For the Week of December 11, 2006
So I took the final tally after yesterday's episode -- I think I went through about three boxes of Kleenex this week. The good news is I wasn't crying about how awful AMC was, which I've been tempted to do many times this year. The bad news is those tears fell because Pine Valley lost one of its most universally loved characters, Simone Torres.
I was never a huge fan of Simone -- especially in recent months when she just couldn't seem to decide whether she thought Babe was a whore or a worthy business associate. It never crossed over into hate, just mere annoyance. That said, she definitely had her moments. In a medium where tragedies, depression and conflict are constant, Simone was a breath of fresh air: funny, snarky and sexy. As such, it was pretty sad to see her go.
Sad, But Good
On the bright side, Simone's death served as the launch point for some great scenes this week. The Fusion gals stopped fighting each other long enough to comfort one another. The final scene on Wednesday, when all of them returned to the office and embraced had me sobbing. It was a very real depiction of how people handle a sudden death, in my opinion - forgetting about your differences, if only for a moment, to mourn a painful loss. Plus, we got some great bonding scenes between Kendall and Bianca, Josh and Danielle (boy, did AMC miss the boat on that one) and even Zach and Tad. As a matter of fact, Babe and JR even made me cry this week! As much as I hate Babe, I don't deny her any grief, and JR was sympathetic to her pain without being sympathetic to [i]her[/i].
Tad was personally responsible for about half the Kleenex I went through this week. In fact, I even cried when Jamie mentioned his Dad's name in reference to Simone. Tad and Simone were such fun to watch. In the wake of losing Dixie, Simone made Tad a cad again and it was a wonderful sight to see. So when he said a tearful goodbye to her as she lay on a morgue gurney, I couldn't help but sob. Thank god for Michael E. Knight. He makes you feel his pain and cry along with him. You've got to love him.
Simone's death has also launched what I hope will be a Zach-centric storyline. The similarities between Zach's visions of a young woman and the way Simone looked when she was found are obviously no coincidence. (For the record, I'm guessing that woman in the visions is Zach's mother.) Zach, Kendall, Ryan and Tad are all convinced that Simone's drug-overdose death was no suicide and they are determined to find out the truth, but Zach seems the most invested. I'm hoping that this story will give us a little insight into Mr. Slater and why he does the things he does - FINALLY.
Yes, I Like Zarf
Much to my surprise, I found a new favorite this week - Zarf. I'm still not quite sure why, but I can't get enough of this guy. If someone had described him to me in advance - a skinny, new age rock star who loves Babe and points out people's auras - I would have thought you were describing the world's most annoying new character (well, next to Colby, of course). But I love watching him. It's weird. But then, so is he. [b]SPOILER ALERT:[/b] the next paragraph will talk about Zarf's future storyline, which has been highly publicized in recent weeks. But if you don't know (and don't want to know) what is planned, skip over the next paragraph.
In case you hadn't heard, Zarf is a transgender. He was born as a man, but identifies himself as a woman. ABC has done a lot of press about the story in the soap and mainstream media, and personally, I'm really excited about the possibilities. Zarf (who, as I understand it, will eventually adopt the name Zoe) will be involved with Bianca, who will help him on his personal journey. A lot of people are denouncing this as a publicity stunt on AMC's part, and they may very well be true. Like it or not, ABC is in the business of making money and this type of sensational story could boost ratings and ad revenues. Of course, it could also hurt ad revenues, if people aren't ready to accept a transgender character on daytime television. I do give ABC and Disney credit for taking the chance. The storyline is fraught with landmines. It could be historic or it could be a complete disaster. I'm sincerely hoping for the former. I'm really looking forward to watching Zarf's story - I just hope AMC doesn't disappoint.
The object of Zarf's initial affection, Babe, was more tolerable than usual early in the week, but by Friday's episode she was back in fighting form. As JR returned from the hospital, Babe made sure she was front and center to welcome him back. Does this woman have any common sense at all? When JR ordered her out of the house on sight, Babe wondered aloud whether her decision to stay was a bad idea - YOU THINK?!? What's worse, JR was double-teamed by his mother and father into letting her stay, and everyone, including Colby, tried to make peace with Ms. Carey. All of this after Babe admitted to Josh (again!) that she loves him… but loves JR more. Give me an f-ing break!
I know there are a lot of Babe and JR fans out there. I don't deny that they have chemistry and I accept that the characters truly love each other. Many people have pointed out that JR is no saint, and have used that at a reason why he should forgive his wayward wife. I concede that JR has done horrible things to Babe, but that's my point. Whose side I take is a function of who I prefer personally, but even if I liked both characters equally, I wouldn't want to watch them together. Soap couples face problems all the time. They hurt each other, forgive each other and reunite. But the difference in the case of Babe and JR is that they intentionally hurt other, over and over again. There's a limit on the amount of pain two people can inflict on each other before the love factor becomes moot. Babe and JR, as I've said a million times before, have passed it. In fact, they passed it, circled back around and passed it again. It's over. Please let it go, AMC!
Elsewhere in Chandler/Martin land, Dixie spilled the beans to Tad this week about David's accusation that Martin is the father of Krystal's child. Upon hearing the news, Tad promptly… did nothing. Maybe the poor guy's just too exhausted to get his hopes up again, but I shared Dixie's anger at his inaction this week. The topper was when Tad went to Krystal and assured her he didn't believe David's story. Apparently, Tad's grading Krystal's honesty on the David Hayward curve, so she's bound to get an A. This was the line that floored me: "I know you would never lie about something this important. It's not in you. It's not like you." It would have been nice if Binks and Miranda just happened to walk by at that moment, don't you think? Come on, Tad! You know Krystal is more than willing to lie about a child's paternity if it serves her purpose.
I'm Trying to Care, I Really Am
AMC tried to give a little depth to Sean and Colby this week, as Sean confessed to Colby that he felt responsible for breaking up Erica and Jack's marriage, just like he ruined La Kane's marriage to Travis. The teens weren't as annoying, it's true. But I had a hard time caring about them anyway. Sean's scenes with Erica were kind of cute - anyone who talks back to Erica is not entirely useless. But his heavy-handed warnings to Jeff to back off of his Aunt Erica fell on deaf ears all around.
Speaking of the First Mr. Erica Kane, Jeff got the news he was waiting for when Erica announced she and Jack were divorcing. We got a typical Jack/Erica non-fight earlier in the week, where it was clear neither of them wanted a divorce but neither were willing to blink first. You know, if it were a couple of 20-somethings with no relationship experience having that conversation, it may not have been so annoying. But these are two adults with nearly a dozen marriages under their belts. OK, they're all under Erica's belt, but still. I don't find it entertaining to watch grown-ups act like children, and stupid children at that. Lily, an autistic teenager, handles relationships better than her father! Her scenes with Jonathan, which served as a nice wrap-up to their story, were quite sweet. Now they can both move on.
I'm also not too sure about the newly created Wildwind gang. As of this week, Julia, Jamie, Di, Aidan, Amanda and Del are all living in the old Marick estate. Their scenes were kind of cute and fun (still love Di and Aidan together, by the way) but I'm not sold as of yet. Julia said it felt like old times at Wildwind, but quite frankly, she and Jamie don't exactly replace Erica and Dimitri or Edmund and Maria. And Del? I'm sure his "we'll put the wild back in Wildwind" line had Hugo Marick spinning in his grave.
That's it for me, guys. Next time we meet, I'll be weighing in with my Best & Worst of 2006. Until then, I hope you and yours have a very happy holiday season.
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