In honor of a special event occurring later this week, I've whipped up one of my alternate commentaries, this one in the form of a short story entitled "Knockin' on Heaven's Door." Enjoy the extra read!
"Secrets and lies, Kendall. It's what gets us every time."
It's something we've seen countless times on any given soap: someone keeps a secret, and when it comes out, all hell breaks loose. You know the drill. First, someone does something bad. Maybe they drug someone, maybe they invoke a kidnapping, or the perennial favorite, they have an affair. Then, the person who committed the sin feels their act was so vile, so despicable, that they choose to keep the secret. It could be for a number of reasons, but it's usually because they don't want their significant other to find out. Whatever their reasoning, they always swear, either to themselves or to their partner in crime, that the secret will stay with them to the grave.
As time passes, the secret keeper starts to feel a bit guilty. This inevitably compels them to confide in someone, anyone, for the sole person of getting the burden off their chest. And this is where things start to get interesting for viewers - now someone else knows. Keeping a secret in a soap town is like trying to keep a flu bug quarantined in a house filled with dozens of people. With all the intrigue, unfortunately, also comes the dreaded Close Call Syndrome: countless instances featuring the secret keeper talking conspiratorially about the secret just as the person who must never learn about the dastardly deed comes waltzing into the room and says, "What can't I ever find out?"
Besides the it-was-suspenseful-at-first-but-now-just-tell-them-already Close Call Syndrome is the I'll Love You Forever Promise. You know what I'm talking about: the solemn vow between two lovers that nothing, no matter how horrible, will ever come between them. And we all know what that means, don't we? When the secret inevitably comes out, it's off to Splitsville for those two.
Keeping a secret is a soap opera staple, but I must admit to becoming tired of it. The pattern described above is cycled ad nauseum. Won't these characters ever learn? Keeping a secret never ends well, so for once, just once, can't we have someone be figuratively or literally man enough to come forward and admit their mistakes instead of letting the travesty fester like an open wound? Or, can we have a couple actually deal with it like adults? Maybe they'll break up, but at least let them face it head on instead of proving that all the smiles and "together forever" B.S. was just that - "S"?
Enter Zach and Kendall. This week was largely centered around Zach's decision to deal with Kendall's betrayal in his own way while Kendall, of course, stayed true to character via acting like a selfish brat who insisted that her husband must deal with her transgression on her terms.
A gallon of kerosene and two matches later, the horrible one-night stand plot had been devoured by flames. Aside from the matter of arson (and Kendall's constant badgering), it was wonderful to see "Zendall" face the matter in a mature fashion. Team Slater defied the odds and showed that together, they can overcome anything. I hope their unity reminds both of them that keeping secrets simply isn't healthy for a good relationship.
How Do I Love Thee? Apparently I Didn't
I've felt many things during Ryan's current amnesia storyline: annoyed (at all the inconsistencies), worried (that the story will last much longer), and happy (when Zach showed Ryan who he really is), but for the first time, I am righteously angry. Many will argue that signs have pointed to a Ryan/Greenlee reunion since before Rebecca Budig returned to the role she originated. I acknowledge those signs, but confess to hoping and praying that they would not come to pass.
Since Ryan's therapy has begun, it's become painfully obvious that the soap gods have turned a deaf ear to my pleas. Ryan and Greenlee seem destined to rekindle their (disgusting, abusive) relationship, and I've come to terms with that. I don't like it, but hey, there's not too much I can do to stop it.
That's not why I'm ticked. I'm royally irked because of how it seems Ryan and Greenlee will be rekindling their love - Ryan's shrink has been insinuating that Mr. Lavery never loved his fairytale princess, one Annie Lavery.
I don't care whether you're Ryan and Annie's biggest fan or if you'd rather Ryan ride his bike off a cliff (again) with Annie sitting behind him - those two were in love. It was cute at times, sickly sweet at others, but in love they were. And now, possibly, they weren't. Sit back and enjoy, fellow AMC fans - you're about to see one of the dumbest re-writes in this show's history, and that's saying something.
I promised several columns ago that I wouldn't bring up the "Real" Greenlee fiasco again, but The Powers That Be seem to leave me no choice. Greenlee and Ryan made peace last year shortly after her return to town. Ryan had moved on, so Greenlee eventually did as well, and with Aidan Devane of all people. The pairing reached supercouple status almost instantly, and Aidan fans had a reason to believe that their main man was finally going to get a real relationship that wouldn't end in a matter of months.
Wrong. Before news of Budig's return reached Internet forums worldwide, AMC's crack staff was already hard at work ruining Greenlee and Aidan, Ryan and Annie, and throwing a heavy wrench in Zach and Kendall's pairing. Coming down with his own case of amnesia, ABC Daytime president Brian Frons immediately decided that Ryan and Annie weren't as great as he'd proclaimed the year before, nor were Greenlee and Aidan compelling despite an almost-instantaneous fan following. Nope, Frons declared that we need Ryan and Greenlee. Thus the one-night stand was born.
Think about it: Zach and Kendall will survive just fine (not even Frons is dumb enough to mess with Zendall fans), but poor wittle Greenlee, devastated by Aidan's betrayal, will be ripe for Ryan's picking. The two sure have gotten chummy again, haven't they? Barroom video game sessions, margaritas at ConFusion, and Greenlee's Spiderman-esque Ryan Sense that led her to the Dynamite Kiddo's (gag me) exact location.
Throw out your Princess Emmaline books and slap on your decoder rings - Ryan and Greenlee are coming, and all because Rebecca Budig said "Yes" to Brian Frons. I'm still a huge Rebecca Budig fan, but since her return, Greenlee has changed, and not for the better. Budig's last portrayal of the character was nowhere near as self-absorbed and catty. I admire the actress, but the character is well on its way to falling off my radar. Singh's take on Greenlee was so much more human. She was still a little fireball of fury and selfishness at times, but was not as intolerable as "Real" Greenlee.
Sorry to say, but Rebecca, if you're reading: please don't renew your contract. Let the Greenlee character fade away with some dignity.
The Wait is Over
Anybody remember the SoapNet ads from late 2006 boldly proclaiming "The Wait is Over" in reference to Tad and Dixie finally locating their missing daughter? That didn't pan out. Since Dixie's death, Tad's hunt for Kate Martin has simmered down to practically nothing - or has it? Recent weeks have seen Tad mention his missing child more and more, which has drawn both the ire and joy of fans. Without mentioning spoilers, I'd like to examine why I think this has occurred, as well as why I feel it makes perfect sense.
Even before Dixie was killed, Tad was a beaten man. He found out that Dixie, the love of his life, was alive and well, but had been in hiding for the past four years. Her reason for lurking and skulking: she wanted to find their missing daughter. Good news, but that just made things go from bad to worse for Thaddeus - not only had Dixie been alive this whole time, but she decided to keep Tad in the dark about Kate's survival as well. Oh, and she gave Kate up for adoption because she didn't think Tad would love her properly.
Ouch. This double betrayal pushed Tad toward doing something that many viewers felt was completely out of character: after discovering that Dr. Greg Madden knew where Kate could be found, Tad buried the doc alive after Madden's stubborn refusal to reveal the girl's whereabouts. For many fans, this was Tad's point of no return, but I sympathized completely. Was burying a man alive, digging him up, giving him some extra food and water, and then burying him again out of character? Of course it was. That was the whole point, wasn't it? Tad was so overcome with grief and betrayal that he snapped and did something horrible.
Let me pause and ask all of you who condemn Tad this question: if your child was taken from you without your permission by someone who refused to give up their location, what would you do? Can you honestly say you wouldn't do something crazy, something you regret (or not) once sane, rational thought has found its way back to your head? I can't. It was brutal, it was despicable, and it was inhumane - but I backed Tad's decision completely, and I still do. Never come between a parent and their child. Woe to those who don't heed that warning.
Over the past year since Dixie's untimely death, Tad has devolved from desperate to desolate. His onscreen mentions of Kate have gone from few and far between to even fewer and farther between, with only sporadic mentions every few months or so. Now, quite suddenly, he's begun to talk about her more and more. Why? Not for just the reason many of you might know.
First, I believe it prudent to keep in mind that just because something is not mentioned or perpetrated onscreen doesn't mean it never happened. Tad claims to have been searching tirelessly for Kate, and that could very well be the case. It doesn't seem that way, but it could be true. In fact I think it's just as Tad says, but I also believe part of him gave up. What has happened to spur Tad back into sleuth mode? Jesse's return from the dead.
Tad's had no luck finding Kate so far. He's tired, he's frustrated, and he's mourning the loss of both Dixie and Kate. But now, his best friend is back and needs his help. Tired and guilty about getting nowhere in the quest to find his daughter, Tad busies himself helping his friend because aiding Jesse provides Tad with tangible, satisfying results. He's working hard, keeping busy, but suddenly, things begin to die down. The guilt returns, and Tad realizes that maybe he's let Dixie down again.
I truly feel that Tad's assistance to Jesse was a way to help him feel proactive in helping somebody, anybody, because the one person he fears may need his help the most is seemingly out of his reach, possibly forever.
Oh, and anything that results in more Tad/Jesse screen time is A-OK in my book.