This post should be subtitled, “It’s the romance, stupid!”. But that probably wouldn’t be polite. Apt, but impolite. Now I’ve watched All My Children (AMC for us junkies) for 30 years now. Basically since the last time I had pneumonia. I started watching when Erica had her disco. A disco, for goodness sakes. But this is why, for 30 years I’ve kept watching: the romance.
Yes, writers of soap operas, it’s the romance. Tad & Dixie, Erica & Jack, Haley & Mateo, Kendall & Zach, Ryan & the Princess. Why do we watch the shows that keep us hanging? Because of unresolved romantic issues. And because we love the familiar couples, the couples dying to be together, the couples who deserve each other, belong together.
So I ask you, writers of All My Children, where is the romance? Cause I can’t see it. And I think I know a little bit about the subject. I see a lot of bickering (Ryan and everyone, Erica and everyone, David and everyone) half couples (Jake and Amanda, JR and Melissa (I almost had to type “What’s-her-name” because her character is so forgettable) but nothing that sparks.
You completely missed the boat with Tad and Taylor. They would have been perfect together. But you rushed it, and now the Powers have dropped her contract, so poof, a chance for a fabulous, witty, exciting romance has vanished. For a few weeks there I thought the spark was back, I could see them together–eventually–having a long, “Thin Man” sort of relationship, solving crimes and falling in love. Yes, falling in love. Not jumping into bed. Not getting married after hardly dating, or to tick of Dr. David, or just because you’ve run out of ideas, but a long, up-hill climb of a courtside that results in a wedding that brings tears to your eyes. But, you yanked the rug out of that one, and in some ways my heart.
I think the last time I cried watching AMC was when you killed Dixie off with poisoned pancakes. Oh, not so much that Dixie was finally good and dead (which was sad in itself because that meant any good hope for a fab couple was slim to none) but because you had to resort to poisoned pancakes to do it. Poisoned pancakes? Really?
If I were writing your show, (which I would be more than happy to help, just email me) I would do these three things:
1) Do something with Tad. Give him a good storyline and a good romance. And let him resolve who killed Dixie. You played around with this story line for too long, and then dropped it.
2) Quit experimenting with story lines and then dropping them inexplicably. (Jake and Taylor, Tad and Taylor, Dixie’s murder). Tell a story. From beginning to end. I know the middle is hard to write (says the woman currently in the middle of a romance novel) but the middle is where character shines through. Where a writer discovers the character and readers learn why those characters deserve this romance.
3) Do something with Ryan, other than having him sniping about Annie all the time. Face it, right now he is just down right creepy. And speaking of creepy, loose the cougar story line. Please. ‘Nuff said. I’d like to eat breakfast this morning. Why not bring back the Princess? (I know she took a bullet to the chest, but so did Jessie and he’s walking around and doing just fine.) Ryan had a loyal heart back then, and it showed. Maybe she has a cousin? With Zach going, you need a real man on the show. So either have Ryan man-up, or find a new character who do the job. That’s true with Jake as well–man-up, dude. Without Zach on the show, well, that leaves David Canary as the last bit machismo you’ve got left. And he’s a bit long in the tooth to make this heart go pitter patter.
So even if you don’t care about my opinions, my thoughts, I will leave you with one truism: romance, true romance, sells. This I do know. And on television, I believe that counts.
Elizabeth, your nearly loyal viewer.
Who are your favorite TV couples and why do you love them?