AMC & OLTL
May 17, 2004
It's been a long time since I update not only because real life has been a drama that makes soaps look tame in comparison and because I just haven't seen much on the soaps in the past month or so that has been merited comment!
Fortunately, I am blessed with such a talented staff of writers that if the Muse is flatlined, they can keep you busy with great stuff to read.
The last time I wrote, speaking of flatlined, I had no TV because I live on the top of a freakin mountain and there's no cable service. Now, not only do I have Dish Network, but for the first time in my life, I have SOAPNET! This enables me to watch the shows 3-4 times a day if I choose to and a few times I have done just that. Why? Because I can, that's why.
Sadly, no matter how many times I watch the doggoned things, they just don't get any better. Right now, I'm disappointed in all three ABC soaps and have to squint to see the silver lining around these smoggy clouds.
It seems as though AMC, OLTL and GH are all breaking cardinal rules of soap production and should be prosecuted for wasting our time. I'm saying prosecuted, not sentenced to death. If you are speeding in your car, you get a ticket. If you have multiple infarctions, you might go to jail. Traffic badness usually doesn't get you a lethal injection. The way I feel about the shows is that they are in serious need of reprimanding but still are very much salvageable and should be able to work off their debt to the viewing society with some heavy community service (weeks of clean up detail and humbling themselves down to the soup kitchen of honoring history and distinguishing character personality out of the cookie cutter realm is what I'm thinking). Service to US as the viewers would be a wonderful adjustment rather than service to the whims of the writers' fantasies and the big wigs' desires to turn daytime drama into some prime time wannabe. Making soap operas into prime time replicates (as President of ABC Daytime, Brian Frons, has admitted is his objective) is like saying, "I know! Let's turn Smackdown [wrestling] into a game show!" Wrestling might work as what it is and game shows work as what they are, but let's face it, no one really wants to see Chuck Barris in tights and I honestly think The Undertaker would crack under the pressure of Jeopardy. Somehow, I just can't see him saying, "I'll take French Literature for $200, Alex." The two genres are separate entities for a very good reason and such is the case between prime time and soap operas. Even when prime time ventured into soap operas initially (Dallas, Dynasty, Falcon Crest, Flamingo Road, etc), it still had that distinctly soapy feel to it. Any more, even the soaps don't have that distinctly soapy feel.
I am afraid that the flair might well be lost forever and even though I am not normally one to be strung out and hung up on the past, it does leave an empty place where my soap luv used to be.
Sure, there are still some of the same basic elements that are intact, so that and a fierce loyalty and determination not to give up continue to draw me back. There's a great deal that disappoints me about daytime drama today, but my nostalgic love for the shows keeps me glued in eager anticipation of any crumb that might drop from the table where the feeding frenzy is taking place. If I'm still going to watch and claim that I'm capable of adapting to change, why do I bitch about the shows? For the same reason I'll watch the episodes 3-4 times in a day if I'm bored...because I can.
Sadly, what I am enjoying most about AMC are the stories I would normally shun. I don't care for the whole Fusion story or much of anything having to do with it. There was a fun moment or two (making lipstick in Kendall's kitchen comes to mind), but overall, it's been a dog of a story that has carried on for far too long. For a while there, I wasn't even sure any more who owned the damned company. Now, I'm watching Kendall and Greenlee vie for Ryan's affection and finding it's one of the few things going on that interests me. Who can resist a good catfight?
I loved watching Simone war with herself over whether or not to unlock the door for Greenlee. Who would want to be in the unenviable position of having to choose alliances between two people you don't particularly like in the first place? There has been a moment or two here and there where I enjoyed Simone as a character and this was one of the few, the proud.
I held my breath a bit as Greenlee hiked up her dress and ran to stop the wedding. For the first time in a long time I was thinking, "Oooh. Tomorrow is going to be goood!"
It would be so impossible for me to care one iota less about what's going on with Edmund and frankly, I'm pleased that his broken legs and cocky attitude have been relegated to back burner story. You know who does interest me, however, is Anita. I didn't watch AMC when the character was around before, but so far, I like her. Maria is even tolerable around her (a monumental task) and I actually remained in the room when she was telling Anita about her affair with Dimitri.
I can't stand the character of Bianca, having long ago recognized that I have an innate disdain for Pious Good Girl, who is a staple character on any soap. I've had plenty of opportunities to hone my basic hatred of this arm-crossing, brow knitting, frowning-on-the-unwashed attitude and Bianca screams every that from every cell of her being.
Still, I cried with her when she learned (twice, actually, thanks to her momentary psychotic break) that her baby had (supposedly) died. The scenes between Bianca and Babe were heartbreaking and definitely embodied the stuff good soap fare is made of. I am eager for her to find out that her screaming hormones were right and Bess truly is Miranda.
Which brings us to another character I'm watching carefully and avidly when I should be taking pee breaks during their scenes. I haven't liked Babe or Krystal since they first came on the scene for a couple of reasons. One is this joke: What do Kentucky girl put behind their ears to attract men? The answer is "their knees." Ha. Ha. Ha. Being from Kentucky, (which the Carey women are not, I realize, but most non-Southerners tend to lump us all together into one slow-talking, whoring bunch) I've heard all of the jokes. My first husband, who originated here in California, was particularly fond of them. Yes, yes, we're all whores and we all lost our virginities to our brothers and fathers in the back of a pick up truck. We bathed on Saturday, whether we needed it or not and got new shoes on the first day of Winter every five years or so. Oh and we wore barrels with straps on them while our one set of hillbilly clothing was cleaned at the river by being beaten with a rock in the running water.
Krystal and Babe are a stereotype of the money hungry, truck-stop haunting, guttersnipe, trailer trash southern whore that haunts anyone from the south. Kentucky isn't even IN the south. We were neutral in the Civil War and are centrally located, but because we speak slowly and with a hint of a twang, we're in the mix. Both mother and daughter came into town leading with their much used pelvis and were bedding everyone in sight from the get go. As much as I don't like the Pious Good Girl, I equally do not like the bad girls who are so clearly defined as bad girls that you don't even have a chance to like them (Jen Rappaport, Sage Alcazar). It's annoying when the black and white hats are painted indelibly on the characters' heads from the beginning and you aren't even given a chance to make up your own mind. As soon as she started the whole JR/ Jamie/stupid stolen cow thing, my eyes glazed over and I gave up on the character. Lately, I've been watching a little more carefully and, dare I say it? Either the writers are giving Babe a little more depth or Alexa Havins is turning into a good enough actress to make me care about Babe. Krystal is still a pain in my ass and I'm with Liza. She needs to stop putting quarters in Tad's horsey slot and ride a bus out of town instead.
Speaking of "out of town," despite my friend Kate's earnest attempts to explain to me the intricate specifics of the narcissistic personality, I am giving the ol' blank stare on the Erica/Desiree Dubois story. First of all, Desiree Dubois? I am shocked Bobby, Erica and that Pee Wee Herman choreographer can say the name with a straight face. Kate got it right when she said the story would have been a lot more interesting if the only job Erica could get was something lowly like the person who cleans the toilets at the Lucky Five Casino or the chick who tapes the boobies of the show girls. But no, she gets a Gloria Swanson name, a bad wig that has no excuse for not flying off her head with all of her hair tossing that's gone on and a costume that no self-respecting Vegas showgirl would wear because it doesn't show nearly enough. (Not that I want to see any of it). Nip and tuck are words I would not object to exploring in my future, yet I find myself taking exception at the phrase "ludicrously preserved." Fifty-six isn't old by a long shot in my book, but I seriously believe that it's altogether likely that there aren't many showgirls who are that long in the tooth hoofing it across the Vegas stages.
Once we get past the whole "what in the complete hell is Erica doing as a showgirl" obstacle, we stumble across that rocky abyss of "why is Erica off yukking it up with overpriced cowboys (who are, to their credit, in her age group) while her "beloved" daughter is going through her worst form of hell back home? If Erica gets off this hook by batting her eyes and looking fragile, I will lose all faith in the human race, slap an "enabler" label on everyone close to her and give up on them for life. Just once, I'd like to see the lot of them cross their arms over their chests (Bianca has practice at this as a Pious Good Girl), spin on their heels and give her the ol' Klingon discommendation about face. There has to come a time when Erica has just been too selfish for too long and she suffers some kind of retribution. I refuse to believe that life continually rewards deplorable behavior such as hers.
As much as I can't stand Aiden Turner saying, "Beeanka" for Bianca, I so much more can't stand New Guy With Fake British Accent. Hurry back, Aiden Turner. Your underdeveloped, reduced to props, nowhere character is actually missed.
I am so pleased to hear Todd tell everyone who will listen about Dorian's despicable blackmail attempt. I say "attempt" because blackmail needs privacy (and fear) to work and Todd gave her neither. He moved in, played the game, got what he wanted, then showed her who was boss. As much as I adore Dorian, I loved that move more.
I also am totally buying Walker as Todd, even though I miss Roger Howarth very, very much. Knowing that he was deeply unhappy on OLTL and is thriving on ATWT, I am thrilled for him (Emmy nominated his first year even!), but I do miss Original Todd. Since I'm firmly ensconced in the "well, nyah, you can't have it" category on THAT one, I'm satisfied with Trevor St John, my consolation prize. Although his acting range has, thus far, appeared rather limited, he does embody the essential essence of Todd in away that escapes most recastees. He may not be the greatest at playing Todd or Hamlet, but he sure is awesome at playing Roger Howarth. For that, I love him. I was screaming at the screen, "Todd, TELL BLAIR what Dorian DID!" He might not have done that, but he did the next best thing. He told Viki. I love him for that too.
The Sicky Viki story is popping my eyes right out of their sockets and sending them rolling and screaming into the briar patch for relief. It just goes on and on and freakin on. Spoilers don't look good for this story either as it sinks hard into a typical soap story that, in my opinion, it is not prepared to support and will end up screwing up in a profound way. Hide and watch.
I have been completely disinterested in the redux of Al and Marcie and as much as I love Kathy Brier, I've been forced to admit that it was the combination of Al and Marcie that won my heart, not the combination of Nathaniel Marston and Kathy Brier. You can't just plug them into any role and have the chemistry work. The Heaven Can Wait story was a rip off that didn't have to happen (Al could just as easily have lived) and it created the lukewarm results one could result from a half-hearted effort that was not at all well thought out. Now we have a wonderful actress stuck in a terrible story that is boring many to tears. Right now, I'd be thrilled to see her with anyone besides Michael. OK, maybe not Rex or Paul since they are tres icky, but about anyone else would do nicely.
I have to admit, I liked Jen in a Marcie wig and it was the only time I've liked her since that girl hit town.
A bug's ear has nothing on David Vickers, who is just cute as the very Dickens. I'm so grateful to the powers that be for pursuing the red hot connect that he and "Cupcake" had with their first marriage. Reuniting those two was genius and I think they are very likely the happiest couple on ABC Daytime. Robin Strasser looks radiant, yet still age appropriate (hint hint) and I'm loving the fun she's having with her boy toy.
Not so with Lindsay, who has really hit the skids with her affair with Rex. I'm all for a little May-December action, especially considering that my superhandsome hubby is a full 15 years my junior. Definitely, Catherine Hickland is just hot as all get out with very nearly anyone (although her trysts with the Buchanan boys didn't really do anything for me), but Rex is just the smarmiest little thing and only works as a plot device to show how far Lindsay has dipped on the self esteem meter. But then, once one has heated up the sheet with Ty Treadway, there's nowhere to go but down, so why not go waaay down? My vote for a man for Lindsay is RJ. Timothy D. Stickney is amazingly hot in love scenes and never gets enough of them.
My OLTL breaks come during the Tom-Tom show, meaning any time that Heather and her brother David are anywhere near the camera. It must be a genetic trait to suck the life right out of any inch of tape they are on, much as ancient folk believe cameras would suck the soul right out of them. The gratuitous mugging, rubber faced overacting and continued hysteria is mind-numbing. How many times can they enact the same scene?
Paul: I need money, gimme money, come up with more money or I'm going to tell the world your baby is stolen (with Kelly not quite being bright enough of a bulb to figure out that if Paul reveals this, he's going to jail in a big way).
Kelly: *sniff*sob* I don't have any money. Hissssss. I just love my stolen baby soooo mucccchhh! Here, have some money.
I mean, seriously, where did Sage put that olive fork?
I'm ready to start plucking my eyes out with it rather than watch one more thing about Kelly and her brother or her baby. Leave alone the idea that she brought home a three month old even though she was only about six months pregnant when she delivered and not a soul said, "Um, Kelly, no flippin way."
I keep seeing, over and over, the spoiler, "Kevin gets suspicious when he sees Kelly and Todd together."
If I were suspicious of something as often as Kevin is suspicious of Todd and Kelly, there'd be some serious resolution going on with the situation. I personally am prepared to write in nominating Kelly and Kevin to be the next Dr Phil family.
It's pretty sad when the best thing on a show (other that David Vickers, well, obviously) is the relationship between Starr and Travis. I'm waiting for her to start IM'ing her again so I can hear some intelligent conversation on the show.
This whole El Toro thing has been dragging on for way too long and the best thing about THAT was David saying to Dorian, "TELL ME you were not the one who gave him the nickname." Heh heh heh. Don't care any more WHAT the secret is. I just want to stop seeing Adrianna's pained little face as she asks fourteen times a day about her father.
I felt a little froggy seeing Natalie and John go at it the other day, then it turned out to be Natalie's fantasy (and mine, except Natalie wasn't involved in that one). As much as I tried not to succumb to his broody and nearly goofy looking presence, he sucked me in and I'm finding myself wanting to plaster that guy up against the wall and give him the ol' full court body press while doing a little tongue wrestling. Nothing like a brooding, broken heart to wake up the hormones in me.
That finalizes my take on AMC and OLTL. I'll be back tomorrow with my GH column!