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 Two Scoops: August 11, 2008 columns
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Alicia Minshew
Get a job
For the Week of August 11, 2008
The problem with Pine Valley's employment situation at large: all anyone ever does is show up, and even that is often too much to ask.
[There are two schools of thought regarding Babe and Amanda's ire over Kendall and Greenlee's total lack of work ethic. The first is that the junior Fusion members need to suck it up and keep doing what the company owners, the women who built Fusion from blood, sweat and tears (the latter belonging to many viewers who, like myself, find any Fusion scene painful to watch), pay them to do -- work. Greenlee and Amanda receive paychecks every month for, ostensibly, going into Fusion and kicking butt in the name of cosmetics and women worldwide, and they need to keep on doing what they're supposed to be doing regardless of whether or not their employers are present.

Fair enough.

The second point of view is one that agrees with Babe and Amanda's complaints. Greenlee and Kendall built Fusion, yes; they're the owners, yes; and that means they can do whatever they want, whenever they want to do it; yes, I say again. However, Kendall and Greenlee could put forth a bit more effort, couldn't they?

Kendall and Greenlee seem to use work attendance against each other -- and the rest of their staff -- when they're in the midst of a feud. When Greenlee returned to a town from which she'd largely been ostracized, how did she spend her time? She worked. Without social life drama, what else did she have to do? After the one-night stand reveal, Kendall and Greenlee each threatened to take the other's half of the company, a company they barely think about unless, as I said, they're peeved at each other or one of their employees.

The most recent object of Kendall's ire is Annie Lavery. Kendall was in the Fusion offices for almost a week straight in real time, but only a few hours show time. Still, Kendall used this as ammunition against Annie, saying that if Annie couldn't bother to show up for work, she should be fired. Never mind that Kendall does nothing at Fusion besides gossip with Ryan, who is in attendance more than either of the co-owners, or Greenlee, and it's rare that both "women" are at Fusion simultaneously.

If I had to choose a side, it would be Amanda's and Babe's. Yes, Greenlee and Kendall do pay these two girls to show up and be productive, but Fusion's co-queens have been asking a bit much lately, don't you think? Kendall comes into work bearing donuts and coffee, then takes off for Vegas, but hey, at least she showed up at all.

And that's the problem with Pine Valley's employment situation at large: all anyone ever does is show up, and even that is often too much to ask. Without consulting AMC character archives, I couldn't tell you where Ryan works at present. Seems that part of my memory has been erased, so Mr. Lavery and I have that in common. What does he do these days besides wander around the yacht club and stalk Greenlee? Oh, right, he pretends to love Annie.

Babe and Amanda get my sympathy, but even the allegedly hard-working Ms. Carey has done her fair share of showing up and gabbing before heading home for a lunch hour that lasts until the next workday -- or whenever she deems it appropriate to return to work. In fairness, Babe does seem to have forgotten that, despite their vapid and lazy natures, Kendall and Greenlee did save her from Richie. Where's the gratitude?

Work used to be an important aspect of All My Children characters; now it's nothing more than a plot point. What are Fusion, New Beginnings, Cambias Industries, Zach's casinos, Aidan's P.I. offices and other work environments if not simple backdrops? The writers need to get Kendall and Greenlee together to converse, so why not have them go to work? Someone has taken issue with Zach's aggressive nature, so let's seat him behind his desk in order for said person to come barging into his office.

Remember the days when careers were integrated into most, if not all AMC storylines? Remember the days of Brooke and Edmund running Tempo magazine, and Liza Colby's WRCW regime? Heck, even watching Kendall and Greenlee brainstorm over a pot of smelly spices and other ingredients served multiple purposes other than gossip: they talked, sure, but their work also brought them together as friends and business partners, lending credibility to the powerhouse that Fusion used to be.

Not all AMC careers are dead in the water. Pine Valley Hospital is often relegated to yet another backdrop for drama, but this is a soap -- there should always be drama in some form, right? Even though I was tired of Greenlee being in life or death situations, Angie Hubbard's reputation as an authority on disease control was lent tremendous credibility when she returned earlier this year. I dangled from the edge of my seat every second that Greenlee and Frankie took a breath. Did I think it would be their last? No, of course not. But just because I was confident neither character would die didn't mean I wasn't caught up in fantastic drama. The two actors played the part of patients on death's door quite well, but it was Debbi Morgan's (Angie) role as a disease specialist who was confident in her knowledge yet still a fearful mother and human being that made me believe in Angela's skill.

Jesse's role as Chief of Police is another career which is receiving center stage, and for that I'm glad. Though he's still new to the job, Jesse's conflict over going by the book and still looking out for friends and family is making the Richie Novak homicide case a compelling story, one I'm happy to have invested time and emotion.

Most soap characters are wealthy, and it is their wealth and power that gives them time to traipse around town, gossip, conduct scandalous affairs, and generally cause all the mischief that soap fans love to watch. However, not all soap fans are as rich as Erica Kane, the Slaters, and Ms. Smythe. I'm a writer, which certainly isn't a down-and-dirty job that many people who watch soaps are charged with doing day after day -- but I'm still a working man. I can't relate to characters that do nothing but frolic.

At this point, Fusion has served its purpose. That ship has sailed, and probably crashed into a pier due to no one being behind the wheel. "The day is coming," Ghost Dixie repeatedly told Adam Chandler. She was hinting, of course, at the events that unfolded during Jesse and Angie's wedding and reception. Shots were fired, affairs were revealed, a familiar couple rekindled their romance - and Kendall whined.

Me, me, ME!

I've heard numerous complaints about the whiny teenagers, and I can't say I completely disagree. Colby's alcoholism struck as quickly as a cold, Cassandra's a prissy brat, and Dre... sorry, I really can't say anything negative about Dre. I like the guy.

That's not to say I don't like the girls, though. I like Cassandra a lot, and Brianne Moncrief's Colby is growing on me. Though they're both currently intolerable, keep in mind that they're supposed to be. Cassandra, petulant as she is, is a teenager. So is Colby. Forget all that "18 years old equals adult" crap; most young people are bratty and self-absorbed well into the latter half of their second decade of life. Cassandra feels slighted by Jesse, so of course she's going to moan and groan.

What's more, how many teenagers have you known who abandoned all common sense when they were obviously caught dead to rights in a lie? Their back was against the wall, but the lies just kept coming, and all you could do was shake your head and marvel at their desperation and audacity.

Hey, it's annoying, but whining is what teenagers do best. You can't say the writing isn't realistic!

Though certainly quick in the making, I can understand how Colby became an alcoholic. She got drunk at a party, was too drunk to remember her friend running over a man with her car, and when she found out, she drank to forget. Drinking to forget? That's often how it starts, folks.

Wrap-up

• Poor Jacob Young. I'm loving JR's chemistry with Amanda Baker's Babe, but can we stop the Adam & Son rivalry, please? These two have gone round for round, punch for punch, and no fan base is the better for it. His monologue at the AA meeting was awesome. Tap into that talent! Jacob Young has it to spare.

• Rumor has it that Yaya DaCosta is out as Cassandra Foster. Will the role be recast, or will Cassandra make good on her threats to catch a plane back to her daddy's Paris pad? I hope not. Cassandra's been around for less than four months -- do people really want to see her leave so soon? I know many are annoyed with the character, but honestly, folks, four months (a little less than) is not enough time to make a decision about a character.

AMC's been doing too much recasting as of late. Viewers need time to acclimate to new faces in old roles. Slow down and give us time to breathe!

• Melissa Claire Egan is playing crazy Annie excellently, but I'm still bitter about the character's degeneration.

• Expanding on my last note, I'm really enjoying Aidan and Greenlee's scenes, but I see death signs everywhere for Mr. Devane. A Ryan and Greenlee reunion seems inevitable at this point. Annie's obviously on her way out, so what of Aidan? A dirt nap, that's my prediction. Sad, too. Aiden Turner's probably enjoying his time on the front burner, considering that he's been a prop for almost every other character on the show since his debut. If he's smart (and he seems to be), he'll get while the getting's good.

• I don't feel sorry for Ryan, and I don't see him as noble. That is all.

• One, more thing, actually: Zach loves his wife despite her anal retentive personality, but it's getting to be a bit much. I like you, Zach, so let me say what you apparently can't: shut up, Kendall.


-- David




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Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of soapcentral.com/The AMC Pages or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen, what has happened, and to take a look at the logistics of it all. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same view point.

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