But what have you done for me, lately?

If it’s possible for a single character to revitalize a show, I’d have to give credit to Arianne Zuker’s “Nicole Walker Dimera”.  In one tour de force performance after another, Zuker gives viewers even more reasons to root for Nicole, no matter how “unrootable” her actions.  It could not be possible, not by any stretch of the imagination – even for a show that produced daytime’s first demonic possession, to find a logical or acceptably illogical way to make Nicole Sydney’s biological mother.  Somewhere, in the back of your mind, if you’re a fan like me, you’d accept some wacked out plot that would make Sydney Nicole and EJ’s child, logic be damned!

How’s this for wacked out:  Stefano pulls another rogue move and has Sami implanted with Nicole/Ej’s fertilized eggs.  Don’t ask me how he got the contribution, I don’t care.  How he managed to get the fertilized egg implanted into Sami is of no concern of mine.  I’ll take it.  No, it will never happen (and that’s for the best, if daytime is to rebuild its credibility), but sometimes I wish it could.   I love that Nicole is able to love that child with her whole heart and it kills me that she’s eventually going to lose her… That’s not to say that I’m not looking forward to the creative genius Zuker will throw into Nicole’s heartbreak.  I am!

The one thing I’m looking forward to more than Zuker’s performances is the end of Nicole’s fear.  I’m looking foward to having this secret over  with so that it’s not a constant threat to her sanity.  For the life of me, I’ll never understand why writers have characters who have soul-searing secrets repeatedly discuss them in the open. Wouldn’t it have been lovely if Brady and Nicole exchanged knowing glances, but never uttered another word about the baby?  Smart people doing very stupid things, if only they did them less in daytime.   It’s all too predictable,and it steals some of the enjoyment from the plot.  Some of Nicole’s best blackmail schemes have been the result of eavesdropping as other spilled their secrets. Why would she continue to talk about hers?

Last, I’m looking forward to the secret being exposed so that she can rip Phillip Kiriakis a new one if he manages to take everything and everyone she loves away from her.  Phillip and Nicole have been great as friends/enemies in the past, but Nicole going after him without regard to herself?  This could be explosive.  Maybe the biggest secrets she’s kept are those that could cost Victor and Phillip their precious company and all other possessions.  Phillip costs her the child and husband she loves, and she takes everything else he cares about.  I’d say that was a fair exchange.  Wouldn’t you?

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Kendall-Ryan-Emma

Ryan is THAT man.  You know the one, the man who can never be alone for long.  It makes him edgy.  Every time you see him, he’s with someone new and he never seems to think it’s strange that the paper towel sitting on your kitchen counter has outlasted the last three relationships he’s been in.

Ryan and Kendall weren’t playing it for comedy, but it sure as hell didn’t stop me from laughing as they told Emma about Greenlee’s death.  Cam Mathieson is pretty damned hot, but the whole weepy cow-eyed thing he does when Ryan is “sad”?  EH… I could live without it.  But that’s not what gave me the big giggles.

The whole time I watched Kendall and Ryan break the news to Emma I wondered how much better those scenes would have been if Emma looked up at Kendall and asked her if she was going to help her daddy put Greenlee’s things in a box, just like daddy and Greenlee put her mommy’s things in boxes.   That’s the natural progression of a relationship in little Emma’s life, thanks to daddy.  Of course, it doesn’t bode well for Kendall that every woman who loves Ryan ends up with her things in a box ready to be shipped to soapgod knows where.  But he is Ryan, and that’s not supposed to matter.  He’s special.

Emma lost her mother when Annie was locked away in an institution and was almost immediately given a ‘new mom’ in Greenlee.  Greenlee dies shortly after and now Kendall is there, holding her, telling her that the replacement mom is now an angel (or maybe just looks like one… flying off the end of that motorcycle in a wedding gown and veil. Just sayin’).  Clearly, it was impossible for Ryan to tell Emma on his own.  He’s THAT man… the man who can’t do anything without a woman there to adore and support him.  Who knew that Annie was actually the stable one in the relationship?

The writers will probably allow Ryan to grieve, for at least a week or two.  He’ll then end up consoling Kendall.  He’ll help her ‘heal’ from her feelings hurt of betrayal thanks to Zach/Bianca/Reese.  It will be hard, at first, but his heart will go on… and then I think we’ll end up watching a love quad with Reese/Zach/Kendall/Ryan…

I should say that YOU”ll end up watching that quadrangle, AMCers… I’ll be watching The Guiding Light.

BnB: Like I need another reason

Rick Forrester just squicked his way to the biggest loser in daytime.  He couldn’t be a more perfect soap sleaze if he wore his shirt unbuttoned to his navel to expose  layers of gold chains intertwined in a thick mop of chest hair!  How does Rick describe his relationship with Taylor Forrester?  It was only about being ‘caught up in playing the hero’.  Really?

While ‘playing hero’ he:

  • turned on his mother and chose Taylor’s side of their arguments EVERY time, warning his mother to back off.
  • planned a wedding all on his own to surprise Taylor – who never indicated that she wanted to marry him.
  • tried to kill his brother Ridge, just because Taylor dumped him and told him she wasn’t over Ridge.
  • tried to seduce Ridge’s daughter to ‘get even’.
  • edited his mother’s podcast to wipe out any positive reference to Ridge, just to hurt him.
  • humiliated Phoebe and diminished his feelings for her to be with Taylor.

I don’t need more reasons to hate Rick, I ALREADY hate him, writers. Save your energy for correcting the mess you’re making of the show around other craptacular storylines: Stop pretending diversity works only on other soaps – step up the Bakers-Marcus storyline.  Three African-American males and you drag them out just a couple times a year, while we end up watching pseudo-incest storylines month after month?  Tell us who Jack’s actual bio mom is.  Correct the vortex of  horror Katie and Donna Logan’s presence creates.  Do something meaningful with Bridget-turned doctor-turned fashion designer. Drop the BRidge intracouple conflict – we’ve lived that for more than 20 years; have them work to take on others who come after them.  Give them some huge corporate storyline.  Stop with the assault on Clarke Garrison that denies the character’s early history.  Give Pam something to do – she’s the most entertaining new character we’ve seen in forever on this show.  Hurry up with the Bridget and Owen lovin’.

More scenes of Rick Forrester’s whining is just rubbing salt in fans’ wounds!  Making women stupid enough to love him is like pouring alcohol on top of the salted wounds. It’s just overkill.   At some point, it’s just wanking the law of diminishing returns by continuing to focus on how much of a spectacularly sucking ‘person” Rick has become and how much dumber each woman who loves him gets.  Phoebe?  Stupid, but the brightest of the bunch, she dumped him for her own sake.  Taylor?  Dumber… she only dumped him because she thought she had a shot at Ridge.  Steffy?  Too dumb to dump the guy.

If the writers are paying attention to their own scripts, they MUST have Steffy finally notice Rick’s pattern.  He denied his love for Amber – the woman he once swore was his first love.  He  later describes her as violating him, taking advantage of his youth.  She ‘stole’ his childhood.   He demeaned his relationship with her sister Phoebe.  It wasn’t real.  He’s now denying he felt anything real for her mother, as well.  How much longer before Rick is telling some dumb chippie that he was only using Steffy or that he was so caught up in his hatred for his brother that he couldn’t bring himself to see that his feelings for HER were real, either?

Add that to his treatment of his mother (whose sex life he feels FAR too much right to try to control) and his sister (whose life he doesn’t care about at all as he befriended the man who impregnated her; ran off when her child died; bedded his mother; and then bedded his mother and sister in a 24 hour period).  Clearly, the feelings of neither of those two women matters more than his own.

Putting all of the above with the fact that he ‘played hero’  for her, as he sees it, by selling out his family’s trust and giving away a collection to a rival company that cost his family MILLIONS of dollars, it would be great if Steffy’s brain cells started firing and she realized that he’s a very dangerous soul…that uncle of hers.  Otherwise? Steffy is lost.

The Strength of GL

What’s amazes me most about the shift in writing for GL is how good the writers are at making want things I didn’t even know I wanted.  I’ve CELEBRATED the end of the Coop-Beth affair.  I would have celebrated it no matter how it ended (Coop’s moving away, Coop’s dying, Beth moving away, Beth’s dying).  I wasn’t picky about what it would take to end it.

So the big day arrives, Henry Cooper Bradshaw says his good-byes, he lets Beth off the hook for using him to feel ‘young’ or ‘free’, or some such bullshite!, and as I’m watching it dawns on me that I don’t WANT Coop to die!  A good part of it was the writing, the rest of it was John Driscoll.  Had the writers told a compelling storyline for this character, other than being the latest stooge in Beth’s plan to ‘feel something’, it would have been much clearer to the audience why this character matters.   Driscoll gave one of the best performances I’ve seen in a long time – any character, any show.  He was utterly amazing.

What else rocked?

1.  Lizzie telling her mother how weak and starry-eyed she’s become, and that her choices have been miserable for everyone around her.  RIGHT ON, Lizzie..  Beth has been a self-centered walking disaster.  (More on the Lizzie-Beth angle at a later date).

2.  Olivia turning to Bill, knowing it wasn’t Bill she was running to, but her feelings from Natalia that she was running from.  Thank goodness the kiss never got beyond that.  It was good to finally have Liv say what she needed and wanted to say, her feelings aren’t just about friendship, there’s more.

3.  Natalia offering to visit Phillip with Olivia, and make sure she kept her strength up for whatever happened next.  Thank goodness Phillip has come back the man he was.  Unlike Alan, I think the writers will have Phillip embrace Otalia’s relationship and be happy that Emma is loved.  Liv has done a better job putting Emma first than Beth has with ANY of her children.

4.  Buzz Cooper.  Justin Deas?  He’s just a phenom.  His portrayal of Buzz’s refusal to accept the fact that Coop was dying  just broke my heart!  Justin Deas has proven that nothing replaces sheer talent in daytime.  You can’t buy the younger and cheaper pretty-but-pointless actors and expect to get the same powerful punch from a master performance like the one he delivered as Coop was passing on.  It just doesn’t happen.

I wasn’t looking forward to the Coopers going after Alan. Afterall, Coop crashed of his own accord, racing on icy roads to stop Beth from marrying Alan.  Now?  GAME ON!  I’ll be front and center!

GH – Reconciliation

I realize, now, that I was far too dismissive of the big disaster episodes on General Hospital.  While I’m still not crazy about the special effects, or about GH writers ripping themselves off from prior disaster storyline, for as much as scenes like THIS annoyed me:

there were actually quite a few things to like about General Hospital over the last week or two.  When you wipe away the special effects, the mobsters being misplaced,  and take a look at the human interactions, some pretty significant stuff  happened.   (What’s wrong with the above scene? Sonny, standing in the middle of a group of women, all of whom he’s either slept with or impregnated?  Plenty!  I imagine a GH in which two or more women can stand in a room and NEITHER/NONE of them has slept with Sonny -or Jason, for that matter. Eh!  Another time.  That’s not the point of this blog entry).

The good stuff… RECONCILIATION, of sorts:

1.  Tracy and Edward Quartermaine.  I can only guess that their scenes were especially gratifying to veteran GH viewers.  Why?  Edward Quartermaine isn’t exactly what you’d call a warm and loving father. In fact, he’s not exactly the sort of man you’d call ‘father’, if you could help it.  He may be Tracy, Alan,  deceased Bradley Ward, and Jimmy Lee Holt’s  biological father, but that’s been about his only claim to his family. His children and grandchildren have always been property to him, pawns. They were a sign of his great empire, shaped to carry on his legacy, but not  ncessarily people he was capable of showing any sort of measurable love and affection toward.  Even more?

Tracy’s conflicts with Edward have been even more difficult than most father-daughter relationships in daytime.  A father may deny the paternity of his child, in daytime. He may even live his life without knowing he’s had children.  Daughter’s may grow up calling the wrong man papa, but rarely do they attemp to kill their fathers, biological or otherwise.  Tracy has.  She allowed Edward to suffer a heart attack, and as he lay dying – begging her to get his medication, she ignored his pleas.  Luckily, Edward faked the heart attack and was just testing Tracy.  Unlucky for her, she failed.

Sure, they’ve have warm moments since that time:

but nothing comes close to the scenes between the two we’ve witnessed this past week.  Tracy is Edward’s last livng link to his beloved Lila.  Despite everything they’ve been through, they are the last of the Q family in many ways.  Lila is long gone.  Granddaughter Emily passed away shortly after his son, Alan. Bradley is deceased.  Jimmy Lee Holt has moved on.  Grandsons Ned and Dillon are off in the winds, making their fortunes, and living non-Q lives.  What remains is Edward, Tracy, and daughter-in-law Monica.  It’s good to know that when push comes to shove, Edward will stand by his children, and his grandchildren, and all those he loves.  It was touching scene to watch, Edward wanting the daughter who was willing to take his life to survive.

2.  Edward and Carly being civil… another set of touching scenes and quite poignant when you think about their history.

Carly was always certain that the Qs, Edward most especially, were a threat to her son Michael.  She spent every waking moment thinking of how to keep Michael safe from Edward’s clutches and to prevent him from being turned into a Q/Eddie clone as his biological father AJ had willingingly become.

 It’s ironic when you think about it.  Even if he was an Eddie Q clone, he wouldn’t be in a coma, right now, most likely.  He would be safe.  Carly first embraced Edward and welcomed his presence at Michael’s fundraiser.  She later showed him sympathy and concern as he worried and waited to learn the fate of his daughter and his daughter-in-law.

You have to wonder if the writers will ever allow Carly to spend time openly reflecting on how much better off Michael would have been had he been raised by the Qs.  Could she ever become part of their family again?  If AJ returned, in the midst of the hell Carly’s life has become dealing with Sonny and Jason and the dark drama that follows them both, would she be happy to see him?  Is there some part of her that would feel guilty that she hadn’t let him be a bigger part of Michael’s life?  It makes you wonder her unspoken regrets are the reason she’s been so determined to stay with Jax and to have Jax be Morgan’s father/father figure. 

3.  Liz and Lucky.  While Liz and Lucky aren’t officially together, surely they’ll realize that no matter how much has happened between them, they have far too much history to be able to love anyone else as much as they love one another.  What’s always been true about this couple appears to be true, once again They’ve always been able to rely on one another more than they could anyone else – prior to Lucky’s addiction.

For the record, I’ve always liked Lucky and Sam. She gave him back his dignity, to some degree. Sam was able to see him in a way that Liz couldn’t after she’d talked herself into believing that Jason was the immoral (uh moral) majority and a good man who would never harm anyone, herself included, as Lucky had hurt her.  She’s right, Jason is not the unfaithful kind, just murderous and unrepentant – but that’s another story.  If Lucky and Sam were built on something more than rebounding, I’d  want them together for a very long time.  Lucky did as much for Sam as she’s done for him.  They were both able to see the good in one another that their respective partners wrote off. 

Each has sought forgiveness for their betrayals of others.  Each has been horribly judged by those who have no right to judge them (something about glass houses, being without sin, casting first stones, and all that jazz).  Knowing that about  Sam and Lucky makes me wonder why I even want Lucky and Liz to get back together – other than the fact that the heart wants what it wants, and my heart wants the love and history that comes with this couple.  They make me remember a GH I use to enjoy, and it would be great to have a couple together without the mob worship that takes place on this show far too often. Liz and Lucky are ‘family’.  They always have been.

Now, if the writers would only do something about Jake’s paternity.  That kid just CAN’T be Jason’s… Let’s reconcile THAT issue, next.

4.  Luke with his past.  Something about Ethan tells me that Luke will have to face what kind of man he is, and was in his youth, yet again.  At least I hope that’s true, and this time  I want it to be an eye opening day of reckoning.    Ethan is a slick operator, as Luke once was.   I have to wonder how much longer Luke will find Ethan’s antics funny.  Ethan is clearly a liar, manipulator and user.  Like Edward Q, Luke has become a father in name only – which saddens me when you think of the life Luke and Laura created for Lulu and the ‘cowboy’. 

Luke seems to be gravitating toward the young man who reminds him far too much of himself in his younger days.  I would have added his youner and more ‘reckless days’, but he’s still living the reckless part.  While his children were back in PC dealing with the toxic gas scare, where was Luke?  Having only just met Ethan, Luke has already found another reason to ignore the children who needed him, as well as not being there for Tracy.

There’s a part of me that wants Luke to learn the hard way what it’s like to love and trust a man like the self-indulgent Luke Spencer.  I want him to open his heart to his new “son” (symbolic? actual?) only to find himself being tossed aside, used, lied to, and generally ignored.  It would finally give him some idea of the lives his children and the women who’ve loved him  have led.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Soap couple moments I love

Days Of Our Lives

There’s something about EJ and Nicole that allows them to bring out the best in one another.  He’s STILL  a manipulative power-mad monster; his Dimera genes don’t leave him much choice.  What I love is the fact that he’s not power-mad and controlling with Nicole.  Unlike characters like Phillip Kiriakis, who dumps on any woman who dares to love him – in order to prove he’s worthy of his perpetually angry papa’s love, EJ is willing and able to put his love for Nicole first.   EJ is not afraid to stand up to his father and protect the woman he adores.

Every other woman he’s been with brings out the lowlife in him.  Nicole brings out the loving husband and father who feels secure and who can trust the woman he’s with to build a future and grow his family with… which makes it a shame that Nicole is lying to him about his daughter’s maternity.  While he hasn’t been able to tame the manipulative side of her, he at least brings out the humanity in her.  This time, she’s lies for someone else’s benefit, not JUST her own.

Guiding Light

Beth and Phillip are the best of what daytime soap couples are meant to be, even if they aren’t together – yet.  Seeing his face, all Beth had to do was touch him – the love of her life, the man she thought died and left her behind.  Is there doubt in anyone’s mind that she’s been written as a character in free fall because Phillip wasn’t there to catch her?  Every romance was an attempt to recapture the love she shared with him. All have failed.   What made Phillip and Beth great is not that she was always a stereotypic damsel in distress, in need of a knight in shining armor to save her.  Indeed, Beth has been Phillip’s rescuer for as much as he’s saved her.

How fitting that he returned to save, for now, the newest replacement soul mate she’s involved with – another relationship gone horribly wrong.  Coop’s blood on Phillip’s red hoodie, blood that ended up on Beth’s wedding gown through contact with Phillip… Coop has symbolically become yet another casualty in Beth and Phillip’s epic saga.  His return had to signal Coop’s end.  There was no other way.

 When Phillip helped Beth step out of her blood soaked wedding gown, and wrapped a robe around her, something in me welled up.  Beth stood there, half undone but unafraid. There was no shame. There was no angst. Just love and trust and comfort.  It’s been a long time since we’ve been treated to a scene like that ANYWHERE in daytime.  They don’t need words to communicate.  They just need to be together.

General Hospital

I wish I could say that the money TPTB spent on yet another helicopter… to airlift even MORE ‘stranded’ PC citizens had a positive effect on me, but it did not.  All I could think about is how GH writers are now ripping off their own  disaster moves… Hotel fire, Port Chuckles citizens running to the rooftop to make it to the waiting helicopter, not enough room for everyone to go at one time, some will have to wait…been there, done that. Some of the same citizens are involved in this one too.  What?  No PTSD?  No flashbacks to the hotel fire?  (If there were, I missed them, I tuned out most of the yawn inspiring poison gas disaster).

The couple scene that warmed my heart most happened with a couple that shared little to no screen time through most of this catastrophe.  While Patrick yelled orders, telling Sam and others to get to the rooftop and let him worry about who needed to get out next, my heart melted.  So strong, so brave, so much the man a great love made him.  Could you imagine the Patrick Drake who first came to town being so selfless?   THAT Patrick would have been trying to figure out how to get out to save his precious gift for the world.   He’d have been throwing elbows on his way up the stairs toward the helicopter (wondering about the poor heartbroken women who wouldn’t survive if he didn’t make it out of there).  Ok, Patrick was never THAT callous, but he was pretty damned close.

Love has transformed him.  THIS Patrick worried about his family.  THIS Patrick could think of the families of all of the others who wanted them back home that day.  While he was saving others, Robin was bonding with Emma – and praying that they would all be back together again.  Each in their own way recommitted to their loving family.

By the way, given the annual disaster event (or what seems like an annual disaster event), why does anyone in that town ever leave home? Why haven’t they all moved elsewhere?

All My Children

Reese touching Bianca’s cheek as she cried at the altar would have warmed by heart… IF Reese weren’t just kissing Zach a short while before that.  What do I love most about Reese?  How much she makes the audience appreciate what real women Maggie and Lena were!  Bianca’s two greatest loves, and TPTB wasted a Binks wedding on Reese. 

Rather than suffer through another eye-boink between Reese and Zach, I would have loved to have had either Maggie or Lena wiping Binks’ tears away.  Those tears would have meant something, then.

One Life to Live

Tea with?  ANYONE.  I love Tea’s chemistry with everyone she’s with, and sadly even with Todd.  It doesn’t seem likely the writers will ever go anywhere with the two… they’re past lovers who’ve developed a sibling relationship (icky as that sounds – it’s the reverse of a BnB lovestory where past siblings become future lovers once they learn they’re no longer related by blood).

Since we most likely won’t get Tea and Todd, I’m still lovin’ the Rex/Gigi relationship.  I’m not fully sold, but I love the friendship/lover vibe the two have.  Wes and Marty are equally, if not more, interesting -but for all the wrong reasons.  They’re  a trainwreck in the making!  Wes doesn’t know Marty all the well, but he’s got her number.  He’s figured out that not only is she using him to get to Todd, but to get to McBain, as well, and he’s not having it! 

Now, if only Wes would learn enough about Marty’s history to ask her how she can afford to keep drinking when she’s supposed to have Lupus.   Has Marty gone into classic soap remission?  Is it just that the writers have forgotten about Marty’s illness?  Outside of the drinking, Marty and Wes have it going on… if only it would go on a while longer… we’ll see.

Rick Forrester: bad Karma

“Sometimes they come back’… Stephen King couldn’t have created a better  payback character than Rick Forrester.  Rick annoys the hell out of me. He’s childish, angry, irresponsible, without guilt, short-sighted, ungrateful, and whiny. Those are just his most positive traits!  It wasn’t, however,  until I started debating with BnB fans about Rick’s semi-incestuous relationship with his niece, Steffy, that I thought about why Rick’s actions are huge payback, in some ways.  

Today I thought about Taylor telling a toddler Rick’s mother Brooke  to stay with his father, Eric, despite their plans to divorce. She said that young Rick (age 2 or 3) needed time to ‘adjust’ to his parents impending divorce.  In the meanwhile, Taylor was chasing the man Rick’s mother was truly in love with (Ridge Forrester).  She used Ridge’s anger at Brooke for not leaving her marriage to her benefit.  She scored a few dates with Ridge until Brooke and Ridge eventually reunited.

Then there was the time that Stephanie and Taylor set things up to have Taylor secretly give ‘swimming lessons’ to Brooke’s young children, Rick and Bridget.  Why? Because they believed that if they could get Brooke’s children to get use to Taylor and grow to like her, they wouldn’t mind if Taylor broke up their family to have Brooke’s husband, Ridge. 

The clip below picks up with what happens after  Brooke learns the truth about the ‘swimming lessons’ and confronts Taylor.  Taylor pulls the ‘stepmother’ card on Brooke, taunting her about the fact that she believes Ridge will leave his family for her.  Brooke’s reaction is interesting, to say the least:

Fast forward, years later, when Taylor asks a 12 year old Rick to keep the secret that she’s dating his father, Eric.  Of course, Taylor neglected to tell her good friend, Stephanie.  She also neglected to tell Stephanie that she sent Eric to crush her when Stephanie confessed to Taylor that she still loved Eric.  Taylor wanted Eric to make sure Stephanie knew there was no hope for the two of them.

Fast forward to adult Rick dating Taylor’s daughter Phoebe, after finding out that Ridge isn’t their father Eric’s biological son afterall (hence the semi-incestuous relationship described above).

Fast forward to Rick dating TAYLOR, when his relationship with Phoebe ended.

Fast forward to Taylor freaking out when she learns that Rick is now dating her other daughter, Steffy. 

On one hand, I don’t think anyone really ‘deserves’ a pain in the arse like Rick, but if anyone comes close to having earned the ‘honor’, it’s Taylor.  You mess around in someone else’s life long enough, you run the risk of having to deal with them the rest of your life, one way or the other.  From his ‘stepmother’, to his ‘potential mother-in-law, to his ‘lover’, to possibly his ‘mother-in-law’ all over again.  Karma can be fierce!