The other night I had an AMC-related dream, the punch line of which was that the announcement about AMC's second life was just a joke. I don't believe for a moment that the Prospect Park deal is some sort of ruse to distract fans from the fact that the show has been canceled. I won't say that the thought didn't cross my mind, but as of right now I truly believe that the show will go on... at least in some sort of fashion. I am sure that I am not alone, though, in saying that the past few months of cancellation and resurrection rumors seem like one big dream. Or perhaps one big nightmare.
Over the past year or so -- maybe even longer -- I've gotten quite a few messages from fans who'd said that they wanted All My Children do something to erase the storyline debacles of the past few years. For all of you computer geeks out there, sort of a Control-Alt-Delete. The disastrous plots that folks have cited include the unabortion of Josh Madden, Bianca having a secret child with brother-in-law Zach, Dixie's death by pancakes... and the list goes on.
Somewhat ironically, the device suggested by more than a few AMC viewers was to have the past few years all be a dream. You know, sort of like Dallas did when it had the supposed-dead Bobby Ewing pop up in the shower. I think it was something like an entire season (or maybe more) that was wiped clean because fans were unhappy with what the show had become.
Maybe the past few years haven't been completely zapped away, but you can see some of the efforts that are being made to at least distance the current show from the mess it had become. And for good measure, AMC's new writing team even threw in an episode last week that was filled with dreams and nightmares.
Last week, Soap Opera Digest columnist Carolyn Hinsey was my guest on Soap Central Live. She and I were chatting about her new book, Afternoon Delight: Why Soaps Still Matter, and we talked a bit about the "unbelievable" things that happen on soaps that fans are willing to overlook. You know, the criminals who always manage to evade jail time, and the constant DNA switches. If you missed the show, you can click here to pull up the show page, and then you can stream the show or download it for later listening. It's totally free to do either.
One of the topics that Carolyn touches on in the book is that there are seldom any consequences to people sleeping around. Few, if any, use protection, and no one ever seems to get any sort of sexually transmitted disease. That's not the case with Amanda. I have to say that I was surprised that AMC opted to explore HPV. Let's face it, it's not exactly something that conjures up imagery of "Love in the Afternoon." But HPV is something that's real. In the past, we've even seen the commercial for a vaccine that featured girls chanting, "I wanna be one less, one less."
Here's where I have my problem: Cara was the only doctor in all of Pine Valley that could run Amanda's test? You know, the woman who was once married to Amanda's husband, Jake, the man that Amanda cheated on. I don't think it would have been any better to have had Cara "overhear" Amanda receiving the news from another doctor. Maybe I have more of an issue that there are only four or so doctors working at Pine Valley Hospital.
I'm also perplexed why Amanda felt the need to blurt out that she had gotten the HPV infection "three weeks ago" from her one-day stand with JR. I may have missed something, but I could've sworn that Cara told Amanda that she could have "caught" HPV at any point -- not just in recent days. We have no way of knowing whether or not Amanda has been screened regularly, but it seemed heavy-handed to have all that happen to play out to Amanda's blurted-out confession to Jake.
In related social issue news, it was heartbreaking for me to see JR take a drink. It was bad enough a few weeks ago when "Erica" almost took a drink. It's a blow to any man's ego when the woman he loves leaves him for someone else. I'm sure you could argue that Marissa didn't leave JR -- she'd already left. I suppose, though, that the situation was framed perfectly to make JR's falling off the wagon realistic. It's not like he stubbed his toe and decided that he needed to curl up with a bottle of scotch to numb the pain.
Alcohol abuse is often used as a plot device. JR's sister, Hayley, has battled alcohol addiction. Her mother, Arlene, was an alcoholic. Erica battled addiction. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Will Marissa feel that she was responsible for JR's broken sobriety and run back to him? Will Dixie return just in time to save her son from an alcohol-related disaster? Will AJ catch his dad drinking and force JR to reevaluate things? I have no idea, but the storyline has caught my attention.
The same can't be said for Maya and her abusive boyfriend. Mookie? Really? Domestic abuse is something that should not be taken lightly, but the storyline is a bit too... cookie cutter. I suppose, though, that it's summer and this is this year's teen storyline. Newcomer Trai Byers is doing a great job of playing the creepy Mookie. It always blows my mind when a young woman brushes off being hit, slapped, punched, kicked, or pushed by her boyfriend. "I upset him," the girl might say. So hopefully the message won't get lost in the melodrama.
David Hayward continues to fascinate me. Just when it seems that he's a total scumbag that needs to be shipped off to jail for the rest of his life... somehow, someway the writers find a way to make him human. Sure, he filled Maria's head with lies -- but he did save her life. Sure, he was a jerk to Greenlee once they married, but he saved her life. Yeah, David has been a jerk to the Hubbards, but he's helping Angie to get her vision back. David's morals system might be in need of an overhaul, but he sure is the guy to wanna look up if every other doctor has written you off.
Now we have this Orpheus mystery. I'm going to guess that Orpheus and its infinity-like logo has something to do with being able to bring people back from the edge of death. It's ironic since All My Children itself has been brought back from the brink. I don't know what that has to do with Greek mythology and music, but maybe we'll learn that in the weeks ahead.
Do fire alarms really stop ringing just because someone flips the switch back to "off." I'd imagine that would be a safety hazard.
I thought that the scene where "Erica" announced to her family and loved ones that she was in love with David was well done. Walt Willey played every note properly, though I expected Jack to slug the hell out of David. Erica handing her ring over to Jack was sad to me. It was like the end of an era. Yeah, I know it'll all be fixed at some point and that Erica is really "Erica," but so what? It was still sad! I also wasn't expected David to propose. That caught me off-guard.
Quick math: Erica revealed that she was raped by Richard Fields when she was 14. The event happened off-screen before All My Children went on the air in 1970. That would mean Kendall would have to be at least 41 years old.
Do we know for a fact that Eric Kane is dead or alive? Erica's revelation last week about how many of her actions have been the result of her feelings for her father was monumental. First, the use of flashbacks was spectacular. That is how you know that the person writing the show knows the history of the show. Second, and it may have taken 41 years to do so, but it showed that Erica has finally grown up. I'd absolutely love to see Erica square off with her father and have the opportunity to tell him all of the things that she's repressed (or suppressed) for all these years.
At the end of the day, it won't change all of the nightmares that Erica has had to endure... but hopefully it will allow her to finally rest peacefully at night.