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Friendship and Forgiveness – BFFs on All My Children
By Doc F

            I had a BFF (best friend forever) for many years. I mean we were virtually inseparable. She did not try to sleep with my husband, kidnap my child, or publicly humiliate me, but we were BFFs nonetheless. The kind of BFF that you talk to EVERY DAY, who you commiserate with over a broken heart, who you loan money to even though you are flat broke. A BFF is always there for the big and small things in your life and vice versa. You know the kind I’m talking about, right? So, if you know what kind of BFF I’m talking about, then why doesn’t All My Children?

            After the success of Sex and the City (both theatrically and on HBO), I cannot understand why daytime writers struggle with writing believable friendships, especially female friendships. For years, Opal and Erica have been best “gal pals.” I mean Opal has patiently listened to Erica whine about the current love of her life for years. In turn, Erica listened to Opal’s rants about Palmer Cortlandt, the Glamorama, and indulged Opal’s passion for tarot card readings. Now that is a BFF. AMC also has had its share of male BFFs. Before Ryan Lavery fell in love with himself, he was best buds with Leo DuPres. Edmund Grey and Tad Martin shared some good times (and makeup tips) together. Do you remember when these two went undercover? Now that is a BFF.

            So who are the BFFs of AMC now? Today, we have Kendall/Greenlee, Angie/Krystal, and Jesse/Tad. So what is wrong you ask? Nothing if you mean Tad/Jesse. Tad and Jesse have been friends (minus the twenty-year interruption) for decades. Sure Tad has not told Jesse about burying a man alive (actually Tad has not divulged that little tidbit to anybody), but Jesse did help him get Kate back. Now that is a BFF. But what about the others? Let’s start with Angie and Krystal (KWAK).

            Angie is probably safe for now because I do not believe that KWAK has any romantic interests in Jesse, but KWAK does have a habit of taking things that do not belong to her. Ask Bianca and Dixie. I know, I know, KWAK has changed. However, standing vigil at Julie Santos’ bedside or waxing poetic about life and love for a few episodes does not make KWAK the resident sage or saint of Pine Valley. These “KWAK Knows Best” moments ring hollow when she blasts Adam Chandler about keeping Kate from Tad. I’m sorry, but KWAK should NEVER be allowed to utter the phrase “keeping a child from a parent” on the show. It destroys her credibility and the writers’ never-ending attempt to “rewrite” KWAK. Sorta like Tad and the words “grave,” “bury,” or “shovel.” But I digress.

            KWAK and Angie’s BFF moments just seemed contrived and forced to me. Jesse and Angie’s connection to Tad does not magically mean a connection between Angie and KWAK. I mean these two women have so much in common, don’t they? Yes, opposites do attract, (Opal and Erica for instance) but KWAK and Angie as instant BFFs do NOT have the history or depth to make this gigantic leap of faith, even by Pine Valley standards. Since AMC decided to get rid of all the forty-something women on the show (Brooke English, Liza Colby, Olivia Frye for instance), the BFF pickings are very slim. Unfortunately, Angie seems stuck with KWAK. Not sure I’m buying the insta-BFF status of these two incredibly talented actresses.

            Now let’s consider Kendall and Greenlee’s relationship. If I had just started watching the show within the last year or so, I might actually buy these two as BFFs. I mean, they certainly talk about being BFFs enough to make it real. They certainly spend an awful lot of time thinking/discussing/obsessing over the other’s movements/motives/needs to make me believe they really could be BFFs. But you see, I started watching the show long before Greenlee became a DuPres or Lavery, and before Kendall came to town to raise holy Kane. I know the real history of these two women. The Kendall/Greenlee BFF story is a recent addition – more like a revision – of these characters’ history. Besides, abusive men often say “I love you” to the women they abuse and love. Talk is cheap, actions speak volumes.

            Despite what the writers may believe, female BFFs are not prone to cat fighting, competitiveness, or jealousy, and two females can be BFFs without sexual innuendoes or overtures. What’s next for BFFs Kendall and Greenlee? A sleep over? A rousing game of Dream Date? (Yes, I am that old.) Or emailing their nude photos to all the cute guys in Pine Valley? While this behavior may be acceptable for tweens, teens, and twenty-somethings, it is simply embarrassing and demeaning to see women in their thirties behave this way. The male BFFs do not act like this, why must Kendall and Greenlee? Greenlee and Kendall do not represent, in any form, real BFFs. Hell, they are not even good soap BFFs. BFFs do argue, BFFs do become frustrated with each other, but BFFs respect each other. I simply have never seen anything that comes close to mutual respect in the relationship between Kendall and Greenlee.

            This of course brings me to the second part of my column: forgiveness. Of late, AMC has been throwing that word around as it is fairy dust. “Love in the afternoon” has been replaced by “Forgiveness in the Valley.” Tad forgave Adam, Babe forgave JR, Zach forgave Kendall, Kendall forgave JR, but Greenlee remains angry with virtually everyone but Ryan. Apparently, she did not get the fairy dust memo. Seriously, I do not recognize Zach Slater anymore because of the writers’ new forgiveness based agenda. Zach’s connection with Myrtle makes sense to me; Greenlee and Zach’s connection, not so much. Myrtle is one of the few people able to crack Zach’s hard exterior. She uses her knowledge and life experiences to reason with Zach when he becomes scary, lethal, and deadly. In other words, she serves a purpose in his life. What does he give Myrtle? According to Myrtle herself, “if I were only a few years younger...” Furthermore, he brings out Myrtle’s maternal side now that Kitty Tyler is dead, Skye Chandler and Rae Cummings left town, Erica is in jail, and Bianca and Miranda are in Paris. Zach IS Myrtle’s family.

            But what about the Greenlee/Zach BFF dynamic? When Zach and Greenlee interact, I’m reminded of an older/younger sibling scenario. You love your younger sibling, but at times, he/she is the most annoying, neediest, selfish brat on the planet. You tolerate him/her, but at times, you just want to slap him/her upside his/her head and shout “GROW UP!” I repeat: adolescent behavior is very unattractive over the age of thirty. Similar to the miraculous transformation of KWAK, I missed the moment when Greenlee and Zach experienced this life-long emotional bond in the underground bunker. I guess it was another one of those off-screen moments that AMC loves so much.  

            Nevertheless, if I accept the idea that Zach has forgiven Greenlee, what makes her his new BFF? Sharing a few lame jokes? Her promise not to babysit Ian or Spike? Free pole dancing lessons? I just don’t get their BFF thing. The only thing they EVER discuss is how hard life is for Greenlee. Wow, what a riveting conversation! I realize that Eileen Herlie (Myrtle) has been a bit under the weather of late, but Greenlee is a POOR substitute for Myrtle Fargate. Why? Any reasonable person will tell you that a BFF listens and gives even when he or she does not want to. Remember, we are talking about Greenlee here. Believe it or not, this is not simply a rant about Greenlee. Even on soaps, you do not become insta-BFFs with the person who repeatedly injured (emotionally and physically) your wife and kids, and repeatedly hurled insults at you at every opportunity, simply because the two of you were stuck together underground for six weeks. Civil? Yes! BFFs? No way! Yes, it is just a soap, but it is still ludicrous. You do not see Erica and KWAK or Palmer and Adam sharing warm fuzzy moments together, do you? The writers should know that you cannot fool all of the people, all of the time, no matter how hard the sell.

            So what about my BFF? My BFF and I remained friends for more than twenty years, but sadly, we grew apart. That happens sometimes. She did not show up on my doorstep and beg to be my BFF again. Nor did I send my husband to bond with her and pave the way for our inevitable reunion. After awhile, we simply stopped returning each other’s calls. We were not mad at each other. Truthfully, as we physically moved farther away from each other, our priorities changed (marriage, kids, and career) and we simply grew apart. That is what happens with BFFs sometimes. Sometimes, the relationship simply dies a natural, uncomplicated death. I’m just hoping that AMC finally recognizes it is time to do the same with some of their current BFFs. Or at the very least, stop depicting grown-ass women like adolescents and hyper-sexual school girls.

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