Soapgod bless you, Days of Our Lives

Because I’m as shallow as the next soul, I can appreciate the fact that THIS:

Gave us THIS:

Which gave us THIS:

And if you’re like me, you then did THIS:


Sometimes?  Soaps really aren’t all that bad.  Thank YOU Ethan Martsolf (Brady Black)!

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Out on a limb with Otalia and The Guiding Light

As much as it pains me to say it, I may be done with Otalia.  I don’t know if that’s what the writers want and I’m just being a great big sucker for giving it to them.  Maybe I’m just tired of most of daytime and this current Otalia storyline is hitting my hot buttons.  Once Jessica Leccia returns from maternity leave and I see Otalia back onscreen together, it’s possible that all will be forgiven, and that I will be back to rooting for them.  For now?  Not so much.

GL writers seem to be completely unable to tell a compelling storyline.  Is  it the writers?  The executive producer blocking the way to good storyline telling?  The CBS Execs?  The way JessicaL’s Natalia was temporarily written out for maternity leave sucks – deeply sucks – sucks so bad that it makes ATWT’s writing out Carly Tenney to cover Maura West’s maternity leave look brilliant.  What does THAT tell you? Clearly, the problems with Natalia’s decision to abandon Olivia once she realizes she’s pregnant with Frank’s baby is indicative of the problems GL has been experiencing under Wheeler’s guidance.   First, who DIDN’T know that this would turn into another Susan/Ross/Carol (Friends) storyline?  Who DIDN’T know the writers would force an ‘eternal’ triangle and ‘forced family’ with Frank/Natalia/Olivia, rather than let Otalia just be happy together?  Second, this storyline takes me back to what I didn’t like about Natalia when she was first introduced.  She was introduced as a weak, whiny, mealy-mouthed character, desperate for love.  She stood in the shadows, afraid, insecure, making one bad decision after another that everyone around her had to pay for as she whined ‘poor me’.  Our Lady of Perpetual Pain.  Sheeeeee’s back!

I enjoyed the strength Natalia developed over time.  I loved that she’d started growing up and making decisions that improved her life and brought her happiness.   While I think all individuals should become the people they need to be BEFORE entering relationships, sometimes relationships can help change you for the better and that was the gift that Otalia gave one another.

Now?  Watching Olivia hit the road to track down the woman who dashed her hope for happiness and abandoned her just as Liv gained the strength to face the world made me despise Natalia, and the crap offered as entertainment to GL fans.   Listening to Liv cry, watching her scream out in vain for Natalia to come back made me realize that the writers used the Otalia relationship to weaken both characters.   Not only did the old Natalia return, she dragged Liv down to her level.

How lovely would it have been for Liv and Natalia to have been filmed BEFORE JL’s pregnancy to air while she was away?  How lovely it would have been for Liv and Nat to decide to leave town together, for a while.  Frank could be conflicted on what it means to now be a part of this family and want Natalia to take all the time she needed to clear her head.  He, Rafe,  and Liv could have occasionally made the trip to visit Natalia  – maybe with Rafe staying with Natalia to get use to the idea of his mother having another child and to help her and become reacquainted with her again.  Slowly, they would have accepted their lives as they are and become a modern American family.  Taping the scenes ahead of time would have meant no lost scenes for Otalia, or ending this madness with Frank on the outside/no on the inside/no on the outside/whatever. We could have finally had an end to the angry Rafe-monster… but the concept of lost time is one the GL writers and EP are all too familiar with.

More is the pity because now I say… BRING ON DORIS AND OLIVIA!  Who’s afraid of the big bad Wolfe?  Natalia should be!

Ratings and why CBS should reconsider

Despite the suckage that is GL these days, I STILL think the wrong thing to do is cancel this  show!

Courtesy of Soap Opera Network:

Ratings for the week June 22-26, 2009

HH
1. Y&R 3.5/11 (+.1/-.1)
2. B&B 2.3/7 (same/-.2)
3. DAYS 2.1/6 (+.1/+.2)
4. OLTL 1.8/6 (same/-.2) <—— ties low (Last time: 1.8/6 for June 15-19, 2009)
5. AMC 1.7/5 (-.1/-.2) <——– new low (Previous low: 1.8/6 for June 15-19, 2009)
5. GH 1.7/5 (-.1/-.4) <——— new low (Previous low: 1.8/5 for June 15-19, 2009)
7. ATWT 1.6/5 (same/-.3) <—— ties low (Last time: 1.6/5 for June 15-19, 2009)
8. GL 1.4/4 (+.1/-.1)

ABC soaps are falling like a ROCK! It’s not as if GL is doing so poorly in the ratings, in comparison.

FIRE WHEELER.

HIRE better writers. Several of the current writers would do just fine but new leadership is definitely needed and Ms. Wheeler just doesn’t do it for me.

Maybe there’s a way to get ATWT and GL on soapnet (long shot I know). Lifetime might not be interested in producing GL, but would the network be open to airing syndicated eps if CBS continued to produce and air the show?  Could there be a partnership that eased the financial burden for CBS?

Ride this thing out and let GL stick around with the rest of daytime.  I only say that because I’m still sure that ATWT and GL still have room for improvement, in the right hands.

Why I’ll always love Eric Braeden!

In case you’ve missed it, TV Guide’s Michael Logan interviews the ONE,  the ONLY, the IRREPLACEABLE  Melody Thomas Scott.  Despite battling ironclad  non-disclosure clauses, daytime’s consummate professional tries his damnedest to elicit a response to this interesting tidbit:

I heard that Eric Braeden [Victor] called CBS chief Les Moonves to complain about the way you were being treated in this contract situation, and that Moonves stepped in and made magic happen. True?

[Long pause, followed by a sigh] Where’d you hear that? [Laughs]

Nice try, Michael Logan, nice try!  The entire interview is eye-opening and more than worth the time it would take to read it.  As I’ve heard, Mr. Braeden has always been referred to as an ‘actor’s actor’.  His legend, true or not, has been that he’s fought for his colleagues backstage when he felt that they were treated unfairly.  He has never been shy about commenting on what he thinks of the TPTB when they make lousy decisions that could affect the fans, and the long term health of the show or the genre.

I can only imagine how much different daytime would have been if those of Eric Braeden’s caliber were permitted to run daytime.  His respect for fans, the show and  its history, as well as his colleagues makes him daytime’s brightest star, in my book.

He and Melody Thomas Scott have been a large part of the YnR’s success as daytime’s perennial fan favorite and it’s hard for me to imagine that anyone would allow themselves to forget the contributions of both.  What’s up with the (arrogance? delusional state?  ignorance?) that permits TPTB to believe that their brand is strong because of the writing ONLY, or that actors really are interchangeable commodities.  Nah… fans won’t care.  They don’t notice things like that.  NOPE!  Fans are just WAITING for TPTB to higher one more non-Actor model, and teenaged kid looking for the coolest extended summer job EVER!  Yup, that’s what we want.  That’s why we’re tuning in in droves. We’d never notice if they just killed Nikki off, or replaced her with a 20 something long lost daughter.

While I have not always been a Victor-Nikki fan, I have always been a fan of EB and MTS.  I respect both enough to know that they’ve given the YnR it’s most enduring signature couple through the hard work they bring to the set every day (even when the writing wasn’t worth talking about – or at least not worth talking about without the inclusion of a list of expletives long enough to make a trucker blush).  Thank goodness they’ll both be around for at least a while longer.

The gods of daytime may not know how important they are to us, and it would be a shame for them to find out too late, when the ratings tank and fans are gone for good.

On another note, here’s a great read from Telewatcher!  Writers, working the “Gotcha” moment in place of the “That was Amazing moment”?  What a shame because we all deserve better!  I thought of it in context with the news the MTS was both leaving and thankfully returning!

Which one of you BITCHES is my mother!?!?

Why is it that the best ‘soap’ moments don’t come from daytime soaps at all?  If you got goosebumps reading the subject header, you remember the infamous scene from ‘Lace’ in which celebrated wild child, Lili, confronts Pagan, Maxine, and Judy.  The latter three have been best friends since their days at boarding school, so much so that they hid a pregnancy – refusing to tell which of the three was pregnant.  Together they placed the child for adoption.   Lili is that child.  While adopted by a lovely couple, Lili’s childhood was miserable following their untimely death.  She  was forced to ‘survive’ in the most unlikely of ways.  Though now incredibly wealthy and successful, Lili is equally angry at the three for having abandoned her  (they believed she was killed in the war along with her adoptive parents).  Lili sets each of the three women up to lose everything they hold dear, unless they answer the long-held hair raising question… one of entertainment’s soapiest moments is found 1:28 into the video:

You really want to know which ‘bitch’ is it, don’t you?  Fine… here you go:

Where is the same level of camp/drama/intrigue in daytime?  Where  is the lovely but infuriating clever ingenue who steals your heart, but makes you lose your cool all at the same time?  She is not alone in being missing in action in the soap genre.  Daytime is woefully short in offering two types of characters that have typically driven soaps in the past:

1.  Empowered women. The empowered woman’s motto is, ‘If they screw with you, pay them back tenfold’.  The empowered woman in daytime is unapologetic for being smart and in control of her own destiny.  She does not suffer fools gladly.  She  knows what she wants and she’s not afraid to go after it.   Her strength is a true strength, and not psychotic and controlling behaviors reinterpreted as strength – as with bat crap crazy BnB’s Stephanie Forrester and GH’s Helena Cassadine.

 She’s equipped to stand her ground in the boardroom, in her romantic relationships, and in all other aspects of her empowered life.  Take, for example, OLTL’s Rachel Gannon.  She’s a second generation empowered woman (as far as we know).  Daughter of the legendary ass-kicking Nora Gannon Buchanan, Rachel fought a drug habit, served time in prison, is now a drug treatment counselor,  and a woman slowly falling in love with a good man – the damned sexy and cuddly Shaun Evans .. who has a rich, powerful, sleaze for a brother.  You can see where this is going, can’t you?  Hang on a minute.

Empowered women still exist, they’re just often revamped to play ‘weak’ and ‘whiny’ women who have to beg forgiveness when they’re mistreated by the men in their lives, or by others.  If they’re not completely destroyed, they’re placed on the backburner once daytime writers decide that they’ve had enough with all the ‘grit’ and ‘courage’ and they replace her with knuckle-drooling counterpart – weak women whose claim to fame is compliance and acquiescence – deference to the mindless soap male.  It’s why I’m sure that in short order, Rachel Gannon will fall for the sleazy brother, Dr. Gregory Evans.  She’ll want to ‘save’ him from himself, and she’ll hurt sweetheart Shaun in the process.  

The dialogue that follows?  “We didn’t mean to hurt you!” … “It just happened”….” If I could take it all back”… and then the years of affairs, maltreatment, excuses, and bitter triangles in which she’ll have to fight off Greg’s other ‘great love’ begins… for you dear soap fans, not for me.   As I’ve taken the BnB off my playlist, the OLTL is soon to follow should the storyline play out as it seems.  What is it with OLTL and the siblings/shared lovers storylines?  Layla/Cristian/Evangeline – Bo/Nora/Clint – Stacy/Rex/Gigi,  and now, most likely, Shaun/Rachel/Gregory.

2.  The Vixen.  Unlike the empowered woman, she fights from a position of fear, anger, and insecurity.  Her motto is ‘Get them before they get you’.  She’s more likely to wreak havoc and create hell in the lives around her  and not because she’s necessarily evil, but more so because she doesn’t know any other way of existing.  DAYS’ Melanie comes closest to a real live ‘bad girl’ in the mold of the daytime classic over-the-top troubled vixens, but I need more. 

Remember GH’s Lucy Coe when she was first introduced?  Oh.Dear.Soapgod.  Who could have seen that one coming?  That Lucy was involved with bad boy Kevin was a given… it was clear that the mousy librarian was protecting him.  That the ‘mousy’ librarian wasn’t mousy at all, but a studded collar short from being a dominatrix?  SAY WHAT?  No one I knew who watched soaps then had ever seen anything like it.  Sadly, I suspect we’ll never see anything as off the wall wonderful as Lucy Coe again, not in daytime (OH, and SHAME ON YOU, GH.  In  a recent interview, Lynn Herring (Lucy Coe) reveals that she made it clear to TPTB that she was open to reprising the role… they weren’t interested.  GH’s loss is As The World Turns’ gain.

I’d hoped that  OLTL’s Stacy would become Lucy-esque, she had such potential – but the writers took it one step twenty steps too far.  Not only did Stacy drug  and try to seduce Rex Balsom, the object of her obsession, her sister’s fiance, and father of her only nephew  (pretty tame for daytime vixens, however), she went as far as allowing her sister, Gigi, to believe that she would allow Gigi’s son, Shane,  die unless her sister turned Rex over to her.  That’s pretty psychotic for a daytime vixen.  If there was ever anything to root for as far as Stacy was concerned, that storyline killed it.   Had the writers had Stacy fake being the donor, with Roxy and Kyle’s help as she was already doing,  Stacy as a vixen could have survived.  She could have then played off of Rex’s gratitude to slowly seduce him away as  Gigi was heavily focused on Shane’s recovery.  The writers could have set a trusting Gigi up to ask Rex to play ‘nurse maid’ to her recovering sister.  Allowing a mother to believe that you would let her son die, for a roll in the hay?  Bad.  When the child’s mother is your own sister?  EVIL.

Without it’s heroic empowered women and mischief making vixens, daytime has me tuning elsewhere for interesting characters (real or fictional).

Now that the BnB is off my playlist…

wait?  Have I made that threat before?  To take the BnB off my playlist?  I have? Well, OK, I MEAN it this time.  I might, possibly, tune in for the big moments (checking in on the ‘special” days).  I’m still waiting to see how Bridget and Nick play out and if Jack is their child.  Outside of that?  Regular viewership is just not in the cards for me.   I’ve got no use for this show.   It’s taken me 22 years and a lot of lumps, but I get it. (I know… 22 years?  I hear ya’.   Imagine the soapfan shame I’m feeling right now!).  I’ve come to the conclusion that  BnB writers will screw you over rather than entertain you EVERY time – that’s my soapfan story and I’m sticking to it.

What am I watching more of now?  DAYS, of course.  Who knows how much longer that will last because if I’m being perfectly honest, most of daytime is giving me dry heaves.  It’s all ‘too much’:  Too many of the same plots we’ve been watching for decades.  Too many dropped storylines.  Too much focus on teen storylines to win over younger viewers who gave up on the genre years ago… about the time the writers started forcing teen storylines on the audience as frontburner storylines.  Too many love triangles.  Too many back from the dead characters.  Too many nausea-inducing characters being held up as paragons of virtue.

So why DAYS?

1.  Because I can FF a good part of it (and yeah, I’m talking about you EJ, Sami, Sami and EJ).

2.  You’ve gotta sometimes love a show that makes no apologies for what it is and that lets it all ‘hang out’.  There are times when you just need a low down dirty act so vile that you can’t deny what it is, and yet somehow it’s so entertaining that you can’t turn away – not that you want to.

As for  Days of Our Lives, James Reilly is gone – may he Rest In Peace, but someoene backstage still has a wicked WICKED sense of humor and has just written a plot that would have made the man proud.. . Kate, injecting an apple with poison and giving it to Snow White Chloe?  C’mon!  That’s just too precious.   No, DAYS fans, you were NOT lucky enough to have Kate succeed and have Lucas/Daniel/Maggie/a gloating Kate find Chloe in a lump on the floor.

There’s always the next time.  Is the third time the charm?