All My Children has Shape-shifters
All My Children (AMC) is really starting to piss me off. I am not a big soap fan, but my mother started me watching AMC when I was a little kid. So I have watched the characters grow up, get married and have kids in their little imaginary town of Pine Valley. Over the years, I have learned the basic rules of life in Pine Valley:
1. No wedding goes uninterrupted
2. No one stays in prison (but everyone goes to jail)
3. Everyone has an evil twin
4. Children either age very slowly or very quickly (Jamie, JR, Colby)
5. Three words - switched at birth (Miranda/Little Adam)
6. The dead do not stay dead (Phillip Brent, Dixie, Tad, Stuart, Alexander Cambius senior and junior).
7. Even with a dead body, the actor can still return as a twin (Frankie/Maggie Natalie/Janet) or a ghost (Jesse, Natalie).
Pine Valley is a little town in Pennsylvania with a lake, mountains, international airport, and an ocean. The dead don't ever stay dead. Every Christmas, a magic wish is granted, and sometimes ghosts of dead characters lend a helping hand. Even with all of this suspension of belief, it is still annoying when they re-cast characters. According to the unwritten rules, to re-cast a character, that person has to be gone for an extended length of time, preferably with amnesia. It seems like all of a sudden, AMC wants to start changing all the rules.
Occasionally a voiceover just makes an announcement when a re-cast doesn't involve a long absence ("The character of so-and-so will be played by so-and-so"). Sometimes re-casting works (Josh Madden) and sometimes the fans react so strongly the character just disappears (Dimitri Marick). It is especially frustrated in cases like Brooke's child-molester boyfriend. They spent months making us hate this guy, and then switched actors just when Brooke exacted her revenge. It was not very satisfying to see her shoot a total stranger when we were itching to see the first guy suffer. Don't worry, Brooke didn't get in trouble for killing him (see #2).
Lately, AMC has been having trouble with writers and undergoing a big overhaul of the cast. They pissed off a lot of viewers when their recent serial killer took out half of the employees of Fusion. They also decided to get rid of Julia Barr, who has played Brooke for over 20 years. Barr responded with a biting statement, "It's sad to leave a show that once was so influential." It turned out fan favorite Babe, was not really dead (see # oh, you get the idea).
I saw something on the cover of a magazine as I was in the checkout line the other day about Babe's shocking departure. Conveniently, she happened to be on a picnic with a psychopath this week. Good time to lose a character. She arrived home safely, so imagine my surprise today when she hugged her mother (close-up of actress Alexa Havins), pulled back and - had turned into a completely different actress mid-hug! I am hating the new actress in the role (Amanda Baker), just as I am finally hating the new Greenlee just a little bit less.