AS THE WORLD TURNS: Some Favorite Couples

Time is running out for beloved soap As the World Turns. Let’s not waste any more time and start looking back at some of the best (and worst!) moments of this iconic program beginning with just a few of the love stories that fueled the fire.

Lucy and Dusty

It wouldn’t last. It didn’t have the staying power of other soap romances. In the end, there were too many obstacles to overcome (the age difference, the “class” difference, her father, etc.). But for a few magical months, Dusty and Lucy were the ATWT couple. While on the run from a faux kidnapping engineered by her clingy father, he was the knight in shining armour to her spoiled princess, and she brought out the softer side that would serve him well in his later relationship with Jennifer and her son (also a strong coupling, but I have to give this one a slight edge). Grayson McCouch had chemistry with every woman on the show, but is wasn’t until “Lusty” that Peyton List came into her own. Watching her now on Mad Men her talent is evident, but ATWT didn’t get it right until this pairing. Everyone needs a little rescuing sometimes. “Lusty” rescued each other.

Noah and Luke

Forget the fact that they’re gay. If you look back at how they got together (Luke liked him, Noah was frightened by his own emotions and opted for something “safe” with Maddie, Noah’s father complicated matters by his mere presence, etc.), it’s obvious that this could have been a heterosexual tale with very little rewriting. That’s why it was such a milestone. It wasn’t a gay story or a straight story. It was simply a love story. Admittedly, the Powers that Be never quite got a handle on what to do with Noah and Luke once they were officially a couple and shied away from scenes that were too racy lest their conservative viewers jump ship. And now with Reid in the picture, it’s not a foregone conclusion that “Nuke” will ride off into the sunset together. But for a time theirs was the most compelling and most believable coupling in all of Oakdale.

Paul and Emily

Damaged goods. The son of resident psychopath James Stenbeck and the needy Barbara Ryan first found love with his father’s young mistress many years ago. They drifted out of each other’s orbit for a time, but eventually they threw caution to the wind with an intensely passionate affair. When Paul refused to marry Emily, she did what any girl would do – shot him in the back and rolled his body off of a cliff. Paul recovered with the help of nurse Meg, Emily lost it, and when Paul and Emily’s unborn daughter died, so too did it appear the relationship. Then something special happened. Paul’s memory loss led him back to Emily, the only person with whom he could feel free. Of course his memory returned, but by that point he’d given up on the gloom and doom that was much of his relationship with Meg (sorry PEG fans!) and recommitted to the girl he had been “passionate” about for so long. Their wedding wasn’t a soap spectacle. It was a victory just for them. So often the town pariahs, Paul and Emily no longer needed to pretend to be what they’re not for others. There’ll be more angst in these final months, but I think it’s pretty obvious that these soulmates will wind up right where they should be – with each other.

Jack and Carly

I clearly remember when “Carjack” first met. Up until then, Carly was little more than a bitter bad girl and Jack was… well, boring. From minute one their chemistry was off the charts, but there were always obstacles (Hal, baby Parker, Mike, Julia, etc.) Once Jack was revealed as Sage’s father, the pair renewed their vows in Big Sky Country and for a time had Oakdale’s strongest marriage. Jack’s presumed death, amnesia, and romance with yet another Julia threatened their union, but in the end Carly and Jack found their “true north.” In recent years, the writers have failed this pair miserably (Carly abandoned her children for Simon and lied about a brain tumor; Jack became incredibly sanctimonious as he wed Katie and later Janet). But the recent death of his brother Brad, while tragic, forced Jack to realize where he wanted to be and who he wanted to be with. Jack and Carly are that couple who bring out the best in one another, which explains why the characters have a tendency to become unlikable when kept apart. I don’t think that’s going to happen again. Carly and Jack aren’t home free, but at least they’re finally trying to work through their problems together. And that’s how it was and how it should have been for a long time.

Tom and Margo

Simply the best. Recounting every moment in the story of Tom and Margo would take far too long. They’ve been married forever despite affairs, health scares, and the appearance of children they never knew they had or thought were dead. That’s almost unheard of on a soap. He’s a lawyer and she’s a cop, so many a time their work brings them together, and as a result the audience has seen the immense respect and trust they have for one another in all areas of their life. Too often we see soap couples whose faith in one another stops once they’re out of bed. And they take care of one another. Not that there’s anything wrong with the damsel in distress or the redeemed bad boy as such, but Tom and Margo are the everyday couple who stand out and above the rest.

Did we miss any of your favorites? Let us know.


3 thoughts on “AS THE WORLD TURNS: Some Favorite Couples

  1. I couldn’t agree more with you about Tom & Margo. Too bad TPTB felt the need to snub these two in the final months of the show by just give them the ocassional walk on. The they’ve been a big part of this show’s history, and deserve better…not to mention so do Scott Holmes & Ellen Dolan who have portrayed them for over 20 years.

    • You are so right! I read that Ellen Dolan was resigned to the fact that Tom and Margo wouldn’t get a real story as the show fades out. And that is an injustice to two actors so identifiable with ATWT. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Pingback: MAD MEN: Sequence of the Week « Telephoria

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