Soap Opera Digest, November 11, 2003
Performer of the Week: Trent Dawson (Henry, ATWT)
Everyone says that Trent Dawson is a character actor. At least that's the excuse that works best when explaining why Henry is mostly peripheral on ATWT. It's also why, after first being noticed as Katie's smarmy sidekick, serving up his gin-soaked Addison DeWitt-icisms chilled, with extra olives – he's been mostly shoe-horned into the broadly drawn role of town collaborator/instigator/buffoon, depending on what's required. Dawson mastered the sarcastic zingers, the fast-talking, high-pitched begging, the campy cowardice, the aloof condescension. All of these, we've been told, are facets of Henry.
But if Henry's evolution is puzzling, it's Dawson's adaptation that makes him so insanely engaging – he just sells it so well. His ability to spout new details about Henry that seem incongruous – Military background! Eldest of eight! Great with kids! – just makes us want to learn more. Never mind that his past behavior seemed more suited to an apathetic self-server with acute middle-child syndrome. Dawson's commitment assures us that this is Henry. Not that we care if he's lying, because his newest role, as babysitter to Sage (beloved daughter to the alternately feared and ridiculed Snyders) is one of his best. Talk about making the most of it: watch him laying on the obsequious charm with Carly; tenderly clutching Sage in a sweet tango; reacting with faux anguish to Jack's scorn ('Where's the trust?' he croaked in mock indignation, before lithely snatching up his cash).
And yet somehow, the next day, he can also hold Katie's face and call her 'sweetheart' with enough emotion to make you forget – for a moment, at least – all about Mike (or Simon, for that matter) and melt at the power of truly unconditional (if not necessarily romantic) love.
It's all Henry, made possible because Dawson holds him together. That's some character. More importantly, that's some actor.
(thanks for Songbird for typing and posting this on Ososunny)
In the storyline recaps section:
How is Henry different from the rest of the people in town? Trent Dawson says:
He's the only one who sees through everyone's bull and is willing to call them on it. Everyone in Oakdale, pretty much, is full of it. Carly comes in and talks about what a great mother she is, and he's thinking, 'You cheated on your husband the night before the wedding, and I'm the bad guy? Come on!'