AMC: The Year in Review

Commentary By Katrina Rasbold

It was a challenging year for All My Children as the show went through a rigorous bout of growing pains transitioning through new head writers while still recovering from the fallout of a transcountry relocation.

Fans hung in there, but have been very vocal in their disappointment over everything from writing decisions to casting issues to the fact that many of our favorite veteran actors were unable to make the move to Los Angeles.  Recently, my own website, Eye on Soaps, asked our readers about some of their most memorable moments on All My Children in 2010.  Below are my own opinions, plus some of theirs from the debate in which they discussed the year in review, as well as comments from throughout that same year.

The You Made Me Cry award is shared between the moments when we lost two dynamic, vital male characters from the show, one the casualty of the cross-country move and one to death. Veteran actor, James Mitchell, died from complications of pneumonia in January, shortly before his 90th birthday.  Although he officially retired from acting in September 2009, he did appear in the 40th anniversary episode.  In April, AMC aired a touching tribute to Palmer and to Mitchell by proxy.  Most viewers knew to have the Kleenex well stocked and handy and AMC did not disappoint.  All involved turned in magnificent performances and the grief the actors felt over the loss of their long time friend was nearly tangible, permeating through the pain felt by their characters.  Dear Mr. Mitchell, the light in the world is a little dimmer without you in it.

The second tear jerker moment came when a super couple crumbled with the resounding crash of a helicopter.  Although his body was not recovered (which NEVER happens in soap operas), Zach is presumed dead and the resulting memorial service that came was an emotional killer.  If you don’t tear up when Ian (or is that Spike? – on of those kids) kisses the picture, then you have no heart anywhere in your cold, cold body.

The Best Surprise for me was one that also caught many other AMC fans off guard.  By “Best,” I don’t mean “I liked it,” but that it was a true “gotcha” moment.  Despite my ongoing work with spoilers, I truly did not expect that they would kill off David Hayward.  Granted, a whole legion of fans prayed that it was a hoax and it was, but for quite a while, no one really knew.  Walking into that courtroom as Greenlee was sentenced was one of the finest “gotcha” moments I’ve seen since, well, since Greenlee was revealed to be David’s new bride and Ryan’s eyes almost popped out of his head.

Interestingly enough, Greenlee gets to share a couple of awards in this column.  Several of our readers named Greenlee and David as their Favorite Couple, saying they truly understood and accepted
each other more than any of their previous matches.  All of that came to a screeching halt as soon as Greenlee changed the rules and decided she did not like David’s way of being in the world, which led her to her next award, which is Most Disliked Couple. You can guess show shares that honor with her.

Honorable mention for Best Couple goes to Annie and JR who picked up a strong and dedicated following during the seven minutes or so that it looked as though they might actually have a go of it.

As hokey as the story may have been, my Favorite Guest Star for 2010 was Agnes Nixon.  It is always a joy to see her return to Pine Valley with that bigger than life smile on her face.  I LOVED the 40th anniversary episode and having her take us through the flashbacks, tributes and memories was perfectly fitting.

Runner up is Julia Barr, who made David Canary’s exit not quite as painful as it could have been by letting us be told a story that Adam was following his heart and not his wallet for the first time in his life.  It was a fitting exit for an actor who is deeply missed by me in every single episode.  That brings us to our Most Missed Actor award and truly, as much as I love Zach, there is no contest here.

The name that kept being mentioned for quality of acting is, ironically, the same name that was continually brought up (often by the same people) as the most disliked male character: Michael Nouri, who wins our Best Actor award.  His acting is outstanding and AMC viewers appreciate the talent he brings to the table, but let me tell you, Caleb Courtlandt is avidly disliked as a character.  Will public opinion sway in 2011?  Not if it takes Erica away from Jackson and doesn’t get his back story straight, I’m thinking.

Best Actress was quite a landslide and both the actress and the character garner equally rave reviews.  The only thing more enthusiastic than an Annie fan is a Melissa Claire Egan fan and both are fully dedicate to their girls.  Annie fans are sick and tired of their girl never getting hers and MCE fans are excited that this top notch actress keeps winning over every scene she’s in, bar none.  Says Sandi, “Hands down, flat out the best actress on daytime.”

Most disliked female character? Can you guess?  Here’s a little reminder.

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Of all of the deplorable things done by all of the collective characters on AMC, two character choices really stick in the craw of the viewers in a big way.  Do they talk about talk about Zach shooting Josh so Kendall could have a heart?  Do they talk about Brooke beating on that hospital door demanding Gillian’s heart from Ryan for her daughter as he mourned the death of the love of his life (one of many)?  How about Erica having an abortion so as not to spoil her fantastic model’s figure?  Nooooo.  What viewers cannot get over is that Krystal helped steal Bianca’s baby girl and that Tad buried Greg Madden alive, pulled him out and cleaned him up and then buried him right back again until he died.  Krystal definitely wins for Most Disliked Female Character (although wow, you folks really aren’t Marissa fans either, are you?).  Keeping AJ away from his daddy with a trumped up – legally impossible – court order did Krystal no favors in winning over viewers.  Becoming an instant paralegal also was not a popular move.

Lastly, we asked our readers if they had any advice to offer, as a viewer, to the creators of our shows.  Here are a few of their responses:

Don’t EVER let one family or handful of characters take over the whole show (such as Sonny on GH or historically, the Rappaports on OLTL or Ryan Lavery on AMC). Bad, bad move. It completely alienates any segment of your audience who really does not care for that character or set of characters.  – OK, that was me

Learn the meaning of continuity, respect history and some form of reality, and don’t regurgitate storylines that are best left dead. And do use as many of your cast as possible without OD’ing us on just a few. — Linda V.

Finish your scenes! Don’t cut them off just when they start getting juicy! And stop telling us what happened after the fact–if Jax and Skye had fun in the rain, I want to see them have fun in the rain! If Sonny and Brenda are madly back in love, could we see them be, oh, madly back in love? —  Becca G

More interaction. All of these characters have families and friends and full histories with so many people, and they are wasted in stupid ways. Why doesn’t Brenda hang out with Robin? Why doesn’t Mathew spend time with any of the Buchanans? Why do people only talk to or about each other when they are part of the same tiny story? – Zombiegirl

For all soaps- respect history and honor your vets. Do not fall in love with your own creation, especially when the audience hates them. Do not try to force a pairing that no longer works, just because they used to be a “hot” couple. No one is all evil or all good. Write your characters with layers. The audience will appreciate it. Recognize reality. The audience is willing to suspend only so much belief, but you can’t just take the bar exam whenever, have a no hearing for custody suits or travel from state to state (or country to country) in the same amount of time it takes to go next door. Respect your audiences intelligence and memory. Recognize your core audience is female and we want to see strong, intelligent women that do not need to be rescued or protected at all times by a man. End the overwhelming hypocrisy that exists. Not the small stuff, but the MAJOR hypocrisy that is especially prevalent on AMC. — Sandi

That’s it for me!  What are your most memorial AMC moments of 2010?

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