Deep Soap: Petty Squabbles

by | April 16, 2010 at 7:54 AM | Deep Soap

Exhibit A: Zach's wrinkled shirt (ABC)

Exhibit A: Zach's wrinkled shirt (ABC)

Zach Is Back

Watching Zach (Thorsten Kaye) and Kendall’s (Alicia Minshew) much hyped return to ‘All My Children,’ I was struck by one major thought:  did AMC forget to pack an iron when it moved to California?  It was bad enough that Zach thought wearing a shirt the color of orange sherbet was a good idea.  But the shirt was so wrinkled that I found myself losing focus on the dialogue because I was focused on the bizarre crease in the middle of his back.  How did it get there? Why didn’t someone from the wardrobe department use a portable steamer on the shirt between takes?  Was the state of his shirt a visual metaphor for the shaky Zendall marriage? I realize AMC tapes at warp speed now, but Zach is a millionaire with a household staff. He should not dress like a lowly blogger.

As for the scenes themselves, I really wish Greenlee (Rebecca Budig) were allowed to play something other than anger at Kendall.  Yes, Kendall’s bad driving caused Greenlee to ride her motorcycle off a cliff.  And she was in a coma for a year.  But it was an accident and Greenlee has nobody but herself to blame for getting on a motorcycle while she was wearing her wedding dress.  Let it go, Greens.  As Kendall pointed out, let she who has not nearly killed a baby in a car accident cast the first stone. Kendall and Greenlee are at their best when they have each other’s backs, not when they are trying to stick knives in them.  Though I will admit I laughed out loud when Greenlee told Kendall, “Every time Zach leaves the room you sleep with someone to get over it.”  But her logic fell apart when she asked Zach,”Is cheating okay in your book as long as she thinks that one of us is dead?”  Not to defend a storyline that involved Zach and Greenlee being presumed dead while they were actually locked in a bomb shelter, but if Kendall believes that Zach is dead, then it technically would not be cheating.

It seems clear how Zach is going to be written off.  He, of the anonymous panty removing sex with Liza (Jamie Luner) no longer loves Kendall the same way due to her cheating ways.  It does not make a whole lot of sense given that a few months ago he was willing to hire a double to impersonate her in prison, but given that Kaye has decided to leave the show, and the last thing Pine Valley needs is another death, it’s one of the only options the show had.  So, farewell Zach.  I hope that your new life will give you the time to take proper care of your clothing.

Telenovela Turns Into Soap Opera

MTV’s new telenovela ‘Pedro & Maria’  has not started shooting yet, but the drama has already began.  According to The Wrap, a British producer is claiming that P&M’s producer Ben Silverman stole the concept of an interactive soap from him.  Apparently, Richard Martin pitched his idea to Silverman back in 2006.  Unless his idea was about a contemporary Latino romance to be written by a Tony award winner, this sounds baseless.  Soaps have experimented with interactivity for decades.’ Days of Our Lives‘ allowed fans to vote on who the father of Hope’s baby should be.  I recall voting for what Cruz and Eden should name their baby on ‘Santa Barbara’ back in the 1980s using ancient technology called the landline telephone.   Maybe Ken Corday and Bridget Dobson should sue, too.  So should the producers of Lonelygirl 15 and a couple hundred other web series with interactive components. It is hardly an original idea.   But congratulations, Richard Grant, for considering attempting to extract money from a show that is still in development.  That’s the sort of sleazy move worthy of a soap villain.

Taylor Spreitler Leaving ‘Days of Our Lives’

Ask and ye shall receive.  Wednesday I wrote that ‘Days of Our Lives’ needed more interesting teen and young adult characters.  Yesterday the show announced that it is writing off the character of Mia (Taylor Spreitler), who has been dull and disconnected from the rest of the show since she learned the baby she gave up for adoption died.  No offense to Spreitler, but Mia was the least interesting of the bunch.  Maybe the show will give a bigger role to snarky barista Kinsey (Shelby Young ), who has been a hilarious sparring partner for Nicole (Arianne Zuker) in their brief interactions.

Actual Patients on ‘General Hospital’

‘General Hospital‘ is doing something unexpected: showing doctors and nurses treating patients.  It is refreshing to see the hospital become a part of the action again. I like seeing ordinary, unknown residents of Port Charles have medical problems. It’s nice to know that GH treats more than the victims of mob shootings.  It takes the show back to its roots, when Steve and Audrey and treated regular people all the time.

The patients themselves have so far been very ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ with problems that conveniently parallel the main characters’ lives.  But the writing is decent.  The current arc, where Elizabeth (Becky Herbst) treats a terminally ill cancer patient played by Michael Learned of ‘The Waltons’ — and, humorously, the 1980s series ‘Nurse’ — has been unexpectedly sweet.

Learned is keeping her role as a terminal patient who is cheerfully determined to make the most of every moment she has left from becoming a cliche.   Elizabeth needs to do something altruistic to redeem herself in the eyes of a large portion of the audience. Reminding people that she helps people is a good way to do it. It also allows her to break out of her self-pity mode by meeting someone who has it so much worse.  Although I would have been amused if, in response to Liz’s tale of woe, Learned had revealed a ‘Mama Mia’-type story about her very wild Summer of Love and the resulting half dozen potential Baby Daddies.  I hope GH keeps upping the ratio of medical stories to crime stories.