Deep Soap: David Canary’s Graceful ‘All My Children’ Exit

David Canary (ABC)

David Canary (ABC)

David Canary’s Final Scenes

I was dreading watching David Canary’s final episode of  ‘All My Children.‘   Losing Adam and Palmer (James Mitchell) in the same week felt like the end of  the Pine Valley that I knew and loved.  After crying a bucket of tears over Palmer’s funeral just a few days before, I was not prepared to do it again for Adam, even though I knew he would be getting a happily ever after exit.   Fortunately, I finished the episode with a smile on my face.

Not only did Adam and Brooke reunite on Friday, but David (Vincent Irizarry) and Greenlee (Rebecca Budig) finally had sex and Erica (Susan Lucci) and Jack (Walt Willey) had a romantic date complete with flashbacks.   AMC decided to give the fans of three different couples what they want all in one episode.   What a concept.   I got a kick out of Erica reenacting her French maid fantasy with Jack– this time minus the ridiculous blonde wig.

Watch the full episode here

If a popular actor who has been part of a show for decades is determined to leave a show, AMC demonstrated how it should be done.  Letting Adam leave town, head held high, with Brooke (Julia Barr), the love of his life, was far more satisfying then killing him off, sending him to a clinic after paralyzing him, or neglecting to write him off at all.  Adam got more than a departure episode. He got a full exit storyline,with Adam spending the past couple months realizing that his marriage to Annie (Melissa Egan) was a sham and reconnecting with Brooke.  Brooke characteristically refused to let Adam leave Annie to be with her. When Adam caught J.R. (Jacob Young) and Annie in bed together it gave him a convenient excuse to leave both Annie and Pine Valley.  It was satisfying, entertaining, and while Friday’s episode covered a little too much ground, the overall storyline did not feel rushed.  I am glad that interim headwriter Lorraine Broderick, who wrote for Adam and Brooke in their glory days, was in charge of his departure.  She knows who Adam is, and managed to rehabilitate his character from the damages former head writer Charles Pratt inflicted on him.  I appreciated the flashbacks to their original wedding and references to the time Adam flew to Paris for 24 hours just to be with her.

It was fitting that Adam used his manipulative powers for good as he persuaded Erica to persuade her pilot to turn Brooke’s flight around, then persuaded Brooke that they should head off for parts unknown to spend the rest of their lives together.

Adam: We’ve had our family differences in the past, and you know that. And one thing we think is the most important aspect of life is love. And I love you, Brooke.

Brooke: It’s just not that simple. You know, you and I cannot just get together again, because Annie cheated on you!

Adam: Can you just please zip it? Zip it, zip it for a minute and listen to me? You’re right. You’re right. Absolutely. It’s not simple. No. So you can run away or fly away or take a rocket to the moon. But I will still leave Annie, and I will never, ever stop loving you. Now, you want to try love from far away or maybe close up? I’m putting my money on you wanting to be loving close up.

I selfishly hope that Canary finds his retirement boring and decides to head back to AMC.   I want to see the further adventures of Adam and Brooke. If he does, his feud with J.R. will make for a great return story.  But I suspect, despite the show’s claims that Adam will be back on occasion, we will only see him in cameos at weddings and holidays.    Adam’s departure creates a huge void for AMC.  David is a great villain, but he is anti-establishment.  Adam was the establishment.  J.R. is too young to fill his father’s shoes.  Without Adam, Palmer and Joe (Ray MacDonnell), Pine Valley has lost an entire generation of characters.  It’s strange to think that babyboomers Erica and Opal are now AMC’s mature set — although their emotional maturity is still questionable.  No one will ever be able to replace Canary, who I think did a better job of playing multiple characters than anyone else on television, daytime or primetime.   I am so grateful that I got to watch hundreds of hours of his work.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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