All My Children is finally getting good again. After a long, long period of time where I pretty much couldn't care less about what was going on in Pine Valley (Greg Madden-in-a-box, anyone? Perhaps an un-aborted Kane offspring?), there are now so many reasons to tune into the show. Hey everyone, I am back for a second go-round in the Two Scoops hot seat.
Let's get the unpleasantness out of the way first.
A lot of fans are grumbling about the way in which Kendall is acting lately. Some have blasted the show's new head writer, Charles Pratt, Jr., for not understanding her character and for undermining the "Zendall" (Internet shorthand for Zach + Kendall) relationship. Please read this entire section before racing to your email to send me a nasty letter. I've already gotten an earful from Alicia Minshew fans for an article that I posted about her possible departure from the show. I was skeptical when Alicia joined the show that I would like someone other than Sarah Michelle Gellar in the role of Kendall Hart. In fairness, I am typically that way about all recasts - at least initially. I am not sure exactly when I decided that Alicia had won me over, but she did. Kendall has been one of my favorite characters in recent years and it's fun to see what drives her. Most of Kendall's behavior seems to be a reflex action to seeing the people she loves in some sort of pain. She did, after all, willingly become the town pariah when she faked being pregnant to help Bianca. Now, Kendall is... I don't know what she's doing. Her behavior recently has been abrupt. Before I chalk it up to a new writer that doesn't understand the character, I am not totally convinced that Kendall has been acting that out of line. I mean, it's not like she has been abducted by pod people. She has been known to act somewhat impetuously in the past and she still is acting that way. Let's look at Kendall's behavior towards Ryan. They have a child together and, perhaps, Kendall's determination to have Ryan ditch Annie has something to do with Spike. Now here is where my dilemma comes in. I don't know how I feel about Kendall and Zach together. I liked them in the beginning and, to be truthful, I've never disliked them as a couple. However, they've gotten kind of boring until just a few weeks ago. Now that Zach and Kendall have all this stress and strife going on between them, I like them as a couple much more than before. I like seeing the rift between them because I can't wait for them to patch things up and get back together. Sometimes a little bit of heartache is good for long-term story.
Speaking of heartache, Angie and Jesse sure have had their share of it over the years. And you don't need to have psychic abilities to know that there are more on the horizon. I have to confess that I was not yet an All My Children viewer the last time that Angie and Jesse were on the show. I didn't start watching until 1991, so that was a few years past their prime as the hot couple. While it would seem that Jesse and Angie's love never died - then again, neither did Jesse - I know that they have had their share of problems. Jesse killed Angie's father, he got involved with a loan shark to buy a bar, and he cheated on Angie. Okay, so let's let bygones be bygones. For twenty years, Jesse had to keep a low profile to protect his family. I don't care how heroic it was for Jesse to pretend to be dead, he didn't spend all that time alone. Sure, he was married to Angie, but he had to long for companionship. How much do you want to bet that whoever is calling him and hanging up is someone from that 20-year time period? Does Jesse have another lover somewhere out there? Oh, that's almost a given. Does he have another family? Sure, why not? This is a soap after all. What I do know is that I don't like Angry Jesse. He's snapped at Angie and Tad for no good reason. Let's say he does have another lover out there somewhere and that woman is threatening to expose his infidelity. Sure, Jesse doesn't want to risk losing what he's been trying to regain for 20 years - but c'mon. This is a good time for Angie and Jesse to have a heart-to-heart - and not one about a mystery light that he saw in the distance while on the run in Colorado. Are we sure that the other woman is really a woman?
No, I don't think AMC is going to do an "on the DL" storyline, but it provided me with a good segue to talk about Pine Valley's favorite gay former resident: Bianca Montgomery. There was a time when there were a few gay folks in town at the same time, but I guess that's not the case anymore. Has anyone even seen The Blue Angel bar since Bianca was outed? It probably went out of business when all the gay, lesbian, and transgender people vanished. Next month, Bianca returns when tragedy strikes Pine Valley. I am not going to blow the surprise of that whirlwind storyline for you because I have a lot of special stuff planned as we get closer to the date. Two weeks after Bianca shows up in town, her new love interest will make her way to Pine Valley. Former General Hospital actress Tamara Braun takes on the role of the currently-single-named Reese, an architect that Bianca has been living with in Paris. Where is Maggie? Where is Zarf/Zoe? Is Lena still taking care of her sick mother? Will Reese have an "a" in her last name since all of Bianca's previous love interests has an "a" somewhere in their name? When I talked with Tamara at this year's Daytime Emmys, I joked with her that I was going to work on getting her a role back on GH so that she could be reunited with the two other Carlys that are currently on the show. She liked the idea and said that she could use me as an agent. Never did I suspect that she'd be secretly working behind my back to get an AMC role. Hmm... perhaps she knew secretly that AMC is my favorite soap. I'm interested to see how she does in this newly created role. Tamara is a top talent and it's nice to see that she didn't fear being typecast for the rest of her career as a lesbian. I have absolutely no idea what is planned for "Rianca," as the couple is already being called. There is rumored to be a major storyline for the pair, so maybe that explains why Reese doesn't have a last name yet. As an aside, Bianca certainly has had some attractive mates. She's a very lucky lady.
I can't say the same for her mom. Poor Erica. Say what you will about Erica being an overgrown spoiled teenage brat, but I am seeing some surprising layers in the character. In one moment, Erica is forcing a smile when she sees Jack and Carmen together. Later, she has her back turned and you can see her heart breaking into a million pieces. She and Jack are continuing their dance when they both know that they want so badly to be with each other. Maybe it's my own little soap opera life, but I'd like to think that we have all had that one person that we always thought would be "the one" only to find out that... life had other plans. Okay, enough depressing flashbacks. Snap out of it! David Canary and Susan Lucci were both background scenery in recent years. You know, their both being over 30 and all. It's so nice to see them back front-and-center where they belong. Why do the soaps insist on focusing only on people my age and younger? I want to see the whole family tree! And if you mesh the Chandler and Kane trees, there would be a whole lot of pruning to do. I don't think that I want to see Erica and Adam really fall for each other, but a playful relationship could be very entertaining. They bring out the best and the worst in each other. Then when Julia Barr's Brooke returns to add the third side to the love triangle... okay, I guess that's too much to hope for. Speaking of which, why is Erica the only ex-Mrs. Chandler still in Pine Valley (other than Krystal)?
What's with the hot nerd thing going on lately? Just because it's worked for GH's Spinelli and Henry on Ugly Betty doesn't mean that every show needs a geekhunk. I do have to admit that as much as I despise the premise, Pete Cortlandt amuses me. He and Adam have had some hilarious scenes and we've even gotten to see more of Opal and Palmer. Opal and Palmer are living together again? Did I miss something during those boring months when the show was horrible? I thought Opal turned part of Cortlandt Manor into the new Glamorama. And... aren't they still divorced? And that painting that was on the easel in their parlor... that wouldn't be a remnant from the stolen Nazi artwork that Palmer was hiding several years back, would it?
Since I wasn't around to write a comment about something that happened the week before last, I will address it now. I thought the scenes in which Annie cast out her demon Richie were great. Billy J. Miller certainly earned himself an Emmy nomination as he told Annie how much she needed him. Having Annie lean forward and slowly get onto all fours to stare Richie in the eyes was great. Will AMC even consider nominating Miller now that he has a role on rival soap The Young and the Restless? Could Miller get nominated for his work on Y&R, too, and have two nominations in the same category?
Will Bianca's new girlfriend wander around Pine Valley looking for pictures of Nico Kelly? Is Richie going to shack up with Maggie Stone over on Y&R? Is Zach going to leave Kendall and head over to Llanview to beat up Todd for messing with the mind of a woman he raped a decade ago? Will a suddenly well-trained Erica and Adam take a spin around the dance floor at the Valley Inn to try to make Jack and Carmen jealous?
Will I stop asking questions by the time I have to write another column? Gosh, I hope so. It's like Alex Trebek's worst nightmare. As always, I love hearing from you guys and gals out there. I've been doing the site for over 13 years, but sharing emails with soap fans from around the world never gets old. Thanks to all of you for making this site such a success.