AMC Turns 40, Birthday Wish Is To Be Good Again
Okay, technically, I'm not positive that All My Children's birthday wish is to be a quality soap opera again, but I feel like it's the most likely of all wishes, since AMC pretty much has everything: award nominations, a hugely talented cast of actors, brand new West Coast digs that serve as a symbol of ABC's faith in the show. The only things missing are (now that Zach and Kendall have left Pine Valley) a couple worth rooting for and writing that doesn't make the audience want to drink Liquid Plumber.
The show is taking tentative steps towards this goal by bringing back assorted favorites for their 40th anniversary show (Brooke and Palmer being two of the most exciting people back tomorrow). Of course, this is AMC we're talking about, so the setup for these returns is beyond gimmicky: Pine Valley was named the Best Town In America.
I'll give you a few moments to compose yourself after the fit of laughter you no doubt had after reading those words.
I'm assuming that the deadline for voting must have been well before the start of 2009, because the events of last year surely would have rendered Pine Valley ineligible for any accolade with the word "best" in the title. Either that, or there was a nuclear Holocaust and Pine Valley was one of a small handful of towns left in the entire world and even then, bribery and/or blackmail was involved.
This big Pine Valley victory is the subject of a documentary being filmed by Hayley and Mateo, who arrived at the Chandler mansion via helicopter while a bunch of uncomfortable people were gathered to watch Annie and Adam renew their vows.
Yes, that's right: Hayley is BACK and ADORABLE and KIND OF BITCHY and SUSPICIOUS OF ANNIE and ADORABLE. I love Hayley, and, as I've mentioned before, adore Kelly Ripa beyond all reason. I think she is hilarious and cute, and I willingly watch Regis and Kelly, even though I am in my twenties and can't tolerate Regis (unless he's doing a guest appearance on How I Met Your Mother and scaring Barney, or being mocked on The Soup). She is just the pint-sized, hyperactive best.
A roundabout, embarrassing way of saying that I am happy that Hayley and Mateo are back, even just for two days.
Aside from a brief, cute conversation with Opal about aging (Opal was horrified to hear that Enzo is a teenager. What up, SORAS?), Mateo was pretty much a lovely piece of background scenery.
His wife, however, had some nice scenes with her family (although, the excuse for not being at Stuart's funeral was dumb. On location in Australia? The show could have done better than that! Well, actually, it's AMC, so no, they probably couldn't). It was so nice to see her and Adam together! And Max, the trouble making son sent to boarding school, is totally going to make his way to Pine Valley soon, right?
There were also some squabbles with Erica (which was completely WTFy, and La Lucci and Kelly Ripa were both bothered by it. Of course, the powers-that-be ignored them, because who cares about being true to character, right?) and Annie, who, by the way, should be nicknamed Tits McGee for that getup she had on. Inappropriate!
Hayley: Who are you?
Annie: I'm your new mother.
Hayley: ...I don't think so.
Hayley, after Annie's speech about pulling herself up from her bootstraps as a self-made woman: You pulled yourself into [Adam's] bed and made your stepping stones with his money.
Hayley: I've know many of my father's wives, but I just don't get you.
Colby: She's a piece of work, isn't she?
Hayley: That lady's a piece of something.
She also got in a classic, Christian Bale-esque "Gooood for youuuuuuuuu", and a fabulous eyeroll, which was a nice touch.
Annie became progressively more unhinged as she tried to grapple with the fact that Hayley hated her upon sight
And she was hit with the knowledge that simply marrying Adam and talking with him on a "documentary" about an obviously rigged vote wouldn't do a whole lot to rehabilitate her crazy, murderous image.
Scott: Look, don't take this the wrong way, but it's going to take more than a smile and a how-do-you-do on a talk show to change your reputation.
He kindly left off ", you moron", but you know he was thinking it. People are like elephants when it comes to remembering the misdeeds of others (do you know how long it took me to accept Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey? A LONG TIME, because I kept remembering the time that she had her mother and brother killed on Law & Order! And that was a fictional misdeed, so you can only imagine the grudge-holding I do in real life) so it's not like her brother-murdering and general--and obvious--instability will just be forgotten instantly.
While Hayley has the new Mrs. Chandler pegged, she was completely blind when it came to her little sister, having the gall to say that Colby is like a young Hayley. What in the what?! Hayley obviously has low self esteem, because that couldn't be further from the truth. I tried to keep an open mind, but the new Colby's over-enunciation of every letter she speaks is going to drive me out of my mind. She's awful. I don't know what about the role of Colby makes it so difficult to cast a capable actress in the part, but all three Colbys in recent years are hard to believe as English speaking human beings, let alone the feisty offspring of Liza and Adam.
Her reaction was also off when it came to Erica and Ryan. She responded to the news of their unholy union with shock, which makes sense, but that shock wasn't followed up the projectile vomiting that it should have been. I mean, I've been aware of this romance since the summer and I still retch at the sight of them! Someone learning this for the first time should require hospitalization.
Hayley: I hope you've found a way to move on.
Ryan: I'm working on it.
Ryan and Erica: (Make eyes at each other)
While we're on the unfortunate subject of The Thing, if this wasn't the most eye-searing scene broadcast on television in the new year, I'm not sure what is.
Ryan, after rubbing Erica's shoulders: I say we forget about Adam and Annie, and ring in the new year right.
Erica: You mean just the three of us? You, me and that moon?
Ryan: To your beauty, which does take my breath away.
Erica: And to you, a man I thought I knew well, but who continues to amaze me.
How did this escape the notice of the censors?!
And this was all accompanied by gratuitous shots of Greenlee and Ryan both staring at the same full moon. I, for one, am both enraged and horrified because it seems like these writers are trying their hardest to taint my beloved memories of An American Tail, whose theme song proclaims these deep and profound words:
And even though I know how very far apart we are/ It helps to think we might be wishing on the same bright star/and when the night wing starts to sing a lonesome lullaby/It helps to think we're sleeping underneath the same big sky
I will not stand for these people trying to ruin Fievel the way that they've ruined everything else in my life!
I had a hearty chuckle at Greenlee's expense when she told David that Ryan would never, ever, ever stop loving her after her death
Greenlee: Ryan's tried once before, it doesn't work. He can't let go. He never will.
What, exactly, about Ryan and his romantic history leads her to believe that he wouldn't have moved on to multiple somebodies minutes after the discovery of her body? I know Greens is self-absorbed and all, but come on!
The story of Madison and her father was neatly wrapped up today, as she blackmailed her father (whose name I could never remember, so I just started referring to as Dadison in my head whenever I thought about him, which was never, not even during his scenes, because my mind has a tendency to wander during this story) and he pled guilty to assaulting her.
I like Stephanie Gatschet a lot, and Madison has a lot of potential as a character; I'd argue that she actually had more potential as a bad girl, rather than a reformed bad girl, but whatever. I just wish that she had a compelling story and that playing supporting roles in her story wasn't all Jesse and Angie were allowed to do.
But, tomorrow: more anniversary goodness! And hopefully, it will be good goodness...