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« The Question We're All Asking | Main | Jason's Lyric »

January 05, 2010

Happy Anniversary, All My Children!

I didn't think I'd ever say these words again, unless I was being held at gunpoint and the only way out was to say it, lest another legacy character get shown the door, and I certainly didn't think that I'd say it about an episode written by Charles Pratt, especially since I was mildly terrified when I realized that the show's 40th anniversary special would come during his time on the show, but: I wish that today's episode of All My Children had been at least an hour longer. At least!

After all, if the show was more than an hour, maybe some of the awesome returning characters would have had the opportunity to actually interact with people, rather than just talk to the camera. And maybe entire scenes of old footage could have been shown, rather than just footage without dialogue. Although a longer show would have given them even more opportunity to talk about Babe in addition to the third of the show they spent talking about her today, so maybe it's for the best.

I'm getting ahead of myself. I will deal with my quibbles later and focus now on the delightful. The very definition of delightful being, of course, the big returns (Brooke! Maria! Nina! Jackson! Lily! PALMER!) which filled me with the warm fuzzy feelings that old memories bring and also gave us some quality tension between Brooke and Erica.

Brooke: Of course I'd come back, but wouldn't someone have to warn Erica first?

Brooke1

 Erica: Brooke who?

Ericabrookewho


Perfection.

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So the conceit behind the episode is that this was a very special episode of The Wave that was supposed to highlight the many reasons Pine Valley was worthy of being named the best town in America. Apparently, it's because there are families, love, marriage, loss and hope in Pine Valley, which is markedly different from the rest of the country. Also, it seems that Wave is in a serious budget crunch, because that was some cheap font they used for this episode.

Pinevalley

Pine Valley's finest were interviewed by Hayley for their thoughts on life in Pine Valley, and there were so many amazingly wonderful moments. Like, say, every freaking second Palmer was on-screen!

Palmer


I love him. I know that James Mitchell had to retire for health reasons (he's 89 years old!), so that's why we no longer have Palmer, but I still miss him all the same. I enjoyed everything he said today, and every time he was mentioned by Adam and Nina.

Palmer: My beautiful Dixie. I miss her so.

Palmer: Adam Chandler? He's a rattlesnake. He eats his young.

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Speaking of the rattlesnake, how hilarious was it when Adam was trying to remember all of his wives, and the order in which he married them? The answer is "very". Very hilarious. As were the shots of his various marriages.

Adambrooke


Adamdixie


Adamgloria


Oh, Adam, never change!

And my heart broke again, some more, when he tried to talk about Stuart.

Adam: Stuart was the best fly fisherman on the east coast. He made his own lures...they were beautiful things...works of art. Everything Stuart got was special to him, a gift. And he always gave back more than he got. I just wish...I just wish he were... 

Hayley: It's okay Dad. Take your time.

Adam: I can't, I can't do this, i just can't.

Hayleyadam

My heart broke because it was sad, because David Canary was genuinely moving and because I am still angry to the point of tears that the writers had Adam kill Stuart. No matter how many times I think or read those words, I still get horrified at the very thought. Forget firing Pratt, how has he not been tarred and feathered for this?

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I loved Zach and Kendall talking about how Zach's changed since coming to Pine Valley, and the possibility of a big splashy wedding that we will, of course, never get to see, because why marry a couple off for real when we can instead separate them with various betrayals and medical ailments, right?

Zendall

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Erica was dressed like a Barbie doll, but if anybody can dress like a Barbie, it's her. Especially since they are about the same height.

Ericapink


I loved the shots of old school Erica, and how, um, "famous" she is.

Erica2


Erica3


Tabloidmags
  

And I adored her talking about Kane women

Kanewomen


and her dream about Myrtle and Mona.

Monamyrtle


Erica: She and my mother were driving around in one of those classic convertibles, with the wind in their hair. A few days later, Myrtle passed away in her sleep. I like to think that my mother drove by and picked Myrtle up, and they're driving around together, having a good laugh.

(I wish Zach had also gotten the chance to talk about Myrtle. Myrtle's awesome enough that two people can remember her, and their friendship melted my heart.)

And, while I'm gushing about the Erica parts of the show--well, actually, pretty much everything she said today, not related to Ryan, was golden. Like when the topic turned to marriage, and she said, "I was hoping you wouldn't go there", or when she was able to list all of her married names and was proud of herself? Love.

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Maria's last return to Pine Valley was...well, the bad outweighed the good, but it was nice seeing her, at any rate! Especially since she mentioned the Pine Valley Bulletin!

Maria


She is so pretty!

And it was shocking to see her and Mateo so broken up over poor, dead Julia, because I thought we were all supposed to forget that there ever was a Julia. But no! Maria mourned!

Mariasad


And we saw Julia and Noah's wedding, which made younger me very happy.

Julianoah

Remind me why they killed Julia off again? I mean, besides "because they're creatively bankrupt hacks". We all know that!

PS: Even though I am well aware of the fact that Eva LaRue was once married to John O'Hurley, whenever I really think about it, my head spins, due to the weirdness.

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Angie and Jesse reminiscing about their wedding amused me, because of Angie's "We were so young". Um, you look exactly the same because neither of you age!

Angiejesse


Jangie

And you're super cute no matter what decade we're talking about.

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**OBLIGATORY "PETER BERGMAN IS DREAMY" SECTION***

Cliffandnina


Peter Bergman is dreamy.

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Leven Rambin's tabloid escapades gross me out, and by the end of her time on AMC, I actively wished for blindness because of the massive hatred I had for her Ava character, but the short glimpse we had of Lily today talking about leaving Pine Valley (including the bus schedule one needs to know in order to do so!) was cute.

Lily


I also liked this bit:

Lily: MIT is a lot more difficult for me to navigate than Pine Valley, not just because one of MIT's colors is red...

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While Erica and Adam listed their multiple spouses, poor Scott had to deal with the fact that he is practically a leper.

Scott: Uh, no, I'm not married. Not even dating anyone right now.

Heh.

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Remember Jackson, and how he was a major part of the show until the writers decided that he had cooties and ignored him, then got rid of him?

Jackson


Those were good times.

I would have liked to see more of Jackson, and more of Nina and Greg, by the way.

Gregnelson


Gregandjenny


Nina

Ten seconds of them talking to the camera while their iconic characters/couplings flashed on-screen briefly was not enough. I know that would have taken away from the endless Babe mourning, but I'm sure we could have dealt with it!

Then again, this is the same show that didn't give an original cast member a full episode goodbye, so why am I even thinking that they'd do something as crazy as focusing on old, awesome characters?

Joe


Poor Joe Martin.

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Now, let me get this straight: Hayley wanted to highlight the reasons why Pine Valley is so fabulous and in order to do so, she interviewed friends and families and...a guy pretty much on his own, with no family and certainly no friends, who makes life a living hell for everyone else in Pine Valley?

Okay.

I understand wanting David in there somehow, but I found all of his scenes sneering about the rest of town hating him to be really random. There has to be a better way they could have included David, or if they were going to go all out in highlighting what a villain he is (I guess to warn people thinking of visiting the Best Town in America that this is the guy they should watch out for), they should have at least given him a fake handlebar mustache to twirl.

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The show is obviously insanely proud of the CGI they used in the tornado story; that's my assumption, at least, given the gratuitous recap of the tornado in this episode, both to give us more Babe mourning and the random mention of Gabrielle, complete with the homage to The Lion King.

Lionking

I could have lived without that. Without the whole tornado interlude, actually. It's a 40-year-old show, why waste that much time on something that happened so recently?

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I can't even, with the constant mentions of Babe. She died in October of 2008! That's like a million years ago in soap time! Get over it! Ugggggggh, she is the worst, driving me mad more than a year after her death.

Maybe it's just my all-consuming, paralyzing hatred of her, but it felt like they mentioned her a thousand times today. JR and Krystal talked and drawled, respectively, about her every time they were on-screen. And weird, wasn't it, that it was all footage of Amanda Baker's Babe? I wonder why that is, but I don't care enough to do any sort of research on it.

Unfortunately, the only glimpse we got of JR and Hayley together was a split second of the two of them holding hands after he became emotional while remembering Babe. Two thumbs down, show!

And then Krystal made what I took as vague references to selling her body for money, or candy.

Krystal: I went through my whole life without putting a ring on this finger.

I assume because seeing a wedding ring would have turned off her clientele.

Krystal, on her and Babe's motto: We deserve the best, and together we can get it.

My mind went to a horrifying place at that one.

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Did anybody else gasp in horror and nearly choke to death on the Diet Coke they were drinking when BIANCA AND REESE were included in the shots of couples when Ryan was talking about soulmates, and how he didn't believe in having just one true love? That is hate speech!

(And OF COURSE Ryan doesn't believe in having one true love. His soulmate is anyone he gets to see naked)

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Jake and Amanda, before they turned into the world's dumbest schemers, were completely adorable, and I don't disagree with Jake's assessment of her as smoking hot, but...really, that's the only thing he said about her all episode!

Jake: She was hot. Caliente. Caliente hot. Muy, muy caliente hot.

He could have at least thrown in that she has a nice personality!

I did love Amanda talking about her father, though. I may have teared up. You'll never know*!

*Actually, you already know, because you're all aware that I am prone to bursting into tears easily, so...

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Annie, Annie, Annie.

Annie


Is she completely conniving and fake? I'd say so, right, based on her preening and "How was that, too emotional?" after declaring that she was the only person who could save Adam the night of Stuart's death (which, obviously she was, because the rest of town wanted him dead). But sometimes she seems genuine. Her character is such a mess.

As is her wardrobe! Melissa Claire Egan is young and gorgeous, so...what's with the parade of ugly they dress her in? Her dress at David's party was awful, the dress she wore to renew her vows was tacky and this was probably the most unflattering thing they could have put her in.

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Jamie Luner, on the other hand, finally got a break, as the hair and wardrobe people decided not to actively sabotage her today. She finally looked like the beautiful woman she is.

Liza1


I'm less than enthused about the foreshadowing of a big Tad/Liza romance. And less than less than enthused about the ominous hints at a not-dead Dixie. Not that I don't want Dixie back; I do, because death by pancakes still stands out as one of the most horrid things in soap history, but...come on, even with a new writing staff, does anyone have faith that this will be anything but a disaster?

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And I'm less than less than enthused about Ryan and Erica. Scratch that, I am mothereffing distraught about Ryan and Erica.

Ryan: Do I think I'll fall in love again? Maybe I already have.

KILL IT KILL IT KILLLLLL ITTTTTTTTT.

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The show is trying its hardest to turn my distaste for Colby into hatred, if this dumbass hat is any indication.

Colbyhat

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Okay, so I found a few things that I didn't like, but overall, I really enjoyed this episode! And now I'm even more excited about the AMC at 40 panel I'm going to on Sunday, and I started off as really excited (I hysterically emailed Becca about it this weekend and she judged me, but in a polite way). What say you, readers? Did you enjoy the anniversary show?

Comments

I knew you would mention that hat! It's just plain stupid.

You could not possibly be more on target with your reaction to Erica and Ryass. Perfection my dear.

I think every soap, even the ones he never appeared on, should take the time to acknowledge that Peter Bergman is dreamy.

No Billy Clyde Tuggle!

Today, David Canary was most charming, extremely amusing, and heart-breakingly real in his portrayal of Adam and Stuart. Keep being angry, Mallory -- many of us hate that he was forced into such a horrid storyline. It's unforgiveable.

But, it seemed to me that Vincent Irizarry finally got his due. David Hayward's part was hardly sneery -- he was finally allowed to speak a version of truth that we seldom hear: the people of Pine Valley don't really hate him but hate their own weakness. Majorly true! And he was shown playing piano, dressed all in black, his eyes all asparkle with humor and irony. Good stuff!

So nice to see some of the old characters back although I could have done without half the show being about Babe. She still haunts us even in death. The foreshadowing about Ryan and Erica made me sick. Is there anyone who actually wants to see them as a couple. Loved seeing my Zendall and flashbacks of their wedding. Too bad Pratt had to destroy such awesomeness.

Parts of this episode were really, really good. And other parts were just vomit inducing. Unfortunately majority of the good parts featured people who aren't on the show anymore or characters who are being destroyed.

Seriously who didn't throw up a little in their mouth when JR was talking about how he could never love anyone as much as he loved that skank Babe and then with ease switched to talking about her boring sister Marissa.

The Good
Lots of Kelly Ripa/Hayley Santos
Opal/Palmer Adorableness!! "She can deny it all she wants to, I know she still loves me."
David Canary and all his Adam awesomeness
Brooke's wink and Erica's "Brooke who?"
Julia Barr, James Mitchell, Eva LaRue, Taylor Miller, Laurence Lau, and WALT WILLEY!!!
People were finally allowed to mourn Julia.
The Loss section with some exceptions to mentioned later.
Angie and Jessie reunited at the train station flashback.
Agnes Nixon reminding us how good the show was once.
Thorsten Kaye and Alicia Minshew with their boys.

The Bad
Cameron Mathison overacting during a fake interview.
20 seconds on the Erica/Ryan fiasco during the love section.
Babe was mentioned every five minutes WTF!!!
The need for a villain (David) during an hour long retrospective...really!!
Marissa's existence especially the vomit inducing part with JR
Ryan being allowed to talk about relationships and love like he knows anything.
Constant reminders of how terrible this show has become.
Jamie Luner as Liza-still can't see it and I never will
New New Colby-she obviously went to the Mathison Acting School
Nearly three minutes spent on that awful tornado storyline which spawned several other awful storylines.
Too much Babe!!! Too much Ryan!!!

I wanted more history, less Prattory. Because the focus on what HE wrote was far, far too high.

That being said...er...

I cracked up at Colby informing the camera that she was picking a major. Family therapy (pause) or circus management. PERFECT comic timing. Just perfect.

And I didn't hate Ryan and Erica. Or Tad and Liza. Surprised the heck out of me, actually.

It was a great surprise to see Zach and Kendall. Wasn't expecting that, and it was lovely to see them.

I use to be a big fan of AMC years ago so I thought I would watch the show yesterday and I have to admit there was a time when I once liked Ryan. It was during the time he was with the TRUE FREAKING LOVE OF HIS LIFE. Remember her? Her name was GILLIAN! It is truly ridiculous that they now have Ryan acting like Greenlee was his only true love. BULL CRAP! I remember Greenlee having a thing for Ryan when he was with Gillian and both he and Gillian treated Greenlee like the irritating little pest that she was. In fact Gillian use to call her Greenleaf because she annoyed them so much. After that Greenlee fell for LEO, THE TRUE LOVE OF HER LIFE! Let's just forget all of that and completely make it all about Ryan and Greenleaf. UGH!

lurk, TOTALLY. There was an awful lot of recent history covered on a show celebrating a show's 40th anniversary.

After watching the episode again, buddz (yes, I did. I am clinging to this good hour!), I see what you're saying about David--he didn't come across as obnoxious to me as he did the first time I watched. And I do agree that it was important for VI to be on the show. I just wish that there were a more organic explanation for his being part of the documentary, although then again, it's not like Hayley knew, like, Brot and Natalia and she interviewed them anyway...

IA with every word! Could've been so much better without Pratt's incessant patting himself on the back, but all in all, I guess it was pretty good - if nothing else, for seeing Palmer looking so well & how much did I enjoy him! Zach should've been allowed to speak about Myrtle given their beyond awesome relationship & I didn't think Gaby/Lion King was necessary at all. But it was great seeing my Team Slater one more time! DC was a riot doing the ex-wives count-off! I guess it was better than I'd hoped, but less than it could've been.

It was funny watching Adam struggling with all of his wives in order, while Erica nailed all of her husbands, in order, without missing a beat. :-)

I wanted more history in it as well and less Pratt-centric nonsense. They shouldn't have wasted Monday's episode by focusing yet again on Annie and just done two days of clips. It's Pratt's obsession with Annie that helped tank this show (along with his own lack of talent). However, I disagree about David Canary. I didn't feel much for his "grieving" over Stuart because a few weeks ago I saw him gloat over his and Annie's ability to beat the system and get away with Stuart's murder and no remorse in letting Kendall take the fall. I was more affected by Greg mourning Jenny. Laurence Lau's performance was a real gem and I didn't even watch during Greg/Jenny so I had no emotional connection to them, but LL managed to make me feel something for Greg's loss.

Excellent assessment of the anniversary show. So much history and yet it was more about the present. I wanted more Nina, Brooke, Greg, PALMER not Ryan and Emma or Marissa or Natalia and Brot. They're not history they're the present and not interesting AT ALL.

I wanted to see Phoebe and Langley, Billy Clyde, more Jenny and Greg and Nina and Cliff and Nina and Palmer, some of Erica's men who were real men and yes I wanted to see Zach and Myrtle one more time.

I also agree that it's sad that Joe Martin didn't get a "real" goodbye after being on the show for 40 YEARS.

ABC has no respect for history and maybe that's why all it's shows are in trouble.

Excellent assessment of the anniversary show. So much history and yet it was more about the present. I wanted more Nina, Brooke, Greg, PALMER not Ryan and Emma or Marissa or Natalia and Brot. They're not history they're the present and not interesting AT ALL.

I wanted to see Phoebe and Langley, Billy Clyde, more Jenny and Greg and Nina and Cliff and Nina and Palmer, some of Erica's men who were real men and yes I wanted to see Zach and Myrtle one more time.

I also agree that it's sad that Joe Martin didn't get a "real" goodbye after being on the show for 40 YEARS.

ABC has no respect for history and maybe that's why all it's shows are in trouble.

I could have done w/out all the Babe mentions (really!) and, well, Ryan period, but I really enjoyed this episode.

It reiterated why I've stuck with AMC since the age of 4. When Maria lost it talking about Julia, I lost it completely and I'm still so hurt and angry that she was killed off.

And in answer to your question, Mallory, regarding why so much recent history was shown, I firmly believe it's b/c Pratt wrote it. Of course what he wrote is the most important history of the show. He really does seem to believe he is made of all the awesomeness in all of ever.

Recent history emphasis was totally Pratt...remember that joke of an anniversary montage that GH did two years ago? That featured just about everything from the Guza era and the explosioin that happened the week before? You all know Pratt looked at that and went "GENIUS! If I ever write a big anniversary show...that is totally what I'll do! Screw history and pat myself on the back!"

Even though the milliion Babe mentions and tornado recapping was terrible I admit it was the best AMC episode that has aired in a long time. I enjoyed all the old clips and seeing some old characters... even if it was for only two seconds. VI's scenes were wonderful, I thought it was the first time David was actually entertaining. It reminded me why I used to love that character so much.

I was pleasently surprised though at the Julia and Jenny mentions. I thought for sure TIIC forgot about those two. Also I like how they showed a picture of Gillian and Ryan. It took me back to a happier time when Ryan wasn't the worst thing to happen in the history of the world.

But then they showed the picture of Bianca and Reese. WTF? Who would ever confuse those two of being soulmates?

"...if they were going to go all out in highlighting what a villain [David] is…they should have at least given him a fake handlebar mustache to twirl."

I think Laurence Lau must have filled the show’s mustache quota. Speaking of, is it just me, or was LL/Greg totally channeling Kevin Kline?

"Did anybody else gasp in horror and nearly choke to death on the Diet Coke they were drinking when BIANCA AND REESE were included in the shots of couples when Ryan was talking about soulmates…"

OMG, YES! Except mine was an otherwise delicious Swiss cake roll. Show should really flash a warning or something. That’s a safety hazard. For reals.

Agnes Nixon!

Jesse and Angie are such win. That little bit with the flower? Adorbs.

David actually cracked my shit up. I don’t know why, but the first shot of him emo-ly playing the piano all by his lonesome made me burst out laughing.

Ryan and Gillian. Sigh. Damn you, AMC, for reminding me of a time when I didn’t despise Ryan Lavery.

Mallory I agree with most of what you said....WAY too much Ryan and Babe and why have any mention of the Tornado Spawn if you aren't going to mention Miranda?? I was delightfully surprised at ZENDALL being involved but loved what little of them we got except I think it was cruel to talk about a wedding we will never see they have never done anything right by this couple! I would have liked to have enjoyed Adam he was funny trying to remember all his brides but I couldn't forget how delighted he was that he got he and his black widow off without even a slap on the wrist when Kendall was the one paying for the crime I truelly crossed over into Ryan level hatred when he did that....oh well you could tell this was mostly a Prattfall production but there were a few good moments in there and I too enjoyed all of Erica except when she was talking about Bianca or Ryan otherwise I enjoyed her too. As always enjoyed your take Mallory Thanks!!

Cheerfulness is the best promoter of health.

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