Rays of Light on AMCBy Michael Karol Posted: Aug 21, 2009
Well, the viewers have spoken. Not the viewers who write to us; they've written often and loudly (in CAPS) about how much they dislike (and that's a nice word) the Erica and Ryan cougar story. Now the Nielsens have spoken: Erica and Ryan flirted, and ALL MY CHILDREN's rating dropped a tenth of a point. Doesn't seem like much on the face of it, but if you consider that ratings for the soaps in general are anemic, every 10th of a point counts. Does this mean AMC will scrap the cougar plot? No way. But if the ratings keep tumbling, it might give the show runners pause.
In any case, there's been no heavy romance … yet. Just a series of scenes showing Erica and Ryan's attraction to each other in subtle ways: taking a spin around the dance floor, discussing their favorite romantic movie on the phone, each alone, in bed; watching a beautiful Pine Valley moon rise before Erica left for Africa to lend her celebrity to the charity Feed the Children.
And it's a great thing that Erica's doing (it's also a charity Susan Lucci supports in real life). In fact, it's exactly the kind of thing Erica should be doing, and the scenes between her and fellow volunteer Krystal, after they set up their tent in Africa, were funny and real, just like the AMC of old used to be 90 percent of the time. Here's a snippet of Krystal and Erica:
Krystal: [taking a photo of Erica with her phone] That's a keeper. Ha, ha!
Erica: Oh, so now are you a member of the paparazzi?
Krystal: Hey, I'm sorry. I knew this trip was gonna be full of never-before-seen sights. I just did not know it would include seeing you sleeping so close to dirt. But maybe you should check to see if they can find you a hotel room.
Erica: I don't want a hotel. I don't need a hotel. It's just that not all of us grew up with the facilities 20 yards away, that's all.
I'm also enjoying the hell that the Hubbard family is going through. The murder of DA North and the "disappearance" of baby Trevor each involve one or more of the Hubbards, Pine Valley's reigning (and right now, only) family of color. In fact, there are very few people of color who live in Pine Valley period, so it's nice to see Jesse, Angie and crew getting their props with real stories, full of depth and emotion.
In the meantime, here's a suggestion for wrapping up a certain plot that's causing fan anguish; it includes something the show can do with Aidan that actually makes sense:
If we must endure Erica making out (UGH!) with Ryan (I will not speculate further), then we must. But how about bringing back Greenlee, since we don't really know if she's dead, and pairing her with Aidan. This gives Jack a major excuse to return from Europe, and will certainly screw with Ryan's head, Greenlee being the love of his life and all. It makes for a perfect setup to bring back the couple almost every fan we've heard from wants back together: Erica and Jack. I'm just sayin'.