Agnes Nixon to Play Aggie on “All My Children” Again
“All My Children’s” creator Agnes Nixon will again play Aggie, a Pine Valley Hospital board member, and local historian, during the final week of the show’s ABC run. Nixon first played the role in 2005, for the show’s 35th anniversary. She will first appear on August 31st. This time, she will be a patient at Pine Valley Hospital who will be treated by the David (Vincent Irizarry) and Cara (Lindsay Hartley). Will Aggie be another one of the people that David saves from the brink of death? Aggie will also cross paths with Erica (Susan Lucci) and, according to the show’s press release, “Agnes has a profound effect on all of the characters she interacts with that changes the course of their lives.”
The Greatest Day in Recent Soap History
Friday was the first time in ages that I can honestly say I enjoyed all six soaps. Was it a happy accident, or the start of an improbable daytime renaissance? With new regimes in place at “General Hospital” and “Days of Our Lives” and “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” both seemingly liberated by the end of their runs on ABC, anything seems possible. All I know is it felt like watching soaps when I was a teenager, giddily cheering a bunch of payoff scenes, some of which I had waited years to see. It felt like daytime’s powers-that-be finally read the memo: fans want to see romance, humor, character-driven scenes, respect for history, and, oh yeah, huge cliffhangers. I am going to tackle each show in ascending order of awesomeness.
Lately, the only reason to tune into”Days of Our Lives” has been to stay caught up on the show to avoid confusion when the new headwriters take over. There simply have not been any remotely compelling storylines. Friday, DOOL showed some signs of life as the Kiriakis/DiMera rivalry reestablished itself, in various forms, across three generations. The inciting incident was Brady’s (Eric Martsolf) beating of E.J. (James Scott). The family patriarchs were ready to go to war. Stefano (Joseph Mascalo) and Victor (John Aniston) arranged for a shooter to take out Victor as retribution, but the bullet hit Maggie (Suzanne Rogers). Meanwhile, Gen X-ers Brady and E.J. forged a tentative, reluctant truce in an attempt to end the war between their two families while the millenials Chad (Casey Diedrick) and Sonny (Freddie Smith), actual friends, tried to stop the insanity by tracking down E.J. and Brady in an attempt to persuade them to give peace a chance. Though the shooting will of course intensify the rivalry, now it makes sense. I liked that the show acknowledged that the rivalry is about as logical as the one in “The Butter Battle,” hinting that the younger people might be willing to challenge Salem’s Status quo. Since Maggie and Victor are the only rootable couple on the show, having Maggie get added depth to what would be just another non-fatal soap wound. I also give props to the show for the snippets of 1990s episodes featuring soon to return characters that have started airing at the show’s midpoints.
“General Hospital” is in rebuilding mode. Everyone is in character again, but there is not much that is actually happening. Friday I found myself enjoying the conversation between Olivia (Lisa LoCicero) and Sonny (Maurice Benard) in which he pathetically attempted to hit on her and she called him out on being violent and scary since he was a teenager. My favorite part was this exchange.
Sonny: Well, if I drink a few more of those, the pain just goes away like–
Olivia: Yeah. But someone will be hurting, because you nurse a broken heart by busting kneecaps and breaking orthodonture. I’m not saying you don’t have reason to be out of sorts, but I sort of like our new glassware, OK?
Ha! Fans have been making fun of Sonny for throwing glassware whenever he gets angry for years.
I can’t say that Lucky’s (Jonathan Jackson) bad drug trip. Jackson’s performance was, as always, brilliant, but after watching months of Drunk Luke, I am only interested in High Lucky if it is going somewhere unexpected storywise. The same goes for Jax (Ingo Rademacher) returning to Port Charles to kidnap Jocelyn, but it’s hard to fault his motives. It also led to the GH car crash #89767, in which Jason (Steve Burton) and Carly (Laura Wright) crashed into Elizabeth (Becky Herbst) and Siobahn (Erin Chambers). I would have rolled my eyes at this plot development, but there has been some subtle foreshadowing that Jason might wake up with his memories of being Jason Quartermaine. This would be a huge storyline that would reinvigorate the entire show.
I would have loved Friday’s “The Young & the Restless” which was narrated by Diane (Maura West) from beyond the grave. She laid out what happened before she died, establishing that most of Genoa City had a confrontation with her at the crime scene the night of her death. I would have found it clever and original had co-headwriter Hogan Sheffer not won a Daytime Emmy for writing the exact same show when he was on “As the World Turns.” He wrote it again when Marge died on Y&R. This makes “Sunset Boulevard” homage number three, I believe. I am not sure why a group of college educated, wealthy individuals decided to lie to the cops instead of lawyering up and refusing to say anything. However, I appreciate the effort and creativity that went into what may well be Y&R’s 2011 Emmy reel.
“The Bold & the Beautiful” kicked it old-school, with an epic verbal smackdown. When Katie (Heather Tom) recovered from her heart attack because Bill (Don Diamont) told her, while she was unconscious that he was not going to leave her for Steffie (Jacqueline Wood), I groaned. It was so cliched. A man essentially saying, “I am going to stop banging my younger mistress because I don’t want you to die” is not a great love story for the ages. But what Katie did next was awesome. She left the hospital, went straight to Steffie’s house, and told her in no uncertain terms that Bill was staying with her before cutting her down to size. “You’re beautiful, but you’re doomed, and that’s the secret that everyone knows but isn’t telling you. You’re self-destructive. You’re destined to be unhappy, because you’re selfish and you’re cold and you’re unimaginative.” Steffie is truly a love to hate character and it was great to see her get cut down to size.
“One Life to Live” continued its winning streak with an episode highlighted by Starr (Kristen Alderson) grilling Roger Howarth Todd about her life, in an attempt to determine whether he was actually her father. I loved that there is an unauthorized biography of Todd that is detailed enough to enable someone to impersonate him. I am now sure when it was written or why, but it was hilarious. Starr seems to be rediscovering the unique, interesting person she used to be before she started being written as a standard teen ingenue by her interactions with RHTodd. His freak out when he learned she had a child was both funny and touching. After eight years in captivity, Todd’s a crier. It all built to what would be the most amazing Friday cliffhanger in any other week: both Todds and the entire Manning family gathering to find out the results of the DNA test that would prove who was the real Todd Manning.
The award for best Friday episode, however, goes to “All My Children.” Josh Duhamel’s much hyped return to the show surpassed my expectations. The reunion of Leo and Greenlee (Rebecca Budig) was funny, romantic, and incredibly sad. When he woke up, touched his fingers to her lips and said, “I just want to look at you,” I swooned. From there, it was a the perfect blend of flashbacks of their time together, pitch perfect dialogue, like when Greenlee describe their relationship as, “Like a fairytale with a twist,” and he responded, “More like twisted.”
Other storylines had huge moments, too. The Great Escape from Oakhaven resulted in Janet (Kate Collins) persuading Bianca (Christina Lind) and Kendall (Alicia Minshew) that Erica (Susan Lucci) was telling the truth about being kidnapped and replaced by an imposter by pointing out that, once upon a time, she took over her sister Natalie’s life. Great, and hilarious, use of history. Dixie (Cady McClain) ended the episode approaching the park bench where the love of her life Tad (Michael Knight) was sitting.
Best of all, when Greenlee woke up from what was sadly only a dream about Leo, she found herself in the same room as… a comatose Zach (Thorsten Kaye). Holy surprise plot twist! I stood up and applauded. If you missed it, you need to watch it right now.
This is what soaps used to be, and, as AMC has shown, what they can be again.