Friday, June 24, 2011

Mike Horton: That other male doctor that didn't sleep with all his patients.

With rumours floating around out there that Carrie and Austin might be the next announced old-schoolers set to return to Salem, I started thinking about other characters who might get brought back.  Then I thought, "Nuts to the ratings, endgame pairings, and so-called legacy characters.  Who do I want back?"

So in between rants and raves, I thought I'd also do a couple of short entries to talk about several characters I wouldn't mind seeing back in Salem.

After groaning about what a colossol error I think bringing a couple that never really transitioned well into adulthood back to the show is, I was reminded of how much I miss Roark Critchlow's incarnation of Mike Horton. 

Despite the fact that he was tall, blonde and handsome, there was something adorably nerdy about him and his crush on Carrie.  If Days were a whacky 80’s highschool flick, Mike would have been the shy, sweet geek to Carrie’s cheerleader and Austin’s football jock.  I was rooting for those two crazy kids to get together, despite the fact that I was never much of a Carrie fan.  I just wanted Mike to win the heart of the woman he loved, whoever that woman happened to be.  It helped, too, that I wasn’t terribly fond of Austin Peck’s portrayal of Austin Reed.  I thought he was kind of a dick. 

 Come on, now.  You know it's true.

Believe it or not, I was far less interested in the whole “Sami on Death Row” storyline than I was in the Mike/Carrie thing, which also included a hefty side order of super-schemers Craig and Nancy teaming up with Mike’s loony, obsessed ex, Ali McIntyre, as they followed close behind the couple in the hopes of catching them in flagrante delicto.  The scene where Nancy and Craig wake up in their motel bed to find Ali practically humping Nancy’s leg in her sleep as she dreams about Mike still cracks me up. 

No Chloe means no Craig and Nancy?  Bastardos!

But I digress.  They were just icing on the cake.  I’m supposed to be talking about Doctor Mike. 

I remember crossing my fingers tight enough to break them hoping Austin would inhale enough styrofoam snow that he'd black out and Carrie would have the extra time to finally tell Mike she loved him.  Why else would Mike and Carrie happen to be wearing colour-coordinated outfits along with their matching blonde heads?  I recorded the whole thing on VHS and I wore that tape out until it snapped watching those scenes over and over again.
Now this is all hypothetical, obviously.  Roark Critchlow is armpit deep in prime-time.  He’s done guest stints on Pretty Little Liars, Battlestar Galactica, and NCIS (shows people actually watch), and he was a regular on the recently-cancelled V.  Odds are pretty damn good that he ain’t coming back to Salem anytime soon.  But, much like going on a whirlwind tour of Europe, it’s nice to dream even if I can’t afford it, so here I go.

 Roark Critchlow as Mike Horton (1999), and Dreilide "Slick" Thrace on Battlestar Galactica (2009)
My little heart still goes a-pitter-patter.

Some might say that Mike’s last incarnation was boring.  Here are my thoughts on that.
What I liked about Roark’s portrayal of Mike was that he was extraordinarily ordinary.  It’s always nice to have a couple of characters on a soap who can sort of keep things grounded and somewhat relatable (and can vocally acknowledge when things have gotten a little freaky-deaky).  Mike was relatable.  He wasn’t an arm-flailer.  He rarely shouted or lost his temper.
His plight with Carrie was something you could actually see happening (except for that flying bed thing. That still tops the list of strangest things I’ve seen on Days, and that’s saying something): He was a nice guy who never meant to fall for a (inevitably) married woman, and once he did fall for her, you weren’t thinking to yourself (well…I wasn’t thinking to myself) “What an asshole! Get your hands off of Austin’s wife, you man-whore,” because he wasn’t a man-whore and did actually attempt to show some self-control when it came to his feelings for Carrie.  His affair with Carrie didn’t feel seedy and the guy deserved an award for making her seem more interesting.

Right? Much better through Mike's love-goggles.

Nathan is gone and Carly is on her way out.  I like Daniel, but let’s face it – he’s a bit of a himbo, and a rather unapologetic one at that. We need a few good men.  We need doctors, galldarnit!  We need Hortons, dagnabbit!  We need Mike, consarnit!  I probably also wouldn’t mind if his boneheaded son Jeremy "Johnny Bravo" Horton showed up for a few episodes.  They were complete opposites and I was always a little sorry that we never really got to see the two of them locking horns (Mike would have dropped that bastard like a sack of dirt).  And Roark Critchlow’s Mike would be a wonderful occasional straight man to Matt Ashford’s hysterical Jack.  I’d also like to see Jennifer fawning over her big brother the way she did when Mike returned in 2010. 

Thanks again, Cordiglay.

By the way – who else hated that Deathbed Dena had him come back only to be in a car accident, thus ending up in the hospital and missing out on the chance to say goodbye to his beloved grandmother all for the sake of a plot point?  Just me? 

"I didn't rush all the way to Salem to get stuck in some hospital bed!"
I hear ya, man, but in Cordiglay's Salem it was only inevitable.

I could stay mad, but I try to see the bright side of things.  Mike got off pretty easy in comparison to what happened to Kim when she returned for Alice’s memorial.

Okay, seriously. Who's responsible for this?

So while Mike Horton isn't exactly number one on my wishlist (that spot is reserved for Tony/Andre DiMera), he's pretty damn near number one, especially now that it sounds like Carrie will be coming back.  Carrie's visit to Mike in the hospital left the door wide open for a reunion.  Mike looked just as smitten with her as always (and it was accompanied by a lovely flashback from the Days of yore of him telling Granny Alice he needed something to distract himself from his feelings for Carrie). 

Anyways, next character campaign on my to-do list?  Why, the aforementioned Tony and Andre DiMera, of course.  Coming to a weekend near you.

Damn, am I ever sorry I'm ending this entry with those horrible, horrible pants.  And those white, orthopedic-looking, open-toed shoes.  I promise to never, ever do that again, guys.  Jesus, they're awful.


  1. ITA with this. If I had my way with this show I would bring on Mike and Sarah Horton in order to revitalize this show and the Hortons. Mike can be the Uncle/Father figure character that Will will need in the upcoming gay story without the need to bring back Lucas especially since Mike once worried that he was gay all the way back in the 70s. Two birds, one stone.

  2. I was one who liked Roark Critchlow's Mike too. You are right about that hint of nerdiness. I like a bit of nerd in a guy. Remember Brian Scofield? I kinda liked him too. I do think Matthew Ashford's Jack would be fun in scenes with RC's Mike. And I only ever cared about Carrie when Mike did. I thought Austin and Carrie were kinda bland.