The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
With apologies to Sergio Leone, but “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” is a fitting description of All My Children right now. When watching the show, it is often a hodge-podge of inconsistencies, distractions, and beautifully executed scenes and dialogues. I guess that is why I can’t abandon the show entirely. After all, a thirty-eight year addiction is hard habit to kick.
So what’s “the good”? The writers finally remembered it is an ensemble cast. A recent Opal and Palmer sighting reminded me of why I’ve loved the show for so long. Opal is always a hoot, but to have her and Palmer together (even for a short scene) was great! Sadly, Myrtle and Marian are still missing, but I appreciate the fact that somebody remembered the show is actually about All My Children.
The show is finally remembering its rich history. It’s great to see the Hubbards back in Pine Valley, and the sparks between Darnell Williams and Debbi Morgan are still there. While Jesse’s return from the dead has its problems, I’m thrilled that someone remembered that love does endure. I’m absolutely thrilled that the show is revisiting the Opal/Erica friendship. I’m glad to see that adult female friendships are not always toxic, destructive, and full of recriminations. And that the love between these two women is not just spoken, but actually demonstrated through their actions.
Speaking of love, the pairing of Zach and Kendall is what makes me believe that AMC is worth saving. I love Zach Slater! I love Kendall Hart Slater! Like the Hubbards, the Slaters prove that adult relationships are neither boring nor dysfunctional. The Slaters prove that marriage is not the kiss of death for a daytime couple.
But the best example of “the good” is David Canary as Adam Chandler. Whether he is plotting revenge against his enemies or sharing his fears with this twin-brother, Stuart, Adam Chandler makes everything and everyone around him come alive. I love good Adam, I love bad Adam; I simply love Adam Chandler. His love for his children is often misguided, but I’ve never questioned his feelings about his family. He is capable of making the most inane storylines watchable.
This, of course, brings me to “the bad”-- the return of Dixie Martin as a ghost. The gas-lighting of Adam has its moments, but like Dixie’s trademark lullaby (“You Are My Sunshine”), I’m tired of hearing it. Dixie’s return in 2006 was poorly written and her death by pancakes simply compounded the problem. You cannot turn crap into gold by adding more manure. The same is true as it relates to her ghostly return. Her banter with Adam is fun to watch, but does not garner any sympathy or nostalgia (from me) for Cady McClain’s permanent return to Pine Valley. Adam is wrong, but so is Dixie. Please, send her back to heaven (or hell) pronto!
Who dresses Bobbie Eakes? And of late, Debbi Morgan? I am Ruebenesque, so I have no problem with cleavage. In fact, I generally believe if you’ve got it, flaunt it. But Krystal Carey really needs to cover up. Sometimes I feel that there should be a parental advisory warning when she appears on screen. It’s wonderful see that all the women on AMC are not a size 0, but damn, cover that woman up! That is entirely too much boobage.
Have the writers/directors ever heard of little thing called continuity? Kendall, Zach, Sam Woods, Opal, and even mogul Warren Buffet have all visited Erica in jail. Why not Josh? Wouldn’t your brother at least call you if you were suffering from amnesia? Bianca calls Kendall and Erica from Paris. Why hasn’t Jonathan called Ryan?
Is Ryan’s sperm now a character on the show? It has been prominently featured in every Ryan storyline since 2004. Give me a break! Ryan’s sperm receives more airtime than Amanda Dillon! Did Lily and Ava join Jonathan in Europe? The writers need real help writing exit storylines. On AMC of late, exit storylines consists of death or disappearance. Isn’t there a third possibility?
This brings me to “the ugly.” It would be real easy to place the blame for the current storylines on the writing team of James Brown & Barbara Esenstein (did AMC execs not see what they did to Port Charles?), the executive producer Julie Carruthers, or daytime president Brian Frons. Believe me, each of them bears some responsibility for the current slide in ratings. However, the truth is the storylines on AMC went south about the same time that Megan McTavish returned for her second (and unfortunately not final) trip to the show. Umbrella storylines are great on paper, but execution is another thing. Since 2004, these umbrellas storylines feel like “the song that never ends.” For example, the Miranda/Little A baby switch storyline ran for almost two years. Yes, the storyline affected a number of different characters, resulting in some of “the ugliest” aspects of the show. I’ll come back to that later.
The fallout from the kidnapping of Spike Lavery lasted for months. Greenlee and Zach in a hole lasted for weeks on end, and the “grief sex” between Kendall and Aidan took place in December 2007! Since then, we’ve seen Kendall and Aidan discussing the deed numerous times in public, Kendall discussing the deed with Erica, Aidan discussing the deed with Tad, Kendall discussing the deed with Zach, Tad discussing the deed with Kendall and Zach, and Erica discussing the deed with Jack. Now Greenlee is about to find out. WHAT IS TAKING SO LONG? Even the tabloids moved on from Britney Spears to Miley Cyrus to Mariah Carey in the same time frame. Can we move on?! Don’t these writers know how to end a storyline and begin a new one? My God! I’ve entered a new stage of menopause in the time it has taken this show to reveal that Kate is really Kathy!
That brings me to “the ugliest” aspect of the show: Tad buries Greg Madden alive. Once upon a time, I adored Tad and even accepted his philandering as part of his charm. After all, he isn’t my husband but a fictional character on a soap. But somewhere along the way, Tad morphed from being a lovable cad into someone unrecognizable. I don’t need to recount everything Tad did during the Miranda/Little A baby switch, but his actions did irreparable harm (in my opinion) to his family, his friends, and the integrity of the character. Yes, it’s daytime and characters change. But usually there is a catalyst for this change. Tad has never been perfect, but he was never vile or despicable. For me, the final nail in the coffin, no pun intended, was Tad’s burial of Greg Madden. Yes, Megan McTavish did not do Michael Knight any favors by casting him as the killer. But McTavish is gone and Tad remains the same unrepentant, sanctimonious, judgmental, and self-righteous bastard that buried a man alive. I don’t care why he did it; it is what he did that disturbs me. Now, he’s going to be reunited with his long lost daughter. Are you kidding me?! This is still Pine Valley and not Port Charles where mobsters are heroes.
The show still has some good things going for it, but not enough to make it worth watching on a daily basis. I still miss Brooke English and David Hayward. It is hard to watch the show with so many dropped storylines and inconsistencies. There are some bad things on the show, but not enough to make me quit the show entirely. Robert Gardner is almost as cartoonish as Richie Novak, which is very sad because Billy Miller and David Rasche are capable and talented actors. Unfortunately, the writers on AMC are not in the same league as these two actors. Yet, it is “the ugly” that makes me question almost forty years of loyalty to All My Children. There is something seriously wrong when a man buries another man alive and his punishment is to be reunited with his long-lost daughter. Daytime is supposed to be entertaining, not macabre.
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