Monthly Archives: July 2010

ABC Daytime vs ABC Primetime (The Gates)

I could list the million and one things wrong with ABC daytime, but you don’t need me to do that.  You’re living it.  I won’t even rip into the Franco scenes on GH that now make all of James Franco’s earlier works unwatchable for me because all I’ll ever see is the primping, preening, joker-esque performance he turned in as the worst villain in daytime history…I’m not even going to get into the fact that the writers are having Brianna Brown (Lisa Niles) recreating her ‘crazy woman’ role from “Criminal Minds: Pleasure is My Business“.   Nope, won’t go into all of that.  If you’re interested, Niles was wonderful on Criminal Minds, as Franco has been wonderful in other past projects.  It HAS to be the writing for their characters that, in part,  makes them so awful on GH.

Why haven’t the powers that be of ABC entertainment thought of hiring some ambitious exec who wants to become a VP of prime time take over as the VP of daytime programming?  Clearly the prime time execs have a keener eye for what entertains an audience.   Hey, I’m sure anyone who wants to be a VP of prime time programs wouldn’t be happy to be stuck with the daytime albatross, but the network is in trouble and needs someone at the helm who has vision and no ties to daytime actors weighing down their decision making (see:  Brenda’s return taking over a full day of programming – screw you OLTL, screw you AMC).  The best soap ABC airs at this time doesn’t air as part of it’s daytime schedule.  It airs as part of its prime time schedule.  Given the fact that ABC aired the original ‘Dark Shadows‘, how fitting that they’ve developed and now air ‘The Gates’.  It’s a program I didn’t expect to like.  The Gates is a private self-sustaining community that is home to vampires, werewolves, witches, and succubi.  What sounds like recipe for disaster has become “must see”  for me.  While some liken it to  Twilight for Grown Ups, I see it as much more. Twilight is insipid and unwatchable, as far as I’m concerned.  The Gates boasts  likable characters – even the scary ones,  skilled writing, and plots that both keep you guessing – and then wanting more once you get the answers.  Like any good soap, The Gates creates more questions than it answers.

Two core families drive the series.  The very human Monohan family is led by Sarah (Marisol Nichols) and Nick Monohan (Frank Grillo, ex-Hart Jessup, The Guiding Light), a Chicago police officer cleared of the wrongful shooting of a suspected rapist.  He’s newly hired to protect the citizens of  The Gates when the old chief “retires”.  Wife Sarah is a stay at home mom who finds herself in a community of eerie Stepford wives who make her feel inadequate as both a wife and mother.  As the series develops, we find that Nick is inherently suspicious of every one and everything, including the women who have made it a point to befriend the unassuming and trusting Sarah.  Ordinarily this is the part where I’d start looking for something else to watch.  There’s nothing worse than watching weak and demoralized women in daytime, only to follow that up with weak and controlled women in prime time.  Luckily, that’s not the case with The Gates.  Unlike the women of daytime, or the  semi-empowered women of Desperate Housewives, the women of The Gates are both powerful, and bad ass.

Vampires Claire and Dylan Radcliffe, along with adopted daughter Emily are the other core family.  Claire was turned by Dylan at some point in their relationship. When?  We don’t yet know, but while Dylan is content to live a happy suburban life, Claire finds that shopping, testing new recipes, and learning to make chit chat is incredibly difficult and dull.  Both love their daughter Emily and know that outside of their gated community, Emily would never survive in a world among ‘their kind’.  She  is still human.  Claire in particular is torn apart by the compromises she makes each day to keep their idyllic life going.  She is torn between the passionate love she still feels for her husband, the maternal love she feels for her daughter, and the cravings she still has for fresh human blood.  To Dylan’s dismay,despite the fact that she’s continued her sacrifice,  Claire has allowed herself to indulge  her fresh-kill fantasies, putting them all at risk.

Of course Nick’s hard edged need for sniffing out the truth, and Claire’s self-destructive behavior puts the two families on a collision course.  The question is, why is Nick there  at all?  Clearly he’s no pushover.  Why would so many people with so much to hide allow a man like Nick behind the gates?  We learn that the chief Nick replaced didn’t retire, he was murdered.  We also learn that the old chief  was willing to blackmail Gates’ residents with the secrets he kept.  Why risk bringing in Monohan?  From what we’ve seen, he can’t be bought – so is he destined for the same fate as the former sheriff?  I doubt it.  What we have learned is that Nick has a secret of his own.  There was no ‘wrongful’ shooting of the rape suspect.  Nick was convinced of the man’s guilt and intentionally killed him to stop him from escaping justice due to lack of evidence.

Will he keep the secrets of Gates’ residents if they keep his?  Surely someone knows that Nick is guilty.

Was the job ‘payback’ from someone who was a victim (or the relative of a victim) of the man Nick killed?  Had the individual mistakenly assumed that Nick was the kind of man who respected secrets?

Is Nick just along for the ride?  Why is uber-bitchy blackmailing witch, Devon, so interested in Sarah Monohan?  Is Sarah unknowingly linked to someone in the community?  Will Sarah (or her children) reveal a power they never knew they had?

I’d tell you more, and there’s a lot more to tell, but it would only ruin it for you should you decide to tune in.  I will teasingly tell you that:

Devon… uber-bitchy… LOVE HER!

Peg (Victoria Gabrielle Pratt, ex-Vicky Spaulding, The Guiding Light)… it’s probably a safe bet that she really is all goodness and light, as she seems.  I also think Devon underestimates her — and shouldn’t.

Brett?  Something tells me that he’s going alpha, and SOON.  He’ll be the leader of the pack in no time at all.  Get over it Lukas… or not, that would certainly make things more interesting.

Dana Monohan?  Watch out for sleepovers at Emily Radcliffe’s house.  Something tells me that there’s no ‘wake up’ call.  Dylan has had to take a life (Teresa’s) to save Nick from being killed.  Will it awaken a blood lust in him?  Would Clarie and Dylan become unstoppable if they devolve?

Only time will tell.  If you’re not watching ‘The Gates’, you should be.

GH: My fave soap moment all year!

Why WHY did the writers waste time on the Brook Lynn-for-hire storyline?  Ms. Leon’s  performance in the vid below is surely evidence that the revamped Brook Lynn has more kick, more fire, and would be better cast as a wanton vixen than as a desperate diva doing the bidding of a woman she barely knows.

Double score on the Tracy and Brook Lynn showdown:

I’d love to see  Brook Lynn, in a nod to GH history, start up her own music label, as her parents once did, and bring something new to the current GH.   The problem is that it would most likely mean more singing and, sometimes, when soap stars sing, I cry..  “Memba” this:

GH: Yeah, because he’s all good… and stuff

First, let me salute GH’s real fathers and all around great men:

Mac Scorpio, who never asked for more than he gave.  In fact, Mac never asked for anything.  It was his great joy to raise three “daughters” to whom he had no legal responsibility.  He didn’t need it.  He was bound by love.  Georgie, Maxie, and Robin would have known a very different (colder and crueler) world without him.  Remember, Mac is an ‘old school’ reformed bad boy.  He only had two things on his mind when he arrived in PC, making money and making mischief – and that usually involved someone’s wife/girlfriend/etc.   Not every character has to be a Mac Scorpio, but it sure would be nice if there were more of them.

Jasper Jacks, see Mac.  Jax’s ‘crime’?  He actually believes that children should grow up in a loving environment with parents they can look up to (or make that SHOULD look up to).   What’s wrong with this guy, right?  He thinks that children raised in a violent world could, at worst, lose their lives, or at least lose the ability to make good choices toward becoming healthy and loving adults.   Our poor Jax wants to give Michael and Morgan the life that neither of their parents is smart enough to want for them.  Jax isn’t an angry or preachy guy.  He’s just a guy who uses commonsense, but whose statements are treated as if they’re irrational.  I don’t want to see Jax changed.  I’d rather the writers realized that he should be the agent for change for characters they’ve relegated to the status of one-note harridans…. Carly.

Lucky Spencer, again, see Mac.  Lucky is another one of those ‘annoying do-gooders’ GH writers create and then punish.  His worst mistake was getting hooked on painkillers, but beyond that Lucky has been a remarkably good guy.  He’s loved and forgiven his ‘soul mate’,  Elizabeth Webber, for lying and cheating and passing off another man’s child as his while she secretly gave ‘their’ son his biological father’s initials.   I know, Lucky cheated with Maxie Jones.  Drug addicted Lucky cheated with Maxie – it was the only way she’d give him the pills she’d stolen for him.  It doesn’t absolve him of being a complete ass, but when I compare that to sober Liz cheated on Lucky, repeatedly, I’m not so angry at the guy.  Through it all, Lucky loved both of Elizabeth’s children as his own and despite the fact that he believes her to be pregnant with his brother’s child, he has not abandoned his children and technically, he hasn’t abandoned her, either.

Dante Falconeri, not much to say, but I’m adding him to the list any way. He has integrity, believes in his life as a law enforcement official, and for now he’s open and honest, and doesn’t cheat.  Now that Brenda (Brender, to some of you) is back, my biggest fear is that a father-son-Brenda triangle will begin marking the end of my viewership of this show.  I’ll enjoy Dante while I can.  As the mother of an adult son, I have to admit that what I love most about him is that he’s a mama’s boy (in the most positive sense of the word).

And then there’s:

Sonny Corinthos That’s it?  Sonny takes away Kristina’s credit cards and that’s all it takes to make her behave and forgive her father for abusing women and making her feel worthless?   Gorgeous life lesson there!   Does this now make Sonny the father of the year?  He nearly blows his psychologically fragile daughter to hell and back, lies about it, and all he has to do is make her live a  month without credit cards and yell at her to make her feel as if SHE is the problem in their relationship.  Tale tucked between her legs, eyes cast downward, (and I think she piddled the floor)  Kristina realizes that she is in fact just a naughty girl who has been disrespectful of her loving father.

You take a kid’s credit cards away if they overspend, or if they are a little mouthy.   Kristina has now nearly cost two separate young men their lives (Ethan and Johnny) by playing games.  She has a habit of falling for older men – whether they want her or not.  She’s dated a young man who was horribly abusive to her and she protected him.  Shouldn’t she be in therapy – where almost every GH woman has been?  Oh, don’t worry, GH males don’t typically need help, they’re good to go.  The one person who really does belong on a therapist’s couch won’t have to go… she’s been cured with a little retail therapy.   Once she gets her credit cards back, she’ll spend her way into happiness.  Besides, in therapy she’ll only learn to blame her father for his anger and aggression toward women and we can’t have that.

Patrick Drake Mancini: Writers, you blew it!  Seriously!  I’m not just making it up as I go along – I leave that to you!   I wanted to feel sorry for the guy, but HOW????  He’s just had sex with his wife… who is HIV positive… after having sex with another woman and not telling her, not giving HER the choice of saying ‘no’ and walking away.   He is, after all, the wronged party, right?  He shouldn’t have to pay for his infidelity because  he was drunk.

Besides, he’s really really sorry, and he loves his life with Robin.. again.  I know, because he said so.  Of course, that’s in stark contrast to his whining and moaning a couple of weeks ago about having his ‘ex girlfriend’ stolen, that the ex didn’t support him by standing with him against Steve Webber, that his life has changed and he doesn’t know how he became the ‘good guy’ – clearly overstating the case.  The fun begins 3:07 in…

Some of you got the Michael Mancini comparison and loved it, others of you thought it was too extreme.  Michael Mancini, from what I can piece together of MP history, didn’t become a major d-bag all at once (and my apologies to d-bags which are actually useful, Patrick is not).  Michael  slowly evolved – primarily putting his own needs first and finding more and more ways to rationalize and justify his betrayals and misdeeds.  Was he ever truly sorry for cheating on his wife with her sister?  Someone who did watch the show long term can tell me.  I wondered about that when watching Patrick and Robin together as Patrick expressed a coded statement of remorse to a clueless Robin.   As  with Lucky and Liz, Patrick stood by Robin when she was ill, I agree… but she was ill… his asshat behavior is all about who Patrick is at his core (the man who loves his life with Robin, no hates it – he’s too confined, no <sigh> loves it now that he realizes he could lose it).  We all know where this is going.  It will be ‘that crazy bitch’s’ fault that he cheated, ultimately.

Patrick Drake Mancini will threaten, and shove, and push, and snarl, and whine… and we are to forgive him, because he didn’t mean to fault his wife for running off to save lives in Africa for a few months, after he dared to give up his beautiful life to  ‘settle’ for her.  It’s not his fault that ‘that crazy bitch’ believed him when he flirted with her about the marvelous sex they once had.  It’s not his fault that he hates Steven Webber for ‘stealing his ex-crazy bitch- girlfriend even as  he has a loving wife and adorable child at home.  On GH, it’s always some ‘crazy bitch’s fault’.

Someone at GH clearly has an English-to-Misogyny-dictionary/playbook and I wish they’d burn that bastard.

Dark Shadows/Dark Shadows Revival

For anyone interested, Netflix is streaming ‘Dark Shadows Revival’ (the complete failed series, of course). It’s worth the watch to see some old soap stars who were major fan faves, and actors who were linked to daytime soaps – even if their roles were limited:

Julianna McCarthy (ex- Liz Foster, Young and the Restless) as Mrs. Johnson, the Collins family maid; Joanna Going (ex-Lisa Grady, Another World) as Victoria Winters; Roy Thinnes (ex- Sloan Carpenter, OLTL) as Roger Collins; Barbara Blackburn (Ex-Siobhan Ryan, Ryan’s Hope) as Carolyn Stoddard / Millicent Collins; Michael T. Weiss (ex Mike Horton, Days of Our Lives) as Joe Haskell; Ellen Wheeler (GL killer… I KID, I KID (sorta). She was ex- Marly/Vicky Hudson, Another World) as Phyllis Wicke… and there are others.

There are some changes in DS: Revival. It’s Vicki Winters who is the reincarnation of “Josette DuPres’ instead of Maggie. Jeremiah is Joshua Collins’ younger brother, not Barnabas’ younger brother. Barnabas and Angelique were never married. Willie Loomis is Mrs. Johnson’s nephew. With his release, Barnabas begins by terrorizing the women of Collinsport – which is not what we saw in the original DS. Some of the revival (12 eps in all) is quite hammy, and other parts of it is truly engaging and now makes me wish the show had lasted longer.

Netflix also streams the original Dark Shadows – picking up with Willie Loomis finding Barnabas’ tomb and releasing him. The time before that has to be ordered on DVD.  Does anyone even  remember a time before Barnabas?  In case you’ve been wondering?  Jonathan Frid is alive and well and still very active helping to maintain the DS legacy!  Jonathan Frid (Barnabas),  Barbara Steele (Celeste) and John Karlen (Willie Loomis) have been working on the new DS project:  Dark Shadows: The Night Whispers.

Updated to add: You  can watch the full Revival of DS for FREE on HULU: http://www.hulu.com/dark-shadows

GH’s Patrick Drake

Husband.

Father.

Liar.

Adulterer.

Whatever.

I watched just a couple episodes of the original Melrose Place the first year it aired.  It just wasn’t the show for me so I moved on to something else (what?  I can’t even remember at this time).  One of the few things I could tell you about the early episodes is that there  was a  young handsome hardworking doctor, Michael Mancini, and his lovely and sweet wife, Jane.  I knew as soon as I saw them that one or both of them had to change if they were going to survive that show.  They were ‘too sweet’  and ‘too in love’.  I wasn’t shocked  when I later caught an episode and sweet Michael Mancini was a first class rogue and all around bad guy.

What we’re now watching, GHers, is the ‘Mancini treatment’ for dear Patrick.  My guess is that it will play out with much less success.  This is a serious step backwards.   The writers took great pains to transform Patrick  from an egocentric playboy who bedded desperate  nurses hoping to tame him,  into a mature man in love with a woman who was clearly his equal in every way.

So what is the life lesson (for onscreen Robin Scorpio Drake) in this storyline?

Is she to learn that you can never reform a narcissist?

Will she learn that she was right (UGH), that the mob boys may engage in behaviors not condoned by society, but at least they’re loyal?  Any bets on how long it will be before we hear Robin throw that line in Patrick’s face?

Should she question how foolish she was to take Patrick at his word when he said that he wouldn’t trade the life he has with Robin and Emma for anything in the world?

Whatever the case, the writers erred in giving Patrick the  ‘Mancini Treatment’.   He was drunk when he cheated?  That’s the excuse?  How many times before that had he hinted at, flirted with, suggested to his ex- that a roll in the hay with him would make all right with the world?  Was that not Patrick Drake Mancini crying about driving a minivan with a child safety seat (and to Luke Spencer of all people)? The writers have given me no reason to care about this storyline, or PDM, or his new found concern for his wife and family now that he’s ‘sober’ and not just stupid/whining and self pitying.

It would be a disgrace to have Robin fight to save her relationship with him  It’s PDM who should do the fighting to save that marriage.  Robin should not be willing to quickly forgive, either.

It would be a nightmare if the writers were foolish enough to have Robin fault herself.  She should clearly fault Patrick and Lisa for their actions.  The writers regressed Patrick for this storyline, they need to take the time to build him back up as a ‘man’.

The fact that Lisa is a liar and manipulator does not make me want to ‘root’ against her any more than I already am rooting against her.   Her behavior does not lead me to stand in favor of Robin kicking her sorry ass (though I wouldn’t mind seeing Robin kick Patrick’s sorry ass).   I wish the writers had been more clever in finding storylines for SCRUBS. I wish they cared to spend as much time developing them and making them a centerpiece of the show in the way they’ve done for the mob boys for years.  What made GH great for so many years was it’s attention to details related to creating and building unparalleled love stories.  Now all of GH’s love stories are on the rocks:

  • Jax is being emasculated while  being ‘taught a lesson’ by his airhead wife who isn’t fit to carry his clipped toenails.  Seriously, the man eats his opponents for breakfast.  CARLY keeps his head spinning?  If he was Sonny, he’d have already moved on and impregnated someone by now.
  • Olivia is watching Johnny behave like  pinhead and follow the lead of a disturbed 17 year old.
  • The writers are pushing the slithering Liz and Nik closer together, despite their ill treatment of Lucky – who is alone yet again.
  • Maxie is unfaithful to Spinelli again, emotionally, this time.
  • Spanky buns has no use for Luke – who has decided that running off to parts unknown will cause Tracy to miss him even more.
  • Lulu is locked in battle with ‘bought-and-paid-for’ Brooke Lynn.
  • Alexis has no love life to speak of (and where is MAC)?
  • Steven is stuck believing that sociopathic Lisa has real feelings for  him.
  • Yet another woman in law enforcement is offering herself as bait to catch Sonny.  What are they doing to my CLAIRE!?!?  Lucky is single, he’s alone!

Yup, makes sense that the writers take the show’s only happy couple and ruins them.  It makes sense if reason and logic are things of the past.  Apparently it is, as daytime serials soon will be as well.

Good night nurse!

GH’s Freaky Friday: Sonny Corinthos/Ned Quartermaine

Ah Freaky Friday… a Disney staple.  A mother and daughter, neither being able to understand the life perspective of the other, end up switching bodies.  Mom, in her daughter’s body, finds herself back in high school and remembers what hell it was.  The daughter, in her mother’s body, realizes that her mother does more than wanders aimlessly through the day trying to figure out how to make her children miserable.  By the end of the trade, they  realize that they’ve only ever viewed the world through their own perspective and effectively become ‘new’ people in their old bodies.

What does that have to do with General Hospital?

What would this show be like if Ned Q. was still around for Kristina, instead of having her play such dangerous games with the lives of young men like Ethan and Johnny? Johnny is a putz for encouraging this crap – by the way.   I’d never fault Kristina  for Johnny’s actions.  I do fault the child for coming up with such stupid plots to get herself through tough moments in her life (er, I fault the writers actually).  Honest to goodness, have the writers ever met smart women who can solve a problem without relying on men to save them?  Do they know any women who live without waiting for men to validate their very existence?  If so,  it would be great if they created a few soap characters based on those women!   Rather than running from one man to another so early in her young life,  Kristina could have turned to Ned as a father.   Yeah, I get the irony, still relying on a man, right?  It’s not the same.  We’re talking, in this case, about a daughter who relies on the wisdom and counsel of her mother and father. Ned was the man who was her ‘first father’ and the writers made him protective of her once he accepted that responsibility.  It would be nice to see that again.

The bonus?

Sonny would then live AJ’s life (to some degree). His child would call a Quartermaine ‘dad’ and want nothing to do with him.   Sonny would have to sit back and watch Kristina and Ned take part in father-daughter activities knowing that she was happy without him. Carly would have to watch and realize that children raised by the Qs didn’t turn out too bad after all, given the alternative. She would sit back and regret the life she gave Michael when he could have grown up loved and happy;  without having been kidnapped, nearly killed, lost some of his childhood due to being in a coma, or to have taken a life himself.

Of course, that requires the writers to use the show’s history, have Sonny experience true loss, and make Carly introspective —  so there’s no way it would happen.

In Ned’s absence, the writers could/should have decided that Mac would be an excellent father figure, one  who’d allow Kristina the space to grow into the woman she wants to be.  Imagine the newness for Mac… a daughter who isn’t involved with  mobster or some  mob minion and who actually thinks that law matters?  Be still my heart.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 735 other followers