Yeah, I guess we've all become somewhat jaded over the years. Or maybe we've just come to expect a little more from our soapy storytelling. Well, there were quite a few moments of AMC action last week that caused my draw to drop. I have to admit that I was surprised -- but it was definitely a good surprise.
I went through all of the stages of grief during Gillian's blink-and-you-missed-it return. It was so great to see Esta TerBlanche back on-screen. I remember how obnoxious Gillian was when she first flitted her way into Pine Valley. I can't remember why or when it happened, but Gillian won me over... and she became a character that I rooted for. I like when there are characters that make me feel something... good or bad. It prompts some sort of emotional involvement in the show. If you don't care about the characters, you won't care about the stories, and you'll tune out. I think ABC learned that with the fan outcry after the cancellation announcement.
But let me get back on track. I was so excited when I heard that Gillian would be returning. Then there she was... right at the end of Wednesday's episode. For a whopping 30 seconds. I knew that Ryan would end up seeing Gillian. The stage was set perfectly for it to happen. I even knew that Gillian would be a vision. That didn't stop my eyes from welling up. Sure, Esta TerBlanche was given only a few words to say. Those words, though, were packed with so much emotion that it just pushed me over the edge.
AMC could easily have used vintage video or skipped over the "vision of love" entirely -- but this made sense. It worked in so many ways. Then, when I realized that the 30 seconds was over and Gillian had again left us... I became angry. All that hubbub for ten words? I hit the rewind button on my TiVo. Maybe 20 words over 60 seconds would somehow make it better. It didn't. In fact, it just made me sadder. In that brief flash of time, it made me think about all the people in my life that I loved -- or who loved me -- that are no longer here.
What surprised me even more was that I felt for Ryan. He wasn't the yelling, chest-thumping jerk that he can so often be (and was for pretty much the rest of the week). I'm not sure what the rest of you thought, but one of the readers of this column, Carole, contacted me on Facebook with her thoughts. "I almost saw the 'real' Ryan," she wrote.
Then as we reached the end of the week, Ryan volleyed one of the biggest "wow" statements in a long time. After Ryan's farewell to Gillian, he tracked David down at the hospital and talked about how David "must've brought Leora back." He then did some quick calculations and added, "She'd be, what, about 8 years old now?" In any of the many encounters people have had with David, they always turn to calling David bad names. He's a creep, he's a bad doctor, he has a huge ego... This was the first time that I think anyone ever hit David with an emotional wallop.
David isn't the only one with an ego the size of the Pine Valley Ocean. Tad surprised me by claiming that David's interest in Cara was some sort of twisted revenge plot against Tad. Not everything is about you, Tad. That was a very uncharacteristic remark for Tad to make. Not sure where it came from, but it needs to crawl on back and never show its face again.
Cara and David's bedroom romp was extremely soapy. You know whenever there is an awkward pause in a conversation that someone's gonna get it on. That proved to be the case between a tipsy Cara and an obviously enamored David. What threw me for a loop was the afterglow. "That was freaking unbelievable," Cara crowed. David said nothing. I guess he didn't have to toot his own horn because Cara had already done that.
What surprised me -- other than that this was the third or fourth reference recently that talked about how good David was in bed -- was Cara's exclamation that she had no idea how much she "needed that." I am, as some of my Facebook postings have probably shown, by no means a prude. I wasn't offended in the least. I was, however, surprised that something that might be considered by some to be a little too risqué for a daytime drama series managed to sneak its way into the show.
One more David comment before I move on to other characters. The deal that Zach brokered with David? Something's not quite right. I thought Zach was trying to pull a fast one on David, but now I am not so sure. Could he really be on the up-and-up? I am also really liking jerk Zach. I mean that in a very nice, loving way. Zach has always been a little... gruff. That may have been part of his charm. Now, though, he's bordering on villain -- and I love it. I've already moved past the happiness that Zach and Kendall are back together for the finale, and I am rooting for Thorsten Kaye to sign on the dotted line with Prospect Park so that Zach can continue giving people a hard time.
We are inching closer to Angie finding out the truth about little Ellie. I guess we all knew the day was coming. As a precursor to everything, there was a moment of brilliance in the storytelling. Very rarely do people gather together any more on the soaps. The storytelling seems to be segmented so that certain characters never cross paths with others. That wasn't the case with the gathering of moms early on in the week.
With the long-running nature of soaps, a lot of the stories have played out before in one way or another. That may lead to accusations of recycling story ideas, but there is something good that comes out of revisiting stories. When history is repeated, there is the opportunity to tell poignant stories. That was the case with Maya overhearing Krystal, Dixie, Amanda, and Angie talking about their various trials and tribulations of being a mom. I may, may have felt a little sympathy for Maya as she revisited the regret that she had over "giving up" her baby. I don't know that abandoning a newborn in a police car really qualifies as "giving up," but whatever. Tomato, tomahto.
The Bianca-Marissa sex tape blew my mind. I didn't see that one coming at all. There was no secret skulking around in Marissa's hotel room or any mention of the plot to a shady character.
I "aww"ed when Brot asked Jesse for permission to propose to Natalia. Natalia has been off-screen for a while, but it was so great to see Shannon Kane take some time out of from her movie schedule to put in an AMC appearance. Brot and Natalia are a cute couple, and I can definitely support their union. Unfortunately, I don't know what sort of future storylines they'd have as a happily married couple.
While we're talking about couples, let's talk about a couple from yesteryear that seems to have been thrust back into the foreground. I am a little thrown by Erica's recent obsession with Mike Roy. First of all, I thought he'd already come back from the dead -- and, unless I missed something, I had no idea that he re-died. Back in the mid-1980s, Mike died in Erica's arms. But in 1998, Mike turned up very much alive. His "death" was all part of needing to go undercover as a secret agent, if I remember correctly. When we last saw him, Mike was trying everything in his power to win back Erica. Many viewers felt at the time -- and some still do to this day -- that Mike was the love of Erica's life. I remember Mike's antics being somewhat childish and kind of annoying. He did get Erica in bed, and it ruined her relationship with (you guessed it!) Jack.
Are we really headed back to that? I certainly hope not. I don't want to revisit the years and years of Erica bouncing from man to man. I know that there needs to be a little drama left at the end of All My Children's run on ABC to keep people interested in the Internet version of the show.
I've tiptoed around the whole issue of what will happen less than a month from the time that this column was first posted. It's hard not to know what that is because there are commercials airing every five minutes that let us all know that we'll soon know how to turn a dishcloth into a napkin. My grandmother has been doing that for years. And putting mismatched plates on the dinner table to be cool? I think we all know someone who's been doing that for years, too. Not because it's cool -- but because some plates have broken over the years or because they've inherited different plates.
Commercials for this program that shall not be mentioned are airing on cable channels, during ABC's local newscasts, and, as I'm sure you've noticed, during All My Children. The amount of money that is being spent to promote this show must be astronomical. I think there should need to be a disclaimer on the commercials that air during AMC that tell viewers that this is the show that is killing off our soap. You notice that the timeslot where the show will air is printed in a much smaller font on all of the commercials. I don't know why. ABC made the decision and I don't think that they should hide behind this sort of fuzzy promotion.
The show probably won't get the ratings that All My Children gets. Maybe the first day it will because I am sure that there are some people who still don't know that All My Children is going to be going away. Every week I get messages from readers who are just finding out. But you know what -- that's okay. When All My Children moves its new home on the Internet or cable or my puppet show theater, it will be even more of a success than it's been on ABC. The show will grow and prosper, and everyone will see the value that the program has.
Whoo. That rant was freaking unbelievable. I had no idea how much I needed that. While I continue to channel my inner Cara, you can channel your inner rant or rave and send me some email. If you're not sure how to do it, you have several options: Click the Feedback option at the top of any page of the site, click the Email link at the footer of this message, or you can just click here to make it easier.