There are elements of soap operas that are typically and inextricably soapy. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Some of these plot devices, however, are much easier for viewers to accept and digest. The other, less palatable ones, though, always seem to be the ones that soap fans remember.
Is there anything more melodramatic than someone standing over a comatose patient ranting and raving... and then having the patient regain consciousness? Just for good measure, the "awakee" even gets to mutter someone's name -- usually the person that put them in the coma in the first place.
One would think that David's brush with death would have made him a changed man. It didn't. Again, not that there's anything wrong with that. Every soap needs a villain to kick around. They keep things interesting. Within an hour of regaining consciousness, David was blackmailing Erica, stealing a cell phone, and thwarting Jesse's investigation.
I was somewhat surprised to read in one of the soap magazines that AMC's writers had toyed with the idea of having David envision how his life could have been had he chosen a different path. It's not quite a visit from the three Ghosts of Christmas, but I think it could have provided for some very watchable moments. There were even different angles that could have been played.
The first angle that comes to mind is the opportunity for AMC to have rewritten a past life for David -- the life that could have been had he been... well, a little nicer. Perhaps some AMC vets -- like Marj Dusay (ex-Vanessa Bennett) and Finola Hughes (ex-Anna Devane) could have been convinced to return for a one-day special episode.
In another angle that could have played out, perhaps we might have been privy to some futuristic storytelling that showed how David's life could have been had he come out of his coma as a less evil doctor. Can you imagine people actually being happy to see David?
The reason none of this was done? Apparently, co-head writer Donna Swajeski said it was "hard to sustain" that type of story.
Is anyone else out there asking themselves what's going to happen with David? The guy was on his way to prison when he escaped and subsequently got shot. Short of stepping in to perform a miracle that saves someone's life, I don't see him getting a pardon or a "Get Out of Jail Free" card. So does this mean that we'll soon be without another male lead on All My Children?
It's bad enough that we're going to be losing a female lead. Melissa Claire Egan has announced that she's chosen to leave the show. So much of what's been good about AMC over the past few months has involved Annie -- so losing Melissa now is definitely not a good thing. The buildup of JR and Annie has had fans and critics talking, and now it looks like that's pretty much a thing of the past.
Don't get me wrong: one actor does not a show make. If you're familiar with the game Jenga (and no, they are not paying for this product placement), each performer is like a block in the Jenga tower. If you remove the wrong block, the whole stack of blocks becomes unstable... until eventually the thing comes crashing down. Then you have to gather up all the blocks, rebuild, and start over again.
My concern is that no one at ABC seems to want to gather up the blocks. So... once the stack of blocks comes tumbling down... Let's not talk about that, okay?
Another soapy element that was used last week is the tortured lover trick. Brot and Natalia agreed to make love for the first time, but when Natalia woke up... Brot was gone. Of course, she naturally assumed that Brot was like all the other guys in the world and just used her for sex. After she hollered at someone because she couldn't get a cup of coffee, Brot showed up, and Natalia realized she'd made a mistake.
I don't know if any of you readers like Brot and Natalia as a couple because few people have taken the time to write in about them, but I like the story. We've gotten to see the entire courtship between the two. It wasn't rushed. There was a slow, organic build -- and I like that. Personally, I'd prefer to see that done with more pairings.
If we didn't already know that Griffin was going to make some sort of romantic play for Kendall in the future, last week we were clubbed over the head with it -- several times over. First, there was Griffin adamantly denying that he could ever have romantic feelings for someone under his care. Didn't catch that one? Then how about his creepy, stalker-like prowl outside of Kendall's house while Reverend Ricky was visiting with Kendall? So it looks like David didn't just teach Griffin about cardiology -- he also taught him how to be lecherous! Or am I the only one that thinks Griffin is a bit creepy?
The big February Sweeps event seems like it will be the Ryan/Greenlee wedding. You typically cannot have a wedding in daytime without something soapy happening. Considering what we've got to deal with, I'm guessing that Ryan will find out about Madison's baby somewhere between I and do.
We're still no closer to finding out if AMC is really planning to hire a new (or old) writer for the show. I got a lot of feedback from readers last week about the possibility of Megan McTavish coming back as head writer. Readers seemed mostly split down the middle about McTavish, but the majority of those who wrote in felt that it was time for David Kreizman and Donna Swajeski to be written out themselves.
Lorraine Broderick's name came up a lot as the favored replacement. To me, it doesn't matter who is at the helm, as long as they respect All My Children and do right by not only the fans, but also the actors, and creator Agnes Nixon.
Many of you also suggested that some guy named Dan J. Kroll help write the show. Never heard of him. In all seriousness, I appreciate that some of you think that I could help steer the ship. And with that bit of thanks, I do want to let everyone know that I will be stepping down from writing the All My Children column every week. My obligations to the site, Soap Central Live, and elsewhere cut into the time that I have to write this column. The last thing I want is to write a substandard column. The readers of this column deserve the best, and I'd like to make sure that you get it.
Beginning next week, I'll be featuring a series of guest columnists who want to come on board and share their AMC thoughts with you. Don't worry about me disappearing. I'll stick around until we find someone (or several someones) to pen the column.