Posts Tagged ‘As The World Turns’
Done, Finito, KAPUT! I’m done trying to find a reason to like the BnB’s Steffy Forrester, DONE! I usually love bad girls/bad boys in daytime; although I almost always root against them. I enjoy watching them unleash fresh hell on others, and later themselves as their plans backfire. It’s the best of both worlds. Truly great bad girl/guy characters feed your light and dark sides. Most daytime writers have a tried and true formula and “get” what makes bad girl/boy characters so much fun. They’re equal parts exhilaration and exasperation and just when you think you can’t love-to- hate them any more than you already do, the writers pull a twist. The character you thought you knew, the character whose all-knowing smirks drove you to the brink of distraction suddenly has a vulnerable side. You find yourself almostliking them! When daytime writers want you to fall for a character, they know what it takes to make you fall hard:
- AMC’s writers pulled the ‘empathy card’ on Janet-from-another-planet Green when they revealed that she wasn’t simply pathologically jealous of her beautiful sister, Natalie Marlowe, but that she’d been the target of unrelenting taunting and teasing, merciless emotional abuse, all without remorse by a mother who felt justified in the emotional torture of her daughter. Natalie was her blessing, Janet was her curse. Wilma Marlowe couldn’t wait to remind Janet, every day of her life, that she was the daughter she would have done without and when given the choice, that choice would always be the beloved Natalie. Janet’s hope was to, just once, be chosen first. The desire to be someone’s first choice – even Trevor Dillon’s, drove much of Janet’s continued march toward madness.
- ATWT’s writers pulled the ‘empathy card’ with Emily Stewart, who spent years dealing with her mother Susan’s substance abuse and emotional distancing. Emily’s victimization at her mother’s hands turned into a worldview in which she was always the victim of the those around her – even as she drew first blood. By soapgod, she was going to make the world PAY! ATWT pulled the double whammy with heartless schemer, Angel Lange, who was the victim of longterm sexual abuse at the hands of her wealthy powerful father. Angel’s scheming was directed at helping her secure her freedom from a powerful father who seemed unstoppable. To that end she forced Holden Snyder into marriage, schemed to keep him, and with her brother, stole millions from their father’s company.
- GH’s Stefan Cassadine’s ’empathy card’ came in the form of dysfunctional parenting as well. He and brother Stavros were presented as the “Heir and a Spare”. While his parents groomed his brother for greatness (and you can read that as great darkness), he was expected to bask in the shaded glory of the pathological Stavros, accept the cast off crumbs of his parents’ affections. It was a wonder that they allowed him to keep the Cassadine name. Stavros was dangerous, but even Stavros was a kitten compared to their parents.
Stefan never stood a chance growing up. If it’s possible to assign behavior to soap characters, you could imagine that had Stefan’s parents paid more attention to him in his youth, there would be no need to discuss adult Stefan. He’d have never nade it to adulthood.
- Long before Stefan, there was Bobbie Spencer, who curiously enough became Stefan’s wife. In her youth, Bobbie hadn’t met a man she didn’t want to control, nor a woman she didn’t want to destroy to have him. We later learned that Nurse Bobbie’s early trauma occurred when she was led into prostitution as a young teen by her Aunt Ruby, not long after her parents died. She was just another of the working girls in Aunt Ruby’s house. Bobbie’s “protector” was her older brother, Luke, who protected her by making sure she was ‘safe’ on her ‘dates’ with older men. Bobbie was reminded of her sex worker past, frequently, even as she transitioned from good-girl-gone-bad to bad-girl-turned-real-woman. The most lasting reminder of Bobbie’s difficult time was the arrival of the daughter she conceived while working for Aunt Ruby. Unfortuntately for Bobbie, daughter Carly came with an eye on vengence.
- OLTL’s Todd Manning, in his youth, was anger on a stick and a threat to the safety of women everywhere. The writers should have taken advantage of the fact that in a field of characters with unusual names (Storm, Ridge, Thorne, Destiny) naming this guy “Trouble” instead of Todd would have been more honest. If there was a thing that Todd didn’t hate, it was only because it hadn’t been invented yet. It’s hard to feel sorry for a unrepentent rapist and the writers knew it. Without the need to try to ‘redeem’ him, the writers allowed the audience catch a glimpse of what was left of the humanity of the character. The idea seemed to be to provide the audience some hope that whatever was left of his humanity was enought to stop him from victimizing others and to begin dealing with his own pain. Todd’s pain resulted from frequent beatings by an uncaring father who despised him. Todd’s father, Peter Manning, was his maternal uncle and adoptive father. He was forced to raise the child as his own. We later found out that Todd was also sexually abused in his youth.
- BnB’s Stephanie Douglas Forrester (who moved from my love-to-hate column to fully despise) was the product of a vicious wealthy father who presented the image of a perfect family to his business colleagues and friends (including fellow industry titan, YnR’s Katherine Chancellor). What his friends and and colleagues didn’t know is that Mr. Douglas beat his daughter “Stevie” with reckless abandon behind closed doors. Stephanie’s cruel childhood treatment was reportedly the cause of the cruelty she expressed in adulthood. It is something that others around her struggle with until this day — clearly Stepahnie doesn’t struggle with her inhumanity toward others. She revels in it.
You get the common thread, yes? Years of emotional, physical, verbal, and sexual abuse. Whether it happens because of a cowardly parent or a craven lover, there is typically a foundation for the abusive, shallow behavior we witness in our fave bad girls and boys. Use that as a backdrop to try to understand the BnB’s Steffy Forrester. She’s the heir to a massive fortune, her mother came BACK from the dead and re-established the family Steffy always wanted. Her mother also gave her 25% of the family company – trusting her to “take care” of her older brother. Steffywas raised by a father she adores. She’s never had to go to college and yet was handed cushy executive level positions in the company after spending only a few months in the mailroom. AND she had a stepmother who raised her and loved her while her mother was believed to have been in the grave (the same stepmother she still adored just a few years, ago, and with whom she’s had no significant conflict). She’s traveled the world and has reportedly been loved and in love.
To hear this wanker of a character whine day in and day out about how sad she is, how much she needs a man (any man dating or married to a Logan woman), how hard her life is, how she’s been abandoned, maltreated, unloved… it’s all just too much. Rather than creating feelings that run from exhilaration to exasperation, my feelings for Steffy run from damned bored to seriously annoyed. Her rapid shifting from begging her daddy (Ridge) to staywith the family and continue to raise her, to begging her ‘big daddy’ (Bill Spencer) to stay with her for the night and make love to her is pathetic, but mostly jarring. Is she a needy child or a sexually provocative woman? She can’t be both, or use both “needs” as the foundation for her aggression toward the Logan family. Her need to destroy the Logan family because her father loves Brooke, is petty. It’s surreal at best when you consider how much she loved Brooke as a stepmother, until her nological mother’s return. It’s absurd when you consider the fact that Brooke is the mother of her youngest brother.
Steffy doesn’t work as a bad girl because there is no “empathy card” to be played for this character. The character is made up of all hard angles. It’s even hard to believe that she’s invested in the people she claims to be invested in. She’s now twice turned on her mother for love of two different men (Rick Forrester and Bill Spencer). She’s never bothered to share the stock in the family company with her brother. She doesn’t care if her YOUNGEST brother (still in late childhood) grows up without a father – as long as their father is in the home she no longer lives in as an adult. She’s been working to destroy her brother’s family since he was a toddler. She fell to her knees over twin sister Phoebe’s death, but almost immediately fell into bed with the man her family blamed for her sister’s death. She defended him even after he used her and used her sister’s death to taunt her father… the same father she can’t live without.
The fact that anyone (onscreen) finds her intriguing leaves one feeling dumbfounded. Steffy Marone-Forrester is a character filled with contradictions, and none of them good.
She is not likable.
She is not rootworthy.
She is not interesting.
My time is quickly becoming wasted by this character. My sincere hope is that the writers are planning to give the character depth or to send her packing. I will accept either, but what I can’t accept is Steffy in her current incarnation. At some point the writers will become bored with this character as she is. I’m looking forward to THAT day.
The one who got away turned into two… and then two turned into three… and then three … You get the picture. OLTLers will most likely feel nostalgic at the sight of Renee Elise Goldsberry (ex-Evangeline Williamson). REG’s Evangeline was one of the most unique new (female) characters in recent OLTL history, not to mention in recent soap history. She.Had.A.BRAIN! Not only did she have a brain, folks, she wasn’t afraid to use it!
Part of me wants to give credit to the writers for making sure that the character was as strong as she was and that they hadn’t decided to shove Evangeline into the deepest darkest corners of crazyland – where they eventually relegate all female characters. We were fortunate that there were no huge psychological breakdowns for this character after failed romances. She didn’t go on drinking binges, no drug use, she didn’t lurk in shady places trying to keep a watchful eye on ‘rivals’ – in desperation to hold on to a man. What makes all of that even bigger news for a One Life character? She dated John ”Sanity Killer” McBain, folks! She survived their relationship and remained healthy. Who could forget this moment between sisters Evangeline and Layla once it was clear to Evangeline that John was going to betray her:
The sane woman’s anthem when love goes wrong!
Whatever happened, no matter the writing, Goldsberry gave Evangeline a rare sense of dignity and strength for a female character in modern daytime. My best guess is that the writers got it – REG was a very different actress all together. She had the elegance and comportment of a more seasoned actress. Writing that may have been translated onscreen as shrill, needy, and whining by another young actress was treated as an opportunity to turn Evangeline into her own heroine – no need for rescue. The partnership between the writers and the actress gave OLTL fans like myself joy in watching one of the most memorable characters in daytime. If only the powers that be had been able to convince the actress to stay. Despite her unfortunate dalliance with John, and her flirtation with the mad-as-a-hatter Todd Manning (which I loved while he was still in the process of reforming and becoming a better person), it was Evangeline’s last relationship – with the lovely Cristian Vega that sealed Evangeline’s fate as a winner in life, but loser at love. Cristian walked away once he realized that there was more between Evangeline and Todd than she was able to admit, even to herself.
Rather than kill the character off when REG vacated the role, the writers decided to have the character succumb to a coma. While it preserved their right to bring her back (and I appreciate that), it’s awful thinking that the character remains there and life in Llanview goes on without her. I wish they’d thought to let her move on to another city, start a successful law practice and allow Layla to occasionally mention who well her sister is doing in her new life.
Sadly, I’m concerned that Layla Williamson will soon suffer the fate of her big sister. She’ll disappear from Llanview history with barely a second thought from those who knew or loved her. Overkill? Do you remember Rachel Gannon? Probably not. She was so rarely featured before the writers decided to dump the legacy character, yet again (and yet FORD remains). The Williamson family is relatively new. I have little hope for the rarely seen Layla – who is now dating Cristian Vega. While you would think that would be the perfect time for writers to wake Van up from her coma (even if they could only convince REG toreturn for a few eps to usher Van off to a new life), such is not the case with OLTL. The writers instead have Teen Tessica Buchanan, who can’t remember her life beyond the age of 17 returning to high school as a student (yeah right) and stalking ‘Mr. Vega’. Where is Layla while all of this is happening? Who the hell knows?
The more things change, the more they stay the same, One Life. One Life fans may remember Valarie Pettiford ( Sheila Price Gannon) for delivering a rousing rendition of ‘Dancing in the Streets’ at Megan’s funeral. Where is she now? Doing just fine without OLTL, thank you very much! She was one of the co-stars of the show ‘Half and Half‘ and ocntinues performing on Broadway and has her own Cabaret act:
Van, Layla, Sheila, Rika (Sheila’s younger sister), and the few very women of color before them. What a waste, OLTL.
As the World Turns
Smart women and the law? They seem to go hand in hand in daytime. OLTL’s Van Williamson and Nora Buchanan, GH’s Alexis Davis and Federal Prosecutor Claire Walsh, ATWT’s Margo Hughes and Jessica Griffin, all of whom helped make it ‘safe’ for women to be smart. Tamara Tunie’s Jessica was a no frills – no bullshit character who wasn’t exactly shy about telling Oakdale residents where to go and how to get there… of course, she did it in the most elegant way possible. TT’s Jessica Griffin McKeachnie brought as much to her show as REG’s did to OLTL later. Jessica was a beloved character who was respected by her onscreen peers -, and then the inevitable happened. Jessica found out where she really fit in the grand scheme of Oakdale life. Her ‘interracial’ romance with Duncan McKeachnie led to both heartbreaking and uplifting moments for the character.
She’d feared that her tough as nails, and somewhat conservative friend and client Lucinda Walsh would never approve of her relationship with Duncan. Lady Lu, CEO extraordinaire would have to protect her business interests from ‘scandal’, right? Jessica knew that the only person she and Duncan could share the news of their growing relationship with was their beloved friend and supporter, Lisa Hughes. Lisa was a woman of the world. She’d done something most women would never have thought of doing in her time – she’d left a husband and child and sought love elsewhere. She’d dated and loved brothers. She was a hellion in her youth and didn’t care who approved of her choices. So imagine Jessica’s surprise when she learned that Lucinda was the one to give the happy couple her blessing and Lisa was the person who disapproved.
Jessica found even greater strength and a stronger voice when she grew tired of defending her love for Duncan and their desire to be together. She remained a relatively strong character until the writers decided to SORAS’ young Bonnie into an adult woman. Bonnie brought many changes into Jess’ life, most of them lousy, including having Jessica watch her daugther grow closeto the man she knew raped her mother, and being accidentally shot by her daughter. When ATWT’s jumps the shark, it chums the waters, first. Where is Jessica? Around… somewhere… I hope.
The Young and the Restless
I’ve covered the topic of Victoria Rowell’s Drucilla Winters being absent from screen in several blog entries, most recently (HERE and HERE). I still can’t get over what insanity leads the YnR’s PLTB refusal to bring Dru back to screen. No matter how many times TPTB insists there’s no room for Drucilla onscreen, each new weak and snooze producing character they bring to screen in her place says otherwise.
Even worse than the above? The talented Latina American, American Indian, Asian American, and other actresseses who ever never give the chance to appear onscreen. It saddens me to realize that as networks are steadily shuttering soaps from the daytime schedule, Executive Producers and other execs don’t appear to be moved to change their practices before all soaps are eventually cleared from the schedule. There has be some growth when you think of where daytime started and where it is now, but how much growth? What will be the legacy of daytime and minority characters when all is said and done?
The REG you’ve never seen on OLTL. Goldsberry in RENT:
It’s not often that I actually praise a soap in its entirety. OLTL is good, and I enjoy more of the show than I dislike of it… but it’s not GREAT. Which soap is, in my opinion? Hands down, Days of Our Lives has to be the best overall soap in daytime! It’s such a great soap that the things I hate about it are the things you’re SUPPOSED to hate about a soap or about the show’s characters. What makes DAYS such a great soap? Two words: consistency and BALANCE!
What can drive you crazy about some soaps (YnR, BnB, and GH) is that they lack balance. On the Bell soaps especially, the soap winds blow in only one direction. Either most characters are happy, or they’re all miserable. Bell soaps are tragic drama… minus the drama. Can you think of a week in which BnB spoilers didn’t suggests that a ‘couple would be torn apart’? Can you think of a week, on the BnB especially, in which characters weren’t uttering dialogue that is deeply inconsistent from the week before? How does Thorne Forrester shift from being tired of always being thought of as a last place loser in his family, to applauding having his ex-sister-in-law/former fiancee becoming a quarter owner in his FAMILY’S company? The YnR? Between the cancer storyline, the switched identities, Ashley having yet another breakdown, and the dead-for-live baby swap, watching the YnR could counteract the strongest prescribed anti-depressant. GH? There’s hope for the show… just very little of it. GH may as well have been taped in a dark studio, with night vision cameras. Given how heavy the show is, the change in lighting couldn’t possibly hurt. For these three soaps, it’s the same stuff, different day.
One Life to Live, All My Children and As The World Turns are shows that have balance, but lack consistency. The storylines change too quickly and by the time you become use to the direction of a storyline, it changes gear – in some cases that’s a good thing. I don’t know how many more months of Dorian knuckling under to Mitch Lawrence’s demands I could stand. Another week of JPL’s ‘Rex’ trying to emote as a ‘troubled and angry’ man and I really would have needed stitches from laughing. What was the point of introducing Allison Perkins? On ATWT, the ‘spare tissue’ pregnancy Janet suggested and was then shot down almost immediately? EH! (and who doesn’t already know that Janet will end up pregnant, anyway?) There’s a lot going on with the three shows above, but it’s almost as if the writers are overwhelmed and aren’t keeping track of who said what, and when.
While DAYS held on far too long to the ‘Sydnapping’ storyline, overall, the fact that the show has been consistent and balanced allowed fans, like myself, who were tired of the storyline to focus on something else. Knowing, last month, that the storyline would continue a while longer, I began tuning it out and focusing on other big onscreen news. I don’t know what it is about ‘Daniel’ and ‘Melanie’, but I think it’s sheer genius to pair them together as father and daughter (and yes, I’ve been reminded that she once flirted with him when neither knew they were related). Something about his presence in her life finishes Mel’s character profile out nicely. She’s been two characters in one during her tenure at DAYS. There is the manipulating and selfish Mel, and then there is the vulnerable and melancholy Mel. In some ways he softens Mel, but she does the same for him. Shawn Christian (as Daniel) hit his stride perfectly in the hospital visitation scenes, after finding out that Melanie was his child. His eyes were soft and a bit weepy, his tone of voice was relaxed, and it was easy to believe that he was in awe of the young woman in front of him, one he’d only recently found carried his genes in her DNA. That he was the doctor who operated on her and saved her life made the scene all the more meaningful. Melanie looked vulnerable and frail and in need of someone to protect her. He looked ready for the job. Priceless.
And if it must be mentioned…
The kidnapping storyline is done, sorta’. Anna will finally wise up and realize that EJ is capable of using and abusing anyone, until he no longer needs them, and she’s included in that number. When he’s done with you, you’re on your own. Too bad for EJ (but great for fans) that Anna isn’t a willing victim. For those of you who don’t know (spoiler alert, stop reading here… I warned ya’!), it’s Anna who will make sure that Nicole is freed of all charges and allowed to resume her life in Salem. Ej, you schmuck! You had it coming. So the question is, with Nicole’s return, how does EJ get busted for the kidnapping of his infant daughter?
1. Rafe, hottie hot hot, to the rescue? Rafe figures it all out and makes sure Sami knows what a low life EJ is? Sami tends to forget that fact of life when she allows EJ to play on her desperation.
2. Nicole is redeemed, to a degree, by joining forces with Brady and they bring the news to Sami and Rafe? Sorry Arianne Hernandez, with Nicole’s return, I’m hoping your DAYS are numbered… Phillip will probably be free soon – give him a call.
3. A dark horse candidate emerges. Stefano learns from Anna – who is by now hiding out in a bunker and out of Dimera reach, about EJ’s dastardly plan. He realizes that his son was willing to hurt him in among the worst ways possible and decides to deal with EJ his own way…by throwing him to the wolves!
I’m partial to the third option. I’d love to see Stefano strip Ej of his money and power. DAYS’ writers have been relatively creative in their storytelling. What could they do with a powerless EJ, who no longer has the ability to manipulate and/or offend the women of Salem? The writers could continue to move EJ on to the next storyline but in the end what good would it do if Ej isn’t completely deconstructed and rebuilt? He’s currently an (evil) freakshow! What would life look like from the other side, a man without resources at the mercy of the power brokers? Nothing could give him greater insight into what his negative influence has been over others than having him fend for himself against the next ‘Ej Dimera’. His deconstruction could also lead him to find real love for the first time, a woman he doesn’t have to force to have sex with him.
Other DAYS questions:
Can Chloe and Daniel survive his strong-willed adult daughter? Chloe isn’t too much older than Melanie and she may not think his penchant for younger women is so cute now that she can’t date him (and excuse me… EWWWW!) At some point, Melanie will most likely forgive Carly for allowing Lawrence to give her away and leave her at the mercy of her adoptive father. When she does, will she want to see her parents together and fulfill a childhood fantasy of having a mother and father who love her and are part of a complete and loving family?
Will the writers break up Phillip and Melanie for Nathan and Melanie, or will Melanie begin to realize that she does love Phillip. I’m on Team Nathan, but I do think it would be a more interesting storyline to have Phillip be a ‘good guy’ who genuinely loves Mel and wants to save his marriage to her without resorting to going to his ‘dark place’ to make it happen. The best triangles keep you rooting for everyone involved.
With Hope defending Bo and asserting that he is (professionally) an ethical man, will Bo begin to realize that he may be professionally ethical but that he’s lacking personally? For most of their adult lives, Hope has been defending their marriage against each of Bo’s new ‘great loves’ and any children that are born or resurface as a result. He has yet to have to do the same because she has centered her life around him. Is there some point in his life when he realizes that he’s taken more from his marriage than he’s ever given to Hope?
I could do this all day with Days of Our Lives. Each storyline offered is one that poetnitally generates an entirely new group of storylines. Days writers thank you for the use of both veterans balanced against the introduction of newbies. My only criticism… Abe… Lexie… MORE please! DAYS is the only show consistently posting large gains in viewership over the year before. Daytime writers… watch… learn… emulate!
Justin Deas, Orlagh Cassidy, Kurt McKinney, Beth Chamberlain and more. Where are you going to find them all? On the online series “Steamboat”. I know, I know, yet another online series… you’ve got to check this one out. It’s good (at least I think so). It’s a mix of a modern day ‘Soap‘ and ‘Soap Dish‘, and will hopefully make it to air:
Luciano’s Grimaldi genes are ‘all growed up’. BTW, the chemistry between Silver Spoon Luke and Whiny Pouty Reid Oliver? Pretty hot!
*YnR’s NuMalcolm? Not workin’. I’m trying, folks, I really am, but as good as it is to see Darius McCrary on screen again, this was just the wrong role to cast him in. Though… given the choice between keeping him as Malcolm and keeping KC’s Lily, he wins hands down! Malcolm Winters was an iconic character and unfortunately, McCrary’s interpretation falls flat. I’ve seen McCrary’s work in other projects (including CBS’s Cold Case) and he’s been very good. Something about this role just doesn’t seem to translate well for the actor.
* If GH’s “Franco” came to town because he’s totally obsessed with Jason:
1. Why was it necessary to have Maxie pimped out and risk her relationship with Spinelli? His focus has been Jason the entire time. The side story involving Maxie just doesn’t make sense and seems to be an awful waste of a couple (Maxelli) and a character (Franco). It served no purpose.
2. How can Jason be considered a ‘good guy’ when his actions capture the imagination of a ‘psychotic’ killer? Jason’s murderous exploits have made him an international icon for blood thirsty criminals? Some hero!
3. Why didn’t TPTB just name him Franco Guza? It would make sense of Franco’s obsession with Jason and the Suckpranos. It would have felt more honest. It’s art, seemingly, imitating life.
* Why aren’t the BnB”s Logan women allowed to confront sister Katie with her penchant for betraying her family for the love of her latest squeeze? Katie is 2 for 2, right now, and I’m getting tired of her whining and moaning about how SHE’S been betrayed. Put that attitude away Katie, and if you need help figuring out where to put it, just ask!
* Does anyone else think that ATWT’s Simon and Henry would make a far hotter couple than Luke and Noah? I’m so tired of the on-again-off-again nature of the Nuke relationship that I’m ready to see ATWT’s PTB replace them, NOW. Pay attention ATWT’s writers. OLTL’s writers are separating the men from the boys and writing a real relationship between two characters – who just happen to be gay. Watch and learn… Speaking of OLTL:
* Why the hell did OLTL’s Bo hand Dorian back the only piece of evidence that could convict his niece of stabbing Mitch Laurence? Was that supposed to be a sign of his honesty and integrity? It felt more like evidence of his sheer stupidity, especially since it’s becoming painfully clear to others that Dorian is Mitch’s puppet.
As for Dorian Lord, she is nothing if not devious. I’m not too thrilled with the image of a helpless Dorian Lord constantly caving in to Mitch’s demands. At what point does she put her years of mischief-making to use and takes Mitch down? I’m shocked by the fact that I like seeing Dorian on top, Mayor and chief power broker in Llanview, but I do. Why have that ruined by having her behave like a skittish child, jumping at the sight of her own shadow? MORE kick-ass Dorian, LESS kiss-ass Dorian, please.
* Doesn’t anyone else ever get tired of hearing the BnB’s taylor whine about how Brooke stole her life, and made her miserable? Even I can agree with her that that situation with Jack was traumatic. I sure as hell wouldn’t have wanted to give birth to the biological child of a woman I hated. Taylor didn’t sign on to be a surrogate. She had in vitro in order to have a family with Nick. The child she carried was supposed to be HER child. I get it, but the problem with her whining is that Brooke didn’t cause taylor to ‘lose’ her son. Taylor chose to give him away. She also chose to continue to try to compete with Brooke for Ridge – even when Ridge made it CLEAR that it was Brooke he loved. You can’t ask the woman to stay out of your life, and then constantly throw yourself in the middle of her life and call yourself a victim.
* Why do DAYS writers continue to make my skin crawl by having EJ touch Sami? Yes, yes… he was only comforting her after she received a call from Sydney’s kidnapper…. it’s just that every time he goes near her, I see him holding her at gunpoint. I hear him telling her that the only way to save Lucas is to let him violate her. Every touch makes my skin crawl. Has Sami forgotten how she ended up pregnant with EJ’s spawn (cutie that she is) and the one before her? C’mon writers, give Sami her dignity back and have her tell EJ to keep his gun-toting rapist paws off of her. Her confused ‘feelings’ are degrading and humiliating to watch, speaking as a woman.
Hey, if the actor involved can admit it was rape (comment below from a James Scott interview),
I would be lying if I said I didn’t worry about my future on the soap. I don’t think they handled the rape very well, and I’ll tell you why. EJ raped Sami, and then afterwards, he’s hanging out in her house — alone with her. It’s irresponsible on so many levels. However, had it been handled well, I think it would have been an interesting story choice. Now the story focus has shifted to her pregnancy and the classic soap story of paternity. Having said that, I chose to believe that EJ is in love with Samantha — he just can’t communicate it.
and TPTB can admit it was rape, it was RAPE. He forced her to have sex with him to save the life of the man she loved. You can read a decidedly pro EJami Wikipedia entry with Scott’s comments HERE (that is until someone decides to try to delete the comment).
As for DAYS increasingly dwindling ratings fortunes, is it any wonder that the new focus on Sami and EJ is linked to a rather rapid ratings slide for the show? Good luck selling Ej and Sami as anything other than what they really are: a victim and her obsessive, stalking, rapist.
* For most of the year (plus), All My Children has been largely unwatchable. Color me surprised when I got gooey and nostalgic for Hayley and Mateo’s return (more Hayley than Mateo). Watching Adam soften while talking with Hayley and joke about knowing something about raising ‘difficult children’ was the most priceless moment of that episode for me – Hayley of the dyed dark punk rock hair, now a mother with a wild child of her own. I thought about Brian Bodine, Uncle Pork Chop (Trevor), Natalie down the well, Janet from another Planet, Adam’s dark dark days (which really were different from just his ‘dark’ days), Stuart and Cindy, scheming Arlene Vaughn, the Santos family – even preachy mom and dad, Edmund and Maria, Erica and Dimitri, Bad girl Kendall and sweetheart Del Cooney, The Martin clan, Jeremy, Laurel and her brother Michael, Cliff and Nina, Palmer and Daisy, The Montgomery Brothers and their feud, Brooke English, Phoebe and Langley, Chuck and Tara, Beloved Mona and Myrtle, Ellen and Devon, Mark Dalton, Tom and Sean Cudahy, and so much more… sheesh). I know that not all of the above mentioned characters were on screen at the same time but just those few moments with Adam and Hayley opened a stream of AMC consciousness and I felt warm all over. I miss All my Children – the real All my Children.
* At some point, BnB’s Brooke Logan’s children are going to have to acknowledge (or learn) that there was NO WAR between their mother and Stephanie Douglas. Stephanie has been on the attack against Brooke almost from the moment she met her. Brooke has tried in vain to make peace and keep peace. Brooke does not seek Stephanie out to hurt her or make her miserable as Stephanie has done with her. Brooke hasn’t made a point of trying t0 publicly expose Stephanie for whatever her wrongdoings are – and there are many. Brooke hasn’t tried to turn Stephanie’s children against her, as Stephanie has tried to do with Brooke’s children.
To allow Brooke’s children to continue to think of Stephanie as ‘human’ feels like one of the daytime’s biggest lies. Theirs has been daytime’s biggest farce of a rivalry. A rivalry would require TWO participants. It would require balance. It has neither. In any other galaxy, Stephanie would be acknowledged as the psychotic villainess -bully she’s always been. Calling Stephanie a victim of Brooke’s would be the same as calling GH’s Helena Cassadine a victim of Alexis Davis… Hels only slit Alexis’ mother’s throat in front of her when she was a child and threatened her life every single day from that moment on. The warm and toasty moments between Brooke’s children and the dragon lady leaves me switching channels. When a crazed bee-yotch hands your mother an unregisted gun, while wearing white gloves, and tries to get her to take her life, she’s not your friend. She’s not like a mother to you, she’s not human. When that same woman facilitates your mother’s rape, you’re not suposed to ask her to be a part of your children’s lives. Come on BnB writers, get a grip.
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.
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.
As the World Turns: The mess that is Molly Conlan!
The biggest mistake the BnB writers made is under-utilizing the skills of Lesli Kay. It’s almost as if the writers had forgotten why they risked squandering the show’s credibility to bring ‘Felicia Forrester’ back from the brink of death – after she’d been diagnosed with a metastasized form of late stage colon cancer. The character was worth saving because of the new life Kay breathed into the character – literally and figuratively. Not only had Felicia made the most miraculous recovery known in soap history, but she was then ushered to the backburner almost as quickly as she healed. I’d count the Felicia-Dante-Bridget triangle as a frontburner storyline if it hadn’t ended so aruptly. Most of Felicia’s time, following that, had been reduced to a limited string of appearances at Forrester Creations, her family’s company, whining and crying about her father’s marriage to Donna Logan and wanting her parents to get back together for the sake of the family. Not exactly an appealing storyline for a woman heading into midlife.
Along comes ATWT to the rescue! The writers there had big plans for LK. Reprising her role as Molly Conlan would bring a bit of new blood through a familiar face to the show, and allow Molly to serve as the linchpin for bringing Jack Snyder and Carly Tenney Snyder back together. Jack would find Molly in an awful mess of her own making, and have to call Carly to help her. Our Molly was involved with a shifty politician who promised to leave his wife and children to be with her. She finds out that he lied (shocking, a lying politician, I know!). Instead, he plans to run for Governor for the state of New York, relying on his ‘valued family’ to help him get elected. Like any person scorned, Molly has to decide whether to let go or get even… and because her name is Molly Conlan, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that she decided to get even.
Delicious, right? It would have been except the writers took the cheap route with this storyline. Molly whined, and cried (poor LK!) and then decided to throw away a successful career as an evening anchor by outting the guy as a liar an cheat while on air. It felt petty, and cheap, and that Molly hadn’t taken any responsiblity for the fact that of her own free will, she’d become involved with a man who was cheating on his wife, and demeaning his relationship with his children. It’s not that I wanted Molly to suck down her humiliation and move on with her life, the guy was a jackass and deserved to have his ass handed to him. It would have been sweet, however, to watch an intelligent, calculating Molly take him down instead of a vengeful, childlike Molly getting even in the worst way possible. Why couldn’t she have called ‘Mr. Big’ back to her office to show him the videotape footage she has of the two of them together? She could have warned him that the video would become public if he ever decided to seek office, anywhere, at any time. She could have packed her bags and taken off to Oakdale to start her life over, wanting to get away from the stinkin’ memories she had of her life there.
Instead, the writers gave us an image of an ‘unsuspecting wife’ and blameless children, followed by Molly making them all victims of their affair – out of anger and impulse. Even worse, we’re to believe that Molly is so clueless that she doesn’t understand why she was losing her job, spewing allegations of an affair that her bosses hadn’t had time to substantiate. I think we were supposed to view that as evidence that poor Molly was just a helpless woman living in a man’s world; she was betrayed by her married lover and then fired by a station manager when she was only ‘reporting the news’. I gotta’ tell you, whining and crying Molly has me already longing for the return of whining and crying Felicia. LK may get more airtime on ATWT, but her character on BnB was at least a little more complex.
I’m willing to give the ATWT writers time to prove me wrong… PLEASE! LK is a spitfire and we need another smart, tough woman on the show. Let NY Molly leave the weak behavior behind.
Days of our Lives: Team Nicole Reporting
Who didn’t know this moment had to happen? Even as part of Team Nicole, it was clear to me that this day was coming and that it was only right that Sami found out that Sydney was her baby. The only mystery left was whether EJ would stand by Nicole or turn on her for her duplicity. When it comes to Ej, Nicole is like: a moth to a flame? A fly clinging to poo? (my vote is the latter) WHAT does Nicole see in the guy? She made HIM a better person. He did nothing for her but make her feel inferior, as if she was only the understudy in a marital play he was producing. He was only waiting for his ‘lead star’ to return. Still, much of this storyline will be about Nicole begging Ej’s forgiveness. You know… Ej.. the man who ordered a hit on Phillip Kiriakis , one that nearly cost Stephanie (Brady) Johnson her life. Yes, Nicole has to hope and beg, and pray that the man will forgive her and still love her. She has to worry whether Ej, the man who raped Sami the first time he got her pregnant, and then lied to get her into bed the second time he got her pregnant, would forgive HER for trying to keep his child from being raised by strangers.
I’ve always tried to figure out the logic behind that storyline. It’s not like Sami doesn’t ALREADY share a child with Ej, one who spends time with him. Why would she give up a second child with the man? Sydney-Grace would be the ‘safe’ child, but their son would be the damaged one? It’s ultimately this bizarre act that led Nicole to concoct the scheme to steal Sami’s (then unwanted child). In the dark spaces that fill Nicole’s tragic mind, she believed that she could help Ej by making sure he got to raise a child he would otherwise have never known. Nicole cried holding Ej’s baby, and vowed to love her as if she’d given birth to her, and she kept that promise. She cried because she didn’t want EJ to know the heartbreak she’d felt by having him lose a second child. Unfortunately for Nicole, Sami later decided to keep ‘her’ child and the die was cast. It was too late, she felt, to go back and admit what she’d done. Grace’s death only made it even more impossible for Nicole to step up – when it should have in fact made it easier.
It’s at that point that Nicole’s behavior was no longer ambiguous. It’s at that point that Nicole could have stopped worrying about Ej running off to try to be with the woman he violated, and cared more about easing his pain over the thought of having lost a daughter he’d never had the chance to know. it should have been the confession that would have freed her soul. As twisted as Nicole’s actions were before, it was esaier to bleieve that she was protecting her husband and that her concers for saving her marriage was only secondary to her need to make Ej’s life easier, happier ,and filled with sunshine even as her own life crumbled.
In the end, losing Ej would be a blessing in disguse – I don’t think anyone expects Ej to stand by Nicole for long – if at all. A complex character like Nicole Walker (soon to not be Dimera) makes you want to root for her in spite of yourself. Losing Ej would mean that Nicole would be free to be with someone who would want to make HER life easier, happier, and filled with sunshine. She could be with someone who would love her first, and not be willing to toss her aside for the fantasy of living a blissful married life with the object of his obsession. I’m still part of team Nicole, and hope there’s a payoff for those of us who are tired of watching Nicole demean herself for men who were never worthy of her.
The Young and the Restless: Melody Thomas Scott
Melody Thomas Scott has found herself a new gig! She will start in a new online production, The Republic:
Melody plays Martha Alden, a working mother who evolves into a core-of-steel activist fighting against new laws imposed on her family. Singer plays her devoted husband Frank, a civil engineer who, blindsided by the new laws and losses, learns to adapt and thrive in this brave new world.
Good luck to MTS and the best of wishes for a successful run of this drama!
As The World Turns: Cady McClain
If you had any doubt that Cady McClain was fabulous, before, this should clear things up! She goes down in my book as one of my favorite celebs, EVER! Read the full interview posted at Soap Central
It’s not that I don’t support daytime. Sometimes I just get frustrated when there are opportunities and people just don’t want to hear it. People don’t want to hear the truth. And the person who speaks what I see as my truth, certainly, often takes a hit for it.
Why is it that people like Ms. McClain are never in charge of daytime? Seemingly, the only people hired in executive roles are those who throw on the cheerleading outfits, the blinders, and who keep cheering on one crapload of bad storytelling after another. I have to wonder if people who are as critical as McClain and others could have turned this genre around while there was still time. Fans have been speaking truth to daytime for a LONG time… and no one listens. The ratings fall… and no one listens. The actors speak out… and no one listens. I’m gonna’ miss daytime when it goes!