March 24, 2004
Commentary on AMC this week would be out of the bounds of appropriateness if the topic of choice was not the Cataclysmic Event. No, I don't mean the GH fire, which was more like an anti-Cataclysmic Event (more on that later). I'm talking about the cataclysmic merging of AMC and OLTL, breaking through that glass wall between the shows that turns into a semi-permeable membrane every few years for a minor crossover.
I was amazed at how unobtrusive the whole event felt. Since I watch both OLTL and AMC, I forgot from time to time which show I was watching yesterday unless I glanced at the clock. I didn't really feel an impact and it's one of those situations where I couldn't imagine how it would affect the only OLTL or only AMC people since I've forgotten the thought processes of the uninitiated, probably lodged in some experience wrinkles of my mind between sleeping through the night and snapping a pair of size 10 jeans over a flat tummy.
I take exception on some levels to the ludicrousness of the entire production. The story itself is wonderfully soapy and made me miss the old days when babies were carried to full term and weren't forced to wage war against killer staircases and Mommy diving into the freezing waters off the coast of Columbia just to see the light of day and survive to viability. The high drama of Babe and Bianca delivering in the wilds of New England was also perfect soap fare and was very well performed by both actresses. It was well written and beautifully delivered on all levels.
But it sucked. Why? Because of the little details that were just cast aside. What comes to my mind is placentas. Did either of them have one? Maybe that's why Bianca is passed out and hemorrhaging like a 10 foot drop to a curb bite, y'think? Maybe that sucker is causing her to bleed out. Amazing that neither Bianca nor Babe chose to know the sex of their baby before it was born. I chose not to with my last two children, but I was definitely in the minority from what I could tell. Even without knowing the gender in advance, I find it interesting that Babe and Paul were jabbering about her son this and her son that and it's a boy this and "he" that endlessly before her (we presume still current) husband #1 jabbed her full of sedative. Now she's got a little girl baby and *something* is going to make her not question. Since Babe doesn't seem like the brightest bulb on the marquee under the best of circumstances, I expect they will use the premise that she was shot full of scopolamine with some kind of heavy duty piggy back narcotic to knock her out and the amnesiac effect made her all fuzzy woozy about the situation.
That was quite a lot of trouble for Paul to go to for a sister he just met. I can't imagine the number of felony charges he wracked up in a couple hours' work in the woods. I doubt either the Pine Valley or Llanview PD's have a penal code with that many entries in it either.
I think one of the most critically difficult aspects about watching and managing this event as a viewer is that really, Bianca is the only player into which we have had an opportunity to invest any degree of emotional interest whatsoever. Paul as Brock Cuchna was too new and ill-defined for me to particularly care about and changing actors moments prior to a major scene was nothing short of dumb. I'll forgo my standard "all recasts must wear a name-sign for the first two weeks" speech and go right with a healthy dose of "who the hell was that and thank God everyone said his name about every 2 minutes to keep me focused on character identity."
I picked on Paul first because he's the newest and most vague character/actor. Babe is designed (I presume since I'm usually not that given to hacking a character apart) to be a character annoying to the extreme, sort of one you love to hate and find that it's the only place you can fit the word "love" into a Babe analysis without waxing into uberbitch. Ditto to Krystal. We are supposed to be grated by their brassiness, their Opal-wannabe tackiness and their overt sluttiness. Other than a moment or two of unexplained cuddliness and instant friendship with Bianca, we've been given few bones to throw to the dog of character appreciation.
(On a side note, it's amazing how physically loving the female characters are toward Bianca, as though they are drawn to hugging her, kissing her forehead and holding her hand. "Look at the sweet little lesbian! I'm going to hug her and squeeze her and take her home and call her George... or Binky... whatever.")
Babe hasn't been around long enough or endeared herself to us enough to expect us to get heavily invested in her delivery or her situation. Gone are the days when a new character slips onto the canvas in a small role and work their way to greatness. Now unfamiliar faces are slammed directly into these high profile stories and we are expected to get all wrenched up over their misfortunes.
Kelly, also, is too newly recast for me to get all bunged up about how she HAS TO HAVE A BABY AND HAS TO HAVE ONE RIGHT NOW!, but I'll save my rant on that one for the OLTL section. Unlike ABC, I am more than willing to keep the shows shoved into their respective cubby holes. Ahem.
So that leaves Bianca and even though I don't care for the character (the whole sainted female stereotype gets on my nerves, ala Robin Scorpio, Jessica Buchanan, Emily Quartermaine), my heart ached for her when her little baby was passed into the Chandler fold with ease. In an eerie reflection of Althea Chandler sliding newborn Skye into the family tree, Kelly made the stolen Chandler baby the newest heir to another obscenely wealthy family and dubbed him Ace Buchanan (pet detective). (You AMC people thinking I'm kidding, but think again) Playing musical babies across ABC ties up the shows in a neatly connected bow for quiet some time, we're told.
Although Bianca's grief is doubtlessly going to be palpable, it won't stop with her as her baby's "death" radiates through the valley. Erica will find some way to make it about her. Kendall's grief will be almost as strong as Bianca's as she was trying to save herself through saving Miranda. Had Miranda lived and been raised in love and warmth and stability, then grown up healthy and well adjusted, it would prove her deeply held belief that her own problems were the result of Erica's abandonment.
Jack and Reggie had their own reactions to the news, but it's my prediction that the strongest (with the exception of Eden Riegel as Bianca) performance is going to come straight from my heart of hearts, Vincent Irizarry, as David reflects back on his own loss of Leora. David has become heavily invested in Bianca's pregnancy and the baby's death is certain to devastate him on its own, then on top of that compiles memories of his own grief and all he lost in the wake of his own child's death.
David took a while to grow on me. I missed his romance with Erica and picked up with his obsession with Dixie (something I could never understand... for that matter, obsession with ________ - fill in the blank with the object of some soap man's obsession - just doesn't wash with me) and the subsequent raid against the Martin family (although torturing Jake seemed totally justified to me). For the most part, he seemed contrived and uninteresting except as eye candy. Once his relationships with Leo and Vanessa started to be more deeply explored, he took on a new dimension for me and I've enjoyed him, for the most part, ever since. Meh. Anna didn't deserve him. He's a renegade hottie who needs a burningly passionate relationship uncomplicated by crap.
I'd love to say that I look forward to the performance by Jacob Young as
JR with the degree of anticipation that I await Vincent Irizarry's, but I
find myself cringing in fear over his gloating and Superdaddying that is
no doubt to come. I'm no Babe fan, that is for certain, (together I
find them to be the most irritating couple since Edmunch and Maria), but
JR has put her through an emotionally devastating pregnancy, treating her
like dirt for her indiscretion. I am in full scale derision of
adultery and I don't appreciate how easily she fell on her back for Jamie
despite her epic love for JR (the cheating which was, in my opinion, still
not adequately explained nor justified), but JR never gave her a moment's
peace practically from the minute she found out she was pregnant. He
harangued and bellowed and snorted like Ferdinand the Bull post bee
incident and all but made her wear a scarlet A on her sluts-r-us couture
maternity tops. Poor Jamie got the worst end of the stick, getting
cuckolded on his very first sexual experience by his own brother's
announcement of having married the cherry plucker pre-pluck. (what
th'pluck?) Between Babe shrieking at him for even daring to imagine
it might be his child and JR ranting nonstop and disowning him, I'm
surprised he's not off playing camel jockey in the French Foreign Legions
by now. It's NOT been a banner year for Jamie other than his
occasional score with pluck buddy, Maggie. I guess sometimes, when
you're both running from someone, you can run into each other and have a
bit of fun. Now, Jamie gets to add insult to injury by being forced
to listen to
JR's happy daddy tales and seeing Babe and he canoodling as a picket fence
family. Given Jacob Young's recent (and I felt quite arrogant)
comments declaring that the previous JR's just couldn't manage to give the
character the depth it needed, he's not winning any points in my book as a
actor or a character.
Segue over into the other half of this story on OLTL and I first get to bitch about the stupid name that Kelly and Kevin gave their little stolen bairn. Ace? ACE? I get the whole deal with naming him after great-granddad and think that's just really sweet, but will the whole family be pausing to see if the next syllable, "a" comes out before they know to whom the speaker is referring? Asa is getting on in years and such comments as "Asa fell out of his chair" or "Ace spit up his peas" could be eventually referring to either one. Little Ace is going to get quite a trust fund set up in no time, I'm sure. So now Kevin has kids named "Duke" and "Ace." Given the puppy dog moniker direction, I suppose he'll soon be raising little "Sport" with Blair and having Adriana squeezing out baby "Chief" as soon as she's of legal age. Might as well bang away at all of the Cramer women. I've loved how various people (Viki being the latest) have gently tried to introduce the idea to Kevin that he's a Ho and always has been, typically wanting the woman he can't have and quickly becoming bored with her when he gets her. Grace will always be his perfect woman since he never really got her. Even though it's put forth that Kelly is the one who had the affair in Texas, the reason why is given that Kevin totally ignored her (as in, was bored with her) and I submit that Kevin was happily nailing his secretary or pilates instructor and just didn't get caught, only to do the typically indignant "how DARE you!!" crap when Kelly was found to be doing the same thing. Don't kid yourself. He was diddling someone if he was ignoring Kelly. That guy's pen can't go 2 hours without being in someone's inkpot. Ho.
I have determined that despite my previous assumptions to the contrary, I don't dislike recasts particularly. Some of my very favorite characters are current recasts, such as Dorian, Viki, Dr Larry, Starr, etc. It's bad recasts that I dislike and I have to be honest and say that my jury is still out on Heather Tom as Kelly. She's a good actress and she seems to get Kelly OK, but there's something about her that just doesn't work for me. I admit that I really did like the original Kelly, Gina Tognoni, but I was very open to recast. Tracy Melchoir was so hopelessly miscast into the character that I relaxed into Heather Tom as her replacement very quickly just because it was more on track than TM had been. I couldn't look at TM and ever imagine that she was the quirky, tacky, brassy little Kelly who first came to town. I can with Heather Tom, but I'm finding myself backing away from comfort with her in the role and working instead to try and discern what it is about her that bothers me. If I get it, I'll let you know. I think it's the face scrunching. I've just never cared for actors who are scrunchers. I did think the whole "DAMMIT, I MUST HAVE SOMEONE'S BABY AND I MUST HAVE ONE NOW, PAUL GO STEAL ONE FOR ME FORTHWITH!!!" premise came up way too fast and felt too contrived. I must keep my lying, cheating, straying husband before I have to hear Dr Phil say, "If they'll do it with you, they'll do it to you" even one more time! As with the obsession process described in the above AMC discussion, I just don't get this obsession factor. If Kevin is such a horndog that he won't leave Blair alone, then dump him and be done with it!
HOLD ON! Stop the presses! I just got an epiphany! Kevin gives his kids dog names because he himself is a dog! A HORNdog. Wow. May I be excused, my brain is full.
I must again take this opportunity to point out that Ohio County High School used to righteously kick the ass of Morganfield High School every year in basketball, the town in Kentucky from which Kassie DePaiva hails, back when she was Kassie Wesley. That being done, I have to say I was completely moved by her performance today as Blair started to realize that maybe she did just knock out a rowdy and awesome and rolicky and lampbashing sexcapade with Todd and only later confuse it as rape because of her tumor. Some people smoke a cigarette and eat Cornflakes; Blair screams rape and sends you to prison. It's the modern version of eating your partner's head off after mating. I'll bet the mantis is just as surprised as Todd was upon hearing "guilty" and being sentenced to 10 years hard time for his 10 minutes of hard time with Blair. That better have been some kind of lovin, don't you know. I look forward to tomorrow's episode as the realization sets in and to see how she will deal with this information.
I had my own startling revelation this week as well, this time about Marcie and Michael. The big wigs sure made a balls up of this one, in my opinion. I'm trying hard to love them, but more and more it's becoming clear that it wasn't Nathanial and Kathy that I loved together (although I think Kathy Brier is one of the best there is), it was Al and Marcie. It was their subtle and gentle romance. It was her love for the Voice of the Night and her stalwart friendship through the drug withdrawals. It was his gradual realization of how very much he adored this lovely woman who was so very not Jen Rappaport. It was cheering for the easy slide into love that they took once the momentum was going and how Al gave Marcie confidence and Marcie gave Al the unconditional love he never really had from either of his parents who were both absentees at key points in his life for long periods of his life. You can't just throw NM and KB together and ass/u/me that the magic will spontaneously recreate itself. Al should have lived. That's all there is to it. This roundabout to instant love just doesn't make sense and isn't working. It's not at all helped by all of their scenes being pretty much the same: put them in a room and have them fuss about conflicting schedules. Somebody help us here!
Have I mentioned that I love David Vickers and if Dorian doesn't get around to marrying him, I sure will!
Zander, you know it's true... everything I do... I do it for you... *snifff* I'm still teary over Zander's death and more than a little miffed that it was used primarily as ONE MORE WAY to canonize St Emily, even to the point that he was THANKING HER as he was dying for, well, making his sorrowful life a little brighter for a while there. Pfft. Acck. Pttht. I spit upon her! The best acting I've EVER seen in a soap opera was Zander having a conversation with a telephone and using the receiver to beat the shit out it afterwards. Now, he's gone and we're left with the lipglossed Princess of Perfect and the noble Greek steed she rides. I'm so damned frustrated that Zander never really got a chance to be loved by anyone other than Emily. He is so good at being in love and so doggoned hot at being loved that we should have seen more of it. When he threw Carly out of his room, her clothes in her hands, it was golden and we knew that while he would not be used as a substitute for Sonny, he was good and well going to grab the nearest sock on his way back into the room. When he cried to his dad about his brother Pete being killed, only to have Cameron throw it back in his face, the emotional abandonment of the little boy he was could be read all over his face. Why oh why could he not have a wickedly delicious affair with Felicia? Chad's a big boy now and imagine the dynamics if he'd taken up a secret fling with that serial adulteress, Monica? Monica, who almost flunked out of her Human Anatomy class because she had the Kama Sutra shoved into the pages of her text book, could teach Zander tricks he couldn't even think of in his Elizabeth and Emily loving little boy imagination. Monica would put him through puberty so fast he'd have to take a breather to shave. He'd be calling out her name and his voice would get deeper every time. But no, he had to be slain on the altar of St Emily, bleeding before he was ever shot and his character assassinated before the bullets ever left the guns. The little red dots that peppered his shirt and precursored the bullets that would tear the life out of him were just the formality. Zander was as good as dead the moment the powers that be aligned him with Faith and got the idea that he would beat a man with a lead pipe then set him on fire. Goodbye, Sweet Prince. We never got a chance to know all of the things we needed to know about Zander by a long shot, not to mention his complex and handsome father. But well, we get to explore absolutely every nook and cranny of Sonny's tortured psyche every live long day.
Onstar Commercial, much?
This Mary gal who is, for whatever purpose, bamboozling Nikolas into bizarro land is absolutely lovely. I haven't seen enough of her to know if she can act, but she's definitely a looker. I also have to give kudos to Enid, who did an impressive job of acting in a tiny part.
I do have to quibble a bit about Felicia, now that she's had five minutes to settle in. I couldn't believe the words I heard come out of her mouth when Enid wondered why Felicia was acting as though her late brother Wally might be a Mac-stealing criminal. Submitted for your mocking and amusement:
"Wally disappeared the same night Mac was injured. There could be a connection." She said this with a straight face and I thought, "Yeah, like maybe there was a BIG FRICKIN FIRE, FLEA!! There's a connection!" Silly Felicia and her back-page-comic-book Annie Oakley private detective license.
As I said before, obsession in soaps is something I cannot easily fathom. I know about love and I've experienced love several times. I've fought (unsuccessfully) to keep my family together after a husband had an affair and was demanding to be set free and I've endured that loss. I know what it feels like to love and lose and it sucks. I know the debilitating, ugly cry we get going when our heart has been crunched up and pooped upon and our future suddenly has gone from bright to gone. Don't get me started on the love thing because I'm all over that.
I'm talking OBSESSION. The one where the person is just unreasonable fixated on someone who has said, "I don't want to be with you!!" Lorenzo has no reason to be so obsessed with Carly. He did (rewrite all you want, but Luke raped Laura and Lorenzo kidnapped Carly) set out to maliciously re-kidnap her from Ric who had kidnapped her from Sonny. Lorenzo's reasoning was unclear, but kidnap her he did. If he became addicted to her fiery spirit or sucked into that man thing where they lust after pregnant woman, I don't know, but something happened that took him to the crazy place and put him pretty much in the role of stalker and now in the role of scheming but dedicated puppy. With the blind glasses on, we can imagine he'll be cured and faking in no time to keep her, willing to settle for her pity love until real love, he presumes, kicks in. He lets Courtney just rant and rage, all spittle flying and eyes blazing, on and on and on until Carly says something to control her, leaving us to presume that he wafted off to his happy place and rendered his aching ears as useless as his eyes. How much can this man take before he decides that no woman is worth all this? Her ex has already shot him a few times and tried to otherwise kill him a couple more. When does the point come that the price is just too high?
Imagine the story that would have been if Lorenzo had delivered Morgan, Sonny shot Lorenzo and Carly through him. Carly had her sessy man dreams and then went back to Sonny as happened. Imagine then if being shot through her sex brain had the same effect and she was going after Lorenzo like mad but he didn't want her. Now there would be some Corinthos drama. I miss strong Ted King and I'm bored with wimpy Ted King. Let him dump Carlyn on her slender ass right next to Sonny's newspaper on the welcome mat and be done with it. I honestly think I liked Luis better. He was... interesting.
BUT WAIT! What if Lorenzo's attention shifted from Carly to Alexis? Now there's a story.
Cataclysmic Event? A hotel that we seldom see burned down. We have no idea where Jax the Homeless now parks his boots. Probably on Sam's boat since she's never there. An electrician died. Wally died. Cameron died. Brian and Capelli died afterward, but not really of any cataclysmic event problems. Scott died but didn't. Zander died but didn't. Nikolas died but didn't. Edward was responsible for the fire but wasn't. Two deaths in a huge hotel fire aren't a cataclysmic event! It's a flippin miracle! If anything, (although I doubt poor Enid feels this way) this situation reeks of the good fairy taking the edge off the evil fairy's curse on Port Charles ("You'll only THINK a few people are dead and have lots of scenes to mock.") Bah. Humbug.
I was SO grateful to see Mac's real face under the goofy bandages! Bandaged Mac is better than no Mac at all!
Luke and Skye have been fabulous together. I was cracking up over Luke's "rescue" of Faith, but I had to wonder how in the world ANYone could look at that scene of Jason throwing Faith overboard and not see him as a cold-blooded killer. "It's what I do." Yep.
I think I'm the only person in the universe who didn't tear up over Sonny's lamenting the loss of his children. I was cheering when Michael was holding him accountable for his actions and the only thing I felt sadness about was missing the days gone by when I did adore Sonny. I see all the ways that he set himself up for this loss and it just seems like logical cause and effect. Only the most staunch of fans can ever believe that Sonny and Carly are fit parents, keeping their children in constant danger and usually far more involved with their own most recent drama than in the day to day lives of their kids. I still vote for Leticia to get custody and move to the island.
It has been OUTSTANDING to see so much of Mike! Who'da thought that taking over at Kelly's would give him air time? I've missed seeing Ron Hale and it's great to have long scenes in which he actually has time to be the good actor that he is.
I miss Elton, Big Alice, Reginald, Monica, Alan, Bobby, Jerry, Roy, V, Lois, Stefan... Gone are the days of BJ's heart and the quality of writing and acting that we enjoyed at that time. It was a moment in history and now, the world has turned a few more times and GH has morphed into a different show on all levels. I am open to being impressed, but the biggest problem GH faces is being its own toughest act to follow. The only BJ's we get now are the ones that Sam gives out to anyone who unzips.
I guess a girl has to earn pretty dresses somehow.
Have a great week!