For the week of August 20th

This week my column starts with praise instead of vitriol.

Who’s the object of my praise? Walt Willey. All soaps have actors who come in every day and do their jobs well. Whether they are in a front burner storyline or have one line every three months.  Sometimes those actors have a great story line coupled with wonderful writing; at other times it’s a bad storyline with ridiculous writing.  The actor who remains true to his character, no matter what the story, is a basic building block of a good soap. I have always liked Walt Willey although never as much as my father, an AMC fan, did.  Over the past seven years I have made small positive comments here and there about Walt’s (if I may be so bold) character Jackson but never about the actor, himself.

 When Jack first arrived in Pine Valley he was a bit arrogant, more than a bit shady and almost too good-looking to be taken seriously.  It was hard to imagine that Jackson being the devoted family man that he is today.  Most people in Pine Valley, including Erica, take Jackson for granted. Jackson gets taken for granted because he is always there, always someone you can count on. Jackson is Pine Valley’s go- to- guy. Walt Willey is one of AMC’s go- to -guys; I never really appreciated that until the past few weeks.

Everyone expects Jackson to take their side, to be there for them, no matter what.  Why? Because Jackson makes it all look easy.  Jackson seldom whines, seldom makes excuses for his behavior. One could say Jackson is almost stoic, at least compared to most of the others in Pine Valley who go around showing their pain and disappointments on a daily basis.

However, this week we saw Jackson break just a little. Standing in Spike’s hospital room looking at his step-nephew/grandson, Jackson began to cry. The more Kendall expressed her pain and anger about her sons’ many medical problems, the harder it became for Jackson to remain stoic. While looking at a child he loved in distress, knowing that his daughter caused it, Jackson cracked. Jackson’s crying wasn’t keening or sobbing, his tears felt and looked real.  And for the first time in 20 years, Jackson had me crying.   The beauty of that scene was how easy Walt Willey made it all look.

So, Walt, I am thanking you for being one of AMC’s go- to- guys.  I can count on one hand the number of times my father and I agreed on anything. This is one of them.

Now for the vitriolic portion of today’s column.

Ryan. Ryan. Ryan. If I had closed my eyes during your scene with Zach, I would have sworn you were talking to a mirror. “When I look at your smug self-righteous face.”  “You tend to take things a little too far.” “Your sick selfish need to control everything.” You wreck people's lives, and it sucks for them.”

Unfortunately, Ryan, you weren’t talking to yourself, you were talking to Zach. Now I don’t think Zach is perfect. He does have some control issues. Zach is responsible for the blackout. However, before you can blame him for Erin’s death we need to take a little walk down memory lane. Many years ago you left home and never looked back. You left your siblings with your abusive father and your alcoholic mother. You didn’t see Jonathan again until he tracked you down in Pine Valley. What were you doing all those years that made it impossible to check on Jonathan and Erin? Oh, yeah, you were busy running cons, inheriting the Cambias fortune and faking your own death.   But that’s OK, Ryan, because it’s not as if there were any consequences to ignoring your siblings, except of course, for Jonathan learning how to abuse women. Oh, yeah, and Jonathan having that pesky brain tumor. How many women did Jonathan abuse and terrorize?  We only know about five of them. How many people did Jonathan kill? We only know about four.   

Ryan, do you think you miss Erin more than Dimitri misses Edmund? More than Sam and Maddie miss their father?  More than Terry’s brother misses him? More than the bodyguard’s wife and children miss him?

Ryan, this would be the appropriate time to advise you that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones but you haven’t had stones in years. Maybe Babe will lend you some from her collection. After all, she’s been collecting them since she arrived in town.

What else. What else.

“I don’t want to do any of those crappy indie films.” Well thank goodness for that, Ava. Maggie Gyllenhaal can now relax.

“I’ll check on Ian on the way out.”   One of the things I like about Annie? When she does something kind she doesn’t hang around waiting for someone to say how kind she is.

“Obsessed, unstable, sad woman.”  How come Zach can understand who Greenlee really is and Ryan cannot?  Maybe it’s because Zach understands people who come from Venus and Ryan is an ass.

It was nice to see that the writers did not forget about Di and Annie’s long history together.

“Do you really think retribution is the answer?”  Doesn’t Jack understand that here in the Valley that’s considered a rhetorical question?

“You didn’t have a problem with the Cambias family when you took my father’s money.”  Or when you berated Zach for turning his back on a loving, kind and generous man like Cambias-the-Elder.

Zach taking Spike to meet Ian was impossibly cute. Really.

I just cannot wrap my mind around Ava being a supermodel. Oh silly me, I forgot she is the FACE OF FUSION.

What comes out of my mouth and what you hear are so profoundly different. It's like we speak a different language.”  Jackson that’s because you are speaking a language based on logic while Greenlee is speaking a language based on denial and self-pity.

“After what you did how can I ever look at you again?”  Annie’s scenes with her father were all the more powerful because there was no scenery chewing going on. Melissa Claire Egan and Bob Hilterman have a good disappointed father/regretful daughter chemistry.

“I don’t know how to act.” Once again Greenlee states the obvious.

Instead of badgering Di, why didn’t Ryan check his wife’s GPS monitor? The one he had implanted behind her ear on their wedding day?

Speaking of Di, her goodbye scene with Aidan was grownup and believable. The scene wasn’t long enough but it was longer than Anita’s farewell scene.

“Did you get a call from The Sun?” A nice nod to PV’s neighbor Llanview.

Babe being upset that Annie was keeping a secret from her husband was the funniest thing last week, wasn’t it?

“Look at him, he is so whipped.” JR being amused about a man being whipped was the second funniest scene last week.

“Not everyone has happy childhood memories like making grilled cheese with an iron.” I am going to miss DI.

 What will Jackson say when he finds out that Erica lied about him refusing to do the talk show? “Erica, what comes out of my mouth and what you hear are so profoundly different. It’s like we are speaking different language.”

“Are you planning on becoming Pine Valley’s new Patron Saint?” Now Greenlee you must admit that Saint Spotted Dick has a certain ring to it. 

Will this week’s spoilers make us as happy as grilled cheese made with an iron? Let’s see:

Life isn’t getting any easier for Spike’s and Ian’s families.

Kendall believers Rasputin Dr. Hilliard is the answer to her prayers.

Well, Kendall, we all have our silly beliefs. Mine? I believe no matter how much chocolate I consume my thighs will never get any bigger.

Zach asks Tad to investigate Rasputin Dr. Hilliard.

“Sure thing, Zach, anything to help. And don’t worry, if he is a fraud I’ll bury him alive until he agrees to tell Kendall the truth.”

Zach’s anger surfaces when he is the only parent available to sign release papers for Ian’s surgery.

Being a stoic can only get you so far.

Zach starts to question Kendall’s devotion, or lack of, to Ian.

That’s a fair question considering that Zach wasn’t privy to Kendall’s monologue last week. And Zach is exhausted too; he just hides it better than mere mortals do.

When Zach overhears Kendall telling Ian how much she loves him, he realizes his fears about her feelings for Ian were a bit unfounded.

I bet Zach doesn’t blame anyone but himself for his fears. I don’t think Zach is perfect but, like the evil but sexy David Hayward, he is capable of taking an honest look at himself.

Zach heads to the cemetery to tell Ethan about his brothers and his concern for his family.

Excuse me just for a moment while I move the Kleenex closer to the couch.

Kendall and Ryan argue about Spike.  Ryan takes Spike home.

Damn, I hate having to agree with Ryan, but I do.

Annie is kind and understanding with Greenlee. Greenlee is shocked by Annie’s behavior.

Greenlee is often shocked by adult behavior. Annie is clearly not a hypocrite which leaves me wondering how long she can last in the Valley.

Annie freaks when the camp tells her that a man picked Emma up at the end of the day.Annie freaks even more when she discovers it was Jonathan who picked Emma up.

Yes, I made part of it up. It turns out that Annie forgot about asking Jonathan to fetch Emma.

Annie gets more strange phone calls. Later she discovers her Fusion desk covered with rose petals.

Annie being stalked concerns me.  What impresses me? That despite all the Fusion office chaos the stalker was able to figure which desk was Annie’s. 

The stress of being stalked and having Spike return home causes Annie to have an asthma attack.

Not surprising. I think just being married to Ryan would cause me to have an attack.

Other stuff happens, too.

Jamie announces he is heading off to Africa to help his Uncle Jake with the AIDS crisis.

How will Jamie handle it when someone points out that he isn’t really a doctor? I bet he can’t handle the truth. (Nice touch remembering that Jake is in Africa and not keeping Bobby company in the attic.)

Jamie says goodbye to Babe and JR. They all reminisce about the past.

“Jamie, remember when you and Babe ran off with my son?” “JR, it makes me chuckle every time I remember you beating me with a pipe.” “Oh, JR, I’ll never forget how funny it was when you tried to kill me and got Kendall instead?” “ You know, Babe, I thought it was funny when you lied about not already being married and about Mirabess, but the real gut buster was when you told me our son was “dead” in a note!” “Those were good times weren’t they, JR ? Now would you give us some privacy so Babe and I can have sex before I leave?”

Jack shares his woes with Krystal.

Let’s hope that’s all that Jack shares with Krystal.

Here’s to another week in the Valley!

Kate's AMC Spoiler Archives For 2007

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Kate's AMC Spoiler Archives For 2006

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