An All My Children Evaluation

Let’s play report card right now for All My Children. It’s time to evaluate the current storylines and/or characters on screen. But first, the Head Writer, Charles Pratt Jr. deserves an evaluation.

Apprehension is the first word that came to mind when news broke that Charles Pratt Jr. would be taking the helm as Head Writer for All My Children. It’s no secret that the show has been in a writing turmoil since the the babyswitch storyline reached its climax and wrapped up. Ever since then viewers of AMC have been subjected to one outlandish story after another (hello, Josh the unabortion…) and in turn one new head writer after another. Last year, it was reported that Charles Pratt Jr, would be taking his pen to AMC. Again, it’s no secret that apprehension broke out among the faithful viewers, leaving many to wonder if AMC would turn into some hybrid form of the shows he’d already written for. Shows such as Melrose Place, Desperate Housewives and General Hospital, whom he co-wrote with Robert Guza Jr. Some chose to give him a chance and see what he could do, while others chose to tread carefully, not wanting to put all their faith in him.

At first, his writing showed promise, given the tornado that hit Pine Valley in October, but it seems as though everything else slowly whirlpooled down the drain as the months progressed. One of the most glaring miscues, aside from the hyped-up first lesbian wedding on daytime (which only lasted a day, barely…) was the dismantling of Aidan and Greenlee in order to make way for the second-time around pairing of Ryan and Greenlee (Rylee). Apparently, Mr. Pratt did not get the memo that Rylee was not a huge hit the first time around, because this second go-round didn’t work and ultimately had Rebecca Budig opting out of the contract and leaving the show after just a one year return.

Currently, the storylines playing out on AMC have this tendency of good days and bad days, but there hasn’t been a steady progression in story itself. It has been said Mr. Pratt likes to leave the audience guessing or the characters guessing what they’ll be doing next, but that method doesn’t seem to work. These characters are meant to be predictable in a way and not give the viewers whiplash with their actions. For example, on General Hospital, when Carly gets upset about something, viewers will almost assume she will run to Jason for consoling, because that is what her character does. It’s predictable. On AMC lately, it’s as though some characters’ actions leave the viewers going “Huh?”. One character whose actions have left viewers doing that is Kendall Hart-Slater.

Lately, it seems as though Kendall cannot make up her mind on what she wants. One day she wants to work things out with Zach, but the next day or within the same episode, she’s with Ryan. It’s confusing trying to figure out who she wants to be with. And if that wasn’t bad, her sleeping with Ryan and saying that it’s because they’re mourning the loss of dear friend, Greenlee really takes the cake. Kendall would never do that, regardless of how hurt she was at the time over Zach’s actions. A month hadn’t passed and those two were already bedding each other, out of anger towards others. Spoilers for the next two weeks report that Zach and Kendall will finally separate, but the actions after the fact don’t make for good story down the road. One can only wonder what Alicia Minshew, Thorsten Kaye and Cameron Mathison are thinking as they receive their scripts.

Taylor and Brot, although may have seemed like a good idea on paper, isn’t all that tantilizing on screen. Taylor (and Beth Ehlers) seems to have more chemistry with Tad (and Michael E. Knight). It’s understandable in a way that the writers were trying to show some sort of love story/coming back together between Taylor and Brot, but these days, there’s no sizzle, nothing to draw in viewers. Perhaps these two are better as friends. Also, Brot (and JR Martinez) had better screen presence with Colby (and Brianne Moncrief). It could be the fact that the two actors are closer to age in real life, as opposed to the age difference between Ehlers and Martinez.

Frankie and Randi — snooze…

Adam and Erica — intriguing. It’s good to see Erica having her hands in two stories right now. She has been consistent in her involvement regarding Kendall and Zach. But it’s also interesting seeing her in cahoots with Adam Chandler.

Jake and Amanda — Disliked it at first, but surprisingly have grown to like at the present moment. It is unsure where or when it happened or even how, but these two work right now and it’s better than seeing Jake Martin troll around town and having a casual drink every where he goes.

Pete and Colby — still a work in progress and there isn’t any clear direction on these two. It’s clear Pete will not give up on Colby, but will Colby ever give in to Pete?

David and Krystal — Can we end the Babe mentions now? No one cares about Babe, no one care when she died and no one will ever care. There is no need to invoke her name everyday. She wasn’t a saint and never brought anything good to Pine Valley. David, when acting human like last week before operating on Ian is good. But when he reverts back to his “twisting the imaginary moustache” and constantly proclaiming revenge on the Chandlers, it gets really old, fast. Krystal… well, at least she isn’t crying 24/7, but her blind love for David isn’t very enthralling to watch. And that is all that can be said on that for now.

Much credit goes to the actors who day in and day out put their efforts into acting out the writing that is handed to them.

Now, this isn’t to say everyday feels like a whirlpool where everything is simply spinning around and there isn’t much improvement.. but these days, AMC seems to be on a step forward, step back pattern. Good day with writing, giving viewers an entertaining episode, only for the next day to have subpar writing and leaving viewers wondering what happened and where the continuity went.

Overall grade for AMC as of today — C+/B- (yes, that’s being generous.)

This is just an evaluation of the show for now… Check back for another report card in the coming months, where hopefully there has been some progression and less whiplash.

Advertisements

The Wedding of the Century…

(disclaimer – the contents of this particular blog are the opinions of the writer only. The views expressed in this blog are in NO WAY a reflection of the opinions of anyone else who writes articles on Soap Suds and Duds)

So, Bianca and Reese marry. They barely know each other, have a child together, Reese is in lust with Bianca’s brother-in-law, they’ve betrayed Bianca’s much-loved sister, and still, they marry…

They have the maturity level of two horny teenagers riding a hormonal wave of lust rather than two adult women making a loving and happy home for their children. You know, their newborn child and older daughter Miranda. Especially Miranda. Remember her? Bianca doesn’t. She’s become remarkably, incredibly selfish. They’re both self-centered, whiny brats, concerned about no one but themselves and their groundbreaking wedding. Not to mention that Bianca’s first born tends to be forgotten. A lot. Like, never mentioned when talking about their other child. As if she never existed…

Miranda’s been hanging out in the Martin attic, apparently…

And still they marry…

Is it just me or does anyone else find it incredibly ironic that the wedding takes place on Friday the 13th?

Anyway, following the wedding, things quickly fall apart for the happy couple. Or should I say things quickly fall apart for the moderately-okay-with-themselves-where-they-currently-are-in-their-lives couple. Ryan lets out a secret that sends Bianca into hiding at her mother’s with the kids in tow, then she just plain splits town on February 24th after apparently serving Reese with annulment papers, or after Reese gets annulment papers, or possibly before. Just know that Bianca heads back to Paris and Reese gets annulment papers but possibly not exactly in that order. Okay?

So, the first same-sex marriage in the history of daytime television quickly becomes the shortest same-sex marriage in the history of daytime television…

Well done, All My Children and Mr. Charles Pratt. Well done, indeed.

With Bianca’s departure comes the exit of Eden Riegel, the Daytime Emmy-award winning actor. Rumor has it she returns a couple months down the road to bring the storyline to a conclusion, with all parties saying that things work out well for Bianca and Reese.

Oh, rly?

If Bianca returns to Pine Valley and takes Reese back after Reese threatens to ruin the lives of both Kendall and Ryan, continues to sniff after Zach, conspires with Adam Chandler and basically makes herself a menace, then Bianca is the stupidest waste of oxygen on this big blue marble that’s hurtling through space.

But then again, this is the woman who forgave Babe for stealing her child for the better part of a year…

Wedding of the century, indeed…

Good thing it’s very early in the century, huh?

P.S. Thanks to my pals Phyl and Donna for their help and contributions to this therapeutic little piece…

WTF? Moments on AMC for the Week Beginning 6/9/08

Recently on All My Children, the writers have been featuring the older, established characters. The venerable veterans who made the show so incredibly popular back in the 90’s, and even waaaay back into the 80’s. Adam, Erica, Jack, Tad, Dixie (albeit dead), Angie, Jesse, Opal, Julia (albeit killed)…

These are the characters we have a bond with, a connection. Long-time viewers grew up with Tad, Dixie, Angie and Jesse. We watched Palmer and Opal fall in love, Adam steamroll his way through the business world, Erica and Jack spend 17 years in an on-again, off-again relationship (mostly off, but when it was on… it was ON).

So, um… WTF?

Why are you teasing us like this?

Don’t you know there are young, nubile characters going to waste on AMC? Didn’t you SORAS Colby (from 5 to early 20’s) just so you could give us more youth angst? (and dumped an ever-evolving Ambyr Childers in order to cast a poor man’s Ambyr Childers lookalike in the role) You’ve brought back Frankie Hubbard (twice now in recent years), cast a young woman to play a street-smart hooker to get involved with the military vet to mine some angst out of that pairing. There’s the Ryan/Annie debacle that’s looming on the horizon, Kenlee/Zachlee/Aidlee/Zendall drama to explore…

So WTF are you doing? Why are you giving us these wonderful stories with veteran stars, all of whom are doing spectacular work? David Canary and Cady McClain during Adam’s haunting… Susan Lucci playing Erica in the Big House (which has been a ton of fun when you let Erica and her fellow inmates interact)… Michael Knight and Cady McClain, living out the life every Tad and Dixie fan wanted to witness (albeit over years, not a single episode), Darnell Williams and Debbie Morgan bringing Jesse and Angie back to Pine Valley after way too long away. Ray McDonnell as Dr. Joe Martin, the Chief of Staff at Pine Valley Hospital as son Tad fights for his life in one room while Joe must deliver devastating news to a friend in another. And Sydney Penny as a dying Julia Santos, knowing there was no way she would survive, wanting to make sure Kathy was taken care of, giving Krystal instructions on what to do, even as her very life slipped away.

That was All My Children as I remember it from my youth and over the decades. Intriguing, emotional, well-script, brilliantly acted… We cared about these characters. We anxiously awaited each new episode to see how they would react, how they would cope, what they would say…

What are you doing getting my hopes up again? That I might think this could become a daily experience once more? That you’d have us believing it will always be this way and we’ll never get mired back in the same old tired storylines that have been hashed and re-hashed over the last year or so…

Seriously… WTF?

A WTF? Moment for All My Children, June 2, 2008 Edition

So, Monday’s episode of All My Children found Tad Martin in a deep sleep that allowed him and ghostDixie to live out their lives had the idiots in cha- er, the powers that be at AMC not killed off Dixie by means of pancake in the winter of 2007. Tad and Dixie married, had Kate to raise, watched her grow and blossom, marry and give birth, and through it all Tad and Dixie had that wonderful sense of humor and obvious affection for each other that the fans always seemed to enjoy.

*sigh*

These wonderful scenes of one of the most popular couples on daytime television almost gives AMC a pass for this week, but, nope, they just couldn’t help themselves.

Tad was ready, willing and able, in his unconscious state, to give it all up to venture with Dixie into eternity. He actually had no qualms about it. Given the chance, I think he would have left a vapor trail getting the hell, as it were, out of Pine Valley. But just as Tad prepared to “go into the light” with Dixie, here comes Adam. Because, you know, Adam can’t let someone else have all of the spotlight, even someone with a tube down his throat. He’s going to save Tad’s life by whispering three little words into Tad’s ear.

No, not “I love you”, which, honestly, would have made for a much more interesting storyline, but “Kathy is Kate”.

And he does just this. At which point, Dixie realizes her time with Tad is up and she quickly disappears into the mist. Tad miraculously opens his eyes, in Pine Valley Hospital recovering from a gunshot wound that nearly killed him, back in the land of the living murmuring “Kate?” who is Kathy, who really is Kate…

WTF? Really? Haven’t we seen this before? Twice?

Please tell me the writers couldn’t dream up a better – or at least somewhat new and original – scenario for getting Tad and Kate together… please tell me they didn’t use the “give them their missing child and they’ll magically wake up from their very deep, very tired sleep” routine…

Nope… they did…

Didn’t this tactic already get used when Bianca was in her coma and Miranda was still Bess? Didn’t Adam do the right thing then, too, and hand the baby over to Erica, who so lovingly put her in a failing Bianca’s arms, imploring her to wake up because Miranda was alive and wake up she did (quite perkily and fresh-looking, I might add) murmuring Miranda’s name, much like Tad just did?

Except, he murmured “Kate?” instead of “Miranda?” but it was basically the exact same scene

Oh, wait, didn’t Kendall come out of her coma (what is it with Kane women and comas anyway?) when implored by loved ones to fight for Spike and Ian? Including Bianca, who knows first hand how well this particular tactic actually works?

Are you kidding me? The writing staff at AMC couldn’t have come up with something we haven’t seen already? This is as original as they can get? Is it really that freakin’ hard?

How about, Tad wakes up and he’s very woozy and Adam taunts him, thinking he’s going to die any minute, that Kathy is Kate. Or, how about Adam’s got his back to Tad and is telling someone, in that delightfully condescending way that he has, that Kathy is Kate just as Tad comes out of the his coma and just happens overhears this revelation.

See? In a couple minutes, I came up with a couple new and different ways to accomplish this reveal. Not exactly brand spanking new, but something a little different…

Okay, so, they want to give us Tad and Dixie, for which I am grateful, but with this scenario they tossed off, Dixie didn’t even get a fantastic exit! They both hear Adam’s declaration, Dixie knows it’s over and *poof*, she’s gone, disappearing into the mist (instead of the light that Tad wanted to head into, but, hey, that’s really being nit-picky).

Kinda like when they killed Dixie initially… No fantastic exit, just a breakfast of peanut butter-banana pancakes (which, really, yuck). Why didn’t they put her in a coma so that one day, after Tad figured out that Kathy was Kate, he could go to her beside, put the little girl in Dixie’s arms and whisper “It’s Kate, Dixie. Kathy is your Kate.”

And, miracles! Dixie awakens…

Now wouldn’t that have been more original?

How…”Original”

Soaps are known for treading new ground, often times being original and going where no other show has gone before. That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore, since it seems there is one writer for all three shows, alternating which storyline should appear where and during what time frame.

Your prime example – the ghostly hauntings on GH and now, AMC.

GH had Alan Quartermaine stick around and haunt his sister, Tracy due to what she did with the Quartermaine fortune. For days, weeks on end, he’d sit in his chair, wearing sweats and taunt Tracy. The family thought she was going mad and eventually had her committed, and even there, he appeared to her, too. Alan’s reason for haunting Tracy — to get her to admit what she did to Alan’s will, changing who would inherit what.

Is Alan still around? Not quite sure since he hasn’t been seen lately… then again, maybe GH decided he was of no use anymore.

And now, we have AMC — Dixie has decided to haunt Adam into telling Tad the truth about Kathy, who is really Kate Martin. For the last 2 weeks, Dixie has been appearing to Adam wherever he goes, taunting him, blowing cold breezes, slamming doors and setting his suits on fire (I think Alan made it storm once on GH… I can’t remember.) But anyhow, what takes the cake is that Adam gets committed too! His family ships him off to the loony bin, just like Tracy had been shipped off by her family.

While at the loony bin, Adam receives yet another visit from Ghost Dixie, just like well… you know…

Seems so “original,” huh? Yeah, I didn’t think so either. And ghostly hauntings aren’t the only storylines that the ABC soaps have shared… but that can be saved for another entry on another day.