Hello, Scoopers! I've missed you! It's that time of year when we deck the halls and take a look back at the best and worst of As the Worlds Turns. Since this was the final year of ATWT, I think we can all agree that the worst part of the show was that after more than 50 years, it was cancelled. I'm sure Santa will be delivering coal to those who made the decision to replace this beloved daytime drama with another ubiquitous talk show. (You know who you are.) And don't be surprised if the reindeer leave a special "treat," too.
I've heard that old adage that you don't miss something until it's gone, and I have to confess, it's true. After rolling my eyes for months at some of the silly storylines on ATWT -- (Mick Dante assumes James Stenbeck's personality, and Meg Snyder has a breakdown) -- I can't help but long for a hilarious Henry or Paul one-liner, a smoldering kiss between Jack and Carly, or a family chat with Bob and Kim. Sigh.
For several weeks after the show was pulled from the air, I found myself searching for an adequate replacement, but no other show seems to measure up to the feel-good drama, chemistry-filled couples, and skilled acting that created such a wonderful ensemble. (Sorry, General Hospital; you're way too violent for my taste these days, and you ignore the Quartermaines and Mac and Alexis. All My Children hasn't hooked me yet. And despite that Simon Frasier, Carly Snyder, and Robert Scorpio are all now on The Young and the Restless, I still can't watch it without reaching for the fast-forward button.) So, I've pretty much given up daytime. I'm getting my soap fix on shows like Glee, Brothers and Sisters, and yes (hanging head in shame) The Vampire Diaries. Don't judge me. A world without Carly and Jack and Henry and Katie has driven me to drastic measures.
Let's take a few minutes now to grab a hot cocoa, settle in, and reflect on what was the best and worst of our dearly departed show.
Best storyline: Jack and Carly's never-ending love story. It was a tumultuous year, in which Jack spent a good portion of it with Janet, but it was clear that he and Carly weren't finished. When they were happy, it was bliss, but when they were fighting, it was must-see-TV. One particular fight was so passionate, I was cringing at times. Carly called Jack a self-righteous hypocrite, accused him of not loving Parker like his own son, and then threw Jack's accidental killing of his own brother in his face. Jack returned fire by calling Carly a liar, a criminal, and a poor example for their children. Despite their hardships and the assumption that Janet was pregnant with Jack's baby, Jack and Carly overcame all their obstacles to make their way back to one another. After years of back and forth, they finally got a happy ending, complete with a marriage and a new baby. Michael Park and Maura West also picked up Emmys this year for best lead actor and lead actress in a daytime drama. It's obvious why. They had an underlying chemistry, that couldn't be killed by other onscreen partners, lies, or differences. I miss them. Sniff. Sniff.
Worst storyline: Meg Snyder loses her sanity. Character assassination to fit a temporary plot is one of the worst offenses writers can make in my opinion. Meg Snyder -- a key member of a core Oakdale family who has history with half the town -- turned into a jealous, manipulative, mentally unstable woman in a matter of months. A custody fight with Paul and her desperation to make him love her turned this once-tough gal into a whimpering shell of herself. I loved Meg when she first came back to town, but derailing her to crazy town turned this layered character into fast-forward material.
Most disappointing storyline: Simon Frasier came home, but left again! We all knew the show was ending, so when Simon returned to help Katie, after Brad's death, I was optimistic that someday Katie and Simon would get their happily ever after. Simon helped Katie through her grief, and it looked they were going to leave town together. But in the end, Katie decided she wanted to stay in Oakdale and that Simon wouldn't be happy living a domesticated life. Simon was Katie's first true love, and I had hoped he would return in the end to tell Katie he was ready to settle down once and for all. Instead, we got Katie propelled into a rushed love story with Chris Hughes. Sigh.
Best new character: Reid Oliver. I would say he was the best new character anywhere on TV this year. You couldn't help but love to hate him. He came to town as a brilliant but surly doctor. He was quick with an insult and didn't care who was the target of his verbal vomit. Not even beloved Bob Hughes was safe from Reid's slurs. He was daytime's Dr. House. Despite Reid's demeanor, viewers couldn't look away and quickly fell for this refreshingly honest character. As months went on, we discovered that Reid was gay, and he was soon pitted in the middle of one of the show's most popular couples, Luke and Noah. I know many of you championed Reid's storylines because he was gay, but as I said before, not me. His sexuality rarely crossed my mind, and that's why I loved him. His storyline wasn't about the fact that he was gay. He was such a successful character because his sexuality didn't define him, as it often does on daytime, when a gay character is introduced. In the end, Reid became a hero. He died a grisly death, by train, as he heroically tried to race to a hospital to get a heart for a dying Chris Hughes. (Trying to outrun a train, Reid? Dumb move!) Although Reid's time in Oakdale was short, he made an impression, and he'll go down in history as one of daytime television's all-time best characters.
Worst new character: No one! There weren't a lot of new faces this year. Thank you, ATWT! I was happy to spend our last days watching our favorite long-term characters, instead of a batch of newbies. I was going to name Gabriel Caras, Craig's son, as the worst new character, but I changed my mind. Yes, I know I complained for months that Gabriel was eating up screen time that I would have preferred to have given to Lisa, or Bob, or others. But, as it turned out, I loved how Gabriel's storyline ended, finding his father, plotting with Lucinda, and the hints of a future relationship between Craig and Gabriel. This character gave Jon Lindstrom some of the best work of his career, as he bonded with Margo and took out his anger on Lily and Lucinda, who knew about his illegitimate child. So, how could I hate a character that finally gave Craig some much-needed depth?
Best rivalry: Craig and Lucinda. It dates back decades, and that's what makes it so wonderful. Whether she was plotting his demise and bankrupting him, or he was tying her to a chair and flirting with her daughter, Craig and Lucinda oozed chemistry. Their scenes were always riveting and riddled with an underlying humor. I miss them already.
Most disappointing couple: Holden and Molly. Yes, I know he's half of one of the show's most popular couples ever, but after Martha Byrne left the role of Lily, it was obvious that the Lily/Holden coupling wasn't the same. What was promising was the spark that Holden and Molly set off when they were in the same room. They had history, a daughter, and enough spark to blow up Oakdale. So, when their wedding fell apart because Holden was off trying to "save" Lily, it was a major disappointment for me. I know that in a perfect world, Holden and Lily, with Byrne in the role, would have ended the show together. But since that wasn't possible, the writers should have capitalized on the Molly/Holden chemistry/history and given this pairing a shot.
Most surprising couple: Henry and Barbara. I always thought that Henry and Katie would end up together, if Simon didn't return. So, I was a little disappointed when it seemed Henry was spending most of his days with Barbara. This unlikely pairing grew on me, as it became clear that Barbara, unlike Katie or Vienna, accepted Henry for the drinking, gambling, rogue he is. Despite their age difference and family protests from Paul, Henry and Barbara tied the knot in a beautiful ceremony that didn't leave a dry eye in the house.
Worst couple: Katie and Chris. Chemistry plays a major role in whether a couple works or not, and sadly, this couple lacked it. Their relationship was so rushed it felt like the writers were throwing them together simply so Katie wouldn't end up alone. Chris had much more chemistry with Alison. In new Chris' defense, he had some big shoes to fill. Katie had major sparks with Brad, Jack, Simon, and Henry.
Worst character treatment: Vienna Hyatt. I don't even know where to start with the transformation of this character. She started out a rich society diva, who changed into a cookie-baking domestic sweetheart. But it wasn't long before she was plotting and lying to Henry about being pregnant and trying every desperate plot she could to hold onto Henry. (Sleeping with Casey!) It wasn't all her fault. Henry treated her horribly, lying to her about his feelings for Barbara and planning another wedding with Vienna that he didn't really want. Poor Vienna. I hope she's somewhere with Simon enjoying life again!
Best return: John Dixon. There were so many familiar faces that landed in Oakdale this year, it's hard to pick the best return. It was great to see Will, Gwen, Lucy, Sierra, Rosanna, Simon, Frannie, and Chris, but when John Dixon hit Oakdale, happy days were here again. As soon as he uttered, "Old girl" to Lucinda, it was like a day hadn't passed. I've sorely missed this guy for years, but I didn't realize the enormous hole he left until we saw him again with Dusty, Bob, Lucinda, and the gang. Bravo, ATWT for luring him back home. Runner up: Will Munson. Like John Dixon, he's a scene stealer. His rapport with brother Paul and new stepfather, Henry, was a hoot!
Worst return: Frannie Hughes. I know Julianne Moore is a busy award-winning film actress, but her blink-and-you-missed-it walk through to congratulate her parents on their anniversary hardly seemed worth her time. It would have been nice to hear what Frannie was up to these days. Runner up: Chris Hughes. In theory, it made sense for Chris to come home and take over as chief of staff for his retiring father. But, this version of Chris came back with a deadly heart condition that apparently made him stupid. He refused treatment, didn't listen to doctor's orders, and almost died before receiving a transplant. And did I mention that he somehow fell in love with Katie overnight?
Craziest storyline: Mick Dante is brainwashed to believe he is James Stenbeck. For weeks Mick, and his continuously bloody nose, lurked in the stairwell of the hospital, convincing the Stewart women and Barbara that his magical fertility plant could reverse the aging process and get Emily pregnant. He even tried to convince Barbara that he was James Stenbeck and had reverse-aged himself to have a six-pack and long hair, with DNA proof to back up his claim. Meanwhile, Ali, Barbara, and Emily, three savvy women, were dumbed-down for this silly plot and actually believed his crazy storyline. Barbara and Emily even took his magic herbs, as I shook my head in disbelief. In the end, we found out that James had brainwashed Mick to seek revenge on James's enemies, and Mick was taken into custody. I think whoever came up with this storyline may have been into some magical herbs themselves.
Most memorable moment: The final scene of the finale with the spinning globe. As Bob left his office to retire, he took one last look before shutting off the lights. He looked longingly at the lit globe on his desk, the trademark symbol of As the World Turns for decades, gave it a spin, turned out the lights and left the room. I don't think I'll ever get that image out of my mind because it was so symbolic that the world was ending for fans and all those involved with the show. We truly saw a piece of daytime history. Although I wish we had gotten flashbacks from old shows during the last week, I was pleased with the finale, told from Bob's point of view. It had an Our Town kind of feel to it, that seemed just perfect for Oakdale.
Other "best" moments:
Janet and Dusty reuniting and the baby turning out to be his.
Lucinda and John showing us that romance isn't dead past 50.
Parker's decision to follow in both his fathers' footsteps and become a cop.
Paul and Henry's family bonding scenes.
Lisa's tribute show.
Parker and Faith's burgeoning romance.
A possible Luke and Noah reconciliation.
Other "worst" moments:
Too much time wasted on the Ciccone family. As much as I enjoyed Janet, I didn't care about Teri, their father, or the rest of the clan that ate up way too much screen time.
Martha Byrne's noticeable absence at the end of the show.
A lack of Lisa in the final days.
Trying to convince myself that Craig would have cheated on Sierra all those years ago.
Henry's behavior toward Vienna.
No flashbacks to the past during the final week. I would have loved to see Steve and Betsy, Kirk and Marcy, and some old scenes from the past.
Having to say goodbye to a piece of history and the afternoon "soap block" on CBS.
Having to say goodbye to all my Two Scoops readers who have been so supportive through the years. Sniff. Sniff.
Best Lines of the Year:
(Craig saddles up to the bar and joins Dusty for a drink.)
Craig: "What do we drink to?"
Dusty: "I don't need a reason to drink."
(Bob is at Al's having breakfast and invites the always-busy Reid to join him.)
Bob: "You're allowed to sit down and have breakfast."
Reid: "Yeah, maybe when I'm 600 years old like you."
Bob: "I'm a little younger than I look."
( Jack tries to seduce Carly in the car and begins kissing her passionately.)
Carly: "I have to go to work. It's not happening, Jack."
Jack: "It's kind of happening for me. "
(Tom tells Craig that he won't be making bail, because on top of attacking a guard, escaping from custody, and suspected arson, he attacked Lucinda.)
Tom: "Craig, you threatened to kill her."
Craig: "Well, who hasn't?"
(Molly runs into Holden and tells him she's the maid of honor for Carly's wedding.)
Molly: "Who knew I had any honor left at this stage of the game?"
( Janet and Dusty are trapped at a cabin as she goes into labor.)
Janet: "What are you doing in there?"
Dusty: "Boiling water. That's what you do when you deliver a baby."
Janet: "Can you boil me an epidural while you're at it? "
That's it, Scoopers -- my final column, ever, for this Web site. Thank you to Dan, Reggie, and all my readers for this wonderful opportunity. I'll miss you more than you know.