They said it better

With so many of us talking about the same soaps, a little overlap is bound to occur.

I had some things to say about this last week of As The World Turns, but I think these folks have already said it – and said it better.

Roger Newcomb at We Love Soaps hit the nail on the head with his comments on Nancy’s death and funeral.  I do understand that budgets are severely limited and that a big fuss may not have been possible. But Helen Wagner passed away well before this scene was taped, and it would have been nice for at least a little sustained fuss made over her.

All My Children did a much, MUCH finer job with some of the same limitations, and they made the episode ALL about Palmer and his portrayer, James Mitchell. They brought back Daisy and Nina, characters you quite simply could not have imagined missing Palmer’s funeral.

Contrast that with the Nancy episode, which, unless I missed it, did not have an end bumper memorializing Wagner. Chris and Casey seemed to be the biggest focus of the day for the Hughes, and the episode ended with Katie – a person with a tangential, at best, friendship to Nancy Hughes – taking center stage.

I appreciated the brief flashbacks – including the scene between Wagner and future star Lauryn Hill – but for me, the whole day felt so rushed. After Bob’s announcement, the next day picked up after the funeral. For me, the real meaningful scene happened on Wednesday in a throwaway scene between Bob and Kim, when Bob described to Kim how he found Nancy at home – and how he knew, just by how she was sitting in her favorite chair, that she had died. That 90 second scene said more than most of the day before.

lynn liccardo also weighed in on the episode. She perfectly describes the action for the day: “The amphetamines kicked in.”

Which begs a question we’ll never know…..why did both of the P&G soaps drag their heels story wise, and then feel a great need to cram 6 months of story into 3 weeks? I wish ATWT had learned from Guiding Light‘s stumbles in pacing. Apparently, those that don’t pay heed to history are doomed to repeat it.

2 thoughts on “They said it better

  1. Well said, indeed. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that ATWT has had since December 2009 (or at least January 2010 if we allow for a holiday break), to do a proper tribute to Nancy. While TPTB could not have known that Helen Wagner was going to die, they did know that ATWT was cancelled and had almost zero chance of being picked up by another network. For that reason alone, they should have been planning a special tribute episode to Wagner and her character to air before the show ended in September. They had plenty of time to ask actors to return for a tribute to Helen/Nancy and to write a beautiful stand-alone episode that was not about Casey, Chris, or Katie, and was not about future stars who got their start on ATWT. In fact, greedy as I am, I think that TPTB should have planned tribute shows to air throughout the spring and summer for Lisa, Kim, Bob, Susan, Barbara, Tom, and Margo also. But Nancy’s should have been the last one and the best one. Heck, I’d have gladly taken some spillover work, if the writing team needed help! 😉

    Of course, I’m a bit crazy, and think that we should have been treated to some classic episodes from ATWT’s long and mostly illustrious history and the opening and closing themes from years past. There were moments I loved this year, mainly Henry and Barbara’s romance and the re-emergence of Kim and Bob despite the ridiculous Chief of Staff story. 2010 could have been a wonderful year-long tribute to a glorious show. Alas, it has not been.

  2. After Days of Our Lives created a gold standard for how to handle the passing of a show’s matriarch, the Nancy Hughes memorial looks like its the plastic standard in comparison. The fact Nancy wasn’t even the real focus of the episode, merely the backdrop, was pathetic.

    Several years ago I started hearing about ATWT doing a special episode to celebrate Nancy’s birthday and honor Helen at the same time. Yet somehow, that episode never came to pass. Whether Helen’s health prevented it or they just never got around to writing it, I don’t know. But Nancy has long deserved a tribute episode. And even when Helen dies, they can’t give us a decent one.

    As Marymary says above, they’ve known since December the show was being canceled. They should have started gearing up with tribute episodes for all the long term characters and arranging for more characters to return. They had the opportunity to truly do a great send off for the series. Instead, they squandered the time by focusing on Janet and Gabriel ad nausium.

    ATWT will go down in the books as a textbook example of how NOT to end a long-running soap.

    James, thanks for your comments. It made me think this (about the show in general and Nancy’s passing in particular): We know ATWT didn’t have a big budget. They didn’t have money. What they did have? Was time. And they misspent it.

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