As the World Turns: Finally Getting It Together



ATWT's continuing long voyage back isn't isolated to these aforementioned stories. Carly's (Maura West) depature to rehab has provided grist for the mill of the extended complications among the blended Snyder/Ciccone/Tenney-Cabot clans. The sudden, highly coincidental arrival of Janet's (Julie Pinson, giving her all) sister Teri (wonderful new addition Vanessa Ray) further grounds both Janet and Liberty (Meredith Hagner), while providing more friction between her & Jack (Michael Park). In a few short episodes, the debut of Lynn Herring's conniving Audrey has carried more weight than the two months it took to introduce and unmask her son Henry's (Trent Dawson) sister as a serial killer.

(A note about Audrey/Herring: while some fans have noted what they see as little difference between Audrey and General Hospital's Lucy Coe, I don't see this as a bad thing. If the show's plan was to get GH's fans to sample ATWT, then it only makes sense to cast an accomplished character actress like Herring for a role suited to her talents and acting style. She has risen to the challenge admirably, infusing her lines with so much subtext that I consider any comparisons between Audrey & Lucy moot.)

Finally, no less than the venerable but long-neglected Hughes family is bubbling again. Kim (Kathryn Hays) is embroiled in Oakdale Now hijinks. There is something new (or old) going on with Bob's (Don Hastings) health. The Riley/Adam storyline has moved away from its initial plastic surgery-switch setup to be more about a mother's desperation to keep her believed-to-be-dead son with her, the grudging rebuilding of the relationship between estranged brothers, and the suspense of what will happen when the truth comes out. Will Riley/Adam (Tom Degnan) go to jail for his past crimes? Will Alison forgive Casey (Billy Magnussen) for not telling him the truth? What will be Tom's (the awesome Scott Holmes) reaction when he learns of Margo's (the brilliant Ellen Dolan) staggering number of lies?

In addiiton, there have been an unusually strong number of scripts over the last several weeks. Attention is being paid to the show's history. Dialogue is sharper, more focused and sometimes cuts to the quick. Even some of the studio sets seem to have been enlarged in subtle ways that make the actual viewing experience easier on the eyes.

In terms of story, there is a common thread: ATWT has used a number of narrative shortcuts, hoary soap cliches, and outrageous plot twists to build and rebuild the show's families and focus on their relationships. I normally would heavily criticize this decision, but in many ways I don't believe ATWT had any choice. With ratings actually at, and sometimes below those of P&G sister soap Guiding Light at the time of its cancellation, and with comments as recently as a few days ago by CBS' Nina Tassler foreshadowing possibly the same fate for ATWT in the not too distant future, sometimes a show has to do what a show has to do to get its proverbial shit together. If that means scrambled eggs, heretofore unhinted at brain implants, a bout of amnesia, and a little back-from-the-dead action in order to jumpstart what is really important in terms of family, history and getting to the roots of classic ATWT storytelling, then I'm on board as long as the stunts are kept to a minimum and the momentum continues toward human drama.

ATWT is still far, far from perfect. The show needs to figure which Rosanna they want instead of the one who they straddled in the middle between Cady McClain's more glamorous business mogul under Hogan Sheffer's regime or Yvonne Perry's more down to earth version that first showed up at Emma's doorstep. The compressed storytelling and semi-episodic structure, while easing up, still crams too much story into thirty-eight minutes without letting the tales breathe over several shows or allow more natural beats play out. Luke & Noah (Jake Silbermann) barely get to smooch but Emily & Paul and Damian & Meg get to writhe all nekkid and nasty on couches. Most perplexing, the show's best secret weapon not named Maura West — Ms. Zenk Pinter — languishes on backburner hell.

For all of these very legitimate complaints and a few others, As the World Turns nonetheless is making positive changes. Given its precarious chances for survival and the state of daytime as a whole, they could not be changing direction literally one minute too soon. 


Comments

curacaoman's picture
Member since:
10 February 2009
Last activity:
6 hours 28 min

Hooray, hooray! They woke up in plenty of time to avort what was beginning to look like an almost certain cancellation. Now if only the folks at ABC would wake up as well!

Member since:
11 April 2009
Last activity:
18 hours 38 min

I agree. I watched yesterday and was struck by how much I liked on screen. The acting was good and the writing seemed improved.

Maybe GL's impending doom has finally sunk in with TPTB?

jsg03jd's picture
Member since:
14 February 2008
Last activity:
11 hours 27 min

I agree with certain of the author's observations but much still needs to be fixed with ATWT. I would hate for this show to go off the air, but a sea change truly needs to occur and should begin by displacing Chris Goutman and Jean Passanante. Their "work" is more miss than hit, and this show cannot afford any more misses if ATWT is to survive and hopefully outlast sister soap GL.

Member since:
2 January 2008
Last activity:
1 year 13 weeks

I to think atwt's is improving but i still think the 2pm soap to watch is oltl

Member since:
23 May 2009
Last activity:
4 years 5 weeks

It's too little too late for me

Member since:
11 April 2009
Last activity:
18 hours 38 min

J. Bernard,

Doesn't ATWT have a new co-headwriter, Lucky K.? What influence do you think his work has had on the show's turnaround?

I'm happy to see faux-Todd Manning disappear! Daytime only needs one Todd. For now, that's Trevor St. James. I'd rather see Roger Howarth return to Paul Ryan to his more heroic, devil-may-care days.

Now if the writers could just give poor Meg a more meaningful, slimmer storyline, I'd be happy. The show needs to highlight other actresses.

BTW, what the heck happened to Jade and Derrick? ATWT has a bad habit of picking up black characters and then losing them.

Member since:
5 July 2008
Last activity:
18 hours 40 min

Its David Kriesman and I doubt his stuff has started to air yet or hell even be taped yet.

bonobochick's picture
Member since:
3 December 2008
Last activity:
45 weeks 5 days

BTW, what the heck happened to Jade and Derrick? ATWT has a bad habit of picking up black characters and then losing them.

This. Exclamation Mark

I have seen some improvements on the show as well - though if they write Meg off the show for several months, I would be very happy and maybe Alison... aka Meg Jr... could go with her - the lack of diversity on the show is still very disturbing. Why bring on Derek, make Jade - who has ties to a core famiy too! - Derek's daughter then put him in a relationship with Bonnie only to then put them all in minority closet until GMC got Goutman to rip Dusty from the Vortex of Suck and put him with Bonnie?

Where are the Black people in Oakdale? Quest

I agree with you about the obvious double standard with Noah & Luke's intimacy vs Emily/Paul and Meg/Damian.

Member since:
8 February 2009
Last activity:
4 years 2 weeks

J Bernard, I do agree ATWT has made some improvements. I am liking the return of the family interaction, the Stewarts, the Snyders, and the Hughes. Paul 8.0 is fun to watch, and I love Em and Paul. It's about time the talented KMH had a storyline. The newbies I could take or leave, but at least the vets are coming out more. However, as bonobochick said, the diversity on this show is lacking. Bonnie is the only non-Caucasion character shown (and I don't think she has much chemistry with Dusty--they should revisit her and Holden). I'd love to see an African American or Latino or Asian family. They could bring back Tom's daughter, Lien, and build a family around her. I'd rather see that than Teri (who is completely unnecessary when they have Jade who could serve the same purpose). And they just need to get rid of Meg. She is the most hated character on the show and has turned Damian from a suave, edgy businessman into a whipped dog. Marie Wilson's painful acting doesn't help.

Where the show has really dropped the ball is the Nuke storyline. The show pimped out Forbes March to all the mags prior to his arrival, hinting at a possible love triangle. I, being a Nuke fan, was excited this could breath fresh air into their lackluster storyline. Instead, Forbes has barely been on in only scenes with Noah (Jake S.). Instead of integrating Forbes in with the cast (like Teri and Audrey got in their first few days), Forbes has languished in the shadows (I wouldn't even offend those on the backburner by calling it the backburner). If they're going to do a triangle, which could be good soapy fun, then they need to invest some time into the Mason character and Noah and Luke's relationship, which includes real love scenes and intimacy. It burns me to no end that Nuke get an eskimo kiss now and again while they have turned up the heat for Meg and Damian (puke) and others. This is a popular couple, and quite honestly, I started watching the show because of them (but like other characters). If the writers don't get with this storyline and decide where they are going and start telling it, the Nuke fans are going to tune out in droves.

Worldturner's picture
Member since:
10 December 2008
Last activity:
1 year 25 weeks

While the show has had some improvements in character interaction and using the vets a little better, I still think the show has major problems. I think pacing and balance are really problematic. The cast is so bloated with newbies and with only telling 2 stories a day some stories are lucky if they get one day a week. Wasn't it last Monday that Tom thought Margo was having an affair with Riley and wanted Riley gone. Here it is Wednesday of the following week and we have seen no follow up. And that type of thing is typical.

Mary Clay Boland states in the latest SOD that ATWT is not bringing on these ABC actors in order to attract ABC viewers and claims it isn't stunt casting but rather they are all good actors (who all happen to know TPTB.) She says viewers have network loyalty and while a few viewers followed Roger Howarth to ATWT most don't and the actors have to win over the viewers. That leave me wondering then why so many newbies at once? That's a tough order to win the fans over when they feel inundated with newbies. So far the only newbies that have won me over are the unknowns Tom Degnen and Evan Alex Cole. I'm unimpressed with the "names" and Lynn Herring to me is like fingernails on a chalkboard and I can't reach for the remote fast enough when I see her. Her acting is too over the top for my taste. And I hate that it is pushing favorites to the side and not just the vets. Most of the stories now feature the newbies or recent returnees. What happened to our lead actors? I think the show is getting a backlash and trying to justify it but in the end I'm guessing it hurts more than helps. Many of us have a lot of loyalty to actors that have been on the show and more and more they are ignored. Heck even the soap media concentrates on interviewing the newbies, especially the ABC transplants.

Member since:
5 July 2008
Last activity:
18 hours 40 min

Continue to sit and spin ATWT

daisyclover1938's picture
Member since:
14 November 2007
Last activity:
3 years 50 weeks

Thanks so much for this J Bernard!! I'm so happy to read that ATWT is making improvements. I started watching the show again several months ago, but soon quit. The acting was wonderful of course, but I found the show so...well, dumb. The women were idiots and the men were jerks. Who wants to watch that??

But you've given me hope that the show is on track. I'm going to DVR it today, and I look forward to watching. I just hope it's not too late to save the show...

Thanks again!

inspiron's picture
Member since:
21 February 2009
Last activity:
41 weeks 6 days

delete

inspiron's picture
Member since:
21 February 2009
Last activity:
41 weeks 6 days

delete

inspiron's picture
Member since:
21 February 2009
Last activity:
41 weeks 6 days

I will always love Roger Howarth, BUT now I love Paul Ryan as well! More good times to come with the return of writer Josh Griffith. Yah!

J Bernard Jones's picture
Member since:
9 September 2008
Last activity:
18 hours 37 min

Josstheguy,

I don't know if David Kriezman's work has started airing yet (sometimes a writer's influence is seen on screen before they actually get screen credit), but when it comes to Kriezman I think he's a fine dialogue and even breakdown writer. Unfortunately, his skills at long-term storytelling is what failed Guiding Light. It's possible that Kriezman's day to day skills might balance out Passanante's great but often badly executed story ideas. None of this will mean shit if Goutman or Bloom aren't on board, though.

Bonobochick and Sudsmuffin,

I was going to bring up both of your points about Mason (who I don't think needs to be integrated with a family) and Jade/Derek (where he hell are they?), but there are certain word count limitations here at DC that I'm trying to adhere to. LOL

Daisyclover,

ATWT is definitely worth a look, but the structural problems still remain. But I do like the emphasis on families that is coming to the forefront again.

Member since:
30 April 2009
Last activity:
2 years 34 weeks

Whats kind of sad is that even if it improved greatly in the coming months , it still wouldn't matter to CBS because all they care about are ratings. With GL gone in Sept, ATWT will be the lowest rated soap out of them all and if they still have low ratings in the future, CBS will cut the cord regardless of improvement. And that just sucks.

ghaddict's picture
Member since:
26 June 2008
Last activity:
5 weeks 1 day

Great read J Bernard......

I agree with everything stated....Yesterday's episode was great and I'm glad that you acknowledged Marnie Schulenburg's improvements....I LOVED her yesterday in her scenes with Paul....the looks she gave him were classic....and the Lily/Meg argument was great.....I hope this continues into Maura West's return because we know what she can do with great material....

Member since:
21 May 2009
Last activity:
3 years 39 weeks

ITA. I had taken ATWT off my DVR for a while because it had become so excruciatingly painful to watch.

I'm liking the slow introduction of Forbes March. I'm sure this is a very unpopular view, but I hate Luke and Noah together. They have nothing in common other than sexual orientation and age. Mason challenges Noah intellectually whereas Luke is all emotion, and I can see Noah being more comfortable in Mason's company than he is in Luke's.

As far as ratings go, with the exception of Y&R and B&B, the remaining shows have very similar (if low) ratings. It wouldn't take much to go from 6 or 7 to 3, as I remember ATWT was when Scott Bryce returned. ATWT also had high ratings a few summers ago when it did that summer teen slasher story.

I am thrilled Alexandra Chandro is returning because I found her to be a very fresh and compelling performer.

Meg and Lily's catfight was reminiscent of classic Krystal/Alexis (without the physical stuff). WOW!

Member since:
5 July 2008
Last activity:
18 hours 40 min

Jennifer Ashe & Brian Bloom Need to bring the original Meg & Dusty back to Oakdale Pronto

Member since:
22 August 2009
Last activity:
4 years 35 weeks

Personally I think this show has progressively gone down hill. There are no more story lines and no real good characters with charisma. Does anyone remember that Inturn show? I did not see that this year for auditions or anything on the internet for the 4th season. I thought that boy Michael Derek would have been a good cast on ATWT.The sailor thing was dumb, but he would have been a good cast I thought. At least he had charisma and energy. These characters and plots are all washed up. I am not caring anymore if I miss some episodes on TVO. Whats up with this Chris Goutman and placing these actors for this show?