The Beginning Of The End
It’s a wrap for “All My Children,” at least on ABC. The show taped its final broadcast television episode Tuesday. The show’s ending is a closely guarded secret. Ricky Paull Goldin (Jake), tweeted a photo of a sign on the set prohibiting anyone who works on the show from revealing any information about the episode. The show’s creator Agnes Nixon and headwriter Lorraine Broderick have the difficult task of crafting an ending that both provides closure and sets up future storylines for the show’s continuation on the Internet. It’s safe to say that it was an emotional day for the cast and crew, some of whom have been with the show for decades. Susan Lucci tweeted,”Heading towards my last week of All My Children..very emotional time yet excited to see David Canary & Julia Barr again!” Cameron Mathison (Ryan) tweeted, “Thank you all for the well wishes on this last day of taping. Let’s hope we are all back together again in a few months!”
Mathison is one of two AMC stars to land new gigs this week. He will be hosting a new on-line series for Yahoo, “Ultimate Proposal.” If he’s willing to host a web series, perhaps he will be willing to act in one, too. J.R. Martinez (Brot) will be one of the contestants on “Dancing With the Stars” this fall. Though he is one of the least known competitors, the Iraqi war veteran could get the soap fan vote, the military vote, and the inspirational life story vote. If he turns out to be a good dancer, he could go far. Martinez follows in the footsteps of other “AMC”-“DWTS” contestants Mathison, Lucci and Aidan Turner.
Give Darnell Williams and Debbi Morgan Their Emmys Now
Tuesday on “All My Children” Jesse (Darnell Williams) finally confessed to Angie (Debbi Morgan) that the baby she thinks of as her daughter is actually somebody else’s biological child and her baby is dead. I don’t have the words to express how powerful their performances were. They took a meanspirited, depressing storyline and turned it into art. I hope that no real person ever experiences having their stillborn child switched with an abandoned baby while they are unconscious, but I am convinced that Morgan is accurately conveying the precise combination of sadness, rage and confusion that a person is that situation would experience.
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After a month of being the best soap in years, “One Life to Live’s” The Tale of Two Todds crashed to a thud with the heavily foreshadowed shooting of the man now known as Victor (Trevor St. John) just days (in Llanview time) after he, and everyone else, learned that he was not the real Todd Manning.What was a fascinating storyline about identity and family degenerated into a routine whodunnit. This is the second time the guy has been shot this year, for goodness sake.The actual shooting scene was nothing special. Victor was warned that Todd (Roger Howarth) was gunning for him. We saw other suspects heading out of their houses with guns. Todd, alone in his living room, asked an unseen vistor, “What the hell are you doing here?” Then he got shot in the chest. It was anti-climactic.
For the past few episodes multiple characters have been threatening to kill Victor, whether or not it is something that they might plausibly do. There are not even all that many suspects. Todd, is furious that his long lost brother will not give him back his identity, fortune or newspaper. He has plenty of motivation, but there is no way the show is going to make him a murderer after going through so much trouble to paint him as the more sympathetic Manning brother. Rex (John Paul Lavoisier) has vowed to get revenge on Todd for covering up his son Jack’s (Andrew Trischetta) role in Gigi’s death. He’s borderline insane right now, giving him a potential defense that will keep him out of prison if he turns out to be the culprit. Shane (Austin Williams) is on the same quest for vengeance. Killing Jack’s father would be a fitting way of paying him back for killing Shane’s mother. Still, Shane is such a sweet character. Nobody wants to see him go to the dark side. Two other Llanview teenagers have committed murder in the past year. It would be terrible writing to make him the culprit. Tomas (Ted King) has ties to Irene, dislikes Victor and does not want him to stay married to his sister. Brody (Mark Lawson) vowed to kill Victor to prevent him from revealing that John, not Brody, is baby Liam’s father. As much as Brody’s been thrown under the bus lately, this the lamest possible motivation for murder. Why not just claim Victor is lying and/or crazy due to Irene’s brainwashing? It’s so easy to fake a DNA test in Llanview that Brody would have no trouble fabricating evidence that would prove he was the fatger. If he did it, I am going to be (I suspect Brody was originally only supposed to keep the secret of Liam’s paternity for a little while. Remember all of those “The John and Natalie Reunion is Coming” promos that aired a couple months ago? I suspect that some last minute rewrites spun the story in another direction at the formerly heroic character’s expense.) There are several other suspects. Evil Irene and Agent Baker have government officials who can get them out of custody. Victor just turned on Irene. Baker hated everybody. They are killers. So, why not? If the writers want to pull something out of left field, Marty is still crazy and has plenty of reasons to hate Victor. Brad and/or his father may have come to resent Victor for convincing them to let Brad take the fall for Gigi’s death. Dayplayers have committed many soap crimes, to the annoyance of fans.
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I realize that it was not entirely the writers fault. St. John initially told the show he did not intend to renew his contract. By the time he changed his mind, ABC had canceled the show, the writers were scrambling to write an ending. ABC has allegedly tightened the purse strings for the already low budget series, creating a financial incentive to write off St. John, one of the show’s highly paid actors. Then all of the stories had to be changed again when Prospect Park bought the show with plans to move it to the internet. Headwriter Ron Carlivati has a difficult task. But if only Todd had not spent months lurking in the shadows, we could have had a full storyline exploring Todd and Victor’s relationship, the impact of the two Todds on Viki and Todd’s children, and Blair and Tea’s complex relationships with both men. Even if Victor still had to be written off the show by the end of August, we could have gotten something far more satisfying than Tea and the children deciding they still loved Victor and him taking a bullet.