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Kassie Wesley DePaiva
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I am an aspiring soap writer, and I have watched most of the shows on the air as research. Somewhere along the way, I discovered As The World Turns. When I first caught glimpses of it, Carly was just home from The Spa, found in a carnival fun house after Hal was brainwashed by James Stenbeck. Emily was being kept in a trunk. Bonnie was a duchess. Molly's family was being threatened by an evil babysitter, eventually resulting in Jake's death and the near-death of Oakdale's neighbor, Bay City. It was sort of weird and awful at first, but I would tune in just to see the Oakdale hunks, especially Jack Snyder. Woof!
I can't remember when the tides really turned with this show. All I know for sure is, I discovered Ben Harris when Bonnie finally came home. Not only Grade A prime soap beef, but he and Jessica were electric on the screen. These were clearly two people who deserved much more screen time, and eventually got it. Margo, a staple character for years according to the ATWT scrapbook, got to be on the front burner for a week or two when she discovered she had hepatitis, contracted during a rape she was now being forced to relive. It would take a while, but eventually she moved back to the front burner again as well. In short, this show has an incredible pool of talented actors, and the writing team, receiving back to back Emmys for their work, have a knack for utilizing the vast talents of their cast.
It's not always perfect. The Oakdale 3 were awful. But from that terrible plot we eventually got a (somewhat) reformed Allison, who is now one of my favorite characters on the show. And, as with most shows, an emergency rewrite for a departing or pregnant actor can yield some substandard plots. Of course, I blame a lot of that on the soap fans, who can be pretty unwelcoming of temporary recasts (and that means you especially, Passions fans!) But As The World Turns is honestly the best soap on TV, and that includes the primetime dramas, and reality shows which are nothing more than soaps with real people for characters. I would love to see another attempt at Our Private World, a primetime spin-off featuring the amazing Eileen Fulton, following Lisa Hughes as she moved from Oakdale to Chicago. Imagine a revamped Another World, where Molly goes back to Bay City to fight for her daughters Bridget and Michelle. With enough shared writers, I'd watch both series faithfully. In the meantime, I will have to settle for the five hours a week of ATWT I have now and hope a few other writing teams can tune in and take a few notes.
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