Inglorious Bastards

No, not ‘Basterds’, that’s Tarantino’s deal.  The IB’s I’m (lovingly) referring to are the daytime writers who have yet to give up on trying to pull one over on the fans!

One Life to Live

1.  I’d appreciate it if someone would explain to me why Cole and Starr (of ‘We’re Cole and Starr’ fame) would think it was ‘ok’ to involve  Starr in Cole’s ‘21 Jump Street‘ drug operation.  From there, “Stole” proved that neither will ever be a member of the Llanview brain trust!  I was  stupefied  after they  involved their innocent defenseless baby to give ‘credibility’ to Cole’s cover.   Why didn’t they stage a break up before having Cole go ‘undercover’?  Why not have Starr and child leave town for a while?   Oh, I get it!  “There is no ‘Starr and Cole, they’re fictional – THEY didn’t do it”!  “It was all the writers doing”.   That won’t stop me from cringing whenever Starr and Cole are on.  The longer this pairing goes on, the weaker the writing  for them becomes.  It’s increasingly more difficult it is to like them and I find myself resenting the airtime they’ve stolen from veteran characters.  The characters are consistently placed in storylines that are ‘too adult’ for them and the integrity of the storyline suffers as a result.

2.  I don’t care who Rex’s father is… it’s dragged on too long without enough plot points in between to keep me curious.  Now I’m just annoyed every time the topic comes up.  Rex is a freakin’ private investigator.  He must really suck at his job if he can’t figure this one out.  Isn’t it just a tad bit odd that he can figure out that Tea has some deep dark secrets, but can’t find his own father?  It’s also odd that he can’t keep up with Stacy’s mustache twirling  machinations!

I love Stacy Morasco… oh yeah, I said LOVE, but it’s evident that while her engine is on, there’s no one behind the wheel.  If SHE can outsmart Rex, time and again, he’s working with a single digit IQ.  I’m going to hate myself later for admitting this, but I’m thrilled at the thought of a Gigi Schuyler pairing and a Rex and Stacy pairing – if only because Stacy will make sure Rex stays miserable for a LONG time.  What irony that Ilene Kristen who played Ryan’s Hope’s scheming bad girl (Delia Reid Ryan)  could become the onscreen mother-in-law of a similar character!

3.  Fish and Kyle.  Daytime writers seem to believe that all gays have a traumatic coming out experience.  While it may be a difficult moment for some, will OLTL writers ever give the audience a gay character who isn’t closeted and terrified of coming out?  I lived through the Daniel Colson storyline.  I would have much rather had Fish avoid Kyle because he gave his heart and soul to Kyle in college and Kyle cheated, lied, and was generally unconcerned about anyone but himself.  That’s VERY consistent with the scheming, lying, blackmailing Kyle we were introduced to.

At some point, writers, can we please just have gay characters who are actually HAPPY with their lives, and not afraid that their friends and family will turn on them?  Am I watching too much Miami Social?  (Yeah, I should be ashamed of admitting that too!  That cast of real life characters puts the ‘super’ in superficial!)

General Hospital

1. Oh those sneaky GH writers!  They’ve pulled a fast one.  Every FBI agent, or undercover cop, ever sent to ‘take Sonny down’ ended up falling for  Jason’s pecs, Spinelli’s wit, or the magic of Sonny’s pecker (Hannah, Reese).  So how have the writers topped themselves?  HA!  It’s the fruit of Sonny’s loins (product of the pecker)  who is now being sent to take him down!   Marked improvement, writers, really… only not!  It’s a given that Dante Falconeri won’t end up carrying Sonny’s child and wouldn’t want to even if he could, thank the soapgods.  Unfortunately there’s no guarantee that Dante won’t go the way of every cop/agent before him and end up loving his papa, Sonny,  so much that he turns on his profession to protect him.

Even though I’m having a hard time buying Dante as Olivia and Sonny’s kid, I’ll suspend disbelief if Dante is allowed to put the mob storyline to bed, rather than climb into bed with the mob  when all is revealed.   (I can’t be the only one who thinks that Dominic Zamprogna’s Dante,  looks more like Olivia’s older brother than her son!  David Lago would have been a much better choice given the character’s supposed age, but since I’m enjoying DZ in the role, I can live with it).   Let’s hope that the revelation that Sonny is his father will mean that Dante becomes more determined than ever to shut Sonny’s operation down.  If Dante doesn’t actually signal the end of the reign of the mob boys,  GH is doomed.  The writers either have to send them to prison (won’t happen) or have them leave their lives of crime (can’t see this happening either), but things can’t go on as they are.

2. Nik… calling Emily Rebecca a ‘whore’ and ‘slut’ and repeatedly making reference to how easily she ‘spreads her legs’… just lovely… As much as I despise Rebecca, I would have cheered her on for slapping ‘Prince Nikolas’ out of his shoes, thank you very much!  If I recall, Nik was as ‘slutty’ as Rebecca.  She wanted money, he wanted an Emily substitute and tried to give it up to her much sooner than she was willing to give herself to him.

Why do I feel the need to shower after watching GH?

The Bold and The Beautiful

Speaking of showers, did anyone watch KKL’s Brooke and HT’s Taylor mud wrestling scene?  Obviously, I didn’t, but as I understand it, the actresses (their characters) took a ‘mud bath’ to cleanse their toxins and a fight broke out between the characters.

What’s up next?  The Brooke and Taylor accidentally fall into a vat of jello and begin  fighting?

A pillow fight breaks out and they ‘accidentally’ start ripping each other’s shirts open?

Tsk, tsk, tsk, The Bold and The Beautiful writers.

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Get thee to the Soap Opera Network board… NOW!

Move it people!  There’s a discussion for fabulous posted there that it nearly brought tears to my eyes!  The topic?  Misogyny and the Media, most especially in DAYTIME!  The topic starter is as follows:

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The New York Times’ Bob Herbert has a terrific op-ed “Women at Risk” that’s a must read. From his piece:

But we should take particular notice of the staggering amounts of violence brought down on the nation’s women and girls each and every day for no other reason than who they are. They are attacked because they are female.
We profess to being shocked at one or another of these outlandish crimes, but the shock wears off quickly in an environment in which the rape, murder and humiliation of females is not only a staple of the news, but an important cornerstone of the nation’s entertainment.

The mainstream culture is filled with the most gruesome forms of misogyny, and pornography is now a multibillion-dollar industry — much of it controlled by mainstream U.S. corporations.

Herbert also distills clearly what defines misogyny:

There have been plenty of posts on this board about how misogynistic the soaps are, especially GH and Y&R. My question is why is misogyny considered entertainment? Can anyone explain this to me? The great Hollywood movies from the 30s and 40s showed women as strong, confident and equal to men. Why is that in 2009 we seem more backwards than we were in 1939?

Are the declining soap ratings a result of female viewers sick of misogynistic stories? Or is misogyny a “winning” formula for ratings?

Are soap writers simply a reflection of the culture we live in? It just seems like everything has devolved. Erica Kane could always take care of herself (Bears, beware!) but her daughter needs to be rescued by Zach & Ryan. Todd Manning gets to “evolve” from gang rapist/serial rapist to romantic leading man with two gorgeous women fighting over him. Sonny Corinthos shot his wife in the head and it was all good. Victor Newman tortured a man who crossed him but his son is torturing an innocent woman, killed her baby and burned the fetus, because she’s a woman & therefore a “soft target”. In a genre chock full of misogyny, that probably takes the cake for the most explicitly misogynistic “story” ever.

Is misogyny endemic to the genre? Do women want to see this sort of thing? If so, why?

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My response:

I think misogyny is KILLING daytime. As a woman, I’m having a harder time rationalizing the fact that I continue to watch. I blog about the misogyny in daytime, rail against it, pen my own storylines – things I’d like to see happen, and then start tuning out the stuff that makes me cringe.

As women transitioned into the workforce offscreen, they remained disproportionately powerless onscreen in daytime. Even when they’re in the workforce, they almost ALWAYS work for a more powerful male. ATWT’s Lucinda Walsh is the one exception, but she keeps losing her company to a more clever and devious male when she should be eating these jerks for lunch.

If one more woman falls on Sonny’s pecker on GH, or fights the other toon in love with him (that other toon is less-affectionately referred to as “yet another baby’s mama”), I will just scream bloody murder. Just how many more children will that loser get to create? Name ONE woman in daytime with that many children with almost as many partners. When YnR’s Victor told Nikki she’d still be stripping in the joint he found her in if it wasn’t for him… I tuned out. I haven’t been able to watch them in a scene together since then.

BTW, anyone notice that after the BnB’s Stephanie accepted responsibility for her role in sending a mad man after Brooke Logan, a man who eventually raped her, she told Brooke that she didn’t deserve to be raped and she was never a ‘whore’ as Steph had called her for years? Now she’s back to calling the Logan women whores and telling them they’re worthless. YaY writers. :(

What are your thoughts on the subject?  If you’re not registered, you can still read the thread – but I sure hope a lot of you show up to post!  While I love the topic, I would love it even more if daytime writers weighed in on what image of women they believe they’re sharing with the audience.  I’d love to know from daytime writers if they think the women they show us each day resemble real life women in any way at all.  I’d love to know who has the power to gather daytime writers together and give us a ‘fans forum’ with them (online, via television and call-in, name the place, format, and time!)

GH: What Mac Scorpio Should Do Now…

I could tell you how much I hate the mob storylines – again… but you know that if you’ve read this blog even once… OR, I could tell you about a storyline I’d  love to see happen for our dear Mac Scorpio – who has to face yet another daughter marrying into/getting involved with the mob circle.

My dream storyline would have to be, of course, something that takes us far outside of the mob boy’s storyline, while still feeding TPTB’s apparent need for vice.  Any viewer watching for longer than a decade remembers that the great Mac Scorpio was once a mercenary.  His past actions in the political world were as shady and low as his actions with other men’s wives (by his account and that of his brother, Robert).   He’s done a lot of bad things, we were just never told what those bad things were.  Mac is now a decorated hero, pillar of his community, loving father/father-uncle, and the chief peace officer in Port Chuckles.  Surely that’s not sitting well with someone, somewhere.  Surely he’s responsible for someone’s untimely death, or for having callously turned over an innocent man (maybe a celebrated freedom fighter)  he tracked down on behalf of some vicious despot.  Surely this man has a son or daughter, seeking revenge, angry that Mac’s life has gone on brilliantly and that he lives among ‘decent people’ while he/she still suffers from loss of a parent.

Let’s make the vengeance-seeker a woman – ah…so you know where this is going!  What if she slowly wormed her way into Mac’s life?  She could share her sob story with him: orphaned as a young adult, left alone to fend for herself in the world… surviving but desperate, doing some unsavory things to survive and often finding herself in unhelpful situations.  The only thing she won’t share with him is his role in her misery.  Outside of her unbridled rage, something  neither Mac nor the audience would know about her as we first meet her, she would be the very definition of goodness and light.  She would seem to have only Mac’s best interest at heart at all times.  We wouldn’t realize, initially, that she was  alienating him from the people he loved most.   She’d start with Maxie.  Why?  Because Maxie is hooked up with the mob boys through her love for Spinelli, which makes her an easy target – low hanging fruit, if you will.

Copyright ABC Daytime

We wouldn’t know she was out to hurt Mac so we, the audience, would applaud her.    Someone other than Mac  is finally telling Maxie and Spinelli there’s a choice to be made and that the options  aren’t even close to being ‘similar’.  They’re very different choices (Mac or the Mob) and that either could alter the course of the young couple’s future.   Ellenna, we’ll call her, would remind Maxie of how important her career at Crimson is to her, of how hard she’s worked to be taken seriously. She would remind Maxie that her father is the same way.  He cares deeply about his work, he cares that he does well, but he also cares to be taken seriously and can’t be, as long as she and Spinelli have chosen Jason and Sonny.  What message does that send to the people of Port Charles?  How much longer is Mac supposed to defend is personal integrity because of their actions and their associations with Sonny and Jason?

Maxie, in her typically obstinate manner, would chose the mob boys (she always does).  They ‘accept’ her as she is. They don’t make demands on her.  They aren’ t out to change her. We’ve heard it all before (and we’ll hear it, or some variation of it, again this week)  Maxie will argue that Mac claims to love her, but only loves her as long as she is the person he wants her to be.   She’ll deliver the ultimate low blow as she tell him that his demands for perfection even drove her mother away and left Georgie vulnerable.  Having ‘been there-done that’ too many times before with Maxie, Mac does cut her out of his life this time.  Maxie is devastated.  Mac is devastated.  Ellenna (‘Elle’)  is secretly elated.

Robin is next.  How does Elle alienate Robin?  This one is more difficult because Robin has been the model daughter-niece.  She has to be more clever with Robin:  ‘unintentionally’ picking fights with her, setting Robin up so that Mac catches her unloading on a seemingly innocent Elle, making Robin uncomfortable with the way she holds Emma – think ‘Hand That Rocks The Cradle’ crazy.  Robin’s inability to accept Elle after everything Mac has done for her and the fact that he’s loved her unconditionally is the final straw.  Mac has  supported Robin in her happiness no matter where she found it and he wants nothing to do with her if she can’t do the same for him.

He’s been on his own for so long that it feels good to finally have someone who is willing and able to put him first.  He confides in Elle that he wasn’t always a good man who cared whether he was loved and needed.  He confides that he’s haunted by the man he use to be, and that it’s why it’s so important for him to be a better man.  He confides that he’s always felt that he was unworthy of happiness, but that he’s been grateful for every moment of it he’s ever had.  He prays that he can have happiness one last time  before he dies, and then has to face whatever ‘punishment’ there is for his past life.  He asks Elle to marry him and they begin  planning their family and their future together… but not so fast!  After comparing notes, Robin and Maxie realize three things:

1- Mac has been strong for everyone else.  He’s been so strong that no one put the pieces together – he’s been slowly falling apart.  Mac has been  suffering from depression since the day he lost Georgie – another reason is was so important to him to help Robin w ith Emma during her PPD.  It gave him meaning and he could connect with Robin without having to share his ‘secret’ his ‘shame’.  He’s been alone in the same house Georgie lived until she died.  He’s alone with the memories of a wife who deserted their family, and a dead daughter.  They start to learn things they didn’t know about Mac – that he secretly drinks at night, for example.  Coleman has seen him there several nights a week passing by a neighboring bar.  It’s where Mac met Elle.

2 – that they’ve both been set up… they realize that Elle wanted them both out of Mac’s life.  They’re not sure why, but they know it’s not for love.

3 – Mac’s depression and that they’ve ignored him other than to lean on him when they needed him made it easy for Elle to set them up and isolate Mac.

They know that talking with Mac is useless because he doesn’t want to go back to his old life of picking up the pieces for everyone else.  He’s happy again and his happiness is like a drug that leaves him wanting more.  What Mac doesn’t realize is that his drug state is both literal and figurative.  Elle’s original plan was to slowly drug Mac, eventually killing him – until she learned about Robin and Patrick and knew they would investigate his death.  She then begins working on ‘plan b’… setting Mac up for murder.  If he can’t be made to pay for her father’s murder, he should be made to pay for someone else’s.  She realizes the irony of taking a life to make Mac pay for the life he took, but she rationalizes her actions by planning to take the life of someone who ‘deserves’ it -unlike her heroic father.

Unaware of Elle’s actions or plans, Robin, Patrick, and Maxie begin investigating her (better than getting them involved in every half-wit unrelated plot on this show).  They  rely on the help of Alexis Davis when they run across red tape in the European nation Elle claims she’s from. Alexis has a history with the European courts, both personally and professionally. Alexis helps them find out that the woman whose name is being used died over two decades before Elle began using it.  They decide that it’s of little use to share this information with Mac.  He would only rationalize their findings as ‘mixed up paper work’, or that she used the name to escape an oppressive life.  They need more proof in finding out who this woman is.  After weeks of searching, the trail grows cold.   They need more help.  While Robin calls her father to ask for help in picking up a warm lead,  Alexis decides to get close to Mac in order to get closer to Elle.  Now that she’s in private practice and he’s on leave from the PCPD for health reasons, she begins showing up at Mac’s to talk to him about several cases she’s working on, seeking input from him.  Watching the dynamic between the couple, discomforted by Elle’s evasive manner whenever she’s asked about ‘home’ or her family leads Alexis to believe that Elle is a bigger threat to Mac than anyone believed.

After the full group gets together, they begin to wonder why they hadn’t thought to investigate the real ‘Elle’.  Why did this woman taking control of Mac’s life, whoever she is, choose that name?   They find out that the woman whose name she uses was her mother’s, which uncovers the sordid history of her father’s death and Mac’s role in it.  By the time they realize what’s going on, it’s too late.  Elle has chosen her victim and set her plan in motion.

In the best possible soap world outcomes, Remily (Rebecca Shaw to most fans!) would be the intended victim.  Catching Ethan and Rebecca on the docks, she realizes what a horrible person Rebecca is to take advantage of Nik’s grief.  Identifying with Nik, who has also lost as love one, she decides to ‘protects’ Nik by getting rid of Rebecca.   She realizes that setting Mac up for murder would be difficult – he has no reason to hate Rebecca (hard to imagine, I know!  Do you need a real reason to hate this character? The fact that she exists makes her cringe-worthy in my book).  She decides to ‘break up’ with Mac, citing his family and their constant attacks against her as the reason.

The break up triggers Mac’s drinking, the drinking leads to a fatal accident, the accident leads to Mac being arrested, tried, and convicted of manslaughter.   Wracked with guilt, he accepts his fate.  It’s only after the fog clears, as he relives the episode, that he begins remembering small details, one of which is the key to unraveling what happened.  He remembers Rebecca being pushed and the car not being able to stop in time.  He starts to remember viewing the accident from the passenger side, it occured just as he was waking up.  His memory triggers a further investigation:  Robert, Anna (who returns when Robert puts out the call about a woman named ‘Ellenna’ – there’s more to her back history than even Elle knows), Robin, Patrick, Alexis, Maxie and Spinelli (who’ve given up the mob boys and are married and in the Scorpio-Drake-Spinelli clan), band together to prove Mac’s innocence.

The prove that Rebecca was pushed in front of Mac’s care… but if Elle was driving the car, who pushed Rebecca… or who drove the car as Elle pushed Rebecca… There’s more…

This storyline pulls several past storylines together:  Georgie’s death, Mac and Felicia’s unresolved failed marriage, Mac’s history as a smiling, but dangerous, playboy, and the Robert-Mac history.  Anna and Robert are back at the WSB – there can still be vice on the show without the lollipop mob.  The difference?  The bad guys aren’t the ‘heroes’.  Spinelli and Maxie follow the family tradition and actually put bad guys AWAY, not save them.

Future directions:  Obviously romance between Mac and Alexis once he’s cleared, conflict between Alexis and Nik – who refuses to listen to Alexis’ pleas to trust in Mac’s innocence – until later, the person who helps Elle could be Ethan – if you’d like and we could get rid of him,  Robin begins to have a relationship with her parents and they begin to clear the air on past events that even the audience isn’t aware of – yet, An unknown connection between Ellenna’s family and members of Port Charles…. so many future directions.

In the end… I know I won’t get any of it… but a girl can dream!

 

* Copyright to all images retained by ABC Daytime.