AS THE WORLD TURNS: Julianne Moore Pays Tribute

As promised, Telephoria is preparing to count down the best and worst of the soon-to-be-cancelled As the World Turns (sigh). But before that, let’s take a moment to celebrate the recent cameo of ATWT alum Julianne Moore. Before she became one of the country’s most respected film stars (for the love of God, where is her Oscar?), she was Frannie Hughes, daughter of Oakdale’s first family. Moore returned to her roots to celebrate the wedding anniversary of her fictional parents, Bob and Kim. The event actually started this past Friday, and while I love the show, and it’s always fun to see old clips, I have to admit that there was something a bit sloppy about the set up. See, Bob and Kim have endured the torments that befall all soap couples (kidnappings, affairs, disease, etc.). But they’ve also been on solid ground for the past several years. So it was a little strange to see the couple suddenly sparring about Bob’s devotion to his work. I just didn’t buy that Kim felt neglected; more often than not they’re in scenes together, and a recent catastrophe at their grandson’s failed wedding showed them as in love as ever. But at least we got to look back with some carefully chosen scenes of the couple in their prime. Um… I know soap fans have to suspend belief at times, but seriously. Despite their tiff, would Kim really flashback to Bob’s father’s death, and would Bob recall his affair with Susan Stewart and his first marriage to the legend that is Lisa on this particular day? All of this was in service to a plot twist where Bob’s son and his wife, the fabulous Tom and Margo, suddenly revealed that Bob and Kim were never legally married, but wouldn’t this be a great chance to legally tie the knot that was already present in their hearts? Kim would agree, right? Right?
On Monday, things got back on track. Bob and Kim recalled their earlier vow renewal (and Bob still got a moment to look back to his marriage to Lisa, but this time she was tricking him into remembering the woman he truly loved), and the pair got hitched for real. The flashback worked as it served the story where Dr. Bob realized what was most important to him (Kim), and she acknowledged that she couldn’t tear him away from his life’s work (but it wouldn’t hurt if he made a bit more time for her). Then Frannie, in her most famous incarnation, appeared to toast the newlyweds as they prepared to [continue] to make a go at it. It was short, sweet, but important.
Moore’s appearance was brief, but you have to give her a major amount of credit. So many actors, too many, treat their soap history as if it were something shameful and dirty once they’ve crossed over to film or prime time television. That’s ridiculous. Critics will say that soaps are a silly medium where no one is ever truly dead, everyone sleeps with everyone, and an inordinate amount of people forget that they had a child who suddenly shows up in town fully grown and ready to rumble. And while that’s true, what about the fact that a soap is an opportunity for an actor to stretch every kind of muscle imaginable? On a given day, on just one soap, audiences can watch mysteries, romances, corporate intrigue, comedy, and sometimes even sci-fi. What a great opportunity for actors to play the classics in the confines of one program. Add to that, the work load on a soap is beyond intense. Nothing against nightly dramas, but it’s a far different animal if you’re mounting one show a week a few months out of the year as opposed to the everyday, yearlong grind that is a soap. With such a schedule, there are bound to be a few clunkers, but if you watch closely, you’ll also see sublime scenes. Julianne Moore recognizes this and decided to pay a visit to Oakdale one last time before it’s too late. Ratings and accolades are beside the point. Moore is paying tribute to every actor who keeps these shows going. Class act.

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