Some characters are just harder to like than others

I often read message boards, magazine columns, and surf around the 'net to see what different people are saying about the various characters on the soaps. Though I write the Two Scoops column for All My Children, my job here at Soap Central requires me to keep up with all the different soaps and their characters.

It always amazes me when I see posts that are filled with venom for particular characters. What is it about these fictional characters that gets some soap fans so enraged that they'll whip out every naughty word (and some interesting combinations) imaginable? I'm not a Pollyanna -- or a Becca Tyree (remember her?) -- so I am not saying that I like every character on screen. There are some characters that are much harder to love than others. I am not sure if that is by design -- every show needs someone for fans to kick around -- or if it's all a matter of individuals' viewing preferences.

What do I mean? Let me try to explain.

Let's start with Liza. Liza has always been a character that splits viewer sentiment -- even before the role was recast last year. Back when Liza was first introduced, she falsely accused Jesse of rape. Year later, some fans hated Liza because she broke up Tad and Dixie. More recently, Zendall fans weren't thrilled with that card table quickie that Liza had with Zach.

Let's move to the present. I am not sure what to make of the talk Liza had with Krystal last week. You know, the one where she kept mentioning how hard it must be for Krystal to live under the same roof as ex-hubby Tad. I couldn't tell if Liza was being bitchy, helpful, or just trying to scare Krystal (a potential rival) away from Tad. Is this all that the writers can muster for Krystal? Why doesn't she have a storyline -- or a man? What happened to Rob, the guy with the injured penis? Are the new writers trying to set up a story for her? I really hope her "big story" doesn't involve slinging hash and advice, all for a reasonable price, at her new eatery.

Okay, before we move on, I have to share one of the most hilarious posts I've ever seen on the Soap Central message boards. It was posted shortly after Krystal became owner of a restaurant: Krystal Carey, Purveyor of BJ's.

I never expected Scott to be so cutthroat. After months of him tiptoeing through the tulips, he now has decided that he wants to steal Palmer Cortlandt's big idea that magically transforms anything and everything into a touch-screen computer and call it his own. Wow. Palmer has been gone, what, a little more than a month? And already people are dancing on his grave.

Am I the only one that came close to googling this breakthrough computer invention that Scott has been talking up? The idea sounds amazing, but it also sounds a little farfetched. I haven't actually made the commitment to research it yet to see if it's science fiction or reality, but I have thought about it!

That said, Annie has to be one of the hardest characters to like in recent years. This character has been put in some crazy situations -- and I sometimes think that some writers devise plots for short-term payoff without any thought to the long-term implications. Annie was introduced as a victim. She then went cuckoo, clobbered her nasty brother, and most viewers were entertained by her insanity. Then things took a bad turn. She was too crazy for too long. Now we're at a point where I am not sure that Annie is redeemable. Thankfully, many viewers seem to love the friction between JR and Annie. Had it not been for that distraction, I could easily see the writers ditching Annie altogether.

Damon is another character that is hard to like. Just when you feel bad for him for finding out that everything -- and I do mean everything -- in his life was a lie... he goes into criminal mode. This kid has an impressive tally of illicit and illegal activities: vandalism, burglary, making fake IDs. When the going gets tough, Damon becomes Demon. I suppose it would have been easier to have Damon become a drunk, so maybe we need to be happy that the story didn't go down that path.

I am sure that actor Finn Wittrock will be at the Emmys this year, and I have a lot of questions for him. It takes a really good actor to play a good jerk. If there's anything you want me to ask him, feel free to submit your questions using the Feedback link.

I love Opal, but even she can be hard to tolerate at times. That incessant vision stuff got old quick when the tornado was about to rip through town. Sure, she was right -- but enough of the constant squawking.

Speaking of squawking, I am so glad that Ryan has stopped yelling all the time. Remember when that was all he did? Yell, yell, yell. For a guy who has had plenty of chances and don't pretty well for himself, he seems awfully miserable. Dude, you started off as a con man, were an Internet billionaire, have had relationships with some of the hottest women in town, someone landed a job running a casino, and you are never happy!

Then there's Erica Kane. There may not be another character who is harder to love in all of daytime. First, what pilot is going to forgo a safety check just because some pushy diva says she's in a hurry? C'mon. As I mentioned last week, there was no suspense in wondering if Erica would live or die because we'd already been told by ABC that she'd live. If I am being honest with you, I wasn't looking forward to the plane crash story at all. A lame story idea just to introduce some scruffy hermit. That's how I pictured it playing out in my head.

So let me take this opportunity to admit that I was wrong. Caleb won me over the moment he opened his mouth. As Erica boohooed and carried on about how everything was all about her, Caleb wasted no time in setting her straight. He's also had more zingers in a single episode than anyone else in recent memory. "Sorry I didn't tidy up. You should have called ahead," he sassed when Erica lectured him for rummaging through what was left of his home. Nothing was funnier than when Caleb referred to Erica as "Dorothy," an obvious Wizard of Oz reference. I'm guessing Erica didn't get the joke because she quickly reminded the mountain man that her name was Erica. "Somebody falls out of the sky and lands on me, I call her what the hell I want," Caleb snarled. "Maybe I should call you Toto. Yeah, that's more fitting. Little yapper dog."

Other goodies: Erica looking for Caleb's dog, yelling, "Dog! Dog!" into the darkness of the wilderness. Caleb tossing Erica's luggage into the woods. Caleb squeezing his dog's stuffed mallard toy in Erica's direction to tell her to "duck off." Oh, there were so many!

Which AMC character is the hardest for you to love and why? I'd be interested in reading your comments on both past and present characters. So I hope that you'll send over some of your ideas. I will do my best to post some of them in my next column.

I haven't talked about it in Two Scoops yet, but AMC has recast the role of Bianca. I figured since I was mentioning a new character, I might as well talk about a new actress. Newcomer Christina Bennett Lind will take on Bianca in about two weeks. I'm not familiar with the actress and I have not seen any of her previous work. Some of the write-ups about the recast claim that Lind and Eden Riegel could pass as twins. I don't see that, but they do have some similar characteristics. Thankfully, Bianca won't suddenly become a blonde, busty bimbo. I know that some viewers feared that the show might try to backpedal and make Bianca heterosexual if the role were ever recast. That also does not appear to be the case, though there will be no immediate love interest for Bianca on the canvas.

As I close this column, it looks like Sweeps is coming a month late in Pine Valley. June is here and we finally have some fun storylines and there are others that are poised to be pretty gripping. It takes a while for a new writing team's stories to start to click, but I am optimistic that we're getting there.


Dan J Kroll
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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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