On A Couple of Couples
In the midst of JR and Marissa and Scott and Annie having the same exact conversations for the, like, tenth consecutive week, and Damon and Colby being offensively lame, and Ryan continuing to make us all miserable with his existence, All My Children has also given us some prime Zach and Kendall, and Jesse and Angie scenes. It's highly likely that you reacted to the above statement with shock and maybe even suspicion. But it's true!
Whether you love Kendall or hate her, adore Zach or abhor Zach, I think we call allagree that the writing (or should I say "writing"?) (Even with sarcastic airquotes, doesn't that still seem like too generous a way to describe the pathetic attempt at storytelling All My Children has become famous for in recent years?) (Not real world famous, because duh) they received from numerous AMC writing regimes has been terrible and repetitive, at best. Kendall was often a neurotic, bad decision making factory; Zach made a host of bad decisions himself and had a habit of treating everyone with misplaced contempt. Their bad decisions and--pardon me for using the word that I wished would be banned from their vocabularies--betrayals were like an escalating series of attempts to top the other, and it was mostly terrible.
So I was nervous about their return to Pine Valley, especially since Alicia Minshew is staying and Thorsten Kaye is not. I expected a complete and utter implosion, and when Zach came across Kendall assisting Ryan with his latest horrible scheme after she lied about Ryan's condition (IF ONLY he were really dying. IF ONLY), I thought that my worst fears were realized:
Zach: And the life we have now, is it everything I promised you it would be?
Kendall: Yeah, and then some.
Zach: Ok, and would you honestly say that we've never been happier?
Kendall: I would.
Zach: And here you are again, risking everything.
Ugh, right? So when I tuned in yesterday, I did so feeling very uneasy. If my life were a silent movie, I would have had an exaggerated expression of fear on my face, biting my fingernails in terror. But for once, things turned out better than expected.
Zach: We're talking about it, because you're going stir-crazy on that boat.
Kendall: Nah. I mean, living with three boys, it's interesting. It's fun. Besides, you promised that if we did that, we would grow stronger. And I can't argue with the results. I love you, and I love the life we have. And if that means that I have to make sacrifices, then --
Zach: I don't want you to make any sacrifices. I don't want you to give anything up.
Kendall: Zach, I'm not giving anything up. I mean, look at the return on my investment.
Could it be that we can get Kendall in Pine Valley without a(nother) huge, upsetting breakup? It looks that way! They talked through their issues (admittedly, it is kind of lame that whenever they are in Pine Valley together, starting last December, then again in April and now, um, now, they rehash their issues, as if we haven't been watching. We have been, AMC. We have the scars to prove it), they were pretty, nobody acted out and slept with Ryan...I consider it a success.
I mean, granted, I probably shouldn't get my hopes up about this at all, since it's entirely possible that the huge, upsetting breakup will come during Thorsten Kaye's next visit to the show, but for now: cautious optimism. Now all we need is for Kendall to have a good story, preferably out of Ryan's orbit, but I probably shouldn't hold my breath about that, should I?
Why oh why has the writing for Jesse and Angie over the past year been so wretched? Because today proves that when the writing is good, nobody can touch Darnell Williams and Debbi Morgan. They are just AMAZING together. They convey so much without having to say a word, and their chemistry (romantic, platonic, and soulmate) is unbelievable. The sonogram scene was just astounding (which sounds hyperbolic, but I am not exaggerating at all) and even back at their apartment after, they had me in tears. Which, granted, is totally not hard, but the fact that they were able to have a conversation penned by Hallmark that ended with me crying and not rolling my eyes in disgust (while secretly wiping away tears because, yes, I do cry at Hallmarky things).
Jesse: I'm powerless to stop any of this, baby. No control. How am I supposed to make peace with that?
Angie: Faith. Listen to me. We have been given an honor to be mother and father to this little blob, with that tiny thumping heart. I know this is not how we imagined any of this would be, but the world is just like that sometimes. This is going to be a challenge, and it's going to take us places we don't want to go, but we will hang tough, together. And in a few short months, we will be sitting on this very same sofa holding our baby in our arms, and pouring out all of our live into that strong heart that we just saw, and we'll know that it was all worth it.
Jesse: You sure we can get there?
Angie: Yes. Yes. It's going to take everything that we have, but we have a lot. I believe in us, Jesse, and I know we can do anything as long as we do it together.
I mean, REALLY. Debbi Morgan deserves an Emmy nod just for managing that without stumbling over the three dozen cliches the writers threw in there to underscore how meaningful this all was, but she had me and Darnell Williams crying. Why does good writing only happen once in a blue moon?
Two quick thoughts:
- Frankie and Madison's friendship still sort of weirds me out, maybe because I am a grudge-holder and find it bizarre that Frankie is willing to be cordial to the woman once hellbent on ruining his family, let alone be close friends with her. I can't tell if the writers are attempting to go in a romantic place with the two of them. On the one hand, ANYONE is better than Ryan. But on the other hand, a relationship with Frankie means that poor Stephanie Gatschet will see her screen time plummet.
- Denise Vasi has negative acting talent.