Talk about an amazing Sweeps storyline. On a routine trip from Pigeon Hollow, West Virginia, to Pine Valley, Pennsylvania, Erica Kane's private jet crashed on a remote desert island because Zach didn't enter numbers into a computer. On the island, as Erica struggled to find a way back to civilization, she had to fight off wild boars, a polar bear, and a creepy smoke monster. I remember when she went down a well and then turned this wheel that... huh? Oh, it is? Oops. Sorry about that.
I am not sure if All My Children's big plane crash was timed to coincide with the finale of Lost or just designed as the show's "huge" May Sweeps storyline, but I have to say that I am already not buying it. Let me tell you why. We all know that Susan Lucci is not going to be leaving AMC -- so there's no inherent sense of concern that this might be the diva's swan song. And before you scold me for giving away a storyline twist, ABC offered exclusive video of the post-crash storyline to one of those celebrity entertainment television shows. We also knew that she'd survive because of the previous casting announcement that Michael Nouri would be joining the cast as Caleb McGraw, the mountain man who has turned his back on modern civilization.
All that aside, there have been some very enjoyable moments in the setup to the plane crash. Watching Erica traipse through the West Virginia wilderness is her Dolce and Gabbana best was priceless. Maybe it was from last season's collection, so she wouldn't feel bad if something happened to it. But moving on, I thought that Palmer's letter to Erica was extremely moving. Am I the only one that sensed that "Erica's" tears weren't just something summoned up for an emotional scene, but rather a glimpse into Susan Lucci's own personal grief over the loss of a friend? And how about the memory montage that let us take a look back at some of Erica and Palmer's personal moments? I'm a sucker for well-used flashbacks. (If you want to read the entire contents of Palmer's letter to Erica, click here to check out our recap of the episode.)
Maybe I will change my opinion of the storyline once it starts airing on-screen. I have to admit that I am amused by Erica's over-the-top hysteria that typically occurs when she tries to get an uninterested man to follow her orders. Caleb seems like he will be totally uninterested in Erica... so why will the hermit leave his wooded paradise and trek to Pine Valley?
It seems pretty clear from the way other stories are playing out that Palmer will ask Scott to take over Cortlandt Electronics. I'm not sure why Petey/Pete/Peter wouldn't be selected to follow in his father's footsteps. I suppose that will all be revealed when the mystery box is opened and everyone travels back in time. Sorry, that's Lost again.
If Scott does take a position as head of the company Palmer founded, that would seemingly leave a vacancy at Chandler Enterprises (he can't lead both companies, can he?), a vacancy that JR would naturally fill. That sets up another Chandler vs. Cortlandt rivalry for the new millennium. Or something like that. You have to figure that Caleb figures into all of this somewhere. Will he be a heretofore unknown Chandler or Cortlandt? That seems a pretty safe bet to me.
Just as strange as Peter being cut out of the loop is the revelation that little Bailey was a slut! Maybe that's harsh, but I can't think of a more suitable word for a teenage girl who is running around having unprotected sex with every Tom, Dick, and Damon. I guess the writers felt that there was no real need for Bailey, so what better way to get rid of her than to completely destroy the character. It would also seem that there is no need for another tot on the show. I admit that having Damon be a daddy would be a distraction. I guess that also means Liza's quest to have another child is now over. With little Stuart no longer in the picture, it now makes sense why the writers didn't focus on the fact that Tad was the kid's grandfather.
Damon's entire world has been uprooted in the course of a few months. His dad isn't who he thought he'd be, he has a new extended family via Tad, and now his son isn't even his. That's an awful lot to deal with. When it comes to Damon, I'm just not that into him yet. He's great at acting out and "boo-hooing" himself, but I'm waiting for a storyline that I can sit back and enjoy. Watching him get closer to bedding Colby isn't my idea of a good time.
Rewinding a bit: I don't get this doctoring of the books plot that David and Greenlee hatched. Is it really that easy to frame someone for embezzling (or whatever they're calling it) that you can whip out an eraser and move a few digits around? I thought it would be a little harder than that. If Erica really wanted to siphon money to her new product line, you'd think it would have been well-hidden and not so obvious. Maybe that was the point, though.
So Madison has developed legitimate feelings for Ryan -- and it was after she came clean about David's blackmail plot. That's a fresh twist on a soap opera staple. Coming clean first and then falling for the guy. Do I like the idea of Madison and Ryan as a couple? The jury is still out on that one, but I have to say that I am not immediately opposed to the idea.
That brings me to the You Scoops section of the column. Remember a few weeks ago when I asked you to tell me which characters you think have a lack of purpose on the canvas? I got so many responses that I am still wading through the emails. Thank you for your feedback -- I appreciate every single message. Don't ever hold off on sending me a message because you think I might be getting too many messages.
There were a few characters that received the bulk of your votes: Krystal, Marissa, and much of the Hubbard family. There appears to be story pending for some of your top vote-getters, so let's look ahead.
The drunken Marissa was hilarious to me. I guess Marissa isn't a drinker because she went down hard after chugging whatever it was that JR wasn't drinking. It's a little strange to me that JR, a recovering alcoholic, would order up a scotch and sit there staring at it. That would be like David Duchovny hiring a hooker just so that he could admire her shoes. To each their own. Marissa is still hovering between storylines. She's on the outer edge of the JR/Annie plot. I honestly don't see her as a true foil for Annie. I see the real love triangle being between JR, Annie, and Scott. I guess the writers can drum up some feelings between Scott and Marissa, and then have that as part of the mix.
The Hubbards are poised to get some story in the weeks ahead. Something strange is going to happen to Angie, and I'm a little concerned. Previews for the storyline say that Angie will suffer some unexplained dizziness and the resulting diagnosis will be heartbreaking. I sure hope it's not a brain tumor. Lord, don't let it be a brain tumor. I don't think I could handle something so stereotypically soap. I thought that Angie might discover that she is unexpectedly pregnant... and unable to carry the baby successfully to term because of her age. That would almost certainly give Debbi Morgan and Darnell Williams a storyline they could sink their teeth into. That kind of story would also take a decidedly different look at the issue of abortion.
Meanwhile, the younger Hubbards are also set for some story. Brace yourself -- I am about to rant. According to interviews, Frankie and Madison will soon have a relationship that is reminiscent of Jesse's relationship with Jenny Gardner. What?! Jesse and Jenny had a true friendship, one built on honesty and true platonic affection for one another. Jenny never tried to send Jesse's girlfriend/wife away for murder. Yes, Jenny and Madison both had abusive fathers. That's where the similarities end in my book. I don't mind crafting stories that pay homage to a show's past, but you can't compare apples and oranges. Jenny = good. Madison = something other than good.
Krystal? I don't have any idea where her next story will come from. You'd have to think that there will be something coming down the pike because Bobbie Eakes just received an Outstanding Lead Actress nomination at the Emmys.
Another common theme in your messages was Opal and her lack of a love interest. It might be too soon for Opal to get over Palmer and move on with someone else, but I definitely agree that Opal should find love in the not-too-distant future.
Kate Collins' time as Janet is coming to an end. Her return was only for eight episodes, which leaves me wanting more. Maybe that's the whole point. I had thought that Janet might suffer a stroke or have a medical condition that would somehow clear her of all her wrongdoing. You know how soaps are! Then, Janet would be free to leave jail or the psychiatric ward, but she'd need medical attention because of said condition. It would have been intriguing to see Amanda juggle being a wife, raising a child, and having to take care of an ailing mother. Just a thought.
There are so many other things to talk about, but my allotted space for this week's column has been used... and hopefully I'll leave you wanting at least a little more.