Dancing the storyline away

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AMC Two Scoops: Dancing the storyline away
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The week of September 21, 2009
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One of the things that I look forward to most on the soaps is a storyline that gets the entire cast together. You know, the gala balls, the costume parties, weddings, the big to-dos. Whenever the entire town gets together, you just know that some sort of mayhem will soon follow.

One of the things that I look forward to most on the soaps is a storyline that gets the entire cast together. You know, the gala balls, the costume parties, weddings, the big to-dos. Whenever the entire town gets together, you just know that some sort of mayhem will soon follow. Some of my favorite events in AMC history have happened when all of Pine Valley has been together.

The one that is the most memorable to me happened way back in 1991. As Dimitri and Natalie toasted their engagement, Helga Voynitzeva wheeled the supposedly dead Angelique in for all the world to see. Well, at least all of Pine Valley. Another favorite was the first tornado that tore through Pine Valley back when computer-generated graphics were the things daytime execs could only dream about. What is your favorite party-crashing moment or unexpected drama? I'd love to hear your thoughts -- so be sure to send over some email to let me know. I'll share some of your favorites next week!

That being said, in the interest of full disclosure, I think this dance-a-thon storyline is ridiculous. I'll get more into why I am not doing a jig over the plot in a little bit. In the meantime, I am sure that some of you are wondering why the show opted to go with a dance marathon story as a way to get everyone together. That's right, this isn't just a storyline that the writers concocted because they had nothing better to pen. There's actually a reason for it.

The easy answer is that it was a way to capitalize on the Dancing With the Stars experience shared by Cameron Mathison (Ryan Lavery) and Susan Lucci (Erica Kane). If you've been ignoring the promotions, the new season of Dancing With the Stars starts this week, so the timing seems perfect. I doubt that ABC will air any sort of promotions for All My Children during its money-making celebrity dancing show, which is a shame. "You've seen Erica Kane stare down a bear, but you've never seen her like this!" Cue the scenes of Erica Kane doing the chicken dance. Sadly, I don't think the primetime execs pay any attention to the daytime lineup to even have an inkling of an idea that AMC is doing a dance storyline.

According to AMC's executive producer, Julie Hanan Carruthers, AMC was forced into coming up with some sort of storyline that would allow the show to have all of its cast members in one spot because of budget constraints. Yes, that's right. The dance party is being held to save money. The show is either over budget or running low on cash, and the easiest way to save a dime is to utilize just one set for as long as possible. That saves money because the show doesn't have to cut checks to pay crews to assemble and disassemble sets every day. It seems a little crazy, right? That may also add a little credence to the claims made regarding AMC's need to move to Los Angeles in order to save money.

Now, back to the chicken dance. According to Chrishell Stause (Amanda Dillon), AMC hired a professional choreographer to teach the cast how to do the chicken dance. I have no idea if there is some sort of agreement with the various unions that required the show to pay for a choreographer, but are you telling me that there wasn't someone in the cast or crew that could have stepped up to offer chicken dance lessons for free? If money is so tight that AMC isn't able to change out its scenes, it seems silly to me that they are paying for a little bit of this and a little bit of that and a little bit of...

I am also wondering why All My Children passed on an opportunity to actually raise money for a children's charity. Maybe someone at the network thought it would be in poor taste to use the dance plot to ask viewers to send in money. Maybe it would have been a better idea to ask viewers to send in money to help save All My Children. Still, I think it would have been interesting to allow fans to call up and make a donation for their favorite couples.

Just to allay fears that I've been kidnapped by an evil, mean twin, there really are things that I have enjoyed about the dance plot. So let me get to that.

Tad has been hilarious as the emcee. I can't help but feel that he is asking all the sassy, troublemaking questions that all of the viewers would want to ask.

Ann-ye West amused me when she yanked the microphone away from Tad to give an extended shout-out to her daughter. Am I to believe that there are really people who are calling in to pledge money to a murderer? I guess anything is possible.

Adam has some flashbacks of the night his brother was killed, but they really didn't clear anything up, did they? He must have been tired when he left the dance competition because I don't think a well-rested Adam would leave Scott to tend to Annie. I have to admit that I was a bit irritated with Adam for his JR-is-an-alcoholic rant. He is going to feel like a total jerk when he learns that JR is battling cancer.

I hope that Jake and Amanda don't try to hatch another plan. Tad was right when he admonished them for all of their botched plots. Though something tells me that we haven't seen the last of their scheming. Meanwhile, "Jamanda" fans are in for a few rough weeks.

Another quick ick. Opal's son gave new meaning to his name Pee-ty last week. The first potty mention made me laugh. The second, third, and fourth made me wish for a product placement from Depends or that "gotta go, gotta go right now" medicine.

I thought the prelude to the dance marathon was great. After everyone had left Fusion for the night, someone wearing high-heeled shoes slowly made their way out of the shadows. As the camera panned up, viewers learned that the mystery person was Madison North. I remember screaming, "Oooh! This chick is nuts!"

Sure enough, she proved me right by spiking Randi's water with something to make her go nuts. I wonder if she got her potion from David Hayward's stash. We'll call it Makemeanizone. And now Randi is missing in action and Taylor is slumped over in a bathroom stall. The germaphobe in me is running for the Clorox and Purell.

Dialing things back to last week's column, I want to thank all of you who wrote in to nominate the meanest villain of all time. Ray Gardner seemed to edge out the competition, but Billy Clyde Tuggle was a close second. Others receiving a bunch of votes were Vanessa Bennett and Palmer Cortlandt. Palmer? I always thought of him as a meddling old coot, but never a villain. I'd also like to send out a collective hello to James Mitchell, who has played Palmer for several decades. There's been talk that the actor has been in poor health and I know that AMC viewers wish him a speedy recovery so that they can see him back in Pine Valley again.

Alrighty folks, I've sat still long enough. I don't want to be disqualified from the competition for taking some time out to talk to my online friends.


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