March 27, 2006

This Tuesday AMC offered something that felt quite unusual, and it wasn't just the deflowering of a 26-year-old-virgin. The Tad/Di/Aidan/Erin scenes, along with the ones from the previous Thursday, portrayed two things rarely seen in Pine Valley these days: friendship and happiness. A simple bowling date, with the couples hanging out, being silly and flirting led to some seriously wonderful character development.

First, you have Aidan and Erin. They have been providing something the show has been sorely lacking for awhile sweet, slow building romance without a sense of impeding doom. Sure, they had some minor bumps in the beginning, but their friendship grew and with it attraction. Aidan, for the first time, seems to have fallen for a woman whose heart doesn't lie elsewhere.

And, as it turned out, Erin's heart was never anywhere. Poor Erin, so traumatized by her Lavery childhood, had avoided both emotional and physical intimacy. But instead of being seduced or submissive, she recognized Aidan as one of the good ones (as well as good looking ones) and stepped up. She asked him to take her to bed. He obliged. And nothing went wrong.

Then, you have Tad and Di. It's a complicated relationship, but there's real chemistry between the two and they seemed not just to be attracted to one another but to genuinely enjoy one another's company. Knowing that Di is keeping the big Dixie secret, that will no doubt derail this romance friendship, added a layer of sadness to their joy.

But the writers didn't stop there. Tad walked in on Erin and Aidan, hilarity ensued and Tad seemed not only to bond with his friend and partner over it but his new girlfriend as well. Erin and Di had a wonderful conversation, where Di's experience and Erin's lack of experience didn't seem to matter. Both of them agreed they had found love for the first time. Later, Tad was more brotherly to Erin that we've ever seen Ryan be to her, and Di took the time to make peace with Aidan. When Aidan gave his blessing to Di and Tad's affair, it clearly meant a great deal to her.

Yes, we know that none of this can last. But these few scenes of happiness, of couples hanging out and being friends, will make the coming bumps in the road all the more painful and effective. The simple scenes of bowling, hanging out and making love helped me engage with these characters want to see them happy.

And as an engaged viewer, I can't want to see what is going to happen. Will Tad run back to Dixie, even though she chose to stay dead? Or will he stick with the sister who clearly wants to be with him, despite her keeping such a big secret? Will Erin's euphoria wear off and Lavery-issues surface? Or will Aidan continue to be her dream man? What will Lily & Jon think? Will Erin, who knows something about helping siblings stay "dead", stick by Di? Will Aidan support Tad's decision whatever it is? I have no idea, but I hope the writers have answers in store.

By: Melissa

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