Yes, I know that I said two weeks ago that I would not be back -- but there are some late-breaking developments and I just had to come back and chat with my fellow AMC fans. The CDC has just issued a warning for Americans to avoid hospitals in Pine Valley, Pennsylvania. Oooh, that Pine Valley Hospital. People are knocked down the steps, ceilings fall in on you during surgery, and dead people are kidnapped. On the plus side, everyone there loves "the other woman."
Last week I came to a surprising revelation. Well, it's not really that surprising in retrospect, but had I said that I had a boring revelation you wouldn't have wanted to continue reading. I don't like Jake Martin. Before you jump to the conclusion that I am against Ricky Paull Goldin, let me fill you in on my revelation. I haven't liked Jake Martin even when other actors have played the part. Focusing on the previous two actors, J. Eddie Peck seemed too stiff as Jake. Michael Lowry's Jake, meanwhile, seemed smug. Actually, Jake is a very pompous character -- and has been so under numerous writing teams. Right now, Jake is a magical medicine man. He knows how to do everything and he does everything better than anyone he knows. Has he actually healed anyone since he returned to Pine Valley?
Had it not been for Jake and his I-can-do-anything-better-than-you bedside manner, Kendall might not be in the condition she's currently in. Of course, on the flipside, she could be dead. Now that I think about it, Taylor actually wouldn't be in her current state either. Let's assume for the sake of my argument that Kendall would have survived without Jake playing Operation. The ceiling fell in on Kendall's head, there was a loud buzz, and her nose lit up. Okay, I am exaggerating a little, but I'd like to think that Pine Valley Hospital was put together a little better than what we saw when the tornado rolled through. Zach and Jake were about to brawl in a hospital stairwell somewhere near the ICU (I know this because there were more signs telling people where the ICU was than there are campaign signs on my local street corner) when Taylor came back with some hot coffee from the hospital cafeteria. Zach apparently raised his arm with such velocity that the wind blew Taylor down the steps. It was like having another tornado inside the hospital. Luckily, the cafeteria forgot to fill Taylor's cup because when she fell, none of the scalding hot liquid flew out of the cup as it bounced down the steps. Taylor, however, wasn't as lucky.
There was an interesting exchange between Zach and Taylor that made me rewind the TiVo to see if I heard things correctly. When Zach offered to make sure that all of Taylor's medical bills were paid for, she made a remark about how men with money think that they can do whatever they want -- including declaring war on foreign countries. It was the first time that Taylor had made any sort of derogatory comment towards the war in Iraq. Maybe I am jumping to the wrong conclusion, but it was a little startling to me.
Elsewhere in the hospital, Angie was playing cards with her husband's mistress. I think they were playing a game of Old Maid. The winner gets Jesse and the loser becomes... well, you get the idea. Angie went from ticked off to calm, cool, and composed in about 5.2 seconds. Maybe it's because I've lived through the Jerry Springer generation, but I expected some sort of chick fight in the hospital corridors. No, I know that Angie isn't a violent woman, but a catfight is just about as realistic as Angie suddenly braiding Rebecca's hair and having a slumber party with her in Natalia's hospital room. I did, however, like when Angie and Jesse talked about how calm Angie was being towards Rebecca. Angie admitted that while Jesse was "dead," she had moved on and loved other men. The difference, of course, is that when Jesse was sleeping with Rebecca, he knew that he wasn't dead! "You weren't forthcoming, but you didn't betray me," Angie commented. All I can say is that Angie is a far better woman than I am. Um, well, you know what I mean.
Rebecca wasn't the only one that was visiting Pine Valley over the past week or so. David Hayward returned to find his daughter dead and Bianca's mystery girlfriend came to see her new daughter.
David's return is interesting to me. I never remember him being so... loving of Babe. Sure, Babe was his daughter, but his sudden display of affection is a bit jarring. Maybe it's the fact that he's lost both of his daughters now. Losing one child is painful enough, but losing two? I cannot even imagine. I admit to being as little disturbed that David could so easily take Babe's body from the morgue and parade around the hospital with it. Thankfully, he didn't get far or it could have turned into a macabre version of Weekend at Bernie's. There was one scene with David that I found extremely powerful -- and I really hope that I'm not the only one that felt this way. David sat alone in Wildwind contemplating taking his own life. Then his beautiful daughter appeared to him in a vision to tell him that she was no longer hurting and that she had found peace in Heaven. Surely this was going to be the overused plot device that would provide him with the comfort that he was looking for. Oh, think again! Babe told David how much he would like Heaven and how he'd be so happy if he could be there with her. I was not expecting the twist. I really expected the vision to be a sappy soap spirit that let David move on with his life. The fact that the vision was basically goading him into committing suicide floored me. I thought it was extremely well done.
I remember the last time I survived a tornado, had a baby, and found out my sister was hovering near death. Gosh, all I wanted was a great big hug from my girlfriend. I understand the nature of daytime television. It's a problematic daypart for programmers because the viewing audience is extremely diverse in their opinions on social issues. Still, having Bianca greet Reese with a good, strong, lesbian bear hug after all she had gone through was... unbelievable to say the least. Pan the camera out, fade to black, or do whatever you need to do to at least convey the appearance that these two lovers were sharing a kiss. Thankfully, Bianca and Reese did share a kiss after Bianca accepted Reese's marriage proposal. I am aware that there are many viewers who do not desire to see a relationship between two women played out on television -- or in the real world. I do have to say that it is refreshing to see a normal same-sex relationship on the soaps. There have been gay characters on the soaps for quite some time now, but the ensuing storylines are always typical. Let's see... there's the deprogramming storyline, the gay bashing storyline, the "my parents or other family members are horrible bigots," and the "I have a boyfriend/girlfriend but the network won't show the relationship and instead we're opting to leave town" plots. Reese designed and built a house for Bianca. She built a damn house. It's nice to know that true love does exist out there.
I was recently left a rather interesting voicemail message from someone my father knows in which the caller rambled on about how she hasn't been able to find a man to love her the way she wants to be loved. She urged me to get a cat or a dog (I have a rabbit and some fish, but that's neither here nor there) because they're the only things that will truly love you unconditionally. While her message initially tickled me, in hindsight it makes me kind of sad. There is so much unhappiness around us. I'd like to think that everyone deserves the right to be happy -- no matter who they love. You don't necessarily have to be happy for them, but why would anyone want to see someone else unhappy?
Since I don't typically end a column with anything overly thought-provoking, here's an addendum to keep the trend going: Unless you have a card game scheduled with your husband's "jump off," are incapacitated from a fall down the hospital steps, have been kidnapped (you don't necessarily have to be dead) by an unknown assailant, or are busy dodging tornados, there is no reason not to vote on Election Day. Oh yeah, and way to go, Phillies. The Philadelphia region couldn't be any prouder. Thank you. I'm Dan J Kroll and I approved this message.