In talking about the end of As The World Turns, I wasn’t initially in the mood to hammer home any of the points about the show or about soaps in general I’d made over the last few years. It didn’t seem like a time to be negative about something I couldn’t change, or say, as Nikki Finke might say, “toldja!”
But a few weeks ago, I was pondering why the end of ATWT (and the end of P&G soaps) didn’t feel as big as the end of Guiding Light. Was it that we’d already done this? Were we better prepared for the shock?
Those things might be true, but something else has become clear: ATWT is limping into home base in a painful-to-see way.
The daytime blogosphere’s own e.e. cummings, lynn liccardo, said it best in a recent blog entry: for all of its budget woes, GL had some exhilarating, full circle moments that had us remaining fans on the edge of our seats. ATWT has had, among other stories, a boring business venture involving the worst French accent seen on American television in decades.
GL had the return of Phillip Spaulding and the amazing Otalia story. ATWT? Well, it managed, somehow, to introduce a THIRD man in love with Janet “Five Days A Week Guarantee” Ciccone.
Whether this is a result of both David Kreizman and Jean Passanate leaving ATWT for new shows prior to the end, I’m not sure. But the show has been a mess in the last few months. And it’s made it hard – if not impossible – for us to care and be as deeply involved in the final days of this show as it did when we watched our friends in Springfield say goodbye.
In Oakdale, I fear that almost all integrity in the Walsh family has been destroyed. I don’t understand why Lily and Lucinda kept the “secret” of Gabriel from Craig. Many of us remember that Lily, Lucinda and Craig actually liked each other 20 years ago.
And speaking of liking each other, there is absolutely no way in hell that Lily would even entertain the notion of being with Craig. Craig and Sierra were The Real Deal (at least for a time) and I just can’t see a scenario where Lily would go there.
Apparently, Christopher Goutman wanted to use the people on canvas (and a few new people) to wrap up the show, and not bring back other actors, which he has had nine months to do and which he has done sparingly.
Fine. But why not give Lucinda a glorious end? Why is this woman – one of the most dynamic, complex characters to ever hit daytime – spending her last days as a one note villain (no) being choked by Craig (no!) and sabotaging her daughter’s business (no, no, hell no)?
And let’s not even go into how completely idiotic the story about Katie’s interference in Henry’s love life is. If the idea was to make Katie look impetuous, it backfired; it made her look like a pathetic bitch.
Is there anything I like? Yes, there are a few bright spots.
I would watch Trent Dawson and Colleen Zenk Pinter, separately or together, read the phone book. Their pairing, which seemed odd at first, has given Barbara and Henry both much needed heart.
It’s been great to see so much Bob and Kim lately. Watching masters like Don Hastings and Kathryn Hays is a joy, and Bob’s retirement is one of the few stories that is “matching” the feelings we have about the end of the show.
And though I do like the Luke/Reid pairing, the scenes that really grab me with Reid is when Bob sees something good in him and tries to show him kindness. THOSE are the scenes that make us love newcomers, and it’s made Reid feel like he’s been around for a long time (and welcome to stay).
As convoluted as Barbara’s disappearance has been, it’s been a treat to see the return of Will and Gwen (and Gwen’s mama Iris). Their return has given Paul and Emily some things to do and say that has made these otherwise cold, clinical characters feel like human beings (and the characters we used to know).
I’m not enamored of the Carly/Jack push-pull (decide, already), but there was a lovely scene between Carly and Faith Snyder the other day – just two people talking, and Carly telling Faith about love, and waiting to commit to the right guy (and the right time to make love).
It just reminded me that this show was capable of great things, and often reached them. It’s sad that it’s stumbling into its sunset, especially when the solutions seem so simple to so many of us.