An All My Children LOL Moment of the Week

This is probably the best moment from All My Children this week. Check out this clip, 2:16 in as Erica speaks about the insanity regarding her family.

Seems like Erica is voicing the complaints many fans have had about Pratt’s writing for the last several weeks. Bravo Susan Lucci for such a well-played scene, as Cameron Mathison tries to hold back his laughter throughout.

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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.

Exclusive Q&A with Eden Riegel, Part Deux

Here’s Part 2 of my exclusive Q&A with Imaginary Bitches star Eden Riegel. Eden was kind enough to answer questions about more than just her incredibly popular web series, including her time on All My Children as much-beloved, incredibly put-upon icon Bianca Montgomery, where she managed to open many narrow minds with her effective, sensitive and wonderful portrayal of daytime’s first front-burner homosexual character, things she would have changed, things she wouldn’t touch, her chemistry with Elizabeth Hendrickson, the life of BAM and her newly minted marriage to husband/writer/director Andrew Miller (or as we call him around here at SS&D… God).

I hope you enjoy.

SS&D: Now, taking a step back in time…Bianca… How different is it playing goodie two-shoes, sweet and innocent Bianca and smart-talking, not-as-crazy-as-she-seems “Eden”? How different is that mind-set?

Eden: Not that different, actually. It’s a different type of earnestness, but both ladies are incredibly earnest. In fact, the comedy comes from the fact that “Eden” is the least likely person to have such a raunchy, bitchy subconscious. So, on the surface, she and Bianca are the same. It’s just underneath that things get a bit choppier.

SS&D: Let’s face it, playing a lesbian is rife with possibilities… How did Bianca end up being so virtuous? She is quite possibly the most angelic character, well, ever. (The one night stand with Leslie caused some outrage because that just wasn’t Bianca’s style and even the refusal to talk to Maggie caused some resentment among hard-liners – and don’t get me started on the Babe forgiveness)

Eden: Yeah, I think maybe the fans were experiencing growing pains at the idea of Bianca growing up. I agree that that was completely out of character. But, as you mentioned, Bianca’s been through a lot of crapola and is decidedly NOT a saint — that’s why her struggle is so relatable. So she’s trying some new things, to see if they fit. Or she’s so sick of people letting her down that when the person she loves more than anyone on earth does it she can’t forgive her. Or the reality of her best friend letting her believe that her daughter is dead drives her bat-s***-crazy. She’s not perfect. What makes her virtuous is that she tries damn hard.

SS&D: Was it sometimes hard to play such a character, that everyone in Pine Valley thought was all sweetness and light, while you had to watch their characters gettin’ busy with each other on a daily basis?

Eden: Yeah, that sucked. But at the same time, like you mentioned in the last question, that’s just not Bianca. She would never do that. So the writers had to get creative. And because of that I had amazing, compelling stories to play.

SS&D: Bianca was frequently called the moral compass of Pine Valley. Did you ever want to see Bianca just snap and go on some kind of amoral spree that would scandalize even the most jaded citizens of Bianca’s home town? (the Bada$$ Bianca fantasy episode comes to mind) What would you have had her do to shock the good people of Pine Valley?

Eden: I’m not sure. I think it might have been a cheap thrill. At that point Pine Valley was pretty morally bereft, and they needed a compass, desperately. The fantasy episode was fun, but usually when Bianca lost control it was because something traumatic pushed her to it (remember drunk Bianca dancing on the pool table? Really badly? Like, totally embarrassing herself?) For her to lose her sense of morals she’d have to have a severe head injury. Or be an evil twin. That would be super fun! But in the end I would want Bianca back, untarnished and with her little heart pointing to true north.

SS&D: To be honest, I think that’s the only way all of Bianca’s fans would want her to be. But would you have liked to have seen more romance in Bianca’s life? Not necessarily love scenes, because, well, those can be so over-the-top on soaps, even among heterosexual couples (I’ve seen some seriously cringe-inducing scenes on ABC soaps, Ryan/Greenlee anyone?), but possibly mornings-after, cuddling, natural displays of affection?

Eden: Yeah, that would have been fun. I had one scene that I remember, waking up with Lena the morning after. I think she gave me a little peck when she said goodbye, too. That was sweet.

SS&D: It’s obvious you and Elizabeth Hendrickson are close friends and you’ve played some incredibly heavy, emotionally charged scenes opposite each other. Even though Bianca and Maggie were just as close (some would say even closer, considering their eventual relationship), did you ever find it hard to get into character? Did you ever look at a script and think, oh, there is no way we’re going to get through this scene…?

Eden: Not really. Is that weird? I have total faith in us. I think we’re awesome. There’s nothing we can’t do!

SS&D: I don’t think that’s weird, I think that shows what tremendous chemistry you have and that you trust each other completely when it comes to your work. And if you could actually bring Bianca and Maggie back to Pine Valley, how would you do it? Because, you’re right that we BAM fans are all imagining that they’re back together in Paris, raising Miranda as a family… as it should be. (and, by the way, Miranda loves hockey)

Eden: Maybe we’d come back to the town to make Miranda’s adoption legal, have Maggie get inseminated by Josh, and have a huge splashy wedding at the Valley Inn! (Or maybe something smaller and more intimate at the boathouse). By the way, Miranda’s a Leafs fan. Not a Detroit fan like her Uncle Zack and cousin Spike.

SS&D: (*blinks at the thought of Maggie being inseminated by Josh… artificially, of course*) I never would have thought of that, but I’d love the idea of Bianca getting her heart’s desire and seeing AMC tell the first same sex marriage storyline on daytime television. Although, I have a feeling Erica would take complete control of the whole thing, much to Bianca’s dismay. (um, and I’ve heard Mimo is a Rangers fan) Other than the excellent (I’m running out of adjectives to describe the show here) web series, your new life as a married woman and mom to a puppy, I’ve heard that you like to figure skate. Did you begin at an early age or is this a relatively new hobby?

Eden: I started at the age of 10, and stopped at, like, 15. So it was tough getting back to it, but it is so fun and great to challenge yourself in a new way. Like being a kid again. I haven’t made it to the rink in a while. I gotta get back to it!

SS&D: And Andrew likes to practice his hockey moves? Does he play in a league in LA? I know there were several celebrity teams out there at one time. Is he a winger or a defenseman? Are you one of those skaters that goes out to center ice and does spins and jumps while the rest of us mopes who are lucky enough to be able to go forward without doing a faceplant skate around in a big oval? (although I like to think I’m somewhat capable on the ice)

Eden: I’ve been known to show off a little. The worst is when you attempt something and people are watching and fall on your butt. Andrew doesn’t play for a league, but he grabs pick up games at a couple of rinks. He started as an adult, despite the fact that he was born and raised in Canada. Unfortunately Cam and his other friends were more skiers than hockey players (I understand it’s one or the other) so Andrew just got into it recently. He loves it.

SS&D: Skating is excellent exercise; I go weekly in the winter. Your newest family member is the adorable little puppy you adopted. Have you taught Riley to do any tricks? Does he rule the house yet? The most telling question, actually, would be: Where does he sleep? On your bed with you or relegated to a bed of his own?

Eden: Bed of his own, I’m afraid. I so wish we could cuddle with him at night (he is VERY cuddly and loving) but once you let ’em in it’s sort of the end of the honeymoon period, if you know what I mean. Riley sits, downs, heels and comes… sometimes. When he feels like it. We’re working on it.

SS&D: I feel like I must ask you at least one James Lipton question and I’ve previously asked you what your favorite curse word is (same as mine, by the way, nice choice), so… If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Eden: Ya done good.

SS&D: Eden, it’s obvious you married a keeper… Does he have any brothers?

Eden: Sadly no… but he’s got a couple of hot sisters!

SS&D: Thank you, again, Eden for taking the time to answer these questions. You know we wish you continued success with Imaginary Bitches and all your future endeavors. And congratulations again to both of you on your marriage, your new family and all your cinematic achievements.

Eden: It is truly my pleasure. I can’t thank you (and Tracy) enough for your support, enthusiasm, and general happiness-making! You are amazing. I thank my lucky stars every day that I thought your eyebrows were Michael Knight’s, and was dumb enough to say it out loud. Andrew and I look forward to your comments every week. Because you just get it, Lady! Thank you so much. And keep in touch.

SS&D: Well, I do what I can. And I think the tables just turned and now I will never live that down… Well played.

There are 4 new episodes left to season one of Imaginary Bitches, airing every Friday at 11:00 pm Eastern, 10:00 pm Central, 8:00 pm Pacific time. You can catch the new episodes of Imaginary Bitches at http://www.youtube.com/user/ImaginaryBitches. Or you can visit the IB website at http://www.imaginarybitches.com/Home.html.

And you can shop for fashionable IB apparel at http://www.cafepress.com/imaginaryshop.

Check out IB Message Board at http://imaginarybitches.yuku.com/.

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?