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?
Erica: Brooke who?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
I loved the shots of old school Erica, and how, um, "famous" she is.
And I adored her talking about Kane women
and her dream about Myrtle and Mona.
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.
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!
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!
And we saw Julia and Noah's wedding, which made younger me very happy.
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.
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!
And you're super cute no matter what decade we're talking about.
**OBLIGATORY "PETER BERGMAN IS DREAMY" SECTION***
Peter Bergman is dreamy.
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.
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...
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.
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?
Those were good times.
I would have liked to see more of Jackson, and more of Nina and Greg, by the way.
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?
Poor Joe Martin.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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)
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...
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.
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.
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?
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.
The show is trying its hardest to turn my distaste for Colby into hatred, if this dumbass hat is any indication.
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?