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Megan McTavish and what she did to AMC


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I haven't seen and don't really know a whole lot about AMC's history, But i have seen people show distain for this HW for quite some time, and I was just curious to know why she is considered to be one of the show's hack writers? From my sampling of AMC episodes from 1992-1993 the show seemed like it was still going strong, and was really enjoyable from what i watched, so i just wanted more of a analysis as to why people think she was a terrible AMC writer?

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Most dislike her for bringing on the Careys, undoing Erica's abortion, killing of Dixie for a second time with pancakes and her Rylee pairing. It's up to debate how much those things hurt the show though. I actually think out of all the writers from the 00's onwards she was one of the better ones. She was no where near as bad as Pratt was and nowhere as boring/draining as B&E were.

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Most people feel her first stint was largely great. People chalk that up to the fact Agnes Nixon was more involved (she still accepted the Emmys I believe in fact) and Felicia Minei Behr was such a strong EP. I think McT, is slightly underated. The problem is when she's bad, she's pretty awful, and all her stints (even the early 90s one to an extent) start to spiral out of control near the end--arguably her late 90s stint never even started off strong. Carl has said, though it would never happen, that she would be a great co HW for AMC with Lorraine Broderick as their strengths and weaknesses balance each other out, which I agree with.

Most dislike her for bringing on the Careys, undoing Erica's abortion, killing of Dixie for a second time with pancakes and her Rylee pairing. It's up to debate how much those things hurt the show though. I actually think out of all the writers from the 00's onwards she was one of the better ones.

That's not saying much, but I would agree with you. Only her last year was really a mess IMHO,a nd she still managed to have some strong scenes which you really felt missing once she left.

her work on other shows is probably better less not spoken about, although I do feel that her stints on OLTL and GH are hard to fairly gauge due to JFP and the fact that she seemed to largely just do what JFP dictated.

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Megan is the best and the worst as a headwriter. I will say that, aside from some of the stuff at the very end, I never felt a stronger emotional connection to AMC than i did when Megan McTavish was headwriter. I also don't think any headwriter in the years I watched had such an ability to write strong speeches or specific moments - such as Bianca's intervention, or the (horrific and completely unnecessary) scenes where Tad talked about murdering Greg Madden. She also had a good sense of community and family.

McTavish's obsession with babies and dead babies was her undoing. At one point in early 1995 3-4 concurrent stories revolved around losing children or not being able to have children, or aborting a child.

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Thanks for some feedback guys! I was just really curious as like I said when she took over after Agnes, those episodes i saw still were really good (dispite me not knowing much about the backstories) But i guess Agnes still played a large part in suggesting and even writing some stories then?

I was just kind of under the impression that she was sort of like MAB, but no one is as bad as her.

I know people probably praise her the most with the SMG Kendall stuff huh? Unless most of that was Agnes doing?

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I think McTavish is slightly unfairly vilified by AMC fans--although again, I won't pretend she didn't do some awful stuff, and she worked best with a good guiding EP (but that's true of everyone).

Who knows how much Nixon wrote--i believe for much fo the 90s she officially had the name of Executive Head Writer--at least I've seen that somewhere. The only time really though that it sounds like she wasn't at all a part of the writing room was during Pratt's run--again from the vague things she has said. That of course doesn't mean that the networks listened to her, etc.

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That's not saying much, but I would agree with you. Only her last year was really a mess IMHO,a nd she still managed to have some strong scenes which you really felt missing once she left.

I actually think it says a lot in context. Megan's AMC was really the last time I felt like I was really watching All My Children and not some random hour of Slavery with those two dreaded pairings Zendell and Rylee. I think Megan's slide started somewhere around early 2005 and it just got progressively worse from there but even between 2005-2007 there were still moments of AMC that I loved and thoroughly enjoyed. Most of her problems cropped up because of Frons Rylee insistance and having the early mistake of putting the Kanes front and center 24/7, 365 days out of the year. She built up the Kanes in 2003 and rode them hard all the way threw and never gave any alternatives which is why you always had Bianca coming back at random intervals for random stories and why you always had Kendell #1 month after month, even when she was in a coma. That is one of the reasons why the entire core (Greenlee, Ryan, Kendell, Zach) were so worn out by the end of the show because of the intense focus on that foursome.

Overall out of all the post 2000 writers I think Megan was the best one along with Broderick, she gave good soap and knew what AMC was supposed to be for the most part.

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Once again, I am in the minority when it comes to opinions on McTavish. She is one of my favorite head writers ever in daytime. I loved pretty much every storyline during her run...yes, even the anti-abortion. She was the ONLY writer that had me watching day-to-day. After she left, my viewing was very limited (until the last few months, of course).

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I actually think it says a lot in context. Megan's AMC was really the last time I felt like I was really watching All My Children and not some random hour of Slavery with those two dreaded pairings Zendell and Rylee. I think Megan's slide started somewhere around early 2005 and it just got progressively worse from there but even between 2005-2007 there were still moments of AMC that I loved and thoroughly enjoyed. Most of her problems cropped up because of Frons Rylee insistance and having the early mistake of putting the Kanes front and center 24/7, 365 days out of the year. She built up the Kanes in 2003 and rode them hard all the way threw and never gave any alternatives which is why you always had Bianca coming back at random intervals for random stories and why you always had Kendell #1 month after month, even when she was in a coma. That is one of the reasons why the entire core (Greenlee, Ryan, Kendell, Zach) were so worn out by the end of the show because of the intense focus on that foursome.

Overall out of all the post 2000 writers I think Megan was the best one along with Broderick, she gave good soap and knew what AMC was supposed to be for the most part.

Skin, I absolutely agree with all of this. And yes, we know suring her last run Frons had a LOT more say, including limiting Brooke's screentime (while it's arguable how many good stories McTavish gave Brooke, it's not arguable that she seemed to like to write for her) as well as other vets.

Even her late 90s stint, which in hindsight doesn't look as bad as it did at the time (but that says more about soaps in the last decade in general), she was brought in to pump back up the ratings, DAYS was huge, and so it kinda makes sense why she was encouraged to go right of the bat with so many outlandish storylines.

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I almost would say (even though this is really risky) That she would be a better HW over at Y&R, again from what i have gathered so far is that when she was good she was good but when she was bad she was bad, but maybe if somehow Kay Alden would return and they got an executive producer who gave a damn, with what McTavish is really good at writing, and Alden's obvious knowledge of history with the show, they can somehow make Y&R watchable again (maybe not perfect,but watchable)

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The only thing that would be bad is that she seems to be a fan of retcons, but i know she would do a better job of making them more believable, than the hideous ones Maria has come up with.

So in case in point we might just get that story of Jack and Nikki's stillborn son coming back....

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She has a bad habit of somewhat recycling stories too--Josh and the unabortion in many ways could be seen as at least slightly like her retcon (and much more successful) story of Kendall. Tons of similarities between Who Killed Will (one of her first stories I believe) and Who Killed Michael Cambias, she liked doppelgangers too but in hindsight many other writers liked them more... (And to be fair, EVERY soap writer tends to recycle stories--Bill Bell did between Y&R and early B&B, Agnes Nixon certainly told some similar stories on Loving as on AMC, etc--it wouldbe hard not to).

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She has a bad habit of somewhat recycling stories too--Josh and the unabortion in many ways could be seen as at least slightly like her retcon (and much more successful) story of Kendall. Tons of similarities between Who Killed Will (one of her first stories I believe) and Who Killed Michael Cambias, she liked doppelgangers too but in hindsight many other writers liked them more... (And to be fair, EVERY soap writer tends to recycle stories--Bill Bell did between Y&R and early B&B, Agnes Nixon certainly told some similar stories on Loving as on AMC, etc--it wouldbe hard not to).

Y&R was a slew of copied, but altered, stories from his DAYS run. He loved sibling rivalries, for instance. And Margaret Mason's Linda and Eve worked as the same kind of character with different outcomes. Which is why I like to wonder what Bill would have done with his characters like Doug/Julie/Mickey/Bill/Laura/Maggie/Linda if he got to write them in the 80's or 90's.

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