“Some [Fusion] friendship”
It’s hard to find a good friend in real life. But it’s impossible on soaps.
The men are okay, it’s easier to bond over a little action-adventure, drinks about some floozy, they tend in general not to take even matters of love as seriously.
But women are another matter.
Take a look at the much-ballyhooed Fusion women on AMC, originally, painstakingly made out to be the epitome of girl power, feminism, and the very rare find of girl-on-girl friendship, using two major, popular young female leads—Kendall and Greenlee—and two leftovers around the same age range that TPTB never seemed to know what to do with—Simone and Mia—with a noble nod toward veteran viewers our age in the token figurehead of 30-something Liza.
I mostly took this group to be a last-ditch desperate effort to spark some personality in Mia and Simone, give Kendall and Greenlee something lascivious to do for the small faction of heterosexual men in charge, and basically make faux-efforts in the direction of placating the so-called female majority in the rest of the audience by throwing Liza in at the last minute.
As in, “See? We’re giving you not one or two, but five women in major positions of leadership, starting their own business, a cosmetics company, ditching the notion of needing a man on their coattails, and they’re not catfighting over affairs gone wrong as per usual! How ‘bout a cookie?!”
Most to many diehard AMC fans refused to take the bait, singling out the Fusion excuse to parade around half-naked bimbos as reason for the dismal failure in ratings and an eventual regime changeover. (The other reason came with the influx of young, hot – but vacuous – newcomers overrunning Pine Valley and leaving the beloved core vets in barely supporting roles.)
I, however, fancied the effort, however misplaced. Because despite what TPTB may have had planned – which I believe was the total polar opposite of supporting the primarily female audience in any substantive, intelligent storyline involving a variety of talented actresses – genuine friendships amongst the Fusion girls developed, on- and off-screen.
Any fan following the latest soap scribbles knows how tight their portrayers have become, taking vacations together, partying at benefits together, leaning on each other for moral support (in Terri Ivens’/Simone case, preventing man-hate from setting in after a painful altar near-miss), and recently, via The View’s publicity-seeking guest appearances en masse, participating in a cross-promotional marketing scheme on the lines of a friendly lite makeover for a lucky female fan.
Through those friendships, oddly enough forged slowly and as in real time as possible under the radar of the prurient-minded PTB, I got to really know the lesser-knowns and better know and appreciate the better-knowns.
For too long, I never really had a handle on Simone, other than she seemed a desperate loser in love, the other woman by force, failed journalist who’d rather fuck than live. I liked her throaty Marlboro voice and her come-hither gazes slipped in between the lines. Otherwise, just a blank slate, with a nice ass.
Same goes for Mia, but to a milder degree. I just never really liked her at all. I felt her introduction ill-conceived, haphazard, cliché (the long-lost half-sister of Liza!) and not worth the final package. Having never watched the defunct-“Loving,” I couldn’t determine the rooting value, nor the intrinsic appeal of scoring such a find as Amelia Heinle, supposedly this big deal sparkplug AMC was so lucky to contract. She just seemed boring, and again, man-hungry without a reason for living. (Don’t get me started on her mouth.)
I never ever liked Greenlee, not back when she started off as an unrepentant, man-hungry, self-centered, quip-spewing bitch, and not when she evolved as an in-love, unrepentant, Leo-hungry, self-centered, quip-spewing bitch. Certainly not now when she’s done everything in her power to destroy Kendall’s life with absolutely zero regard for her former friend’s welfare, not even bothering to take five measly minutes to figure out why or how of a woman she supposedly knows so well and supposedly identified with, as a fellow outcast.
I can’t warm up to this fashion plate with the mouth that roars, but always so cleverly, as if she’s constantly on the search for a publisher. A cosmetics mogul? She should set her sights on a “Sex and the City”-type advice column in “The New York Post,” the way she’s always trying so hard to come up with a contemporary turn of phrase, the latest edgy faddish slang in Greens-speak, leaving me and mostly her, cold.
Some of the lines coming out of her perfectly manicured twisted mouth always sounds edited for maximum hipster effect. She never sounds real, spontaneous, a mere fumbling, bumbling human being just reacting off the cuff to whatever.
I could write three and four columns about why I loathe and despise Greenlee, from the above clever girl persona to her inability to truly reach deep inside a giving, feeling, sensing soul for anybody but her own fashion sense and of course, the ever-devouring man-hungry.
Kendall is my favorite, but by no means perfect. Misunderstand black sheep scapegoat outcast to the end, I identify with her wrong side of the tracks and meltable heart strings. Even when she’s lashing out, I can see why and how, especially lately, with this Michael Cambias case, when almost every numbskull in the town seemed all fired up and ready to cast their aspersions aside on her without stopping for five minutes to reconsider.
Put them together and what have I got? Women who bring out the best in each other and in Mia and Simone’s milquetoast case, facets I never knew existed. Mia, the indecisive, tender, timid one more likely to sneak junk food on a late-night junket and keep the peace, Simone, the funny slapstick comedy with every slutty occasion, that trademarked moan and growl, the running joke imprisonments, hiding such sorrow and shame.
Even Greenlee seemed more approachable, the possibility of cracking her relevancy code closer with every Kendall meltdown and Simone forgiveness—an unexpectedly noble leader in Chanel and Juicy Couture.
They gave me hope in MY female-friend-less life. Not for lack of trying, mind you. The same problems that plagued female soap characters for decades plagued me, envy, catty gossip, put my third wheel in the mix and they’d rather go off in pairs giggling over the latest M.A.C. line while I finger my clit and dig for worms.
Up until I turned 16, I believed in female friendships, that they weren’t only possible but inevitable. Out of billions and billions of mostly females out there in the big blue yonder, surely, eventually, I’d run into at least one who didn’t play the cosmetics game, didn’t crave the boys, didn’t care for cliques of two, the more the merrier, at least one who could look at any situation, look at my dirty, disheveled, and we’d laugh and laugh with recognition, acceptance and that silent secret code, the code between GH’s Luke and Robert, OLTL’s Antonio and John, AMC’s Edmund, Jackson, Tad...
Cue the bumble bee outfits.
Now, they’re, the Fusion friends, turning on each other faster than I can say, “Max Factor, who?” Over boys. Ryan. Aidan. Sure, these guys are fine. But they’re not worth the slow, painstaking—and oh so rare—female friendships I’d been lucky and shocked to find amidst the plethora of nobody newbies on AMC not so long before head writer Megan McTavish took over with her one-arc town and her embarrassingly juvenile display of Hallmark card dialogue.
Personally, I don’t care to watch Greenlee sticking it to Kendall to win Ryan for herself over an ostensibly more business matter. Or Mia sticking it to Kendall to keep Aidan for herself. Or Simone pining away after a middle-aged hypocritical lothario who’s now running a brothel with the pathetic aged likes of Liza and Krystal, but ignoring her Fusion pals.
That scene of Simone, Mia and Greenlee trying to rip open Kendall’s dress to uncover a pregnancy fraud hit the lowest fake friend meter ever.
The girls are rivals for the boys’ affections again.
The company itself has gone to pot.
Fusion is just a word and a convenient marketing ploy when it suits the ABC Daytime suits.
And friendship has reverted to a dirty word in daytime.
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