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The week of March 10, 2008
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Zach Slater is a lot of things: successful businessman, loving husband, devoted father. But last week, he was forced, albeit reluctantly, to take on a new title: pole dancer.

Zach Slater is a lot of things-successful businessman, loving husband, devoted father. But this week, he was forced, albeit reluctantly, to take on a new title: pole dancer.

Yep, that's right. Take a moment to process that, if you will. I know I've spent the better part of a week trying to figure it out. Even if you hate Zach Slater with every fiber of your being, I defy you to come up with circumstances under which that scenario makes any sense.

As ridiculous as it was, I could buy Ryan Lavery climbing up on that stage, stripping down to his skivvies and twirling around a pole surrounded by his would-be harem. But Zach? Not a chance-especially not when Greenlee batting her eyelashes at the man is his only incentive. It's bad enough to watch these two bond about how they "get each other" over a margarita at ConFusion or share half-assed awkward moments brought about by their special bond. I've seen Greenlee bond with Kendall's men once too often, thank you very much.

And the award for world's worst bodyguard goes to...

Despite the occasional angry rant (see above), I really am willing to give soaps a little leeway in the believability department. Convenient timing, unrealistic obstacles, borderline-freakish coincidences - they're all par for the course in this medium. But blatant stupidity? There's no excuse for that.

Take Aidan's seriously botched bodyguarding stint this week. Aidan begins to worry about Kendall, who has yet to come down from her hotel room. He's distracted by a couple of overzealous fans who convince him to call Kendall from the bar, rather than schlep his British butt up to her room. OK, fine, I can explain that away. But why did it take a series of unanswered phone calls before old Fish and Chips figured out there might be a problem? Whatever Zach's paying him, it's too much. Thankfully, Mrs. Slater can take care of herself, managing to fight off her would-be rapist without Aidan's help.

Was it really necessary to throw Kendall in the path of yet another sexual deviant? I'm glad she was at least able to fend the pervert off herself; when I read about those scenes, I was certain Aidan would be cast as the gallant hero, adding more fuel to the couple-switcheroo inferno. He was still a pseudo-savior, having finished the guy off after Kendall incapacitated him, but it wasn't as heavy-handed as it could have been.

I've come to expect plot-driven nonsense from this writing team-once you turn to pole dancing, there's not much beneath you. But they crossed a brand new line by using something as significant as rape to further their cause. I'm not saying you should never use rape in a storyline. In fact, two of the best storylines I've ever seen centered on rape-the attacks on AMC's Bianca and OLTL's Marty Saybrooke. In those stories, however, rape was not used on a throwaway episode to create false drama. To put Kendall Hart-Slater, the daughter and sister to rape victims who has spent her entire adult life coming to terms with her origins, in that type of situation just to prop up your ludicrous idea of a couple merry-go-round isn't just lazy-it's downright offensive.

Ryan, Ryan, Ryan...

Does anyone in AMC's target demographic think Ryan Lavery is a hero anymore? Did anyone think for one moment that his impromptu lovemaking session had anything to do with his attraction to Annie or a real desire to recapture his 'lost' years? It seemed perfectly clear to me that Ryan was looking for a warm body to pinch hit for Kendall and/or Greenlee.

Now, as much as I enjoyed watching Annie stand up to her dimwit of a husband, I wasn't pleased she chose to exert her newfound independence by throwing herself at random men at the casino. It's also hard to buy her angry rants when all it took was one kiss to shut her up. I don't entirely blame her for grasping at straws; she has been dealt a lousy hand. As they say, however, be careful what you wish for. I can't help but think that any woman who chooses to be involved with that man deserves whatever heartache they get.

Not that any of this absolves Ryan, who, of course, had a flash of Kendall after making love to his wife. Did he keep this tidbit to himself? Of course not! He not only informed Annie of the breakthrough, but also lied to her, claiming his memory was of her. As always, Lavery is the epitome of class. Of course, once wifey was out the door, he called Kendall, got the brush off, did some pushups (shirtless, or course!), decided he couldn't wait another minute for answers and then booked a five-hour flight to L.A. WHAT?! Isn't it nice to know that, amnesiac or not, the world has, does and always will revolve around Ryan Lavery?

Of course, Ryan sweet talked his way past the hotel staff (seen that before) and barged in on a compromising moment between Kendall and Aidan (definitely seen that before). Didn't you love his righteous indignation? "What the hell is going on here?" he bellowed as he entered Kendall's room. Um, how about, "something that's none of your freaking business!!!"

It's thanks to all of this idiocy that I couldn't really enjoy the customary scrap of Zach and Kendall dreaminess that gets dished out every week. Kendall's impromptu poem was lovely and heartfelt, but when it's accompanied by Aidan spouting sonnets, and Greenlee darting flirty glances at Zach, and Ryan telling a dimwitted concierge that Kendall's "the one," it's hard to appreciate even the sweetest of moments.

The high spots?

I did enjoy the interaction between Zach and Erica and was impressed that she entrusted him with her finances while she's serving her prison sentence. I have to admit, I find it beyond hilarious that Erica, who's stabbed people on more than one occasion (including her new trustee/son-in-law), will be serving time for something relatively minor. I can't say I'm looking forward to seeing Erica Kane's Wild and Wacky Adventures in the Penitentiary, unless it actually leads to something interesting with Samuel.

Speaking of which, I tried to care about Woods' emotional convo with his estranged son, but they're just too new for me to get invested in. Frankly, I'm more interested to see Samuel butt heads with the likes of Adam and Zach than I am to see him mend fences with Dre. I wouldn't mind seeing what happens between Dre and Colby, but since the writers were so quick to write off her relationship with Sean, I'm hesitant to get attached to that either.

It's just typical of AMC these days. They've either got too much going on at once or they're replaying the same storyline over and over. In the case of the Zach/Kendall/Ryan/Annie/Greenlee/Aidan mess, they're managing to do both, replaying Rendall, Rylee and Kaidan while adding new insanity to the mix. With Babe and JR, they're keeping things rather simple. Now, as in the past, it's all about trust. She trusts him when she shouldn't; when he does deserve her trust, she doesn't give it; and I'm sure, if we wait it out long enough, it will all get reversed.

The only thing that makes it mildly palatable is the addition of Richie. You know things have gotten stale when you're cheering for the psychopath. Even then, I'm not really hoping he'll get what he wants; I certainly don't want to see him saddled to Arabella now that he has a new lease on life. It's more like I'm rooting for him to save me from another go around with Babe and Junior. I'm sure that's the end game, but I'll have watching Richie as interloper until that comes to pass.

What next?

Given the current climate of the show, I'm definitely not feeling confident about the Jessie/Angie storyline. I'm not willing to give up on it yet, but I didn't see much this week to foster hope.

It's as though there are quotas for every scene: Jesse has to yell at Tad and/or Angie and/or Frankie about putting them at risk; Angie and/or Tad and/or Frankie yells back, saying they won't lose him again; Jesse mentions he's been gone for 20 years; Tad and/or Jesse and/or Angie reiterate the facts as we know them. I love Darnell, Debbie and Michael, but even they can't carry that forever. Now that creepy long-lost uncle/origami aficionado Robert Gardner is in the picture, things could get either much better or stunningly worse. I'm afraid there won't be any in between this time.

Maybe Tad will get a little help from his brother Jake, who will be returning to the show in the person of soap veteran Ricky Paull Goldin (ex-Dean Frame, AW and ex-Gus Aitoro, GL). I'm not too familiar with Goldin's work, but from what I've seen, he's more than capable of filling Dr. Jake's shoes. But with the current writing regime putting the words in his mouth, will his presence help at all?

With that, I wish you all a good week. Thanks for reading.

-- Kristine

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Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of Soap Central or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen and what has happened, and to share their opinions on all of it. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same point of view.

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