Family tree

A miracle happened on As The World Turns recently.

What was it? Well, I’d become reasonably convinced that in the wake of the show’s cancellation, everyone who was not Jack or Carly (or directly connected to them) had been given a lollipop and cab fare and shown the door.

But lo and behold, for at least three days we saw a focus on the veterans – and in particular, the cornerstone characters of the show: Bob and Kim.

I admit it: I have a thing for Bob and Kim. They are, to me, Everycouple.

I talk a lot about the kind of soap opera I enjoy, and how those imaginary towns are filled with people not unlike people I know or have met in real life. I know a real-life Bob and Kim. They’re not perfect saints, but they are people who are great partners and great parents. Hell, I wanted to be adopted by them when I first started watching ATWT!

ATWT has, in general, been in a far more watchable place lately. For every misfire (Mick, any scene with Alison, the Damian mess) there’s something that makes up for it (Reid and anyone, Henry and Barbara, Katie and Chris, Holden and Molly – to name a few).

But these scenes were almost all Bob and Kim – and they were wonderful to watch. Despite years of keeping Bob and Kim on the shelf, or wedging them into storylines that made no sense (and Kim was a tabloidy WOAK owner……um, really? No) these scenes got to the heart of who Bob and Kim were.

And more than that? For a few days, the show romanticized one of the strongest bonds of all, one that many shows have put by the wayside: It celebrated family.

Whether it’s family by blood, by choice or just a sense of community, seeing families love one another and fight with and for one another was always one of the biggest reasons to watch ANY show.

These scenes not only showcased Bob and Kim, but also referenced Bob and Lisa and even referred back to original tentpole characters Nancy and Chris.

The scenes where Bob and Kim discovered they were not married were (despite being a direct copy of Tom & Alice on Days) fun to watch. So was seeing Lisa hit on Bob. It was all played for fun…mostly. Bob reached a breaking point, and the subsequent discussion between Bob and Kim had me in tears. It didn’t help that some of the dialogue spoke directly to the fact that the show was going off the air.

Kim: “We thought our time was infinite….but now we are older, and we know better.”

There were no explosions, no gunfire, no misogyny, no death or forensics or bombs or Mafia. But for people who have watched ATWT for years, these scenes made an impact all the same.

Of course, I can’t end this post without referencing Julianne Moore’s visit as Frannie.

What did I think? I was happy to see Julianne. Despite seeing her in so many roles – and knowing her as Julianne Moore, Movie Star – she was Frannie as soon as she walked in the door.

Yes, it was eyeblink quick. I am giving the show a pass on that one, because there seemed to be a lot of negotiations and string pulling and we don’t know if more time onscreen was even an option.

My teeny, tiny complaints?

I wish Frannie would have had onscreen moments with sister Barbara and little brother Chris.  And even setting that aside? It seemed odd that she would hug Susan – you know, her father’s ex-mistress – and yet not have a moment with her own grandmother, Nancy.

Yes, I understand Helen Wagner is frail and perhaps needed to remain seated. All it would have taken is this: Frannie sits down next to Nancy, takes Nancy’s hands in hers, and says wistfully, “Oh, Gram – it’s so good to see you!”

Julianne is a class act, and I am SO glad we saw Frannie again. But make no mistake: these episodes were for Bob and Kim – and for the actors who have played them for so many years, Don Hastings and Kathryn Hays. I cannot even imagine not being able to turn on the TV and see these two come September.

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2 thoughts on “Family tree

  1. For three days we had the ATWT of old. It was wonderful to see Bob and Kim, Lisa, Susan, and Nancy all in the same room. Those were the best three episodes I watched in a very long time. I don’t think there are enough words to thank Julianne Moore for her appearance. She is a major star and it is so wonderful that she not only appreciated her start on ATWT, but also, appreciated the other actors she performed with as she began her career. It felt like as she spoke her lines that she was thanking all of them and the fans of ATWT. It was a classy thing for her to do.

    I am going to miss this show, and I dread September when it goes off the air.

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