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?

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Finally, some balance on All My Children

I know I should bite my tongue now, but I’m just going to go ahead and say it. Finally, some balance on AMC! Yes, the last couple of days have been some of the best writing I’ve seen on All My Children. It all began with the preparation of Jesse and Angie’s wedding (or rather, the day before the wedding), all leading up the the life-altering events and the aftermath that I’m sure will be felt across the Pine Valley canvas.

The high point of it all had to have been Friday’s (May 23, 2008 ) episode confronts Robert Gardner (from here on, referred to as Uncle Papel). Actually, the confrontation began the day before, but the climax was on Friday’s episode which led to the infamous Friday cliffhanger (and really, a cliff-hanger… or should it really helicopter-hanger).

While the central event was Jesse and Angie’s wedding reception, all the events going on around it just fed to the balance of the episode. It was nice seeing the veterans in the fold, such as Opal, Joe & Ruth. Add to that, Greg Nelson, who really should be brought back full-time because the PV canvas could use a wonderful character and actor, Laurence Lau.

As many know by now, Julia Santos Keefer was a casualty of Uncle Papel’s craziness, because he walked Angie through the reception and fired his Transformer .9mm (thanks MB) point-blank, the bullet hitting Julia. Another shot was fired on his way out, grazing Greg on the arm. Julia was critically wounded and eventually died at PVH, because the gunshot fatally damaged her liver.

Meanwhile, on the rooftop, Frankie, Jesse, Jake and Tad follow Uncle Papel and Angie, in an effort to keep the lunatic from escaping.  During this melee, as Uncle Papel tries to make his daring mistake, he fires his gun (the one loaded with unlimited bullets) and Tad becomes his next casualty.  Jesse runs for the ‘copter, grabs onto the bar and wrestles Uncle Papel out of the ‘copter (because good ol’ Uncle Paps wasn’t wearing his seatbelt) and we see him go *thunk* on the roof. Of course, being the stubborn villain he is, Uncle Papel is still alive, without a broken bone. The ‘copter lands safely (with the skills of Jesse, who had no idea what he was doing) and almost kills the geezer but Frankie persuades him not to and urges his dad to let Uncle Papel rot in prison. Jesse agrees… Uncle Papel is hauled off.

Meanwhile, Tad is being tended to… it’s bad… it’s painful and it looks like Tad may die if he isn’t brought to PVH stat. Frankie and Jake airlift him to PVH and this leads us to yesterday’s episode, possibly one of the most balanced ones I’ve seen in a while.

Most of PV made their way to the hospital and waited until they heard any news on either Julia or Tad. Sadly, we all know Julia didn’t make it and Tad is in critical condition. Different feelings are expressed by different characters, most notably by Frankie and Jesse. Frankie regrets letting Uncle Papel into their lives . thinking Uncle Paps was a good guy and Jesse has a regret of coming back from the dead because it resulted in Julia’s death and Tad being shot.

It was nice to see the residents of Pine Valley gathered at PVH because of what happened. Everyone wore an anguished look on their face as they all hear Julia did not make it. Perhaps what made this a balanced show was the fact that even though the sextet of Kendall/Zach/Greenlee/Aidan/Annie/Ryan was touched upon, at least the current tragic event was weaved into what was going on. No matter where any character was, the news of Julia’s death and Tad being shot was injected into the scene. No one scene took precedence over another, which is probably what made the episode so well done.

Finally, some balance. It’s been a while and I hope this trend can continue. Ironic though, that Esenstein and Brown were responsible for the last few episodes, some of the best of AMC in a long while, considering everything between the crash storyline and what happened in the last few days has been sub-par.