BUSTED: AMC'S RYAN AND ERICA
I'm grossed out by the romance brewing between Erica and Ryan on All My Children. It's not because of their age difference, or the trendy cougar bandwagon the show is jumping on by sticking these two together.Instead, my intense dislike stems from the simple fact Ryan has a child with Erica's daughter, Kendall. He's smooching on his own kid's grandmother...yuck. I'm also bothered Erica and Ryan's well established platonic history has been tossed out the window. Erica has always counted on Ryan as a dear friend. He even came to her rescue during her hideous showgirl days in Vegas when she was drinking, and helped convince her to come home. Their relationship has never had even a hint of flirtation.
AMC is ruining a beautiful friendship by distorting it in this manner. Ryan has a history of falling in love quickly, but this is just ridiculous. A month ago he was still involved with Kendall. It's completely out of character for him to rebound with her mother!
The scenes between Susan Lucci (Erica) and Cameron Mathison (Ryan) feel forced. Their characters had great chemistry when the relationship was more like a mother-in-law to a son-in-law, but trying to create a romantic spark between them now is like watching paint dry. It's boring, and somewhat uncomfortable. Their recent first kiss was downright creepy.
I blame the writers, not the actors. The writers must have been sitting around one day throwing out random names of people they could slap together. I'm assuming they figured since Lucci and Mathison are two of the show's hottest commodities - both were popular contestants on primetime's Dancing with the Stars - why not pair them together to capitalize on their fame and success. The only flaw? What might have worked on paper doesn't translate to the screen. AMC's writers should know by now to follow where the actors' chemistry take them and not try to create it out of thin air. Exhibit A: Jake/Amanda vs. Jake/Taylor. This a perfect example of the writers not paying attention to what was in front of them, and having to clean up the mess they made later.
Hopefully, AMC will cut their losses (like they did with Jake/Taylor) and chalk this up to a summer infatuation that never went anywhere. Something tells me though, with all the attention this storyline has received, the show might try to ride the publicity as far as it can go. As long as AMC stops far short of Erica and Ryan sleeping together, the whole fiasco is forgettable. If they do cross that line, then both characters will suffer irreparable damage.
BLISSFUL: A BANNER DAY ON Y&R
It's an uncommon event on soaps, especially these days, for everything to come together perfectly. Rarely do the acting, writing, and storyline all hit their individual notes to create a beautiful symphony at the same time. However, that's exactly what happened on The Young and the Restless episode that aired August 7, 2009.
The show opened with Nikki breaking up with Paul after their rehearsal dinner, the night before their wedding. She finally admitted what viewers have know all along - that while she loved Paul, she wasn't in love with him enough to marry him. Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki) and Doug Davidson (Paul) did some of their best work in years during these scenes. There weren't any histrionics or over-the-top emotions on display. Instead, we watched two people who knew the score and were daring to say it out loud. Davidson, in particular, made Paul's silent anguish palatable.
The best was yet to come, when Nikki waltzed into Victor's house (while his delusional and pregnant wife Ashley, was upstairs, no less), and without any pretense laid it on the line for him: she wasn't marrying Paul because she is, was and will always be in love with Victor, and she was leaving town. Thomas Scott had a quiet dignity about her that has been missing for some time in her scenes with Eric Braeden (Victor). Even though Nikki had tears streaming down her face while she admitted she has never loved a man like she loves Victor, Thomas Scott infused her monologue with a matter-of-factness that was refreshing. Nikki wasn't there to sugarcoat or beg, but to tell the truth in all its twisted, brutal, beautiful glory.
In the spirit of "the truth shall set you free," Nikki wasn't done dropping bombshells on her way out of town. Nikki took out Adam as collateral damage, leaving behind a note for Heather telling her that her boyfriend is gay. We were treated to long overdue scenes of an angry and hurt Heather, lambasting Adam for his deception and being the creep he is.
As if that wasn't excitement enough for one episode, Nikki then walked outside the Newman mansion into the pouring rain - on an inevitable collision course with a hallucinating Ashley behind the wheel.
We were treated to a flashback of the night Nikki and Victor met 25 years ago, which reinforced the notion this couple has stood the test of time together for more than two decades. How gorgeous was a cherubic faced Thomas Scott in those flashbacks? And Braeden was dashing, and a lot less gray. It does make me feel sorry for the actors contending with their former celluloid selves, but it's certainly a reward for longtime viewers to take such a fond stroll down memory lane.
The coup de grace of the episode came while Victor was in the church confessing to God that in his heart of hearts he still loved Nikki. This scene was juxtaposed against a scene of Ashley plowing her car into a terrified Nikki, who literally looked like a deer caught in the headlights. Talk about a brilliant Friday cliffhanger. It took me back to the days when the Friday cliffhanger was a soap opera staple.
Y&R has done it one better though. Thomas Scott is on a several week break from the show, so everyone in Genoa City assumes Nikki has left town. Last viewers saw of Nikki, she had been hit by Ashley's car. The question remains: where is Nikki now? My guess is she's running around somewhere with amnesia, and it's Victor who will eventually discover her and/or help snap her out of it. Talk about soap opera at its best.
Lesleyann Coker is a reporter and monthly opinion columnist for Soapdom.com. She is also the co-author of Boob Tube, a forthcoming novel that goes behind the scenes of the soap opera industry. The book is available in ebook form at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/3 . She was previously a reporter for Soap Opera Weekly Magazine.
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