Every fairytale has a happy ending. The fair maiden and the prince ride off into the sunset on a beautiful steed. The billionaire businessman climbs a fire escape to whisk the hooker away into a life of privilege. The evil doctor and the beautiful doctor lie on their backs in the park and watch clouds float by.
Say what? What fairytale have you been reading?
I'm going to start off with the not-so-happy material that's been playing out in Pine Valley over the past week. There sure has been a lot of it, so much that I worry that we might not see any happy endings when All My Children airs its final episode on ABC in less than two weeks.
JR's life is continuing to spin dangerously out of control. What scares me, is that I can't really recall what started this mess. It seems unfathomable to me that JR's world would be turned so upside down just because he lost a woman. There are some unprintable lyrics of a rap song that sum up why someone shouldn't let a broken heart dictate their life, but since they are unprintable... I'm going to have to find a more PG way to express my thoughts.
Actually, I'm going to zoom back in time. As I was averting naughty words in that last paragraph, it occurred to me that JR's trouble didn't just begin with Marissa leaving him. Marissa could have left him for another man, and I fear that the unspooling would have been the same.
Dixie's non-death also didn't help right JR's boat. JR dealt with losing his mother once, and then had to go through it a second time -- all for naught. He also lost the woman he loved, Babe, in what may still be one of the more heart-wrenching scenes in AMC's recent years: a mother sacrificing her own life so that her child might live.
Keep winding the clock back, and there are even more things that have set the stage for what's happening now. Adam had Dixie locked away in a psychiatric care facility in order to keep her away from JR. There has been turmoil in JR's life ever since he was an infant. It's amazing that he was as well-adjusted as he was.
I have to be honest and say that I don't see JR getting back on course any time soon. I kind of think that it might get worse before it gets better. He is so driven by anger -- maybe even rage -- that he's not thinking out any of his actions. I don't even think he'd be "fixed" if it turns out that Babe is still being kept alive somewhere in one of David's futuristic labs (that somehow are all in the most decrepit of locations).
One thing that I wasn't clear on was the foreclosure of the Chandler property. One would think that the property would have been paid off by now, but I guess maybe someone remortgaged the property to pay some bills? I vaguely recall Zach buying the property at some point and kicking out the Chandlers. I guess it was never really stated whether or not the property was paid off. Just wondering aloud... and hoping I wasn't the only one thinking that.
In the midst of the darkness, there was a bit of comedy -- even if it was soapily over-the-top comedy. Long-time viewers have seen numerous cameos by the Cluck Cluck Chicken Shack's mascot over the years. And certainly if you're a newer viewer, you've heard the stories of Tad donning a chicken suit and the fried chicken marriage proposal.
It was a cute nod to history that the chicken head was on the other, um, foot when Dixie donned the chicken suit to woo Tad. The germophobe in me, however, has now vowed to never wear that type of costume after hearing that it may have been infested with bedbugs.
Michael E. Knight has always been the goofy one. Tad's kooky sense of humor has endeared him to so many fans. Cady McClain, however, has always had to play somewhat of the victim (except for those remote scenes when Dixie and Tad were in the river and Dixie clung on to Tad in order to prevent him for drowning). It was egg-citing to get to see Cady flex her cooped-up comedic chops. Again, of course, it was soapy, beak-cause that's the very nature of Tad and Dixie's relationship. If anything, it may have made it more special -- and that's no poultry task.
Ahem. Sorry about that.
I also wonder why Dixie hasn't asked to meet her "new" cousin, Caleb. Seems that something was dropped along the way that needs to be picked back up.
I appreciate the lengths that All My Children has been going to in order to incorporate so many former stars into its final weeks on the air. However, I am not sure that Carol Burnett's reprisal of Verla Grubbs worked for me. Please don't get me wrong: if Carol Burnett's people phoned and said that she wanted to write a Two Scoops column, I wouldn't care if she wrote it in crayon. I'd be honored to have her as a guest columnist.
I refuse to believe that Erica and Verla had never crossed paths before. I seem to remember Verla being at Pine Valley Hospital with the rest of the gang for one of AMC's anniversary shows. I believe it was the 35th anniversary, because I remember that it was Ruth Warrick's final appearance on the show before she passed away. The entire time that Erica and Verla appeared together, all I could think of was, "They must have met before." That thought was so present in my mind that I had to rewind to the beginning of the scenes and re-watch them because I didn't hear a word of what was being said. Maybe I'm wrong -- it wouldn't be the first time.
I did, however, like that Verla was given a very well-written, quintessential Carol Burnett moment as a sendoff. After Verla was rejected, she stormed towards the door, disappearing behind a wall for a moment -- and letting out a wail of rejection -- before resurfacing on the other side of the wall with an obviously forced smile.
In the last bit, I mentioned the legendary Ruth Warrick. All My Children lost another of its most familiar faces last week with the passing of Mary Fickett (Ruth Martin). Mary was an original cast member and was part of one of those iconic soap couplings that required no last names. Joe and Ruth. Say those three words and millions of people will have an immediate reaction. Mary was also the first-ever performer to win an Emmy for their work on a soap opera. It seems odd to think that the Academy at one point didn't think to honor the talented men and women who bring to life such amazing stories five times a week. I'm especially proud that ABC will dedicate the September 21 episode to Mary Fickett. I think that decision proves that it's not hard to do the right thing.
I didn't know that J. Peterman had stopped selling clothing and become a movie producer. I think I may need to stop watching Seinfeld reruns after watching All My Children -- it just ends up confusing me. I don't know if John O'Hurley is an All My Children fan that asked to be part of the show before it goes off the air or if he just happened to land the role of Kit Sterling in a regular casting call. Either way, I am not entirely sure that we needed to have this particular plot element. There is still one unanswered question: Whose book got published faster -- Erica's or Kendal's?
I am surprised by how much I like David and Cara as a couple. It's almost as if wide-eyed Cara brings out the softer side of David. I was moved by Cara and her dolls, particularly as she explained how each of the dolls represented something unhappy in her life. In that moment, David was supportive, urging Cara not to allow the uncertainty surrounding her health to overwhelm her. We don't often think of David being tender. I'm not questioning if he's done good over the years -- even if it has been via questionable methods. The last time I can recall David being truly vulnerable was when little Leora died.
It was perfectly in character for David to reject Cara's request that he plop down on the ground and look at clouds. This is a man who has a pretty hefty deity complex. Cloud-watching was probably not high up on David's priority list when he could be using that time to... oh, I don't know... bring people back from the dead and/or make them sexually insatiable. Watching David melt as he bickered over whether or not the cumulonimbus alligator had a stethoscope or a walking stick was sweet.
And now that Cara is pregnant (unless she and Tad did something that we don't know about) and Griffin is "dead," who knows what's going to happen. With just ten episodes remaining as of the time of writing this column, it's sure looking unlikely that it's going to end well.
For so many of us, our soaps are a way to escape reality -- or at least a way to divert our attention for a couple of hours a day. It was... difficult to write a column this week about resurrections and other inanity knowing that we're marking the tenth anniversary of events that forever changed our lives. While we may laugh at the chicken suit antics of a daytime supercouple or argue over whether or not a storyline is realistic or not, one thing remains clear and constant: we will never forget.