Watching All My Children last week was like visiting a lush oasis after being stuck in a creative desert penned by Chuck Pratt. AMC fan are hoping what Lorraine Broderick has started will continue when former Guiding Light scribes David Kreizman and Donna Swajeski's episodes start airing. Given Kreizman's penchant for outlandish, over-the-top storytelling, it's no wonder people are a bit nervous, after seeing Broderick get the show back on track so quickly. That being said, I've come up with 10 ways to help keep things moving in the right direction in Pine Valley.
No. 10: Angie and Jesse Hubbard need to drive stories, not support them
Angie (Debbi Morgan) and Jesse (Darnell Williams) need to drive stories, not support them, as they have in the awful tales featuring Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber, aka Madison (Stephanie Gatschet) and Randi (Denise Vasi). Morgan and Williams deserve better and so do the fans who were so excited when they first returned in 2008. AMC has two of the most popular African American characters in soap history on their canvas, and it's high time they used them.
No. 9: Fix or recast legacy characters who aren't working
Colby Chandler (Natalie Hall) could be should be the next hellraiser-in-heels and needs to be portrayed by a strong actress. Neither the current Colby, nor the previous incarnation (Brianne Moncrief) showed they had what it takes to be the next Liza, Hayley or Skye. AMC needs to keep recasting this character until they get an actress that works.
As for Jesse's daughter Natalia (Shannon Kane), the character comes off as one-dimensional, and is grating to watch. There needs to be more depth added to Natalia for fans to become thoroughly invested in her. Natalia’s type A personality and daddy issues are wearing thin as an excuse for her abrasive behavior. Give Natalia more substance and personality, or write the character out.
Debbi Morgan and Darnell Williams Photo Credit: ABC
No. 8: Bring back beloved legacy characters
Pine Valley has a plethora of young adult characters who fans have no connection to or any reason to care about. Why do Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber, that wet noodle Marissa (Brittany Allen) and boring bad boy Damon (Finn Wittrock) matter to viewers of this soap opera? In the big scheme of things they don't AND their storylines and acting have been ridiculously bad. Unlike General Hospital, where Mark Teschner has been on a roll, brilliantly casting that soap opera's next generation, AMC continues to fill the cast with unwatchable younger actors playing out lame storylines.
Bring back Eden Riegel as Bianca, the heart and soul of Pine Valley SORAS Hayley and Mateo's son Lorenzo, reintroduce Brooke's daughter Laura, track down Palmer's grandson Bobby Warner, or what about members of the Marick-Andrassy clan to shake up things in Pine Valley?
Photo Credit: ABC
No. 7: Bring Dixie back alive.
Soap fans are tired of ghosts. They are EVERYWHERE these days! We do not want to see Dixie (Cady McClain) return as a ghost again. Jesse once appeared as a ghost and then returned alive, why not Dixie? Fans will allow it, just one more time! Who really wants to see Tad (Michael E Knight) and Turbo Liza (Jamie Luner)? Bring back Dixie alive and reunite on of daytime's most beloved couples.
No. 6: Revitalize Erica Kane
In Erica Kane (Susan Lucci), All My Children has one of the most recognizable characters in daytime history, make that pop culture history period. AMC is already off to a good start in getting Erica back on track, by bringing back her rivals like Brooke (Julia Barr) and Greenlee, but more work is needed to restore Erica to the glamorous femme fatale/ferocious lioness protecting her cubs who fans know and adore. Bringing Jackson Montgomery (Walt Willey) back for Erica is also a smart decision. After several years of dismal storylines involving Erica, including an ill-conceived cougar storylines and being serenaded by a boy band while in jail for insider trading, it's time for Erica to start Raisin' Kane again the right way.
No. 5: Keep Crazy Annie front and center
For the longest time Annie Lavery Chandler (Melissa Claire Egan) was just a bad Greenlee clone, that was until All My Children had her go bat shit crazy. Now she balances the fine line between manipulative, sociopathic trophy wife and insecure young woman searching for love. As a result, Annie has become quite pleasurable to watch. Crazy Annie is a delicious blend of Arlene Vaughan (Olivia Birkelund) and Janet Dillon (Kate Collins). AMC would be smart to keep her off her meds for a long, long time.
No. 4: Ryan is so not the love of Greenlee's life
Thank you All My Children for giving Greenlee (Rebecca Budig) her bitch back, even if it was "the love of her life" Ryan's (Cameron Mathison) betrayal that inspired it. Those of us who actually watch AMC know Ryan is no more Greenlee's true love, than she is his, would that someone clue in AMC's promo department. But without Leo (Josh Duhamel) or Gillian on the canvas, ABC is still doggedly trying to "train viewers" into liking a couple that has zero romantic chemistry, instead of trying to find viable screen partners for Mathison and Budig separately. Many fans, including this one, have been enjoying Greenlee's interaction with David Hayward (Vincent Irizarry). Wouldn't it be awesome if David turned out to be the one who finally got Greenlee over his brother Leo's death, only for Leo to turn up alive, just as Greenlee and David are falling in love?
No. 3: Steal Skye Chandler away from General Hospital
With All My Children now located in L.A., it's the perfect time for Adam's eldest daughter Skye Robin Christopher to return to Pine Valley. As much as it will be great to see Skye back on General Hospital, AMC needs their legacy character more, especially as Adam's (David Canary) exit storyline is beginning to build. Why not use Skye to lure GH viewers over to AMC? In the process, ABC can bring back Linda Dano to reveal a one night stand between Adam and Rae, proving Skye was in fact a Chandler all along!
Photo Credit: ABC
No. 2: Do not let one or two characters eat the show
All My Children, as with all ABC Daytime soap operas,has a tendency to be eaten alive by one or two characters. Ryan, Zach (Thorsten Kaye), Babe, and until recently, David Hayward are prime examples of characters who were major air and storyline hogs, leaving fans looking elsewhere when they got sick of seeing them on every day. Unlike Madison, Randi, Marissa or Damon, however characters like Ryan and Zach have large and vocal fanbases, but there is such a thing as to much of a good thing. Bring back balanced storytelling, utilzing the soap's talented ensemble cast. Soaps aren't meant to revolve around one character or couple 52 weeks out of the year. Not even Zendall is really that interesting.
No. 1: If Alicia Minshew won't return permanently, recast Kendall ASAP
Alicia Minshew is returning as Kendall for a short stint, but if it can't be worked out for her to return permanently, the role of Kendall Hart needs to be recast, as Daytime Confidential's own Jamey Giddens has suggested.
Kendall's connection to Erica, her frenemy relationship with Grenlee and being the mother of 50 percent of the soap's next generation requires the character to be in Pine Valley on a permanent basis. A casting call for Kendall Hart would no doubt have some of the best former daytime actresses— and quite a few primetime actresses—intrigued. It's not like it would be the first time Kendall was recast. Sarah Michelle Gellar was the originally love-to-hate daughter-from-the-pit-of hell. If Minshew cold win fans over following a dynamo like Gellar, I am sure there is an actress out there who could do it again. Maybe AMC can ask Mark Teschner for some suggestions?