Archive for December 2009
Comparing individuals who are part of minority groups is usually a bit paternalistic and as a person of color I try to avoid it whenever possible. There are times, however, when comparisons are useful to illustrate a point. I remember watching Day of Our Lives, not long after learning about the cancellation of As The World Turns and watching Crystal Chappell at work in the reprised role of ‘Carly Manning Alamain’. I immediately started thinking about the reported deleted scene from the last episode of The Guiding Light, one in which Olivia gave Natalia a kiss on the cheek as Rafe boarded the bus on his way to basic training, and to begin his new life. It was cut – for some unknown reason… uh huh… As I thought about that deleted scene, I wondered if As The World Turns writers would follow The Guiding Light’s lead; specifically, are As The World Turns writers running out the clock on Nuke? Despite the numerous opportunities to make Otalia a full-fledged couple, like any other, Guiding Light writers waited until the last episodes to let fans know that the couple would, off screen, make it while building their new family. I suspect that Nuke is headed for the same fate.
Luke and Noah’s relationship started as a groundbreaking event in daytime – U.S. soaps first openly gay male couple. Unfortunately, there seems to have been more smoke for the couple on paper than anything that approximated fire onscreen. Onscreen, short of an occasional kiss and the implication that sex had occurred, it would have be pretty difficult for those who are sporadic viewers, or viewers flipping through channels, to not mistake Luke and Noah for siblings (right down to the scary proposition that Lily and Damian ‘adopt’ Noah, making Luke his lover’s legal brother). To think that Jerry Springer doesn’t even write for As the World Turns- at least not in his own name.
When I think about the difference between the way the One Life to Live writers approach the Kish (Kyle and Oliver Fish) relationship, I’m both in awe, and feel a bit of bitter disappointment about Nuke. The problems with the Kish storyline have nothing to do with character sexuality. The writers have potentially weakened the Kish dynamic by glossing over Kyle’s earlier blackmail of Natalie Buchanan and Jared Banks, and his willingness to torment a fragile Jessica Buchanan with the loss of yet another child. They’ve glossed over his involvement with Stacy in deceiving Rex and Gigi regarding Shane’s treatment and recovery. Of course, Stacy is still an evil bitch, and Kyle has been redeemed as a misguided and desperate pawn. The writers have glossed over the batshit crazy Kyle’s sister brought to screen and dropped any possible exploration of whether or not he’d been covering his involvement with her all this time. Right now it seems to be the case that he genuinely had nothing to do with her – but shouldn’t there be some lingering doubt?
It would have been quite an interesting dynamic to watch the above board, letter-of-the-law Oliver Fish reconcile his regard for law and his deep love for Kyle. (Yet another common thread with As The World Turns. I immediately began thinking of Carly Tenney and her “G Man” Jack Snyder.) I’d love to see a more nuanced relationship in which we’re rooting for Oliver’s happiness and wanting Kyle to be the right man for him, but never knowing if he should or would ever, be able to trust Kyle. Is Kyle with Oliver because he loves him, or is he with Oliver to fool everyone into thinking that he’s turned over a new leaf?
The role that should have gone to Kyle is now being played out by seemingly devious Nick – who listens at doorways and seems to always be involved in some underhanded plot. Oliver is still the good guy – trusting, hopeful, willing to believe in his love with Kyle and the bond he’s sure they share. I’ve been ambivalent about the rush job on Kish, for the reasons mentioned above, and yet still find myself rooting for them and wanting to kick Nick’s backside right out the door. If only there was some audience participation software that would have allowed me to give Roxy (and by extension One Life to Live writers) a high five when she observantly figured out that there’s something not quite right about Nick and that he could spell big trouble for Kish. The writers rarely allow our girl to be that observant!
What I appreciate most about the Kish/Nick storyline is that it’s a formula linked to a tried and true daytime staple. We’ve seen it a million times before, the lover on the outside wants in. An illness/injury/spat of amnesia leads the lover on the outside (Nick in this case) to use the condition to keep the unsuspecting target (Kyle) close. Only the target’s partner (Oliver) realizes what’s going on while the target repeatedly sides with the lover on the outside. Sooner or later Kyle and Oliver will end up fighting over Oliver’s not-so-insane jealously over Nick and mistrust of Nick and Kyle together. The distance between the young lovers will grow while Nick stands in the background smirking and plotting even further. Just when it seems that our young lovers will work their way back to one another, Nick will probably figure out that Stacy is pregnant with Oliver’s child and break the couple up ‘for good’, picking up the pieces and moving on with Kyle for as long as they last.
The writers have very quietly and cleverly done in months what years of pseudo-activism on As The World Turns has failed to do with Nuke. Carlivarti and crew have made it clear that Kish is just like everyone else, in all the ways that matter. When it was evident that As The World Turns writers would create a teen pregnancy storyline with Liberty, I’d hoped that Luke and Noah, with a little magical same-character-SORASing, would step in as the child’s adoptive parents. I wanted them to be a family, together, and to learn that it wasn’t as easy being in love as they’d thought, but fighting to remain committed to one another and growing stronger together.
Instead, it was one series of missteps after another for the couple. Nuke has yet to be integrated into the cast in a way that makes us identify with them as people. The writers have only allowed us to identify with them based on their sexuality. They are that – and so much more and it would be nice, before the show ends, for the writers to tell us who they are. Pessimistically, I hear the ticking of the clock, and suspect that the writers are more interested in running the clock down as we approach 2010. No family for Nuke, no lives related to their work or other accomplishments, not even a kiss on the cheek at the end, justa good bye, and what a pity that would be.
when you can spoof yourself onscreen. Thanks to the brilliant minds at the Bold and the Beautiful:
Check out more clips from the EyeOnFashion youtube channel, by clicking HERE If you check it out, you can pick up more videos like THIS:
Thank you, gods of the ‘shirtless hunks of daytime’. Who needs eggnog?
Interesting article about the further eroding of daytime, and how DAYS is leading the way in winning viewers back:
…’Days’ not only doing well, but also gaining viewers?” Bruno asks. “That’s something people didn’t think could happen anymore.” …
‘Days” increase could be attributed to the return of such fan favorites as Crystal Chappell (Carly), Louise Sorel (Vivian) and Wally Kurth (Justin). (Ratings soared back in 1993 when Vivian buried Carly alive.) Bruno advises shows seeking to maintain and rebuild their fan bases to copy ‘Days’ methods. “I’d bring back Genie Francis to ‘General Hospital,’ Victoria Rowell to ‘The Young and the Restless’ and Cady McClain and Julia Barr back to ‘All My Children,’” the manager says.
AMEN, Michael Bruno. Read the full article by clicking HERE
You betcha’ and it just SUCKS, doesn’t it? True or not, it certainly feels as if NBC and CBS have been leading the charge to dismantle daytime, one show at a time. Rather than invest in new blood in the writers’ room and retain beloved onscreen faves, TPTB have favored daytime writers and EPs with histories of utter failure and disregard for the fans – shifting them from one show to the next. “Cheaper” (and not necessarily better) on screen talent has been shifted from one show to the next as well, and fans are stuck with the consequences of a host of bad decisions. We’ll miss you ATWT.
ATWT’s last airdate is scheduled for Sept. 2010 (GL fans will remember that GL’s last airdate was Sept. 18, 2009). Read more by clicking HERE.
Update: RedStateCenterLeft commented with this bit of trivia regarding ATWT, as HuffPo:
ATWT was the program Walter Cronkite broke into to announce that JFK had been shot. Because of that AWTW will be forever linked to a day that changed history. So sad to see that bit of history fall.
Watching the clips below, it’s hard to imagine that former GL writers didn’t know what they had, and didn’t build on the history of one of the show’s longest running supercouples. I don’t mind when new writers want to come in and put their own stamp on a show. It often creates a ‘freshness’ that long running shows need. I just hate when they do it at the expense of the audience and when “their own stamp” means ripping soul mate couples apart, reconstituting them as part of new ‘pseudo soul mate’ pairs and trashing the history of the show in the process. Even still, while I never thought I’d say this after Wheeler took over GL, but I miss the show. Daytime still isn’t the same without The Guiding Light.
I almost didn’t recognize the incredibly bad-ass goddess of great hair. No sirree! I didn’t recognize her because she was whining, crying, sniveling, and begging Todd to forgive her for not telling him about their daughter, Daniella. The soap world has officially turned on its axis. Isn’t this the same woman who has repeatedly taken hits to her reputation to save Todd from himself and defended him in court against the indefensible? Isn’t she the woman to whom he owes his freedom? Isn’t he the man she found in bed with another woman after swearing he loved her? Isn’t he the clod who accused her of only wanting his money even though she could have stolen his fortune a thousand times over? Isn’t this the same woman who was willing to risk going to prison by pretending that she killed Lee Halperin/Janet Ketring/Carol Harper Dennison so that the police wouldn’t think Todd did it and send him back to jail?
Rather than begging Todd for forgiveness, the writers should have had her wake up and realize that Ross Rayburn (who, of course, was destroyed to make Todd look heroic) really was a better man than Todd. For a man who thinks that he makes magic happen every time he says that ‘family is everything’, Todd should remember that he gave a child away to be sold – without remorse and only because he didn’t think that the child, Jack, was his biological son with Blair. He was willing to let Blair believe that her child was dead. He may also remember that he plotted to kill Sam’s mother while he was in the womb, to get rid of her and him. I guess the fact that Todd recovered Jack (after finding out that Jack was his) and that he had a change of heart about killing Sam’s mother, Margaret, makes him a better person than Tea? It’s why SHE has to beg forgiveness, with him refusing it, and HE gets to be repeatedly forgiven for his worst behaviors.
The soap world is turning on its axis, and my stomach is just turning.
In the last blog entry, I noted that I fully expected the BnB to lose the ratings race to DAYS. Here are the ratings for the week in question (and many thanks to the folks at SoapOperaNetwork – SON, for posting them):
Ratings for the week November 16-20, 2009
1. Y&R 3.5/12 (-.1/-.2)
2. DAYS 2.3/8 (+.1/+.3) ——–> (Last time in 2nd place: June 7-11, 2004)
2. B&B 2.3/8 (-.1/-.3)
4. GH 2.0/6 (-.1/-.2)
5. AMC 1.9/7 (-.1/-.1)
5. OLTL 1.9/7 (-.1/-.2)
7. ATWT 1.8/6 (same/-.2)
The problem for DAYS is that they’ve never been able to sustain dethroning the BnB for long, and I don’t see it happening this time, either. The focus on Rafe, Gabby, and LH’s Arianna is a HUGE mistake – but who am I to say it? Rafe as a solo character is likable and worth the airtime. Arianna and Rafe onscreen together brings back awful memories of the PASSIONS’ Lopez-Fitzgerald clan. Adding Martsolf’s Brady Black only triples my pain (sorry, I was NEVER a Theresa and Ethan fan. They made my skin crawl.) By the time you add the snooze producing Gabby (who is awfully reminiscent of Paloma Lopez-Fitzgerald), I find myself bored silly! I’m not even intrigued by the idea of Theresa/Arianna working with Roman to get rid Salem of its criminal element. Kill off the Hernadez clan, other than Rafe and bring on a brother for him instead of the family he currently has on screen.
Hey, if I must continue in committing soap heresy (as I’m sure Terror/Ethan fans will accuse me of), I have to admit that I’m not terribly interested in Vivian Alamain’s return. L-O-V-I-N-G Louise Sorel, I’m disappointed that the writing for her has made the character of Vivian so quirky and annoying. This Vivian is a caricature of Vivian 1.0 – who was always clever, conniving, and dangerous. Vivian 1.0 would be thinking of ways to make a tough business move to establish herself as Salem’s lead power broker, instead of focusing on how to woo a cantankerous and verbally abusive curmudgeon like Victor. As currently portrayed, I fully expect Disney to write a theme song to be played every time Vivian enters view and to watch small puppies tremor in fear in her presence – hey, those coats won’t make themselves, people! Vivian 2.0 … 3.0? 4.0? is focused on gaining power by ‘merging’ with Victor Kirakis. I hardly recognize Viv!
On a positive note, DAYS should be applauded for daring to focus on a quadrangle featuring an over 40 crowd, as well as its 40 something quad featuring Bo/Hope/Justin/Carly. Kate and Stefano (a match made in hell) tangling with Victor and Vivian (another match made in hell); with Kate displaying jealousy? Nice, though a bit odd given Victor’s emotional and verbal abuse of Kate. He hasn’t been quite as cruel to her as he has been to Nicole and Chloe, but still nasty enough that he’s given her enough reason to want to see him alone and lonely. All is forgiven? I guess. Despite their past behaviors and betrayals of one another, what makes this potential quad work is that each of the four characters (and their portrayers) are incredibly strong in their own right and only enhance this storyline. The idea of Kate and Vivian along with Victor and Stefano locking horns is as good as it gets in daytime. There will be blood, and the ‘fun’ part is not knowing whose blood will be spilled. There are all equally capable of ripping the others in half. I hope that the writers will respect the history of all four characters and leave them strong – most especially Vivian and Kate. More than anything else, daytime needs strong women and these are two of the strongest, fiercest warriors in daytime – if not a bit psychotic, much like the men they’re involved with.
If I was a DAYS writer/producer thinking about how to keep the ratings rock rolling up hill instead of down, there would be more focus on both quadrangles and even exploit the overlapping relationships between the two quads; I’d kick up the Brady and Nicole storyline until Zuker goes on maternity leave. Brady would actually be on the run with Nicole, trying to get her to return to Salem but all the while knowing that he is willing to betray his family to be with her; I’d realize how much more interesting Stefano is without EJ and yes, Virginia, if there really is a Santa Claus – EJ would be history; Rafe’s family would also be gone; I’d avoid making Maggie the collector of lost souls – her relationship with Melanie worked because it was unique. With Mia it’s just old hat and a little tired. Why not a role reversal with Maggie having relationship problems and Melanie serving as her sounding board?; and finally, I’d think about what it would need to happen to make Abe and Lexi and frontburner and interesting couple. The writers need to do more to challenge themselves on what to do with the Carvers to enhance the show’s diversity in a way that’s meaningful. Too much of what happens with the Carvers feels like an afterthought.