Interested in a different, non-traditional form of AMC commentary? Click here to visit David's blog, where he documents a recent game of musical chairs held at the Valley Inn.
All My Children writing regime seems to be enjoying a game of Couples' Musical Chairs: JR and Amanda steamed up our screens a few months ago, but have since been split up so that Jacob Young and Amanda Baker can dazzle us with their lack of chemistry, while Amanda has returned to drifting aimlessly through the ether of underutilized cast; Greenlee's busy kissing Ryan and eyeing Zach; and Kendall and Aidan need separated for no other reason than viewers are tired of them having the exact same conversation every time they're together.
While I do enjoy seeing AMC's diverse cast branch out, it doesn't take much observation to notice a disturbing trend emanating from Brown & Esensten's writing camp. JR and Amanda were smoking together, yet lasted a matter of months, which is no time at all in Soap Land. Zach and Kendall remain popular despite not having a moment's peace in over a year. Ominous signs of a Ryan/Greenlee reunion continue to pop up, regardless of the negative fan reaction the Green Butterfly and Dynamite Kiddo garnered during their first pairing. I continue to find Tad and Krystal merely tolerable, but most fans are far less lenient of this pairing.
No couple will ever have unanimous support--hard as it may be to believe, I'm sure there's someone out there who doesn't like Jesse and Angie together--but during a time when AMC is struggling to bring in decent ratings, wouldn't it make sense to pay attention to what the viewing audience wants to see? Even anti-Zendall fans have started to feel sorry for the couple. Give them a break, and give couples like Aidan and Greenlee a fighting chance. Rebecca Budig and Aiden Turner have begun to find their groove, yet the Frons-dictated writing on the wall seems poised to end this popular relationship that managed to survive Sabine Singh's firing.
It's a bit unfair to pile all responsibility on B&E; Brian Frons is responsible for more than his fair share. From the moment he re-hired Rebecca Budg, Frons set out to demolish any couple in his path so that he pair up Budig and Matheson yet again. What Frons wants, Frons gets; what the viewers want... eh, who cares about them? Ryan and Annie, Aidan and Greenlee--those don't matter. Frons wants Ryan and Greenlee, and woe to any who don't agree with his vision.
Where's the Trust?
Perhaps I was a bit too harsh in criticizing Jacob Young and Amanda Baker's chemistry. Baker has won me over with her portrayal of Babe Carey, and in the last couple of weeks, I've felt the corners of my mouth pull up ever so slightly during their scenes. And yet, I have to admit that the writers seem to be trying too hard with this pairing. Just because JR and Babe share a child doesn't mean that they have to be Together Forever. Young had fantastic and effortless chemistry with Alexa Havins, and while I'm willing to give Young and Baker a fighting chance, I'd prefer JR and Amanda rekindle their... well, whatever it was they had.
My main issue with a JR/Babe reunion is the lack of trust that has always and will always come between them. Less than ten seconds after she found JR barely conscious and in bed with another woman, Babe immediately leaped to conclusions and steadfastly ignored everything JR tried to tell her.
Some couples such as Jesse and Angie and Tad and Dixie seem to overcome everything. No matter who cheats, who lies, or who plays dead for 20 years, certain couples always triumph over adversity. With JR and Babe, I see nothing but a history of abuse that these two will always perpetuate. What will be different this time? Babe will be less than thrilled when all of Richie's anti-JR crimes are inevitably revealed, but unless these two pack up their son and ride off into the sunset, I predict they'll continue to hurt each other.
Watching Jesse, Angie, and Tad reform their tight bond and work together to oust Jesse's antagonists has been great. The privilege of getting to watch these vets work together has been a blessing, and it seems that sharing a storyline with Debbi Morgan and Darnell Williams has brought back the Tad Martin of old. Gone are the business suits, stoic demeanor, and plots to bury evil-doers alive; returning are his sense of humor and every-man sense of work ethic and family love. True, Knight has put on some extra pounds and added more than a little gray to his hair, but the resurrection of his charming, fun-loving attitude perfectly compliments his physical maturity. This is a Tad Martin that has been through the grinder and, thankfully, has emerged with most of his redeeming qualities intact.
Now if only he'd start looking for Kate again... Of course, I, like many of you, have my own theory as to why that particular storyline has been put on hold. Keep your fingers crossed!
It's no secret that Erica Kane is not one of my favorite characters, but I'd like to elaborate a bit on my distaste for her. My primary gripe with La Kane is her tendency to poke her powdered nose into everyone's business. When Erica has a problem she seems unable to conquer, beware Pine Valley: Erica will come knocking, and the first person on her To Pester list is usually Kendall.
However, I must admit: when Erica is able to deal with her own affairs, she is a force to be reckoned with, and a pleasure to watch. Aiming to take down two birds with one stone, it seems La Kane's daring decision to spend time behind bars will not only give her the upper-hand with Samuel Woods, but with Jackson, as well. Erica and Jackson may falter when they're at odds, but when one of them comes under fire, the other is always ready and willing to provide back-up. This is the couple's greatest strength, and one that will allow them to reconcile yet again.
Of course, this begs the question: will Jack and Erica last forever, or have they caused each other enough grief? Are Jack and Erica's problems not unlike Babe and JR's? Is their story one that will always end in heartbreak? I think their longevity, not to mention their monumental fan base, will prevent either from truly moving on with another partner. Erica and Adam Chandler have shared memorable encounters over the past several months, but I still have trouble picturing Erica with anyone other than Jack. I was willing to give Jack and Julia a chance--some pairings do come out of left field, but those are sometimes the most delightful--but again, couldn't picture any other woman on Jackson's arm than Pine Valley's number one diva.
In short: give up while you still can, Sam Woods. When Jack and Erica team up, they always win.