Okay, we're three weeks into 2009 and already there is more drama in Pine Valley than I can stand!
First, let's address the apparent gun problem in Pine Valley. Everyone seems to have a gun no more than an arm's stretch away. JR threatened to blast David away and then a few days later, David had a gun of his own and was ready to kill Tad. Josh Madden has a gun, but we can talk about that further down the column. Zach probably tucked one under the pillow of Kendall's hospital bed, too. Just in case.
Taking out the rather ridiculous gun-toting incident, I have to say that I loved watching Tad drop Krystal off at Wildwind and then tell David that he could have her. It was one of the first soap cheating storylines that actually made sense. It got even better when Krystal showed up on Tad's doorstep and he hit her with a restraining order. Meanwhile, David doesn't appear to want Krystal either. He's really putting one good ol' mind screw on her. He's having the attorney he hired to represent Krystal make her case sound far more grave than it actually is. So when David is able to save the day, he'll look like even more of a savior in Krystal's eyes. Bobbie Eakes is truly turning in some great performances since being handed this storyline and, even though Krystal irks me, I'm riveted by the story. Heck, we've even been able to give Opal some airtime as a result. Op-pitbull (you have to sort of mush the sounds together to make the nickname work) tore into Krystal in a way that I've never seen Opal act before. She was actually a little scary. Tarot-card-toting Opal scary? Yeah, I actually think so!
Speaking of of characters I don't like, let's focus on Jake for about 2.3 minutes. I rather enjoyed him giving Amanda a hard time (Easy, folks. This is a PG column) about being pregnant. His "hee-haw" jackass sound instead of saying "sex" amused me. And, Jake had my favorite line of the week, "We have plenty of evidence that he's an ass, but last I heard, you can't put someone away for being an ass." Too bad he followed it up by asking Angie, "Remember Maria Santos Grey?" No, she doesn't. Angie was long gone by the time the Santos were in Pine Valley.
On the other side of town, Jesse's "other child" wants to be a cop. I always want to call her Cassandra instead of Natalia. I guess it's because both characters have annoyed me equally. Cassandra is gone and I'm not sure if Natalia will be sticking around or not. Either way, this storyline reminds me a bit of the saga a dozen or so years back with Taylor Roxbury-Cannon. Few people liked Taylor -- and then she decided to be a police officer. Okay, so I never said it was exactly like that storyline -- but it's close! If Natalia sticks around, I'd like to see a meaningful storyline come of her decision to become part of the "po-po." There have been some decent police-related storylines in the past -- Mimi accidentally killing Grace Keefer's son and Taylor's going undercover as a white woman to bust up a hate group are just two plots that come to mind.
I'm not really all that thrilled with the new luxury hotel in Pine Valley, the Oak Haven. There are a lot of creepy people milling about. Yes, I know that Oak Haven is not a hotel, but you'd be hard-pressed to make an argument that the place is a mental hospital. People come and go, unnamed men offer to smuggle you into maximum security areas, spies posing a patients are crawling around in air ducts, hidden video cameras send confidential information to hidden laptop computers, and the only practicing physician seems to have some sort of dark secret. Who is Aidan's contact and why doesn't he have a name? He's had more lines in the past two weeks than Carmen, Palmer, Kendall, Stuart, Dre, Brot, and Rebecca combined. Even the closed captioning calls him "Man." That Dr. Sinclair is up to something, but what? And who is she really? Someone on our message boards suggested that she might be Kelsey Jefferson. I dunno about that, but the possibly-not-so-good doctor is definitely hiding something other than a laptop computer in the linen closet.
In the second "we're bringing you back just to kill you" moment of Charles Pratt Jr.'s short tenure with All My Children, Josh Madden Kane sneaked back into Pine Valley knowing full-well that he was a wanted man. While Josh's actions don't make sense when compared to the rest of his time in Pine Valley, his antics do make a lot of sense. His father was ethically challenged and, lest we forget, he was abducted as a fetus. But now, Josh has been brought back into the fold just to be killed off. Isn't this exactly what happened with Di Henry? At least this time around, Josh is being played by the same actor.
Now for my next gripe with this storyline. All My Children is -- and will always be -- my favorite soap. It's the one that roped me into the world of soap operas. Conveniently killing off characters so that you can harvest their organs for another, more-loved character is really kind of tacky. General Hospital's heart transplant storyline involving Maxie and BJ remains the best transplant story in daytime history. It probably will never be surpassed and so many subsequent transplant storylines have paled in comparison. All My Children has already done the quickie organ donor storyline before. Remember when they killed off Gillian Andrassy Lavery to give her heart to Laura Kirk English? This time around, at least there is a bit of heartbreak involved in the storyline. Erica will be forced to decide whether to remove her brain-dead son from life support in order to save her dying daughter, Kendall. What a heartbreaking decision that has got to be.
In the end, it looks like Pratt has been hired to obliterate everything that the show's previous writing regime developed over the past two years… and that's fine with me.