The pendulum swing that is All My Children continued this week. For me there were more good moments than bad, but there are still a few things that rubbed me the wrong way. Let's get the ugliness -- or at least the unpleasantries -- out of the way before moving on to the stuff that knocked my socks off.
Something about Frankie's deployment to Iraq just didn't seem realistic to me. This comes just a few weeks after I praised the Hubbards for being the most realistic family in Pine Valley. First of all, Frankies seemed to get Iraq in the blink of eye. It was as if there was no travel time involved. Monday he was at home having a goodbye party. Tuesday, I believe, he was already somewhere in the war zone. Second, how on earth did he have time to start a peewee basketball league in under 24 hours? The third thing is just me being critical, but did we really have to see a map of Iraq behind Frankie on the video chat to know where he was? It just seemed a little "extra" to me.
I have some issues with head writer Charles Pratt. In a recent interview, he pretty much badmouthed actress Eden Riegel as the reason why the Bianca-Reese storyline tanked. You can read all the details by clicking on the link at the start of the second sentence in this paragraph, but the gist of the interview was that Pratt says he didn't know Eden Riegel was leaving the show. How does a head writer not know when a performer is coming or going? Isn't that what writers do? They create entrances and exits. There are a few possible scenarios in my head that make sense of this statement. 1: Charles Pratt was lying and covering up for a storyline that failed. 2: Pratt is kept out of the loop and ABC Daytime chief Brian Frons and AMC executive producer Julie Hanan Carruthers are really running things. 3: Charles Pratt really has no idea what's going on with the show. 4: Charles Pratt is so busy that he forgot to look at his notes to see when Riegel was leaving. 5: No one bothered to tell Pratt what was going on. Okay, some of those five options are somewhat similar, but... you had no idea an Emmy winner was leaving? Really?
Scott Chandler sure has become a hot head! In his first scenes, he cold-cocked JR. Later, he clobbered David with some sort of metal hospital tray. I still don't really care about him -- or this experimental heart valve storyline -- but I do have to admit to like the edgier Scott.
So the great debut of the new Liza Colby came and went. Of course, we're not supposed to know who this mystery redhead is. We're supposed to believe that some random tramp has sashayed herself into the casino looking for a good time. Let's review her first few scenes. Liza purred and cooed in pure dirty talk over Zach "cheating" and whether she should "hit" or not. Then with "five figures" of chips on the blackjack table, Liza and Zach started going at it like a bunch of horny teenagers. No one ever brushes casino chips aside (or rather off the table) to have sex. Or maybe I am going to the wrong casinos...
So how obvious is it that Jake wants to be more than friends with Amanda? I am not sure that Jake knows this, but c'mon! I am sure that part of him is protecting Amanda and her baby because he hates David (He did pull a gun on him!), but there has to be a part that has rekindled feelings for Amanda. Here's the other thing. Is it just me or does it seem like the writers may have forgotten that Jake and Amanda were "bedbuddies?" Considering that they did have a previous relationship, there's a lot more in the way of getting-back-to-how-they-were that could be explored by the writers. Maybe the show doesn't want to invest the time since Chrishell Stause (Amanda) is rumored to want out of the show. Do you think the writers might end up having Amanda die in childbirth? If Amanda goes, then there's no chance that we'll ever see Janet From Another Planet again. That would be a double dose of bad news.
Am I the only one that remembers when Wildwind had more than one room? Oh, those were the days. We used to see bedrooms, the dining room, the conservatory-slash-ballroom where Noah and Julia were married and the Crystal Ball was held, the stables before they burned down... Those were the days. More than that, when Erica was having her bathtub epiphany and wondering if she'd already met and lost the one true love of her life, did she even mention Dimitri's name? She mentioned Chris Stamp for goodness sake! There was even a shout out to Tom Cudahy.
While on the topic of Erica, I have to give my kudos to Susan Lucci (Erica). She really turned it out last week with dramatic highs and lows. In the beginning of the week, she had a typical spoiled brat moment with Ryan when the car broke down. Then there was humor when Ryan had Erica stand on his shoulders to try to get better cell phone reception. The bath tub scene was interesting in that Erica seemed to have a moment where she realized that she's not getting any younger and she does not want to live out the rest of her life alone. For Erica, the a big light bulb moment. Could Erica Kane finally be showing some maturity?
But wait, there's more! Erica's scenes at the hospital with Kendall were riveting -- some of the best Erica and child scenes since the "intervention" during Bianca's anorexia storyline. If you recall, that was the year that Susan Lucci finally won the Emmy. Just seeing Erica tell Kendall that she was done with her because she was frustrated with the way she was throwing her life away by acting so thoughtlessly with her love life. This must have been the way that Mona felt when Erica was acting like a jerk with her many, many men. I'm sure it's the way that many "Zendall" fans feel when they watch Kendall and Ryan making out.
Erica also gave me the line of the week in her discussion with Kendall: "You're the center of the Kendallverse and Ryan and Zach are your personal planets. Sweetheart, you simply cannot have two husbands. No matter how deeply you feel you deserve them."
Oh my goodness... Krystal's testimony on Wednesday's show was pure soap opera. When you think of soap opera court room scenes, this was the example that needs to be held up for all to see. I clapped and hooted when Krystal had to swallow hard and state that she and David were not the best choice to raise Little A. The looks of shock on the faces of those seated in the gallery were just as priceless. Regular readers know that Krystal is not a favorite character of mine, but Bobbie Eakes continues to impress me.
Like it or not, these are the moments that soap operas are all about. The epiphanies, the somewhat campy humor, the drama, the passion... Here's hoping to many, many more.