Well, it hasn't exactly been an action-packed start to sweeps. Yes, Kendall was crushed by debris and lapsed into a coma, Zach and Dixie were locked in a vault and Lily and Jonathan were running around Manhattan encountering various stereotypes, but it's not exactly the crazy, minute-to-minute pace the other ABC soaps have established so far this May.
That being said, there were a lot of things I really liked about this week... and a few things that drove me crazy. I usually try to put off discussing Zach and Kendall in a lame attempt to cover up my obvious obsession with these two, but this week I'm not even going to make the effort. (It's a good thing I wasn't writing last week's column - between the sex and the wedding, I think all I could have typed was "Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god!")
Reason #42,387 Why I Love Zach
The week started out with JR "accidentally" dropping several pounds of construction material onto his good friend, Kendall. Of course, JR's wife Babe was the intended target, but we'll get to that in a while. Kendall was rushed to the hospital, where Ryan and Erica worried about her condition. Meanwhile, Zach was off helping Dixie try to dig up info about Kate on Dr. Madden's creepy pregnancy island.
I'd just like to state, for the record, that I was not upset with Zach for taking this little trip so soon after the wedding. If he'd had his way, he and Kendall would have been off on their honeymoon, but she wanted to go to work (and no, I'm not upset about that either). This is a soap, and having Zach be out of reach during a crisis only to show up in the nick of time is just par for the course, in my opinion.
After having to break out of Greg's vault - the doc had locked them in when he realized they'd uncovered his secrets - Zach made it back to PVH just in time to stop Erica and Ryan from going ahead with an emergency C-section. It seems that Kendall is only 28 weeks along (I don't know how the math works on that one... looks like they used the same calculator they use to figure out Erica's age) so taking the baby would increase her chances of survival. Unfortunately, that puts little Spike at risk. A comatose Kendall wanted her mother and Ryan to save the baby before her, but they opted to save the Spike's mom - until Zach stepped in and made the decision Kendall can't make for herself. (Before I forget, did anyone else jump out of their skin when Kendall "woke up"? Holy &#@*!)
That is true love, people. If Zach were doing what he wanted, he would let them take the baby and save his wife, the woman he loves. But he knows that's not what Kendall wants. He knows she would give her life for her child. He was the one who helped her realize it. And even though it's killing him, he's going to honor her wishes. Don't even get me started on the wonderful, heartbreaking things that Zach and Comatose Kendall said to each other on Friday. I can't risk crying on my new laptop.
Now, I don't fault Erica or Ryan for making the decision that they made. It's only natural for Erica to want to save her daughter. Ryan's intentions seem OK, even though his decision still seemed based more on what he could live with, as opposed to what Kendall wanted. I am 100% certain that Ryan's going to revert to form, but I'll give him credit for risking his son's life to try to save his ex. The bottom line, though, is that Zach is doing what Kendall wants, regardless of his desires, and that's why it is so clear that these two belong together. Very hokey, I know, but what can I say? I just love these two and I won't stop saying it.
The Destruction of Adam Chandler Jr.
While Ryan, Erica and Zach were butting heads over how to help Kendall, Babe was trying to figure out a way to help JR. She figured out that Junior meant for her to be the victim of the great cinder block avalanche at Fusion, but still hesitated to turn him in, asking him to go into treatment and deal with what Dixie had done to him. For the most part, I agreed with Babe on Friday - a very rare occurrence. JR crossed the line. The problem I have is that the writers pushed him over that line way too fast.
Even though he hurt my beloved Kendall, I still can't bring myself to hate JR. I believe he's devastated by what he did, even if he is trying to cover his tracks. Besides, this sudden murder plot seems very contrived, and way too over the top to be believable. I do think JR needs to acknowledge what he's done and pay the price. I would really like to see Zach go off on little Junior when he finds out what really happened to Kendall. But I'm not ready to give up on JR just yet. I do think there were extenuating circumstances. I'm not excusing what he did, or even forgiving him, but I won't add him to my Dead-To-Me list. Call it rationalization; call it fanwanking. That's just how I feel.
One storyline I just can't rationalize is the ongoing saga of Lily and Jonathan: The Manhattan Adventures. If this is where AMC's sweeps budget went, they didn't spend wisely. It's to the point where I'm not even worried about Lily. Those "thugs" were more laughable then menacing, like three walking stereotypes. "Just give us your cheddar!" Just give me a break!
I'm sure next week, when the not-so-nice older gentleman who "saved" Lily and lied to Jonathan does something creepy (you know he will) I'll be a little concerned. But they are writing Lily as if she's stupid, which she isn't. Plus, they are so obviously setting up Jonathan as the hero in this story, it's annoying. Add to that listening to Erin wax poetic about Jonny Boy and Lily running off together and living happily ever after, and I was reaching for the Pepto.
Back to the ongoing Dixie/Di/Tad drama - Tad and Di had another typical argument, where Di swore she wasn't giving up on her man and dared Tad to love her again. Yawn. Dixie was busy with Zach, uncovering the Josh/Erica secret. Dr. Madden taped the transplant? That is beyond gross. Zach and Dixie also discovered that all of the women in Madden's files received sperm from a single donor. Is Donor #1 Dr. Madden? And if he is, will Amanda, who recently agreed to be a surrogate, soon be carrying Madden's baby? And what are the odds that Kendall actually got Ryan's sperm on that fateful night? So many possibilities!
A Bad Villain Can Be a Very Good Thing
Dixie tried once again to blackmail Madden, but he expertly turned the tables on her in that creepy, yet not-quite-untrue way he does. I know Madden's a borderline-psychotic control freak with a serious god complex, but Ian Buchanan does such a good job as a villain that I can't help but enjoy Greg's scenes. Every soap needs a good villain or two, and "Dr. Madman" fits the bill perfectly. Besides, I'm sure he'll get his comeuppance sooner or later.
To close out the column, I wanted to share a comment from Tina, who emailed me about a missed opportunity at JR's intervention. "If I am not mistaken Hayley battled alcoholism, as well as being betrayed by her mother in the past before confronting her issues to overcome everything. She and JR are brother and sister. They share a lot in common. It would be so great to have her come back into town to try to comfort JR and help to get through to him. I say this because she would be able to relate to him in dealing with such issues better than the rest of his family. Personally, I would love to see Kelly Ripa back in Pine Valley for a day or two, but I would even settle for a recast for this story."
Very well said Tina - I totally agree. I would also love to see Skye come back and help her brother. Regardless of her stories on OLTL and GH, she'll always be a Chandler to me. Speaking of GH, if there are any Anna Devane fans out there, Finola Hughes has started her short-term stint in Port Charles, so if you want to see what David's ex is up to, check it out.
See you back here in two weeks.