The “New” All My Children, Part 2 — Finding the Heart (s) of Pine Valley

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Thinking Fans Comment Update: renee wnts a long-term storyline for Brot, but is certain there will never be one … Kristen thinks Bianca and Reese “are more in lust than in love”… while Kasey thinks Angie “has just the right blend of steel and magnolia” … and more. See Comments below. 

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By Marlena De Lacroix

In Part 1, I explained  how I recently began watching All My Children every day again after being mostly alienated from the show I loved for a decade and a half.  The main reason I’ve returned is the nicely intelligent work of Charles Pratt,  who appears to be a  thinking headwriter.   He seems to want to revive the very elements of the Agnes Nixon-created show I valued the most, choosing  characters and storylines that are both smart and have heart.  And he’s continuing to do thoughtful Nixonian social issue stories in an era when many soaps have abandoned them in favor superficial exercises in momentary chills and thrills.brot by norn

I got really excited when I heard AMC  was doing an Iraqi war veteran story.  Remember, not terribly long after the show’s 1970 debut,  when missing-in-action-and-thought dead Philip came home from the hated Vietnam war as a veteran, only to find his “wife” Tara married to his best friend Chuck?  We were told AMC  would bring on a non-actor who was a real life wounded Iraq war veteran named J.R. Martinez to play a soldier whose face was seriously scarred in combat. He was to play a character named Brot, who had been engaged to fellow soldier Taylor.  Brot is believed to have been killed in action. He wasn’t, and comes home – to find Taylor involved with Dr. Jake Martin.

I thought, “How can they do that? This is a soap opera where every actor and every character is judged by the perfect beauty of his or her face!” Well, I watched as Martinez made his debut on the show, and I was thrilled to discover that whoever cast him in the role knew exactly what they were doing.  The ongoing story is a few months along now, and nonprofessional actor Martinez is improving daily.  A career motivation speaker since returning from Iraq, the charming and persuasive Martinezmartinez brings to the role an authenticity that would be virtually impossible to fabricate.  He’s quite simply the real deal. He received his scars in the service of his country, and, in a new career that places him daily in the spotlight, as a speaker and now as an actor,  he  shows us that such scars are only skin deep.

To me, Brot has turned out to be the most compelling soap opera character in ages. Brot is all heart — heart being about 95% of what all soap opera characters are missing these days!   BTW, did you see Martinez on The View a few weeks ago?  He was wonderfully positive and passionate in talking deals with his war injuries. What a spokesman for all who have overcome disfigurement and want only to be accepted for the strong, valuable individuals they are!

And so, when my old friend pjs, another diehard AMC fan, told me at the end of Part 1 that Pratt had not found the heart of Pine Valley yet, I said, “Oh yes, he has. And Brot is a big part of it. He represents the afflicted and misunderstood characters Nixon, out of a loving and liberal heart, loved to do stories about.  I started reciting  the show’s credo Nixon wrote for  the premiere in 1970: “The great and the least, the weak and the strong, the rich and the poor  …”  It left pjs speechless. After all, what true AMC fan would argue with the credo?

But pjs, true to form, wasn’t speechless for long. He countered that the other heart of the show now is Debbi Morgan‘s Angie Hubbard.Debbi Morgan

“She’s the new Kate Martin,” pjs declared, and I quickly agreed. (The late Kate was Joe Martin’s mother and the show’s “good” matriarch for years.)   Dr.  Angie accepts everyone, no questions asked, and showers them with her womanly wisdom  To date Pratt’s most surprising storyline has been Angie actually accepting and bonding  with Rebecca, a cancer patient who turned out to be the woman Angie’s husband lived with (and had a child with) all the years everyone thought Jesse was   dead.  In a medium where women still have cat fights, this rare and rich female friendship has been a revelation. So has the wonderfully mature performance of Laura Koffman, whose whiny Cassie Callison on One Life to Live I could never stand. I love the Hubbard family, if only Pratt would write better  and more sophisticated stories for them.

But, as good as Pratt’s work has been in the months since he arrived, he has many, many other plots and characters still to address:

I wish the show had more humor in it, as the old show did.  Michael Knight sorely needs a new storyline or love interest (plus a brunette dye job.)  Beth Ehlers’ soldier Taylor character still seems very out of the place on the show, and her Guiding Light and now AMC co-star Ricky Paull Goldin is too obnoxious as the former nice guy, Dr. Jake Martin.  The  so far undeveloped  plot in which Zach secretly donated sperm to his sister in-law Bianca, resulting in the birth of a daughter Gabrielle, (named after longtime SOW AMC editor Gabrielle Winkler?) without either of them telling their wife and sister Kendall respectively is just sadistic.   Why would they hurt her this way?  What a thing to wake up to after months in a coma!

All things considered, I’m still liking Pratt. But who knows what the future will bring? And why should I trust him? To me it’s a great relief that AMC is again one of the few soaps with a capacity to be ethical and humanitarian. But this is happening in the context of the otherwise sleazy ABC Daytime (credo: “Anything for ratings”) I’m enjoying AMC  because it’s free of the violence that plagues General Hospital and the despicable sexism of One Life to Live.

Someone is guarding the door against the quintessential male chauvinist network VP, Brian Frons, and the sensationalism, sexism  and exploitation ABC Daytime seems to delight in injecting into its soaps.  I theorize that someone is a certain octogenarian who invented Pine Valley, who still actively consults on the show and who never abandoned it to tastelessness and the mindless Eileen Herliemale boorishness that is so common on the other ABC shows.  I once asked Agnes Nixon in an interview,  ‘Whose children are they?” and she said, ” Well, dear, they’re mine, of course!”

P.S.  Today’s memorial episode for Myrtle (the late Eileen Herlie) was wonderful, full of so many clips. Erica beat me to it, when at the memorial service she called Myrtle “the heart of Pine Valley.”  And so she was, one of many in the long history of this very heartful show.

P.S.S. Thinking Fans will recognize the affectionate illustration of AMC‘s Brot above as the work of our own Norn Cutson. Check out his other amazing work at Norn’s Island.

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Comments

  1. esther says:

    Well said! And after your glowing AMC report a few days ago, I tuned in to the second half of yesterday’s show (thank goodness to Soapnet when they actually AIR soaps) after getting home and caught a scene between Brot and Taylor. I have to say he does make me almost care about Taylor. I dare say it’s some of Beth’s best work of the last many years. I like their connection. I’m looking forward to watching today’s with the clips but I already know someone who is definitely missing that I’m betting they could have gotten — Ellen! You can’t tell me Kathy Noone wouldn’t have flown in to have her Ellen honor her former Boutique partner. I would have loved to have seen that. But I am excited to see Francesca Jame’s Kelly. And Norn — LOVE the picture!

    Marlena says: Somewhere in one of my initial column drafts I had written how much Beth’s power as an actress has enriched J.R. Martinez’ acting. And he makes her character a lot more relatable too. I sure missed Noone’s presence as Ellen Dalton, too, on today’s AMC episode — she already gave one of the most memorable performances of the year as a guest on Night Shift. And no episode honoring Eilleen Herlie would have been complete without her on screen “daughter” Francesca James!

  2. Kathryn says:

    I wish I knew what Pratt thinks he’s accomplishing by keeping Taylor so isolated. The only people she really interacts with are Jake, Frankie and Brot – all of them are new the show this year, either by recast or as a new character. I thought they were getting somewhere by having Zach be the one who caused her injury or her having that random scene with Stuart. I thought that maybe they were finally integrating her and letting her interact with more people. But, nothing happened. I wish I knew what Pratt was doing.

  3. JONNYSBRO says:

    Marlena, I really think AMC is on the road to great improvement. Pratt IMO has really done so much better then B&E/McTavish. I love Debbi Morgan and Angie. Jesse/Angie on the frontburner is great and I love Laura Koffman. I loved her on OLTL and now love her on AMC. She is just absolutely gorgeous and IMO needs to stay in PV.

    I also think credit needs to be given to Melissa Claire Egan. Egan is a revelation as crazy Annie and she is stealing everything from Mathison and Budig. She is eating Budig’s performance for breakfast. My favorite part is Tamara Braun’s addition. Always loved her and love her with Eden. Eden was so needed back on AMC, she is such a huge part of the show.

    I watched the funeral episode, wow this is classic AMC. I loved all the flashbacks and seeing all the veterans and loved seeing Francesca James back as Kelly. I loved Eden’s singing and the poem at the end. I could tell the actors were crying not the characters over Eileen’s death. What a beautiful and gorgeous episode.

    AMC is on the road to recovery, it needs a stronger executive producer to execute Pratt’s vision. Carruthers is an okay producer but not the dynamic leader that Felicia Minei Behr was. When Felicia was executive producer of AMC, the show was treated as well as Y&R and the golden standard in the industry.

  4. renee says:

    Oh Marlena Marlena,
    I think we’ve gotten so used to … well, I was trying to think of a word but all that came to mind to describe what media – from print to radio to television and the web – has served us for years is crap. We give them what they want. No, if you feed it long enough they’ll eat it cause they’re hungry.

    Brot is good and I’m proud of what his backstory brings. I like seeing a unique character, but I’m not investing in him because AMC isn’t going there. There will be no Brot in Pine Valley married to Taylor or having an affair with Colby or hanging out at Confusion a year, two years, or three years from now. Coming back down the road. Anymore than I expect to see an influx of African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians, gays AT THE SAME TIME, LONG TERM on any of the soaps or prime time shows. Sadly the perfect beauty of media means a high balance of white faces.

    Angie is Kate Martin? Girl get out of here. Kate stood up for herself and took no $hit. That is not Angie. While she may fuss at Frankie, and get around to doing that with Jessie after she vents to Krystal, she is spineless when it comes to David. When Jesse was trying to figure out who was after him she was a plumb idiot. I’ll get stereotypical here since I’m African American, she may have the heart of a black matriarch that everyone is family, but the steel toe up your a$$ is definitely lacking. Otherwise things would clean up real quick and real neat. Wouldn’t you have liked to see her barge into David’s house saying ‘well I need to see for myself that Krystal isn’t here and don’t umph with me if you don’t want to get hurt.’ Then to Krystal, ‘girl get your arse up now we’re leaving.’ Then back to David, ‘was I talking to you?’ LOL Now that’s a matriach. And that would have been Kate.

    Yes, Tad needs a storyline, a dye job, AND a new woman. He’s just let himself go to waste since his divorce. LOL Hmm, i vote Amanda. JR doesn’t deserve her. She’s feisty enough for Tad.

    Yes, Taylor is out of place on the show and I expect her gone when Brot leaves.

    Yes and No, Jake is doing some weird things but I figure anger management classes are coming up and we’ll get the total total total story about what’s going on with him. Then he’ll kick David to the curb. He and Angie can’t be that stupid. Of course Joe is. Sad, very sad.

    Yes, Zach, sperm, whole plot is sick, but you didn’t even mention the ick of Reese falling for Zach. Now that’s just getting too nasty. But it’s coming. She’s bisexual. Poor Bianca. 2 babies and no woman.

    Yes, before I get to my two last points you left out the whole Annie Aidan will someone explain what’s going on here. Is Annie crazy or playing? What is Aidan doing? Is he staying on AMC or leaving? We know Greens is leaving which is fine with me after the way she treated Aidan.

    And I can combine my last two points.
    I don’t like Pratt. Glad you do.
    While I praised him for the Agnes Nixon return for the tornado tribute, and for Myrtle’s funeral today, what an insult that funeral was to Eileen.
    Yes, it was totally her.
    But where was Pine Valley?
    Who in Pine Valley had escaped the ‘on point widom’ of Myrtle Fairgate? Yet no one was at her funeral.
    Was I suppose to be satisfied because Pratt paid Kelly to show up?
    Get real.
    It just further insulted me that they didn’t bother to make the rest of the cast show up.
    THIS WAS EILEEN HERLIE FOR GOODNESS SAKE.

    puking pratt
    okay done.

    Marlena says: Well, Renee, in the year and a month I’ve been doing this column, this is the funniest and most truthful letter yet! I was LMAO as I read it and at the same time kept thinking, “you know, she is right,” about everything you wrote. You bet Angie should have kicked David’s butt and left with Krystal tucked under her arm if this was reality! Love what you said about Bianca’s inevitable fate! As far as Myrtle’s memorial today which was done up in a carnival motif, did you notice that strange extra be-muscled “strong man” extra they hired? Was he was more relevant to hire than flying in Linc (Peter White)?

    But as I tried to infer in Parts 1 and 2, my endorsement of Pratt is only tentative until I see what he writes over the next few months.

  5. Robb says:

    Marlena, I was crying up a storm during today’s memorial to Myrtle Fargate and Eileen Herlie. It was a beautiful episode from start to finish and an example of solid writing. How poignant to see the growth in Erica Kane — how she crumbled at her mother Mona’s funeral back in the 1990s and how strong and courageous she was as she said goodbye to her surrogate mother. What a treat to see Agnes Nixon in her cameo and to see the wonderful Francesca James return as Kelly. And Thorsten Kaye’s poem? In a word: beautiful.

    Marlena says: My absolute favorite part is when my Thorsten (I mean Zach) left the service and went to the elevator and cried with tears streaming down his face. A man openily weeping for a mother (figure) he loved. Now, that’s daytime television!

  6. Cate says:

    (quote)Yes, Zach, sperm, whole plot is sick, but you didn’t even mention the ick of Reese falling for Zach. Now that’s just getting too nasty. But it’s coming. She’s bisexual. Poor Bianca. 2 babies and no woman.(quote)

    I agree it is icky. I’m not sure if Reese is in love with him but she’s certainly has feelings for him. If they continue with this I don’t want Bianca getting married at all.Maybe that’s the point though. I thought it was a little odd that Marlena said Pratts AMC did not have OLTL’s sexism. This story is the epitome of sexism and homophobia. Bianca can’t have a love interest without a man involved and their sexual orientation is not made clear for a long time. This is certainly not a groundbreaking story in the style of Agnes Nixon. Bianca ending up heartbroken and alone again with two children is a really depressiing way to tell something that should have a positive effect. Sorry to continue to rant on about it but it really angers me. I hate prejudice and double standards.

    I do however like the story with Brot and Taylor. Now that is a story in the style of Agnes Nixon. But I agree with Renee that they are not sticking with Brot long term. But I’ll enjoy his story while he’s here. It is definately a unique story. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one like it on soaps. Way different than the usual treatment of veterans of AMC.It’s too bad that he probably won’t be staying because I think he has a nice relationship with Taylor and J.R. Martinez and Beth Ehlers work nicely together. Hopefull they will end this story in a positive way.

    I agree that the show needs more humor. I think Petey added some of that but the show still remains too dark and depressing. A little more wit and gags sprinkled in here and there woud help. It would also help if we had more lighthearted storylines. And storeis that are dramatic and soapy but not dark and depressing and still have some humor to them. AMC has been far too dark in tone for years now. Especially with all the misery surrounding the Kane/Montomery/Cambias clan and Babe’s death.

    I like Rebecca and Angie’s relationship too. I’m glad they aren’t taking the catty route with this story. It makes sense for Angie to be insecure and upset but not petty or malicious. There’s something very likeable and decent about Rebecca and Angie. Don’t get me wrong. I like bad characters too but AMC has been lacking true heroines and heroes in recent years so its nice to see people like Angie and Rebecca.

    Marlena I have a question. Do you read a lot of spoilers or are you mostly spoiler free? Did you read the 2009 spoilers for AMC or are you in the dark about what’s coming next year?

    Marlena says: Everyone knows I hate spoilers. But I’m human, and I read them too. I read somewhere that there’s going to be a double wedding next year with Reese and Bianca and a straight couple. Well, AMC would be making quite a powerful statement with that don’t you think? Then again, others would argue Reese and Bianca certainly deserve the spotlight of their own wedding. Perhaps the lesson for all of us is we should all wait to criticize soap storylines until they actually appear on screen.

  7. James says:

    Chere Marlena,

    I too am liking AMC a lot more these days. Thanks for your insightul thoughts helping me to understand why I feel more comfortable in Pine Valley now.

    I’m finding myself more and more intrigued by Bianca’s jealously of Reese’s heterosexual past. It’s only natural for her to feel curious and threatened. And no telling what might happen when Bianca’s insecurities come out full force. Should be good.

    And Tamera Braun is really amazing. Never cared for her on GH, but here, she’s great. She’s got nice chemistry with Eden and Thorsten.

    I’ve never enjoyed Vincent Irizarry more than I have in the past two months. He’s deliciously evil and has his fingers in virtually every storyline. Looking forward to seeing where they go with it.

    I’m liking RPG more and more as Dr. Jake. But that wonderful sense of humor and playfulness he displayed back over the summer seems to have disappeared once they put him and Taylor together.

    And the Taylor/Brot stuff is quite good. JR Martinez is quite a find. But this story would be so much better if they’d delayed this storyline until we cared about Taylor more or if they’d given Taylor stronger ties to Pine Valley beforehand. Maybe they could have made her Krystal’s younger sister.

    But as you mention, its a storyline like this that was an AMC hallmark of the 70s. And I’ve always been one for social issue storyline, provided they’re told well.

    Myrtle’s funeral was, of course, excellent. The show still knows how to tug at our heartstrings. The flashbacks were great. And how nice they brought Kelly back (but where was Linc?).

    Seems a shame they didn’t bring Rae back for the funeral. They went to all the trouble to make Rae Myrtle’s daughter. Whatever feud Linda Dano and ABC are having should have been put aside for this occassion.

    Marlena says: Great to hear from you, James. I also think that Tamara Braun has just been amazing, with a lot more amazing work to come! You are definitely right that Taylor should have been more anchored into the canvas before the Brot arrived. Perhaps she’s secretly related to someone in Pine Valley yet to be revealed? She seems very Brooke-ish to me! Also, it would have been nice if AMC brought back Linda Dano for Myrtle’s funeral. I’ve been campaigning for a Linda Dano return to daytime in any form. Soaps need her trademark love and warmth now more than ever.

  8. Cate says:

    Marlena says: “Everyone knows I hate spoilers. But I’m human, and I read them too.I read somewhere that there’s going to be a double wedding next year with Reese and Bianca and a straight couple. Well, AMC would be making quite a powerful statement with that don’t you think? Then again, others would argue Reese and Bianca certainly deserve the spotlight of their own wedding. Perhaps the lesson for all of us is we should all wait to criticize soap storylines until they actually appear on screen.”

    Thanks for answering my questions.I wish I could avoid spoilers but I can’t resist them. I think if Reese ends up straight/confused than any positive message or statement would be lost and the wedding would be meaningless without a couple truly and mutually in love. But if she’s at least bisexual and in love with Binks than I agree that that it still might make for a very powerful statement. As you say its best to wait to to see what happens but I do tend to assume the worst from reading spoilers. I guess I prefer to be pleasantly surprised over being disappointed.

    “Also, it would have been nice if AMC brought back Linda Dano for Myrtle’s funeral. I’ve been campaigning for a Linda Dano return to daytime in any form. Soaps need her trademark love and warmth now more than ever.”

    There were some other notable absences from Myrtles funeral. Joe, Ruth, Tad and Skye were also absent. I also found the episode focused a little too much on Zach. I loved his friendship with Myrtle but she was the surrogate mother/grandmother to the Kane woman and I would’ve liked a little more time devoted to them. Despite those little nitpicks I thought the episode was beautiful and a very fitting tribute to Myrtle. it captured her personality and spirit. I loved the flashbacks and how they used the crystal ball device to show her with characters who are now gone from AMC. I’m sad we’ll never see her again. No one can replace her.

  9. Kasey says:

    Marlena.

    I really enjoyed reading your column. I completely agree about Angie (DM). I love her and she has just the right blend of steel and magnolia!

    I also agree about Tad needing a new storyline and a new love interest. I’d prefer that his storyline involve Jake a great deal, as I love the chemisty that they have together and they bring some much needed humor to the show.

    I disagree about Ricky Paull Goldin as Jake though. I’ve watched AMC for 12 years, and he is by far my favorite version of Jake. He is easily the most interesting as well. I’d never seen the guy on Guiding Light, but was interested when I found out he was coming to my soap. It didn’t take long for him to win me over. He has to be one of the most subtle actors I have ever seen and does a lot with without even needing dialogue. I want to see a lot more of him, but not with Taylor.

    Speaking of Taylor. Can we send her back to Iraq please? If not, can we please send Beth Elhers back to Guiding Light? I hate the character and the actress chews so much scenery it’s a wonder they don’t need new sets. I really like Brot, and love JR Martinez. But I’d be willing to sacrifice both of them if it meant that Taylor would go away with them. She is the most rude, arrogant, sanctimous, obnoxious, hateful and loud female character I’ve ever seen. And I’ve watch soaps for 40 years! I don’t think the writers intended Taylor to come off this way, but Ehlers inability to get a grip on the character has killed any interest I have in her or any storyline she is in. Make her go away please.

    Tamara Bruan? That’s easy. She is brilliant.

    One last thing, the tribute show for Myrtle on Friday was excellent and I thank AMC for doing it.

    Marlena says: It’s your prerogative to be harsh on Taylor. I think Brot humanizes her a bit. Perhaps the whole point of her being a soldier is to underscore how hard it is for a soldier to deal with the civilian world again. This is a very unusual character for daytime.

  10. Nancy Jo says:

    ITA with just about all of this! Jake is obnoxious & not being familiar with him before, all I have to go on is what I’m seeing on my screen now & I have to tell you that he is doing nothing for me. Useless self-righteous, sanctimonious & a few other words come to mind. Taylor- just not warming up to her & can’t really put my finger on why. ITA & it pains me to say it because I’m probably the biggest Zach/TK fan there is & I recoil at any criticism of this great talented & sexy man, but I just think sadistic is a good word for what they have done with the whole baby-daddy donation s/l with Zach & Bianca & probably is an understatement. I freely admit that I just don’t get it & why go to these lengths to trash the wonderful Zach & Kendall love story & do it seemingly to prop the two new lesbian characters? Makes no sense to me except that perhaps Pratt & Co don’t have the cajones to do a REAL lesbian story without putting their most popular MALE actor in the middle of it. That is just sad & tells me that AMC is not as ground-breaking as they like to claim they are. The lesbian story would’ve stood on it’s own without injecting Zach into the middle of the drama. I hope they fix this because I think they are shooting themselves in the foot here & it’s undermining their potentially great storytelling by making it seem more like Jerry Springer. Just my opinion of course.

  11. Leah says:

    Pratt intelligent? Pratt reshaping and reviving characters? Um, that is not what I see at all. Pulling out every soap cliche in the book and using all of them in an attempt to see what sticks isn’t intelligent to me. Since Pratt’s arrival, we’ve had a natural disaster, a who’s-the-daddy fiasco, a death, a coma, a back-from-the-dead reveal, a secret family, a kidnapping, a psychotic break . . . Some of the storylines had potential and were then ruined by the overkill stupidity. As to reshaping and reviving characters, Pratt has written so many people so completely out of character that I don’t recognize half the citizens of Pine Valley anymore. He’s twisted people around so much in order to push his own agenda–which seems to be propping worthless characters like Reese and Ryan that I find myself wondering if he’s trying to get the show canceled. Pratt has been all about plot point after plot point, trying to do shock and awe but only creating shock and disgust. He has no understanding of character history (because I’m sorry, having David mention Leora or Joe off to see Tara doesn’t count–lip service to the past, but no real meaning), character integrity (Zach donating sperm to Bianca at all is ridiculous given his history with fatherhood, but to do it behind Kendall’s back is just sick and disturbing after all they’ve been through), character-driven storylines (does anyone Jesse really believe that got himself a new family twenty seconds after leaving Angie?), or good storytelling (everything happens offscreen, with no explanation of how someone got from point A to point D). Pratt has been just as disastrous to AMC as B&E were. He has no grasp of what the show should be about–family, love, and drama–instead it’s all death, deception, and dread. He shoves newbies front and center–most of whom are incredibly boring if not irritating as hell–while the vets are lucky to get any screentime at all. He is a complete and utter hack, and I loathe what he’s been doing.

  12. Kristen says:

    Marlena…

    I agree on some points….though I’d hardly say that Pratt has done wonders with the writing for the show.

    I do think he’s found balance and for the most part, the dialogue is better. I’d also say that he has good ideas, however his twists blow what could be good, right out of the water.

    I’ve enjoyed Erica and Adam tremendously. However I’ve wondered…why isn’t Erica furious at Adam for trying to destroy her daughter’s company? Regardless, they are a breath of fresh air. I like not seeing Erica chase after Jack and Adam not begging for Krystal to come back.

    Other than that….what can I say? I thought we’d have a great love story with Bianca and Reese. Yet all I’ve seen is women who are more in lust, then in love. They hardly know each other, yet they have a child and are engaged. Mr. Pratt completely ignored who Zach and Bianca are as people – and completely insulted the relationships they have with Kendall.

    Zach would not father a child he did not plan to raise as his own…and even if he did, he and Kendall have come way to far for him not to tell her and insist that Bianca do the same.

    Bianca and Kendall have come a long way. Kendall was willing to give up her life for Bianca…for her to think Kendall would say no to this request is a slap in the face to this sisterly bond.

    He’s failed to tell a groundbreaking love story between two women and has only succeeded in me wanting them to exit Pine Valley ASAP.

    In my opinion, Mr. Kaye’s talents have been wasted – playing propper to Reese and Bianca. He should not be odd man in the middle of two woman. We should see Zach taking his anger out on Jake for putting his wife in a coma. We should see Zach battling the dark side of him that always threatens to come out when Kendall is not there. I’d love to see Zach and JR talk about losing the love of their lives. I’d love to see Zach throw himself into work and drinking more and more – retreat to that dark place, because that is who he is.

    The idea that he would confide in Reese – a complete stranger is ludicrous. It’s not Zach.

    I like Rebecca, however this story has made Jesse look like a fool. It’s one thing that he had a relationship with someone during the time he was gone – but the timeline is screwy and there is absolutely no valid reason as to why Jesse didn’t tell Angie the truth.

    Taylor and Jake are boring. Taylor clearly does not have a place in Pine Valley and Jake’s arrogance has reached an all time high. JR Martinez is doing a wonderful job portraying Brot. The character is growing on me…too bad I look forward to his interaction with other characters, as I secretly wish Taylor would just leave town.

    I do adore Amanda, but I’m ready for her to grow up and stop seeking revenge. It’s time for her to have some respect for herself and stop playing games.

    Ryan, Annie, Aidan, Greenlee can all leave. Where I do like Melissa Claire Egan, the last thing I’ve felt is sympathy for Annie. Annie’s antics are over the top and too out there for me to take the character seriously. Add to the fact that her psychosis was caused by Ryan!!

    When are the folks in charge of AMC going to get it? Ryan Lavery is not a hero. He is not a white knight. He is a selfish, arrogant, abusive ass. I’m sick to death of this character and am tired of being “told” that he is wonderful. Mr. Pratt has not done Ryan any favors in this story.

    I can continue….but I’ll leave it at that. I had hopes that Mr. Pratt would be differen then his predecessors – but all he’s proven to me is that he can recycle the same stories from the past, he ignores character history, and is more about plot then he is about telling an honest and real story.

    Maybe if he gave us romance and some happy that balanced out the sad and depressing, we’d be getting somewhere. Kendall will come out of her coma…it would be nice to see AMC’s number one couple actually have some happiness, some family time, and a story that allowed them to work together.

    It would be nice if Angie and Jesse could have a story that dealt with how they’ve changed during their time apart, how they deal with it, and love each other more because of it.

    It would be nice if we saw the friendships that do exist between characters…..like Greenlee and David. Why didn’t Greenlee go to David to help him through Babe’s death? They had a friendship and it would’ve been nice to see it.

    Why wasn’t it recognized that Kendall used to babysit Petey?

    It would be nice to see character driven stories that make sense, that respect their integrity, that make sense.

    And it would be nice to see something original.

    Marlena says: You’ve included a lot of points here I agree with and wanted to write more about. First of all, I have always hated Ryan, the ultimate empty suit, since he debuted on the show as McTavish’s Golden Boy. Why do people keep telling him how great he is? He is an “abusive ass” as you say! And I loved your suggestion about Angie and Jesse being given a story dealing with their changes over the years apart. These have always been multi-layered characters with inner lives. I’ve changed a lot over the last two decades–and so have they! Explain, Mr. Pratt. Also, is asking him or any soap headwriter to do something original a pipe dream in this end of days soap era when everyone is just trying to save their butts? I spent years in my column at SOW campaigning for original stories, but that was the 90′s when soaps still had budgets and great headwriters with talent and serious ambitions to say something meaningful about the human condition through their drama.

  13. KathyNYC says:

    I dunno Marlena. While I respect your opinion and often agree with it, I am having a hard time finding much to like about AMC these days. I do find Brot to be an interesting character but I am not emotionally invested in his relationshp with Taylor so I am not caring as much as I should. I had no emotional connection to Jake and Taylor either. Randi and Frankie have about as much chemistry as a wet noodle. I love evil David but even he is a little over the top for my taste. The downfall of Krystal falling again for a man she is not married to is getting old. I love Jesse and Angie..but am suspried to find myself bored with them most of the time. The idea that Jesse has a 20 year old daughter with another woman is ludicrous…and even more ludicrous that he would have left a dedicated relationship of 20 years for his true love Angie and it’s supposed ot be “romantic” and “wonderful”.

    I love Melissa Claire Egan so I am interested in her performances though it aggrevates me to no end that Annie has lost her mind because of her inability to cope with losing Ryan, like he is this great prize. I find the re-involvement of Ryan and Greenlee of no interest whatsover and why Pratt or anyone thinks that I could ever care about them in a mystery to me.

    Bianca and Reese..I cannot wait until they leave my screen. If this is grounbreaking..I am missing something. There is absolutely no reason why Bianca who seems to know so little about Reese to begin with needed a child last year. There was certainly no reason to think that she would have burdened an already ridiculously burdened man with the idea of donating sperm, a man who was barely holding on at all with his son born 4 months premature, his step son deaf and his wife almost convicted of a crime…and accepted the idea without telling Kendall who she is supposed to love?

    Because frankly, to me, Bianca is just coming off as selfish and hypocrticial. She is upset because Reese kept a secret from her? Isn’t she the one that kept this huge secret from her own beloved sister? I feel nothing for Bianca except disgust. Bianca would not have done this, Zach would not have done this. And since the relationship of Reese and Bianca developed off screen, I feel no emotional connection to them at all and I don’t care.

    I am finding that Pratt is taking potentially interesting storylines and either- plopping them in the middle of characters I care nothing about, or ignoring the history of characters that I do care about and writing storylines that make little sense. I was happy to give Pratt a chance and will continue to do so, but sadly, he’s not doing it for me at this point.

  14. Pepe says:

    I don’t know what show you’re watching Marlene but it’s not AMC. This has become a plot drive crapfest. Sure all the stories have potential if they were character driven but they’re not so they immediately crash and burn.

    The biggest joke is the wasting of a talent like Thorsten Kaye on this crap and still making the show all about Ryan. Who cares about this jerk? I have not seen anything positive written about Ryan Lavery for years and he is definitely bringing this show down much like the character of Sonny is bringing down GH.

    I’m not asking for much. I want simple well written character driven stories. In this or any economy that isn’t hard to do. I want them to stop bringing in the newbies who we don’t care about and giving them more air time than people we want to see. I also don’t get Pratt’s off screen mind. I want to see things play out on my screen not guess what happened. This is not prime time and that’s not why I watch soaps.

    Most of all I want LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON not all this depressing garbage. This is the first time in all my years of watching AMC (over 25 years) that I have not even watched shows because I have absolutely no interest and I don’t want to be depressed. I want to laugh and I want to cry but most of all I want to love the characters.

    Marlena says: I agree, I agree, Pepe. As anyone who read my columns going back to SOW in about 1992 may remember , I’ve never quite understood why ABC Daytime and other soaps stopping selling us Love in the afternoon!

  15. Avery Taylor says:

    I agree with you on a lot. My favorite character (I honestly don’t know why) is Annie, expertly played by Melissa Claire Egan. I started watching AMC around when she killed Ritchie, and something about her just held my interest. I watched older episodes on YouTube, and I really loved the Ryannie storyline. Most people didn’t like the goody-goody Annie, but I loved her for some reason. I’m a sucker for the damsels in distress and the fairy tale-like white nights, Ryan in this case. But honestly, everyone hates Ryan nw, including me. He’s been the center of the major realtionships for what, the past TEN YEARS?! I’m sure I’m not the only one who is tired of him.

    In an interview with Melissa, she said the writers were going to make her character a bit more spunky once she gets over the looney bin phase. I really liked goodygoody, as I said before, but any Annie is better than crazy Annie for me.

    Now, all of a sudden Annie is holding a knife to Aidan’s neck?! Come on, people, that’s not spunky, that’s crazy again!

    I just want Annie to get better and Ryan to die so Annie could be with Emma. I think Annie deserves Emma. Ryan is just a sperm donor. The point of that was to remain anonymus. And the dumbest decision Annie ever made was asking Ryan to adopt Emma before their wedding to make it official.

    In the future, I hope Annie will get fully better and get on Ryan’s good side so they’ll get joint custody, that is, if Annie doesn’t go to jail (please no!). And maybe when/if that happens, Ryan will fall for Annie again and she can break his heart like he broke hers. And then, if we’re lucky, he’ll die of a broken heart and Annie can have Emma!

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