The Reality of life in Pine Valley -- or lack there of
For the Week of July 26, 2010
Watching All My Children is becoming increasingly like watching an episode of reality television. It has nothing to do with the visual aesthetics, but everything to do with the quality if what's playing out on-screen. Everyone claims that reality shows are killing our soaps -- but that doesn't mean that soaps have to become reality shows!

One of my favorite reality shows is the Amazing Race. Invariably, each team comes up with nicknames for the other teams. Lately, it doesn't seem like anyone in Pine Valley calls anyone else by their real name. Let's see... Caleb refers to Erica as "Dorothy" and he pegged Jack as "Captain Marvel." JR calls Caleb "Grizzly Adams." There are so many nicknames for David, that I am not sure I could list them all. At first it may seem rather annoying, but I find it somewhat refreshing. I have nicknames for just about everyone in my life -- they aren't necessarily mean nicknames, but they are nicknames nonetheless. I have a tendency to think that a lot of people do this, too. You guys do have nicknames for people, right?

The battle for Cortlandt Electronics isn't all that unlike Donald Trump's Apprentice series. Only in this edition, no one seems to really want the company that Palmer founded. Poor Palmer. First Caleb wanted to ditch it. Then Erica said she'd wash her hands of it. Now JR has wrangled the company away from Caleb, and suddenly Caleb decides that he wants it back. It's like watching one of those challenges on Survivor where the contestants fight over a slopped hog or something.

Robin Christopher wraps up her stint as Skye Chandler Quartermaine on General Hospital this week. Now that All My Children is filmed just a handful of miles away from General Hospital, why doesn't someone at the network convince Robin Christopher to head on home to Pine Valley. If the show's new writers are intent on beefing up the Hatfield and the McCoy, er, Chandler vs. Cortlandt saga, why not working with a character whose existence is already known to viewers? Heck, Adam even mentioned Skye when he was plotting out what to do with his will.

Speaking of the Chandler family, they've got their own edition of Wife Swap going on. Annie has become a revolving door -- everybody gets a turn with her. First Adam bedded Annie. Then JR was so disgusted by Annie that he had to have her. Scott also figured into the mix, and now he's proposed marriage to Annie. How long do you think that marriage is going to last? Probably about as long as the ones from The Bachelor.

Just a random observation: Shannon Kane looked totally refreshed and even more beautiful when Natalia returned to Pine Valley last week. Kane (no relation to Erica, as far as I know) was off shooting a movie, so that's why Natalia was sent to West Virginia to "investigate" Erica's plane crash. Now that the actress is back, I'll be interested to see if the Natalie and Brot romance is explored in more detail. To me it seems like that storyline abruptly stopped -- and like there was a piece of story missing from the middle.

I'm not really sure right now if I can take an amnesiac Ryan. If he regains consciousness and thinks it's 1990, I may have to stop writing this column. Every time someone in Pine Valley falls into a coma, they wake up thinking that they are still in love with someone that they loved a decade earlier. How about Ryan thinks he still loves Gillian? I figure that there is bound to be some drama involving Kendall since Alicia Minshew will be back on-screen mid-August. So will Ryan give his final rose to Greenlee or Kendall -- or will he pursue Erica all over again? Honestly, I don't care. I'd much rather see Ryan have a storyline that doesn't revolve around his penis. Feel free to write your own jokes.

A lot of you have written in to ask me what I think about ABC deciding that it will preempt All My Children on August 10 to air a three-hour General Hospital marathon. As an AMC fan, I think it sucks. Of course I'd much rather see a new episode of Pine Valley drama. However, from a marketing standpoint -- I get it. ABC wants to lure viewers back to General Hospital with the return of Vanessa Marcil's Brenda. I get that. I watch General Hospital, too, so that probably plays into me not being as irritated as fans who watch only AMC.

I also am a sucker for classic episodes of soaps. Not the classic episodes of a year ago that ABC seems to show around holidays. No, I'm talking about episodes from five or ten years ago. Heck, they can even show some from 20 or 30 years ago, if they'd like. I think as long as the classic episode makes sense to current story, then it's a good idea. Let's say that Skye does return to All My Children -- why not show some old Skye episodes to get everybody familiarized with what Skye has done over the years. I'd even be willing to look past different actresses playing the role. Remember when Skye, Erica, and Janet "buried" Dr. Jonathan Kinder after Bianca pushed him down the steps and "killed" him? Or what if ABC were to air episodes of Erica's past marriages just before she and Jack walk down the aisle again. Who doesn't have an episode that they'd like to see over again?

Ditching an episode here and there isn't a bad idea if the writers can use that time to sit down and craft some killer storylines. This may be an unpopular opinion, but I've thought this out. I've also written a special commentary column for my blog about this -- so please click here to go and check it out when you're done with this column.

Back to All My Children for a bit, I've heard from a lot of people about the Angie storyline. First, thanks to everyone for letting me know that you found Angie's tweet from last week's column amusing. My only complaint with Angie's current storyline is the clichéd nature of the plot. I think that Debbi Morgan has been stellar -- and if you think I've thought otherwise, please go back and read my columns. I personally think Debbi can do no wrong, but personal biases aside -- she's been great. We all know that Angie won't be blind forever. It's much the same that we knew Erica wouldn't die in her plane crash or that she wouldn't remain horribly disfigured back when she wore that Phantom of the (Soap) Opera mask. We also know that Debbi Morgan isn't leaving All My Children -- so Angie won't be killed off. If soaps were a little more unpredictable, that uncertainty would definitely add to the viewing experience.

A little shameless self-promotion before I end the column -- my own reality series, if you will. I had the opportunity to interview Victoria Platt on Soap Central Live this past Friday. She appeared briefly as Corinne La Martine on AMC back when Noah and Julia had to flee to Jamaica to avoid being arrested. Victoria was the mysterious voodoo woman who helped them fake death. Anyway, she was on Soap Central Live to talk about her new show, The Gates, and her time on the soaps. She was later joined by her husband, Terrell Tilford (Greg, One Life to Live) and they talked about falling in love while working on Guiding Light, and they both spoke at great lengths about their appreciation for soap fans. You don't have to watch The Gates or any other soap to enjoy this interview. So I hope that you'll check it out by clicking here (as well as the other 27 episodes of Soap Central Live that I've had the privilege to host).


Dan J Kroll
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Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of 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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