May 29, 2008

The Best of Times and the Worst of Times...


WOW!  This week's All My Children brought back a hint of how glorious this soap can really be, didn't it?  Who knew that it could actually still generate tears?  (And I don't mean just tears of frustration!)  I found myself, for the first time in a long, long, lonnnnng time absolutely riveted to the show this week.  Glory, Glory Hallelujah!!  And that, my friends, was a tribute to the stellar acting we witnessed from some VERY talented artists. The wedding scenes were amazing - deeply moving, in fact. Bringing back Greg Nelson was inspired.  Those few glimpses back in time were a bittersweet reminder of what this show was like back in the day - and what it still could be.  And how wonderful was it to FINALLY see Ruth Martin finally let out of the attic?!  FINALLY, we are getting back to the cornerstone of what soaps are supposed to be built around:  FAMILIES!  Core families.

Even being thoroughly spoiled about what was to come didn't take away the magic - and THAT is saying something!  I knew Kathy/Kate was going to come through this safely, but I still felt Dixie's desperation and determination.  My cold, black heart was still moved by watching little Kathy/Kate dancing with her dead mother, and I was reminded, once again, of how bitterly angry it made me that TPTB allowed McTavish to kill Dixie off without reuniting her with her daughter.  Hell, that they killed her off at all, for that matter.  I love that Kathy/Kate can see Dixie and that she seems perfectly okay - happy even - with her invisible Mommy.

Again, knowing what was/is to come, I found myself grieving the loss of such an underused - MISUSED - character like Julia Santos-Kiefer.  There is SO much they could have done with such a huge talent like Sydney Penny, but they wasted it; as they have done with so many before her.  I suppose it's better - for both Julia and Sydney - that the character and actress move on to greener pastures, since they are so unappreciated by TPTB at ABC Daytime.  In the meantime, I will enjoy (and cry) over the gut-wrenching scenes as Julia walks into the light to join her beloved husband, Noah.  It's been a long time since AMC had the power to make me cry - but Julia's final scenes did the trick.

Onto the not so good...the only exception to the brilliance of the show this last week?  The further propping of Greenlee as the tragic heroine and perpetual innocent victim of Pine Valley.  What... the HELL...was THAT?!!!  Yes, I was outraged at the ridiculous Kendall and Aiden sleep together in a moment of extreme grief - just like the rest of humanity, but come ON!!!!   Thankfully, karma has come out and bitten Esensten and Brown on the ass for THAT piece of garbage (as well as some of the other drivel they've penned) - notably, in the form of a pair of well-deserved pink slips!   They should have listened to Alicia Minshew (and fandom) when she railed against that ridiculous storyline.

Word has it that the new Head Writer, Chuck Pratt, Jr. is to take over immediately, though I'm not sure when his scripts are actually going to manifest onscreen.  Despite being bitten in the past by writer changes, I am holding out all hope for things to turn around.  I'm holding out hope that Chuck has been paying attention; that he has done his research into both the show's history and the characters who inhabit ye Valley O' Pines.  I am hoping that he is far enough removed from his former writing partner's (that would be Robert Guza, of GH infamy) influence and P.O.V. that he KNOWS better than to follow the Guza path of violence and sadism.  Hope springs eternal, what can I say?

One of the biggest changes I hope to see, is a little realism - and perspective - in regards to the Greenlee situation.  As I stated previously, Greenlee is NO heroine, and most certainly NOT an innocent victim.  Hell, Greenlee has yet to answer for her heinous actions regarding her intention kidnapping (and near killing) of Spike.  She never stood up and took responsibility for what she did.  Kendall came clean and accepted her punishment - in a court of law - for her subsequent plot against Greenlee for what she did.  She even found it in her to FORGIVE and LOVE Greenlee in spite of it.  And Greenlee accepts it as her due!   But let Kendall mess up - in a moment of unimaginable grief and lost hope?  Nope.  It's all over.  Kendall and Aiden BETRAYED Greenlee.  Right.  They are never to be forgiven.  Never to be given understanding.  Why?  Because it's GREENLEE!  She can do all these heinous things and STILL demand forgiveness and amnesia from HER victims, yet she refuses to be held to the same standards she demands for everyone else.  Kendall can be annoying as hell sometimes, but she has been through her own hell and she - at least - stands up and takes her punishment.  Can the same be said for Greenlee?  No.  and while we're on the subject of perspective?  Can we just juxtapose Greenlee's "tragedy" and the events that took place at Jesse and Angie's wedding reception?  Greenlee is sitting around, having her little temper tantrum, whining,  crying and railing at the Gods about how STOOOOPID she was to ever trust anyone again, while Julia is literally DYING at that moment, and Tad is not far behind her.  Pardon me if I don't feel the least little bit of sympathy for poor ickle Greens!

As for Jackson?! 

*counts to three while taking deep breaths*

WTF is WRONG with Jackson?!  He's more than willing to cover for Greenlee's crimes and mistakes, but he can't do the same for Kendall?  Hello?  He was THERE the whole time Kendall and Aiden were searching for Zach and Greens.  He KNOWS the fear and desperation they were feeling, because he was feeling it too.  He was in the same place - on the verge of accepting that his daughter was probably dead.  Not only that, but HE has been involved in his own fair share of olympic infidelities - yet he curses Kendall for "betraying" Greenlee?!  And how stupid does he have to be to actually BELIEVE that Aiden would confess such a thing to Greenlee AT AND IN THE MIDDLE OF A WEDDING celebration, of all places?!!!  There are those out there who believe that this was merely his way of paying Greenlee back for her ruining his aborted wedding to Erica that time - when she revealed that Erica knew she was his daughter.  There is a certain kind of sick symmetry to that BUT... Jackson isn't Greenlee.  Of course, he's dangerously close to becoming her, which is just one more reason why I am ECSTATIC to see the backs of Esensten and Brown.

So listen up, Mr. Pratt, and please listen well.  You CAN fix this.  You REALLY can fix AMC- all the building blocks are there.  You have a phenomenally talented cast.  You have a rich, vibrant history in place.  The pieces are there for you to rebuild the core strength of the show - the family dynamics.  The Kanes, The Martins, the Chandlers...  It's all there.  You also have the actors - some of whom have been with this show for twenty years or more.  They know their characters.  When someone like Alicia Minshew comes to you and tells you that her character would NEVER do something so stupid - like sleeping with a former flame/her best friend's current squeeze - no matter how grief stricken she is - listen to her.  Most importantly, you have the fans.  Use them!  No one knows more about this show than the fans who have been watching for years - the same fans who have been BEGGING to be heard.  Listen to them, Mr. Pratt.  They know their Soaps.  They know this show, they know these characters, they know the history, and they KNOW WHAT THEY WANT TO SEE - no matter what Frons would have you believe, the fans DO know what they want.  It's true that no one can please all the fans all the time, you can do much to please most of them, most of the time.


I have to reiterate a thought from my previous column... 

Just WHAT did Trevor St. John do to Ron Carlivati to piss him off sooooooooooooo much that he took it upon himself to utterly destroy the character of Todd Manning?!  On the one hand, the show hasn't been this good, this riveting, in quite some time.  On the other hand, it hasn't been as disturbing either!  Quite the paradox there!  OLTL, like it's two counterparts, AMC and GH, suffers from an embarrassment of riches in the acting department.  Seriously, ABC Daytime has been incredibly blessed with an abundance of talented actors and it's about time that they were finally rewarded by writing worthy of that talent.  Ron Carlivati is one gifted storyteller.  He knows and utilizes the history of both show and characters, and he seems to listen to the fans.  There is no denying that he's giving Trevor St. John some meaty material - but... it's the content I find so troubling.  For someone who knows and utilizes history so well, I have to wonder WHY he has taken away virtually ALL of Todd's hard earned character growth.  I have to wonder why he felt the need to so completely destroy the one relationship that has remained sacrosanct to Todd AND Starr both.  (Not to mention to the fans!)  It's bad enough that Todd went completely psychotic on Starr and Cole, but now he's sunk even further by putting little Sam in mortal jeopardy too?  Just when we thought he couldn't sink any lower?!  WHY?!  I repeat... W-H-Y?!!!  Hasn't Todd been through enough?  Hasn't he suffered enough?  Hasn't he paid over and over and over again for the crimes he committed in the past (namely the rape of Marty Saybrooke)?  He very nearly gave his LIFE years ago, when he took Patrick's place in Ireland and ended up shot, stuffed in a trunk and run off a cliff.  Todd is such a complex character, but he has made huge strides in character growth since the early days - and now?  It's all been taken away from him.  Why, Ron?  WHY?!

Oh yes, one more thing?  Please stop making Natalie so desperate and pathetic?  Pretty please?    (kthanxbye)

GH ~

Continuing the theme from my Todd query, I must ask the same of Guza... Does he HATE Sonny now?  I've suspected as much for some time now, but he just keeps digging that hole for Sonny deeper and deeper, with no end in sight.  What gives?  We've always known that Sonny is a selfish bastard, but never was it made more evident than when he actually asked Jason to take over da business so that HE (Sonny) could go on to live a happy life...


Never mind all the other things (make that EVERYTHING) that Jason has already given up for him; now Sonny wants to be free to walk away and live a happy life with Kate and the boys, while Jason is left with an even BIGGER target on his back and the likelihood that he will NEVER get to claim his only child?!  Too bad - BROTHER - I get to have a life and you never will.  Sucks to be you.  Bastard.  Furthermore... he's actually going to agree to give up his paternal rights in exchange for Jason taking over da business - after all that talk about never abandoning his children the way he was abandoned by Mike?  Don't get me wrong, I think the kids are much better off without him, but it just goes to show what most of us have known for a long time now:  For Sonny, it's all about who he's bumping uglies with - his woman du jour - not about his kids, or even his business.  Yeah... Sonny?  Don't let the door hit your arse on the way out.  On second thought?  LET it hit you - HARD!  Bastard.

On that angry note, I'm about to belly up to the bar to pour myself a (few) cold one(s).  Drinks are on me, my lovelies!



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