Reid Oliver was one of the best characters ever created on daytime. I'll go so far as to argue that he was the most unique we've seen since Henry Coleman and Luke Spencer. Reid was anti-social, arrogant, and acerbic, yet, by some perfect confluence of casting, acting, and writing, Reid was likeable. The irony is not lost on me that the guy who came to Oakdale with no heart, finally found it, only to give it away, emotionally, to Luke, and then on his deathbed, physically, to Chris. (Gulp. Go ahead, dab the tears. I'll wait.)
No one does death like As the World Turns. And for some reason, the show has a penchant for killing off beloved, wonderfully layered characters like Brad Snyder and Reid. This is a strategy I'm still not sure I understand, when there are more than a few one-note characters on this show, who I don't think many of us would miss. But that is probably the answer. When viewers are so passionate about a character like Reid or Brad, the impact of the character's death is felt far more deeply than had it been new-boy-in-town Gabriel or the bartender at the Lakeview. So, bravo, ATWT. If the goal was to get me in a fetal position, gasping for air, mission accomplished.
As many of you know, I try not to read spoilers. So, I was disappointed when a couple well-meaning readers e-mailed me outraged about the impending death of Reid. I wish I hadn't known it was coming, because I would have liked to have experienced the shock that everyone in Oakdale did. But, these are the days of spoilers, so what can you do? I knew Reid's death was imminent, yet, when that train was approaching, I was still in denial. "Surely, the brilliant Dr. Oliver is smart enough not to try to outrun a train and to undo his seatbelt," I reasoned. But, by some far-fetched storytelling, Reid didn't make it out. At first I was irritated that the super-intelligent Reid would die in this stupid of an accident. (Irony again, I suppose.) But I have to admit, it was a powerful story. However, I would have easily offered the writers an alternative list of names whose hearts I wouldn't mind sharing with Dr. Hughes.
If the show wasn't ending next week, I would be writing a passionate rant against killing Reid, instead of a tribute column. Then again, I can't imagine the show would have killed such a cool, complex guy if this weren't the end. I also wish Reid were still alive so he could have spun off to a different show, if possible. I know The Young and the Restless and The Bold and Beautiful do this all the time, but I don't know if it would have been feasible, business wise, with a character from As the World Turns.
I also have to applaud the entire cast this week. From Luke, to Katie, to Chris, John, Kim, Margo, and everyone else, each performance was topnotch. Thank you, cast, for staying the course until the ship docks. Those were all fabulous performances.
I know many of you loved Reid's storyline because he was gay. But I have to say that Reid's sexuality rarely crossed my mind. To me, he wasn't the gay guy who was coming between Luke and Noah. He was just Dr. Reid, who liked gigantic sandwiches as much as he did hurling insults. He was such a successful character because his sexuality didn't define him, as it often does on daytime. He was brash, sassy, and a lot of fun to watch.
We've lost one of daytime's greatest characters in the history of the genre. So, let's take a moment to mourn him. Thanks to Dr. John Dixon's speedy heart transplant, Reid's heart will go on. I'm not sure mine will.
• Why did it take the demise of ATWT to lure back John Dixon? I don't care what it cost the show, they should have opened their checkbook for this guy. He left a huge hole that no one has filled. John is staying in Oakdale, just as we can't watch it anymore. Sigh. Thank you, ATWT, for rubbing salt in the wound.
• We've had so many Lucinda, Bob, Kim, and John scenes this week, I thought I was watching the show from years ago. It is bittersweet, isn't it?
• Lucinda and John still have that chemistry. When he called her, "Old girl," I couldn't help but chuckle. These two will always be special together, and I was thrilled when she yelled at John for not calling during her cancer ordeal.
• Margo and John's scenes were short but sweet. Again, she also gave John an earful for disappearing. Great little moments that voiced what we've all been thinking. And please, let Dusty and John have some scenes. Apparently, the writers have forgotten that John helped raise teenager Dusty.
• Finally, for those of you who loved Simon, check our news that reveals that Paul Leyden is headed to The Young and The Restless. I wonder if he'll be paired with Carly, er Maura West?
• Talk about a class act. Noelle Beck, who now plays Lily, offered to step down when she heard the show was cancelled so that Martha Byrne could reprise the role, according to an article here on soapcentral.com>. Beck, like many of you, believed that Byrne should finish out the show in the role she created. There aren't many actors in the business this selfless with an appreciation for soap history and fan loyalty. Bravo, Ms. Beck, I wish you all the best in the future. You have done a fine job in this role, despite difficult circumstances.
• This is my next to last column. Gulp. I can't believe it. I'll be back next week, along with Reggie, to offer my parting thoughts on the end of the World as we know it.
Best Lines of the Week:
We had only three days of shows this week, and the heart transplant storyline dominated, so there weren't many funny lines. I was hoping either Paul or Henry would pop in at some point to offer a little levity, but Luke was the sole deliverer of the one humorous nugget I caught.
(After a train hits Reid's card, he tries to tell Luke that he is an organ donor, but Reid can't get it out clearly.)
Nurse: "Please sir, he shouldn't be agitated."
Luke: "He's always agitated."
That's all for now, Scoopers! See ya next time.