Hey, Scoopers! I'm back from the beautiful beaches of the Caribbean and ready to dish. Thanks to Reggie for writing last week's column for me. In turn, you're going to have to suffer through two straight weeks of my musings and rantings. Enjoy!
On a serious note, "ATWT's" Trent Dawson (Henry) is asking fans to help out his home state of Louisiana with the hurricane aftermath. Read his story here: http://www.trentdawson.com/posts.htm
The best tale being told in daytime right now is the baby switch saga on As the World Turns. No, I haven't overdosed on piña coladas. A week off has given me perspective, not to mention time to channel surf the other soaps on my return. It's a vast wasteland out there, Scoopers, with the exception of ATWT. This baby tale is bloody brilliant. Here's why:
Rarely in daytime do soaps use most of the characters to their greatest potential at the same time; it's a difficult task trying to create believable storylines that intertwine the majority of the cast, both young and old. However, this story is doing just that. Margo, Tom, Bob, Paul, Emily, Hal, Susan, Barbara, Will, Casey, Gwen, Jennifer, Dusty, Carly, and Jack have all been sucked into the saga in a way that is plausible and utterly entertaining, with each character bringing their own set of concerns to the table. It's layered, multifaceted storytelling that has managed to create chest-thumping conflict for most of the core families of Oakdale.
Jennifer Landon and Maura West are giving amazing performances. Gwen's soft vulnerability, coupled with her fierce determination, is in stark contrast to Carly's stubborn, unreasonable behavior. The irony that Carly is the one hurling "unfit mother" accusations, considering her checkered past, isn't lost on viewers. Carly's hypocrisy is hard to watch but makes complete sense. She's projecting her guilt over the incident with Iris' baby years ago to the situation now. The umbrella stories of Casey lying to his trusting parents, Paul lying to Jennifer, and Carly lying to Jack are going to offer viewers payoff for months to come.
So often, it's easy to nitpick plot details. (Yes, there were some initial problems: the miraculous short-term pregnancies, Craig's unfortunate exit, and the contrived baby switch itself.) But now that the pieces are in place, all bets are off. My heart is breaking for Gwen, who gets verbally abused on a daily basis by the good townsfolk. She's been called a liar in court and labeled a harlot. I even sympathize with Margo, who can't bring herself to believe that her little boy could be a teen father. This tale is just one reason why ATWT is leading the genre when it comes to solid storytelling.
In other musings:
--Add this to the ATWT drinking game: Take a drink every time Paul and Emily have sex on the sofa. It won't take long before you'll be more pickled than Henry's liver.
--Boy, does Dr. Bob need a reality check. I couldn't help but chuckle as he explained to Will how tight his hospital security is when it comes to protecting newborns. Clearly, he hasn't been to the nursery in a while.
--Schemer Katie Peretti may have met her match in Maddie Coleman. Her latest plan to drive a wedge between Mike and Katie is a play right out of the old Katie playbook. The karma here is beyond enjoyable, considering all the schemes Katie has pulled in the past to win Holden, Simon, and Mike. And I couldn't help but agree with Maddie, when she huffed, indignantly, that someone should have told her about Simon. Just imagine Maddie getting Simon back in town to complicate things for his former wife, instead of some new character with no ties to Oakdale.
--Cass Winthrop back on daytime is just about the best end to the soap summer that I can think of. Is there any way to keep him in town? Please?
--Do you think some of Dusty's mojo could rub off on my beloved Henry? It's rarely a day in Oakdale when a woman isn't throwing herself at Dusty. His mojo is legendary: Molly, Rose, Jennifer, Lucy, Meg, and now Jennifer again. Whatever this guy has, Henry needs it, fast.
--You know things just aren't right when Carly is taking advice from her former kidnapper, Barbara. Desperate times, I guess.
--Way to go Emily. She called Carly on her not-so-stellar past, when Carly kept blasting Gwen. Emily said what we all were thinking to one of her best friends. That took guts.
--Shame on Paul for manipulating Gwen. Dark Paul scares me. I'm waiting for the day when he gets his comeuppance from Jennifer and Will.
--Why exactly is Carly letting Iris blackmail her? It doesn't make sense. Carly is tough. If she'd unload on Iris with even half the venom she's spewing at Gwen, Iris would be slinking out of town in her stilettos.
--The scenes between Lily, Sierra, and Lucinda couldn't ring truer for those who've suffered through an illness, such as cancer. Family disagreements about treatment are part of the process. Showing the family dynamic, in that cancer doesn't just affect the victim, but those closest to the victim, too, is brilliant. Life-threatening illness is a difficult balancing act for family members who don't want to overstep, but feel they have to out of fear and concern. Bravo to ATWT for depicting both sides of a difficult dilemma.
--Jennifer Ferrin gets a thumbs-up this week for her portrayal of drugged-up Jen. Her erratic, manic behavior should be enough to clue in Dusty and her family that something isn't right. Wait a minute, though. She was acting almost the same way with Craig a few weeks ago, so perhaps that's why no one has clued into the fact that she's using.
--I've said it before, but I can't watch a scene between Holden and Meg without thinking they're about to make out. I know, I know. They're brother and sister, but there is serious chemistry there. I still can't help but think she would have been a great Molly.
--The best dressed award this week is a tie between Carly and Meg. The wardrobe department gets points for Carly's cool, blue halter top and Meg's hot, little black dress.
--Is Jack on the take? It's the only explanation I can come up with that would have him raking in enough dough to have $10,000 socked away in a bank account. Carly doesn't work, and he supports a family of four on a cop's salary. It's crazy, Scoopers. Crazy.
--Can we please get Mike involved back in Jen's story? He's the one missing link here. I find it hard to believe that he would just turn his back on his "wife."
--So, Keith is trafficking illegal human organs. Well, at least it's not drugs. This plot has the potential to have lasting impact and delve into the issue of morals versus necessity. Just imagine if one of the characters needs an organ, but can't get one. The story would practically write itself.
--Okay, now Hal is worried about Emily? Gee, if he'd just been that devoted a few months ago, maybe his wife wouldn't be shacked up with his former stepson.
--Henry and his "daily sob" has me hoping he gets off that sofa soon. He needs to get out and see what the town has to offer, other than Happy Hour.
Best Lines of the Week:
(Carly gets a phone call from blackmailer Iris and pretends it's Emily so that Jack won't know.)
Carly: "Hi, Emily."
Iris: "Emily? I get it. Did Robocop come home early for the afternoon?"
(Maddie finds out that Katie has been married before Henry.)
Maddie: "I thought Henry was husband numero uno."
Henry: "No. I'm farther along the food chain."
(Susan keeps interrupting Hal with her loud talking, while he's trying to break into Paul's safe.)
Susan: "It's too bad I didn't have a drill in my purse."
Hal: "Or a muzzle."
That's all for now, Scoopers! See ya next week.