Four Fan Favorites Return to “All My Children” This September
Carol Burnett and Eva LaRue are far more famous, but for “All My Children” fans the news that David Canary, Julia Barr, Ray McDonnell and Lee Meriwether are returning in September is more exciting. Canary and Barr were last seen in 2010, when magazine editor Brooke returned to the show to give the love of her life, Adam, a happily-ever-after exit. Canary, who won multiple Daytime Emmy awards for his portrayal of twins Adam and Stuart opted to leave AMC when it moved its production from New York to Los Angeles. McDonnell and Meriwether play Joe and Ruth, the matriarch and patriarch of the Martin family. McDonnell also chose to leave the show when it moved, but he and Meriwether made a brief appearance a few months ago for Tad’s wedding.
With Adam’s son, J.R.’s, wife cheating on him with a woman, and Ruth and Joe’s two sons both in marital turmoil of their own, and Brooke’s nemesis Erica (Susan Lucci) currently kidnapped while a lookalike impersonates her, all four characters are needed in Pine Valley. Of course, they were originally returning for what was supposed to be the show’s finale. Now that it is moving to the internet, the questions are: is there any chance these actors might be persuaded to stick around longer? How will their planned story change now that the show is not ending? Another larger question: will “One Life to Live,” which was slated to end in January 2012, get a grand finale given that the show learned it was saved well before it had scripted its finale?
For those of you who are zaprudering the AMC and OLTL move to the internet story, ABC’s press release made no mention of AMC airing its final episodes on ABC in September, nor the show moving to the internet.
One Life To Live’s Todd Joins the Marvel Universe
When Disney bought Marvel, I, like many, was skeptical that the company known for producing family entertainment would know what to do with Marvel’s darker superhero characters. Friday’s episode of “One Life to Live” made it all worthwhile. Roger Howarth Todd disguising himself as Spiderman so he could attend Sam’s birthday party and interact with both his family and Trevor St. John Todd was pure gold. Without the merger, we would have been stuck with Todd disguising himself as a Disney princess. The scenes were both heartwarming and funny. (I am choosing to fanwank that Sam brought cupcakes to school and celebrated with his classmates to explain why he did not have any friends at his birthday party.)
As Spiderman, RHTodd was able to interact with his children and observe firsthand how TSJTodd has managed to take over his life. I loved the moment when Blair (Kassie DePaiva) and Tea (Florencia Lozano) posed for a photo with him. His mere presence seemed to bring out what I consider to be the real Starr; she was inspired to share some fun facts about spiders. I miss the geeky, twisted Wednesday Addams-esque Starr who loved reptiles and insects and had adult level scheming skills. Spiderman was the perfect metaphor for the two Todds, given that the comic’s mythology is all about secret identities and alter egos.
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Nothing actually happened at the party. Really, all RHTodd has done since he came to Llanview is lurk. It’s the slowest-moving story on OLTL’s canvas. Fortunately, John (Michael Easton) is starting to put the pieces together now that Sam has identified RHTodd as his mysterious friend. This marks the first time in years that I am happy John is involved in anything. I initially questioned RHTodd’s motives for kidnapping Sam– though I was happy the plot was finally advancing. Sam is the one Manning child who is definitely not his. But it makes sense that since he thinks TSJ Todd stole his children, he’s returning the favor. It also echoes the 1990s storyline that had Todd bonding with a young Sarah and C.J.
The Young & the Restless Gives Viewers the Soft Sell
Friday was also product placement day on “The Young & the Restless.” The episode featured the on-screen launch of the Jabot product line that is currently available for purchase in the real world. I braced myself for the sort of heavy-handed commercial for the products that has characterized such infamous moments in soap product placement history as “Days of Our Lives” Sami and E.J. eating Chex Mix, and Marko and Langston watching a preview of “Nine” on “One Life to Live.” To my pleasant surprise, it was an entertaining episode. There was not significantly more plugging than any of the times that Jabot created entirely fictional products for plot purposes.
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We got a day player saying, “Cactus pectin is gonna be Hollywood’s new best friend. They’re gonna be naming their kids after it. It’s the best.” and Jack and Lauren talking about how great the products are. It felt organic to the storyline. If I were not aware that there really were Jabot products for sale, I would not have realized that it was a plug instead of just the latest battle in the Genoa City cosmetics wars. Granted, it’s a lot easier to work product placement into a soap when its for a product that has been a part of the show for decades, but I was impressed. Given that product placement is now a given on daytime television, Y&R just showed that it is possible to do it without making the audience feel like they are watching an infomercial.