For the week of January 2, 2006
(As always, the commentary section contains no AMC spoilers, but it does mention a few for ATWT.)
It is the end of one year and the beginning of another. It is a time for reflection as well as anticipation. A time for leaving chaos behind and starting anew. A time to become organized and have a clear vision of the journey ahead. A time to make resolutions and a steadfast commitment to keeping them.
Or as I prefer, a time for total indulgence. In keeping with that firmly held belief I am indulging myself with this column. No clear vision, little organization and damn little thought to even having a cohesive thought.
Oh, and for those who have requested that I resolve not to make any more clown nose jokes, that is not going to happen. As long as the Laverys loiter in Pine Valley, clown nose jokes will be made. Perhaps not every week, but on a regular basis. Hey, it turns out I have a 2006 resolution after all.
Smoothies don’t kill people. People kill people. David’s set up of Jonathan and Ryan was perfect. I should hate David after what he did to Bianca but I cannot. True that disappointed me, but David has been punished more than all the others involved in that crime. He has endless janitorial community service in the hospital where he once was a brilliant surgeon. He lost Binky’s friendship. And his position as PV’s preeminent pariah was solidified. Plus in the cruelest cut of all, he is saddled with Babe and Krystal as family.
What saves David for me every time, besides his black leather jacket, is that he knows most of what he does is wrong. He admitted this week, yet again, that he is a bad person.
And a character who admits they do bad, even evil things is always more palatable to me than one who refuses to take responsibility for doing bad things. And even worse is a character that chastises another for committing similar offenses.
Which leads me to the Carey women, starting with Krystal. What gives her the right to refer to David as “Dr. Death”? Others in PV may have that right, but not Krystal. David was nothing but supportive of her during the Concubine Conspiracy. What does he have to show for giving that support? A floor mop. Yet she maintains an entitled sense of superiority each time she sees David. Plus she has two billionaires fighting over her. (Why? I have no idea.)
And then there is David’s ungrateful, manipulative daughter, Babe. Babe who was given a partnership in a major cosmetics company. Babe who is manipulating JR into giving her back both the Chandler life style and their son. Babe who has the nerve to call Amanda a baby stealer.
When was the last time either of the Carey women had to mop a floor?
And yet with a few changes, my feelings for the Carey women could have been completely different. Over the past five years of writing for EOS, I have made it a practice to not compare soaps except for a fleeting remark here and there. Recently however a story on another soap impressed me as much as a story on AMC disappointed me. That leads me to As The World Turns. ATWT’s baby switch story is now wrapping up. While AMC’s baby switch story was unsatisfying to me, what happened in Oakdale left my soap appetite almost completely satiated.
How did ATWT achieve what AMC did not? First of all, ATWT wrapped up its story fairly quickly. This short time span limited the number of Oakdale residents who could be sucked into the crime as co-conspirators. By the time AMC’s story was done, Joe was keeping the truth from the Kanes and Bianca was agreeing to help Babe kidnap Mirabess. It appeared as if almost everyone in PV was a conspirator.
One major difference, and that which rendered the ATWT story truly heartbreaking, was that neither mother knew the truth. Jennifer thought her baby had died while Gwen truly believed that the baby in her arms was her own. When the truth came out, Jennifer’s life was filled with joy knowing her son was alive. Gwen’s life was filled with grief. Gwen had “her” son taken away from her and learned her own son was dead in one brief moment. Neither character was diminished by the story. Viewers could be happy for Jen and her family, while crying over Gwen’s double loss.
AMC could have achieved similar emotions by merely keeping Babe in the dark about Bess’ true identity until very near the story’s end. This major misstep has made impossible for many viewers to see Babe as a heroine, no matter how much TPTB push us to see her that way.
Another major difference is that the characters that were complicit in keeping the switch a secret have paid and will continue to pay for their crimes. Craig, who did the original baby switch, is in prison. This week Meg will lose her lover Dusty when he discovers she did a little DNA falsification. Emily, who supported her fiancé Paul in keeping the secret, has lost total custody of her son. She has also lost Paul, and perhaps her mind. Paul, Jennifer’s brother, has lost his sister’s love as well as that of his brother and mother. Not only that, this week Emily shoots Paul in the back. Pure soap. Pure bliss.
Another, not so major, difference was Gwen’s totally self-absorbed, totally tacky mother Iris. Iris was not above sacrificing anyone’s happiness, including Gwen’s, to get what she wanted. Heck, she wasn’t above poisoning herself to achieve her goals. Yet I enjoyed Iris in a way I probably never will enjoy Krystal. I enjoyed Iris in the same way I enjoyed Billy Clyde Tuggle. She was over the top, she was wicked, but impossible to loathe. Impossible to loathe because ATWT did not expect us to view Iris as anything but what she was. ATWT certainly did not pimp her to viewers as a heroine the way AMC has done with Krystal.
In an interview a few years ago, Vincent Irizarry said he viewed soaps as the modern day equivalent of a morality play: the good are rewarded and the bad are punished in one way or another. AMC lost sight of that during the baby switch and its aftermath, which is why it caused me tears of frustration instead of tears of joy and heartbreak.
It pained me quite a bit to write the above. AMC is my soap. I want AMC to be good. I want it to be at the top, not the bottom of the ratings. Is that too much to ask?
Maybe, maybe not.
Some good things happened this week on AMC, some not so good.
Which leads us to the non-sequitur portion of this week’s column:
Ryan and Julia together. Not as FF’d-able as I anticipated. Ryan only pointed his finger once at Julia and she never said those now dreaded words, “nine years.” I think those two should marry. Then they, along with Erin and Jonathan, could move to California to be nearer to Julia’s family. Ryan and Mateo in the same family would be quite a fest of finger pointing wouldn’t it? The best part is that we would not have to see it. And I think their need to constantly finger point comes from the same place: their fingers are the only body members they can be sure will stiffen when needed.
Speaking of the Laverys, if both Erin and Ryan were concerned that Jonathan might be the baby stealer, why did they let him wander PV alone?
Does Jack know Lily is ice-skating with Jonathan? Does he even care?
Given that Jonathan is now about 7 years old, I hope his skates have double blades.
“Am I that bad a dancer?” Not as bad as my beloved Leo, Ethan, but pretty darn close.
Now that Simone is moving a bit off the back burner, will we find out if her father is still in town? And if her brother is still in a coma? Does Ethan even know she has a father and brother?
Speaking of missing relatives, is Isabella Santos still in PV? Has Julia locked Isabella and Anita in the Wildwind attic?
Janet drugging Babe and Krystal was immensely enjoyable. The thought of Janet undressing them? Not so much.
I do not find the thought of Janet killing Trevor enjoyable at all. Yet how else to explain his absence? Has she killed TimMan, too? Is that why Amanda never hears from her brother?
I admire Erin. Why? Even though she shares a motel bathroom with both her brothers, she still manages to have a different hairstyle every day.
Why was Lily dissing Adam and JR to Jonathan? Does Lily even know them? Or is “Adam and JR are evil” one of the things she learned in her life skills class?
Brooke’s scenes with Adam made it even more implausible that he would be smitten with Krystal.
I think Del is smitten with Opal’s bank account. She could do so much better.
I really do not like Josh. He has me rooting for Amanda.
I like Jamie even less than before. Why? He has me rooting for Amanda, too.
“I saw you. I saw the woman you really are.” I swooned during this week’s Zach and Kendall scenes. And I do not swoon easily.
How could I not love David when he pointed out what Ryan’s fake death did to the memory of Leo’s real death? And as he usually does when someone points out his misdeeds, Ryan responded with a look of “Huh? What?” as if the other is speaking a language Ryan does not understand.
“Chalk it up to brilliant acting.” I do, Mr. Canary, I do.
Lily to Jonathan, “I think I’ll be cringing enough for both of us.” That may be true, Lily but you won’t be cringing as much as I do every time that “aren’t they cute?” music plays during your scenes with Jonathan.
When Krystal realizes she popped out naked from the cake will she be embarrassed? Or angry because this time she was naked for free?
“I resolve to stand by Kendall however I can.” Heaven help the viewers and heaven help Kendall if Ryan keeps that resolution. Can’t you just hear Kendall’s screams from the delivery room? Not from labor pains, but because Ryan keeps insisting she wear a clown nose for the birthing videos.
Let’s see how the spoilers are kicking off 2006 in PV:
I was dreading this and hoping it wouldn’t happen but here it is:
Bianca accidentally meets up with Babe. Bianca tells Babe that she is working on letting go of her anger towards Babe.
This is one of those moments when I do not really care for Binks. It’s one thing for Binks to let go of her anger to improve the emotional quality of her own life. It is quite another to tell Babe about it. And is Binky also working on letting go of her anger towards David? Thought not. What bothers me most about this is that it won’t change Babe’s MO at all. There are two things one should gain from being forgiven for doing something heinous. One is total gratitude to the person doing the forgiving. The other is demonstrating forgiveness to those who have hurt you. Don’t think that is going to happen with Babe, do you?
Babe tells Bianca her great plan for manipulating JR. Bianca tells Babe her plan can only lead to heartache.
Bianca could redeem herself by sharing Babe’s plan with JR. After all JR was as much a victim of the baby switch as Bianca was. Excuse me, for a moment I forgot that JR was evil and Babe only does what she does out of deep and abiding love.
Fun times continue at the Valley Inn:
Finding Babe naked in Josh’s bed angers JR. He says some nasty things to Babe and leaves.
How dare JR jump to the wrong conclusion? After all it’s not like she cheated on him before. It’s not like Babe had sex with someone else while she was married to JR.
Jamie overhears Babe accusing Amanda of drugging her. And of undressing her and putting her in Josh’s bed.
Jamie feels the sudden need to find a quiet place where he can be alone with his “thoughts’ for about five minutes.
Jamie decides to look for proof that Amanda was behind the drugging. Amanda catches Jamie going through her purse. Quick thinking as ever, Jamie comes up with an excuse to explain his actions.
“Oh, Amanda I was just looking for a tampon. I’m all out.”
Amanda is worried that perhaps she really did drug Babe. Jamie comforts her with the hope that she will confess to drugging Babe.
As well as confessing to stripping Babe. With lots and lots of details.
Babe comes on to JR. He says he wants to have sex with her. Babe refuses and gives him a report proving she was drugged.
We could think about how Babe got a tox screen so quickly but why bother? Poor Babe is a victim once again and JR is just evil (in a horny kind of way).
Rejected by Babe, JR seeks sexual comfort from Kendall. He is none too pleased when Kendall rejects him because she is in love with Zach.
Am I losing my mind or during their last encounter weren’t JR and Kendall truly nasty to each other? Did they make up when I wasn’t looking?
JR heads back to Babe. He apologizes for not believing her about the drugging. He and Babe have sex.
I want AMC to apologize to me for showing us JR/Babe sex before Kendall/Zach sex. AMC is moving so slowly with their sex life, you might almost think Zach and Kendall were lesbians.
In a startling turn of events Krystal is humiliated to be seen naked by a roomful of people. She accuses Adam of drugging her and putting her in the cake.
Krystal just does not understand Adam. Having his wife do some naked public cake jumping would also be humiliating to him and Adam would not risk that.
Noting the discord between the Chandlers, Palmer decides to make a move on Krystal. He starts by comforting her about being embarrassed.
Palmer should be embarrassed about his interest in Krystal. I could understand his feigning interest to get back at Adam. Palmer lusting after the woman who let him believe his grandnephew was dead is something I will never understand. Krystal’s cleavage be damned.
Janet is quite pleased about all the trouble she is causing.
As long as she hasn’t killed Trevor, so am I.
Let’s check in on those darlings, the ex-Slaters:
Kendall and Zach continue to declare their love for each other.
As I continue to declare my love for them.
The news that Kendall and Zach are together sends Bianca and gypsy-hearted Myrtle over the moon.
Myrtle scenes always send me over the moon.
Zach and Kendall decide to keep their relationship a secret.
Of course they want to keep quiet. Their only other choice is to kill Ryan and Erica. Either plan works for me.
Speaking of Erica, her 2006 is not getting off to a very auspicious start:
Erica has a nightmare about Greg wearing surgical scrubs.
Just imagine how much worse the nightmare could have been, Erica could have dreamed about Greg wearing a Speedo. Or a nurse’s uniform.
Lured to a warehouse by Josh, Erica finds herself stranded there.
Which should give her plenty of time to ponder why Josh is somehow involved every time something goes wrong. And why TPTB recast Josh so the character would look more like her.
Erica is fairly shocked to discover she is not alone in the warehouse-her old friend Janet is also there.
Is Janet in drag or not? Does Janet see Erica? If so, when Erica notices Janet has aged while she has not, does Erica tell her about “Youthful Essence”?
With Erica stranded, Josh is able to do a celebrity interview for New Beginnings (did you know Erica has a new show?) in her place.
It will be interesting to see what AMC considers a celebrity. Let’s face it, those on the first episode were fairly unimpressive (with apologies to Al Leiter).
Erica is more than a little surprised at a tabloid article that says she is drinking again.
Just pause for a moment and think how interesting this would be if Donald Steele were the tabloid reporter.
Erica is furious with Josh. Josh is able to reassure her that he has done nothing wrong.
“Ms. Kane why would I want to hurt the woman who has given me such a great opportunity to stab her in the back?”
Greg is distressed to discover that Josh is working against Erica.
Of course he is, no father wants to see his son working against his moth, I mean his employer.
Meanwhile over at the Maddening Clinic:
Di and Tad bump into each other while searching Greg’s office.
I guess they did not want to draw attention to their activities by turning the lights on.
They are stunned to find a tape of Erica’s modeling career.
Stunned because Erica looks no older now than she did in the 70’s.
Tad and Di kiss.
Nothing like a little illegal search and seizure to stir the passions, eh?
Tad ruins the moment with Di by calling her Dixie.
I had a friend who insisted on calling all the women in his life “darling” just to avoid situations like this. I was always surprised that Tad never slipped and referred to Liza as Marion.
Tad confronts Dr. Madden. He wants Greg to explain why he has a file on the Martin family. Greg makes up a plausible excuse.
“I was hoping the information I gathered would lead me to the secret recipe for Kate Martin’s famous coffee cake.”
Di goes to the boathouse to ponder the day’s events. Janet pushes her into the lake.
That will teach Di to ponder, won’t it? And what does Janet have against Di?
Other stuff happens, too:
Ethan proposes to Simone and she accepts.
Well, that guarantees that at any moment Ethan will turn back into a frog.
Ethan finds out that Kendall and Zach are in love. This makes him angry.
Was that a “ribbet” I heard coming from Ethan’s mouth?
Ryan and Julia go skinny-dipping in the icy lake.
Insert your own “Ryan shrinkage” joke here.
And here’s to another week in the Valley!
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