In this month's Busted to Blissful, Soapdom's Lesleyann Coker is fed up with Passions, but she couldn't be more delighted with All My Children. What is it about the goings on in Harmony that busted her bubble and what's so wonderful in Pine Valley that has put her in bubblicious bubble bliss? Read on!
Another Faux Wedding for Shuis
How many incomplete wedding ceremonies can one couple have? By my count, Passions’ reigning supercouple, Sheridan (McKenzie Westmore) and Luis (Galen Gering) are at three (the double wedding with Theresa and Ethan a few years ago, the faux wedding in Mexico and the latest fiasco last week). And that’s only their weddings to each other. Let’s not forget the double ceremony of Sheridan and Antonio and Luis and Beth, which resulted in a marriage for Sheridan and Antonio, but was interrupted before Luis and Beth could tie the knot. Sheridan must collect wedding dresses like other women collect shoes!
This latest travesty of a wedding was all the more a grievous since the first interruption was caused by a complete stranger to the audience and appeared to serve no other purpose than to have an extra come in and call Father Lonnigan away (to read some meaningless off-screen person their last rites) in order to halt the ceremony. Once the wedding stalled to wait for Father Lonnigan’s return, it allowed Beth to continue her manipulations and cause a second interruption. Beth maneuvered the situation to her advantage (because she wants a shot with Luis) so that Sheridan and Luis would learn that not only was Sheridan’s presumed-dead mother Katherine Crane alive and well, but that she was really “Mrs. Wheeler,” the woman Luis’ father had abandoned his wife and five children for all those years ago.
With this long awaited secret now out in the open, it appears that the road to “I do” is once again murky for “Shuis.” Luis blames Sheridan’s mother for taking his father away from their family, and Sheridan will most likely want to try and salvage a relationship with the mother she never knew. This could be tricky since Luis has been adamant about having absolutely no contact with Katherine whether or not she is Sheridan’s mother.
Then there’s the little matter of Beth raising Sheridan’s baby as her own while allowing Sheridan to think her child is dead. Imagine the possibilities for Westmore to emote as Sheridan learns the truth and fights for her son. Both Westmore and Gering are talented actors who deserve a better storyline with a chance to showcase their range, than to always play thwarted star-cross romantic leads, though they do an admirable job with the material they’re given.
I wish Passions creator and head writer, James E. Reilly, would give Sheridan and Luis the romantic wedding they deserve, all the way through to the completion of their vows. Then he can send them off on an adventure where they have to work together to overcome any obstacle in their path, instead of constantly reuniting them only to break them up again, and teasing fans with incomplete wedding ceremonies. Shame on Riley for repeatedly falling back on this clichéd soap staple when we know his creative genius could provide us with so much more.
Bianca Gets Her Baby Back on AMC
After ten months of waiting, the payoff was worth it on All My Children. The denouement of the baby switch storyline couldn’t have been any better, or more timely. With all the troubling things happening in the world right now, it was a nice diversion to turn on the TV during the holidays and see a little happiness.
The entire episode where JR finally surrendered his beloved baby Bess (really Bianca’s baby Miranda) was an example of how good soaps can be when all the elements come together -- great acting, great writing and an all-around compelling story that tugged at the heartstrings.
As Bianca lay in her hospital bed slipping away from life, her family and friends kept vigil outside. Bianca’s sister, Kendall, looked at the hospital elevator doors and flashed back to the horrible day ten months earlier when the doors opened to show Ryan carrying the empty baby carrier which confirmed Miranda’s death. A moment after Kendall’s memory, the doors slid open again to reveal a triumphant Erica (Bianca’s mother) holding the baby everyone thought to be Bess Chandler in her arms, and announcing proudly that Bianca had her miracle and that Miranda was indeed alive and well.
Erica raced into Bianca’s room and placed Miranda in her arms, willing Bianca to wake up and see her daughter. This was juxtaposed against scenes of JR standing in “his” daughter’s nursery, sobbing. Bianca then finally opened her eyes, looked at her daughter and whispered, “Miranda,” and there wasn’t a dry eye onscreen or off. Even the contrast of Bess’ darkly lit nursery against JR’s contorted face, versus Bianca’s brightly lit hospital room with all the happy faces, was mesmerizing and emotional.
Every single actor involved in this controversial storyline has risen to the challenge and done some of their best work, but special mention must go to the indomitable Susan Lucci (Erica), the fearless Alicia Minshew (Kendall) and the extraordinary Jacob Young (JR) for their work over the last few weeks. Lucci’s “We are Kane women, hear us roar” speech at the hospital when Tad told Erica the truth about Miranda, will go down as one of her finest moments. Hopefully, these actors will all be rewarded with much deserved nominations come Emmy time.
Before Bianca fell off the balcony and into a coma, Eden Riegel (Bianca) was fabulous as always in her confrontations with Babe and JR, when she learned that her baby had been alive and kept from her by her “best friend” for almost a year. Riegel also did an amazing job of keeping still as everyone talked to Bianca for over a week while she was in her coma.
Even tiny Joseph and Raymond Catigiano, the twin baby boys who share the role of Bess/Miranda, deserve recognition for always seeming to know just when to break into an adorable smile that none of the adult actors can help but respond to. They have turned into real scene stealers.
This storyline is all the more exciting because even though a large part of it is over, there is still more to come. As of this writing, JR has just learned his son didn’t die, but that Babe and Jamie are on the run with baby James/Ace/Adam III. Sooner or later, it is inevitable that the ill-fated trio will be forced to return to Pine Valley, so a whole new drama can play out.
Not only will Babe and JR fight each other for custody of their son, but the Buchanans of Llanview (and OLTL) who adopted James/Ace/Adam III, will surely get into the mix. Babe will also finally have to pay for stealing Bianca’s baby. If the current feelings in Pine Valley towards Babe’s parents for their role in keeping their daughter’s secret is any indication, Babe will be returning to a town full of enemies who have it out for her.
This story is liable to take most of the new year to unfold, and if the production values, acting and writing stay at their current level, it will be the best thing on TV.
Lesleyann Coker is a contributing columnist for Soapdom.com, and co-author of Boob Tube, a satirical novel currently being shopped to publishers that examines what really goes on behind the scenes of the soap opera industry. She is a former reporter for Soap Opera Weekly magazine, and has interviewed over 200 daytime and primetime actors during her career.