Wind Beneath My Wings


In disaster cinema there comes a point in the story where, as Heidi Klum would say, one is either in or out. One knows going into the theater or popping a DVD into the player what one is in for the same way one knows more or less what to expect from a slasher pic or a romantic comedy. No matter how the genre’s formula is tweaked, it is up to the writers and filmmakers to provide the hooks that will draw you into their specific event or world. What hooks me varies all the time; just as often those same elements may turn me off completely.

The make-or-break moment for me in 1972’s The Poseidon Adventure is the sequence when the survivors must climb the Christmas tree to escape the ballroom. In 1964’s Fail Safe, the make-or-break moment is encapsulated in the tense conversation between the President of the United States and the Soviet Premier, which must be precisely interpreted. In Deep Impact, the scene is Tea Leoni’s first conversation with President Morgan Freeman. There has to be something to make me care or I won’t wait for the credits. After learning who lives and dies, the story is over in a movie.

As ongoing stories, soaps present a different challenge when staging major events like natural disasters. Writers must balance the potential short term gains that incorporate recent history into the event itself with a plan for long term stories that will hopefully spin out of said event. When done right, viewers are rewarded with story and character dividends which payoff over time. When done wrong, viewers shrug and switch back to Doña Bárbara.

General Hospital has a long history of staging spectacular events with little long term payoff. On the other hand, The Young and the Restless scored major points with the fallout from the charity gala car wreck. You never really know how these gambles will pay off until you feel the tug of the hook. So how did All My Children do today?

They knocked it out of the ballpark.

THE DRAMA: Today’s episode was the one I’ve been waiting for, the one that truly underscored and highlighted the anguish faced by our characters, the hard choices they had or have yet to make and what everyone stands to lose or, in a few cases, gain. What made the episode even more richly satisfying was less about what these characters said or did but more about what they did not say and not do.

Take Angie and Jesse, for example. With the revelation that Natalia is Jesse’s daughter, Angie did not fly into over the top histrionics. Hers was a perfect reaction. The confirmation that she’d suspected something between Natalia and Jesse existed, but not that particular revelation. A marvelous Debbi Morgan communicated Angie’s paralyzing emotional numbness after being blindsided with her professional responsibilities as a doctor, a perfect counterpoint to the sheer elation and joy she felt after discovering that Jesse’s was alive. Ms. Morgan, always one of daytime’s finest actresses, delivered a knockout performance that was as notable for its carefully calibrated emotional precision as it was its understatement!

For his part, Darnell Williams provided the perfect counterpoint to partner Morgan. What could have come across as weasely from a lesser character or actor, Williams navigated a tricky tight rope between acknowledging Jesse’s guilt about keeping Natalia’s parantage a secret and utter fear about Angie’s reaction. Jittery, nervous, and scared are not words that one usually uses to describe Jesse, but Williams made us believe his fear as much as he felt it.

On the other side of the hospital, JR and Krystal struggled to say goodbye to the dying Babe. What was missing here were all the right things: no table throwing or order barking from JR, who accepted the grim reality of his wife’s fate and tried to put on a strong front for his wife and son; no crying jags or railing against God by Krystal, struggling to summon the strength to say goodbye to her "Baby Doll"; and finally Babe, who accepted her fate with a grace and dignity not formerly associated with the character. Her insistence that she and JR be married was heartbreaking in its simplicity; his determination to make her last hours as happy as possible had a terrible sense of inevitibility. Babe asking to hold Little A one last time melted the heart. Jacob Young and Amanda Baker, with able support from Bobbie Eakes, were at their best today. More…

10 Responses

  1. Profile photo of season1217

    I’ve been catching up on the tornado episodes and this Babe death is no fun! They have taken all the glee out of watching her die! Who the hell does Pratt think he is?! Making me feel sympathy for Babe! Her crying asking for JR to save their son made me sad and I have refused for the past 4 years to feel sorry for that heifer! I’m very distressed!


    //**SIZ FOR LIFE**\\

  2. Profile photo of elle

    Well, I’ve been rivted by the JR/Babe story- really not concentrating on the special affects- the performances are what have my attention. Jacob and Amanda have been at the their best, imo, BE and MEK also. Every scene they had got to me, including the one with Opal.

    in other areas, Debbie Morgan’s reaction as Angie to Jesse’s news- amazing.

  3. Profile photo of SusieQ

    He really is trying to make you care about Babe dying. And it’s just mean that he uses Dixie and Jenny shout outs to help do it! How am I supposed to enjoy this death when he keeps bringing up beloved characters that died and then make me look at Tad, Opal and JR’s faces and start balling my eyes out! That just makes JR losing Babe even worse! Underscoring how much JR has lost in his life, while he watches Babe die is just no fun at all, but sure is some damn good writing and acting.

  4. Profile photo of season1217

    But I will say that they are laying it on pretty thick with the Babe is love and she was my greatest teacher mess.

    Also, I felt sorry for Annie. She seemed all alone at the Comeback. Angie was tending to the hurt, Jesse was doing his cop thing, while, also, comforting his daughter and JR and Krystal were at Babe’s side. And, there’s Annie, sitting on the sidelines w/ Kathy worried about her own daughter. I really hope she didn’t plan Emma’s kidnapping. Seeing her w/ Kathy really makes me want her to be Ray Gardner’s daughter even more. She needs some roots and a familial connection to someone in the town.

    //**SIZ FOR LIFE**\\

  5. Profile photo of ABCJunky73

    The scenes with Babe, JR, Crystal, Tad, Jessie and Angie was all Emmy worthy. For the first time I felt sorry for Babe. Sniff, Sniff! Dahm you Pratt! Dahm you!!


  6. Profile photo of blackjack21

    i have to say that i haven’t watched amc in months, maybe a year. i’ve never seen the new Babe (i liked her well enough on GH:NS). but u did catch the last few minutes yesterday and the Babe/JR scenes had me in tears. i always say that if actors can pull you in like that then they are keepers. i hope the actress is soon employed again, because obviously she can act, even if it’s not as Babe. i agree that the performances were spot on.

  7. Profile photo of EleahluvsTad

    Michael Knight was my favorite part of that episode :) I hate Krystal but I do have to admit with you that Bobbie did a great job….but most of all I agree with the person a couple of posts up….Dixie needs to come back

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