To Shag or Not to Shag
Warning: The following post contains salty language. Not safe for work. Not safe for kids. Not safe for pets. You have been duly warned!
The key to watching the NASCAR race that is As the World Turns is to latch onto whatever stories are playing, find the good, the bad and the ugly on any given day or week and hang on for dear life. With all the refueling, pit stops, tire changes, sharp curves, unexpected tune ups and occasional pile ups, by the time Head Writer Jean Passanante and Executive Producer Chris Goutman put the pedal to the metal on the storyline racetrack, it sometimes feels like someone is waving a checkered flag at the finish line while simultaneously getting ready to fire the start gun for the next race to begin.
In fact, it would seem that neither Passanante nor Goutman (with an assist from Barbara Bloom) have a firm handle on what's working and what's not working from week to week. The good part is that stories and some characters that aren't working are over and out sooner rather than later. The bad part is that stories and often characters that are working are over sooner rather than later, too. The rain, it seems, falls on the guilty and innocent alike.
So, goodbye Chris Hughes and Mike Kasnoff and Emily & Casey with the rekindled Margo/Emily feud and the explosive Holden & Carly affair and the prospect of a newly empowered, tough-as-nails Lily, all of which were airing only a few weeks ago. We might not have liked Sofie Duran or the strange way Craig was written when Scott Bryce came and went in the blink of an eye, or whatever else didn't work, but that's the way it goes when you throw out the baby with the bathwater.
Thank God, ATWT has more babies and bathwater.
What saves me from whiplash is the saving grace that each episode generally contains scenes that evoke the spirit of classic ATWT despite the show's runaway train pace. How else to describe the pure joy of watching Barbara and Emily go at it today, with Babs declaring to an intervening Susan, "Call off your pitbull with lipstick daughter and leave me alone!" Or the scenes with Holden & Lily coming together as parents to confront Luke about the election scandal and his reaction to their admonishments? While scenes alone do not a compelling soap make, the stories tend to be more interesting than not, whatever they may be this week as opposed to last, or even 2004 or 2005 where many of the characters seem to find themselves now reset as they were back then. To that end...
The Mystery of Josie Matthews Driver
I must say that in the wake of the wreckage caused by Dusty's return (most notably the demolition of Casey & Emily), I have to admit being drawn deeper into the mystery of this young woman's identity the more she interacts with the denizens of Oakdale. I wasn't completely sold given Dusty's warp speed mania for all things JMD, but her interactions with and affect on Barbara (the always marvelous Colleen Zenk Pinter), Paul and Emily have me intrigued. It doesn't hurt one bit that Kristen Connolly has done some really good acting as the maybe-she-is-maybe-she's-not a reincarnation of Jennifer, amnesiac or con artist.
What is most intriguing to me about JMD is her name. It so happens that on Another World, Sharlene Frame had a daughter named Josie. Josie's father was Dr. Russ Matthews. Matriarch Rachel Cory's maiden name was Davis. Rachel was married to Dr. Russ Matthews, who later married Sharlene. And one other thing: Sharlene suffered from Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) aka "split personalities."
Is it possible that "Josie Matthews Driver" is in fact related to some of the biggest families in Bay City? That name simply can't be a mere homage to AW, given that hers would not be the first name AW fans would expect to pop up in Oakdale. Also, it is also interesting that JMD as of this writing is listed on cbs.com as "Josie Matthews Davis."...(continued)