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.

Another WTF? Moment from All My Children

So on Tuesday’s episode, May 27, 2008, the action/adventure edition of All My Children is in full swing. Tad has been shot by his dear old Uncle Robert (nothing says “family” like a .9mm slug to the chest), Angie is in a spinning helicopter with Uncle Bob and Jesse makes a death-defying leap from the roof of the Seasons Hotel and Casino to one of the chopper’s landing skids in an effort to save his beloved Angie’s life. (hey, they just got remarried, I guess this is his way of saying he’s committed to making the marriage work this time)

On a related note, Julia Santos-Keefer is at Pine Valley Hospital with a mortal gunshot wound to the abdomen and will die today. But since that kind of makes me mad and sad at the same time, I will ignore it for today’s WTF? segment.

Let me preface this by saying that, as far soap opera action/adventure sequences go, this was quite well done. The helicopter, Jesse’s leap from the hotel roof to the chopper’s landing skid, the city scene below the spinning chopper, the action and the acting was all very, very good. And the episode as a whole, save for Greenlee laying a big ol’ wet one on Zach, was very well done, especially the aforementioned death of Julia Santos-Keefer… and the fact that Tad was really in pain from a bullet wound and going into shock, much how I imagine getting shot must really be like. Unfortunately, all it takes is one WTF? moment to throw the rest of the show off kilter…

And away we go…

Anyway… back the Seasons Hotel and Casino, which, I had no idea was so tall and could accommodate helicopters landing on the roof, but I digress. As the cliffhanger picked up on Tuesday, Jesse made the leap by his fingernails and clung to the chopper as Uncle Bob spun it in circles, obviously thinking this is the recommended method for chopper lift-offs from hotel roofs while your kidnapped bride co-pilot screams like a little girl (which, granted, I probably would do, too, after puking on Uncle Bob’s shoes, but, again, I digress). Jesse manages to haul himself up on the landing skid, yank open the door and pull crazy Uncle Bob from the chopper, sending him flying through the air with the greatest of ease until he lands with a “thud” on the hotel roof below. (This also allowed Darnell Williams to deliver the best one-liner of the day as Robert Gardner fell: “You shoulda used your seatbelt!”)

Meanwhile, back on the roof, Tad’s gunshot wound is quite grave and he’s lucky to have not one but two, count ‘em TWO, doctors right there with him and they rush to save his life. Dixie descends from the heavens right about now, imploring her beloved Tad to hang in there, not to die, that their daughter needs them, all the while staying well out of the floating way of Brother Jake and Frankie Hubbard.

Across this same roof, Uncle Pancake- er, Uncle Robert has awakened from his helicopter plunge-induced nap. At this point, it appears safe to say that the man has very bouncy internal organs since he has survived an approximately 75-100 foot fall from a spinning airborne helicopter onto the uneven, tar paper and HVAC unit-covered roof of a luxury hotel without so much as a scratch. And, yet, this is not the actual WTF moment…

No, my friends, this is merely the beginning…

As Uncle Robert regains what little senses he once had, he begins crawling towards his gun… Which has magically transformed from a .9mm Sig Sauer P229 (official FBI issue service weapon, so kudos on the research here) into a .357 Magnum revolver. (kudos revoked on the continuity here)

Uncle Robert’s pistol, a standard issue Sig Sauer, has morphed into Dirty Harry’s weapon of choice. So, he went from a capacity of 20+ rounds (which is approximately what he fired off on Friday without reloading, yet another delightful AMC WTF? moment) to a 6-shot revolver… I’m assuming this is his gun because there was no one else firing back at him during the so-called gunfight on Friday’s cliffhanger episode, which would make him the only armed person on the hotel roof.

So, um… WTF?

On Friday, Robert Gardner is an FBI agent with an FBI-issued .9 millimeter pistol. I know it’s a .9 millimeter because I saw it in his hand as he was firing off shots at anything that moved. And through the magic of WTF? he was also able to load much more ammunition into said semi-automatic pistol because he squeezed off way more shots than even the extended 15-round magazine a Sig Sauer P229 can hold. Then, on Tuesday, after a death defying plummet from a gyrating helicopter and it’s slice-and-dice spinning rotors to a roof top about 75-100 feet below, in which he failed to stick the landing, his gun became a 6-shot .357 Magnum revolver… Which, by the way, should have been empty of live rounds anyway, since he fired the .9mm before its magical transformation way more times than a .9mm is even capable of!

He did not appear to be injured, not even bleeding from the nose or mouth (what, he didn’t even bite his lip by accident upon impact?) just a little stunned. He fought with Frankie Hubbard for a few moments until all the excitement finally caught up with him and he got very tired, especially after Frankie delivered a perfect headbutt (which, I guess, is rather understandable, considering he’d had such a busy day), and he was finally apprehended by the PVPD, who had finally shown up on the scene… Late as usual…

So… apparently, Cambias is working on a Transformer .9mm Sig Sauer* to go along with the transporter they have nearly perfected to get people from one side of the planet to the other in a matter of minutes. I’m assuming that this new breed of weapon will also transform into a yellow Camaro and you can drive away in it when need be.

I guess this feature is still in the developmental stages, otherwise Uncle Robert would be on the highway to Darfur by now…

*Also comes with a full- jointed Shia LeBeouf action figure, Josh Duhamel figure sold separately…

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The Magic That is Angie & Jesse

Finally, something I can rave about.

Angie & Jesse

Yesterday, on All My Children, Angie and Jesse’s wedding ceremony was held. In all actuality, this was the second time they were getting married, since the first time was 20 years ago or so, and it was a simple wedding in front of the Justice of the Peace. There weren’t any spectators, it was just them, the judge and the wife. 

Fast forward to the present… yesterday they pledged their love for one another all over again, in front of their family and friends. It was a sweet wedding and definitely the one thing AMC has done right, in a long time. The whole episode was focused solely on the occasion (minus that small segment or two of Uncle Rob looking for that cheesy elephant) but on a whole, it was an episode to enjoy.

There was a lot of love in the room and the highlight of it all was watching the love between the Hubbard family, especially Angie and Jesse. Jesse is the epitome of a romantic guy, as he pulled out all the stops for a wedding to remember. From surprising his bride and step-daughter with bracelets to having Ne-Yo, Angie’s favorite singer perform… it was simply perfection.

If there’s one bright spot on AMC these days, it’s watching Angie and Jesse on screen. Somehow, some way, every time they’re on, they catch my attention and leave me captivated and wanting more.