As I Saw It… All My Children

all_my_childrenAs you may know by now, All My Children was the first soap I got hooked on after my older sister made me watch it and report back to her when she wasn’t going to be able to see it.  I didn’t understand everything that was going on in Pine Valley back in the mid to late 70’s, but at any given time it was comical, dramatic, and suspenseful – just like Agnes Nixon’s own motto, “Make them laugh, make them cry, make them wait.”  For years I laughed with Erica, cried with Brooke, and waited for Phoebe to find out that Langley was really a carnival con artist.  I haven’t watched the show on a regular basis in about fifteen years, so when I watched last week it was practically like watching a new show.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first tuned in last Monday.  I liked that the “previously on All My Children” bumper was more detailed than just a recap of the previous episode. (Did they know I was coming back?)  Although I didn’t know all of the characters and relationships, it wasn’t too difficult to figure out what was happening.

Before I get into the meat and potatoes of the show, I have to say that the show looks great.  The sets are great, the lighting is good, the fake film effect is distracting at first, but it was soon overlooked. All in all, the show is nicely produced.  However, looks  mean nothing unless the show has good storylines.

The leading story on Monday focused on Ryan’s (Cameron Mathison) crazed ex-wife Annie (Melissa Claire Egan), who had just stabbed Erica (Susan Lucci).  Egan impressed me with what she was given to work with.  Of course, Susan Lucci looked more like she had fallen off a runway in Milan as opposed to being wheeled into the emergency room, but that is part of the mystique of Erican Kane, isn’t it?  It was nice to see characters I knew like Jackson (Walt Willey), Adam (David Canary), and even Joe Martin (Ray MacDonnell).

Another storyline that got front burner status as the week progressed was the Jake/Taylor/Brot triangle.  I tried very hard not to think of Jake as Gus and Taylor as Harley from Guiding Light.  What can I say about this storyline? Chuck Pratt and the writers have wisley woven Taylor into the framework of two tentpole families, the Martins and the Hubbards, but still there is something “forced” about the character.  AMC deserves major props for hiring JR Martinez in the role of Brot, the disfigured war vet who would rather let the woman he loves think he’s dead instead of her seeing what he looks like now.  Martinez wasn’t hired for his acting skills, but he is effective in the role.  As a viewer, I can sympathize with all three characters because there is no “bad guy” in this triangle.  I do, however, think that the powers that be have set up the Jake/Taylor romance far in advance based on Ricky Paull Goldin and Beth Ehlers’ popularity on GL, so I doubt if Brot will ride off into the sunset with Taylor. Imagine how interesting it would be to show Taylor and Brot together for the long haul, as they adjust to Brot’s injuries together.

It seems as though volumes have been written everywhere about Eden Riegel’s return and her pairing with Tamara Braun, but am I the only one wondering “is that all there is?”  I don’t see much chemistry between the two, which is a shame because they are both outstanding actresses.  I’m hoping the lack of chemistry is based on the whole “my mom just got stabbed” thing.  Another pairing that left me feeling lukewarm was Ryan and Greenlee (Rebecca Budig).  It could very well be because it’s been reported everywhere that Rebecca Budig is leaving show, but I felt no interest in Ryan and Greenlee.  I enjoyed the Erica/Greenlee clash much better.

A storyline I wished had gotten more screen time was Angie (Debbi Morgan) dealing with the family  Jesse (Darnell Williams) had while he was away from Pine Valley. Laura Koffman showed she’s not One Life to Live‘s  Cassie Carpenter anymore as Rebecca, who teeters between being heartbreaking and horrible as the terminally ill mother of Jesse’s daugher.  Rebecca makes no bones about the fact that she wishes Angie was in her shoes.  Shannon Kane is fine as Rebecca and Jesse’s daughter Natalia.  Debbi Morgan and Darnell Williams create sparks in every scene they are in, so I hope the show puts them in the spotlight.

By the last scene on Friday, I was actually ready for more.  I wanted to know what Annie would do next, I was curious about Taylor and Brot, I wanted to see more of Angie and Jesse, and I wondered if Bianca and Reese would grow on me. I set the TiVo to keep All My Children on my recording list.

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3 Responses to “As I Saw It… All My Children”

  1. having never watched gl i dont understand the popularity of the actors who play jake and taylor

  2. I don’t get it either. I like Brot and am very curious about him. I’m not invested in Jake and Taylor at all, individually or as a couple.

  3. I love BE and RPG–they’re talented and can do almost anything if written for properly. AMC is lucky to get them.

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