Opal got this week's "five years ago" mention when she said the Chandler Media Gala started out well, just like the last party at the Chandlers' five years ago. I feel like this comparison could actually help Brooke out. When her investors complain about the absolute disaster that was this week's party, she can always throw out, "Well, nobody got shot, died, or ended up in a coma." The investors should recognize that, for a Chandler event, that's a pretty decent outcome.
Just Say No If you, like me, were around in the 1980s, you may remember Nancy Reagan telling us to "just say no." Both Jesse and J.R. could have used a good talking-to from Nancy this week. Nancy could have warned them ahead of time that booze and steroid overuse can lead to embarrassing moments that ruin charity bachelor auctions for everyone.
I'd also like to think Nancy, just out of common sense, might have warned Cara that kissing J.R. was a very bad idea. I was delighted when Cara stood up to J.R. and told him off when he turned his steroid-amped Chandler rage on her. But then he came back and apologized, which led to a kiss and me loudly screaming "no!" at my laptop. I like Cara, and I hate seeing characters I like getting Chandler-ed because, let's face it, that never ends well.
Does anyone want to take bets as to how long it is before Cara says or does something that J.R. doesn't agree with again and he starts to blackmail her with the secret about her son? I've been waiting for that ever since J.R. learned Cara's secret and even more since he brought Oliver to town. Given the way J.R. is spinning out of control, I don't think it will be long now before he goes full-on-manipulative-Chandler on Cara.
Speaking of Cara's son, the timing of David finding Oliver passed out on the floor at the Chandlers' was all too convenient, but I'm willing to overlook it for the storyline potential. I love the idea of David getting to know and care for Oliver before he knows Oliver is his son. I'm also intrigued to see how Cara reacts to David taking care of Oliver. Of course she'll be scared for Oliver and worried David will find out the truth, but might she also witness David's paternal side and start to think maybe she shouldn't have kept him away from Oliver after all?
I'm not coming down on one side or the other here because goodness knows David can do some dastardly things, and just because he's being pleasant one moment doesn't mean he won't be drugging someone or performing illegal medical experiments the next. But -- and it pains me to say this because I'm a diehard Tad and Dixie fan who has been determined to dislike David for eternity because of his meddling in their relationship along with his other evil deeds -- I'm starting to love David. I might not trust him with my child, but there's no denying he's fun to watch.
Lightening Up Before I'd actually watched this week's episodes, I was ready to focus this column on how I thought All My Children needed to lighten up a little. I have loved the Cassandra storyline but thought the show was trending a little too dark and serious. However, this week's two installments struck a great balance between drama and light-hearted moments. I hope that momentum continues. Before this week, I was beginning to feel Colby and David, and Zach's relationship with Miranda, were some of the few bright spots.
Zach and Miranda's relationship has been such a pleasant surprise for me. Zach always had a strong bond with Bianca and was a loving uncle to Miranda when she was a kid. I'm thrilled that dynamic has transferred so beautifully into his relationship with teenage Miranda. Zach dotes on Miranda, and Miranda lights up when her uncle is around.
Zach can be a bit of a doofus and a chauvinist in other areas of his life. His relationship with Miranda really humanizes him for me. I adore the gigantic soft spot he has for her and the lengths he's willing to go to make her happy. I mean, he committed a felony to get her shoes and then stayed by her side throughout the whole gala because he could tell she was feeling alone. No one else has seemed to notice or care enough to talk to Miranda about her feelings for AJ. I love that Zach caught on and encouraged her to follow her heart and take a chance at being happy.
A pair I've been extremely unexpectedly charmed by is David and Colby. They're a bright spot among angst-ridden and some just plain lackluster couples. I tried to stop liking them after someone on Twitter reminded me that David was the doctor who delivered Colby, but not even that squick factor could steer me away. We didn't see much of them together this week, but I hope we've not seen the end of them as a pairing. No, they're not in love, but they do love scheming together.
David's been a bright spot for Angie in a different way than he has been for Colby. He's been there when Angie has needed him throughout this crisis with Cassandra. Sure, he has an angle that includes irritating Jesse and possibly some other motive we don't know about yet, but it's good to see Angie with a friend to lean on. And it's nice to see her smile. Angie's had nothing but darkness in her life lately, which made it all the more refreshing to see her dancing with David and giggling at the idea of him bidding on a year of bikini waxes.
Of course Angie had a good time with David just long enough for drunken Jesse to barge into the party, see them together, and throw a fit. Here is a thing I never thought I would say: Jesse would have been better off if he'd stayed at the bar and hung out with Billy Clyde.
I love Angie and Jesse, but it's difficult for me to root for Jesse when he keeps making the same mistake over and over again. I still shudder to think of the way he dragged out Angie's heartbreak over losing their baby by keeping the truth from her and passing off Maya's baby as theirs. Jesse's piled several more lies on now throughout Cassandra's kidnapping. I know he does it all with the thought of protecting Angie, but if he hasn't learned by now that he only ends up hurting her more, I doubt he ever will.
I don't blame Angie for being drawn to David who, from her point of view, is always straight with her and has been there for her when Jesse has distanced himself. David didn't seem to take any joy in Jesse's outburst, since it caused Angie pain. I do think he genuinely cares about Angie. Whether he took pleasure in this particular incident or not, he's certainly done his part to further the distance between Jesse and Angie.
Something David took joy in without question was JR's presentation failing miserably and JR's subsequently miserable failure at taking it in stride. David looked as overjoyed at this turn of events as I imagine he would if someone handed him an entire stash of human subjects to perform shady medical experiments on. I'm ninety-nine percent certain David caused the technical error, but, whether he did or not, he certainly wasn't disappointed to see it happen.
Colby has a similar zest for troublemaking, which is why she and David get along so well. She's happiest when she's making someone else's life difficult. She had her fun this week by bickering with Opal and, when her plot to ruin Celia's dress failed, by smashing some pie on Celia. I feel like I was supposed to feel bad for or root for Celia in this situation, but Celia's such a bummer that I was cheering Colby on.
I have been digging Brooke Newton's take on Colby Chandler from day one. She's one of those magical people you can put in a scene with just about anyone and have a delightful outcome. She throws people off balance and shakes things up wherever she goes, and that makes for interesting scenes.
We're also seeing a little more depth to Colby of late, which has her well on her way to becoming one of my favorite characters. In addition to her stellar scenes with Cassandra a few weeks ago, this week we saw her obvious disappointment when her father came to town and left again without bothering to say so much as a word to her. Adam is a stellar character and such an integral part of All My Children, and I delighted in having him back even briefly, but, good gracious, he does know how to screw up his children, doesn't he?
Colby played off Adam's slight as she does most things, but it was obvious Adam's slight hurt her deeply and that one moment gave so much insight into why she keeps so many people at a distance and often lashes out. Chandler children don't get taught Basic Human Emotions 101, much less the advanced courses.
Potential Pairings Speaking of people who need a crash course in Basic Human Emotions 101, let's talk about Dr. Sad McGrumperson, also known as Dr. Anders, and Dixie. Anders has got kind of a Clark Kent and Superman thing going on, except, when he loses his glasses, he doesn't become a superhero, he's just magically not a complete jerk anymore. On one level, I take issue with this because it's an abrupt 180 for this character.
However, this was the first time I had any fun watching Anders and Dixie together, so I'm not going to complain too much. Dixie's been taking her share of the show's angst-explosion lately, and I loved seeing her get a chance to lighten up and be adorably and awkwardly flirty with her, "It's nice seeing you out of scrubs. I mean, not like naked... I mean." While I enjoyed the scene, I hope they're not pushing these two as a long-term couple because I just don't see the great potential there.
Let me come clean. As I alluded to earlier in the column, I'm a huge Tad and Dixie fan. They top the list of my all-time favorite All My Children couples, and I've re-watched their last reunion over so many times that I often feel like YouTube is judging me. So, yes, I'm holding out hope that Michael E. Knight might agree to return and my favorite chicken-suit-wearing couple will be reunited.
That said, I'm open to other Dixie pairings. Cady McClain is stellar and shines in both dramatic and humorous scenes. I want to see her continue to be front and center with a wide array of scenes. I've loved seeing Dixie in a professional capacity, helping Cassandra, but I think Dixie deserves a little romance too. My first hope is that somewhere there is a The Online Network executive sending Michael E. Knight very expensive gift baskets and begging him to bring Tad back from his mysterious mission.
If that fails, I'd enjoy seeing Dixie and Zach paired up. I don't know that the show will go there, given how the fans exploded over any hint of a Dixie and Zach pairing in 2006, but, personally, I thought Cady and Thorsten truly sparked together back then, and I've been disappointed they've not had scenes together this time around. It didn't work in 2006 but, now that Tad and Kendall are M.I.A., they'd make sense as a pairing. If that doesn't happen, I'd love for the show to at least acknowledge the two of them were friends once upon a time.
When the online version started up, I also had thoughts of Dixie and Griffin together, but Griffin has since disappeared into the hospital basement, never to be seen again, so there's that hope dashed. Shame, they would have been so pretty together. One of the few drawbacks of a smaller cast is that there just aren't as many potential pairings to play with.
That's What Friends Are For In last week's column, Dan talked about having trouble caring about the new characters. I've had the same problem. I think part of the issue is, aside from their romantic interests, the newer characters still feel pretty isolated from the rest of the Pine Valley residents. Lea, for instance, has not one meaningful relationship on the canvas except for her relationship with Zach. Dr. Anders has a professional relationship with a few people at the hospital, and it seems to be part of his character that he doesn't make friends easily, but it's tough for me to care about him as a possible romantic interest for Dixie or anyone when I know zip about him.
An easy solution to this would be to give these people some freaking friends. I've had a tough time latching on to both Celia and Heather, and the most I've liked both of them was this week when they had a few minutes with Miranda sharing some girl talk. Soaps tend to focus on romance, and I love that, but friends and family are an equally important part of the foundation of both soap operas and characters. You learn a lot about people through the way they act with their friends.
What would All My Children have been without the adventures of Opal and her best gal pal, Erica Kane, or the on-again, off-again friendship between Greenlee and Kendall? I never cared much for Greenlee and Ryan together, and I don't know that Greenlee would have grown on me had all of her scenes been with him. However, I grew to love Greenlee through her relationship with Kendall. Friendships make for a more well-rounded character and give viewers, who might not be invested in the pairing a particular character is in, another avenue to get to know and appreciate that character.
I hope that, going forward, the show will establish some strong non-romantic relationships for the newer characters. Let Celia continue to clash with Colby and build a stronger friendship with Miranda. Maybe Lea could strike up a friendship with Jesse? It would probably be best to wait until he's no longer drunk. He didn't seem too friendly when he was telling her to "shut the hell up" this week, but the two of them worked well together, and I think Jesse will eventually realize and respect that Lea was just doing her job when she turned him in. I have a hard time imagining who would befriend Dr. Anders besides Dixie. But, honestly, I feel that relationship would be better staying a friendship anyway.
Do you agree with me that the new characters could use some buddies? What friendship pairings would like to see happen or see explored further? Click here to email your thoughts, or post your thoughts in the Comments section below.