The Stew: Bringing AMC Fans’ Anger To a Boil

These past few months, my grieving process for the venerable 41-year-old soap All My Children, which ends its televised run today, has been slow. My fury, my sadness, my sense of loss, has been simmering. Not to sound dismissive, or minimize the impact of this travesty, but after the cancellation of Guiding Light and As the World Turns, I just didn’t have it in me to rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Unless you count the zillion times a day, every day, five days a week, I had to watch commercials for The Chew. Because if you count that, then a zillion times a day, every day, five days a week, I’ve felt like throwing something at my TV screen… and I’m far from the only person who’s had that knee-jerk reaction.

Look, I don’t begrudge a network its replacement programming. You gotta what you gotta do. You can’t have static for an hour — though, as far as I’m concerned, that’s exactly what ABC is putting on in place of AMC. What I take issue with is that soap fans have had to sit through a three-hour bloc peppered with ads for The Chew every day for months. It’s been relentless! It’s like bringing the hot new girlfriend to your wife’s funeral… heck, it’s like bringing the new girlfriend into the ICU when your wife is still trying to rally! Even today viewers aren’t being spared. Why?

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Canon fodder: back story and missing scenes

I have this habit of making up characters’ back story or motivation in my head, and then watching their shows with that filter in place. I can’t help it. It sticks. A great example of viewers who have done this in the past would be X-Files Mulder/Scully ‘shippers who speculated that the duo canoodled in the elevator scene in “Paper Clip” during season three. It was completely plausible; we just never saw it!

Here are five similar scenarios that I have lodged in my noggin:


1. GH’s Jax and Carly are Morgan’s biological parents; they just don’t remember, or refuse to acknowledge, the possibility. It’s totally feasible, since the 2003 scene in which Carly went to tell Jax she saw Brenda and Sonny kissing on the pier was never shown. All we know is that Carly was later drugged by Faith Rosco’s stooge and woke up in bed with Ric. Who’s to say that she and Jax didn’t get totally plastered and have a little revenge sex they never talk about?

2. Y&R’s Rafe puts up with Billy’s shenanigans because they’ve slept together. Rafe and Billy have a great friendship, proving that a gay guy and a straight guy can be BFFs. But I can’t help it: Considering what a manwhore Billy is, I just picture them drinking a lot of Jaeger their junior year in college and experimenting a little. Billy sleeps with everything that moves, and I think Rafe wouldn’t judge if he wanted to give it a try! And it was years ago, they’ve both gotten past it, but it’s always there as this thing that keeps Rafe loyal to his baby-buying train wreck of a pal.

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Soap Opera Weekly: Blogging With Mala

Think soaps are dead? Bite me!

“I grew up watching and loving soap operas,” THE VAMPIRE DIARIES’ executive producer Julie Plec, tweeted on Thursday, April 14. “Today’s ABC news makes me sad.” That night, after the cancellation of AMC and OLTL, I went home and watched Plec’s show, taking some solace in the adventures of Elena, Damon, Stefan, Caroline, Bonnie and Jeremy. And I watched it this week, too…wincing and squealing and cheering for the entire hour.

Anyone who thinks soap operas are a dying breed needs only to look at TVD, which doesn’t just have a thriving life, it has an un-life. Making its bones on lusty love triangles and weekly cliffhangers (there are often multiple “OMG!” moments in one episode!), there is no denying that TVD is a soap. And I don’t really understand why daytime can’t find a way to adapt its soaps to a similar model, instead of tossing the baby out with the bath water.

ABC Family, ABC/Disney’s cable outpost, has teen-targeted weekly soaps, too. MAKE IT OR BREAK IT, SECRET LIFE and PRETTY LITTLE LIARS all run in 10-12 week cycles, and then stop for a few months. Why isn’t that an option for OLTL or AMC? Why put a stake in something that deserves to live on?

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Soap Opera Weekly: Blogging With Mala

So, thanks to a winter break where I was totally indoctrinated into the Cult of Eddie Matos (you would not believe how many State Farm Insurance commercials air in a given day), I came back to work ready to tune back into AMC. (Strangely, I’ve also been itching to buy insurance…) And I gotta say, all cult jokes aside, I kinda like Matos’ recurring Rev. Ricky. He and Kendall have a nice connection (and not in the Thorn Birds way). Losing Zach has absolutely wrecked the poor woman, and it’s great that she has somebody to talk to.

But you know who I’m not sold on just yet…? Pine Valley Hospital’s new hot doc, Griffin Castillo. Maybe it’s just my bad luck, but every time I flip from Y&R or B&B over to AMC, Griffin’s being snarly! He just doesn’t seem very accessible. And, yes, I know that it’s an old story trope: snarliness eventually melts into warm fuzziness, but I’m not buying it. Similar to how Caleb was a crabby asshat to Erica and is now unbelievable as this guy getting all moony over her, I don’t want to see Griffin getting all soppy over Kendall. Part and parcel of this, of course, is Zendall, and the fact that Zach is such a huge, huge part of Kendall’s life, and her sons’ lives. The powers-that-be at AMC have promised that Kendall will be grieving Zach for a long time, and I hope that a “long time” doesn’t translate to “she’ll be kissing Griffin in March.” Kendall is a chip off Erica’s block, but I’m crossing my fingers that she doesn’t follow in her mother’s footsteps and become engaged in a nonsensical attraction to a guy not suitable for her.

Let’s face it, creating a successful pairing is hard. You may strike gold with a formula once or twice and then the third time, it goes over like a lead balloon. The thing about Zendall is that they were a fluke! I remember fans on the message boards going, “Hey, Kendall should hook up with Zach Slater” long before it was even hinted at on air. Viewers saw something there and between the actors and the writing, you had something that, magically, worked! That’s hard to replicate! I know Kendall has to move on eventually, and Griffin is AMC’s new “It” guy, but I don’t quite see him pulling a rabbit out of a hat yet.

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Soap Opera Weekly: Blogging With Mala

Is the Daytime Emmy Awards broadcast already upon us Gasp! That means it’s time for my 3rd Annual Mala’s Made-Up Awards. For those just tuning in to my blog, this is where I totally punk out of making Emmy predictions, because I have no ability to pick winners! Making up awards instead is much more up my alley! (Check Aug. 28, 2009, for last year’s, and June 20 for 2008’s!) 

Most Entertaining Show: B&B and DAYS.
Best Surprise Couple: ATWT’s Barbara and Henry, B&B’s Stephen and Pam, and DAYS’ Victor and Maggie.
Best Couple That The Show Reaaaally Wants Us To Like: GH’s Dante and Lulu.
Best New Character: ATWT’s Reid Oliver (like I was going to say anything else?).
Best New Character Played By a Soap Vet: Dahlia Salem as GH’s Claire.
Best Recast:Marcy Rylan as Y&R’s nuAbby.
Guest Appearance I Will Never Get Tired Of: Snoop Dogg being on OLTL.
You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby: GH’s Ethan. Yes, I actually like him now. Don’t die of shock!
I Think I’m a Clone Now: ATWT’s Gabriel and AMC’s Damon. Seriously, they’re the same character…with the same hair!
Best Love Scene: OLTL’s Kyle and Fish’s New Year’s Eve fireworks!
Most Trauma-inducing Love Scene: B&B’s Oliver and Brooke.
Most Memorable Line of the Year: B&B’s Stephanie and, “Say hello to Beth for me!”
Biggest Jerkface: OLTL’s Ford.
The Miranda Montgomery Cutest Baby Award: DAYS’ Sydney.
Biggest Waste of Potential: OLTL’s Schuyler being made Roxy’s son and then being shipped off canvas!
Best Realization of Potential:Lexi Ainsworth as GH’s Kristina. She has really come into her own.
Most Froth-inducing Storyline: GH’s Sonny shooting an unarmed Dante in the chest, GH’s Michael getting maybe-or-maybe-not-raped in prison.
Best Social Issue Storyline: B&B’s Sandy/Aggie’s rape reveal.
The Paging-Clone-Reva WTH?! Award: ATWT’s Mick Dante.
I Would Watch It On a Loop: OLTL’s Kyle or Fish holding baby Sierra Mist.
Most Missed Veteran: AMC’s David Canary (Adam).
The Chester-the-Molester Skeevy Pairing Award: OLTL’s Langston and Ford.
The Dorian Gray Portrait-in-the-Attic Award: GH’s Jonathan Jackson (Lucky).
The I Want To Give Brody Lovett An Award Award: OLTL’s Brody.
Best Use of History: ATWT’s Bob and Kim’s non-iversary/remarriage, DAYS’ Alice’s death arc and all the family returns during it.
Worst Rewrite of History: ATWT’s Lily, Lucinda and Sierra keeping Craig’s illegitimate son, Gabriel, from him.
Best Death: B&B’s Ann. It was Betty White, dude. Come on.
Worst Death: AS THE WORLD TURNS. Duh.
Best Return: ATWT’s Simon coming back to comfort Katie. (Come baaaaaack, Simon!)
Most Unsurprising Return: Y&R’s Adam.
Worst Return: OLTL’s Mitch Laurence.
Biggest Unsolved Mysteries: Why no one runs into OLTL’s Kyle or Fish at Llanview’s hospital or police station, where ATWT’s Jade has disappeared to and why B&B’s Brooke doesn’t know Ridge’s body intimately after all this time.

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Soap Opera Weekly: Blogging With Mala

I’m having one of those days where I have a ton of scattered (and slightly insane) soap thoughts. So, let me present them to you in bullet point form!

•Every time DAYS’s Stefano calls EJ “Elvis,” I want to go, “Elvis! Elvis! Let me be! Keep that pelvis faaar from me!” I blame entirely too many viewings of Grease. But you have to admit that, considering my long-standing hatred of EJ, it’s also a pretty apropos lyric.

•The ABC promo dubbing AMC’s Ryan the love of Greenlee’s life is…problematic. Not that I was a huge Leo/Greenlee fan (in fact, if I can admit this without getting flamed, I really liked Laura before she went nutso), but there’s no doubt in my mind that Leo is THE pivotal guy in Greenlee’s life. Similarly, as much as the show has talked up Ryan/Kendall and Ryan/Greenlee in recent years, Gillian’s always going to be “the one” for him in my eyes.

•As thrilling and vindicating as it was to see GH’s Lucky and Lulu each tear a strip off Elizabeth and Nikolas for their smarmy romps, GH’s love affair with words like “slut,” “tramp,” and “whore,” makes me uncomfortable. Yes, even when the shoe fits. Because there’s a certain salacious eroticism to how the terms are used on the show, and I hate how gratuitous it is. There are so many phrases in the English language that can properly convey disgust, that can cut somebody to the bone. Why go for the cheapest possible word porn? Shell out the big bucks, writers, instead of using the 25-cent video booth equivalent.

•I usually don’t like arrogant asshats, but ATWT’s Dr. Reid Oliver is seriously tickling my funny bone. First, although I love Luke, watching him get knocked off his high horse repeatedly is hysterical. I love that he’s finally encountered someone more entitled than he is. Watching them snipe at each other is priceless. But even more priceless is Dr. Bob wrangling Reid. Bob is the awesomest man in Oakdale, possibly in the entire CBS daytime lineup, and I love that he is getting a chance to teach the spoiled hotshot a few much-needed lessons.

•Y&R’s Delia wore an adorable flowered hat yesterday. It rendered me incoherent with glee. I am unofficially dubbing her daytime’s answer to Aretha and wait with bated breath for the Delia uberhat that will rival La Franklin’s inauguration chapeau.

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A poll: ultimate soap fighting.

Yes, these are the ridiculous things I think about early in the morning*.

Personally, I’d probably go with Christian and Olli, though Christian’s recent health problems might prevent him being a really effective bruiser. And we shouldn’t count out Otalia, because Olivia is fierce


*Obligatory srs bzness disclaimer: This is a joke and is not meant to imply in any way, shape or form that same sex soap couples need to spar for people’s enjoyment like gladiators in the Coliseum.