Stuart is alive! In its third-to-last ABC episode, “All My Children” managed to surprise the audience and undo one of the biggest creative mistakes that the series has made.
For weeks, the show has been hinting that Babe (Alexa Havins) would be the next character resurrected by David’s (Vincent Irizarry) ethically questionable Project Orpheus, the medical deux en machina that has allowed the show to bring back the dead characters of Dixie and Zach. Some fans have criticized the show for focusing on a far fetched, silly storyline with sci-fi elements during its final weeks. While it is hardly one of the show’s greatest storylines, I appreciate it for what it is: a reset button that allows the show to undo mistakes made by a couple of the previous headwriters who are responsible for the show’s declining ratings and ultimate cancellation.
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When Babe’s reappearance turned out to be a figment of J.R.’s imagination, this Babe hater was thrilled. When Adam (David Canary) told Brooke (Julia Barr) how much trouble he had getting over the death of his twin brother Stuart I started to wonder if he could be David’s other patient. I also found myself getting angry all over again at the injustice of what I consider to be the most mean-spirited storyline in AMC’s history. Why kill off the heart of the show for no reason? When the episode ended with a shot of Stuart being wheeled into the e.r. I both cheered and cried. It got me thinking about some of the less famous moments in the show’s history, funny scenes that won’t be shown in montages or retrospectives, that I absolutely loved.
Greenlee exposes Laura’s lies at Leo’s Wedding to Laura
Leo’s (Josh Duhamel) brief relationship with Laura (Laura Allen) was by far the worst part of his tenure on the show. I will never understand why anyone thought it was a good idea to neuter Leo by pairing him with a saintly heart transplant patient whom Greenlee (Rebecca Budig) had the good sense to push up a boat. Fortunately, the show realized the error of its ways, made the cloying Laura turn manipulative and desperate and let Leo’s true love Greenlee save the day by exposing her lies at Leo and Laura’s wedding. Greenlee had to crawl through the ceiling vents a la Judd Nelson in “The Breakfast Club” to save her man. Member of the wedding party Bianca, who was onto Laura, delivered a biting version of the traditional reading from the Book of Corinthians. The whole sequence was a delicious pay off that, lo and behold, gave the audience an honestly earned Leo and Greenlee reunion.
Marian Locks Adam in His Underground Cell
Adam planned to lock Marian (Jennifer Bassey) up in a luxuriously appointed sound proof basement room for a while to both prevent her from exposing one of his schemes and keep her away from his twin brother Stuart. Instead, when she figured out what was going on she managed to execute a quick dive and roll and lock in Adam instead. It was funny, unexpected and the perfect example of what used to be one of AMC’s biggest strengths — empowered women.
Marian Describes Sex With Stuart to Opal
Speaking of Stuart and Marian, the beginning of their relationship was pure comedy gold. Marian originally intended to seduce Adam, but a case of mistaken twin identity resulted in her unexpectedly having the best sex of her life with the sweet, gentle Stuart. When she confided her secret to Opal (Jill Larson), she uttered the unforgettable line, “I had orgasms in my toes!” I’m still not sure how that got past standards and practices. It was hilarious and a rare instance of a mature female television character who was allowed to be unabashedly sexual.
Myrtle and Simone Get Drunk
One of my favorite AMC friendships was between the elderly Myrtle (Eileen Herlie) and her boarder the young, wacky, often misunderstood Simone (Terri Ivins). On several occasions, the two women ended up getting drunk together on Myrtle’s spiked lemonade and discussed Simone’s neverending man problems. The former carny’s advice was always both hilarious and accurate. Both Ivins and Herlie had comic timing to rival any sir-com actress.It was great two watch two unrelated women of different generations forge a genuine friendship.