This is a simple column by a complex woman.  
Dumb-asses need not apply.
If you flatter yourself to be a bright spot in the universe
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We kinda like you like that... with hot sauce.

“AMC, kinda sorta maybe better”

A reader of my other column – I’m everywhere, like the clap – suggested in passing, and in begging me not to abandon my post as an OLTL arbiter (what, you were expecting me to deny my ghost writer pseudonym?), that I should try AMC for a spell to really experience what sucks out loud.

Been there, sorta agree with that.

Sorta doesn’t instantly ingratiate me toward returned head writer Megan McTavish by any means. Ever since my Soap Siren Sister, SIPort – the regular Passions poster that actors Tracey Ross (Eve) and Ben Masters (Julian) mentioned to Soap Opera Digest in relation to an outstanding message board description of their characters’ kiss at the Lobster Shack – schooled me about McTavish’s destructive tendencies across the soap dial and back, I’ve been less than a fan.

Rumors abounded of this woman’s tedious, Jerry Springer tactics, most notably upon Erica Kane during her kidnapper period. Portrayer Susan Lucci, allegedly wasn’t too thrilled, demanding her out. And we all know what The Destroyer did to OLTL, then GH, as she followed her dragon lady boss, executive producer Jill Farren Phelps, around, merely a figurehead and a substandard writer wannabe.

Of course, in hindsight, one wonders if Emmy winner McTavish could’ve done all that worse compared to GH’s current scribes, Bob Guza and Charles Pratt. Right before she left, A.J. had miraculously come into his own as a fully formed human and veritable leading man in his own right and in Courtney’s eyes, Carly had a career, her own house and a struggling but sure life apart from Sonny, Alexis and Sonny were almost palatable in their soulful friendship... women certainly weren’t as mistreated, as used-up sex dolls and Madonna complexes.

I’ll let you in on a little secret only Sage knows at this point: I kinda sorta like AMC, even before the official announcement heralding back McTavish as a head writer, promising vets and fave returns. Unless the movers and shakers behind the scenes seamlessly incorporated her onto the written canvas months prior—back to the creation of Fusion—she’s coming on board with an already successful slate.

Okay, successful to me, the lone voice in the wilderness (I even love Carlos, for God’s sakes). But still, Megan McTavish, IMHO, doesn’t have much to fix or improve upon. She already has a cast list that would put much of primetime to envy status, David Canary (Adam/Stuart), Michael E. Knight (Tad, with his own soundtrack), Susan Lucci (Erica), Walt Willey (Jackson), Julia Barr (Brooke), Alicia Minshew (Kendall), Jennifer Bassey (Marian), Vincent Irizarry (David), Michael B. Jordan (Reggie)... And unlike ABC Daytime’s other soaps, AMC has maintained close familial and friendship ties within the community, where characters care about one another beyond a newspaper footnote or because it’s currently convenient to a summer promotion tie-in with Shop the Soaps. Also, AMC’s many veterans remain, throughout decades, fulfilling long-time viewers’ requirement of investment, attachment and loyalty. While other soaps dumb down their more and more youthful roster by the week, if not the day, leaving anyone over the age of 20 in the dust or to wipe the smooth, curvaceous asses of the snot-nosed, AMC kept the main reason to watch for 20-30 years on-screen, even though it seemed barely during the influx of newbies early last year.

No other indication proved as much as Fan February. OLTL tried, by bringing the Buchanan men back in a western tale, amongst other movie excerpts, but merely came off as trailers without heart and soul. GH didn’t even bother, doing instead what it always does, showcasing Sonny & Co. in Guza & Co.’s wet dream of an unrepentant caricature with a graying, braying has-been. PC didn’t even get to do one, having been saddled with the cost-cutting accelerated production schedule. But AMC, as always, came through with the what-if fantasy wedding of every fan’s dreams: Erica and Tad, with hilarious spoofed results.

That’s what we wanted, familiar characters, supported by a mix of newcomers and vets, engaged in the familiar, with a twist, allowed to let loose, switch places (Bianca as Kendall? Hilarious!) yet remain faithful to the show’s history, development and respect for characters who’ve earned our trust, admiration and interest.

There, I could find young women attempting to build a company from scratch, bitching together about their dismal love lives and slowly fostering realistic, easy camaraderie. Their catty, flirty, witty, painful barbs, snarks, jabs and confessions rang true from every circle in my own past and present. I believed that they made friends, enemies and friends again. Same with every other group that came, went and re-integrated throughout the small town.

Together, they faced the true art of entertainment, as opposed to the sell of advertainment, as coined by my favorite syndicated columnist, Miami Herald’s Leonard Pitts Jr. In a recent masterpiece, dated August 3, Mr. Pitts described feeling lousy as he noticed ushers steering cows of movie-goers through promotional gimmicks from the overpriced concession stands to the overpriced two-hour animated billboard known as the current feature. He missed art, “a story, a storyteller, a plot, maybe some recognizably human characters with something substantial at stake.” Instead of today’s pop culture where, “everything has but one purpose, and that is to sell you and me some other thing. From product placements in movies and on television to an actor being paid to drop a drug maker’s name into a TV interview, from ‘news’ programs that promote a network’s entertainment shows to toy store tie-ins that funnel children from the movie theater straight to the nearest Toys R Us, media’s prime directive is to make us want, make us need, make us feel incomplete unless we buy...”

Sound familiar? ABC Daytime to a T, and AMC isn’t immune to the occasional product placement tricks (Jack gave Erica a diamond bracelet, how much on eBay?) and the reality-TV bandwagon (have we learned NOTHING from “Are You Hot?”?!).

But alas, otherwise, so far, so good, AMC regularly tells thorough stories about relatable human being “with something substantial at stake.” I’d call rape, neglect, death, adultery, a fallen marriage, being lied to about your father all your life quite substantial.

The sorta kinda comes in, in the follow-through by some of the substandard actors and actresses on this show. I guess this is where my personal bias comes in as well, I dunno.

The rape...I could really not give a shit what happened to Bianca, what will happen to Bianca or anything else about Bianca for as long as she or I live. I could’ve, had TPTB told her story without a heavy dose of PSA consultation. Closing a set, broadcasting the dramatic beats leading up to the closed-set scenes beforehand and throughout, and taking us into the character’s devastation by taking a chapter from a idiot’s guide to rape counseling (designed to evoke the desirable sympathy vote ... “It’s not your fault!” K-DUH, dumbass!), ain’t gonna do it for me.

Watching her reluctantly squeal her secret out to Maggie last week just about did me in. The fatal choice of keeping this crime from loved ones Bianca knows she can trust, knowing Michael has a history of illegal acts barely on the cutting edge of acquittal, and her own past history of facing the unfaceable, in the face of public derision, not to mention the actress’s weak ability to convey or compel compassion and her trademark ticks (the squealing every time turns me off)... serve to worsen her movie-of-the-week cause.

Besides, I’m nervous around her and Kendall. Bianca—even before her rape—always seemed to be on the rag, ragging on any interlopers into her precious, holy clique, with nobody criticizing or holding her responsible for the very bad behavior in the reputed good girl. After all, Bianca’s portrayer is forever trying to sell the good girl image, when she’s not clarifying her off-camera status as a heterosexual. Not once, not ever, has Bianca ever truly given Kendall a break, offered a thanks or opened that iron-clad welcome mat as anybody other than a...pesky interloper. Only when Lena offered her profuse gratitude at the police station, did Bianca duly follow suit, but her hard, cold, possessive, judgmental heart wasn’t in it.

Then, Greenlee interrupting Erica and Jack’s wedding. I wish I gave a shit on this one too. But I merely wound up hating and resenting Greenlee’s hard edges and petty presumptions (how the fuck’s Jack supposed to put nine months together in the face of Mary’s lies, be psychic?!), as well as the actress’s overrated bitter angry tears act.

Which made it all the more difficult to fathom how Greenlee could attract the advances of even the most desperate man, besides her obvious physicality. Still, her mean spirit leaks through as too much black eyeliner and mascara, no lips, stringy hair and a penchant for girly sundresses with a slutty backdrop. As she pummeled Juan Pablo with her Rich & Handsome questionnaire, under the guise of romantic promise, I kept thinking to myself, “God, she is so repulsive, caustic and shallow, she’s like this aging Hollywood harlot with too many perms, run Juan Pablo, run!” And as she pummeled the wedding crowd with her usual patented Greenlee humiliates, baits and assaults when they’re down for the count, “Bitch, just drop dead and fuck yourself, no wonder nobody wanted to claim you as their own.”

With these two, Rebecca Budig’s Greenlee and Eden Riegel’s Bianca, I can always see them act, from the outset, manipulating the situation and the pauses to their full Emmy nominated advantage, reverting to types, only one layer to be had. Nowhere in their histrionics and verbal wizardry, complete with stupid bitchy eye roll, is there any convincing, understandable, relatable balance of vulnerability, hesitation...the real emotions they’ve been forced to hide.

A few crocodile tears graveside or squealing like a pig in Maggie’s ear, yeah, right, give me a call when they’ve graduated from acting class.

But hey, almost everybody who’s anybody in Pine Valley stood around awkwardly reacting to Greenlee’s public outburst and Erica’s suave backpedaling, an extravaganza of fashion, gossip and suspense, i.e., the reason we wake up in the morning to watch our love in the afternoon.

And sure enough, when Bianca spills some more with her squeals, almost everybody who’s anybody in Pine Valley will give a shit enough to go after the Most Wanted Man, Michael Cambias.

Will this be a new and improved, c/o Megan McTavish, however?

As far as I can tell, she’s doing the same things the previous regime had to drum up ratings and buzz, include as many of the populace in storylines that focus on interaction, community and camaraderie, speak to the wider populace watching, with experiences and challenges waiting to be explored and used as inspirational fodder, while putting her own individual (residual) stamp on AMC, with the mass firing of former newcomers and the mass hiring of her own hand-picked newcomers – instead of working with the quality she inherited.

Frankly, it’d take a monkey to fuck AMC up at this point.

Or Frons.

(Same diff.)


“an audience of one” 

“add a real dose of reality-TV to soaps” 

“Bianca sucks, let’s rape her!”

"5 nuns"




"What Happened to My Erection?"


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