Recently, a storyline anchored on Spike (played by Alexander, Benjamin, and Caleb Eckstein) going deaf due to a car accident was launched on ABC’s All My Children. Co-head writer James Harmon Brown has been referring to the story as “Crash,” not because of the nature of the accident, but because it is similar to the Academy-Award winning film of the same name. Like the movie, Brown said that the events following Greenlee’s (Sabine Singh) decision to kidnap Spike will become interconnected when the particular storyline reaches an end.
“If you saw the movie, you’ll recall that all these incidents somehow at the end connect,” Brown told Soap Opera Digest. “At the end of this whole story, just about every character on [All My Children] is going to be connected to it in some way, all stemming from Greenlee having made the decision one day to take Spike. Relationships are formed, relationships are shattered, business alliances you never would have dreamed of come to pass… The story will involve Adam, JR, Tad, Krystal and everybody else.”
Brown, who joined the writing team of All of My Children with Barbara Esensten in June, said that they knew coming into the show that Singh’s Greenlee would eventually run off with Spike, considering the fact that the boy, whose parents are Ryan (Cameron Mathison) and Kendall Slater (Alicia Minshew), was supposed to have been hers. He also said that they wanted Spike’s deafness to have a longer impact, and not serve as a momentary setback for the characters.
“When [Greenlee took Spike], we wanted to have that act become something that literally crashed all these relationships. We wanted it to be a real issue, a real repercussion of what Greenlee did and a permanent one — something you can’t wave a magic wand and fix,” James Harmon Brown said. “That was the genesis behind it, and it allows us to explore not only the dynamic between Kendall and Greenlee, but the relationships between Zach and Kendall, Ryan and Annie, Ryan and Greenlee, and all these people who are intimately involved with this little boy.”
In dealing with Spike’s deafness, the possibility of cochlear implants have been brought into the story. Brown and Esensten came up with a similar story when they were still writing for Guiding Light, a soap that starred deaf actress Amy Ecklund, whose hearing was restored with the help of the implants. They are also consulting with One Life to Live actress Kassie DePaiva, whose son with James DePaiva was born deaf and subsequently underwent the operation.
“I think the whole idea of talking to Jim and Kassie and their journey from denial to acceptance and also as you’re trying to mainstream your child, what we heard over and over again not just from Jim and Kassie, but from other people, is the sense that, ‘We don’t want our child to be different.’
“I think that’s the thing they dealt with before they reached the decision to do the cochlear implant — and it is a decision, because when you do the operation, apparently it either destroys or inhibits the chance for some future research to come up with a better [method of restoring hearing]… within the larger deaf community, it’s a controversial thing. But this story is about parents of a child who are trying to do what they think is best for their child,” James Harmon Brown explained to Soap Opera Digest.
-Lisa Claustro, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Image Courtesy of ABC)