Point-Counterpoint: The Infuriating Holden/Carly Romance on As the World Turns

Holden and Carly

What is daytime’s most unpopular romance? Judging from fan complaints, I’d say it’s Holden and Carly on As the World Turns.  Here are two characters — wed not to each other — who are or were partners in two separate long-running supercouples.

Well, so what?  Since partner switch — and adultery — are staples of soaps, I can’t quite understand why there is such a huge fan outcry against this romance.  So I’ve sought guidance from two valued members of Team Marlena:  I’ve asked our Patrick Erwin, who dislikes the pairing, to explain the fan hostility he believes is justified. For the other side of the coin, I’ve turned to my longtime friend and ardent ATWT fan, a television writer/producer who wishes to be known only as pjs.  He, too, has an explanation for why the fans hate the romance, why the fans are wrong, and why he likes the pairing of Holden and Carly.

Enjoy the debate, Thinking Fans.  It may inspire you to post your own thoughts in the comments section at the end.

                                                                        Marlena

                                                                        XXXOOO

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HOLDEN AND CARLY:  THE WRONG TIME, THE WRONG FACE

By Patrick Erwin

Message boards and the virtual soap universe have been filled over the last few weeks with some loud and strong reactions to the pairing of Holden and Carly on As The World Turns. I don’t think I remember a pairing in recent memory that has drawn SUCH a negative reaction from viewers.Maura West

The intensity of the reactions seem, at first glance, to be especially puzzling. Holden and Carly are both popular, long-term characters. They’re portrayed by talented actors (Maura West and Jon Hensley).And it’s a soap, where characters swap partners and explore new relationships and feelings all the time. On paper, this story seems to me to be an intriguing idea. But I think there are a few specific reasons why this story is generating such a strong negative reaction.

One is the pacing — this story is chugging along at a very quick pace. That might work for a new romance, but when you have characters who are making changes in their lives as radical as what Holden and Carly are doing, it would have been smarter to show us their feelings over the course of a few more months. ATWT might be hitting all the beats, but before we’ve had time to get used to any of those beats, we’re off to the next one.

Another is the complicated friendship and relationship between the two couples (Carly and Jack, and Holden and Lily). Jack and Holden are cousins, while Lily is friends with Jack and has developed a close friendship with Carly. It’s indeed a soap opera, and more forbidden barriers have been broken over the decades on many shows, including ATWT. But it seems a little hard to swallow, at least in this case, that Holden would betray Jack in this way, or that Carly would disregard Lily’s feelings.

But honestly, I think the biggest factor is one that has NOTHING to do with content. I can sum it up in three words: Martha, Martha, Martha. Fans have NOT gotten over the departure of Martha Byrne. Noelle Beck is making a strong effort to bring Lily to life, but fans haven’t gotten used to nuLily just yet. Factor in that Byrne’s departure was handled so badly, and done so quickly, and I think fans are directing a lot of their anger and frustration (which has had nowhere to go) at the Holden/Carly story.

I’m sure that as objective as I try to be, some of my dislike is just my personal preferences. It just seems like a stupid choice to make. If the characters of Lily or Jack were off the canvas, or killed off, this pairing might make more sense to me. But no matter how well West and Hensley work together, I keep thinking that this is so out of character. Holden MIGHT look to someone like Carly after years of bumpy roads with Lily. But no matter how many guys Carly has dallied with, I can’t help but think she would never do this to Jack, because she knows this is a hurt he would probably never heal from.

And perhaps that’s the point I’m missing. Maybe ATWT will slow down the pace, and not try to shove 13 weeks of story into a Friday. Maybe when this blows up, we’ll see a long, arduous road of consequences and healing for these characters. That, perhaps, is something I can get behind. 

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IN DEFENSE – OR AT LEAST UNDERSTANDING — OF HOLDEN AND CARLY

By pjs

Why do the fans hate the Carly-Holden affair on ATWT?  Could it be that it is one of the most realistic looks at adultery that daytime has ever presented, and as such, is more acutely disturbing than the quickly contrived come-and-go couplings that the soaps dabble in nowadays?  This is not the grief sex of a Kendall and Aiden on All My Children or a Carly and Sonny on General Hospital

The positioning of Carly and Holden as a couple has been slowly developing for months on ATWT.  As separate individuals, each has been carefully positioned to be ready for something.  Neither has been happy in the lives they’ve been leading for a very long time.

Carly and JackCarly has spent the last two and a half years loving Jack, losing Jack, and trying to win Jack back.  Ultimately, Jack made it as clear to Carly that he would never take her back, and she, whatever her residual longing might be, was forced to accepted his final rejection, giving up her long-held belief that she and Jack were fated to be together.  Carly’s new reality had to become that of a life without Jack.  She continued to devote herself to her children while beginning a new career. 

Despite his lifelong ties to first love Lily, Holden has had a profoundly difficult few years.  Almost single-handedly, he kept his and Lily’s family together through one crisis after another.  First, their son Luke came out, and Lily’s one-time husband Damien tried to manipulate her into a plan to “de-program” Luke.  The climax of this effort left the pregnant Lily in a coma for a few months.  When she gave birth and recovered, she worried about her weight and then decided to split her time between a corporate endeavor at her mother Lucinda’s company and an affair with her oldest friend Dusty. When Dusty was found murdered, Holden let himself be charged in an effort to save Lily who he incorrectly thought was guilty.

At the end of these years of conflict, Holden, the consummate family man, was left with a wife who truly loved him and kept lying to him about big things and small (keeping a memento of her friendship with Dusty).  For their marriage to work, all Holden wanted was for Lily to tell him the truth.  The more she didn’t, the more distant they had become.  Finally, Lily left town for a few weeks to get herself together and to see if she could be the kind of wife that Holden could trust.

Holden was once again a single father.  He’d worked for years to keep his family together.  Now Lily was gone.  Holden was hurt and unhappy.  His kids wanted him and Lily back together.  His mother-in-law wanted him and Lily back together.  He wanted him and Lily back together.  Lily’s best friend Carly wanted him and Lily back together.  But so much had happened, and the only one who seemed to hear Holden was Carly. Jon Hensley

As their kids played together, they talked.  As they shopped for groceries, they ran into each other and talked.  As Carly would come to the family farmhouse to discuss things with Jack, she’d see Holden and they’d talk.  She and Jack were over, and everyone knew it.  Holden and Lily weren’t over, and everyone knew it.  But Holden and Carly were bonding over conversations about their unhappy love lives, about their children, about their hopes and dreams.  And when Lily came back to resume her life with Holden on his terms, the bond between Holden and Carly had been undeniably forged.

What was happening between them slowly became obvious, and then it became overt.  But it happened only after the two characters had been positioned for it over a very long time. 

And when it happened, you could feel the heat.  A horseback ride.  Yet they still resisted.  A drive to their kids’ summer camp.  Still they fought.  Until finally — a kiss.  A kiss neither could forget.  A kiss that consumed their thoughts. 

Holden couldn’t tell Lily what was on his mind when she asked.  And Carly couldn’t tell Lily what was on her mind when she asked. 

They both knew it was wrong.  It violated bonds of friendship, family and marriage.  But it had to happen.  Theirs was not a hastily contrived-by-the-writers love affair.  In fact, love has nothing to do with it.  This affair only came about after the two players endured their own separate years of unhappiness and unfulfilled need.  Each had a void in their life and the tentative physical attraction slowly occurred to them and filled it.  Neither planned for it or wanted it, but there it was.  And once that attraction filled the void, the affair was almost inevitable.  It distracted them from their own suffering. 

Again, why do the viewers hate this pairing?  Not just because we believe Carly and Jack belong together.  Not just because we believe Lily and Holden belong together.  The viewers hate this pairing because it is so believable, because this is exactly how it would happen in their own reality … not just in the heightened dramatic framework of the soaps.  This pairing threatens stability and family and undying love, and it’s not what anyone wants.  It’s simply what happens.Noelle Beck

I do not believe Carly and Holden will last, as love has nothing to do with it.  I do believe that ultimately Carly and Jack are (as Carly frequently stated) inevitable, and that Lily and Holden are forever. 

What’s fascinating is how quietly realistic (some might even say boring) it is to see characters grapple with the fact that what they’re entering into is wrong.  Self-aware Carly has always made the wrong move, only to suffer for it, and she knows that about herself.  She’s merely doing what she always does as she knowingly enters into something that can only blow up in her face.  But that’s what makes her Carly.  Holden, on the other hand, has, in recent years, lived the life of a saint.  To see such a straight arrow grapple with transgression and knowingly jeopardize everything he holds dear is what truly makes this story even more dramatically interesting.  Holden is as much the opposite of the kind of man Carly has previously been attracted to as she is the kind of woman he wants.  The separate and blended family dynamics that these two are unbalancing in their affair add a truly heart-rending dynamic.

Now, as to the Martha Byrne factor. I loved seeing Martha as Lily. But absolutely nothing we’ve seen in Noelle Beck’s Lily violates the character that we grew to love. In fact, Noelle’s newness as Lily actually makes Lily far more vulnerable because Noelle herself is truly in an underdog position. I think she’s taken over seamlessly which is no mean feat in itself. Anyone who chooses or refuses to believe that they’re watching Lily is simply not paying attention to all the good work this actress is doing. This is an exceptionally well-done recast of a popular character. I applaud Martha for ditching the show in its display of contractual disrespect! She was treated badly. I also applaud the show for such a successful new hire in Noelle Beck who was the right choice to play Lily in so many ways.

Holden’s reticence to embrace Lily was strongly established before Martha’s departure. Had she not left, the exact same pairing of long-rejected Carly and long unhappy Holden would have still been waiting in the wings.

Comments

  1. Shawn says:

    I like Holden and Carly….but only as good friends. Holden and Carly as a romantic couple are as wrong as wrong gets.

    Despite that, I can see the realistic portrayal of this because things like this do happen in real life. Sometimes another woman falls for her best friend’s husband.

    That was once an issue with Y&R Sharon/Nick/Grace triangle. Grace fell in love with Nick, even though he was already married to Sharon.

    But the only difference between Grace Turner and Carly Tenney is that Carly didn’t try to manipulate Holden into anything. It just happened. Grace schemed and plotted every way she knew how to get Nick alone with her, so she could seduce him.

    For once I would like to see ATWT explore the relationship between Holden and Carly more realistically. Men and Women can be close, without ever becoming sexual.

    When you think about it, Carly wasn’t liked by pretty much anyone in the Snyder family, except for Jack, and Holden.

    When everyone had it in for her, including Jack, Holden was the only Snyder in the family, who treated Carly really well, despite some of the bad things she’s done in the past. Holden would always let her know when what she was doing was wrong, but he never held anything against her, unlike Jack, who wants Carly to be the way he sees her in his own mind.

    But Jack is going to have to realize that his expectations of Carly are very unrealistic. Carly is never going to change, if she did, She wouldn’t be Carly Tenney. the sooner Jack realizes that, the better off he’ll be and the sooner he will accept it.

    I always thought it would have been great if we saw Holden and Carly interact more, but I never in a million years thought that the show will ever have them become a couple.

    Holden and Carly can be close friends without having to jump in bed with each other. Holden and Lily belong together, every bit as much as Carly and Jack do.

    When Holden and Carly’s affair comes out, alot of people are going to get hurt. And Holden and Jack’s relationship will be destroyed forever. They will still be cousins, but they will never be as close as they once were. Once that trust is broken, sometimes it takes years to repair it. Sometimes, you never get it back.

    This is why I don’t like a romantic pairing between Holden and Carly. Now, a friendship between them, I would accept.

  2. WT says:

    I have to disagree that the viewers hate it because it is so believable. The problem is it ISN”T believable! Even Jon Hensley himself has said the pairing doesn’t make sense because Holden has never liked Carly. For somebody that gets mad at his wife for secretly planning an evening alone with him, how are viewers to believe he would ever be interested in a woman like Carly who has told some real whoppers of lies in her life? And let’s not forget that he never has been on Carly’s side. He sided with Julia Larrabee over Carly when Jack had amnesia. There is no believability that he would be attracted to Carly. And considering Carly went to Lily before she got involved with Simon, why should we believe she would do this to Lily with Holden?

    Another big reason fans hate it is that Holden is just too boring for Carly. Carly is a fun and feisty character and all of the fun was sapped out of her for this story. Spending days and nights at a kids camp just isn’t fun. Domesticated Carly isn’t fun Carly and this has had her too domesticated. She was far more fun in her couple of scenes with Henry at Metro.

    And whatever has gone on with Carly and Jack the last two and a half years while they were apart their fans have been waiting for signs of a reunion again. It’s been going on too long and sometimes you get tired of waiting. Why can’t they ever be written as a fun-loving, happy and romantic couple? Why must they always have angst and the same repetitive stories? The chemistry between Michael and Maura wins over Jon and Maura by a landslide. Why settle for something third rate when first class is right there in front of you being ignored?

    And importantly in the end will the fallout even really happen right? When was the last time that fallout was done well on ATWT? I have a feeling we will be disappointed in this. This should destroy the Snyder family for good and the relationship between Jack and Holden that has existed for 11 years should be over. Do you really think the writers will do that? I doubt it. We all know in the end Carly will be the town pariah and Holden will be Teflon man that everyone forgives. Been there, done that and don’t care to do it again!

    Part of this is about Martha because we all now they never would have done this with Martha still in the role of Lily!

    Marlena says: I really enjoyed this letter, WT. It sounds exactly like one half of a debate the ATWT writers had or should have had before they foisted the Carly Hold plot off on loyal viewers. But my friend pjs obviously feels like it works for him! P.S. I have always found Holden boring, even back to his pec-alicious stableboy days.

  3. esther says:

    I have a couple of problems with some of things being said. First, why on earth should this affect Holden and Jack’s relationship? As far as Jack is concerned, he and Carly are so over, it’s dead. So is Carly supposed to be a nun? She can move on. And if he won’t take her, then all other men should have a shot. I agree it may be icky to be with two cousins, but lord knows worse has been done — on this show! So i don’t get how it would smash apart the Snyder family…other than it shows Holden to be a hypocritically horrible person, but I always thought he was, so that’s no biggie for me either.

    Are people REALLY waiting for a Carly/Jack reunion? I mean, really?! The main problem with that for me is Carly could have chosen Jack (even tho he really didn’t want her) but she chose Simon. And it was done in such a way that I thought Carly and Jack were over for good (well they were, but finally for Carly to see it). And they should have been! When Jack broke up with Carly in those stellar scenes from a while ago (I think here ), it was heartwrenching but it made it seem like they were DONE. And I was glad. Jack is borderline abusive to Carly. She can never live up to his expectations. Who wants to live like that? She put everything on the line to save him and because she wasn’t ethical, he left her? I was done with Jack at that point. Carly loves her with whole being. You can’t always count on her to do things ethically but she does it cause she loves you and will fight to the death for someone she loves.

    I loved her and Simon. But I have to say, after Katie turned them in and did everything to destroy Carly, for Jack to then GET with Katie (she was sort of the reason Carly and Simon had to go on the run), THAT would/should have been yet another nail in the coffin of Jack/Carly. So when Carly wanted Jack back, I was like — man, does ATWT hate this character??! Well, I don’t and I can’t watch her destroyed and made such a dormat to a horrible character like Katie, who I can’t stand — mostly cause she’s portrayed like she’s a heroine and Carly is the one who is dirt. I feel like I’m in bizarro world. Not fun (probably a major reason I no longer watch — that and the firing of Scott Bryce).

    So while I haven’t seen Holden and Carly, I can sure imagine why it upsets people. Like WT said so eloquently, it doesn’t make sense with the history of the two characters. Holden never showed anything but contempt for Carly. There was NEVER any subtext between these two over the years, so it probably does feel like it came out of nowhere. And as a Carly fan, to see her do this to Lily is disgusting. I swear, the writing staff must hate Carly….or maybe Maura.

    As for a couple garnering so much hatred, I would have to say the most recent example of that is GH’s Soily — Sonny and Emily. Man, were they hated.

  4. Carjacker says:

    I don’t dislike this pairing because they are believable. I find it so unbelievable that it boggles the mind. I don’t believe that Carly ,after having the love of her life in Jack, would be reduced to sleeping with Holden in a cabin while her kids are 2 feet away.

    Moreover this story doesn’t work because JH and MW have no heat. There is nothing that would lead me to believe that they HAVE to have each other at the expense of every other person in her life. ATWT already lacks in showing meaningful friendships and familial relationships. Great job on ruining central relationships on this show.

    And I have to disagree that it was either sleep with Holden or become a nun. Carly does have the right to move on with her life. She just can’t do it with Holden who is not only Lily’s husband, but Jack’s best friend.

    Finally, MW and MP are the reason that Carjack still maintains fans after everything the writers put them through. The fact that they can literally light up a scene in the midst of all of this mess is a testament to the both of them. I am tired of wasting time watching cheap imitations when I can see the real thing. I wish that ATWT would give us truly believable writing. A fun, sexy, loving, and passionate couple being fun sexy, loving and passionate with each other. Instead, I get a Carly who is only forthright with men who are notJack, and Jack who is only understanding when he’s not with Carly. That’s truly unbelievable and silly to me. Carly has walked through a burning building for him. Jack has climbed a mountain for her. I wish with everything that’s in me that they would stop pushing these two characters apart (even as the continually pimp them for their advertising cuz they know how popular they are).

  5. Kim says:

    I think that I am the only fan that actually likes the Holden and Carly pairing. At first I didn’t, but I believe that the actors won me over. Two good actors can sell almost any storyline. People who say that this is out of character for Holden and Jack maybe have short memories. Carly has betrayed Jack so many times in worse ways, and Holden has been involved with other women.

  6. Fabobug says:

    Although I am not a regular ATWT viewer, I can say that I was really turned off to this pairing for one reason only: the utter dismissal of Martha Byrne. Would this pairing be happening if she was there? If it was, I’d be curious and engaged. But instead it feels like a slap in the face to fans already angry with the absence of Byrne.

    P & G needs to realize if they are going to sabotage actors off screen, it will affect viewers’ attitudes of what they see on screen.

  7. Gene says:

    I do agree with the fans that Holden and Carly are not a good romantic pairing and the instant-friendship was not believable, but I do believe their friendship is a nice and different pace on the show. I do not believe they have feelings for each other and I just think they like each other and Carly appreciated Holden’s listening to her vent and his honest opinion of her behavior without judging her. I just hope that the writers don’t mess with the already fractured relationship with Jack and Carly and they need to get back together or get them into therapy to deal with the issues in their relationship so the fans can get a big payoff for all the stuff they have to put up with to them getting them back together. I don’t put much faith in this team of writers to get the soap back into shape either way there is to make the fans happy.

  8. Oakdalian says:

    The Martha Byrne factor is huge. I’m sure the fans would rather see her rip Maura West apart when this fling is finally revealed. I know I would, because Noelle Beck really hasn’t sold us the goods yet. Another problem is the disjointed family relations on ATWT. Usually Jack and Holden’s respective Snyder families hardly unite at all. You can usually tell because they don’t even occupy Emma’s kitchen at the same time. It’s hard to believe that Lily and Carly are even friends, but that angle is being played up even more to justify this story. It would have been way more effective to have a closer clan in the beginning, and make “Colden” more organic. How about some near misses and observations involving Meg, Emma and Brad?

    P&G is on a mission to break up its signature couples in big ways. Just look at Josh & Reva. I think the rebound relationship needs more credibility than the breakup, though. Maybe Holden should have used Carly for sex and ignored her, so she could threaten to tell Lily. If he never really liked her before, that makes more sense. At least they’d both be acting like their true selves.

  9. Levi says:

    I agree, as a fan of P&G with GL being my fave, I would hate to see both shows canceled. But at this rate, from Josh and Reva to Carly and Jack being seperated— it sucks. Well, if you are going to break these couples up, you have to have a 3rd player who has equal chemistry with the man or women in the middle of the triangle. I don’t watch OLTL much, but Jessica/Nash/Antonio had an equal split with viewers who she should have ended up with. The only way you can write a story if the viewers were split between Carly and Lily 50/50 to which Holden should be with.

    Unfortunately, I hear a lot of “I don’t really care” what happens to this Lily because of the recast and I agree. The new Lily Noelle Beck gets thrown into this big mess and it isn’t her fault at all. The writers should have had sense to ease her in better. They could have had Lily be with someone else on the show instead of Holden in my opinion.

    Martha would have slammed Carly’s behind if she was playing it but still Carly would have been loathed. In these scenes, I see a subdued Maura West with little energy and blank stares. I don’t see her as the woman with boundless energy who stands up for herself.

    Carly should have been written as more independent for a while from Jack. I could have seen her battling with Janet for Jack’s affections. Julie Pinson is a veteran actress who could hold her own with Maura West and provide entertaining confrontations. Show Carly as a foil (ala Stephanie Forrester) to Liberty and Parker. Carly could do so much more than this Lily and Holden crap.

    Besides, I wouldn’t think Lily and Holden should get back together anyway after this mess is over. Besides, I think ATWT needs to bring back old faves to shake romances up a bit.

    It comes down to recasts and turnover and P&G has been slammed hard. It boils down to getting the right recasts and the reunion of fan faves. We are the viewers and have complained ad nauseum for these reunions. We have waited patiently for, not months, but YEARS! We want the characters we care about to be written with respect and believeability.

    As for Josh and Reva — I have been waiting two years –for Carly and Jack — too long!!!!!

  10. Carl says:

    For me, this pairing is pathetic and unappealing for many reasons, but the #1 reason is that it continues the long, slow, humiliating degradation of the Carly Tenney character. I truly believe Jean Passante hates Carly. Year after year, the writing for her reaches new lows. The only “good” thing I can say about this story is at least Carly isn’t pretending to have a terminal illness, as she was last year.

  11. I.W says:

    The reason that I don’t like Carly and Holden together is just that it feels wrong. In As the World turns there are just a couple of characters that belong together. such as Bob and Kim, Tom and Margo, Carly and Jack and Lily and Holden. And because it is a soap it is only natural that they are not always together. and the people get married for the second or third time. so was Jack married to Kkatie only awhile ago, but the reason why it is wrong for Carly and Holden to be together is that we all know that he should be with Lily and she with Jack, and I can’t really explain it other than it just doesn’t feel right.

  12. lurk says:

    This is an interesting debate on both sides.

    I’ve watched ATWT on and off for years – and this is probably the first time EVER I have been interested in Holden, and thought that a pairing DID have a shot at changing CarJack and Lily/Holden forever. I find Carly/Holden fascinating, messy, watchable, and yeah, sexy.

    CarJack have been in the same rut for years. So have Lily and Holden. This dynamic, though… it’s different. Carly has, it seems, actually LEARNED something from really losing Jack. And Holden is dealing with a level of betrayal and confusion he hasn’t faced in YEARS. So this affair has the potential to change how all four characters – Jack, Carly, Holden AND Lily – think about themselves and their ‘soulmate’. That, IMO, is the essence of good soap.

    I know it probably can’t end well; I know a lot of people hate it, which means it won’t have an ending that I like.

    But when it comes down to it, I am thrilled when the Carly/Holden story is in that day’s episode, in a way I am not thrilled about anything else on ATWT right now. I’m rooting for them to figure out a way to be happy – because this ‘thing’ between Carly and Holden has made me see and believe in new sides of two characters I haven’t thought about in a long, LONG time.

  13. Becca says:

    I guess I am the only person who absolutely love the Holden/Carly pairing. I am not invested in this Lily..
    and I think Carly has made Holden a lot less wooden.
    I really really love them together..and I hope TPTB will not listen to you all..

  14. carjackforever says:

    The reason I hate this pairing is because it takes Carly ever further down from the point where she left her kids to run away with Simon. First of all that one was hard to swallow because that is something that Carly would never do. And as if that wasn’t bad enough damage to do to the character they take her even further into ugliness by having her lust after her best friend’s husband. What’s worse than that is she had sex with him. Carly stabbing Lily in the back over and over makes Carly look really really bad. I have always been a big Carly fan, but after the fiasco with Simon I gave up on the character. I started hating her.

    Then just when I thought I could like her again they throw her with Holden. I can’t accept that or the relationship. I hate this pairing. This pairing has caused me to think about quitting this show. This is the first time I have ever felt like quitting the show. The damage to Carly is just too hard to watch. I refuse to watch.

  15. iwgaaf30y says:

    After careful consideration of all the factors I have to say that I agree with PJS take on this entire situation. I’ve been saying for a while now that this story line is so distasteful because it is so realistic. I’ve thought all along that the slow progression of Holden and Carly becoming confidantes has been VERY true to the circumstances and to real life. I also feel that this coupling has not felt forced or contrived and that it has been building slowly, not quickly as many posters seem to feel.

    I also agree that what both Holden and Carly truly want, more than anything right now is to feel like they matter – like they have more purpose in life than to be caregivers and providers. They are both vibrant, strong, and devoted individuals who need to feel loved and appreciated. Neither Carly nor Holden feel desired, emotionally or romantically by the persons they most need to feel these emotions from. They’ve felt isolated, stepped on, and confused for a very long time.

    It is truly unfortunate that such a powerfully realistic story line had to befall on such wildly popular characters who are each adored mainly as being one half of two very separate and very popular super-couples. Obviously this story line wouldn’t have as much meaning or controversy if it were being played out by characters who didn’t have such powerful and lengthy history with their former romantic partners. In fact the story would probably seem otherwise boring if it were being carried out by two unattached characters.

    I have stated on several occasions that I have liked this story line – and I still do. However, I also feel very strongly that my feelings could turn quickly if after all this build-up the story turns into something more about punishing one of the characters or destroying who the characters are deep down. You see, the fans know these characters, they love these characters, they relate to these characters, and they also NEED to be able to trust that these characters will remain true to who they are.

    Thank you for this wonderful debate. I enjoy reading well constructed criticism about the show. And I also enjoy being able to add my own thoughts as well.

    Marlena says: I’m so glad you like the debates here! This is the home of the Thinking Soap fan. And in that spirit, I tuned in ATWT yesterday to see Holden surprise Carly in a NYC hotel room. The scene was HOT, HOT, HOT! And Hensley was a much better actor than I remember. Of course these things happen in real life. They ain’t pretty and the people who commit these acts aren’t always villains — they are human beings. But it’s morally wrong! Now I’m getting drawn into this debate, aren’t I???

  16. Emily says:

    I’m sorry but I love Carly and Holden. This new Lilly is NOT Lilly, if it was Martha then yea I would be upset, but new Lilly and Holden have NO chemistry. Carly deserves some happiness, she has grown a lot in my opinion, is no longer as selfish and self centered. In fact she tried to resist Holden and he pursued her, always inviting her to stay and ride the horses or whatever. Jack needs to back off. Cary and Jack are dead, and Lilly is no saint. She has had affairs before too, give them a chance okay?

  17. Jamie says:

    Yes, Carly and Holden belong together. Although she won’t admit it just yet, Carly does love Holden. Holden definitely loves Carly; he said so in church when he was talking to God. I don’t think he would’ve told God that, if it weren’t true!

  18. Sonia says:

    It’s a soap people – affairs, secrets, lies, love, hate… it’s why we watch. I am very much into Holden and Carly (and I have always been a Carjacker).

    Jack has been made unbearable to watch in the way he treats Carly. Carly has always had to crawl back to Jack. I am so sick of his sanctimonious attitude. Holden has always come in 2nd place when he is paired with Lily. It has always been Lily’s storyline and Holden’s reaction to Lily. Whenever Holden comes out of Lily’s orbit, he finally can breathe and be himself (i.e. with Julia #2 – BTW I thought the break-up of Holden & Lily during that time was very realistic – their eventual “quickie” reunion ruined them for me). Why must Holden always do the “right” thing? Is it better to be in a marriage when your heart is not in it? Love changes, let’s get new blood and relationships happening – this is what a good soap should be.

    I think MB leaving has negatively impacted the Holden/Carly affair. There has been a major backlash against this storyline – but I think there are a lot of viewers who are tuning in specifically because the affair has happened and Harly’s chemistry is great (I just wish they would show more of their lovemaking – we got more from Jack and Janet on the table and let’s not get into Brad & Katie’s love scenes). Lily and Holden have been over for a while; Holden has just been going through the motions without his heart really being into the marriage. But, he loves his family and he is being pulled in too many directions.

    Unfortunately, we are stuck with the writers we have on ATWT and they can never construct an interesting long-term storyline. Every time I plan on quitting this show, they pull a rabbit out of a hat and keep me watching. Holden and Carly have been this rabbit for the past several months. If it ends, I go – but I know these writers will dangle another rabbit and I’ll end up staying, begrudgingly. I hate it when I invest myself in a couple so much and then they are just dropped because the writers never had a good plan for the couple to begin with and perhaps they listen to too many viewers. If you are a good writer and producer, write a bible for the show and think long term and get over these short storylines that never go anywhere. They should check out OLTL to get some pointers in connecting all the dots.

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