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For the Week of September 29, 2008
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Over the past month, Ryan hasn't done much to get attention. He's been understandably subdued, wrestling over his unrequited love for Greenlee, his mentally unhinged wife, and the loss of his unborn child. Right now, Ryan isn't the problem. Greenlee and Kendall are the problem.
For the past few years, I was convinced that I didn't like Ryan Lavery. Ever since his princess died, the Ryan most fans knew and adored perished with her, lost in a torrent of self-absorption, arrogance, and worship by Pine Valley's masses. Unable to save Gillian, and unable to save his siblings before and after Princess Andrassi's untimely demise, Ryan took every available occasion to duck into a phone booth, rip away his millionaire attire, and reveal the "S" on his chest before flying out and saving anyone and everyone in Pine Valley whether they needed it or not.
His hero complex is aggravating; his lack of commitment to a woman for longer than six to eight months is infuriating; and his ego eclipsed Adam Chandler's (no small feat) long ago. But you know what? I actually like Ryan. Oh, I've had my problems with him, but lately, I've realized that my anger toward Ryan was misdirected. As detestable as he can be, I actually loathe his worshippers so much more.
Over the past month, Ryan hasn't done much to get attention. He's been understandably subdued, wrestling over his unrequited love for Greenlee, his mentally unhinged wife, and the loss of his unborn child. Right now, Ryan isn't the problem. Greenlee and Kendall -- they're the problem.
Greenlee is a newlywed, a woman madly in love with a man who helped her through some of the most difficult times in her life. For a few fleeting months, Greenlee and Aidan's love was genuine, and not a thought of Ryan Lavery was to be had. Despite resolving most of her issues with Ryan shortly after her return to Pine Valley last spring, Greenlee has recently decided that she has feelings for both Ryan and Aidan.
Ryan, a man who almost shattered her face. Ryan, a man who faked his own death allegedly to protect Greenlee, when he knew that losing another husband would devastate her.
Kendall's addiction is just as potent as her on-again, off-again best friend's. Though always meddlesome and juvenile, Kendall has been taken to extremes in recent weeks, going so far as to verbally assault a woman on the brink of miscarriage due to her (Kendall's) belief that Ryan might be in danger, physically or otherwise. Do I believe that Kendall caused Annie's miscarriage? Not entirely. That's 95 percent Annie's fault, but I'll happily plop the remaining five percent onto Kendall's bony lap.
Zach has complained numerous times -- and with just cause -- that Kendall's interference is causing a rift in their marriage, but has that stopped Pine Valley's gossip queen? Not at all.
Annie is just as guilty of kneeling at the Altar of Ryan, but it seems the soon-to-be-former Mrs. Lavery and previous love of Ryan's life is shaking her obsession. Good. At least someone's making strides.
I've got my eye on you, Ryan. Since Pratt took the reins, you've been quieter, more subdued, and I'm appreciative of that. But while I'm currently content to blame others for the bad taste you leave in my mouth, you've fooled me twice, so shame on both of us. You're still a jackass, just not as much of one -- for now.
But what about Kendall, Greenlee and Annie? It seems Mr. Pratt has recognized Melissa Claire Egan (Annie) for the talented actress that she is and plans to keep her around. Kendall and Zach's storyline is certainly interesting, as it's nice to see a couple with real problems on AMC, and even better, their struggle to get their heads above water is rather realistic, a return to an AMC that focused on topical issues and human struggles.
Greenlee is another matter. Rumors are circulating that actress Rebecca Budig might not renew the one-year contract she signed last fall. If she doesn't, then the destruction of Ryan-Annie and Greenlee-Aidan in favor of a Ryan-Greenlee reunion, not to mention disgusting even the most hardcore of Kendall fans with her recent behavior, has all been for nothing.
Brings a smile to your face and a tear to your eye, doesn't it?
"I Love You"?
It's not too surprising that Jesse had a few affairs during his time on the run. Twenty years is a long time, and even though he probably did his best to stay faithful to the family back home, it seems at least one woman got closer to Jesse than he intended.
His situation was different than Angie's, who had a few flings of her own and even re-married. Angie believed Jesse was dead, but Jesse, fully aware that he'd left his wife and son behind, apparently started and ended at least one significant relationship while he was away. The question of whether that was right or wrong, in or out of character, can be debated endlessly, but let's look at the larger repercussion of Jesse's decision.
Fast-forward to earlier this week, when Tad overhears Jesse hurriedly end a phone call with "I love you." A day or so later, Jesse explains to Angie that he had an affair, but it's over. So what was the "I love you" all about? Several theories are being discussed among fans. One states that Jesse met his former flame during his time in an asylum. The woman could be mentally unhinged, threatening to reveal herself or even harm Angie if Jesse doesn't meet with her. In order to placate her and keep her rational, perhaps Jesse tells her that he loves her.
Maybe. Another popular idea, and one that I subscribe to, postulates that Jesse was speaking to a child born of the affair. This is just conjecture, but if this is the case, my guess is that the child is a female. Saying "I love you" to a daughter is easier for many men than saying the same to a son, but to be honest, it could be either.
Son? Daughter? A fling that isn't over quite yet? Whatever you believe, it's clear that this storyline has only just begun. As for my stance, I join the legions of rabid Jesse-Angie fans that firmly believe Jesse didn't work his way back to Angie only to rekindle an affair that would be nothing in comparison to one of AMC's pre-eminent super couples.
Did I Miss Something, Here?
After hearing that Charles Pratt, Jr., would be jumping into the AMC head writer's chair, I did some research in order to learn about his preferences, weaknesses, and overall style. One thing I discovered was that Mr. Pratt has an affinity for off-screen events.
So anyway, that's how I ended up adopting my cousin and his pet monkey.
Oops, sorry; guess I left out a few details, there. Kind of annoying, isn't it? Skipping what could have been crucial details is akin to the "blah, blah, blah" and "yada, yada, yada" tendency evident in some of Charles Pratt's storytelling. Sometimes, the omissions are minor. If someone who left their office arrives back at home during a commercial break, that's no big deal. Who wants to watch 15 minutes of someone sipping coffee and gripping the steering wheel? If it's irrelevant, then sure, go ahead and cut it.
Sometimes, however, viewers are left with their head spinning due to an uncomfortable jump from one scene to the next. Thursday's AMC ended with Ryan carrying Emma out of the Chandler mansion and Annie blocking the door. Annie may be a lug wrench-wielding crazy woman at present, but she's always been a fiercely protective mother.
Yet Friday's show unveiled the dawn of a new day. Ryan served Emma pancakes at his penthouse, and all seemed well. Wait, what? What happened? Did Ryan bowl Annie over on his way out? Or did Annie say, "Fine, take her, I don't care"? I don't think so, but we'll never know.
Always remember the cardinal rule of writing, Mr. Pratt: Show, don't tell.
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