What All My Children can learn from the other soaps

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What All My Children can learn from the other soaps
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The week of October 18, 2010
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I've owned and operated the Soap Central web site for more than 15 years now, and there are certain things that I think I tend to assume that folks know about me. Since this site started as The AMC Pages, an All My Children-only fan site, I know that many of you have been here since Day One or pretty near it because of your love of all things Pine Valley.

I've owned and operated the Soap Central web site for more than 15 years now, and there are certain things that I think I tend to assume that folks know about me. Since this site started as The AMC Pages, an All My Children-only fan site, I know that many of you have been here since Day One or pretty near it because of your love of all things Pine Valley.

I'm fairly certain that everyone reading this column knows that I keep up with all of the soaps, not just All My Children. But in case you didn't, for my work here on Soap Central, I do watch all of the soaps -- not every one, every day, but I keep up on all of them. It's a requirement when you're interviewing daytime stars.

However, I know that not everyone reading this column wants to watch other soaps. Ordinarily, I would not feel the need to discuss other soaps in this space -- it is an All My Children column, after all. Over the past week, though, I have noticed that there are a few things that the folks at AMC could learn by watching some of the other soaps. And don't worry: I will be discussing all of the action on All My Children, too.

Where have the jaw-dropping cliffhangers gone? It's been forever since there was a Friday finale that made me annoyed with Saturday and Sunday for coming in the way of my storyline resolution. I'm remembering back to the days of everyone finding out on a Friday that "Natalie" was actually Janet. Or when Helga wheeled out the supposedly dead Angelique Marick just as Dimitri and Natalie were about to marry.

What did we get last week? Ryan planted a surprise pucker on Greenlee. Rylee fans may have been rejoicing, but for me it was more like, "This again?" And before you start tip-tapping away on your angry emails: I don't dislike Ryan and Greenlee together. I don't necessarily like them together either, though. I'm just ready for a new chapter. I've seen this story several times before, and I'm kinda over it. I might be more receptive if there's a new twist or angle coming. But I doubt it.

Whereas AMC fans got a kiss for a cliffhanger, One Life to Live viewers got a whole bunch of drama. Here's the Reader's Digest version: A young woman named Dani was kidnapped and tied up. She managed to free herself and then readied to rescue someone else who had also been kidnapped along with her. When Dani broke open the door to free the other woman, she found that the other prisoner was actually her mother -- a woman who had supposedly died two months earlier. Sure, it's soapy -- but I can't wait to see what happens next.

Back to AMC, I was actually more intrigued by the way Scott was written out of the show. In case you didn't know, Adam Mayfield last aired on October 15 when Scott was shipped off for a two-year prison sentence. Of course we know Scott won't be in the clink that long. I thought the sendoff scenes were done well. There were so many great moments between Scott and Annie, and Scott and JR. But the ones that really stood out for me were between Scott and Marissa. All the emotion of two performers who'd been let go worked their way to the surface.

"[I]n another life, we would have met somewhere far away from Chandler," Scott told Marissa. "A little town on a lake."

Has there ever been someone in your life who you knew would have fit better into your life if you'd met in another place and time? It's funny how things don't always work out the way that we want them to.

Occasionally, I worry that All My Children has lost its humanity. There aren't any stories to challenge the viewers to think about their own lives. I don't want AMC to become an After School Special, but there's only so much roly-poly bed action that we can see before it becomes repetitive. Over on The Bold and the Beautiful, the show has a double-edged storyline involving one of its core characters, Stephanie Forrester. The character has cancer and the prognosis isn't good. Stephanie decided that she didn't want treatment and has been doing the whole "bucket list" thing. In the midst of all of that, this multi-squillionaire crosses paths with people who are less fortunate than her... and ends up reevaluating her own life.

When I think back to your emails from last week's column, so many of you agreed with me when I said that Erica's days as America's oldest teenager need to end. More than a few of you felt that Erica and Jack should become the new Ruth and Joe. I'm not sure if I see that working, but I do want to see some growth.

I am going to be very interested to see what happens to Annie now that she has been cut off. I'd like to see her have to go back to square one and start all over. She's had so many chances and she's poo-pooed on every one of those chances. It's no different than being spared from jail, but being warned that you're as good as locked up if you mess up again. You can guarantee that I wouldn't so much as sneeze in the wrong direction if I was given a chance to stay out of jail. But back to Annie, I have to wonder if the writers would even consider giving Annie a hard-luck story. I wonder if viewers would be interested in seeing that... would you? When you're done reading this week's column, send me a message and let me know.

Erica's house is finally finished -- and it only took two years! Well, maybe it wasn't quite that long, but it sure seems like it.

With as many courtroom dramas that are on the air, I cannot for the life of me figure out why soap trials seem so much less dramatic. I usually try to guess how long it will take for the judge to mutter the "short leash" remark to one of the attorneys.

I guess the next big event is the return of Zach Slater. Were you surprised to see Kendall and Zach's place taken out of mothballs? I was. It took me a few minutes to figure out what that place was.

AMC seems to be doing a good job at reinvigorating the Chandler and Cortlandt families. It seems that every few years, one soap or another gets the idea to focus on families that fans care about rather than introducing new families that no one's ever heard of. Let's be honest: the Adam Chandler vs. Palmer Cortlandt rivalry will never be replaced. That's a piece of AMC history that can't be duplicated and shouldn't be duplicated. It is interesting, though, that the writers have decided to do an intergenerational Hatfield/McCoy story. JR and Caleb make surprisingly good foils for each other.

I will end this column for now. I am serving on the Greenlee Smythe Hayward murder trial jury and I want to make sure I am bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for all the proceedings this week. You're welcome to tag along with me, but I'm warning you: you're on a short leash.


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