Vincent Irizarry’s Surprise Return to ‘All My Children’

Vincent Irizarry (ABC)

Vincent Irizarry (ABC)

David Hayward Returns to Pine Valley

I have to give credit to ‘All My Children‘ for pulling off a surprise return.  Months after his similarly unspoiled “murder,” David (Vincent Irizarry) reappeared at the end of Monday’s episode with no advance publicity.

Greenlee (Rebecca Budig) had just been sentenced to life in prison for his murder.  Cue David entering the packed courtroom.  Now that’s an actual cliffhanger.  David’s departure was rumored to be contractually related (and who knows, maybe it initially was.)

Irizarry and the show issued statements about his departure.  He truly seemed gone.   The official exit announcement from the show made his departure seem far more real than the temporary “deaths’ of ‘One Life To Live’s‘ Tea and ‘The Young & The Restless’s‘ Adam. During his time away from the show, Irizarry happened to book a guest starring role on ‘NCIS: Los Angeles‘, making it appear he was moving on with his career.

It is virtually impossible to surprise the audience in this era of internet spoilers.  AMC producers, writers, actors and publicists all must have made a lot of effort to keep Irizarry’s return a secret.   As someone who believes that too many spoilers are contributing to the decline of the genre, I applaud them for taking the actual surprise route.  I suspect David’s return was originally supposed to be a Friday cliffhanger, given that much of daytime was pre-empted the day after the election for a presidential speech and is still off-schedule weeks later.

AMC has floundered both creatively and in the ratings without David.  Hopefully now that it has one of its best villains back it will start to get back on track. It would be nice if this time around he were written as the flawed but human character he used to be, rather than the mustache twirling embodiment of evil that he became.  David’s unexpected romance with Greenlee was the best thing to happen all year on AMC.  Maybe AMC’s recent status as daytime’s lowest rated soap will inspire the show’s writers to reexamine their fixation on pairing Greenlee with Ryan (Cameron Mathison), who have always been terrible together even though the show has spent the better part of the past five years attempting to convince viewers that they are the loves of each other’s lives.  Welcome back to Pine Valley, David Hayward.

P.S. Congratulations to Rebecca Budig for being the best competitor by leaps and bounds on ‘Skating With The Stars.’

The Switcheroo

Natalie gif

I felt the need to make a Powerpoint chart to figure out what is happening with the complicated three way paternity storyline on ‘One Life To Live.‘  That’s a compliment.  Here is what the audience knows: Clint Buchanan (Jerry VerDorn) is positive that he is Rex’s (John Paul Lavoisier’s) father.  He does not want to acknowledge Rex.  So he hired an underling to break into the hospital lab and make sure Rex’s paternity test identified Charlie (Brian Kerwin) as the proud Papa.  Meanwhile, Clint’s daughters, Jessica (Bree Williamson) and Natalie (Melissa Archer) are alseach getting the paternity of their as yet unborn children tested.  Jessica fears that Robert (David Gregory), not her fiancee Brody, might be the father thanks to a one night stand she had while she was not in her right mind.  Her entire family is aware of the situation.  Natalie fears that Brody, not her boyfriend John (Michael Easton) might also be the father of her child since they had a one-night stand when they were both single.  Marty (Susan Haskell) is the only person who knows that she had a paternity test.

The test results came back.  Charlie was listed as Rex’s father.  Brody was listed as the father of both Natalie and Jessica’s babies.  Clint’s flunky told him he had done as Clint requested: he made sure the test stated that Charlie was Rex’s father and changed “his daughter’s” test as requested.  Through flashbacks, we also saw that Marty came into the lab as he was leaving and could have made her own changes.  So, what are the possibilities?  I am assuming that Clint really is Rex’s father and the test was changed to list Charlie, because there is not much of a story otherwise.  Charlie professes to be thrilled that Rex is his son, so the drama will come from him losing the son he has come to love.

Clint wants to spare Jessica the pain of Ford being the father of her child, so either the flunky did as Clint said and switched Jessica’s results — meaning that Ford is actually the father, or Clint did not specify which daughter he meant, and Natalie’s test results were switched from John to Brody.  Another possibility is that Jessica’s results were switched at Clint’s request, and then Marty switched Natalie’s just to make her nemesis miserable.   A third is that no tests were switched because Brody really is the father of Jessica’s baby, and Marty merely stole Natalie’s test results so that she can blackmail her with them. There is the most longterm drama from the worst possible outcome: Ford being the father of Jessica’s baby while Brody is the father of Natalie’s. It could also be interesting to have Natalie tell everyone that Brody is the father, ruining both her relationship with John and Jessica’s relationship with Brody, only to have it turn out that John is actually the father.  I truly have no idea what the ultimate outcome will be, or what twists and turns will effect various twists and turns will affect all of the characters involved. This is clever writing that puts a fresh spin on one of the most overused plot devices in daytime.  The storyline is suspenseful and unpredictable and incredibly well structured.  On the eve of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for a storyline that will keep me guessing well into the new year.

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

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