. I'm gonna be the surgeon dressed like Fred Rogers."
That's all for now, Scoopers! See ya next time.