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 [Read more...]

The “New” All My Children, Part 1 — Lifting the Fog of Stupidity

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Thinking Fans Comment Update: EricMontreal22, once horrified by Pratt’s arrival, is now “pleasantly thrilled” … likewise Donna L. Bridges, though still wary of Pratt, yells “Yippeee!” … but Cate disdains the suggestion of a  Reese bisexual romance storyline. See Comments below. 

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By Marlena De Lacroix     

A few weeks ago I realized I was receiving one of my best ever Christmas presents. I was watching All My Children and I realized, after twelve long miserable years out in the cold, I finally want to watch my old favorite show regularly again!

As I described in Take Me Home to Pine Valley, I’d  been alienated from my beloved AMC since 1996, when gimmick-mad, plot-driven headwriter Megan McTavish took over the show and filled it with empty-headed characters (like Ryan, soap opera’s most vanilla hero);  the dorkiest, most repetitive plots (all those kidnappings of Bianca’s and Kendall’s babies, and, worst of all, the dumbest, most superficial 

Although the show is far from great, or even good, after only three months with (Charles) Pratt at the helm, at least we have a headwriter who is actually thinking.

women (Greenlee and everyone else at Fusion.). How I longed for all the years going back to the 1970 premiere, when show was still written by Agnes Nixon, and later by such great writers as  [Read more...]

All My Children’s Agnes Nixon, Always Our Guardian Angel

Thinking Fans on Agnes’ visit to Pine Valley:  renee “cried buckets and emailed everyone” … n69n says she “is the cutest, dearest, smilingest little lady” … while tess remembers the days of 15- and 30-minute soaps … and more. See Comments below.   

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Agnes NixonBy Marlena De Lacroix

Just as I was fantasizing about throwing a cherry bomb at ABC headquarters over the misogynistic, disgusting Todd-Marty redux story playing out  on One Life to Live, along  comes an episode of All My Children which soothed the fires of r age within me. It was the 10,000th episode of AMC, my all-time favorite soap, on Thursday! I’ve watched since its premiere in 1970!

In a world where soaps have grown sensationalistic and emotionally empty, how healing it was to watch an episode which included family scenes of the Martins, the Hubbards and the Kanes.  With parents like Zack and Bianca actually kissing their children, including perpetual ingénue Erica actually kissing her grandchildren!  With family members holding hands, and — get this — actually praying, thanking God for surviving the recent tornado.

Love! Family! Spirit! I began to think I had died and gone to soap heaven, circa 1970!

And there to guide me around Pine Valley was a blithe, ancient spirit named Aggie who, just like Clarence in It’s a Wonderful Life, mysteriously appeared and

How charming Agnes was throughout the magically written episode … She was wise, loving, funny and bright, everything her All My Children always was and everything Agnes Nixon always has been.

disappeared throughout the episode.  Dressed adorably in antique Victorian garb, Aggie popped up in various scenes to tell residents things she knew about them.

Like, “Tad, how’s your arm?” To which Opal, Tad’s biological mother, immediately shouted,  “Ray Gardner broke [Read more...]

Celebrating All My Children’s Phenomenal Women!

 norn

As a writer and professor, one of my very favorite things is finding new talent.  I got to know Norn Cutson this year because, as one of our Thinking Fans, he frequently writes to this site.  It turns out that Norn is a Thinking Fan who has more than one way to express his enthusiasm for soaps.  When Moose and I saw this illustration, we flipped.  Wow!  What talent!  We asked to share it here at marlenadelacroix.com, and Norn kindly gave us permission.

Norn’s illustration is, of course, of All My Children.  It’s the Kane women, Erica and her daughters Kendall and Bianca.  Phenomenal women characters created and watched over by the phenomenal  Agnes Nixon.  So, happy 10,000th show to Ms. Nixon and everyone who loves AMC

Norn is a graphics designer and illustrator who lives and works here in New York City. He is also a huge fan of One Life to Live.  You’ve got to see his portfolio at Norn’s Island . There’re Charlotte Rae, and Judy Garland, and Ann Magnuson and gaggles and gaggles of impressive illustrations of the celebrities we love.   Norn, what a find!

                                                                                                            Marlena

                                                                                                            XXXOOO

All My Children’s Tornado: “Look at Me, I’m Chuckie P!”

AMC tornado 1

Thinking Fans contemplate the Big Wind(s):  Marlene opines the strong wind is meant ”to sweep away the stench of E&B” … while Tom Casiello is exhausted by the ”piling on of plot points” … and NancyJo has just one word for Thorsten Kaye: “MAGNIFICENT!” … and more. See Comments below. 

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By Marlena De Lacroix

All My Children‘s latest tornado was amusing to watch for more than a week as a soap special event. But I’m going to use a word for it I’ve never used in decades of watching or writing about soap opera.  I have never seen such a overly contrived piece of soap opera in my life.

The whole aim of any drama is to make the audience believe.  Do I believe that one tornado stuck most of Pine Valley, and then  a second one conveniently struck what

(The tornado) was showy, it was exciting, but when you calmly thought about it all, the likelihood that all of it could happen this way to real people in a real place was just plain ridiculous.

was left, namely the Pine Valley Hospital where, as luck would have it, most of the show’s characters had gone to seek refuge? How cooperative of Mother Nature! Maybe she [Read more...]

All My Children’s Eileen Herlie Dies; Her Myrtle Was a Beloved “Mom” to Us All

Eileen Herlie

Thinking Fans mourn the passing of Ms. Herlie:  Pat loved her cosmpolitan gypsy flair … Tess relished her confrontations with Langley … Dale says she stole our hearts … while Joey wishes for Myrtle’s blueberry muffins and lemonade … and more. See Comments below. 

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By Marlena De Lacroix 

I just heard that Eileen Herlie passed away today at age 90 from pneumonia, and as an old All My Children fan, I’m pretty choked up.  As Myrtle Fargate, the carnie turned Pine Valley character confidante and advisor since 1976, Herlie was universally loved.

Myrtle was all hearty humor and blithe spirit, yet she was also warm and wise, and she was one of the best mother figures ever. She was not the biological mother of the twin character Kitty and Kelly, played by Francesca James, but through some plot twists became just as close to each of them as an adopted mother.(Myrtle came on to AMC initially as a drunk hired by snobby Phoebe Wallingford to fake being the mother of Kitty, in order to harm Kitty’s romance with Phoebe’s son Linc.)  And she was surrogate mother to characters such as [Read more...]

Marlena Says: Take Me Home to Pine Valley

All My Children

Thinking Fans Comment Update Sept. 16:  James recalls shopping and dining in old Pine Valley … Kel agrees it’s too soon to judge the new headwriter … Brandon opines even bad Pine Valley circa 1997 beats today’s incarnation …and more. See Comments below.

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By Marlena De Lacroix

All My Children was always my favorite soap, from its premiere (1970) until the time Meggie McTavish made her disastrous, gimmick-filled  return (1996-97) and later when Ryan and the Fusion girls took over the show. Bimbos! I hated them — Kendall, Greenlee, etc., etc. — girls who were obsessed with make-up and wearing sundresses year-round, who giggled about men and acted like cats while they were pretending to work. 

Intelligent women with real hearts and authentic female wisdom had been what AMC specialized in until then (best example: Brooke). Like so many Thinking Fans, I used to love AMC for its humor, heart and real intelligence (three qualities which actually belong to its creator and longtime headwriter, Agnes Nixon.)  For the last decade, however, I’ve watched the dumbed [Read more...]

From Bad to Good or Good To Bad: Seven Soap Characters Who Changed Before Our Eyes

Melissa Claire Egan

Thinking Fans Comment Update Sept. 9:  Sina nominates Maxie Jones … Greg would include Vanessa Chamberlain …  Aaron misses Annie Dutton … and more. See Comments below. 

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By Patrick Erwin

It’s been interesting to watch recent scenes with Melissa Claire Egan as Annie on All My Children. Once a good girl, Annie has turned into a manipulative witch. She may not be a nice person anymore, but Annie no longer comes off as a Greenlee-wannabe and is far more interesting to watch.
 
Most soap characters serve a purpose and stay in their designated slot: heroine, villain, rouge, or temptress. But every once in a while, a character will undergo a major metamorphosis and make a dramatic change, redeeming their wicked ways or shedding their goodness to get in touch with their inner bad seed.

Here are seven examples of characters who radically changed in front of our eyes.
 
1.  Annie Dutton, Guiding Light: Speaking of Annies, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this one. When she was [Read more...]

On the Soap Shrink’s Couch: Adam Chandler, All My Children’s Supreme Control Freak

Thinking Fans Comment Update Aug. 22: norn sees Adam as a fierce competitor … while Trey thinks Adam is driven by love. See Comments below. 

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By Damon L. Jacobs

“If I don’t take care of this, no one will.”

Does this sound familiar to you?  Have you ever known someone who thought that way?  Or, dear Thinking Fans, have YOU ever been the one who believed you had to solve everyone’s problems, handle every issue, and be in complete control of every situation?

If so, you can understand how the twisted and tortured mind of Adam Chandler (played by David Canary) operates.  Born from humble beginnings in Pigeon Hollow, Adam became a self-made business man early in his career.  He has been driven his entire life by [Read more...]

Do You Love or Hate it When Soaps Repeat Their Histories?

Thinking Fans Comment Update July 31:  How to repeat soap histories? Melanie counts the ways … James cheers the Reva/Josh movie wedding … while esther is generally unimpressed by retreads … and more. See Comments below.  

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By Patrick Erwin  

Each of the eight daytime soaps on American network TV these days has a substantial history. The Bold and the Beautiful is the youngest at 21, Guiding Light the eldest at 71. Collectively, this is a rich history. And I’m all for calling on the past to inform current storylines.

But there’s a curious trend emerging this summer, and I’m not sure what to make of it. A few shows have gone beyond revisiting history — they actually seem to be reliving the stories in a way we haven’t really seen before. The stories we’re seeing are often [Read more...]