On Friday, September 23rd, the last network airing of All My Children began at 12 Noon Central Standard Time. An hour later, it was over. The scheming, the lying, the loving, the surviving, the happy, the sad, the highs, the lows, the tragedy and the triumph.

Erica Kane, the Diva of Pine Valley, finally got her comeuppance when Jackson Montgomery finally, after years of pursuit, responded to her plea that she needed and loved him with an homage worthy of Gone With the Wind.  (“Frankly, Erica, I don’t give a damn what you need.” Aaaand exit – stage left). David Hayward, the Scourge of Pine Valley, resurrected several dozen people (at least it felt that way), including Dixie Cooney-Martin and Stuart Chandler, both done in via terrible writing by past writing regimes and approval of the Executive Producer (*coughJulieHananCarrutherscough*) and Zach Slater, half of the Zendall Supercouple both beloved and reviled across soapdom. Bianca Montgomery, the Moral Center of Pine Valley, finally, seemingly, got a happy ending. Adam and Brooke returned, as did Joe and Ruth.  And Jamie, albeit briefly. Tad and Dixie got back together, Jake and Amanda stayed together, David knocked up Cara and JR got a gun…

The show ended with a cliffhanger of sorts, as JR, mad as hell and apparently not going to take it anymore (no matter how stupid, selfish and alcohol-fueled) hid in the Chandler Mansion’s infamous tunnels and fired one single shot into the crowd of PV revelers as the screen faded to black. Who was shot? We don’t know. Why? Because the show will move on-line in January and Agnes Nixon, creator and headwriter, and Prospect Park, new owners of the venerable soap, wanted it that way.

While I didn’t agree with the ending, I understand why they did it. I’m just sad that such a time-honored icon went out with more of a whimper than a bang (no pun intended).  I understand that the cliffhanger aspect will hopefully keep people guessing until the show re-appears, it also could have the opposite effect in that as time passes, it’s possible no one will care what happened to whom by the time January rolls around. I think a finale tied up in a nice, neat bow would have worked just as well. Because while the cliffhanger keeps people guessing, the time that passes between now and January, in real time, would also allow the characters’ feelings to change, lives to begin and end and the world to continue turning (with apologies to another great, yet canceled, show). The show could then pick up from there, re-booting with an explanation of who and why without having to deal with death and destruction from the outset.

But that is neither here nor there.

What IS here and there is that this venerable show was removed from our airwaves after 41 years. Saying good-bye to such a dear friend has been hard. For every Daytime Television Executive intent on killing daytime serials one long-running, scripted show at a time for cheap, boring, horrible “reality television”, there are hundreds, possibly thousands, of long-time viewers who have incredible memories to share about their “stories”.  Women who grew up watching with their mothers, grandmothers, friends, family. Men and women who remember scheduling college classes around their favorites. An entire generation of teens struggling with their sexuality…

All My Children wasn’t just entertainment. It told the story of us, our neighbors, our families, our friends. It was timely and relevant. It told the story of legalized abortion (Erica had one in 1973, the first legal one on daytime television following the passage of Roe v. Wade- ridiculously undone in 2005), opposition to the Vietnam War (for which the late Mary Fickett won Daytime’s first Emmy Award), teen homosexuality (delicately and beautifully written by show creator Agnes Nixon and portrayed by Eden Riegel) and the stigma of Aids (heartbreakingly performed by David Canary and Ellen Wheeler). The show handled both drama and comedy, many times excelling at the latter at the expense of the former. It taught tolerance, respect and love.  It bridged generations and taught us all a few lessons we sorely needed to learn.

For me, All My Children was a lifetime friend. I began watching during the scorching hot summers of my youth, hiding in the air conditioning during the heart of the day and losing myself in Pine Valley, before following that up with the rest of the ABC Daytime line-up.  My senior year of high school, my schedule allowed me to be home by 11:30 where I would watch the shows before returning to school at 3:30 for basketball practice. I watched during my lunch hour all through college and as often as I could when I joined the workforce in a time before DVR’s- or even VCR’s. I grew up with Jenny and Greg, Angie and Jesse, Liza, Amanda and the entire teen set from the early 80’s. I loved the Cliff and Nina love story, the hilarity of Erica, Janet, Skye and Marian trying to hide the supposedly dead body of Dr. Jonathan Kinder and the incredibly told story of Stuart and Cindy.

I watched Tad and Dixie’s relationship evolve into one of the most enduring on Daytime television, persevering through 2 deaths (both Dixie’s) only to be reunited in the end, as it should be. I watched almost all of Erica’s marriages begin… and end.

I made it through chemotherapy sessions in the summer of 2005 with the help of Kendall and Greenlee (Alicia Minshew and Rebecca Budig), affectionately known as Kenlee, watching them work their way through hatred and friendship, humor and tears, and equally tormenting Erica Kane in the process.

I cheered when couples I loved finally got together, I railed when poor storytelling made my favorite characters seem so foreign to me. I wrote the press, I wrote the show, I wrote the actors. I’ve watched through good times and some really bad clunker stories. I admit to walking away because of the reign of horror we were subjected to by one Charles Pratt and his offensive, insipid, insulting and ridiculous vision for the show. I came back because, like a long-lost friend, I missed it so much.

I’ve been lucky enough to meet so many stars of the show, Alicia Minshew, Thorsten Kaye, the irrepressible Michael E. Knight.  Michael even gave me 20 Disney bucks when he heard we had arrived at the park at 3am so I could grab some breakfast when I was done. I used the money to buy a Mickey Mouse t-shirt, instead…

I met some the of the best friends I’ve ever had at a Message Board dedicated to the pairing of Bianca and Maggie (the Supercouple known as BAM – portrayed by Eden and Elizabeth Hendrickson).  They were there for me as I battled cancer and hugged me tightly whenever we got together.

I’ve been honored to find myself one of the founding members of Eden Riegel’s Official Fan Club (AbsoluteEden.com) and have had the opportunity to know Eden and her husband, Andrew Miller, as well as her mother, Lenore.

I watched the final week of All My Children alternating between laughter and tears, finally coming to that realization that, come Monday at noon, there would be no need to make sure my television was on and tuned to ABC. I thought of the friends I made way back in the late 70’s during those hot summer days, who came into my house every day to entertain me, the ones who have long since passed and those we have recently mourned. I admittedly wept when thinking of those who I may never see again as they have been to me for 30+ years.

I sighed when I dried my tears and prepared myself to do this again in a few months when we say good-bye to another life-long friend.

And I smiled when I remembered what All My Children has meant to me for more than half my life.

Good bye, my dear, dear friend. I thank you for all that you have given me.

May we meet again soon.

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The nominees for the Daytime Emmy’s were announced on May 14th and true soap fans must be shaking their heads in wonder. Or are speechless… Or dumbfounded… Or all of the above…

Somehow, beyond all the laws of nature, All My Children leads the way with 19 nominations. Let me repeat, ALL MY CHILDREN GOT 19 NOMINATIONS!!!! One year removed from one (one, singular, individual, solitary, ONE) nomination (David Canary as Adam Chandler – currently being forced out by TIIC), they managed to rake in 19 nominations!!!

WTF?!?! NINETEEN NOMINATIONS?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Are you serious?!?! You cannot be serious!! That’s… that’s mind-boggling!! The show that was made fun of, turned into a punch-line, became an utter laughingstock to a huge cross-section of viewers, got 19 nominations?!?!? I’d like to know what compromising photos Charles Pratt has of the judging committee to sway the vote like this.

Now, granted there were acting noms that were much deserved. Thorsten Kaye (again), Debbie Morgan (YAY!), Melissa Claire Egan (first time), Alicia Minshew (finally!) all transcended the material they were given to earn their nominations. Angie’s return and her discovering Jesse alive after 20 years was fantastic work. And Alicia, finally recognized after many deserving years, snagged her first ever nomination. Melissa Egan’s CrazyAnnie was worth the price of admission (except, of course, the day she leapt off Ryan’s penthouse balcony and landed without a scratch several floors below, but… that was the writing, not the acting).

However, I seriously take exception to All My Children and The Bold and the Beautiful receiving nominations as Best Daytime Drama. AMC, if nothing else, deserves an award for Best Example of How to Destroy a Once Incredibly Popular Soap with Nothing More Than Amazingly Bad Writing. (I bet that wouldn’t fit on the trophy, but, you never know, it has a pretty big base). The Bold and the Beautiful is good soap, but no where near on par with The Young and the Restless or even One Life to Live’s level this year.

All My Children, once one of the strongest shows on daytime, has been reduced to mindless hackery. Charles Pratt has taken the show to the very depths of ghoulishness with his unbelievably high body count in a relatively short time-span:  Zach shooting Josh in the head in order to harvest his heart, Annie clubbing brother Richie like a baby seal to save her marriage (oops), Babe getting impaled during a tornado, Greenlee flying off a cliff on a motorcycle, Di Henry being shot and killed by CrazyAnnie during her plot to save her marriage (again, oops). (have I missed anyone? They came fast and furious at one point)  There was the waste of veteran/returning characters (and big names with big-time talent) to pimp new characters that utterly failed (*coughRebecca-Jesse’s-long-lost-wife-when-everyone-thought-he-was-dead-and-her-daughter-and-the-one-hooker-we-couldn’t-care-less-about-Randicough*), the force-feeding of the re-pairing of Ryan and Greenlee, which effectively ended Rebecca Budig’s return, which, oh, yeah, was botched by ABC/AMC. Toss in some cool effects, some plots with holes the size of the one in the ozone layer, plot-driven, soulless storytelling, and that was All My Children in 2008.

And yet, somehow, THEY GOT A WRITING NOMINATION!!!!!!! Charles Pratt got an Emmy nomination for the ridiculously HORRIBLE writing he cranked out in 2008. REALLY? REALLY?!?!?!

The man who actually blamed an Emmy Award winning actress for HIS inadequacies was nominated for Best Writing. This is the man who so completely decimated what should have been the most intriguing storyline on television, daytime or nighttime, was nominated for a writing award… Again, was it the headshot to Josh? Annie’s leap of faith and tire-ironing? Ryan and Greenlee rutting like pigs at every turn? I am utterly mystified how this drivel is worthy even of consideration, let alone an actual nomination.

If anything, Esensten and Brown deserve the nomination without Pratt’s name being tacked on to cheapen it. They did the work that resonated last year with Angie and Jesse’s return, among other things. They had started turning the show around when Brian Frons inexplicably fired them and brought on his buddy, Charles Pratt. And the impact was felt immediately in declining quality. Attaching Pratt’s name to this makes the category irrelevant and a farce.

Like toddlers with no sense of actual value, it’s obvious the judges are swayed by a shiny trinket from a gumball machine. The fancy effects of CGI outweigh the quality of the writing, pacing and continuity.

And don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE Alicia Minshew, and she is incredibly deserving of her nomination, but there was an indescribably better heart transplant story on daytime last year, involving Crystal Chappell’s fantastic Olivia Spencer on Guiding Light. Like Minshew’s Kendall, Olivia also received the heart of a loved one. Yet Olivia’s story ripped out viewers hearts with her despondency upon learning of Gus Aitoro’s death and the fact that his heart beat now in her chest. How she woke asking for Gus, how Reva broke the news of his death and the gift of his heart from his widow Natalia Rivera. How she gave up her will to live, crying out that she didn’t want to live if Gus was dead. On a daily basis, you watched Crystal Chappell with a lump in your throat, unable to swallow it down with every scene that played out. In this instance, Guiding Light outshone AMC and Crystal Chappell again acted circles around the best daytime has to offer.

(Let me add that I seriously doubt Alicia Minshew’s Emmy submission material was the heart transplant storyline, since she was lying in a bed during that time, pretending to be in a coma. She was, however, an incredibly realistic coma patient)

There is one, possibly two, names on the list for Best Supporting Actress that should have been switched out with Crystal’s. She is undoubtedly one of the best actresses working in daytime television and her name absent from this list is really a travesty. She’ll get hers in 2009 for the work she’s done in recent months. If not, then there’s something seriously rotten in Denmark.

I’ll give AMC the technical award nominations, though. Well deserved, I’m sure.

Here’s hoping OLTL sweeps every category they’re nominated in with AMC…

Deserving Nominees include Susan Haskell, who transcended the repugnant rape-mance storyline on OLTL. She always does top-notch work. Daniel C0sgrove, as GL’s Bill Lewis, also delivers quality work on a daily basis and Jeanne Cooper, the Grande Dame of Daytime, still impresses and had a fantastically  meaty storyline last year.

I would replace Anthony Geary with Darnell Williams. Darnell’s turn as newly-back-from-the-dead Jesse Hubbard was tortured as he still fought to keep his family safe. Plus the respect to the history of the character by the writers made his portrayal even better.

Gina Tognoni, Kim Zimmer, Crystall Chappell, all names that could, and probably should, be on this list. I like Bree Williamson, I just don’t think her turn as crazy Tessica is Emmy-worthy, even with the work she did during Nash’s death.

I think Tamara Braun’s Ava from DOOL was a loony-tune… which means of the 5 nominees in the Best Supporting Actress Category, 3 characters were mentally unbalanced last year… Lack of originality much, Academy voters?

Congratulations, however, are in order for the brilliant minds behind Imaginary Bitches, which snagged a nomination in the New Approaches in Daytime Entertainment category opposite fellow You Tube series I Met The Walrus. TAC. TV, The New York Times Magazine Screen Tests and All My Children are also nominated. (Um, AMC? WTF?!?!) Of course, if they walk off with the trophy, it will be all Eden Riegel’s fault. (And watching Eden win an Emmy over AMC would be sweet vindication)

The Daytime Emmy’s will air on August 30, 2009 on the CW.

Best of luck to the many deserving nominees… Charles Pratt, on the other hand, can suck it.

So, Bianca and Reese marry. They barely know each other, have a child together, Reese is in lust with Bianca’s brother-in-law, they’ve betrayed Bianca’s much-loved sister, and still, they marry…

They have the maturity level of two horny teenagers riding a hormonal wave of lust rather than two adult women making a loving and happy home for their children. You know, their newborn child and older daughter Miranda. Especially Miranda. Remember her? Bianca doesn’t. She’s become remarkably, incredibly selfish. They’re both self-centered, whiny brats, concerned about no one but themselves and their groundbreaking wedding. Not to mention that Bianca’s first born tends to be forgotten. A lot. Like, never mentioned when talking about their other child. As if she never existed…

Miranda’s been hanging out in the Martin attic, apparently…

And still they marry…

Is it just me or does anyone else find it incredibly ironic that the wedding takes place on Friday the 13th?

Anyway, following the wedding, things quickly fall apart for the happy couple. Or should I say things quickly fall apart for the moderately-okay-with-themselves-where-they-currently-are-in-their-lives couple. Ryan lets out a secret that sends Bianca into hiding at her mother’s with the kids in tow, then she just plain splits town on February 24th after apparently serving Reese with annulment papers, or after Reese gets annulment papers, or possibly before. Just know that Bianca heads back to Paris and Reese gets annulment papers but possibly not exactly in that order. Okay?

So, the first same-sex marriage in the history of daytime television quickly becomes the shortest same-sex marriage in the history of daytime television…

Well done, All My Children and Mr. Charles Pratt. Well done, indeed.

With Bianca’s departure comes the exit of Eden Riegel, the Daytime Emmy-award winning actor. Rumor has it she returns a couple months down the road to bring the storyline to a conclusion, with all parties saying that things work out well for Bianca and Reese.

Oh, rly?

If Bianca returns to Pine Valley and takes Reese back after Reese threatens to ruin the lives of both Kendall and Ryan, continues to sniff after Zach, conspires with Adam Chandler and basically makes herself a menace, then Bianca is the stupidest waste of oxygen on this big blue marble that’s hurtling through space.

But then again, this is the woman who forgave Babe for stealing her child for the better part of a year…

Wedding of the century, indeed…

Good thing it’s very early in the century, huh?

P.S. Thanks to my pals Phyl and Donna for their help and contributions to this therapeutic little piece…

So we now discover that Bianca and Reese, who are an amazingly cool and in love couple, don’t even know each other… At all… Yesterday, JR and Bianca had a little run-in and Bianca had to explain to a rather startled Reese about the history they shared concerning a little tumble off a two-story balcony.

Um… WTF?

Reese apparently didn’t know that JR gave Binksy a trip off a balcony in Florida and that Bess was Miranda for, lo those 9+ months? Did she live in a vacuum or not have access to the Internet or tabloids before she got beaned in the melon by a ball in a Paris park? (Seriously, she didn’t head back to her place after the beaning and Google ‘Bianca Montgomery’? Really?) I thought Erica Kane’s lesbian daughter was tabloid fodder all around the world. I mean, that’s what we were led to believe for years after Bianca’s coming out.

But, really, wouldn’t this have been a better exchange?

Reese: What was that all about?

Bianca: Oh, JR had my daughter, who I thought was his daughter, because his wife Babe, who is – or rather was– love, stole her from me for 9 months, this is Miranda I’m talking about here, but actually, she didn’t steal her, we were just lost to each other- anyway JR and I argued, after I Kane-slapped the snot out of Babe, and then JR got mad and we stepped out onto the balcony to chat and he pushed me off, or I jumped, I’m kinda unlcear on the whole thing, and I fell ever so daintily 2 floors and ended up in a coma for a while. They didn’t think I was going to make it, you know. Anyway, Mom finally convinced Adam that Bess was Miranda and brought her to me and, ta da! I woke up. I kinda remember someone whispering in my ear that they loved me, but that’s blurry, too. Did I not tell you any of this after we started dating?

Apparently not, Binks…

So… Reese apparently didn’t and/or still doesn’t know that Bianca offed the man who raped her and impregnated her, creating Miranda. Reese apparently didn’t know about Kendall willing to take the fall for Michael’s murder to hide Bianca’s pregnancy from the world (which, I believe, was because Bianca didn’t want to hurt her mother and become tabloid fodder). Does Cool Reese know that Babe, who is- or rather was– love, stole Miranda and paraded her around town for 9 months as her own daughter and let Bianca be her own child’s godmother, and then Bianca willingly FORGAVE Babe for this, saying that she and Miranda were merely “lost” to one another for the better part of a year?

We’re supposed to believe that this couple, who are living together, raising a daughter together and so in love they decided to have another child, don’t know anything about what has happened in their past? What has formed their will, determination, psyche, psychoses and outlook on life? Reese even said yesterday that she was rather surprised when Bianca got so upset at a man in Paris for shoving the woman he was with… so, Bianca never even told Reese about the woman she had been living with in Paris, who was also the “love of Bianca’s life” and who had been in an abusive relationship that Bianca had been desperate to get her out?

Bianca finally seems concerned of how her sister might react when she learns of Bianca and Zach’s betrayal in order to pop out a kid with a woman she apparently only met about 10 months ago and Reese, in her obliviousness, doesn’t make things any better.

Bianca: You don’t know my sister.

Reese: No, but I know you.

Oh, really? What’s her favorite movie, Reese? Where did she live when she moved out of her mother’s house? Did you know she had a juvenile record for driving while drunk? Did you know she was going to college when she was pregnant with Miranda? Did you know she likes cotton candy and spending the day at the park in the summer? Who was her best friend before Maggie Stone? Do you know how that best friend died? Did you know that Bianca has a history of pyromania? That she has an eating disorder? Was “committed” to another woman at one time? Almost moved to Poland to be with that woman? Stole a baby one Christmas because she was convinced the child was hers? (she was right, by the way, but that’s not the point)

Shall I go on, Reese?

Wow… So, I’ve written a little letter to Charles Pratt, Head hack- er, writer at All My Children. It’s short but rather succinct and to the point. Tell me what you think:

Dear Mr. Pratt,

Can you please explain to me how the super cool couple you created in Reese and Bianca have been living together, had a child together and want to marry know so alarmingly little about each other?

Seriously I would like to know,
Mary Beth

I mean, really… WTF?

So, Monday’s episode of All My Children found Tad Martin in a deep sleep that allowed him and ghostDixie to live out their lives had the idiots in cha- er, the powers that be at AMC not killed off Dixie by means of pancake in the winter of 2007. Tad and Dixie married, had Kate to raise, watched her grow and blossom, marry and give birth, and through it all Tad and Dixie had that wonderful sense of humor and obvious affection for each other that the fans always seemed to enjoy.

*sigh*

These wonderful scenes of one of the most popular couples on daytime television almost gives AMC a pass for this week, but, nope, they just couldn’t help themselves.

Tad was ready, willing and able, in his unconscious state, to give it all up to venture with Dixie into eternity. He actually had no qualms about it. Given the chance, I think he would have left a vapor trail getting the hell, as it were, out of Pine Valley. But just as Tad prepared to “go into the light” with Dixie, here comes Adam. Because, you know, Adam can’t let someone else have all of the spotlight, even someone with a tube down his throat. He’s going to save Tad’s life by whispering three little words into Tad’s ear.

No, not “I love you”, which, honestly, would have made for a much more interesting storyline, but “Kathy is Kate”.

And he does just this. At which point, Dixie realizes her time with Tad is up and she quickly disappears into the mist. Tad miraculously opens his eyes, in Pine Valley Hospital recovering from a gunshot wound that nearly killed him, back in the land of the living murmuring “Kate?” who is Kathy, who really is Kate…

WTF? Really? Haven’t we seen this before? Twice?

Please tell me the writers couldn’t dream up a better – or at least somewhat new and original – scenario for getting Tad and Kate together… please tell me they didn’t use the “give them their missing child and they’ll magically wake up from their very deep, very tired sleep” routine…

Nope… they did…

Didn’t this tactic already get used when Bianca was in her coma and Miranda was still Bess? Didn’t Adam do the right thing then, too, and hand the baby over to Erica, who so lovingly put her in a failing Bianca’s arms, imploring her to wake up because Miranda was alive and wake up she did (quite perkily and fresh-looking, I might add) murmuring Miranda’s name, much like Tad just did?

Except, he murmured “Kate?” instead of “Miranda?” but it was basically the exact same scene

Oh, wait, didn’t Kendall come out of her coma (what is it with Kane women and comas anyway?) when implored by loved ones to fight for Spike and Ian? Including Bianca, who knows first hand how well this particular tactic actually works?

Are you kidding me? The writing staff at AMC couldn’t have come up with something we haven’t seen already? This is as original as they can get? Is it really that freakin’ hard?

How about, Tad wakes up and he’s very woozy and Adam taunts him, thinking he’s going to die any minute, that Kathy is Kate. Or, how about Adam’s got his back to Tad and is telling someone, in that delightfully condescending way that he has, that Kathy is Kate just as Tad comes out of the his coma and just happens overhears this revelation.

See? In a couple minutes, I came up with a couple new and different ways to accomplish this reveal. Not exactly brand spanking new, but something a little different…

Okay, so, they want to give us Tad and Dixie, for which I am grateful, but with this scenario they tossed off, Dixie didn’t even get a fantastic exit! They both hear Adam’s declaration, Dixie knows it’s over and *poof*, she’s gone, disappearing into the mist (instead of the light that Tad wanted to head into, but, hey, that’s really being nit-picky).

Kinda like when they killed Dixie initially… No fantastic exit, just a breakfast of peanut butter-banana pancakes (which, really, yuck). Why didn’t they put her in a coma so that one day, after Tad figured out that Kathy was Kate, he could go to her beside, put the little girl in Dixie’s arms and whisper “It’s Kate, Dixie. Kathy is your Kate.”

And, miracles! Dixie awakens…

Now wouldn’t that have been more original?

Spike’s birthday may have been the most interesting part of the episode, besides Tad and Dixie… but Greenlee had all the best lines of the day.

Greenlee: Hey

[Josh whistles]

Josh: You look great.

Greenlee: Thanks. I just lost 185 pounds…never felt better.

…And later in the episode…Greenlee commenting to Annie about why she’s at the party, having nothing to do with forgiving Kendall:

Greenlee: I’m here for the food. Kendall always has the best spread in town. Ask Aidan.

Ah… Greenlee snark is always the best!

Earlier this week, Jake Martin was in the hands of Sudanese rebels in Darfur. Zach Slater sent Aidan Devane to rescue Jake Martin, since Aidan used to be MI-4 or 5 or one of those numbers in Her Majesty’s Secret Service before giving it all up to become a small town PI in Pine Valley, PA.

Tuesday of this week, Aidan and Jake were both captives, since Aidan’s a little rusty on the whole spy thing, it appears, and the rebels were on a satellite feed to Zach demanding 5 million bucks for their freedom. I know the rebels were serious because they told Zach more than once that if they did not get their money, then Jake and Aidan would die. They even made a point of telling Jake and Aidan that if they didn’t get the money, Jake and Aidan would die. They told anyone and everyone that if they didn’t get the money, Jake and Aidan would die.

In case you didn’t get the word, these Sudanese rebels who are holding Jake Martin and Aidan Devane captive are demanding 5 million dollars or Jake and Aidan will die.

Through the miracles of modern technology, these Rebels apparently have really good Wi-Fi and lightening fast DSL in the middle of nowhere and have been having face to face conversations with Zach (and Ryan, who apparently is now a trouble-shooter for Cambias, but that’s another story) way back in Pine Valley, where they made their demands for 5 million dollars or, say it with me, Jake and Aidan will die. Zach, of course, demanded to speak to his man Aidan, which, after threatening Zach with Jake and Aidan’s death a couple more times, the Rebel leader allowed to occur. At this point, Zach tells Aidan that they’re wiring the 5 million and the rebels will have it in approximately 30 minutes (30 minutes, emphasis added by ZS). Aidan gets the hint that Zach is throwing him and mere seconds later, the rebel camp is rocked with an explosion.

All hell has broken loose in both Darfur and Pine Valley. The feed has been lost and Geek Squad member Ryan is trying to re-establish contact. Tad has arrived to find out if Zach has heard from Aidan (um, yeah, Tad, he’s going to die unless these Sudanese rebels get 5 million dollars), Greenlee is freaking out because she’s already lost Leo and Ryan (kind of, if anyone remembers Ryan’s motorcycle jump off a cliff) so she’s in a serious state of denial.

As Tad rips into Zach and Kendall about sending Aidan to rescue Jake, there’s a lot of accusations being made about why Zach sent Aidan (the whole Kaidan sex while Zachlee was stuck in a hole thing, which I don’t understand how Greenlee didn’t hear them talking about this, since she was probably less than 15 feet away and Tad wasn’t trying to keep his voice down, but I digress), and Tad stormed out, snapping that he had to go tell his parents that their son was dead. Call me crazy, but shouldn’t he have waited a few more minutes before leaping off the Cliff of Conclusions? (especially knowing it literally was only a few more minutes before baby brother landed back in the Valley of the Pine)

For some reason, though, Tad storms off to the Comeback Bar instead of Pine Valley Hospital where his father, the chief of staff, and mother, a head nurse, are gainfully employed. While at the Comeback, Angie, who is there with her newly back-from-the-dead husband Jesse and their son and her daughter, gets a page to get the PVH stat for an emergency.

Ryan gets the feed back from the Rebel camp. Apparently, someone accidentally unplugged the cable, but quickly got it plugged back in… The smoke is clearing after the explosion and gunfire. Greenlee sees something… It’s the watch she gave Aidan, which I think Aidan was using to free himself and Jake. She’s despondent now…

Angie gets to PVH for the emergency and goes to see the new patient who has just been brought in… it’s Jake… It’s Jake!!!

It’s Jake?

Back at Zach’s office, Greenlee is leaning on Kendall’s shoulder, telling her about the first time she told Aidan “I love you”. Kendall asks Greenlee what Aidan said and they hear the answer coming from behind them…from Aidan!

So Jake and Aidan are already back at Pine Valley? When they were just being held captive in Darfur? Africa? And they’re back in Pennsylvania? Right after the explosion at the camp where they were being held captive? In Darfur? Already?

Um… WTF?

So… is Cambias Industries working on a transporter? And, apparently, they have enough Dilithium Crystals to beam Jake (and Aidan) back from Darfur to PVH in his injured condition that quickly? You’d think with a transporter like that, Binks would visit home more often. Scottie could beam her over for a few minutes each day… She’d be able to visit Momma Kane in the Big House…

Or does Pennsylvania border Darfur? I mean, since apparently everything else in the world is close to Pine Valley… like the ocean, the mountains and the beach… All within driving distance… heck, walking distance!

I realize there’s a suspension of disbelief inherent in all soap operas, but this is ridiculous. We’re supposed to believe that Zach’s men not only got Aidan and Jake out of a rebel camp on the other side of the world, but they got them back to Pine Valley before Zach, Ryan and the gang even finished their “business” over the Internet with the rebels who were demanding a ransom? Amidst rebel violence in a country that has real problems with American’s? And that from the time it took Tad to arrive at Cambias, tell Zendall off, leave and arrive back at the Comeback, thinking his brother was dead, his brother was arriving at Pine Valley Hospital? Already ensconced in a hospital bed?!?!

We’re talking a 30 minute timeframe, here, people!!! Zach told Aidan the 5 million dollar ransom (or Jake and Aidan would die) would be delivered in the next 30 minutes. Seconds after that statement was made, there was an explosion and the feed was lost, then gunfire… then some fumbling, some soul-searching, some confrontation… then… Jake and Aidan are BACK IN PINE VALLEY!!!

Wow… I mean, seriously… wow… that’s just bad. Bad storytelling, bad plotting, bad writing, bad, bad, bad…

Just… WOW

And where the hell is Jamie? Wasn’t he with his Uncle Jake earlier this year? Did he get bored with medicine or did he meet some chick with the Peace Corps and follow her back to her homeland? Which, with Jamie’s luck, was probably Sweden…

Lt. O’Binka ready for transport…


*special thanks to Donna Pool for the wonderful image of Bianca as a Star Trek communications officer*