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Oakdale Confidential:
An As The World Turns Novel

Monday, April 17, 2006


A question was raised in a response below that I thought I would answer in a new post:

Ben Harris was introduced to the show as a famous in 1996.... There was no way he could have been in high school only five years prior to that. Furthermore, Ben was a contemporary of Mike's older brother, Mark, not Mike himself. There are a number of such errors in the book relating to Henry, Margo, Carly and others, and I don't see how they fall into the whole "Katie wrote a novel" plot being played out on the show. Perhaps you can elaborate on the writing and decision making processes involved in writing the book.

I would be happy to.

When we first sat down with the ATWT writers/producers and the Pocket publishers to iron out the book that would become "Oakdale Confidential," we quickly agreed on several points:

1) Oakdale's characters simply have too much past history for it all to be compressed into a novel. As a result, it was decided that any past events which were not relevant to the plot at hand wouldn't be included. For instance, many people have asked where J.J., Jack's adopted son, is in the story. The fact is, it would have been too complicated to explain how Jack was presumed dead, got amnesia, met a woman with a child, married her, got attached to her son, got his memory back, reunited with Carly and, when that woman died, adopted J.J. It had nothing to do with the story being told in "Oakdale Confidential," and so was left out. The same thing with Ben's friendship with the Kasnoff family. Mike's brother, Mark, was no longer on the canvas, so it was more linear -- especially for non-ATWT viewers -- to make him Mike's childhood friend.

2) Character ages on soaps are fluid. Katie was born on the air in 1989 (and for a while was played by the real-life daughter of the woman playing her mother). And yet was a teenager by 1998, played by Terri (then Conn) Colombino. If characters could get older quickly, they could age more slowly. It wasn't an issue either ATWT or Pocket had a problem with.

3) Some of the "mistakes" in the book are deliberate -- for instance, existence of Katie's bunnies, Snickers I and Snickers II, even though the latter is dead. This book was Katie's idealized world, life not how it was, but how she would like it to be. She based it on truth, then dressed it up to convince herself that it was, in fact, fiction. We're going to learn more about Katie's reasons for writing "Oakdale Confidential" as time goes on (even she doesn't realize all of them yet). So stay tuned!


pcmacintyre said...

You said that some of the "mistakes" are deliberate. While you listed some conscious choices, what were some of the unintended errors? Some of what I noticed:

-- Henry is stated as the eldest of seven children, but onscreen both Henry and Maddie have stated they are, respectively, the oldest and youngest of eight children.

-- Jessica is said to have worked for Legal Aid 15 years ago when she was a well paid attorney for the firm of Hughes, Griffin.

-- Margo is mentioned as one-time police chief when she was only the temporary chief of detectives.

-- Henry is said to have been WOAK's station manager when he was the news director. Holden Snyder was the station manager at that time.

-- Carly is said to have grown up on a Montana farm when it was a ranch.

--The book lists all the times Carly supposedly cheated on Jack, when only her one night with Mike before her wedding to Jack could possibly be considered cheating. And even then Jack had broken thing off earlier in the day.

-- Carly is said to have induced labor when pregnant with Parker to claim the 50 million dollar trust fund. While Carly did briefly consider it she decided against it because she didn’t want to endanger the baby.

How do some of these errors make it Katie's idealized world? Jessica is presented as an incompetent and the misrepresentaion of the circumstances of Parker's birth would harm not only Carly but Parker as well.

And if we have to consider Katie's state of mind, we are also left with the fact that in the real world no publisher would print such a "novel." You can't appropriate the likenesses, names, and histories of non-famous people (or even famous people, really) the way that it is presented in the show's Oakdale Confidential storyline. Many people are presented in a very incorrect, negative manner. In the real world the publisher and the author would be sued, and would lose.

I've never bought the argument, "It's only a soap." That's just an excuse for sloppy storytelling where viewers are treated like morons. When Douglas Marland wrote the show he did research and tried for some degree of verisimilitude. Why haven't any of the people represented in the book even mentioned suing?

And even in the bizarre "soap world" of modern-day ATWT it would make no sense for Lucinda (who wasn't even a book publisher) to agree to publish O.C. The book is hurtful to many of her friends, specifically Mike, Ben, and Jessica. Why would she do such a thing? It doesn't fit her state of mind.

2:09 PM  

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