Tying up loose ends: an Oakdale wish list

I’m still processing the news about As The World Turns. I’m sure I’ll be talking more about it in the days and weeks to come.

We have to say goodbye to an old friend soon. We just watched this happen with Guiding Light. GL did a fairly good job of wrapping up loose ends, considering how many historical characters (Harley and Ross, most importantly) were missing.

The GL team gets points for bringing back a number of characters, even if only for a day. It gets demerits for waiting until the last minute to share those return visits, and the utter debacle that was Jeffrey O’Neill’s end (a story just as unappealing as most of the character’s stay).

It may be almost 10 months before the show concludes, but according to Nelson Branco’s Suds Report, ATWT is taping so far ahead that it will likely wrap production in June. That means there’s already story in the can for much of next year.

With that in mind, I’m sharing this wish list. One that hopefully makes its way to Brooklyn AND West 57th Street. A fan can wish, can’t he?

1. Wrap up your C stories as early as possible. This was definitely a mistake that GL made. I liked Ashlee and (on occasion) Daisy well enough, but we really didn’t have to have significant chunks of the last day – or even the last month – be about them. Characters like Alison, Casey, Jade, Maddie, Hunter, Teri, etc. should NOT be driving story coming into final weeks and months.

If it were up to me, I’d wrap up the whole Casey/Alison mess, send them and Jade away, beg Meredith Hagner to hang around for a few more months and let Parker and Liberty be the representatives for the younger crowd in those last weeks – while playing a supporting role to their parents.

2. History, history, history. OK, I get that in the big drive for ratings, the big focus was on younger characters and shying away from history. But with ATWT’s fate decided, and this also representing the end of P&G soaps, I hope ATWT looks at its history as a gift to enjoy and NOT an albatross, as it has for the last decade.

ATWT has an enormous cast of characters and actors who have played the same part for 20 or more years: Nancy, Bob, Kim, Tom, Margo, Holden, Emma, Lucinda, Susan, Barbara, and the iconic Lisa, just to name a few. Those characters should be front and center. There should be an umbrella event (Kim and Bob’s anniversary, or perhaps a surprise birthday party for Lisa to celebrate a birthday that perhaps she’s in denial about?) that the town can gather together to enjoy.

3. Did I mention history? There are any number of characters that would be fantastic to see before the show ends. On my personal list of “wants”: Iva Snyder, Shannon and Duncan, Andy Dixon, Hank Elliot, Kirk Andersen, Ellie Snyder, and Brian McColl. From the younger set, I’d suggest Molly and Holden’s daughter, as well as Will and Gwen. (Edited to add: I’d forgotten about Penny Hughes and Lyla Montgomery. Both would be great to see again.)

I’d also REALLY like to see the character of Scott Eldridge resolve his issues with Lisa (a role vacated so long ago this would be easily recast at this point). I’d also concur with Roger Newcomb’s idea – it would be ideal for Ellen Stewart, an original character, return to the show (if only to interfere with Emily and give Susan hell).

But there are, in my opinion, three former characters/actors who are “must haves” – who ATWT should move heaven and earth to get.

One, we really need to see John Dixon again. Whether it’s a day, a week or a month, we need to see Larry Bryggman wrap up his magnificent work as John. His character touches SO many characters on and off screen, and it’s really important that John be part of the end of the story.

Two, there are a number of high-profile ATWT alumni out there: Meg Ryan, Marisa Tomei and Parkey Posey to name a few. Any one of them would be welcome (and Meg Ryan’s Betsy still has family ties in Oakdale). But for me, who began watching ATWT at the beginning of the Marland years, I’d love to see Julianne Moore (Frannie Hughes) return. It may sound far-fetched to ask the Academy-Award nominated Moore to return, but she’s expressed great affection for the show, has visited co-stars like Kathryn Hays (Kim) over the years and fondly recalls her Marland-penned story. I bet that if ATWT had the right story (Kim and Bob’s anniversary, anyone) and the right length (a few days), Moore would return to say goodbye.

And three? Martha, Martha, Martha. Whether it’s tomorrow, next week or a week before the show wraps, ATWT needs to bring Martha Byrne back. This suggestion needs no explanation, right?

I know money is an issue, but I have to agree with a recent theory that Carolyn Hinsey mentioned in her It’s Only My Opinion column. Take the actors out for a nice meal, explain that there’s not much money but that they’re an important part of the show, and that you’ll write them a great story. Chances are, they’ll come back to say goodbye.

I’m not suggesting there aren’t great characters on the show currently, and I hope those characters (Jack, Carly, Henry, Craig, Molly, and Janet, to name a few) will stay strong in story. But we definitely want to see a culmination of the last 54 years. There would simply be no time to bring back every character who was ever important on the show, and I understand that. But the characters I’ve suggested above still have connections to Oakdale, so those returns would actually have an impact.

What do you think should be on ATWT’s to-do list before it ends?

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4 thoughts on “Tying up loose ends: an Oakdale wish list

  1. I agree with everything you wrote. I would love to see Lyla, Steve (assuming the character is still alive), Betsy Andy, and Jessica return to name a few.

    She’s very frail, but if they would close the show with Helen Wagner saying “Good night” or “Good-bye” it would bring things full circle.

    My favorite ATWT storyline was the one about Doug Cummings. I have been searching for a clip of the reveal that Doug was Kim’s stalker. No luck so far.


    Marymary – I agree on all counts. I added Lyla to my list.

    Roger Newcomb mentioned the same idea at We Love Soaps – to have Nancy, who opened the show in 1956 with the line “Good morning, dear” close the show with the line “Good night, dear.” A suggestion to ATWT: That scene should be taped NOW, if it hasn’t been already.

  2. Spot on. My only addition would be Lien Hughes. Andy, Paul, and Lien were the younger generation of the Doug Marland years and they should have been the center of WT for the past 10-15 years.

    Just for me, I’d love a Melanie Smith cameo, a visit from Ariel Aldrin, Dusty remembering Burke Donovan (David Forsyth), Rick Ryan (Con Roche), Bianca Walsh, Jef Hamlin (Chris Fuller), Cal Stricklyn (Patrick Tovatt), Ryder Hughes, and Daniel Markel as the real David Stenbeck.

    And if you bring back Kirk, you have to bring back Samantha…and finally explain what happened to them at that picnic where they disappeared. (It was implied that James had something to do with their disappearance.)

  3. patrick —

    i assume yuo wrote this before reading goutman’s comments to logan at tv guide.

    “We still have exciting stories in the works and we’re sticking to them. We’re not ready to start inviting back old favorites and do the nostalgia thing… We just continue to tell good stories and we’ll see how the efforts go in terms of shopping the show around. There will be plenty of time to bring in whomever we want from the past. I think we’re in a very, very good place and we’re excited by everything that’s going on…”

    http://www.tvguidemagazine.com/soaps/as-the-world-turns-boss-talks-cancellation-3522.html

    Hi Lynn – oh yes, I have something to say about that!

  4. >>A suggestion to ATWT: That scene should be taped NOW, if it hasn’t been already.<<

    I hope that they have the foresight to tape that closing scene now.

    I'd like to see CBS try to reach out to the fans in these final months by showing some classic episodes of ATWT on occasion. I know that the really old stuff is not around, but surely they have tapes from the late '70s through the '90s that fans might like the chance to Tivo/DVR/tape. I appreciate that some people have uploaded tapes to Youtube, but some of it is of such poor quality that it is almost impossible to sit through. (Maybe the rights and royalty issues would have made it cost-prohibitive, but if that's not the case, I don't understand why P&G and CBS haven't done more classic episode/storyline/years videos of ATWT and GL. IIRC, they did some special videos on Roger Thorpe and Reva, but that was about it.)

    Another nutty idea: if there is no legal issue with doing it, use the old ATWT openings here and there from now until Sept. 2010. I'd get a hoot out of seeing the old globe and hearing the original organ theme, the updated orchestral version of the original theme, the 80's theme with the globe swooshing across the screen, etc.

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