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 Two Scoops: August 5, 2013 columns
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How much is that Petey in the window?
For the Week of August 5, 2013
Does Billy Clyde Tuggle hold the key to unlocking Celia's memories, and has Evelyn been moonlighting to raise money to bid on Pete Cortlandt? How long will it take to vet a new police chief, and is JR spiralling towards another disastrous end in AMC's season finale? Let the bidding begin in this week's Two Scoops.
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In All My Children's version of The Price Is Right, we learned a bit of important information about the value of Pine Valley's most eligible bachelor: he would "definitely [fetch] more than a puppy" in an auction. I'm not sure how many zeroes that has at the end of its price, but it sounds like an arf-ful lot.


Ahem.


Pete Cortlandt has been quite humble about having his face plastered all over town. The same guy who indifferently told his mother that his father's company should be dismantled and sold off is now embarrassed by all the attention he's receiving. I'd imagine that there is a certain amount of pressure to bring in a significant amount of money. It would be horrible to be auctioned off and, say, bring in only $7.32.


I wonder who would win a bidding war between Colby and Celia. Celia seems to have been pretty well taken care of by her mysterious guardian. There have been trips abroad, she went to private school, and Celia doesn't seem to have a need for anything. Meanwhile, Colby is a Chandler, but she didn't have enough money to pay off her $20,000 debt. Still, she is a Chandler. It seems a foregone conclusion that a bidding war will erupt between these two women.


But what happens if, before the gavel strikes, another bidder emerged? What if Kevin Sheffield resurfaces or the high bidder is a guy? This is a fundraiser for charity, so I am pretty sure they aren't going to turn someone's money away. There's no requirement that any sort of hanky-panky takes places as a result of the donation, right?


I can't believe I am going to say this, but I actually found myself enjoying the brief moment in time where Celia and Colby were "friends." Don't worry. I haven't gone soft. I have also always been fond of the moments when Brooke and Erica were able to put their rivalry aside and show compassion for one another.


We've already seen in the previews for this week's shows that Colby is going to try to sabotage Celia's dress for the gala. So much for a truce or friendship, huh? Meanwhile, Celia is under the delusion that she and Colby will soon be besties. Poor, sweet, misguided Celia. Thankfully, Evelyn -- who was carted out of mothballs for a rare appearance -- offered a voice of reason. There has to be more story involving Evelyn ahead. I can't imagine that Emmy winner Francesca James would be brought back (in a new role, no less) to just flutter in and out of scenes on a whim.


My guess it that Evelyn has more to do with Celia's parents and guardian than we've been led to believe. I think I may have offered up that Evelyn is really Celia's grandmother in a past Two Scoops column. If I haven't, it has certainly been rattling around in my head as a possibility.


Then there is the strange way that Billy Clyde reacted when Pete talked about wanting to date Celia. His bizarre obsession with Palmer aside, Billy Clyde should've reacted something along the lines of, "Sure, kid. Whatever you want." But Billy Clyde was Celia's number one fan. Then only thing missing was one of those big foam "fingers" on his hand. Does he know Celia? Does he know her guardian? Is he hoping to become a father figure to Pete so that he can continue his weird transformation into Palmer 2.0? Suddenly, I just had a completely off-the-wall image of Billy Clyde as Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs.


Abortion has always been a controversial topic on the soaps. Somewhat surprisingly, I am not even talking about the choice vs. life decision. A lot of times after a character has chosen to terminate a pregnancy, she ends up with complications that prevent her from ever having another child -- until the character has a random one-night affair, and then she becomes more fertile than the Mississippi River delta. Erica Kane was believed to have had the first legalized abortion in daytime television history, but 20something years later it was revealed that she hadn't; her unborn child had been "transplanted" into another woman's womb. The medically impossible plot twist outraged pretty much everyone around.


The handling of Cassandra's decision to have an abortion was the most realistic portrayal I've ever seen on a soap. Cassandra didn't make the decision lightly. Even as she called the pregnancy "a disease," Cassandra struggled to sign her name to the consent form for the procedure. Afterward, it was heartbreaking to see Cassandra realize that even with the pregnancy terminated, she still would be haunted by everything she'd been forced to endure.


Once again, the directing was amazing. As was the case with Angie's visit with the therapist a week or two back, the moments leading up to Cassandra being taken to the operating room were incredibly well done. There were different camera angles, the lighting and the music was perfect, the acting was on-point. A big round of applause to all of the often unsung talent behind the camera.


Who will be Pine Valley's next chief of police? I suppose there is always the possibility that Jesse will be reinstated, but for now, the PVPD is without a leader. The only person on the canvas right now that could be in line for the position is Lea, but I doubt she'd leave the FBI for the top cop spot in a small Pennsylvania town. Of course, one could make a very good argument that more crime and craziness happens in Pine Valley than in most towns twice its size.


I made a running list of some of my choices for candidates during our live-tweeting last week. Derek Frye would be a great candidate. He was a good police chief back in the day, though I preferred William Christian over Charles Parnell in the role. Christian's Derek was nice and a little dopey at times, while Parnell's was always kind of mean and looked like he needed more fiber in his diet.


Mimi Reed could make a return, and the writers could make an attempt to undo the way the character was destroyed during her last appearance on the show. One Twitter follower suggested Taylor Roxbury-Cannon -- if she's been released from jail, that is. I liked Ingrid Rogers back in the day, but people seemed to love to hate Taylor. In fact, I renamed the "Least Favorite Character" category in the AMC edition of soapcentral.com's Dankies Awards "The Taylor Roxbury-Cannon Award." I think Taylor came out on top (or the bottom) of the voting five years in a row.


Perhaps a more interesting and plausible option would be to have Natalia or Brot return to Pine Valley. Both are said to be living in Philadelphia now (though I've never seen them) and, since Natalia is Jesse's daughter, both already have ties to existing characters on the canvas.


Or maybe we don't need to have the police at all. Maybe everyone will be on their best behavior for the next however long, and we won't need to debate the topic. Yeah, right -- like that'll happen!


I am still not ready to back JR and Cara as a couple. I like that JR has moments of being a really nice guy, but JR is also starting to show "roid rage." My fear for him is that there is another big gala coming up. I sure hope he doesn't lurk around the secret passageways again because that certainly didn't end well the last time.


Once again, there seemed to be more behind-the-scenes news than on the actual show. So we need to have a little non-storyline discussion.


Prospect Park/The Online Network announced that the first season of All My Children will end on September 2. I know that a lot of you are scratching your heads and thinking, "Gee… I didn't know that there were going to be seasons. Don't soaps just air and air without end?"


Well, you'd think so, but this is, after all, the new frontier of soap opera storytelling. There is a certain part of me that thinks Prospect Park has a group of mad scientists. They are all in the laboratory (pronounced la-BOOR-a-torey) trying to create the perfect soap opera specimen. Cue the clap of thunder and flash of lightning. In their haste to make everything just right, perhaps some of the other intangibles get overlooked. Still-jittery soaps fans see anything that is new, unfamiliar, or untested as a sign that the sky is falling. You don't believe me? Let's review the events of the past four months.


Two weeks into All My Children's resurrection, Prospect Park scaled back the number of episodes that were made available each week from four episodes each week to just two. An ill-advised press release angered fans who felt that they were not being listened to or worse, they were being Fronsed and told what they should want. Then there was the contract spat with ABC, which many soap fans felt was being put in place as an easy out for Prospect Park: blame ABC, pack it in, and say, "Hey, we tried." From there, we had the labor dispute with some of the unions. Production halted, and again fans feared that this was the end. Still episodes continued to "air" online.


Last month, AMC (and OLTL) returned to television on Oprah's OWN network -- and some fans grumbled that they wouldn't watch the televised versions of AMC because Oprah didn't save the shows when ABC canceled them. Oprah's video message reply to fans back in 2011 may not have been some of her best work. The truth is, Oprah doesn't own OWN -- she's a co-owner. OWN was losing money hand over first back then and has only just now posted a quarterly profit. So folks can be mad at Oprah all they want. By boycotting OWN, the only people that are being hurt are the folks who work on All My Children (and One Life to Live). That may make me unpopular with people who want me to rage against the Oprah machine, but it doesn't do any good to be angry. What's done is done. Having AMC air on OWN opens the door for a new audience to discover the shows. More people tuning in means a better chance that AMC lives on for another 40-plus years.


OWN, like Prospect Park did with the online viewing, has adjusted its programming schedule. There were so many random episodes of All My Children airing each day that it was completely confusing. Now, OWN has cut back to just one episode of AMC (and One Life to Live) every Monday through Thursday. That makes much more sense to me, though I would have preferred to also see a primetime airing or a weekend primetime marathon. Only about 150,000 people are tuning in to see AMC air on OWN, but we can't compare OWN's viewership numbers to that of a major broadcast network. It's more like apples to Oprahs.


I say all of this with the cockeyed optimism that perhaps Prospect Park wants to get all of their ducks in a row this time. Between lawsuits, and scheduling adjustments, and all the other nonsense, All My Children's relaunch has faced more challenges than most shows face in their entire run. The shows were written and filmed as if there would always be four episodes per week. When that dropped to just two, things that might have otherwise have moved along at a good clip now seemed to take forever to play out.


Prospect Park undoubtedly has a great deal of data at its disposal: How often do people watch? How many shows can they get away with broadcasting each week? Do viewers want a longer show? Will OWN continue to air repeat episodes? The answers to these questions will help shape a second season of All My Children -- or at least I am hoping. If Prospect Park takes this time to really think about what they want to do rather than having to rush to get a product to air, there will not be a need for what some have seen as awkwardly worded and all-too-frequent press releases and scheduling changes. They've so far hung in there to support the shows, so I hope that fans will continue to hang in there with them. And if money really is an issue, maybe they can auction off a date with some of the stars of AMC. I don't know how much it'll bring in, but it has to be more than a puppy.


I'll be back next week with more comments, feedback, and questions, and maybe even a few answers. Remember that I want to hear from you! If you'd like to share your thoughts and have them possibly appear in a future column, just click here to send me an email. You can also post them below in the Comments section if you are a Facebook user.


dan

Two Scoops is an opinion column. The views expressed are not designed to be indicative of the opinions of soapcentral.com or its advertisers. The Two Scoops section allows our Scoop staff to discuss what might happen, what has happened, and to take a look at the logistics of it all. They stand by their opinions and do not expect others to share the same view point.
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