Not-so-Happy Holidays

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Not-so-Happy Holidays
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The week of December 24, 2007
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If you watched All My Children this week, you got the same impression. We had the yuletide staples: Father Clarence dispensing his spooky brand of advice, Stuart dressing up like Santa and, Adam passing out egg nog in his living room. It should have been a happy week, a respite from the never-ending drama in Pine Valley.

When I woke up this morning, I looked out on a veritable winter wonderland. There was snow on ground, a chill in the air, and people bustling about on their way to pick up a few last-minute gifts. You didn't have to check the calendar to know Christmas was around the corner. If you watched All My Children this week, you got the same impression. We had the yuletide staples: Father Clarence dispensing his spooky brand of advice, Stuart dressing up like Santa and, Adam passing out egg nog in his living room. It should have been a happy week, a respite from the never-ending drama in Pine Valley.

Unfortunately, it was ruined by 30 seconds of idiocy; a plot-driven bit of nonsense that does nothing but pave for the way for more unnecessary melodrama and heartache. I am referring, of course, to Kendall and Aidan's... I'm not even sure what to call it. The best I can think of is a colossal mistake, a completely out-of-character plot device. I guess that was the only way these writers could think of to get Aidan and Kendall on the floor (to find the blueprints). Whatever.

I thought long and hard about how to address this turn of events, ever since I read the spoiler a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to see how it played out before passing judgment, but couldn't imagine any circumstances under which it would make any sense. As expected, it was random and pointless. Yet, I still wasn't sure how to approach the subject. Kendall and Aidan sleeping together should never have happened, and by discussing it or trying to assign blame, I'd be accepting it. Unfortunately, there's not really any way to ignore it. It happened, and the only thing to do now is try to work around the crud we've been given.

Making Sense of the Senseless?

First thing's first. This was done for one reason, and one reason only: to generate sympathy for Greenlee. In fact, this whole week was overshadowed by the writers' attempts to 'redeem' Ms. Smythe. First, we were told that Spike's deafness was actually genetic and unavoidable, and had nothing to do with the accident. This is supposed to absolve Greens of any guilt and make anyone who sought to bring her to justice as a crazy vigilante going after an innocent woman. The only problem is that changing Spike's diagnosis doesn't actually change very much. Greenlee still kidnapped the boy. She still got into a car wreck. Spike still had to have life-threatening surgery in order to survive. The stress caused by her actions still prompted Kendall's premature labor, and put Ian's life in nearly perpetual jeopardy. All this rewrite does is knock one of the items of off Greenlee's laundry list of crimes. Her actions caused a little less damage than was originally thought. It doesn't make her blameless and it doesn't make me feel any differently about what others did to make her pay for her actions. Regardless of whether Pine Valley sees it that way, that's the way it is.

Now, some might argue that being left to die in a bomb shelter is enough punishment. Greenlee is hovering near death, which, by most people's standards, is enough to elicit sympathy for her. (Well, not from me, but I digress.) But just to make sure that the karmic debt swings back in Greenlee's favor, Aidan and Kendall 'betray' her by sleeping together. So, once again, Kendall is bad, Greenlee is good. Never mind that Aidan was the one who initiated this lunacy by suddenly and vehemently declaring to a distraught Kendall that Zach and Greenlee MUST be dead. Never mind that the Kendall I know and love, would NEVER sleep with another man mere moments after accepting the love of her life was lost. Never mind that it makes Aidan look like even more of an idiot, for bedding a woman he supposedly hates moments after declaring Greens is the "woman he wants to marry." Not to mention the fact that Kendall has had a full year of heartache after heartache, and Aidan took advantage of her pain. All that matters is that people feel bad for Greenlee.

The most frustrating part of this whole scenario is that, despite their best efforts, this does not do what the writers intended. It doesn't actually redeem Greenlee at all. At best, it only makes Kendall look bad and drag her down to Greens' level. It becomes a matter of comparing misdeeds. Does adultery outweigh kidnapping? It's lowers the bar across the board. The viewers who hated Greenlee because of what she did to Kendall will be even angrier, because their favorite is being knocked down to prop up a woman they hate. Fans of both women will only be treated to more suffering, more tears, and more frustration. Zach/Kendall and Greenlee/Aidan fans have already been cheated out of the full joy of their reunions, because this dagger is hanging over their heads.

Was this really the only way to plant the seeds for future drama? I know that soaps thrive on heartache but you can't create that at the expense of character. Famed soap writer Douglas Marland once said, "When the audience says, 'He would never do that,' then you have failed." That's exactly what AMC has done - again. Kendall would never have done this, just like Tad never would have buried a man alive, Zach wouldn't have abandoned his dying wife to help a mere acquaintance, and Dixie never would have let her family think she was dead. And yet all of this happened. And that, in a nutshell, is why AMC fans have been tuning out in droves. It's time for the insanity to stop.

It's All About KWAK

While characters were being assassinated elsewhere, Adam, Krystal, and Tad were locking horns over baby Jenny. As I've mentioned before, I do understand why Tad wants his daughter nowhere near Adam. Regardless of his somewhat hypocritical pronouncements on fatherhood, Tad' primary point is irrefutable: Adam tried to sell Jenny, bottom line. Of course, as Julia pointed out, the way Tad is handling the situation is very Chandler-esque. It's just a messy situation all around.

What's worst is that Krystal is the cause of it all. I could handle Tad and Adam going head to head over Dixie or Liza or Brooke, but Krystal Freakin' Carey? They both deserve better. Watching Tad and Krystal bond in the chapel would have been unbearable if it were anyone but Michael E. Knight. The singing [i]killed[/i] me. (I'm sure I was the only one who didn't see "You Are My Sunshine" coming.)

The truth is, in spite of all either of these men have done, I still root for them both. Oddly, I think they like this game of one-upmanship they've carried out over the years. I actually laughed out loud when Erica slyly suggested to Adam that perhaps he and Tad should be the ones walking the aisle. Speaking of which, is anyone else out there ready for Adam and Erica, Part Three? Jack's being a sanctimonious hypocrite and Krystal's leading Adam on, so why not try something fun for a change? Then the stage will be set for Brooke to return... (no, I will never let that go!) Leave Jack to Julia, if you must. They may have all the chemistry of two dead fish, but at least she'll have a lawyer by her side when Tad comes for his daughter.

You Want to Come Back to THIS Show?

Speaking of returns, there are three big ones in the works at AMC. Just as Sabine Singh was actually showing a little improvement as Greenlee, the powers-that-be have lured back Rebecca Budig to take over the role she created. I could go on for hours about the possible reasons for the seemingly sudden casting move, but for me, it all comes down to one simple thing: bringing back Rebecca won't make me love Greenlee again.

I get the feeling that the big-wigs at AMC think that having Becky take over just as the Greenlee Redemption Project is in full force will push viewers toward accepting Greens again. I sense that they want people to think it was some other Greenlee who kidnapped Spike. Now that the 'real' Greens is back, we can move on. That just isn't going to fly with me, or any other ardent Kendall fan. My Greenlee hate pre-dates Sabine Singh. When Budig left the first time, I was sorry to see her go but was more than thrilled to be rid of the Green Butterfly. If this revisionist approach is really AMC's intention, it could very well backfire, particularly if they are planning to assemble some kind of quadrangle from hell with Greenlee, Aidan, Zach and, Kendall. Budig may be a step up, but no actress on the planet could make me buy a Greenlee/Zach pairing.

Budig's return was a surprise, but the real shocker was the announcement that Debbi Morgan (Angie Hubbard) and Darnell Williams (Jesse Hubbard) are coming back to the Valley. Let's ignore for a moment that Jesse died on-screen in Angie's arms in one of AMC's most touching moments, and that he's come back as a ghost several times since. Even if I overlook this little glitch, I am terrified about this return. I should be thrilled - Angie and Jesse were incredible, and seeing Tad with Jesse would be great. But given AMC's track record, I'm more nervous than excited. Look what they did to Maria, Dixie and Greenlee. What might they do to the classic pairing? I shudder at the very thought. I really hope it works out for the best, but I have to say I'm not optimistic.

You Want to Come Back to THIS Show?

I've rambled on much longer than usual, so I'll just cover a few quick points before I leave you to your Christmas holiday:

* It looks like Ava and Jonathan are on the outs and it's about freaking time. Five minutes of this couple was too much. As long as it doesn't lead to Jonathan and Lily, Part Two, I'm happy.

* I loved Amanda getting her revenge on the Chandler boys. If I was supposed to feel bad for Junior, the writers missed the mark yet again. Speaking of which, I really don't want to see Babe and JR start up again, but it looks like that's where the show's headed. Ugh.

* Richie is still one of the most entertaining people on this show. Annie is whiny and annoying and has very little rooting value. And Richie and Janet? Absolutely fabulous.

Well, that's it for me. Next time around, I'll start up with the Best & Worst of 2007. Can you guess which half will be longer? Until then, my best wishes to all of you for a happy holiday and a wonderful new year. Thanks for reading.

-- Kristine

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