If it don’t dangle in daytime, we don’t need it.

By ‘we’, I mean TPTB in charge of daytime. Some time ago I was convinced that strong women were making a comeback in daytime. What a fool I was. If the above subject header isn’t a strong enough descriptive slogan for daytime writers, execs, and others, try this one on:

“We hate children and the women who carry them!”

General Hospital

The only woman with balls on this show is the uber-psychotic Helena Cassadine , and she’s carrying the biggest shiniest brass set around! Oh yes, I used the term ‘balls’. Without ‘balls’ you may as well not exist in daytime. Apparently having ovaries makes you weak… and stupid.

Jason/Carly/Jax: I only thought The Bold and The Beautiful was awful when it comes to the treatment of women and children, but more on that later. If you’re associated with the BnB, GH gives you cause for celebration. I’m still processing the idea that Carly would rather share the moment that she finds out she’s pregnant with Jason instead of her HUSBAND. If you’re keeping track? The Mob boys are now practicing midwifery and other forms of OB/GYN arts… Apparently killing the ‘bad’ mob boys is a sideline profession for the ‘good’ mob boys. They’re now jack(asses) of all trades!

Would it have been too much to ask for Jax to know about his wife’s condition BEFORE Carly’s mob pals? Jason even got to read the pregnancy stick???? Good soapgod! How much effort would it have been for the writers to have Carly turn to Bobbie, you know her mother and an expert NURSE!?!?! She could have talked with Bobbie about her fears of losing this baby, received sage medical advice, and bonded more deeply with her mother in the process. Oh wait, I forgot… “Pre-head injury Jason” was pre-med before he got into the ‘kill’ game… that trumps Bobbie’s thirty plus years of nursing. It’s making sense to me, now. Jason’s dangle vs. Bobbie’s experience. No contest. Jason wins.

Jax was always concerned that Carly would never truly put him first in their marriage… She did the best she could to make him feel that he mattered, but when it mattered most? Carly turned to Jason. cShould we bet whether the writers have her name the kid ‘J’ – that’s it, just an initial. She’ll tell Jax it’s to ‘honor’ him, but secretly she’ll know the kid is named after ‘uncle’ Jason, too. Should we bet Vegas odds on whether the kid even makes it through the full nine months? If it makes it nine months, should we bet on how long it takes the writers to make it someone else’s or kill the child off?

If you’re not a daytime viewer, those questions probably seemed cruel. If you ARE a daytime viewer, you probably wish there was no basis for asking such questions. Given how frequently both events happen (child death or misattributed paternity), soap fans are holding their collective breath, waiting to see which of the two events happens. Live births are so rare in daytime, by comparison.

Sonny and Claudia: I’m still counting on the writers to reveal that the hitman who shot Michael was in fact hired by someone else, someone Sonny can kill without having to debate just how or when. That Claudia thinks that being pregnant with Sonny’s child will save her is almost funny. Well, it would be funny if it weren’t so tragic and misguided a belief.

Someone should inform Claudia that Sonny put a bullet in the head of his LAST wife while she was giving birth to his child. Yes, yes… accident! He thought she was in trouble and thought he was firing at Alcazar. The trouble is that he fired off a round in a home where he KNEW his pregnant wife was being held and that she was close to her due date. Obviously, the thought of ‘Sonny the hero’ mattered more than ‘Sonny the father of a live child and husband to a living wife’. Considering how many wives, children, and lovers he’d lost to death before that, you can see how, just maybe, his perspective is a little skewed.

Child or no, I can’t imagine the writers having Sonny kill off Claudia. As much as I try to fight it, Maurice Bernard and Sarah Brown have amazing onscreen chemistry and no amount of time apart has been able to diminish that fact. Personally, I think Claudia is too good for Sonny, but that’s me. If the writers are going to clear Claudia of Michael’s accidental shooting, I hope they do it SOON. There’s nothing ‘sexy’ or ‘romantic’ or ‘thrilling’ about watching a pregnant woman try to figure out how to stay alive after giving birth to the newest heir to the mob kingdom.

By the way, just how when and WHY did the writers decide to make the shift from having every child conceived by Sonny die early in the mother’s pregnancy, to having him populate half of the town’s children? Unless Port Chuckles decides to toss aside the laws against unlawful unions between sibs, SOMEONE else in that town had better start having children and FAST! Ric thinks the child is his? I’m pretty much hoping he’s right though it really doesn’t solve that many problems. He and Sonny share DNA. To my knowledge, this is the first daytime pregnancy created to protect the mother from potentially being killed at the hands of the father/or uncle, whichever Sonny turns out to me. You won’t find THAT in a Harlequin novel! Amateurs!

Robin, Patrick, Emma: First, let me get the chick stuff out of the way right now… O-M-G!!!!!!!! The baby playing Emma is SO CUTE! I’d take that baby in a heartbeat, she’s such a doll! What a sweetie pie! Great casting for a Scrubs baby.

Second? Lucky freakin’ baby – sitting on Patrick’s lap and all. Move over kid!

Third? Oh.HELL.NO…In the neverending quest to turn GH into the barely-modern version of Father Knows Best, who didn’t know that Robin would keep beating back EVERY advancement made in the PPD storyline? Who didn’t know she’d throw out her meds? Who didn’t know that she’d backslide on therapy? What was the point of her lying to Patrick about keeping her appointments? Who DIDN’T know that Robin would make some sort of tragic mistake with Emma? Robin has ovaries, after all.

I’ve hit a new frustration level with the treatment of the Scrubs family. I miss the ABC Daytime that had a longstanding tradition of treating real life social issues with sensitivity, accuracy, and great care. I’d hoped that would happen with the PPD storyline and that it would be treated as both informative and as a showcase for KM’s talent. I thought that much of what we would see is a depressed Robin unable to hold her child, drifting from her family, possibly walking away and deserting her child and husband. I thought we’d have Patrick unable to function, supported by both sets of parents and Mac. I thought we would get to watch Robin’s mother and father begin to help her by admitting their own failures as parents and begging her to break the cycle and fight to be there for Emma. I kept my fingers crossed… but I should have known better.

Writers/EPs/execs who seemingly hate daytime children and the women who carry them couldn’t possibly conceive of a storyline that didn’t include potential harm to a child! Isn’t it bad enough that GH fans began referring to baby Scrubs as ‘the Keebler Emma’ after Robin left her in a tree, this past winter? (Is it a mere coincidence that ABC was also the home of the serial ‘Men in Trees’? Men… Babies.. the viewer’s nerves! All up in trees these days.) Honest to goodness, can you even tell anyone who isn’t a soap fan about that scene? Geez. If it happened on the prime time show Scrubs, it would have been played for laughs and the writers would have made it perfectly clear that they were going for camp.

What’s next? GH fans refer to poor Emma as “Rock-a-bye Emma”? Come on, writers. There’s nothing exciting about watching an infant flipping down the stairs in a stroller because her mom hasn’t taken her anti-depressants and is too busy fighting about NOT being treated for PPD. It’s so horrifying to me that I turned the channel, and I can’t see myself tuning in Monday to find out what happens next. You, dear readers, will have to tell ME. Whatever it is, it most likely includes Patrick leaving Robin and another woman helping him ‘mend’ his broken heart- until the new love’s ovaries cause her to become unworthy of love in some way, too.

Not the only offender

GH isn’t alone in treating women and their children like spare parts; it’s just the worst offender in my book. How typical is it that two women end up pregnant by the same man? One, inevitably, has to lose her child – so that the other can plot to steal the living child and pass it off as her own (Days of Our Lives/Young and the Restless writers, if you’re feeling guilty right now? You SHOULD!). Don’t forget the plots in which women are duped into believing that their baby’s daddies have returned to their spouses and other children, so she has to abort, or attempt to abort, her child to protect HIS happiness (Young and the Restless, The Bold and The Beautiful)’

The Bold and the Beautiful deserves special mention. Anyone who knows me knows that Taylor Hamilton Hayes Forrester Marone is one of my LEAST favorite soap characters, but not even she deserved to be turned into a spare womb! Unable to conceive because her eggs were deemed inviable, Taylor and then husband Nick Marone chose to conceive using a donor egg. Of course, within hours after giving birth, Taylor found out that through a hospital mix-up she’d been impregnated with an egg from Brooke Logan Forrester – a woman she hated. Once she’d realized she couldn’t stay married to Nick, who began developing feelings for Brooke again, she decided to make a clean break from him and leave their marital home. Nick’s response? To call Brooke to come ‘home’ to him and ‘their’ son – before Taylor’s car was barely out of the driveway. He later decided to deny Taylor her parental rights, and Little Jack Marone has had TWO stepmothers since then. One womb is as good as another it seems.

Guiding Light? I can’t tell you how absurd it is that the writers had Reva Shayne Lewis TWICE undergo menopause, only to undergo chemo and radiation and still give birth to a healthy baby boy. Words fail me. A woman is only as good as her ovaries, I guess. <sigh>

As much as I’ve loved As The World Turns‘ Henry and Vienna, Katie and Brad, it was more than just a little uncomfortable watching the four friends share a hospital room as Vienna was undergoing an in vitro procedure to become a surrogate carrying what was supposed to be Katie and Brad’s child. Henry’s reaction was what you’d expect – excessive. Henry was so nervous and uncomfortable that he forced Brad to turn around so that he couldn’t ‘watch’. Henry also accidentally knocked Brad’s sperm sample to the ground. It was supposed to be funny. For me, it wasn’t. Sorry, but all I could think about, while Brad dragged Katie out to help him ‘make more’, was who’d have to clean it up (yeah yeah, no one it’s just a soap, but you know what I mean!) and if everyone was supposed to wait around until Brad and Katie returned.

One Life to Live... good times! Remember when Todd made Blair think their son was dead because he thought she’d cheated on him? Then he had her adopt the son he’d initially placed for adoption after he found out that Jack really was his? OLTL writers have topped themselves in the ‘ovaries leading to crazy grief’ storylines. Jessica now has to learn that the child she conceived with her now deceased husband has also died, and that one of her alters stole her cousin’s baby – born on the same night. Two pregnancies, one dead infant, more heartbreak to come. CAN’T WAIT!

What use to be a joyous occasion has become one of the most depressing events in daytime. The words ‘we’re pregnant’ are my two least favorite words in daytime, lately.

YnR burnout!

I can only guess that the YnR writers are burning-out from the fabulous time they’ve been having rebuilding the YnR and making it a show worthy of its top-rated position in the ratings. What else explains:

1- why the writers have decided to have a three way “who’s the daddy?” storyline with Sharon/Nick/Billy/Jack? Daytime writers seem to always be in the process of one-upping each other in plotting to offer something ‘different’ by way of storyline; something ‘never seen before’. But why is it that the ‘something different’ is almost always a plot that makes soap fans cringe with embarrassment to say that they’re daytime viewers? DAYS gave us Marlena’s demonic possession. PASSIONS gave daytime a bad reputation, PERIOD. AMC gave us an ‘unabortion’. GL gave us (temporarily) twins with separate fathers and cloning. The BnB gave us a back-from-the-dead storyline with a character who’d been viewed in a casket for days (it was a wax dummy, don’t you know?) GH gave us the ‘Ice Princess’, OLTL gave us the DID storyline with Viki Buchanan – ok, this one was freakin’ fabulous!… Now the YnR gives us a variation on the daytime “Who’s Your Daddy?” theme. This storyline feels more like a ‘Maury’ episode than a daytime plot.

If the writers are determined to fight the groundswell return to Sharon and Nick, so be it… just DON’T put them together, but what is the purpose of having Sharon sleep with almost every male (of age) on this show? What’s with the rumors that the father is actually a fourth, previously unnamed male? My guess? If it’s true, it’s either ‘the great man’, himself, Victor Newman, or it’s now-deceased Brad Carlton… OR we’ll find out that Sharon has secretly slept with both and only one is the father… OR, she’s carrying twins, one is Victor’s and one is Brad’s?

Why the hell not? When you put that much effort into destroying your show’s lead romantic heroine, you might as well go all the way.

At what point did YnR writers start trashing the show’s history? At what point did they decide that character development was for losers? Any fan remembers that Sharon was Nick’s long suffering wife who couldn’t find her husband when she needed him most – when their daughter was killed in an accident. Nick deserted his grieving family and when he did return, he began a sexual affair with the show’s resident homewrecker, Phyllis-then-Abbott-now-Newman. His wife was crying for their dead daughter, he was getting laid.

Phyllis’ disregard of Sharon’s grief surpassed her own selfish disregard of Christine’s grief, when she became pregnant with another man’s child and passed that child off as Danny’s. Don’t get me wrong, that’s when I became a Phyllis fan – ‘St. Cricket’ drove me mad! I couldn’t wait for someone to take her down a peg and love-to-hate Phyllis was perfect for that. Then the writers transformed her from a love-to-hate character to one I could root for without checking my conscience at the daytime door.

I loved watching her take on Diane and her various schemes to break up Phyllis’ marriage to Jack. I knew it was part of the ‘divine retribution’ poor Phyllis had coming and so I was patient, and waited for her to prevail (the wicked Phyllis over the even MORE wicked Diane).

By the time the Sharon/Nick/Phyllis storyline came along, I realized that the only thing that had changed about Phyllis was the calendar year. She was still the same selfish, thoughtless, pants-dropping person she’d been in the past and what a HUGE disappointment. This time, it wasn’t as much fun around. She wasn’t helping a loser husband destroy his marriage of the town’s hypocritical resident saint. She was helping a different loser destroy his marriage to a deeply grieving, lonely, frustrated mother who wanted nothing more than to hold her deceased daughter, or at least hold her husband to help her through the pain. Phyllis had become so much better than that – I thought.

It’s not that Nick was much better, he’s always been a man-whore extraordinaire. It’s just that in THIS case, I allowed myself to believe that his wretched cheating ass was grieving with his little brain. Other than Phyllis being pathetic, what was HER excuse?

THIS is the scene that plays in my mind when I see Nick and Phyllis together:

To ‘even’ the score between the two women, the writers decided to have Sharon behave as classless as both Nick AND Phyllis? Sure, writers, that’s the way to get fans to tune in… don’t bother with building your characters UP… don’t have Nick finally become a BETTER MAN and realize that without sex, he and Phyllis have nothing. Don’t have Phyllis realize that she’d sold her dignity to have a man she never really wanted and who could never have really loved her once the grief cloud cleared… just tear everyone else down too! It’s quicker and takes less creative effort!

Now Sharon is pregnant, with multiple possible baby’s daddies… is that supposed to make fans NOT want Nick and Sharon back together? Is it supposed to make fans root for Phyllis? Are fans supposed to want to see Sharon ‘get hers’? I’m thinking that the only thing this storyline is going to do is cause fans to tune out even faster than before.
HEY, while you’re at it? Why not make Lily a stripper and have Nikki coach her on the fine art of shakin’ it? Why not make Victor a con man? He can take Murphy and Kaye for all they’re worth! Victor could start with the people who love and trust him most and work his way out! Why not have him take all of the money and property Brad left Colleen, just for kicks? He could throw her out on the streets where she’ll hide out, in shame, we’ll all pretend to forget that she’s related to the Abbotts and that they could take her in. Watching her survive the streets would be far more ‘fun’ instead. Mac could decide that all that ‘do-gooder’ crap is for suckers, and she could become a cut-throat corporate raider. Billy could become a gigolo (only, collecting money for his services, this time. The man has just been giving it away!) Why not have Neil, who is as straight-laced as they come, start sleeping around and betraying his family?

OH WAIT! That brings me to

2 – The destruction of Neil. No one is saying that Neil should remain the pious (and at times overly-judgmental) man he’s always been, but what’s the point of changing his character all at once? What’s the point of having Neil fight to help Karen open her heart and trust him, only to fall into bed with Tyra and fall instantly in love with her? Neil and Karen were JUST married! There are any number of cads on this show, Even if the writers decided to have Neil become one of them, ease us INTO it writers! Don’t shock our systems by having Neil become unlikable overnight. What is it about Tyra that appeals to Neil, other than the fact that she’s beautiful, especially since Karen is a beautiful woman as well? Tyra isn’t an especially interesting character.

Neil’s life was torn apart by Dru’s (assault at Malcolm’s hands? Affair with Malcolm? I’m not sure how to classify it). His heartbreak was palpable and he became one of the most easily sympathetic characters in daytime. This storyline makes a joke of that time in his life. Dru worked incredibly hard to earn his forgiveness. He punished her in every way possible. He publicly humiliated her. He treated her like a naughty child. Now? He’s just one more lying cheat who believes he deserves more than he gives.

I once suspected that Guiding Light had an “A Team” set of writers and a ‘B Team” set of writers – before the show started ROCKIN’. It’s starting to feel as if the YnR is following suit. The show is starting to feel disjointed, and the demeaning of fan favorites (like Sharon and Neil) is beginning to feel intentional. I’ll pass!

BnB’s Taylor is RIGHT! To a degree

Brooke chose her ADULT SON over her marriage! Despite the fact that the list of Rick’s enemies grew longer by the day, with former friends and close family members disgusted at the sight of him, Brooke chose to believe that the world had suddenly taken leave of its senses. She needed to believe that the son she fought to save from a psychotic break in his youth and not grown up only to become a malignant narcissist. She thought that loving him enough would heal his sick soul. She was wrong.

(And again, IF ONLY Bridget had received a tenth of the support Rick has received. Nick would have been castrated for his treatment of Bridget and there would NEVER have been the disastrous returns to a Brooke-Nick relationship).

That’s as much credit as I can give Taylor without wondering where the HELL the writers are going with this character. For me, she’s always been a bit of manipulator, and highly unrealistic, but this time she takes the cake! It’s bad enough that she’s failed to take her own advice: Get over a man who doesn’t want you and has never been faithful to you. Ridge was never sexually unfaithful, but he was emotionally unfaithful almost every day of their marriage. NOW she chides Brooke on

1 – Coddling her mentally ill son (uh, hello! THOMAS) and

2 – Putting an adult son FIRST in a relationship. (uh, hello! STEPHANIE)

WHY was the ok with Taylor when it was STEPHANIE choosing what she wanted for Ridge – instead of what was best for him, focusing her time on RIDGE and RIDGE’S life instead of focusing on her own marriage to Eric?

WHY didn’t Taylor tell Stephanie to leave her marriage to Ridge alone, let HER handle Brooke so that Steph could focus on Eric and their lives together?

Why was Taylor always THANKING Steph for her interference, telling her that she and Ridge would NEVER have made it without Stephanie (which means she KNEW Ridge was with her because of his mother’s interference)?

Taylor was right in saying to Ridge that Brooke chose Rick first EVERY time. Foolishly, she did and that’s about to all change. It’s just too bad that it’s one more sign of Taylor’s love for hypocrisy that she didn’t recognize that she’d already used a ‘mother choosing her adult son’ schtick to go after Brooke’s happiness BEFORE.

BnB: Stephanie, Brooke, Sexual Assault

Given the half hour format and the relatively small cast, I can understand why the show’s characters have to do a quick ‘forgive and forget’ and move on to the next storyline. Otherwise, no one would be speaking to anyone else in Bell’s fictionalized Los Angeles. While I was looking for clips from a different show, I stumbled across this one:

I still maintain that Stephanie was NEVER responsible for Andy raping Brooke. Rape is ALWAYS the responsibility of the rapist. Stephanie was, however, responsible for helping Andy gain access to Brooke. It’s that Stephanie has forgiven herself that makes me queasy about the character. It’s that Stephanie views guilt is a useless wasted emotion (her words) that makes me want to see her pay for her past sins , and not by losing Eric — that just feels like a gift from the soapgods that she’s too stupid to recognize! I can’t help but wonder why everyone around her has sanitized her history and her actions so quickly. How have they allowed themselves to forget? How have they allowed themselves to praise her ‘goodness’, her ‘kindness’, her ‘moral decency’?

In the clip, she comments that she realizes that she’s been WRONG about Brooke, that Brooke was never a ‘whore’ and that she didn’t deserve to be raped, no woman does. Reaching out to Brooke was the one decent thing she’d done in YEARS, but did she mean it? Were those words indicative of Stephanie’s all too brief flirtation with the idea of becoming a human being, OR, did she only say it to win favor with Brooke in the hopes of saving herself and her ties to Eric and Ridge? Both vowed to never forgive her for her actions. Eric… Ridge… Nick… The Logans… how soon they all forget! While Rick was busy plotting how to pay Ridge back for the on-again-off-again relationship he had with Brooke many years ago, he should have been plotting on how to destroy Stephanie, instead. Clearly her remorse was short-lived.

How could THAT woman, the woman who heard a survivor’s story, watched her tears and her trembling body, AGAIN become the woman she is today? How could Stephanie NOT feel ill every time she attacks Brooke (verbally or physically)? How could she not hate herself for continuing to attempt to destroy the only happiness Brooke was able to salvage after surviving such a brutal attack, fighting a predator for her life (a predator other than Stephanie, that is)?

Why has this storyline been dropped when there are so many RICH avenues to explore? Surely Andy has a living relative who is angry at the Forresters, most especially Brooke and Ridge? Wouldn’t a brother or sister of his have wormed his way into Forrester, becoming a valued employee, while hiding their true identity? What if it was BOTH a brother and sister? Wouldn’t they want revenge on Brooke AND Ridge? Why haven’t we seen a ‘Hand that Rocks the Cradle’ storyline? How would Stephanie feel knowing that her hateful attitudes toward Brooke (telling a man she didn’t know how to gain access to Brooke’s home) could cost her the life of her truly beloved son? Stephanie knows that Brooke has never indiscriminately slept with men she didn’t know. Why would it be ok to send a complete stranger to her, expecting her to fall into bed with him?

There’s nothing left of the Brooke/Ridge/Taylor triangle (not that it is or will become a ‘real’ triangle anyway – not without killing the ratings even more). There’s nothing left of Stephanie’s psychotic and constant haranguing of a woman whose rape she facilitated. What’s left of the Stephanie-Brooke dynamic, that has yet to be explored, is in the deconstruction of Stephanie’s feud with Brooke. The feud is one-sided as Brooke has resisted becoming involved in the hatemongering that feeds and nourishes Stephanie’s sick and twisted soul. What’s left of the Stephanie-Brooke dynamic is for Stephanie to slowly start paying for her past sins, and finally realizing that guilt is NOT a wasted emotion. It’s what keeps us human.

Maybe my desire to see a STAYLOR )Stephanie – Taylor) storyline stems from hoping the writers would being rehabilitating Stephanie’s character by having her live with, and love, someone who has the potential to finally change her world and open her eyes to how needlessly cruel and angry she’s been. Unfortunately, Taylor Hayes was trained by James Warrick, and as a daytime psychiatrist, he’s been as lousy a psychiatrist as they come! Rather than Taylor transforming Stephanie into a better person, she’s proven herself to be sadly emotionally and psychologically weak. Taylor not only indulges Stephanie’s hatred for others, she encourages it.

More is the pity.

To find resources and information about sexual assault, click the RAINN icon below:

Leave the Light On!

Love. Drama. Trauma. Marriage. Domestic Violence. Divorce. Death. Birth. Coming of age. Coming Out. Adultery. Commitment. Deception. Lies. Truth. Alcoholism. Drug Use. Mental Illness. Recovery. Religion. Acceptance. Forgiveness. Compassion. Passion.

From the safety and comfort of our homes, Daytime Television has been as instrumental in allowing viewers to explore the above topics, and many more, as any other genre. Sometimes with keen accuracy, other times with an eye on entertainment more than education. We’ve learned from, laughed at, and sometimes recoiled in horror because of, the actions of our favorite daytime characters. We’ve done so for 72 years with The Guiding Light, first on radio, and then for more than fifty years on television. Despite whatever it is CBS’ top brass thinks GL’s current ratings tell them about the show, I think they’re wrong. This is a show that’s finally hit its stride. It’s learned to connect with the audience in a way it hasn’t years. Now is not the time to walk away from this great and historic show.

This obviously isn’t another blog about HOW GL should end. This is a blog about WHY GL should be allowed to continue on and why CBS Daytime Execs should be fighting for this show. The writers have finally reached a winning formula:

1 – Reconnecting with romance. Sadly, daytime television worked a bit too hard at turning itself into a caricature; giving its critics too much of what they thought the genre was about in the first place- indiscriminate sex and hyped melodrama, and too little of what daytime really is (Click here to read more from Patrick Erwin’s blog for surprising reactions to GL’s cancellation). Just as long term fans are reconnecting with GL, the writers have had long term characters reconnect with one another. Longtime sweethearts, lovers, and friends, Phillip and Beth Spaulding are rebuilding their lives and their love one moment at a time. I loved Phillip asking Beth if she was always as funny as she is now. I loved Beth telling Phillip that Lillian (her mother) wasn’t the only one who still loved him, she did too. I love that they are as shy and cautious now as they were when they were teens falling in love for the first time.

The writers also gave us Reva in quite an unexpected predicament, protecting her newborn child from Edmund Winslow. She did exactly what long term fans would expect her to do, she turned to Josh for help. He has always been someone she could rely on — if you allow yourself to forget and forgive the dreaded Cassie years. Why is it all scenes between Reva and Josh creates warm fuzzies for me? Between Reva and Josh’s and Beth and Phillip’s reconnection, adding Remy and Christina, Olivia and Natalia, and Bill and Lizzie, what’s not to love about GL? Now all the writers need to do is need to do is rebuild the Bauer and Lewis clans as they’re begun doing with the Spaulding clan.

2 – The ultimate good guy returns. Otalia turned out to be an unexpectedly great storyline for Frank Dicopoulos! From the moment “Frank Cooper” gave his big speech to Buzz about how everyone gets to find happiness but him, to the moment he consoled Nat for leaving him at the altar, this guy has been on a ROLL and THE ROLE (the role of a lifetime). I think, and I’m not sure I’m ready to admit to this, that I teared up a bit as Frank gave his big speech:

Frank: What’s, what’s going on with you? You seem a little tense. Oh, my God! You lost the rings, didn’t you?

Buzz: No, Frank. It’s Natalia.

Frank: What about her?

Buzz: A tux? She’s a simple person. Simple tastes. A tux. She’d want a tux. You should know better.

Frank: Excuse me. If you have something to say, say it.

Buzz: Frank, how much do you love this woman?

Frank: What kind of question is that? I love her with all of my heart.

Buzz: Do you love her enough to let her go?

Frank: Are you serious? Why would I ever give up on Natalia?

Buzz: Frank, I think Natalia is fantastic. I think you’re a fantastic, believe me, a fantastic couple, but she is a woman that likes to please other people, do things for them. And I think maybe she wants to be the perfect woman for you, to be… have the perfect family that Rafe needs, you as a father…

Frank: Okay, okay, hold on one second. I want those things, too.

Buzz: I just… I think you’re rushing into this.

Frank: Why are you doing this? Don’t you think that this family is entitled to have something good happen to it for a change?

Buzz: Are you sure you’re marrying her… she’s marrying you for the right reasons, you know?

Frank: She loves me.

Buzz: Well, maybe she thinks it’s because she owes you, Frank.

Frank: What are you saying? That no woman could love me for me just being me? Is that what you’re saying?

Buzz: Oh, Frank, I never said that.

Frank: No, no. You don’t have to. You believed Coop could find love, didn’t you?

Buzz: That’s different.

Frank: And what about Harley? Harley, meeting a guy every few years, whatever, you danced at all of her weddings.

Buzz: Oh, come on, please.

Frank: And Marina, Marina, my God, my own daughter, she dated her way right through the most-wanted list until she met Mallet. And you. You found Lillian, and then you screwed that up. But I guess– no, no, no I guess you guys can have all of that, right?

Buzz: Frank, you’re twisting my words now.

Frank: No, I’m not twisting your words. Frank Cooper, I guess Frank Cooper is just going to be a cop who is never going to have a partner for the rest of his life, is he? He’s the guy who is a third wheel at a couples’ table. Right? A guy who’s never busy on Valentine’s Day.

Buzz: Frank.

Frank: He’s that guy, isn’t he, Pop?

Buzz: Frank, Frank, I want you to have the love you deserve.

Frank: Well, I found it, Pop! And I love her. And guess what I’m going to do? I’m going to go to the church, and I’m going to put on this tuxedo right here, and I’m going to get my shot, my shot at true love.

Buzz: Frank, wait.

Frank: That’s what I’m going to do.

Buzz: Frank, wait. Wait. Frank, wait. Look! All right? What kind of woman doesn’t want to see her wedding rings? She didn’t want to see the wedding rings.

Frank: You just couldn’t be happy for me?

I wish the writers hadn’t let it go as far as they did, but reflecting on Frank’s scenes from this past week it may be the case that the storyline had to play out the way it has. Frank stood clueless before Natalia and Olivia and my heart broke for him! He wanted nothing more than to reassure Natalia that he was there for her, to help her get through whatever help she needed. Clearly he had no idea that he didn’t really stand a chance in working things out with her.

The best triangles are those where there are NO bad guys – and this one is it! Buzz warned Frankie that Natalia was a woman with a huge heart who spent her time trying to please other people. That’s what we’ve seen from her since she arrived in Springfield – that though it hurt her to be with Gus, especially since he was married and continued walking away from her after their trysts, she gave herself to him any way. She did it because it made HIM happy, but it left her feeling ashamed and alone after. Rather than defining herself based on the men in her life, Natalia is learning who SHE is, what SHE wants. Though I believe she loves Frank, in a strictly platonic way, and that she wants to see him happy – Natalia can’t marry Frank. She loves someone else. She can’t help that.

Triangles in the past have been obvious and predictable. Not so with the Frank/Otalia storyline. Job well done, writers!

3. A greater appreciation for the importance of good casting! This is no small task folks. The casting director who landed Zack Conroy for the role of James Spaulding deserves an extra paycheck! He’s so perfect for this role that I’d forgotten that he was cast as the drug-dropping Leo on As The World Turns. For such a young actor, Conroy does a great job of doing what it takes to fill the screen and make his character an already larger-than-life soul. Conroy gives James a gritty realness. I easily buy him as the pampered scion of a billionaire family.

His morals are as free and easy as that of ‘granddad’ Alan, but he has Phillip’s wit and Beth’s compassion. Brilliant, just brilliant. The writers have struck the perfect tone with the character, and Conroy has done a surprisingly masterful job with the rest of it.

A return to romance, a new focus on long loved core families, great casting, and wonderfully consistent storylines. It just doesn’t feel possible, to me, that this show is over. I was reading comments posted at the NYTimes Arts blog regarding GL’s ‘demise’ when this letter caught and held my attention:

I have the wooden-case radio that sat atop the refrigerator in my grandmother’s kitchen, where I listened with her to “The Guiding Light,” “Stella Dallas,” and many more. When I was older I’d watch with my mom in the summer, when school was out. Another generational link is going.

It may sound silly that anyone cares about a daytime show going off the air, but it’s more than the show. It’s the show, our memories, another lost (generational link) and cultural tie, It’s yet another piece of original American history that’s been commodified, sold off, and left to become part of our ‘past’. Well, not if this soap fan can help it! I’d like to see the Guiding Light continue on. If reports of GL potentially finding a home with the Lifetime Network are true, YES! I’m thrilled beyond measure. If not, please help use the links below and join GL fans in working to get CBS Network Execs to ‘Leave the Light On’: Save the Guiding Light

Keep our Light On

The BnB’s Celluloid Closet…

ROUND THREE, people, ROUND THREE! This will probably be my last blog on this topic for a while, since I’ve neglected my GH, DAYS, and OLTL duties and have yet to reflect on my new love-hate relationship with all three shows.

One of the benefits of posting on soap message boards and blogging is that posting gives you the opportunity to think fully about fans’ reactions to storylines you may think of as basic storylines. Apparently not! In the last BnB blog I posted, I wrote that I’ve been surprised by two concepts 1 – that Stephanie Forrester and Taylor Hamilton Hayes are ‘too moral’ to become involved in a lesbian storyline. 2 – That Taylor and Stephanie are highly moral, at all. The comments below work if you believe that it’s objectively true that Stephanie and Taylor are ‘moral’.

As the debate continues on the official Bold and Beautiful board regarding the speculated possibility of a ‘Staylor’ storyline, I realize just how brilliant the writing for ATWT and GL has been! Before you burn me in effigy, let me qualify that statement – because it clearly requires qualification. The writers of both shows have done something that would not dared have been dreamed of just a couple of decades ago. They’ve established their respective couples (Nuke and Otalia) with at least one partner in the couple serving as their respective shows’ moral centers.

Luke and Noah resisted the temptation to bed-hop as so many others around them had. Noah’s father was a horror of a freak show and Luke’s parents have likely spent as much time sleeping with other people as they have sleeping with one another. Nuke came together not because they were running from anything else, but because they were running TO each other. They took their time getting there (too much time for some fans’ tastes, but they were worth the wait). Nuke brought a patience, kindness, and caring back to the show that had been missing for some time. They also brought back a sense of old-fashioned romance.

The same could be said of Otalia.WOWZA! Their long-awaited admissions of love for one another was nothing short of ‘supernova’ brilliant! The tone was right, the location was right -oddly enough at Gus’ graveside, Liv’s inability to stop herself from saying the words she’s worked so hard to avoid was gut-wrenching… if I wasn’t already sold on them as a couple, I would have been sold at that moment. I haven’t been as pleased with what followed, but more on that at another time. What immediately struck me was Liv’s comment to Nat that she knew that the fact that she loved her was a ‘sin’ in Nat’s religion, but that she couldn’t stop from loving her. Nat treated Liv’s concern about her religious ideas for what it was, no obstacle. (Not everyone interprets religious scriptures the same way; and not everyone believes that love is a sin). Ok, so you’ve seen the follow up eps by now and know that religion will be an issue for the couple in the future. ARGH! I told you that would happen so I’m not surprised, but ARGH is still the best reaction I’m capable of giving at this time.

As for the original point, I think it’s fascinating that Natalia has become the ‘new Maureen Bauer’. She’s the show’s mother hen who makes easy work of finding the good in everyone, who keeps an open door and open heart to everyone around her, and is a friend to anyone in need. I can’t help but believe that the writers will address the ‘religiosity’ aspect of the Otalia storyline, soon, removing the notion of Natalia as a ‘damned soul’ because of her feelings for Olivia.

I think that the way the writing team from each soap handled the matter of establishing their respective couple as part of the show’s moral core (if such a thing exists on a daytime show) was so subtle that I hadn’t thought of it as an overarching theme for the introduction of gay/lesbian couples in the contemporary daytime setting. It could certainly be considered an extension of the introduction of AMC’s Bianca Montgomery who, at almost every age, has served as the keeper of Pine Valley’s collective moral conscience. She became ‘Grandma Mona’s’ spiritual heir.

The Bold and The Beautiful’s Celluloid Closet

If you’ve never seen the documentary ‘The Celluloid Closet’, it’s a MUST VIEW. The documentary is based on Vito Russo’s book of the same name. Clearly Hollywood did a poor job of supporting diversity of any kind in its early history, but like many others, my self-invested interests kept me focused on the nonexistent racial diversity and problematic portrayals of women. This documentary opened my eyes to discrimination across the board, and how easily societal attitudes about sexual minorities have been both shaped and reinforced by the superficial images presented on screen. When I see resistance to the notion of a ‘Staylor’ pairing, there’s a part of me that wonders if the implicit and explicit messages about the ‘morality’ and ‘sexuality’ as polar opposites taps some unexpectedly uncomfortable space when it comes to two characters who’ve presented themselves as the show’s moral standard bearers.

The questions for me is, given how well the formula has worked on other shows, why WOULDN”T Stephanie and Taylor serve as the most likely couple – should the writers decide to introduce sexual diversity to the BnB audience? Wouldn’t this be yet another variation on the theme?

Opening Segment of ‘The Celluloid Closet:

If the ever noble Luke and Noah, spiritual Bianca, and religious Natalia have led the way in asking fans to reconsider their ideas of sexual minorities as ‘immoral’ wherever those feelings exist, wouldn’t it make perfect sense for Stephanie and Taylor to provide the avenue to opening the discussion for viewers on The Bold and the Beautiful? I don’t know how anyone BUT the incredibly skilled Susan Flannery and John McCook could lead this storyline forward (yes, John McCook, not Hunter Tylo). I can see JM’s Eric reacting to his wife, in her ‘golden years’ – as Steph gingerly calls them, deciding not to spend her remaining time supporting him but deciding to live her life with dignity and integrity and being the person she was meant to be.

A tearful and genuine final goodbye to the drama and turmoil she’s lived with Eric? They part as friends, parents, and long ago partners in success before she moves on with her life? And then in walks Taylor. It’s the only thing that makes sense to me. As they stand now, their friendship doesn’t make sense in light of the Stephanie’s extreme attitudes and behaviors regarding Taylor. In the same documentary, author Susie Bright discusses clues that suggest the possible same sex attraction of Mrs Danvers to the character ‘Rebecca’, in the film of the same name. Her comments are in relationship to the clip from the film, featured below (beginning 5:30 in):

“Rebecca” and Mrs. Danvers:

I’ve been asked why I haven’t thought of Stephanie and Brooke as potential partners or supported that notion.  Easy.  It doesn’t make sense!  If we follow the analogy all the way through, then clearly Stephanie is operating in the role of ‘Mrs. Danvers’ to Taylor’s “Rebecca’, with Brooke serving as “the second Mrs. De Winters”. No no, Brooke is no innocent, as is Joan Fontaine’s “the second Mrs. De Winters”, but Brooke truly loves Ridge (who serves as ‘Maxim’ in this analogy). She continues loving him despite never being able to win over the support of the controlling and overly protective Stephanie/Mrs. Danvers. Because of the unspoken love, and unbroken bond, Stephanie’s Danvers shares with Taylor’s ‘Rebecca” – one that not even death breaks, Brooke will always be on the outside. She will never overcome Steph’s/Danvers’ desire to maintain the MYTH of Taylor’s (Rebecca’s) perfection. Brooke will continue to be psychologically tortured by a false image of the perfect woman that Stephanie/Danvers created out of her own unexpressed desires, an image Stephanie/Danvers uses as a weapon against Brooke/2ndDW, though she knows the truth.

Brooke’s 2ndDW will never benefit from having Steph’s Mrs. Danvers spin her misdeeds into something magical and perfectly acceptable in order to hide those sins from those around her as Stephanie/Danvers has done for Taylor/Rebecca. Note how, in both the film and on the BnB, it was most important to maintain the notion of purity for those who were in the dark about Taylor/Rebecca’s true nature, most especially Ridge/Maxim. Steph’s only loyalty is to Taylor. Her passion and compassion are saved for Taylor. Her forgiveness is saved for Taylor. Why is it so unlikely that her truest love is reserved for Taylor? For those who think of Steph and Taylor as mere friends, I just don’t see it. I think the BnB has been writing from it’s own celluloid closet for these two characters for some time, unintentionally or not.

Why ATWT’s Parker scares me…

This is NOT, repeat…NOT, a spoiler. It’s not even speculation based on spoilers. It’s one writer’s comment about where a storyline could potentially go, and what it would mean if it happened. As far as fans are concerned, ATWT’s writers might be penning a storyline about an angry, know-it-all, teenaged boy. OR they could be writing a storyline about a young man who is on the verge of becoming violent to the women in his life. I couldn’t watch ATWT after Parker’s display the other day. I found them disturbing. His verbal attacks on Liberty and his mother, his controlling actions toward Liberty, his lack of concern about humiliating her in front of ‘another man’… it all adds up to a potential abuse storyline, in my book. I could be overly sensitive, given the current media focus on the Rhianna-Chris Brown matter, I admit that.

Whether or not the writers are headed in that direction is unclear, but it’s the impression they leave on this viewer. If Parker ever smiled, I can’t remember it. The idea that he was once a happy child is lost on me, given his behavior of the last year or so. I don’t know if his current sour demeanor is a choice made by the actor, the writers, or the director – but it has become off-putting. I keep waiting for him to take a swing at either Carly, or his ‘wife’ in one of his fits of rage. Has no one notice his penchant for nonverbally referring to his mother as a ‘whore’, and even tacitly implying it with his dialogue? The look he shot Carly when she opened the hotel door and saw a disheveled Craig in the background made me want to shake that kid out of his shoes! The one person who has always been on his side, who has fought for him every step of the way, and he treated her as if she was renting that room by the hour. It hardly bothers Parker that his father is off with a new woman every other year. It’s that his mother isn’t sitting in a nunnery, waiting for his father’s rare returns to the family, that seems to disturb him.

At this point, as storyline with an abusive Parker would make perfect sense – as sad as that is. The question is, who would be is target? Liberty, Carly, or both? If Parker did become abusive, how would it not only impact the women he hurt, but those around him? Would it impact his father at all? Parker grew up in a home with a father who was at times loving, and at other times angry and verbally abusive to his mother. Parker, himself, became the target of his father’s rage when he married Liberty. Jack threw Parker out of a home he no longer lives in.

What impact would Parker’s abuse have on Jack? Would it lead him to reflect on the abuse he’s leveled at Carly in the presence of their children?

Would it cause him to reflect on how many times he’s referred to Carly as irresponsible, selfish, or deserving of his (and their) scorn in front of his children?

Would he reflect on how many times he sat silent while Parker berated his mother?

Would Carly FINALLY learn to stand up for herself and stop talking garbage from Jack, who has only ever been able to love her as long as he found himself able to ‘approve’ of the person she was? Would she realize that allowing Jack to verbally abuse her created an environment in which her son was put at risk?

Would Jack take some responsibility for Parker’s anger, or would he revert back to type and simply fault Carly for Parker’s actions?

Watching Liberty and Carly struggle to forgive Parker, while still loving him and wanting the best for him could be instructive and informative, no matter how sad. Parker’s behavior is every bit as angry and controlling as his father’s, except in Parker’s case, it’s far worse.

***********

Speaking of things that scare me… Z and Z?  How much MORE are fans expected to take?  I’ve had more than enough of these two and trying to figure out what purpose they serve is beginning to give me an ulcer!  I have been able to find the one silver lining in the dark ZandZ cloud: we know that Nuke’s love is solid!  They’ve avoided any sort of temptation, so far, at least.  That ‘Z” or “Z” could appeal to Luke OR Noah seems like an impossibility.  There’s nothing likable about the characters.

What also scares me is that I’m enjoying the prospect of Damian and Lily crossing the line.  I KNOW!  How many more affairs could Holden and Lily have in the course of one lifetime, but c’mon…he’s DAMIAN (Damiangodofallmen) and he’s been shirtless.  I’m weak… so so weak when it comes to Damian.  I can understand Lily being weak for him as well.

Having Damian back reminds me of a time when I utterly enjoyed ATWT.

Sexual Fluidity: The Otalia/Staylor Debate continues?

Trust me when I tell you that for those of you who’ve posted, who’ve emailed, and who’ve shared your personal stories, I’ve been LISTENING!  I’ve also been learning.  Before I get started, I’d like to recommend the following title for anyone might find this book worth the read (click the image to read an excerpt from Amazon.com):

The Editorial Review reads as follows:

Many women experience a fluid sexual desire that is responsive to a person rather then a specific gender, argues Diamond n this fascinating and certain to be controversial study. Diamond, associate professor of psychology and gender studies at the University of Utah, is best when detailing, with vivid examples, how scientific studies of sexual desire and behavior have focused on the experience of men, for whom the heterosexual/homosexual divide seems mostly fixed. Diamond says traditional labels for sexual desire are inadequate; for some women even bisexual does not truly express the protean nature of their sexuality. Diamond details in accessible and nuanced language her own study of 100 young women (by her own admission not fully representative) over a period of 10 years. She says that she is calling for an expanded understanding of same-sex sexuality that could radically affect both LGBT activists who hold that sexual identity is fixed and antigay groups who believe sexuality is chosen. Sexual fluidity involves a mix of internal and external factors, but is not, Diamond emphasizes, a matter of conscious choice, and she speculates that a younger generation that views sexuality as personal rather than political might embrace this less rigid view. (Feb.)

If you’re a  SON poster, there is a lot of new content, here, but some of this blog entry was posted as a response at the SON site.  Stick around and add your thoughts!

I’ve been surprised by the reaction of some Bold and Beautiful fans  when I suggested the possiblity of a “Staylor” (Stephanie and Taylor) relationship similar to the Otalia (Olivia and Natalia) relationship on the Bold and the Beautiful.  Some BnB fans have responded to my suggestion by stating that  Stephanie and Taylor are too ‘moral’ to get together and ‘have sex’.   There is a difference between sex and a relationship no matter how much daytime writers blur those lines for the sake of plot device.   I suggested a relationship, not a one night stand.  If sex happens, it happens, if not?  EH!   

The suggestion was considered ‘disgusted’, ‘perverted’ and ‘immoral’, by some.  Color me surprised!  The Guiding Light has received TREMENDOUS positive feedback for it’s delicate and sensitive handling of the Otalia relationship.  It’s hard for me to believe that fans of any show could still have that reaction to such a proposed storyline.

It was suggested (both openly and in private) that I had to be a lesbian in order to  even suggest support for the notion of a Staylor pairing.  I’ve heard that same argument made in different ways.  As a person of color, whose family survived the pre-civil rights American South, I’ve heard that argument phrased as anyone who supported civil rights had to be an ‘n-lover’ (I refuse to type the word in full).  The reality is that when you support people for who they are, and realize that your OWN experiences aren’t the only experiences that count, it just makes you human.  PERIOD.

The suggestion is not a storyline about the sexuality of the viewers, the writers, the actors, or society at large (other than the fact that according to Diamond’s work, such a storyline is VERY MUCH consistent with reality)… it’s about shared humanity… it’s about reality, overall… in other words?  SNAP OUT OF IT!

The idea that ANY soap character is ‘too moral’ to be involved in a same sex realtionship leaves me asking which soap you watch!  It can’t be anything currently on air.  Loving someone who is same sex?  No biggie.  Sleeping with your husband’s brothers his former father- and brother-in-law and his new half brother, in addition to: lying about your adulterous behavior, following that with becoming a bigamist, and taking advantage of mentally frail individuals for the sake of your own gain (among other soap sins)?  Yeah, THAT’S what I call immoral!

I’ve never understood the idea of Taylor as ‘moral’. I know she speaks in moral tones, but her actions have always said otherwise, which is why I think she and Steph are so PERFECTLY matched, they are the same on that score.  Not every pairing is made up of  ‘sunshine-and-light’ partners.  Some of the best pairing in daytime have been dark ones: Alan Spaulding and Blake Mahler, for example.  Taylor’s actions, even before her latest back-from-the-dead stunt, were not too much different from those around  her. Taylor was always better able to hide her behavior and present a ‘moral’ face to those who didn’t know any better – namely RIDGE.

She lied to Brooke about sleeping with Ridge when Ridge and Brooke were together.
She lied to Ridge about Brooke sleeping with Grant when she knew the truth.
She lied to the Forresters about having known Grant (when the implication was that she was sleeping with Grant while married to Blake Hayes).
She used crazy-as-a-fox Blake Hayes to make Ridge jealous when Ridge was focused on Brooke.  She slept with Blake, tossed him aside, and then sleeping with Ridge immediately after.
She lied to Stephanie (and everyone else) about having actually slept with James.
She convinced Brooke to stay with Eric to give Rick time to ‘adjust’ to their divorce and then went after Ridge.
She tried to use Brooke’s children to get close to them so that Ridge leave Brooke when she came back the first time she came back from the dead.
She and Stephanie were wickedly ugly about Brooke behind her back, snooping through her office, Taylor cackling while Steph referred to Brooke as a ‘hooker making money for it’s john’.
Add her role in the Venice scheme, the fact that she diagnosed Thorne and Brooke as mentally ill only AFTER Ridge told her to stop supporting them, and that she had young Rick lie about her relationship with Eric (something she’s still keeping from Stephanie).
That’s my short list, LOL!

I’ve always found Taylor to be a very ugly soul and the more she cackled about her ‘moral’ behavior. the more of a hypocrite she’s become.

Stpehanie and Taylor are kindred. They feel beaten up by the world despite the fact that they’ve created their own misery. They have such a hatred for the world around them and it would be GREAT if they got together and actually found happiness.

For me, Steph is love-to-hate. Taylor is just there, BLAH. Together? They could actually be interesting. I think a relationship with these two would be amazingly transformational for the characters and allow the writers to open them up in a way they never have.  Just as Otalia has come together and each made the other better, the same could happen with Staylor.  Taylor would fit the ‘Natalia’ role, to some degree, taking Stephanie in, helping her mend her broken heart, and giving her a ‘safe’ place to land.  Steph would fit the ‘Olivia’ role, insecure, frightening, controlling, angry, scheming against the world… together they could find peace.

We’ve never come close to having either character find peace.  Taylor has always been the anti-Brooke plot device – angry and feeling tossed aside. The BnB writers started to open Stephanie up with the abuse reveal storyline, and then shut it down almost as quickly as they started it. 

Time will tell where this unofficial couple goes!