Frame of Mind
All My Children is making my head hurt again. I like to think that I am a reasonably intelligent person, but I cannot make sense of the Stuart murder storyline. First Kendall planned to confess to a murder that she did not commit and spend the next decade in prison because she was convinced that the testimony of a young child would be enough to get her sent to death row. Huh? Then the deal fell apart and Kendall, who has not had any prior memory problems, had a vague recollection of an ambiguous moment and became convinced that she actually did murder Stuart and blocked it out. Her rationale was that Erica blocked out getting raped and becoming pregnant with Kendall. Apparently, Kendall believes that PTSD is a genetic disease.
Zach’s response to all of this was not to get his wife counseling so she can figure out if she actually is a killer, or hire a lawyer who specializes in plea bargains. It was to frame Annie for attempting to murder Adam. This is supposed to be okay, in Zach’s mind, because Annie is not one of the cool kids. By real life standards Annie should be locked up. She did stab Erica and kill Richie and Di. But Zach killed Josh to give Kendall a heart, and never faced criminal charges for it. Maybe he should go back to his original plan of confessing to the crime. In fact, nearly everyone in Pine Valley has committed a violent felony. I believe at this point only Brot, Taylor, and baby Trevor can judge Annie without being completely hypocritical. I am not including Emma because the anvil Zach shot through my window had the words, “Emma did it!” stamped on it. If I am wrong, and Kendall really did kill Stuart, then the show’s heroine has now killed its most beloved character in cold blood. “I was aiming for his twin brother,” is not much of a defense.
Despite all of the misanthropic storylines on the show, I was confident that AMC had learned from the Tad buries Madden alive debacle. Moral relativism destroys characters. Instead, it is starting to resemble professional wrestling: some characters are designated good, others evil. The behavior of both groups is interchangeable and irrelevant. It makes for unsatisfying viewing. I cannot root for Kendall, Zach or Annie. Adam and Erica are the only characters in this mess of a storyline that remain rootable, simply because Susan Lucci and David Canary know how to rise above anything.
There is another detail that is driving me crazy. Kendall had a heart transplant. That means she has huge scars all over her chest. For months, she wore appropriately high necked clothes. Suddenly, she’s wearing skimpy, one shouldered dresses. It appears even the wardrobe department has stopped trying.
In a genre that increasingly ignores its history, Vicki’s trip down memory lane on Thursday’s One Life To Live was an unexpected delight. As she prepared to marry Charlie, she reminisced to Noelle about her previous six husbands. It was great to see a photos of Joe Reilly. I had never heard about her second husband, Steve, so it was educational. The show also subtly acknowledged the original Clint, Clint Ritchie by having Noelle comment on how different Clint looked when he was younger. I was curious to see how Vicki was going to concisely explain Eterna, the storyline that drove me away from the show when I was a kid. She sidestepped it. There really is no way to explain the existence of an underground city. I hated Sloane and Ben (oh, how I hated Ben), but it was interesting to hear Vicki’s perspective on their relationships. She is the rare character who has actually realistically grown and learned from each of her relationships.
The culmination of these scenes, paralleling with scenes between Clint and Bo, was Vicki’s acknowledgement that she and Clint will always love each other. Clint similiarly said that he knew Bo and Nora still loved each other and it didn’t bother him in the least. (Of course, he’d have been a lot less supportive if he knew that they made out the night before.) These were unsually sophisticated scenes, featuring middle aged characters having mature conversations. It is possible to love someone long after the demise of a romantic relationship. It is possible to love multiple people in different ways at the same time. Television rarely reflects this reality. These scenes reminded me why I love daytime, and what the genre loses when it neglects characters over the age of 45.