2010 -- the end of Oakdale. In some ways, I still can't believe that it is truly over. I know I ranted a lot about the quality of the show, however it would be have been awfully nice to be in Emma's kitchen for Thanksgiving and seeing the Hughes family celebrating Christmas this year, with Chris recovering from his heart surgery.
I have refused to tune in to The Talk. I have been captivated by One Life to Live; I think they do a great job interweaving the veterans and newbies into story -- it might be just a tad bit heavy on the Ford brothers right now. To see former ATWT stars on other shows as new characters and not as prominent is taking some getting used to, specifically: Maura West as Y&R's Diane Jenkins and Terri Conn as OLTL's Aubrey.
Characters That We Should Not Have Seen
Rocco Ciccione -- there was too much time spent on Rocco and his gangster clan. The show had already been given its end date, so why bring in all of Janet's family to take up valuable time that could have been spent on finding Lisa a new love?
Gabriel -- the long lost son of Craig Montgomery. The character had some potential, though he was written as this vindictive kid with a grudge. Why couldn't he be the character to die and give his heart to Chris, or would it have been too much to have Craig lose another son?
A Breath of Fresh Air
Dr. Reid Oliver -- He came into Oakdale and made some longtime viewers remember the early days of Dr. John Dixon. He was brash and unapologetic, and it was a joy to watch his character move through Oakdale, creating havoc. He was the best thing to happen to Oakdale in a long time. Even more refreshing was watching his tough exterior crumble as he fell in love with Luke Snyder; this was a love story that I would have liked to seen how it would have progressed.
Bad Storyline Moves
Mick Dante as James Stenbeck -- the character of Mick had more potential than to come up with this cockamamie idea to make Mick a younger version of James Stenbeck. It was a misuse of Tom Pelphrey, who did such a fantastic job on Guiding Light. Anthony Herrera should have come back as James Stenbeck to wreak havoc one more time on Oakdale.
Barbara's Kidnapping -- this was another case of wasted time. She spent too much time in that factory talking to a clown. Why bring Iris back for this?
Killing Reid Oliver -- I thought a lot of moves at the end were quite well-thought-out and poignant. I was speechless when Reid had to die in order for Chris to live. With all the love turmoil that Luke has endured over the years, it would have been fitting if his story ended on a happy note like any of the other characters in Oakdale.
Vienna and her Baby Schemes -- the character of Vienna was destroyed with all of her plots to make Henry think she was pregnant. It was hard to watch a character that was once a fiery, seductive woman but who was reduced to this schemer who failed every time. I hated what she became at the end.
Story Until the End
Carly and Jack -- it was always good to see the strength of a couple like Jack and Carly. It was great to see them find their way back to each other at the end and be happy expecting a new baby. For years, it was a joy to watch them break up and get back together, and it was never boring watching it every time it happened.
Recast that Did Not Work
Liberty Ciccione -- Why the recast in the last months of the show? This was a character that was dispensable and could have easily gone off to college after her cancer went into remission. There was no need to recast this character.
Glad to See Them Back
Dr. John Dixon -- in the last weeks of this show, one character came back and revitalized so many characters. He was truly missed, and it was apparent from his first reappearance at the hospital. I could not believe how much I enjoyed watching him interact with Bob, Kim, Margo, Lucinda, and even Reid. There was a potential story there: John could have been revealed to be Reid's biological father; it would have been a great story to watch.
Will and Gwen -- having them back was good. It showed the strength of their bond as a couple and the fact that they probably needed to be away from Oakdale to survive as a couple. I hated that they came back to get involved with Iris and her crazy shenanigans.
Storylines That Ended Well
Henry and Barbara -- It was quite the surprise pair, and Barbara needed a new love interest since she had spent so much time in the last few years being a manipulative mother. Her character just glowed when she was with Henry -- their love brought out the best in both characters; it was good to see.
Dusty Became a Father -- I was so happy for Dusty Donovan. He had spent so much time being the father to other men's children. It was only fair that Janet's baby turned out to be his.
Bob and Kim Retire -- it was lovely to watch their story end the way it did. To see them decide it was time to retire was the best way to end the show. To see Don Hastings as Dr. Bob say the last word was fitting. The Hughes family was what Oakdale was built on; they endured for 54 years.
Real Life vs. Reel Life
The death of Helen Wagner so close to the end of the show was really devastating. So many people wanted to see her say the last words as the world stopped turning. I found myself thinking about her a lot towards the end -- wanting to see Nancy Hughes just one more time.
Finally, this is it for me -- my final column. I have enjoyed ATWT for many years, and to be able to write this column and share my thoughts about the happenings in Oakdale has been a real joy. As much as I have missed Oakdale, I have missed writing this column every other week. I thank Dan and Jennifer for their partnership. I thank all of you once again for your feedback throughout the years, as I have appreciated you taking the time to share how you felt about what was happening in Oakdale too. I wish everyone a happy and healthy 2011.
That's all I have for now.