For the week of March 13, 2006
I received a lot of emails this week from longtime viewers who have stopped watching AMC but are kind enough to still read my column. Those emails made me sad for two reasons. One, that AMC has managed to alienate longtime viewers to point of making them tune out. Two, that those former viewers missed this past week on AMC.
If you will step over here for a moment I would like to show you my shrine dedicated to Kate Collins. While watching someone play a straight psychopath is fun, watching someone play a psychopath with a soul is much more interesting. Ms. Collins is able to show that while Janet has a crazed mind, she is still very much human. Janet’s mental problems make her hurt those around her, sometimes with fatal results. Yet, we can also see how much pain those problems cause Janet herself. The reality of that portrayal, albeit within the confines of a soap, is astonishing at times, as anyone who has dealt with a schizophrenic can testify.
Memories are not always accurate because they grow hazy with time and we imprint on them our current point of view. I had memories of Kate Collins as a good actress, but was she as good as I remembered? Or were my memories colored by my not always positive opinions of the current acting on AMC?
Nope, my memories were right, she is one of the best actresses to appear on AMC and ranks among the best on soaps in general.
Not only is she good, but also Ms. Collins brings out the best in those around her. I never understood the point of bringing back Amanda; other than to act out Brian Frons’ sex fantasies. Neither the acting nor the writing showed any indication that Amanda would ever be more than a boring annoyance. Even her hatred of Babe did not make her interesting.
Janet arrives in town and everything turns around. In just one scene Amanda’s back story falls into place. In Janet’s first few moments onscreen we saw why Amanda left home never wanting to return. And yet Ms Collins was able to hold back enough that viewers had no clue that Janet had truly returned to her own planet. Almost as compelling was how within a few weeks Chrishell Stause’s performance was pulling me in, at least in her scenes with Janet. I cannot remember the last time I saw an actor’s performance turn around so quickly. Many soap actors, like Josh Duhamel, start out strong from the beginning and others, like Kelly Ripa and Jacob Young, improve over time. Seldom is the turnaround time so quick.
The dialogue writers get an enormous amount of credit, too. It’s not that difficult to make a character sound loopy. It’s not that difficult to make a character a loving mother. It’s not that difficult to make a character sympathetic. It’s not that difficult to make a character totally crazy. But to write dialogue that shows a character to be all those things, often with the same scene, is indeed impressive.
Also enjoyable is the umbrella effect of Janet’s return. So many characters and their stories were impacted by Janet’s recent actions. Jamie and JR finally behaved in a loving brotherly way. JR and Di acted like aunt and nephew, instead of lovers. More than that, we saw JR make a tiny step towards accepting Di and Di make a little more progress towards redemption. Amanda became more human, not just to the viewers, but also to Jamie. Zach and DixieBitch eased towards a platonic friendship. At least I hope it’s only platonic. Plus, the umbrella effect did not extend to Ryan, which is a good thing in and of itself.
A totally enjoyable week. Or does it just seem that way because the previous endless weeks were so damned awful (ever the jaded viewer, that’s me)?
There is only one truly negative thing about last week: that Babe and Krystal made it out alive.
It was hard not to root for Janet because Babe was, once again, acting like an idiot. We have been told time and time again how Babe got her street survival smarts from Momma. Where were those smarts this past week? Not too smart to antagonize your captor. It is smart to knock your captor out. However sitting around worrying if your captor is dead is not too bright. Who cares about the keys? Take the sledgehammer or the leg of lamb, smash through the front door, take the kid and run! I am surprised Babe did not stop to check Janet’s drivers license just to be sure she really was Janet Dillon.
I wanted to scream when Adam later credited Babe’s bravery for the happy ending, It would have been much more accurate to say the ending was happy despite Babe’s stupidity.
My appreciation of Bobbie Eakes aside, Krystal needs to go. There is nothing to enjoy about the character; she predictably spews the same venomous bile every week. This week she was more repulsive than usual, culminating with her refusal to let JR hold his own son. She is not a Momma Bear protecting her BabyDoll, she is a bitch who needs a shower and a one way ticket out of town.
Now that I have that off my chest let’s proceed to the non-sequiturs for this week:
DixieBitch must have spent the past three years being shot a lot. How else to explain that she can be hit by a bullet and not scream?
“Into every marriage a little acid rain must fall.” Even in her crazed state Janet often speaks the truth.
“Well, you took Bianca’s child. Does that little girl love you?’ See above.
“You are all mean blood thirsty deceitful people.” See above.
I have a terrible earworm. It all started when I saw Erica in that horrible excessively sequined ill-fitting jacket. The earworm? “Like a Rhinestone Cowgirl.”
I wish they would stop the close-ups of Greg’s face. He always looks like someone just passed gas in his vicinity. (And I like Ian Buchanan.)
Nice flashback of Janet and Trevor. A trip down memory lane for longtime viewers and it let newer viewers see Trevor before he was flash frozen.
“oozing seeping evil” Janet got this one wrong. David oozes sexuality that seeps into every fiber of my being.
“I call it Amanda-zine.” David is not just sexy; he also has a way with words (and pharmaceuticals).
“Dixie is alive and well and stalking you.” Ah, Janet I could not have said it better myself. Except I would have said, “DixieBitch is alive and well and stalking you.”
I confess that when I first saw “Ethan” in Zach’s office, I thought Zach had taken his son’s corpse to a taxidermist.
Rembrandt. Finally the little tyke has a name that isn’t truly awful, just a little awful.
“I broke my promise to her.” Yes, I admit to crying when Amanda said that. And when Amanda reacted to being told that Trevor was dead. And when Amanda opened the freezer and saw her dead father.
“I am too busy to kill myself today.” Zach, I am awfully happy about that.
Let me see if I have this straight: Kendall was in bed wearing a very comfy warm looking shirt with sleeves. Fine. When she gets to Zach’s office she is wearing a filmy top with no sleeves and almost no bodice. Not so fine. What part of it’s March in Pennsylvania does the wardrobe department not understand?
“It’s hard to not know where your baby is.” How many more Kate hints will Dixie drop before we know the whole story. My conservative estimate is a million. And even more than that if Greg Madden is involved. Maybe Dixie miscarried. Greg then froze Kate until implanting her into Kendall. Or maybe Greg caused Dixie’s car crash because she discovered his illegal cloning operation. She now has amnesia about the whole thing. Maybe Kendall is carrying a cloning cross between Kate and Greg. Maybe Aidan’s mother didn’t really die, maybe she was Greg’s prisoner and Aidan is Greg’s son. Maybe everyone in Pine Valley is a clone. Maybe soon we won’t be able to tell if we are watching AMC or PASSIONS.
Is Simone still in town? Or is she doing her grieving on the back burner?
“W.W.D.D What would Dixie do?” I like that but in times of situational ethics I would change it to “W.W.D.D. What would David do?”
“You’re the hind end of a donkey.” Sometimes Julia speaks the truth as well as Janet does.
The scene with Brooke watching over Amanda was poignant. Brooke cares for Amanda. Trevor was Brooke’s friend. Derek cares about Amanda. Trevor was his friend. What if Brooke and Derek work together to help Amanda? In the process they could fall in love. Derek’s nephew Jamal could come back to PV and give Jamie a little competition in courting Amanda. Which one wins Amanda’s heart? Whichever one channels Harold the best. (I want Harold back in the worst way.) Add Dani to the mix and let the fun begin. This could be a new core family incorporating the English, Dillion, Frye, Cudahy and Martin families. Won’t happen but it’s nice to dream, isn’t it?
Did anyone else think that the gift Greenlee sent Ryan would turn out to be a smashed clown nose?
Will this week’s spoilers have us feeling loopy, crazed or loving? Let’s see:
Erica is determined to end Greg’s Maddening behavior:
Erica tells Ryan that he needs to keep Kendall away from Greg.
Last month she told Ryan to keep Kendall away from Zach. What Erica really should be doing is telling Ryan to keep Kendall away from himself.
Erica tells Josh he will never find happiness in Pine Valley.
“A small town like PV only has room for one diva and you’re looking at her.”
Erica eavesdrops and hears Greg giving Kendall information about adoption.
“Just because you turned into a mean vindictive duplicitous insecure crazy person when you found out you were adopted doesn’t mean the same thing will happen to your child.”
Erica decides she has had enough of Greg. She thinks about W.W.D.D and decides to poison him.
See, already What Would David Do? is more useful than What Would Dixiebitch Do?.
Erica Googles “the best way to poison someone who stole a fetus and implanted it in his wife.” When she finds the answer she invites Greg over for tea.
I love Arsenic and Old Lace. This plot with Erica poisoning Greg? Not so much. Unless of course Jack runs through the living room every few minutes yelling, “Charge!”
Meanwhile AMC decides every day this week is Love a Lavery Day!
Kendall is more than a bit angry that Julia and Ryan have discussed adoption. Later she discusses the possibility of adoption with Greg.
Why? Because if she weren’t inconsistent she just wouldn’t be Kendall would she?
Ryan tells Julia he cannot let her adopt the baby because he already loves his son.
Poor kid. Being loved by Ryan is almost the last thing I would wish on a kid.
Kendall is more than a little surprised when Ryan announces he wants them to raise their baby together.
OK, who do I have to pay to make this baby anyone’s but Ryan’s?
Kendall realizes Ryan has changed back into the man she fell in love with.
Would that be the first time, when Ryan was a roguish, albeit immature, young man? Or would that be the second time when Ryan was an arrogant self-centered pain in the ass who treated Kendall like used cat litter?
Kendall kisses Ryan and tells him she wants to have sex with him.
Didn’t Greg say Kendall could not have intercourse? Of course that was when Kendall’s partner was Zach. I am certain that Zach presented a much bigger threat to the pregnancy than Ryan could ever hope to. In fact to the baby it would seem like Ryan was hardly there at all.
Ryan refuses, saying that Kendall would be using sex to try and forget Zach.
Yeah, like forgetting Zach is even in the realm of possibility.
Jonathan visits Janet. Instead of being angry with her, Jonathan feels sorry for her. Jonathan realizes that he and Janet have a lot in common.
Does this mean Janet gets a “get out of jail free” card , too? Thought not. Damn.
Jonathan tells Lily that it is OK if they disagree.
“And Lily, you will know when it’s not OK to disagree with me.” “What’s the signal Jonanthan?” “When I slam you into the treehouse wall.”
Erin and Spotted Dick go bowling. Erin tells Aidan she wants them to make love.
Smelly old bowling shoes as an aphrodisiac. Who knew?
Sensing that Erin is nervous about having sex for the first time, Aidan gets her drunk.
Of course Aidan would never do that. I made it up to see if you were paying attention.
Now on to the Chandlers:
Babe accepts JR’s proposal after first pointing out the horrible horrible mistakes he has made. JR is very happy when Babe makes him realize he doesn’t deserve any family at all.
Of all the things I have imagined could happen on AMC, I never once imagined that the Chandler men could be so, ummm, whipped.
In order to make amends JR apologizes to those he has hurt, starting with Babe and Krystal.
We will now take a brief pause so we can all leave the room and vomit.
How is that scene going to play out? Like this?
“I apologize, Babe, for being angry that you already had a husband when we got married. And I am sorry I was upset when I discovered you had sex with Jamie on your first night in Pine Valley. I am sorry I behaved like an ogre when you passed Miranda off as my own daughter. And I hope someday you can forgive me for overreacting when you lied to me about my son being dead.”
“Krystal, I hope you accept my apology for being a little out of sorts when I discovered you were the one who switched the DNA samples. And please forgive me for the shameful way I treated you when you helped Babe kidnap my son. Please forgive me for holding you at gunpoint. It was a terrible thing to do. Although I remain confused as to why it wasn’t a terrible thing when you pulled a gun on my father.”
“Tad, I am surprised you are still speaking to me after the way I behaved as a child. I am still ashamed that I got angry with you each and every time you cheated on my mother. I apologize for that and for being angry at you when you helped Jamie kidnap my son.”
“Jamie, my dear dear brother. Can you ever forgive me for being pissed that you pursued my wife while we were still married? It is too much to hope you can overlook my reprehensible actions when I discovered you let me think my son was dead?”
“Di I hope you accept my apology for being rude when it was revealed you were impersonating my mother. I am afraid though that I cannot apologize for my lascivious thoughts about you because, damn, you are hot. Can you tuck me in tonight, just for old times sake?”
“Adam, can you forgive me for just now realizing you are a better father than Tad could ever hope to be?”
(As if that would ever be acknowledged.)
“David, I was so silly to be angry with you for giving my mother the best sex she ever had. Can you forgive me?”
JR promises Babe he will be a good trustworthy husband. Later Babe tells Krystal she intends to follow through with her plans to divorce JR and get custody of Rembrandt.
Yet another example of just how evil JR can be.
Over at the casino:
Dixie thinks she is in Switzerland.
Why? Is Zach wearing his lederhosen?
A fevered Dixie sends Zach to fetch Tad.
What does she think Tad is, a Frisbee?
Zach is just about to tell Tad the truth, when Dixiebitch phones to tell Zach to get his buns home.
Just once could a man refuse DixieBitch’s commands to jump, fetch and run back home?
DixieBitch has a little chat with Di. DixieBitch then decides to leave Pine Valley for good.
We should be so lucky.
David continues his quest to find out the truth about DixieBitch.
Dixie being in David’s debt, yet again, should be fun to watch. As long as he doesn’t start jumping, fetching and running home.
And somewhere in Pine Valley:
Zach reaches out to Kendall.
And because he doesn’t do it the right way or uses words she doesn’t like or he is wearing an ugly tie, Kendall will undoubtedly smack him down again. I cannot decide who bothers me more, Kendall for behaving like that or Zach for taking it. I hate being annoyed with these two but I am. Sigh.
Over at PVH
Julia cannot stand Josh. She doesn’t want to see him. She doesn’t want to work with him. She wants nothing to do with him.
This can only mean one thing, Julia and Josh will fall in love. But what really should happen is that Julia and Ryan must fall in love and marry. Then for some obscure back-story reason, Julia has to go back into the WPP. Of course her new husband Ryan accompanies her. And this WPP stay lasts far longer than NINE years
Kate's Archives For This Column for 2006