Dear Daytime Writers, Producers, Directors, and others…

This is not yet another blog about the ‘death of daytime’.  There are plenty of those – though I would never say that there could ever be ”too many’ if the goal of the ‘daytime death’ writers is to get you to see what a mockery you’re making of the genre.  The “daytime death” writers are writers who are hopeful that you’ll stop talking about the ‘know-nothing’ soap fans  you seem to believe deserve only 1-  ridicule for their opinions and  2- your ‘enlightened’ view of daytime.  They seem to hope that you’ll finally start  listening to us.  What they don’t realize is the fact that  you haven’t listened to us all along means that you probably won’t listen at this late stage of the game.  Why you aren’t listening is a mystery.   It’s a question I’ve asked both directly and indirectly in various blog  entries (not that you read them).  I think I finally understand why you’ve refused to give us what we  wanted, when you could have done so long before you hit the point of no return in the ratings.

It would mean that you would have to admit that you were wrong, that you didn’t know us better than we know ourselves.  Your choice was to embrace falling ratings as long as you were able to present your vision of daytime.   Like any bad ‘marriage’, things weren’t going to get  better as long as only on  ‘side’ was compromising.   We, the fans, were always willing to compromise and bend, until you broke us – see GH’s Scrubs’ PPD storyline, the Mob Storyline, and Liz and Jason as example..

We are now at a bitter end and as much as most of daytime often sucks, it will still be a bitter end  for many of us who love the genre, just not what it became.  It’s a tragedy that the shows you’re now offering will probably be better remembered than the glorious daytime history you ran away from. To TPTB specifically at The Guiding Light, the untimely death of the show was announced on April 1st. (so, someone up at the executive suites has a wicked sense of humor.  I would have accepted a real interest in saving daytime, instead) That means that there were probably around 3 to 4 weeks of the show filmed and in the can, ready to air,  That means that by May-June the writers should have been able to turn the show around rather than give fans a steady diet of doom and gloom that the show has become before it ends.  While I have nothing good to say about the Bold and Beautiful as it currently airs, what I can say that’s relatively positive is that BnB writers know how to ditch a ratings dropping storyline in a matter of weeks (See Brooke and Nick pairings 1, 2, 3 and nearly 4).  It’s unclear to me how you who run GL haven’t managed to make us feel good about what’s left of the show.

To all of you -powers that be, in general, I hope to appeal to you from a different perspective.  Daytime is dying, and it’s not completely your fault.  The market is changing, the population is changing, our options for entertainment have changed.  You didn’t necessarily ‘kill’ daytime.  You just assisted in its early death.   You refused to accept the changes and refused to  allow daytime to ‘grow up’.  Not appealing?  I didn’t think so, but here’s what might appeal to you:

Whether or not you’re thinking about it this way, what happens at the end of your shows means that you’re working on two fronts. 1 – You’re determining your legacy in daytime, and  2 – You’re auditioning for your future jobs.   The gods of prime time may or may not watch daytime.  I can only believe that they’ll be highly skeptical of hiring daytime writers, producers, and directors based on your current work.  Your legacy appears to be an unwillingness to do whatever you have to in order to right the ship… you prefer to continue forward on a dangerous course and sink the ship.  The gods of prime time might even pay attention to what fans have to say about how you handled the shows they loved for decades, understanding that those fans are unlikely to follow you to new projects.   Prime time shows don’t typically last beyond 5 – 6 seasons.  There is an eventual and much quicker ‘end’ for those shows than there is for daytime.  What will you do to prime time fans if you continue screwing over fans who’ve followed your daytime shows for decades?  What do you have to offer prime time overall? Where will YOUR vision of storytelling fit in with prime time? Which prime time shows:

1. … bring characters back from ‘the dead’ so many times that it’s not even worth holding a funeral, mourning a death,  or issuing a death certificate?  Yes, it’s one of those events that’s written off as a ‘typical daytime storyline’.  When the ‘back from the dead’ storylines made sense, fans could tolerate them.  Now?  They’re offered without thought about the impact they have on the current set of storylines.  They’re offered despite the fact that they make a mockery of storylines fans have seen ‘in full’… what character comes back from the dead after nearly a week in an OPEN casket, and having been kissed good-bye by relatives?  No funny smells?  Ya’ couldn’t tell you were kissing a wax dummy in a wig?  Great, BnB.  Not much better GL, DAYS, OLTL, GH, and all other shows on air.

2.  …frequently use misattributed paternity (or maternity) with almost every pregnancy?  The alternate problem pregnancy storylines include:  Man/woman sleeps with the wrong person – some villain who reveals her/himself too late and a pregnancy happens.  YAWN!  Where do you see that happening repeatedly on any prime time show? (All soaps)

3.  … use the ‘buried alive’ storyline to teach a character a lesson?  Any time you see the ‘buried alive’ storyline in prime time, the buried victim is just that, a VICTIM, not a busybody know-it-all who has to be taught a lesson.  The perpetrator is considered PSYCHOTIC since burying a person alive is considered a PSYCHOTIC behavior.  In daytime?  He (and the perp is more often a ‘he’ than ‘she’) is considered ‘misunderstood’.  He’s defended by the people who love him, and he never serves jail time.  I just don’ t see you being hired on CSI – any franchise, Law and Order – any franchise, Criminal Minds, etc, etc, etc…  Shame on you DAYS for using this storyline multiple times.

4.  … feature mothers and daughters (or fathers and sons for that matter) sharing the same love interests, both being in love with the same man and both carrying children for the same man?  Prime time tends to treat that sort of behavior as pathological, or at least pseudo-incestuous.  The BnB stands out as daytime’s most incestuous daytime show.

5.   …use rape to ‘redeem’ women thought of as ‘bad girls’?  Which prime time shows offer rape as romance?   The storylines you often tell aren’t about where couples ‘end up’ in prime time.  They’re about where couples ‘start out’.  There’s an assault (date rape or otherwise), the assault is investigated, a suspect is arrested, there is a trial.  The end.   For you in daytime?  Where do your rape survivor-rape perpetrator end up?  The woman realizes that the man who assaulted her isn’t all that bad (whether he drugs her, holds a gun on her, threatens the people she loves, etc).  He only raped her because he couldn’t control his passion for her.  In fact, it’s not even rape.  It was just a bad night… so you have them marry, and have children, and pretend the assault never happen. (All are guilty).

Were “rape-as-romance” storylines  around in the ‘glorious days’ of daytime?  Yes.

Were sexist, racist, orientationist storylines around as well?  Yes.

The difference between now and then?  We didn’t know better then, we do NOW, and you’re refusing to change.  Daytime must be a pretty insular world where nothing has to change, characters aren’t required to grow, and no one ever has to learn from a mistake, crimes are just about people having a little fun or “behaving badly” so what’s the sense in punishing anyone?

Good luck selling your staple storylines to prime time big wigs who want to know what you have to offer them.  Good luck trying to convince them that even if you haven’t been able to come up with an imaginative storyline in the (x) years you’ve worked in daytime, you can do just for them.  Good luck trying to convince them that you understand the current prime time audience when you can’t even figure out what to do to keep the relatively forgiving and loyal daytime audience happy.

Good Luck.

Most of all?  Good luck convincing them that you won’t screw their fans over in the end as so many of you are doing now with daytime audiences.  Daytime soaps once honored fans and their shows’ histories as they concluded.  It was important to let the fans know that the writers, directors, producers and other powers-that-be had done the best they could, and wanted fans to remember the show fondly now that it would no longer air.

Good luck.  You’ll need it.