The worst of 2007
For the Week of January 7, 2008
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A special look back at the worst that All My Children had to offer in 2007.
Well, get ready to plug your nose and dive in. It's time for me to talk about (almost) everything I hated on AMC in the past 365 days. Prepare yourselves - it's a long one!
Satin Slayer Stupidity
Now, before I start ripping into this storyline, I will admit that it wasn't all bad. In fact, the Satin Slayer tale gave me some of my favorite moments of 2007 - the conception of Ian and Zach's goodbye letter to Kendall, among others. But all in all, this story did nothing but cause more unnecessary tears and heartache in the Valley.
In AMC's defense, I guess it [i]is[/i] a lot easier to just kill characters off instead of having to actually [i]write[/i] for them. Can't think of anything for Simone to do? Kill her off! Have no storyline for Erin Lavery? Rest in peace! Is Danielle Frye languishing on the backburner? Bring to her to the brink of death and write her off to recover! But if this had just been a way to get rid of a bunch of backburnered characters, it might not have made this list. This storyline will be remembered for killing off one of the show's most beloved characters: Dixie Cooney Martin.
By the time they finally offed Dixie, I wasn't one of her biggest fans. In fact, I didn't have a positive thing to say about her. Dixie's return was seriously botched. Her quest to find long-lost Kate and make things up to her devastated family took a backseat to her infatuation with a married man. Of course, AMC tried its best to backtrack in the weeks leading up to Dixie's death, most likely because they didn't want people to hate her when the end came. And even though I wasn't as sad to see her go I was the first time around, the way Dixie died definitely left a bad taste in my mouth. (Insert bad peanut butter and banana pancakes joke here.)
First of all, on the grand list of dignified ways to go, accidental death by pancake is not exactly in the top 10. And having a ghostly Dixie realize Julia's adopted daughter Kathy is really Kate was a half-assed, throw away, designed to placate Tad and Dixie fans who were gypped out of their happy reunion. When you add the fact that Dixie (and her supporters) had to share her funeral with Babe, a woman who wasn't even dead, you have a full-blown screw up on your hands.
And why did all this happen? Why did all these women have to die? Because Alexander Cambias Sr. was mad at his son. I guess I should give credit to AMC for trying to center a story around one my faves, but all this story did for Zach was give him another thing to feel guilty about, all while reinforcing the lunacy of the "Cambias Curse." Not to mention that it lead to the emergence of Hannah, who would later beg her ex for an up-close-and-personal sperm donation. And the hits just kept on coming…
What can I say about this storyline that I haven't said already? I've discussed AMC's latest botched return at length over the past few months, but, unfortunately, no "worst of" column would be complete without mentioning it again. I was never a fan of Ms. Smythe, but the way the show handled her return only served to frustrate her supporters and deepen the hate people like myself had for the character. But what did we really expect?
Once again, AMC chose to bring back a character with a well-established fan base and, for reasons that escape me, did their best to destroy her. Like Maria and Dixie before her, the new Greenlee blew into town as a shadow of her former self, cast in a decidedly negative light. What's worse about this case is that AMC chose to recast the character at the same time. At least with Maria and Dixie, Eva LaRue and Cady McClain could [I]try[/I] to save their character from shoddy writing. However angry viewers became, they could always think back on Maria and Edmund's wedding, or Dixie singing to J.R. and try to remember what they loved about the characters. Despite their best efforts, including a slew of redone flashbacks, I don't think AMC ever really linked the Greenlee people loved with this babynapping update.
Of course, now that AMC is shamelessly backtracking on their recast, they're probably hoping this lack of continuity will help them. The Greenlee who promptly kidnapped Spike and nearly killed the boy in a car crash, all while her "sister" Kendall was going into premature labor? She was that "other" Greenlee. The REAL Greenlee is back and all is forgiven. Anyone who doubts this need only wander over to ABC.com's All My Children homepage, which is pimping the return of Rebecca Budig as though it were the second coming. I was never a fan of Sabine Singh's portrayal, but its pretty tacky for this hard sell to be front and center while Singh's scenes are still airing. I admit, all things being equal, Budig is a better choice. I like her, actually. But as I said in my last regular column of the year, switching out the actress doesn't change the way I feel about Greens. She's been painted into a corner, in my opinion, and no one can get her out of it. All I hope for in 2008 is a Ryan/Greenlee reunion, followed by an exit storyline for both characters.
Ava the Annoying
If Dynamite Kiddo and the Green Butterfly were to leave town and head to parts unknown, maybe they could take Ava Benton with them. Since making her debut, Lily's trashy sister has done nothing except make my skin crawl.
I tried not to write off Ava too quickly, given the changes of heart I'd had about Amanda and Colby, who I eventually came to like after a couple of rocky starts. Unfortunately, Ava has only become more annoying as the year dragged on. AMC has tried to endear Benton to us with the occasional story about her troubled childhood or tender moment with Lily, but it just didn't take. All I see is a loud, obnoxious, entitled little brat looking for the world to give her a handout. I can just imagine the writers sitting around a table, dishing dirt about Lindsey and Britney and thinking, "We need some of that on our show!" UGH.
To top it all off, they pushed Ava into a romance with Jonathan almost right away. You thought Jonathan and Lily were creepy together? Try watching Jonny Boy drool over Lily's exact double - all the looks, none of the pesky autism spectrum disorder! I'm sure some of you are able to look past the obvious 'ick' factor in this relationship, but I can't understand how. Making matters worse, they rushed Ava and Jonathan into an obviously doomed engagement, and put Benton in scenes with JR, where they both up the other's sleaze factor.
It's time for AMC to cut its losses on this one. Leven Rambin does an amazing job as Lily - in fact, I sometimes wonder how the same actress can make me love and hate two characters so much. Why not give us a Lily-centric story (that doesn't involve her being victimized by a random psycho) instead of writing about Ava shaving her head or getting stupid tattoos? Ship Ms. Benton back where she came from so we can start forgetting she ever existed.
Erica & Jackson: Enough Already
I remember the glory days of Erica Kane and Jackson Montgomery - the affair that kickstarted their romance, Erica's turn as French maid, Corinne, and their break-up during Erica's custody battle with his brother, Travis. Even though they had numerous ups and downs, and more than a few obstacles in their way (Mike Roy and Chris Stamp come to mind), I was happy to see them finally tie the knot in 2005. But over the course of the last few years, I feel as though the writers have chipped away at everything I found appealing about this couple. The events of 2007 comprised the final nails in that coffin.
There were a couple of cute moments between Jack and Erica this year, but not enough to make me ignore the terrible ones. It was bad enough watching Erica "find herself" with Jeff, or Jack bedding a more-than-willing Barbara. But the thing that made me give up on these two was the very thing they swore would never tear them apart - their children.
Honestly, it's Jackson that came out looking worse to me. Erica will always be Erica. She made no promises of surrogate motherhood to Greenlee, and never hid her contempt for the woman who stole her granddaughter. Jack, on the other hand, was more than happy to cover his daughter's crimes, only to go after his other "daughter" Kendall with a vengeance. Then, when it was clear that Greenlee was safe and sound (and off the hook), he went back and pledged his support for Erica's daughter. If Jack wants to call Erica out on the things she does to help Kendall, he better be ready to own up when he does the exact same thing.
Now, I'm sure, now that Kendall and Greenlee are on the road back to sisterhood (pardon me while I try not to throw up), that Erica and Jack will once again pledge to not let their kids get in the way, they'll make love without Erica getting a hair out of place, and be ready to implode again when Greenlee and Kendall are at odds again. The bottom line is that I'm not willing to deal with juvenile back-and-forthing between two adults who are supposed to know each other so well. I just don't see the point anymore.
Chopping Down the Chandlers
Soaps thrive on great families and over the years, one of AMC's best has been the Chandler clan. Over the past few years, with Skye cooling her heels in Port Charles and Hayley off with Mateo in California, most of the action in the Chandler manse has centered around Adam and JR, with the recent addition of youngest daughter, Colby. Unfortunately, the family is in ruins.
The problem begins and ends with another PV family, the Careys. Ever since JR and Adam got mixed up with these two, the Chandler family has been sacrificed to prop them up. JR turned into a drunk and certifiable psychopath thanks to his involvement with Babe (who he's gearing up to take [i]another[/i] run at), and Adam has been pushed almost to the point of no redemption for trying to sell Tad and Krystal's baby, Jenny.
Let me repeat that last part: [i]Tad[/i] and Krystal's baby, Jenny. Not Adam's daughter, Charlotte. This is just indicative of what I don't like about AMC's recent writing style. When a character the writers consider basically "good" does something hideous (in this case, cheat on your husband and lie to him, and the other man, about the paternity of your child), the wronged party does something even worse in an attempt to balance the scales. In this case, Adam had to do TWO hideous things (leave Krystal in labor and try to sell Jenny on the black market) to be the "bad guy" again. Even David Canary balked at this storyline and asked the writers to tone down Adam's callousness. And I think he knows the character (and his dark side) better than anyone else.
And Adam didn't only lose Krystal and "Charlotte," he ended up losing JR and Colby, too. Junior even helped cost Adam his fortune, by staging a ridiculous phony kidnapping and ransom demand. JR is one thing - he always has been and always will be a mama's boy, who alternately pulls Adam in and pushes him away as his whims allow. But Colby, the girl who ran away from her mother to get back home, has decided she'd rather stay with Krystal, Tad, and "their baby?" I just don't get it. Speaking of which, Tad is now trapped in a marriage to Krystal, a woman who, given her preference, would have kept him away from his daughter forever. And I get to watch these two men, who I've loved to watch for decades, fight over HER?
Enough is enough. Cart the Careys out of town with Ryan, Greenlee, and Ava, and start rebuilding the Adam, JR, and Colby.
That's All Folks!
Well, I could go on and on (and on) about the other low points of 2007 - the misuse of Amanda, the glaring absence of Brooke, the milquetoast borefest that is Ryan and Annie Lavery - but there are only so many hours in the day. I truly hope that next year's "worst of" column in considerably shorter.
Thanks for reading!
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