For a shortened broadcast week, there sure was an excess of heartbreak.
Let's be frank. Most of the time that soaps have a ghostly vision of a dead loved one, it comes across as rather corny. I was actually touched by JR seeing Babe at her gravesite. It was nice for me to finally hear JR 'fess up to some of the crap that he's pulled since Babe's death. And while I know that this is a soap opera and JR will probably have a new love of his life in a few months, it was touching to see him sob openly about the possibility that he'll never find another woman to love. For a moment, it made me forget about their rocky past and the pure hatred that took place during their relationship. Maybe that is the key to a truly memorable relationship: falling in love, wading through the crap, and then coming out on the other side stronger than before.
On the flip of that, I was crushed to see how difficult it was for Amanda to be in a house where there was a newborn baby crying at all hours of the night. How often are little details like that missed? Is Amanda going to go cuckoo and steal the baby and run off somewhere? It's not like mental illness doesn't run in her family. It's also not like the show hasn't recycled a storyline or two over the years. And all that hubbub about mentioning how Amanda will recognize the baby's eyes -- then she held the baby and zip. Nada. No recognition whatsoever. I wonder what that's all about? I spy with my little eye a twist and turn ahead!
And oh my goodness, how cute was the little baby? I think I may have even "aww"ed out loud. Don't worry, don't worry. I haven't gone soft. In another two years, I'll be complaining that the child is too precocious and is nauseating me.
I find it hard to believe that a cutthroat district attorney would waltz out of his office and allow the husband of a murder defendant and her former lover to be alone in his office. Granted, Zach and Ryan didn't try to rummage through any of his files because they were too focused on yelling at each other, but you'd have thought that Henry would have at least asked them to step out of his office -- and then locked the door. Oh wait, we don't lock doors in Pine Valley.
The residents of Pine Valley do a lot of speaking with unnecessary qualification. For years, I've mused that Erica always refers to Kendall as "my daughter, Kendall," but now it seems her speaking condition -- we'll call it Relative Madness since that title has a lot of special meaning for me -- has infected other people. Adam has referred to Stuart as "my brother, Stuart" on more than more than one occasion in the past week or so. He's speaking to people who know Stuart and know that Stuart is Adam's brother.
I thought that the cutaways to Kendall's envisioned court scenes were a nice touch. As Kendall slowly feels like her freedom is drawing to a close, it was a rather genius bit of storytelling to have Kendall imagine the possible damning testimony of each of the friends and loved ones that she encountered. You can feel however you want about Kendall standing trial for yet another crime, but I'm focusing strictly on the storytelling aspect. To the best of my knowledge, this type of format hasn't been used on any other soap before. For the originality, I have to give the writers my praise.
Another device that the show used last week was mixing up which characters interact with each other. Let me focus on the one that I liked the best: Randi opening the door and expecting to see Henry on the other side -- but encountering a scowling Zach instead. I don't think that Zach and Randi have every shared a scene together. If they did, it mustn't have been very memorable. I've always found it hard to believe that more Pine Valley residents don't share scenes with each other.
Ditto to Adam and Aidan and also Erica and Aidan. This is how you make characters relevant. You have familiar faces interact with newer characters. Not that Aidan is necessarily a new character, but why hasn't he had a major storyline since the Maureen Gorman debacle? I don't consider his involvement with Greenlee or Annie as a major storyline. He shared billing with other characters.
Finally, someone installed alarms on their house. Granted, the wimpy sirens at Chandler Mansion sounded more like someone was calling the fashion than alerting the residents of a potential break-in. And how did the security guards track down Erica within 15 seconds? Adam and Annie even made it all the way down from their bedrooms in under a minute. I find this all very, um, alarming.
However, the silliness did provide another Erica zinger. When the guards mocked her for not being "proficient in martial arts," Erica replied, "No, but I speak law suit very well." Then Annie asking Erica if Adam ever shared his reserved label brandy, which provided Annie the chance to quip, "Oh, duh! What am I saying? You're an alcoholic!"
Now, it's time for the interactive portion of the column. First, I'd like to thank all of you who wrote last week. I appreciate the time that you took to drop me a line. I always get concerned when feedback drops off, because I think you might be getting tired of hearing from me. So here's the question of the week. As I mentioned above, after Randi got her unexpected visit from Henry, she assumed that the next knock on her door was Henry returning to cause her more aggravation. As we've seen so many times on the soaps, she started talking as if Henry were on the other side -- but, of course, he wasn't. Has this ever happened to you? It doesn't have to be that you were spilling the beans on a deep, dark secret, but I'm curious if this ever happens in real life…
Thanks to all of you sending in your "two cents" last week, we are one step closer to our goal of being able to buy all Pine Valley residents locks for their doors. That's right, you can help make a difference. So keep the feedback coming!
You guys (and gals) replied in record numbers about the five minute repeats at the beginning of each episode. I'm glad that I wasn't the only one that this irked. One reader even noted that the repeats aren't always replays of the exact same scenes. Some are recreated -- complete with altered dialogue! This week, I'm on another mission. I want the "dramatic music" to return to the last scene before the opening credits. I don't know how to describe it, but I can hum it (it won't be coming to iTunes anytime soon). But you know, the little three-note "pulse" that played and then meshed into the opening theme song. It was very dramatic, and they even brought this back a few weeks ago -- but now it's gone.
And so am I -- until next week.