The madness needs to end

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The madness needs to end
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The week of July 19, 2004
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The baby switching storyline between One Life to Live and All My Children started off with great expectations and enormous possibilities.

Todd is Ace's father. Wait, no he's not. Ace is kidnapped by psycho Margaret. Wait, now he's saved. Kevin races to his mother's side during her medical crisis. Wait, now he's practically banished from Llanfair for acting like a jerk to Todd. Kelly gives up pining for Kevin and plans to raise Ace by herself. Wait, Kevin plots to sue for sole custody. The baby switching storyline between OLTL and AMC started off with great expectations and enormous possibilities. Wait, it totally stinks and has infested so many characters and storylines with preposterous actions that I can barely wait for it to wrap up!

I've said it a million times, and I'll reiterate it one more time in case any of the head-honchos at ABC are reading this: AMC has done a brilliant job on its end telling this story. The ramifications of the switch have been felt most with Bianca Montgomery (whose baby is still being raised on AMC even though she thinks the child is dead), and even Babe has been faced with a moral quandary of realizing she is raising Bianca's baby and believes her own child is really the one who is dead (but we all know Ace is really that child). Every single day, these young women and their families deal with this tragedy and the mess the switch has created in moving and realistic ways.

Then we have OLTL, which clearly has not been holding up its end of the deal by coordinating the story more closely with AMC. OLTL is all about Kelly's obsession. It's about her quest to have a family at whatever cost, and that misguided vision has led to a series of complicated lies that create stories that are uninteresting and painful to watch. By claiming Ace is really Todd's father, Kelly has merely lured Todd into her web of deceit. So many people seem to know that baby Ace isn't really Kelly's at all, yet they all essentially pretend to go along with her lies...why? How has this secret managed to stay so quiet with so many of the biggest mouths in Llanview knowing about it? Bigger secrets have been blown in the past with fewer people being privy to the information!

My biggest complaint about this story is what it has done to the characters of Kevin and Kelly. Heather Tom is a gifted actress; there is no denying that. But Kelly Cramer is totally unrecognizable anymore! She is a weepy, desperate, pathetic wimp of a character who is completely opposite of the strong, determined, and unpredictable character we got to know during her first stay in Llanview. Look at what has happened to her! And Kevin is completely arrogant and filled with so much ego that I'm surprised he's able to ground his body on the floor with his head bloated so much with that ego! How did it come to be that Todd is the one restraining himself from anger as opposed to Kevin, who is consumed with rage and uncontrollable anger. As I write this, I am listening to Viki say, "[Kevin]'s completely changed. He's doing things completely unlike him...My son is unhappy, and it's all because of some lie." I couldn't agree more. The writers have made this character act unlike himself to accommodate the story, and we all know that is one of the biggest no-no's in soap writing.

Savvy viewers know their characters and know their shows' histories. When writers come in and start changing characters to suit the story, that is when the viewers throw up their hands in frustration and cry foul! I think ABC wanted this baby switch story to be so huge and connect two of its shows together in a way that has never been done before; however, it's clear that the long-term arc of the story was never fully conceived, because if it had been, we would be seeing the two shows connect better. We'd see more of Bianca and Babe on OLTL so that we can start to sympathize with the real mother of Ace. We can see that what Paul did was so completely outrageous that it is unforgivable. We would start to want Kelly to realize what has happened and further complicate her life since she would start to see the moral ramifications of keeping a child that she knows belongs to another woman who believes the child is dead. THAT is how the story should have played out. But instead, we have Kelly acting like just as much of a lunatic as Margaret did, and Kevin is becoming the pariah of Llanview.

I think connecting two ABC shows is a fantastic idea. In a time of sagging ratings, having viewers sample a new show and become hooked can only contribute to the overall success of daytime in general. However, those in charge need to realize that big events like this need to have legs, they need to be able to sustain weeks and months of storytelling, not just the first few days that it takes to kick off a story.

Baby Ace---it's time you found your way back to Pine Valley. Pronto!

Enjoy the week,

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