Archive for all my children

As I Saw It… All My Children

Posted in As I Saw It with tags on December 10, 2008 by Jeff

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.

AMC: I Did It!

Posted in What I'm Watching with tags on December 5, 2008 by Jeff

eden-riegel

I actually watched FIVE hours of All My Children – in one week! I can’t remember the last time I did that. I have a lot of thoughts about the Pine Valley of 2008.  I’ll organize those thoughts this weekend and post my opinions on Tuesday or Wednesday. In the meantime, I’ll be spending a good portion of the weekend telling myself “She’s not Trisha Alden anymore” as I prepare to watch Noelle Beck as Lily on As The World Turns next week.

For those who are curious, I haven’t removed All My Children from my TiVo list. 

Stay tuned!

AMC: The Half-Way Point

Posted in What I'm Watching with tags on December 3, 2008 by Jeff

susan-lucci

I’m at the half way-point of my week long All My Children viewing experiment. I’ll wait to review the entire five days until early next week, but I will say that I haven’t been bored yet. The question remains: Will I keep watching after the week is up?

Stay tuned.

The All My Children Experiment: Day One

Posted in What I'm Watching with tags on December 1, 2008 by Jeff


all_my_children1
Today is my first day of watching All My Children after several years of being away from the show.  I won’t be doing daily updates; the point of my experiment isn’t to write synopsises of each episode, but instead to review the show based on a full week of watching.  Watch for my thoughts on All My Children in a full post early next week.

When I Watched… “All My Children”

Posted in When I Watched with tags , , on November 23, 2008 by Jeff

all_my_childrenIn the eight days leading up to my “return to soaps” experiment I’m going to examine each of the eight soaps currently on the air, describe what I liked and didn’t like about when I watched, and what caused me to stop watching.

First up is All My Children.  I started watching All My Children when I was a kid. I must have been about seven years old when my  teenage sister would grab her lawn chair and suntan lotion and tell me “Watch this show and tell me everything that happens until I get back.” Then, she’d lay out in the sun while I would stare at the people of Pine Valley, trying like hell to figure out what exactly was going on.  After my descriptions started off with “The blond lady was mad at the guy with dark hair,” my sister gave me a crash course of who was who in Pine Valley.

As I grew older, I continued to watch All My Children every summer when school was out – there were no VCRs back in the 70’s, at least not in my household.  I’d be thrilled when I had a day off from school in the fall or winter and I could catch up on the goings on in Pine Valley.  I loved Erica and her schemes.  I enjoyed Chuck Tyler’s romance with Donna Beck, complicated by the evil Billy Clyde Tuggle and his cohort Tyrone (who much to my horror was played by actor Rocoe Orman, who also played lovable Gordon on Sesame Street). As the 70’s passed the 80’s began, I grew older and began to understand the stories a bit more.  I was glued to the TV as Cliff romanced Nina, much to the chagrin of Nina’s bizarrely overprotective father, Palmer.  Greg and Jenny’s romance soon followed, along with Angie and Jesse, and Opal’s wacky goodness.  Erica was still in the picture, now a supermodel in New York, but always with a scheme up her sleeve.

By the mid-eighties, Cliff and Nina had broken up, Jenny had died, Opal left town, and Erica went from being a schemer to a self-centered heroine.  New characters came on board, but there were no new Martins or Tylers, and I got bored.  I stopped watching every day for a few years.  I came back to the show full time in the early nineties and enjoyed the Natalie/Janet storyline, along with Hayley and Matteo, and Erica’s discovery of her long-lost daughter Kendall.  I never went back to watching every day, but I kept up with the show until 1996. By that time, most of my favorites had been written off and replaced with new characters that had little or no ties with long-standing characters.  That was the last time I watched regularly.

On December 1, I’m going to give All My Children a full week of my time.  I’ve heard about Bianca and Reese, the tornado, and the hirings of Beth Ehlers and Ricky Paull Goldin, but it will be interesting to see how different Pine Valley is now from when I was a fan.

My Return To Daytime

Posted in Soaps in General with tags , , , , on November 22, 2008 by Jeff

My name is Jeff and I have watched soaps most of my forty years.  Some of my earliest memories involve Erica Kane, Rachel Cory, Mike Bauer, and John Dixon.  All throughout my formative years, soaps were my favorite entertainment genre.  When everyone else was glued to Charlie’s Angels, I was wondering if Iris was going to split up Mac and Rachel on Another World.  When others were giggling at Three’s Company, I was waiting for General Hospital‘s Laura and Scotty to get married in the park.

Like all good friends, sometimes soaps disappointed me.  Some stories work, and some don’t.  However, for most of the eighties, I was a happy soap fan.  Then along came the nineties, or as I call it, “The Soap Killing Decade.” Sure, soaps enjoyed somewhat decent ratings during the Clinton administration, but things were going in the wrong direction.  I know the Iran-Contra hearings in 1987 and the O.J. Simpson trial in 1995 pre-empted soaps and that caused a ratings to dip.  I also know that the onslaught of cable channels didn’t help matters either.  But in the end, it was the writing that drove me away from my once dear friend, the daytime drama.

I have watched every soap currently on the air at one time or another in the last thirty years.  The shows that I watched the longest were All My Children, As the World Turns, Guiding Light, and One Life to Live.  The last soap I watched on a daily basis was Guiding Light. I stopped watching watching daily at the end of 1998, although I have tuned in occasionally here and there.

Now that it’s been ten full years since I’ve had a daily commitment to a soap, I’m realizing that I miss my old friend, the daytime drama.  Can any soap out there win me back?  Starting December 1 and over the following eight weeks, I will watch one soap per week; every day for an entire week.  Starting with All My Children the first week and ending with The Young and the Restless on the eighth, I will watch each one for five consecutive days with a new and fresh perspective – and I will report my findings here.

Will any of them hook me? Can I be a soap fan again?

Tune in and find out.