Amanda: One Daughter Too Many

Discussion in 'Dynasty' started by Michael Torrance, Apr 8, 2019.

  1. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Amanda was a character who completely vanished from the Dynasty universe after Karen Cellini destroyed the role (of course she was the producers’ choice—I am not blaming the actress alone). Even Dominique was mentioned again at the end of season 9, and Steven at least left a letter when he left, but Amanda was never heard of again.

    The reality is, Amanda was a replacement for Pamela Sue Martin’s Fallon. She appeared in season 5 after Fallon left, and occupied a similar place in the Carrington universe as Fallon: she was daddy’s girl and antagonistic towards Mummy. Camille Marchetta, who created her, did give Amanda her own arc (which took over the Dynasty universe and had it first explode in the ratings and then implode) which included Moldavia, prince Michael, and the near-incestuous affair with Mummy’s new husband and thus step-daddy. Amanda was also closer to Adam, unlike Fallon who was closer to Steven. The fact that the two were deprived of the privileged upbringing the Carringbrats had brought them closer, but while the writers saw that, they only minimally sprinkled that in scenes that were few and far between. Amanda's huge lie of a past and the deception should have been explored more to give the character depth (same as Adam's incidentally). When Alexis divorced Dex and Moldavia was jettisoned, Amanda was starting to get irrelevant. She was thrown in a triangle with Sammy Jo and Clay, and perhaps if the Fallmonts had lived to their potential something could have been there, but Cellini’s casting was not the only misstep in season 7. But while season 6 ended with a fun pool fight over Clay, the show was already plotting against its own developments.

    The writers/producers actually decided to play on its head the “Amanda is just a substitute for Fallon” obvious point with bringing back Michael, the chauffer PSM’s Fallon had a steamy affair with. But Wayne Northrop was nowhere near as steamy as 6 years ago, and, it bears repeating, just as Catherine Oxenberg was no Pamela Sue Martin, so was Karen Cellini no Catherine Oxenberg. So the story fizzled, and while I am glad they decided not to have Cellini’s Amanda be murdered, the end result for the character was the same. I am curious as to whether the show would have shipped off Oxenberg’s Amanda as they did Cellini’s. Yes, Steven left, but that was at the actor’s insistence. But what would have happened in season 8 when Emma Samms’ Fallon came back? Amanda would not fit the “next generation taking over Denver Carrington” plotline since she was incapable of even balancing her checkbook, and having sex with new step-dad would have been too dejavu even for storyline-recycle loving Dynasty.

    Frankly, while I really liked Oxenberg and the Dex-Alexis storyline, I hated the backstory that gave birth to Amanda: the never-before-heard trial reconciliation of Blake and Alexis after he crippled Roger Grimes and wanted her cast out that very night, and then Alexis who always was portrayed as wanting to be a mother to her children parking Amanda at her sister’s for 18 years. While before Blake and Alexis’ accounts of the past seemed to include parts of truth and myth on both sides, these developments had Alexis portrayed as the socialite who did only care for the trust fund and that her children would have been an unwanted burden. The schizoid reboot botched up Alexis’ character so badly, an Amanda wrinkle would not have been nothing much, but for the canon of Dynasty, her creation was problematic. Maybe her silent disappearance was the show tacitly acknowledging its mistake.
     
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  2. Tony

    Tony Soap Chat Member

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    It’s hard to separate Amanda from Dynasty’s success because she arrived at the show’s peak and had such a pivotal role in Season 5 leading to its most famous cliffhanger.

    I remember the U.K. headlines proclaiming ‘bitch switch’ so yes Amanda was a replacement for Fallon.

    But she was also immensely popular with American audiences who was in awe of Princess Diana mania.

    Oxenberg was less popular for British audiences who saw her acting as wooden, being less enchanted with her accent and aristocracy.

    But it’s impossible to think of Dynasty as a number 1 show without Amanda.
     
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  3. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle

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    I dunno. The slight addition to the backstory just never really bothered me much. Her choked-on-a-cheeseburger exit was just typically lazy.
     
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  4. Ked

    Ked Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    I simply would have had it so that Amanda was conceived shortly before Blake found Alexis in bed with Grimes, and that Alexis was never certain who the real father of her second daughter was - again, a repeat of the whole "is Blake or Cecil the father of Fallon" storyline, but it could work with Amanda. Alexis hid her because she was worried if Blake found out about her, he'd take her away from Alexis... possibly regardless if she was his blood-daughter or not. And Alexis was madly in love with Roger Grimes; she nurtured the notion that Amanda was the offspring of their forbidden romance.

    That could explain why she was so resistant towards the idea that Amanda could be Blake's... until a simple DNA test proves it.

    Also, why not make Cousin Rosalind a little villainous? And by that, I mean she could have more or less forced Alexis to leave Baby Amanda with her (like threatening to tell Blake about his possible 3rd/4th child), as Rosalind couldn't have any children and saw this as her only chance. It would better explain why Alexis would leave her daughter like that.
     
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  5. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Both of these make sense. Even instead of villainous, just have an infertile Rosalind tell Alexis that she would give Amanda a home and that a possible Grimes paternity would have nixed any future reconciliation with Blake (which maybe Alexis was still hoping for in the early years).
     
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  6. Ked

    Ked Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    Thank you! :D

    That works better. :)
     
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  7. Grant Jennings

    Grant Jennings Soap Chat Fan

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    I think there should have been more references to Alexis appearing in London from time to time to spoil little Amanda like a bitchy Auntie Mame.

    Of all the Carrington children, Amanda is the least consequential. Steven and Fallon are core characters who set up the initial conflicts of the series. Adam is essential to the backstory of Blake and Alexis. Even Krystina is more consequential as she and her unborn sibling play a pivotal role in the rivalry between Krystle and Alexis. Take any of them out and the story suffers. There would not have been a void if Amanda never existed.

    The soap character Amanda is most like to me is Joshua on "Knots Landing": they're both family members we never knew before; quickly become integrated into their families and set-up major plot-lines that become the show's main focus for a while. When both characters exit the shows continue without a noticeable void.
     
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  8. Ked

    Ked Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    Yes. :D I recall at least one scene where Amanda recalled how the visiting Alexis was always more affectionate than her own "mother", Rosalind (I believe Amanda described Rosalind as "distant"). And there was another scene where Alexis went on an angry tirade about how she got Amanda singing lessons, dancing lessons, piano lessons, French lessons, etc, "all things I couldn't afford" or something along those lines. Which is bull, considering how much Blake paid her annually to stay away from Fallon and Steven.

    Sad but true. Although the character still could have been more important than she was: they could have played up the whole "Fallon replacement" thing by having her suffer a minor identity crisis where she starts doing things in order to be more like Fallon (ie, looking after LB, working at La Mirage, wearing Fallon's iconic red dress), and both Blake and Jeff, desperate and foolish, encourage these things. Thankfully, the rest of the family realize what's going on and confront them. Blake and Jeff realize they were wrong to do that and tell Amanda she should be herself, not her sister.

    Jeff also could have been one of Amanda's conquests (thus no Nicole Simpson), even if they both end up with different people. However, after the Massacre, Jeff and Amanda decide to hook up after all (either Michael is dead or Amanda decides to divorce him right away), but that plan goes off the rails when, surprise surprise, Fallon has returned!

    Keep Fallon on DYNASTY and *not* on THE COLBYS, and we have a sisterly rivalry for the ages: not only do they fight over Jeff's heart and Blake's affection, but also over LB, who recognizes Amanda more as a maternal figure more than his own mother. Plus, there's also the fact that each sister has a favorite brother, and that these two brothers tend to go head-to-head themselves. Thus we have a 4th thing for the Carrington sisters to do battle over.

    Not only that, but in the original Season 7, Amanda wanted a job with the company. This would have been a perfect time for her to start learning the family business, so that by Season 8, Amanda is able to join her three siblings in running DenverCarrington. She won't have as much experience, but by then she'll at least know *something*.

    And I would have had her relationship with Michael Cullhane be way different: although he does save her from the La Mirage fire and she manages to track him down to thank him, Michael instead reveals very quickly that he's now a millionaire, having returned to show off his newly acquired wealth. He notes the ironic timing, now that Blake has lost all his money. Its thanks to Amanda that Michael agrees to be a new backer for Blake when he starts a new business.

    Amanda's romance with Clay Fallmont could have been more important too: I hated how in the original series, Emily Fallmont was simply guilty over having an affair 20+ years ago, and denied that Clay was Ben Carrington's son up until the end. Instead, when Emily finds out Clay is dating Amanda, she's horrified at the prospect of her son sleeping with his own cousin, and tries to discourage the romance. In fact, she could even try to help Sammy Jo break the two up.

    But when Amanda and Clay's love prevails and they decide to get married, Emily has no choice but to come out and reveal the truth, horrifying everybody. Clay skips town, the notion that he *might* have slept with his own cousin being too much for him to handle, and Buck goes after Ben, who is alerted by either Blake or Alexis to skip town as well.

    Afterwards, Amanda seeks comfort with Michael Cullhane, who proposes. Amanda says yes, and they elope... but it all ends when Michael is killed during the Carrington Mansion Siege when Cecil Colby (not Matthew Blaisdel) makes his surprise return.

    During Season 8, Amanda and Jeff start up with each other again, only this time its more to properly end things with them, since they never did back in Season 6. So they part ways as friends, more or less. But this does play a part in Fallon divorcing Jeff again. Amanda also becomes best friends with Dana, and is a constant source of support and encouragement for her and Adam during their search for a baby, as well as helping keep their marriage secure.

    See? Doesn't all this make Amanda seem so much more important now?
     
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  9. TJames03

    TJames03 Soap Chat Addict

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    PSM and CO would have been fire together....but in that one and only scene, ES and KC were wretched.....
     
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  10. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson drilling for soap

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    Soap characters come and go, the connection to the core or premise of the show isn't always relevant. It's an ongoing saga of soap stories, and how good or bad it is depends on the writing, casting and performance.
    Maybe we like to think of prime time soaps as "a story", and maybe that applies to Dynasty's first season, but it's not the nature of the continuing format.

    The inclusion of character Joshua Rush resulted in fantastic soap, while the inclusion of Amanda Carrington resulted in a brilliant cliff-hanger.
    Apart from that I didn't find her very interesting, but not because she was a Fallon replacement, because the reason itself doesn't define the quality of the character or her storylines.

    And for the same reason it's possible to (continue to) create fantastic soap after some the original core characters have left the show - it may not be the ideal situation, but it's possible, Peyton Place being the prime example.
    Ann Colby was one of the weaker characters, and yet her storyline had a great and positive impact on the narrative: the Webbers, the trial and Catherine Peyton's backstory.

    Furthermore, I'm not convinced that "Amanda" wouldn't have happened if PSM hadn't left the show.
     
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  11. TJames03

    TJames03 Soap Chat Addict

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    I found that the character assassination of Amanda began in the middle of Season 06. They made her absolutely unlikable, etc. I.personally think that the show never needed Fallon to return at all. Keep her dead and keep CO would have worked, IMHO.
     
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  12. Ked

    Ked Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    While I still would have Fallon come back, I still on occasion like to imagine Season 9 with CO's Amanda in place of Fallon.
     
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  13. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Yes it does, but the show would not have gone to such lengths. I mean, look at how poorly they used Dominique, or Ben, or Caress.

    But Fallon was important to the Roger Grimes story since she was the actual culprit. Now, I would not have minded if the culprit was someone else (I would have preferred Tom Carrington), but in the story as Paulsen wrote it, Fallon was essential.

    If the Colbys had a third season, we would have seen if they planned to bring Amanda back. But I think Cellini's terrible imprint ruined the character.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2019
  14. Ked

    Ked Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    If they had, as the saying around here goes, "listened to nature", they might have. Regardless, they *should* have.

    So? Look how poorly they used the *ENTIRE* cast. This forum is practically dedicated to what could or should have been done with each character and/or story. I just happened to be focusing on what could/should have been done with Amanda this time around. There have been other threads dedicated to the characters you've mentioned.

    There are two possible replacement culprits: Amanda and Steven.

    With Steven, the background story doesn't need to change much, if at all. They could even have it so that Alexis was planning on taking her favorite child and running away with Roger (who had already promised they'd have "riches beyond imagining", and therefore Alexis wouldn't need to rely on Blake's promised allowance for her staying away from the children), and during the ensuing fight with Roger, it was Steven who picked up the gun and fired, saving his mommy.


    Amanda would be a little harder, but not impossible, to replace Fallon as the culprit. All that's really needed is to change the time of when Alexis met up with Roger (he was supposed to be hospitalized, so we'd get some continuity that Alexis had to wait much longer for him to be back on his feet). Of course, one important detail that must remain unchanged is that Roger be killed while on the Carrington grounds, so that his body can wind up in the Carrington lake.

    Perhaps Roger decided to bide his time and returned there in order to retrieve the Nazi treasure. That puts him back in the right place... but how to get Alexis and Amanda there as well? ...Oh, here's how: Alexis kept up a correspondence with Roger, and he ended up writing to her that he was going back for the treasure. Alexis, believing she could finally be with "the one man who loved her", and have "their" daughter with them (cuz at the time, Alexis wasn't sure if Blake or Roger was Amanda's father), impulsively decided to meet up with him and finally introduce him to 5-year-old Amanda.

    Alexis even contacted Tom Carrington beforehand, asking him to help her get in and out of there without Blake ever finding out. But when she and Amanda arrived at the cottage, a surprised Roger is suspicious of Alexis taking such a big, stupid risk in coming back - and with a child in tow! He starts to accuse Alexis of actually trying to get Blake to take her back... and even accuses Amanda of being neither his or Blake's daughter, but some other man Alexis has undoubtedly slept with.

    Naturally, a hurt Alexis becomes angry and insulted, and their argument becomes out of control ("There were so many rows between the two of you," Sable pointed out). Hysterical, Alexis discovers Roger's gun and threatens him, but he manages to knock it out of her hands. The gun lands next to little Amanda, who's been watching the whole thing in silent confusion. She sees Roger strike Alexis, who hits her head on the wall and blacks out. Thinking the big scary man is about to do something worse to "Auntie 'Lexis", little Amanda picks up the gun and fires.

    Tom arrives, and convinces the small child that this is all just a terrible nightmare, and she'll be back home with her parents soon enough. He puts her to bed, makes certain Alexis is alright, and hides Roger's body in the lake. He then calls Rosalind and arranges for her to come and pick up Amanda (not at the cottage, but at a hotel with Tom). He ships Alexis off to a hospital under an assumed name. Alexis is confused when she wakes up, and can't seem to remember what happened in the last few hours. Tom tells her that she waited and waited for Roger to show up at the cottage, but he never came, and that she fainted and hit her head. Tom urges Alexis to get back out of Denver, lest Blake find out about Amanda and take her away from Alexis as well.

    Heartbroken, Alexis agrees, and can't bring herself to fight when Rosalind shows up take Amanda back to their London home. In fact, during the whole Grimes investigation, Amanda, realizing she recognizes the corpse of a man she supposedly never met, contacts Rosalind, and asks if she, Amanda, was ever in Denver during her childhood. Rosalind reveals that did indeed happen once, thanks to Alexis whisking her away. At first, Alexis holds onto the story that Tom told her, that Roger never showed up that night... but once Amanda finally starts to remember, those old painful memories come flooding back to Alexis.
     
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  15. Carrie Fairchild

    Carrie Fairchild Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Some interesting ideas above. As much as Amanda was an obvious Fallon replacement, I'm glad she was introduced. Her arrival was one of the few meaty storylines to be generated from Alexis' exile years (the other being Caress' arrival from Caracas). Aside from that, all we really got in terms of info from her missing years was Joseph's scrapbook scene and Alexis knowing or knowing of people like Rashid Ahmed and Peter DeVilbis. Her exile was ripe for the picking by writers but they didn't really bother.

    Back to Amanda though, post-Moldavia, they didn't really seem to know what to be doing with her. I think they should have played up the celebrity angle more and based her on Princess Stephanie of Monaco who was all over the tabloids at the time as the pop singing, swimsuit designing, wild child princess of Europe. Inappropriate boyfriends, partying, drugs, topless tabloid photos on a yacht off Nice. It would've given her something different to do while causing headaches for mummy and daddy.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
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  16. GillesDenver

    GillesDenver Soap Chat Active Member

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    That's what the writers had in mind. One idea (which was not in the seasonal bible but in the story outlines developed later) was that Amanda would become a model, something that Michael would consider as "one step before becoming a whore", ouch!

    More embarrassment was planned after Dex dropped Amanda as she was supposed to harass him, especially in a scene where she was supposed to wait for him, all naked, in La Mirage' sauna (who knew that La Mirage had a sauna ?!)

    These plans were scrapped during the retooling as the people from ABC hated the character and wanted her to be "like Fallon" (the Fallon from seasons 3 and 4 I assume). The idea of pairing her with Michael Culhane was mentioned during this retooling even though the idea did not materialize until the next season.
     
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  17. Carrie Fairchild

    Carrie Fairchild Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Damn those fools at ABC!
     
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  18. GillesDenver

    GillesDenver Soap Chat Active Member

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  19. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Dream Maker

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    Well, that would have been a way for Moldavia to be incorporated and become part of the Dynasty universe, rather than the other way around as happened for some episodes in seasons 5 and 6 with disastrous results. I liked Amanda too; she and Adam were a nice pair, and Amanda was a pain for Alexis but also wanted to be around her, as opposed to Fallon who would rather she disappear. So the writers could have made her a character all its own. That's just not what they chose to do. Even characters like Blake uttering how she reminded them of Fallon did not help in my book.

    It did look obvious that they were trying to remake her into Fallon, but it became ludicrous when they tried that with Cellini.

    Oxenberg's departure (over a minuscule raise request) was one of Spelling's biggest errors. As I have written elsewhere when discussing why I found the Moldavia plot problematic, Amanda was the youngest character and quite a draw for US audiences. Dynasty was fast becoming a geriatric show overall, with few key characters being really young, so why would you fire an actress who simply requested a raise after two years? The show had already experienced what mess they could get into when an actress does not want to be on it no matter the salary (PSM) and the disastrous Emma Samms recast, and of course also the lackluster Jack Coleman. While Dynasty was amazing in originally casting roles with very few exceptions, it never captured lightning in a bottle twice. And it certainly wasn't going to do it in season seven.
     
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  20. Ked

    Ked Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    Now those sound like interesting storylines, and would have been perfect for the Carrington Princess!
     
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