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« Sonny With a Chance (Of Over-the-Top Propping) | Main | And Brody Gets An Incomplete »

September 09, 2010

The end of the "World"

The last episode of As The World Turns is airing later this month. We turned to one of our favorite soap bloggers, Patrick Erwin of A Thousand Other Worlds, for his perspective on the end of an era. --M & B. 

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As some of you may have heard, another daytime soap opera, As The World Turns, is ending on September 17th.


Mallory and Becca asked me to share a few thoughts with you on the end of the show. Because they're awesome. And also, because ATWT is one of the Shows They Don't Watch Because There Are Not Enough Hours in the Day.

(Though, seriously? There are only six left now and with commercials and Tivo to FF through the mortifying parts, that's like an hour and a half, tops.)

So if you're unfamiliar with ATWT, I'll clue you in here. Serial Drama-style: a little mocking and a lot of love.

So who can I mock first?

Well, if One Life to Live had their Dukes of Darkness - Todd Manning and John McBain - ATWT had their own dour, depressing duo.

In one mopey corner, you had Paul Ryan, played by the original (or is that "real?") Todd from OLTL, Roger Howarth. Paul Ryan was supposed to be moody and dark, the son of James Stenbeck (think: Stefano DiMera with better suits and less facial hair).

You could usually tell how depressed or angry Paul was by (a) how horribly he treated the woman in his life and (b) the shade of highlights in his hair. The lighter the hair, the higher the doze of Prozac.

The other half of this utterly captivating duo was Dusty Donovan. 80s soap fans may remember this role originally played by Brian Bloom, a Tiger Beat pinup with unnaturally blue eyes. Dusty 2.0 was played by Grayson McCouch, a capable actor who was nevertheless saddled with a character who should have just been subtitled "Sonny Corinthos East."

If Dusty had a social networking profile, it might look like this.

LIKES: Raising children I didn't sire, significantly younger women, squinting angrily at people. DISLIKES: Direct sunlight, haircuts.


What about the women, you say? Well, let's start with Carly. Carly Tenney has a lot in common with Carly.....well, whatever the hell her name is from General Hospital. They've both been involved in almost every story in the last 15 years. And like her West Coast counterpart, East Coast Carly is the town bicycle - and a number of men in Oakdale have taken her for a spin.

Carly's main man is Jack Snyder, a soulful cop with dark hair and a square jaw who has a whole Mark Ruffalo thing going on. They've tormented the hell out of each other for the last 15 years.

The two actors who play them - Maura West and Michael Park - are, in fact, amazing. They both won Emmys this year (his first, her second). They have made some of the worst story lines EVER fly. If you're curious about Maura, you can see her as nuDiane next month on The Young and the Restless.

Carly's sister, Rosanna, was played by Cady McClain, who many folks remember as All My Children's Dixie. McClain's gone back and forth between those shows a few times, returning to ATWT after that whole AMC poisoned pancakes debacle. (I guess that despite all of Dixie's prayers to God Lavery, even He turned a deaf ear.)

Rosanna was dating Craig, played by Port Charles alumni Jon Lindstrom. Who was also interested in Carly. (As I said: Bicycle.) Before that, she had some wild personality swings from (a) steel-cold business woman to (b) a character with one of the worst cases of baby rabies ever seen on daytime.

And of course, there's Juicy Janet. Another Port Charles alumni, Julie Pinson, played Janet. Janet was a fun character at first, but we got on Janet overload this spring when she couldn't decide between Jack and Dusty. (And it's a daytime soap, so you know she couldn't have both - which might have been possible if this was a cable show. Or a late night Cinemax movie.) 

This summer, Janet was adding bachelor #3 to the mix - Blackie (played by her real life husband no less) - and all of this while she was approximately 14 months pregnant. What can I say? The girl knows how to multitask.

Back in the 80s, the smoking hot couple was lost little rich girl Lily Walsh and hunky stableboy Holden Synder. They had a ton of chemistry, and Holden wore his jeans so tightly you could almost tell he was Presbyterian.

In the last few years, it's been Lily and Holden's son Luke and his love life that's been front-burner. Luke came out a few years back and had two romances - one with film student Noah Mayer, who was tall, dark and grumpy. Then he had a hot rebound thing with Reid Oliver, a ginger-haired doctor with a whole Gregory House-vibe going on (without the cane).

Reid and Luke were bringing the hotness until Reid was killed by a speeding train this week. On the one hand, it's completely lame that these two handsome guys didn't sleep together and barely kissed, and it's still kinda laughable that the gay characters are "taking it slow" when the other ones are getting pregnant before they learn their partner's last name.

But I also give some props to ATWT and their stories for Luke. Luke has been pretty front and center. He's consistently had a boyfriend. Those boyfriends weren't (a) secretly straight, or (b) women. Because LGBT people are, like, actually attracted to people of the same sex. (Yes, I am giving you the evil death-ray side eye, All My Children.) And neither of Luke's boyfriends were living a continent away, either.

I can't end my Cliff Notes for ATWT without mentioning Katie. All roads lead to Katie! Katie is sort of the Sami Brady of Oakdale. More perky and less bitchy, but in every story. Katie has been married so often that the registrars at the courthouse have given her a punch card. One more and she gets a free divorce!

Speaking of Sami, Katie was most recently married to Brad Synder - who was played by Austin Peck, who played Sami's victim Austin Reed on DAYS.

Katie is like Waldo, except you never actually have to worry where Katie is - she'll show up before you can miss her!

That's your primer on the current movers and shakers in Oakdale. Lots of marriages, misogyny, and former ABC soap stars. A recipe for success, no?  

Comments

Thanks. Great to finally see some ATWT here. Can we finally get something again about DOOL?

Nice summary Patrick! I've been watching ATWT for about 12 years now, and I'm sad to see it end. Even sadder to see HOW it's ending. I am so angry they killed off Reid, such a different and interesting character.

I'm so over Katie, as TPTB claimed her the show's "sweetheart." Please, gag me.

And HOW could you forget one of the most entertaining characters on the show, Henry?? I've loved watching him and Barbara and their romance. Never liked Barbara until this SL.

I'll miss Michael Park the most. I hope he moves over to a different show I watch!

"Reid and Luke were bringing the hotness until Reid was killed by a speeding train this week. On the one hand, it's completely lame that these two handsome guys didn't sleep together and barely kissed, and it's still kinda laughable that the gay characters are "taking it slow" when the other ones are getting pregnant before they learn their partner's last name.

But I also give some props to ATWT and their stories for Luke. Luke has been pretty front and center. He's consistently had a boyfriend. Those boyfriends weren't (a) secretly straight, or (b) women. Because LGBT people are, like, actually attracted to people of the same sex. (Yes, I am giving you the evil death-ray side eye, All My Children.) And neither of Luke's boyfriends were living a continent away, either."

Yes and Luke was actually allowed to kiss his boyfriends with passion which is something Bianca has been rarely allowed to do. And his first onscreen romance lasted at least 2 years.I don't think Bianca had a romantic story that played out onscreen for much more than 6 months.

But I won't give ATWT too much credit. ATWT has been much more shy about even implying sex between gay characters than AMC was. Luke also got a lot less screentime than ER's Bianca, who was often on the frontburner, did. And Luke's tragic ending is terrible and feels like it came from a 70's gay movie. God forbid they do something truly progressive and give the gay couple a happy ending.

Thanks for that wonderful summary. Dunno anything ab ATWT except Maura West coz she's just awesome! Love all the GH analogies, made it understandable!

The love is there, the snark is there, the only thing missing are the screencaps.

thanks!

"and it's still kinda laughable that the gay characters are "taking it slow" when the other ones are getting pregnant before they learn their partner's last name."

On the one hand it is ridiculous that Luke/Reid had to wait longer than the straight couples and never ended up getting to have the sex that the writers seemed to be building to. On the other hand the fact that so many straight couples, even ones TPTB want us to like and invest in, get together so quickly is one of the reasons there are so few supercouples. I think it took Lily and Holden 6 or 7 months just to share one kiss and If I'm not mistaken it took at least months after that for them to have sex.I'm not advocating depriving a couples fans of pay off like TPTB did with Luke/Reid but I am advocating taking more time to carefully build a couple's relationship before fans get that pay off.

I've been providing synopsis of the final episodes and the writing has been nine kinds of awful. From Reid's rushed death to that insane bullshit with Lily and Holden flying from Oakdale, Illinois to Brooklyn, New York in the space of a commercial to damn near everyone's seeming indifference to Reid's death (I guess they were too busy worrying about resident ass-hat Chris Hughes) this feels like they got the cancellation notice a week out instead of months ago.

Damn, people -- is it so hard to plan out a story? (Um, judging from the trainwreck that is Y&R,maybe it is...)

I'm so sad that ATWT is going off the air. I can still remember being six or seven, watching ATWT with my mom as Holden and Lily danced in a courtyard. I do wish TPTB had gotten Martha Byrne back to end the show, but I guess there were too many burned bridges there for that to work. And Noelle Beck is great as Lily.

As for Katie, yes, she has been married far too many times. But I wanted the show to end with her and Simon riding off into the sunset to go on some epic adventure. IMO, Simon will always be my favorite of Katie's husbands and love interests, despite their very rocky past. Plus, Paul Leyden is smokin' hot.

Thanks for the ATWT love!

Ha!!! I've said for years that Carly Tenney and Carly Benson were like the same person, which explained my intense hatred for both.

I'm so sad to see ATWT end. I wish Simon was back for Katie. Martha Byrne should have been asked back as Lily, plain and simple.

"If Dusty had a social networking profile, it might look like this.

LIKES: Raising children I didn't sire, significantly younger women, squinting angrily at people. DISLIKES: Direct sunlight, haircuts."

HA! This is the greatest, most concise, and most accurate description of Grayson McCouch's Dusty I have ever seen. Kudos, Patrick. Now, excuse me while I wipe the Diet Coke from my screen...

Thanks to everyone who posted replies!

@Jen K - I love Henry, and Henry/Barbara. You're right that I was remiss in mentioning Henry (and Babs). My bad!

Henry has been saving storylines for years. I am going to miss him the most. After the Hughes. And Lucinda. God love Lucinda.

I wished so hard the Serial Drama team had been recapping ATWT a couple of weeks ago. That "fight" scene between Grayson McCouch and Billy Warlock was hands-down the funniest scene I have ever seen on soaps, ever.


"Ha!!! I've said for years that Carly Tenney and Carly Benson were like the same person, which explained my intense hatred for both."

I am going to have to disagree with you on that because Carly tenney has only ever loved on man. Jack Synder.

Carly Benson has loved every man she was married to and said they were the love of her life.

Through everything they have been through Carly and Jack always come back to each other because of how strong there love is.

@Kristen

Dusty's(Grayson McCouch)spinning heel kick on Blackie(Billy Warlock)was hilarious. It's not like Blackie was holding an automatic weapon. Wait a minute. He was holding a gun. Couldn't Blackie have shot Dusty five or six times as Dusty ran toward him, jumped up in the air and spun around before kicking the gun out of Blackie's hand? Someone needs to put that scene up on Youtube.

"Carly Benson has loved every man she was married to and said they were the love of her life."

I don't recall her ever saying that to AJ or Lorenzo. Besides, Carly Tenney only loving Jack doesn't negate that she and Carly B. are alike.

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