There was never any question that All My Children would be emotional last week, but I don't know if I was fully prepared for how everything played out. To lose two phenomenal figures in AMC history in one week -- one to death and one to retirement -- has left an emptiness in my heart. It might sound somewhat cliché, but I hope that as a soap fan, you understand the sentiment that I'm trying to convey.
I thought the tribute to Palmer provided one of the most outstanding episodes of All My Children in quite some time. To be fair, many soaps succeed with these stand-alone episodes. It was an episode that was contained in and of itself, and there was no need to advance plot, offer cliffhangers, or anything else. In fact, I opted to write the soapcentral.com recap for April 20 because I wanted to be a part of the episode in some way. It was such a detailed episode -- and I hope I did it justice. [You can read the recap and see photos from the episode by clicking here.] What the episode showed, I believe, is that soap writers truly are a talented bunch (contrary to what some folks insinuate on message boards). It can't be easy churning out five episodes of a soap every week. So, for right now, I'd like to give a truly well-deserved round of applause to Lorraine Broderick and the rest of the AMC writing team.
Now let's get to the nitty-gritty.
How amazing was it to see James Mitchell ad-libbing extra scenes about Palmer's Dobermans and Daisy. Even while he was having trouble breathing, Mitchell was the consummate professional. Part of me wonders if he knew that he might not have another chance to return to the All My Children studio. While the "never-before seen" content might not have provided earth-shattering revelations, it did allow for some interesting story. "Nobody much talks about Daisy anymore," Mitchell said softly in character. How true is that? It's out of sight, out of mind for most characters who are not currently on the canvas.
When I wrote last week's column, I hadn't seen any parts of the memorial episode, nor did I have any inside information on what would take place. So I was more than a little stunned when the show concluded with Dixie welcoming Palmer "home." I'm not too proud to admit that that scene set off the waterworks. At the end of the day, no matter which character or couple we root for, I think we can all identify with wanting to be reunited with our loved ones when our time on this planet comes to an end.
There were some dissenting opinions about the episode. The most common "complaint" was that Krystal was featured a little too prominently in the episode. I suppose the writers felt that it would be weird to have a gathering at Tad's house and not have Krystal, who lives there, pop in at some point. Others questioned why JR wasn't there to give his Uncle Palmer a sendoff. It was somewhat interesting that Petey didn't make it home from Switzerland in time for the memorial -- but timing is everything: In the real world, flights from Europe were grounded because of volcanic ash. So in a strange way, it was believable that Petey wasn't there.
The show wasn't loaded down with a lot of flashbacks, but I thought that the ones that were used were appropriate. Would I have liked to see more? Sure. Maybe more will be on the way. After all, AMC did reach into its bag of tricks to find old scenes of Jack and Erica, and Adam and Brooke.
Was there a memorable Palmer moment that you want to see included on the show? I'd like to hear about it! Drop me a line via the link at the end of this column, or just click here to get it out of the way now.
I thought it was incredibly clever to link Adam's exit from Pine Valley to the death of his rival, Pete Cooney. Palmer succumbing to a heart attack was well-crafted, since Adam's heart problems have been chronicled for years on the show. I wasn't yet watching when corporate raider Palmer seized control of Chandler Enterprises, so I wasn't aware that it was Palmer who pushed Brooke and Adam together the first time. What a nice nod to history that his death would again do the same.
It was also nice that viewers had a chance to see Stuart one last time. I still think it was a mistake to kill off Stuart, but there's not too much that can be done about that now. What I took from the exchange between the two brothers was a single statement offered by Stuart: When you love someone, they stay with you forever.
The reunion between Adam and Brooke may have been rushed towards the end, but does it really matter? Brooke and Adam have always had a close connection, and, as Stuart said, when you love someone, they stay with you forever. I think more viewers would rather see Adam with Brooke than with Annie, as the latter coupling never really caught. It also beats killing Adam off. And think of all the scenarios that are left to play out -- JR and Annie's love/hate relationship and now we get to imagine what Adam is up to on his journey with Brooke.
As the week ended, David and Greenlee looked to be well on their way to consummating their marriage and claiming their title as self-proclaimed King and Queen of Pine Valley. Oh, guys and gals, I have such contradicting thoughts about this couple. If Greenlee hadn't been madly in love with Leo, David's brother (okay, half-brother), I might not have reservations about them being a legitimate couple. I don't know if All My Children will ever find a way to write Leo back into the show, so mentioning Leo might be a moot point. For me, this is sort of like Erica and Ryan being couple. It wouldn't have been so creepy had Ryan not dated and fathered a child with Erica's daughter. Does that make sense? Maybe Vanessa will come crawling out of the Pine Valley Ocean with Leo's wedding ring and deliver it to Greenlee on some dark and stormy night. Soggy and angry, she could also growl, "When you love someone, they stay with you forever!" Spooky!
There is no casino in the world that would have given gambleholic Madison a job. And I also believe a lot of employers now run credit checks on prospective employees. If Madison truly is in as much debt as she claims, I'd think a casino would see her as a high risk. That is, of course, if Madison really is in debt and not up to something else. I don't trust her -- and I think she's up to something.
I think she wants to be up to Ryan. I hope that doesn't sound as dirty as it does in retrospect. It will be nice to once again see Ryan involved with a woman from outside his usual orbit.
There's a lot of fun stuff coming up for Jake and Amanda. If you missed last week's Soap Central Live, you can listen to my interview with Ricky Paull Goldin and Chrishell Stause. It's clear from the show that Ricky and Chrishell have such a respect and admiration for each other. You can also tell that Ricky loves to tease Chrishell (Just listen to his first words on the show!). You can stream the show "live" or download the episode for your enjoyment by clicking here.
Trekking off topic just slightly, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for reading the column. Not coming from a large family, for me, I've come to think of my friends as family. You know, they're the family you can choose. But I also think of the millions of soap fans from around the globe who visit Soap Central as family -- my soap family. I am truly humbled by your words of encouragement, and I appreciate all the support you've given to me over the past 15 years. It does my heart good to know that I've made soap fans proud with my hard work. I can only hope that the members of my offline family who've already gone "home" are also proud.