Soap Opera Weekly: Blogging With Mala

Since I’ve been covering ATWT for three years for Weekly and watching regularly for five, I have a lot of emotions about ATWT’s cancellation. I also have emotions about yesterday’s ATWT episode.

Because, much like the journey of the show this year, what was a great resurgence of story really ended on a bad note. Ignoring Teri’s painful, starry-eyed crush on Dusty (he’s just not that into you; please start a support group with B&B’s Steffy), the episode had me completely engaged. I loved Margo and Jack watching Katie and Simon at the Oakdale PD and realizing Simon is Katie’s rock right now. Simon’s nod to the Malta opera house hijinks was hilarious. (“I’m a mother now!” Katie gasped in mock outrage.) And Carly and Simon’s scenes at Al’s were filled with so much sparkage. Maura West and Paul Leyden couldn’t stop smiling at each other, and the dialogue addressed perfectly the question of, “But how can Simon claim to have loved Katie all along?” Then, Jack hauling off and punching Simon over Carly… a weary Janet salvaging her pride and walking out on Jack… Katie and Henry visiting Brad’s grave… there was so much great character work. They didn’t make a single misstep.

Until the end.

The argument over Brad possessing Henry was funny, and felt a little like sexual double talk. I actually laughed out loud at one point.

Brad: I have been doing some research about the how-to-talk-to-Katie thing, and the way it works is, you get a friend, and for a while, you zoom into their body.
Henry: No.
Brad: It doesn’t hurt. I mean, no permanent damage.
Henry: No.
Brad: All I have to do is be inside just for a little while. So, can you do it?
Henry: No.
Brad: Come on. Just a little quick jump-in. I talk to Katie, get her to kick Simon out, and then we’re done.
Henry: No. You are not jumping into my body, you are not taking over my body, you are not talking through my body. My body is my temple. It is a sacred space. No outsiders. No.

And then I quit laughing. Because Henry said “no,” repeatedly and Brad climbed into his body after he lay down for a nap. Brad took him over against his will. I can’t believe no one flagged that scene as inherently unfunny. You can’t go from Brad basically trying to cajole Henry into “giving it up” to Brad forcibly taking it. Just…no. Wrong. Bad. But, then again, I don’t know why I’m surprised, after the gross mishandling of rape stories on the show in recent years.

Sure, it’ll be played for comedy in today’s episode and I look forward to seeing Trent Dawson portray Brad-as-Henry, but couldn’t a simple “yes” have sufficed? It’s one word. Henry loves Brad and Katie, and it would not have diminished the scenes in the least to have him ultimately cave to Brad’s wishes and voluntarily take Brad’s ghost for a spin. Instead, ATWT chose to make it a nonconsensual act. Ick.

There are countless survivors of sexual violence in the average soap audience. For crying out loud, have a little couth! It’s a very triggering issue for both men and women who have suffered trauma. Don’t be so cavalier, because it’s no laughing matter.

originally posted on soapoperaweekly.com

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