Last week the soap world went mad. It was like the real world actually turned into a soap opera itself! It was a week of shocking news and not just on the AMC front, but elsewhere in the soap world too. Eric Braeden, a mainstay on Young & the Restless for 29 years was asked to take a pay cut and when he didn't comply, he was shown the door. Braeden states that while he wasn't so much put off by the idea of taking a cut, he was very put off by how the producers of the show approached him with the request. Hmmm.
And over at General Hospital, strange things are afoot! First Greg Vaughn (who has played the role of Lucky Spencer since 2003) got the boot and has been replaced with original Lucky, Jonathan Jackson! And here I thought AMC only pulled nasty little moves like that. Let's just hope that GH has the good sense not to taut Jackson as "The REAL Lucky."
And if can stand more GH news... actor James Franco (Milk, The Pineapple Express) is joining GH in a recurring role for reportedly about 2 months. This news has been met with a lot of ridicule of the soap world and a whole lot of "why oh why would James Franco lower and demean himself so!" Hey if it was good enough for Elizabeth Taylor, I think it's good enough for Franco! James will play a newcomer to Port Charles with a mysterious past. Hmm, sounds like a break down of just about every new soap role!
That brings us to AMC. I've already done one commentary about the move. But considering the level of panic I keep seeing, I felt compelled to revisit the discussion. If any of that news above isn't a big indication that soaps are in trouble... big trouble, it should be. GH is pulling out all the stops to up it's viewership, while Y&R seems to be doing the exact opposite. I honestly don't even know whether I'm coming or going anymore. I almost dread opening my email in the morning and finding out what new piece of weird news is waiting for me. But on the other hand, things sure haven't been boring, at least, not in the real world. The fictional world of Pine Valley? Well that's another story.
We now know with certainty that Thorsten Kaye will not continue on as Zach Slater after the move to LA. And while Alicia Minshew (Kendall) has stated that she is returning to Pine Valley after her maternity leave, word is that it will only be long enough to tie up loose ends and then she will exit as well.
This news has been met with mixed emotions. While lately, Kendall has been on my last nerve with her jealousy being a far bigger focus than her indictment for murder, Alicia Minshew is still one of my absolutely favorite actresses on the show. And while, as my friends over at Pratt Falls call him, Sir Grunts A-Lot can be infuriating, Zach is one of the most interesting characters AMC has ever had. With their departure comes a very large hole in the fabric of Pine Valley. So much focus has been placed on Kendall and Zach that I wonder who will pick up the slack.
Wouldn't it have been nice to have the long suffering Aidan finally get a storyline worthy of him? Not going to happen since AMC let Aiden Turner go. It would have been nice to see Beth Ehlers (Taylor) get a storyline and romance worthy of her considerable acting chops. Also, not going to happen. Walt Willey (Jack) was quietly dismissed without hardly a mention. Three pretty large missed opportunities.
There's a lot to condemn. A lot to be mad about. A lot to move fans into the dangerous territory of boycotting the show. But this really the wrong time to even consider such a proposition. Soaps are in trouble. It's not a dirty little secret anymore. It's a fact. Guiding Light is gone after 72 years. AMC was in serious danger of cancellation, but instead is being moved to LA. OLTL's future is still unsure. ATWT is facing cancellation rumors, as is Days. In these unsure times for soaps, is it really a good idea to purposely boycott a show? Ratings are already shaky and only get shakier when fans suddenly decide to boycott because they aren't getting what they want. This is a genre issue now, not a storyline one or an actor getting fired one. A boycott will affect soaps as a whole, not just the show you are peeved at.
So I propose that we start talking more about what we still have or will gain, instead of what we don't have or are losing. I'll start.
TOP TEN THINGS I LOVE ABOUT AMC
10. Erica Kane and Ryan Lavery.
Yes, I'm well aware that I am very much in the minority on this one, but I don't care! I like it and I will shout it from the rooftops! Do I want this to last in the long term? No. But for now, the easy chemistry and fun relationship they have is something I enjoy. I like seeing the ever confident Erica unsure and concerned about the relationship. I like seeing Ryan look at this woman he's known for so long in a new way. I just like it period. Sue me.
9. Brot and Natalia.
JR Martinez has been a surprising and wonderful addition to the cast of AMC. Surprising because he didn't start out as an actor. But he lights up every scene he's in and now with the budding romance between Brot and Natalia, I see a lot of rooting value for this young couple!
8. Madison North
This character intrigues me in a good way. The bratty spoiled rich girl who seemingly had everything she ever wanted is being revealed to be more damaged than anyone ever really knew. It's a classic tale but with Stephanie Gatschet in the role of Madison, it seems fresh.
7. Possible Returns
With the move to LA, the rumors of different stars coming back to AMC has ran from Rebecca Budig (Greenlee) to Eva LaRue (Maria). From Eden Riegel (Bianca) to Justin Bruening (Jamie). From Alexa Havins (Babe) to Josh Duhamel (Leo). I would welcome any and all of them back. But let's get real. Eva LaRue is on CSI: Miami and I can't see her giving that up to come back to Pine Valley. Josh Duhamel has a very successful movie career, with two movies in production and one, When in Rome, set to release sometime next year (which incidentally, Alexa Havins also appears in). But who knows, the possibilities are exciting!
6. Krystal Carey and Tad Martin.
I was on board the Tad/Taylor train. I was interested to see where that was going to go and I liked their chemistry. But since it's not going to happen, I throw all my support behind the reuniting of Tad and Krystal. I expect it to be difficult, emotional and fraught with drama. That's how it should be. They have an interesting history and a lot of love left over for each other.
5. Dr. David Hayward
The man. The myth. The legend. David Hayward is played deliciously by Vincent Irizarry. He's a character that I want to hate, but somehow I just can't. He's a master manipulator and when his own tactics don't work, he doesn't sweat it, he just whips up some new drug that will do his bidding for him. A brilliant surgeon who clearly thinks the Hippocratic Oath is for suckers. And under it all is a strong desire to be loved and have a family to call his own.
4. Adam Chandler
THE man in Pine Valley I love to hate. And sometimes just love. Adam Chandler has done it all, seen it all, bought the t-shirt. A successful businessman who is nobodies fool. That is until his twin, his better half, his conscience, was murdered in a case of mistaken identity. Now Adam struggles with his own identity and place in the world. The mogul believes he found a new angel but he's so wrong.
3. Tad and Jake Martin
These brothers are so much fun to watch, whether they are arguing or plotting. There is such an ease to their chemistry I almost feel like they are ad libbing their whole scene. Ricky Paull Goldin is by far my favorite incarnation of Jake. And he plays off the fabulous Michael E. Knight perfectly.
2. Angie and Jesse
It's no secret that I'm a big Angie and Jesse fan from way back. Their return at the beginning of 2008 was the stuff of legend. Sure Jesse has been dead for 20 years, but when has that ever stopped someone from coming back? Now thoroughly entrenched back in Pine Valley, Jesse is Chief of Police and Angie is back at work in Pine Valley Hospital. Jesse's humor, sarcasm and compassion is awesome. And even though his desire for the good guy to always win gets him in trouble and has him making questionable decisions, I still love him. Angie, what can you say about her? She's the shows angel. She was there for Ryan when Greenlee "died." She was there for JR when Babe died. She was there for Marissa while JR was in chemo. She was there for Amanda when David was making her life hell or when she was recovering from her baby "dying." She's there for everyone. Her presence in any of this situations is something I never question because I'm so happy she is there with her kind heart and wise words.
And the Number 1 Reason Why I Love AMC...
History. My own with the show... a viewer since 1979. And the shows own rich history. The people in charge may forget it's history sometimes, but the fans never do. So while TPTB seemingly want to destroy our show, it's up to us to save it from the crash and burn and a mass walk out isn't the way to achieve that. Tell them what you think! And if you love everything that is going on, tell them that too. It's unfortunate that we always think to write when we are unhappy. But you can write to the show when you are happy too. All the addresses are located here.