As The World Turns Weekly Blog
Carly looks for direction (Soaps.com)
As The Word Turns.
Thoughts on the week of November 9-13.
Now that a substantial portion of the recently featured cast (Audrey, Ralph) has vanished and Jack has launched into his “Never Surrender” story, I was expecting the show to feel more focused and fresh. However, something was askew and most of the week felt bland and restless.
The Redemption of Jack. Maybe the emotional lurching in his story has been intended to mirror Jack‘s mental state, but it didn’t quite feel that way. In fact, I’m less sure of what’s going on with him now than I was before. I know he’s exhausted and disoriented, and looks it, but sometimes I get the impression that he’s literally jogging from state to state as he searches for someone to fill Brad’s place, rather than undergoing some deep emotional shift. He went to Philadelphia, they even played the Springsteen song, briefly bumping into Ben before running off to track down Mike. They’re basically re-enacting the old story of the fallen knight looking for redemption. If this was the Middle Ages, Jack would have been a knight who had failed and then traveled through a plague ridden countryside full of monsters. They’ve just updated it so he comes across economic catastrophes rather than more overtly eschatological ones.
Jack’s not so excellent adventure. That all sounds interesting but something about how it’s playing out just doesn’t work. There’s no real emotional center to it. Jack just seems tired. Mike seems distracted and uncomfortable and there’s a lack of underlying depth or scope. Even when Jack told Mike about Brad’s death, all that happened was Mike basically saying, “Um too bad” in the newly acquired accent he’s been flirting with. Compounding the oddness, the week began with what was practically a vaudeville routine as Jack and Irving, the Ben Franklin impersonator, debated whether life was worth living or not and contemplated suicide. Jack saved him, which obviously had symbolic significance, though what it was is debatable. Jack rejected the idea that it was a way of redeeming himself, so what was it? Is this journey meant to be a symbolic attempt at catharsis for America in light of its economic woes?
Aroused in Oakdale. Things back in Oakdale were rather different, and largely more successful. While Jack ran around desperately trying to recast his brother's role, Brad was left in limbo trying to figure out what his storyline actually is. He managed to sleep on Henry's couch with a blanket but he couldn't turn the TV on. Henry fretted his way through the week and Barbara began having fantasies of tearing off his clothes. Is this because the show is now sponsored by KY Arousal Gel? Also in the romance department, Hunter abruptly asked Maddie to go upstairs and make out with him. He then began apologizing, but they ended up hanging out together online in a role-playing game. While that's hardly the most scintillating thing in the world, it was dorky-cute, which is something of an improvement over anyone's flirtations with Casey, which range from doofus-cute to just plain dull.
Sexual Weaponry. Carly and Janet had a brief argument over Jack. They both talk about him like he's a child who can't look after himself. I know he's not himself lately, but they always argue over him like this. No wonder he has some serious issues. Before Carly could run off to find him, she had to have it out with Rosanna and Craig. The three of them shared some delicious scenes laced with dark humor and some nicely restrained venom. To her credit, Carly doesn't seem remotely victim-like. She proved again that she could be the show's great, and much needed, villainess, at least if something didn't get in her way. Laziness? Indifference? It's not out of any kind of moral rectitude. Ever since she came to town she's used sex like it's a weapon, which is why when she fights with women, she usually resorts to more straightforward forms of violence. It's Rosanna I feel bad about. She's had her nasty periods, but she's nowhere near the nastiness of Craig and Carly, two of the most brutally self-serving, manipulative and vicious (and charming) characters in the show's history. As delightful as their skirmishes were, I wanted more. Another nice, if incidental touch, was the irony of having Mike come back while things are blowing up between the sisters, which only serves as a reminder of how un-innocent Carly is.
Arrival of the snake oil salesman. After being curiously marginalized during everything that happened with Barbara and her battles for James' money, Paul and Emily were suddenly back, front and center early in the week. They were overshadowed a bit by the arrival of Mick Dante, played by Tom Pelphrey. He's had very little screen time and, so far, it's been strange. He's a 'medical researcher' with no training who doesn't know what he's doing and just stumbled on the fountain of youth when he was in South America. He's trying to sell this miracle to people. It's unclear if he's a con man or an idiot savant. It feels a lot like an old school melodrama. I like Pelphrey. He's a very theatrical actor and sometimes that works. For the first year he was on GL, he was a great and utterly fascinating and raw presence that kicked completely against the grain of the rest of the show... and then things went seriously wrong and his character basically turned into a sporadically grunting and weeping zombie. Let's hope that doesn't happen here.
Anyway, that was my babbling for the week. Please feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below and remember that this is all in fun. Feel free to check out next week's preview right here.
Have a happy weekend everybody!
- Matt Purvis