As I Saw It… As the World Turns

as-the-world-turnsLast week I went to church.  As a Catholic, I received  Holy Communion and went back to my pew to pray.  I looked up and saw an elderly woman pick up her communion wafer from the palm of her hand and attempt to place it in her mouth.  The wafer flew by her mouth and hit her nose, only to land on her tongue and be eaten – all while her eyes bulged out in horror.  It looked very much like a frog grabbing a fly with it’s tongue.  I know now as I knew then that it wasn’t supposed to be funny – but it was.  I laughed.  I tried hard not to, but I couldn’t help myself.  Why am I telling you this as I begin my tale of a week of watching As the World Turns?  Keep reading.

First off, it was very jarring for me to watch ATWT when so many familiar characters have been recast with familiar actors from other shows.  What is most jarring is that the characters don’t behave as they did when I watched before.  Meg Snyder was a sly schemer who grew into a ethereal heroine. Now she’s really dumb.  The Dusty Donovan that I remember was the epitome of what every mother wanted her daughter to bring home, except for the fact that he had an annoying habit of greeting everyone with a handshake.  Now he’s a criminal.  Paul was a good kid who was tortured by his father’s legacy.  Now he acts like Todd Manning.  It’s hard to root for anyone in this storyline because Dusty (Grayson McCouch) and Paul (Roger Howarth) aren’t very nice and Meg (Marie Wilson) isn’t very smart.  The most recent recast is Jon Lindstrom as Craig Montgomery.  Lindstrom, a  very good actor, is paired with Deirdre Skiles as Dani Andropoulos – the daughter of his first love Betsy.  If that isn’t enough, Dani was born while Betsy was married to Craig and was believed to be his biological daughter until Steve was proven to be her father.  Pairing Dani with someone she once thought was her father is really creepy.  But then again, so is the romance between Lucinda and Brian Wheatley (Elizatheth Hubbard, Laurence Lau).  The age difference doesn’t bother me, but Brian kissing his stepgrandson creeps me out.  Apparently it creeped out grandson Luke (Van Hansis) also, because Luke is on a mission to learn everything he can about Brian – starting with Brian’s ex-wife Carolyn (Marcia McCabe).  Carolyn obviously knows that Brian has a secret and I have a hunch that it’s more than the obvious.  Aside from the overall creep factor of the storyline, I like mysteries and this could be interesting.  However, at the end of Monday’s show, I wasn’t waiting with baited breath for the next episode.  It’s actually a good thing I wasn’t anxiously awaiting Tuesday’s show because when it aired not one character that appeared on Monday’s episode was on Tuesday’s show!   I felt as if I was watching two completely different soaps.  

While Monday was all about the Paul/Meg/Craig/Dani/Dusty situation along with the Lucinda/Brian/Luke storyline, Tuesday was all about Jack’s (Michael Park) impending marriage to Janet (Julie Pinson) despite their financial problems.  Just when I was making a mental note that the show added a dash of reality and current events as Jack discussed not being able to pay for an expensive wedding in the middle of a recession, Carly (Maura West) and Jack’s son Parker (Mick Hazen), aided by Janet’s daughter with the unfortunate name of Liberty (Meredith Hagner), decided to forge Carly’s name on one of his trust fund checks for the tune of twenty thousand dollars. Within the course of one hour, Janet and Jack had realized they didn’t have enough cash for the reception, Liberty and Parker took the check to the Lakeview Hotel, Carly discovered their shenanigans and blamed Jack, only for Carly, Jack, and Janet to find Liberty and Parker and show them the error of their ways. I thought I was watching As the Brady Bunch Turns.  In the same hour, Alison Stewart (Marnie Schulenburg) cheered up job-searching Casey Hughes (Billy Magnussen) by telling him, “Look at me. I was a drug addict and a porn star. Now I work in a hospital!” Casey asked his grandfather Bob Hughes (Don Hastings, who still reminds me of my own dad) for a job and was hired on the spot as a janitor. Casey didn’t need to fill out an employment application or have to go through a background check.  He didn’t even take a drug test.  Within minutes he was mopping floors as Alison checked on a patient.  The patient turned out to be one of the guys who attacked her and she left him unattended – just long enough for him to go onto the roof in a drug induced stupor and attempt to jump because invisible people were telling him to do so.  Casey (mop in hand) saved the day.  I know that attempted suicide is not funny and drug overdoses have no humor, but just as in church last week, I couldn’t help but laugh.  In fact I laughed harder at that scene than I have laughed at any primetime sitcom this year.  Next, Bob checked on Casey to see how he was enjoying his new job.  Casey gleefully told his grandfather, “I just saved a guy who was going to jump off the roof. He was one of the guys who kidnapped Alison and tried to rape her!” Did Bob call the police?  Of course not.  He told Alison to document the patient’s chart, take a break, and come to his office later – while Casey whispered in Alison’s ear that someone might be getting a raise.  This show needs a laugh-track.

As the week progressed, I finally got to see Noelle Beck as Lily.  In the 1980’s, I enjoyed both Martha Byrne as Lily and Noelle Beck as Loving‘s Trisha.  It was odd to see Beck as Lily.  Her take on the character is far more mannered and reserved than Byrne, who played Lily as spunky and full of emotion. Beck is a good actress, but she isn’t Lily.  ATWT has changed so many characters to suite the actors who have taken over roles (Roger Howarth, Grayson McCouch), that one might imagine Lily as an entirely new character after the recast.  The brightest part of the show for me was Julie Pinson as Janet Ciccone.  Pinson is one of those rare performers who generates chemistry with everyone she’s paired with.  Her scenes with Michael Park sparkled despite weak dialogue.  Maura West is always great and her scenes displaying Carly’s utter sadness over Jack’s marriage to Janet were wonderful.  This is what makes ATWT frustrating: just when you think it’s safe to turn it off, they throw in a gem like the scenes of Jack and Carly the night before Jack’s wedding to Janet.  For me, the cons outweighed the pros.  Part of it is because there are so many villians on the show that it’s hard to find enough characters to cheer for, but the bottom line is that ATWT, which boasts some of the best actors in the industry, simply isn’t very well-written.



One Response to “As I Saw It… As the World Turns”

  1. dallasteve Says:

    LOL @ communion wafer

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