Variation on a motherfrickin’ theme

Loving a man  (and being dumped) makes women in daytime C-RA-ZY!

OLTL’s Hannah

Hannah attempts an overdose after Ford dumps her – this storyline should have been further developed.  Despite its origin, it actually has redeeming social value.  So it won’t surprise you that instead the writers seem determine to create a Starr-Cole-Hannah triangle just weeks after Hannah’s suicide attempt:

DAYS’ above board top cop Hope Brady decides to terrorize the men of Salem to make up for the fact that she’s been hurt and tossed aside one too many times – of course she’s under the influence of drugs. (Ignore the part where Sami is overly concerned about her rapist – repulsive, I know):

BnB’s Stephanie Forrester can’t stand the fact that Eric has never gotten over Brooke (er, long before he married Brooke’s  sister) – jealousy is apparently synonymous with being homicidal in Bell’s ficitionalized L.A.:

To think… one of the first times Eric dumped Steph, she had a mini-stroke, lost her memory, and lived on the streets using Brooke’s mother’s name… Liz… yes, the same ‘Liz’ (Beth) whose death she’s now implicated in.

Way to go turning all that hatred outward, sister… if only the writers would either let Steph seek help and be cured OR be incarcerated.  I’ll take either.

This one is a double feature! Stacy Haiduk as AMC’s Hannah Nichols (who may as well give up her life to save the man who didn’t want her, right?  Hannah’s death follows what seemed to be an endless stream of mischief and mayhem when Zack refused  to allow her to have his child, to replace the adult son they’d lost.  It’s even weirder because he later became the donor for his wife’s sister, Bianca, and Bianca’s fiancee Reese – without telling his own wife of course.  Where’s the fun in that?  He’s not exactly protective with the seed.  The man was giving his seed away… to everyone but Hannah that is… who then gave her life for him… see the circular thing going on here?   Hannah should have either taken him over the edge with her, on sent him in her place.

Shortly after  Hannah’s death,  Haiduk re-appears in the form of YnR’s Patty Williams.  Patty had her face  surgically altered to look like her psychiatrist.  Why?  To get into bed with the man who married and then betrayed her, causing her to have an accident and miscarriage decades earlier.  Those crazy romantic writers of daytime.  Man do they understand a woman’s heart!:

Hannah:

Patty:

Doesn’t every woman lose it when the man who cheated on her and even cheated with his father’s wife, marries another woman?

Patty becomes Emily and then returns to being Patty, who becomes Emily again – oh yeah, you read that right!:

The ultimate classic love starved psycho on the loose!  The YnR’s/BnB’s  Sheila Carter:


Does this blog really need a closing statment?  I think I’ve made my point.

Imagine, if you would

This one may be hard to read, folks.  It deals with the issue of violence against women in daytime.  It is relatively graphic though not explicit.  You may want to come back for the next entry, if the topic is more than you want to handle right now:

Imagine

Imagine being in the safest place you could possibly be in – your own home.  It’s the place you go  to shed the weight of the world.    You may have fallen in love while living there. You may have raised your children there.  Your summer meals are eaten on your back patio – allowing you to enjoy and cherish each cool breeze.  When it rains or storms and the winds are blowing, you watch from the comfort of your window with a cup of strong hot  tea.  Some nights you pop  popcorn, throw on a movie, and just unwind.  Home is good.

Imagine every wonderful experience you’ve ever had in your home and as you’re sitting there thinking about it, you look up.  There’s a stranger standing in front of  you. It’s confusing because it’s your living room, and you know he shouldn’t be there.  How and when did he get in?  You know from his expression that his presence isn’t accidental.  You know, as he moves toward you, that his intent is to do you harm, or worse.  The anger in his eyes makes you fearful won’t survive what is about to happen.  You wish you’d called your mother and your children that morning when you had the time, but didn’t because you thought you’d have time to do it later.  In the dark place you don’t want to go, you pray that they aren’t the ones to find you.

When he first hits or grabs you, you stop breathing.  You pray that it’s a nightmare, and start to convince yourself that it can’t be real.  Your cup of tea is still sitting there, warm.  The television is still on – and the characters on your favorite program are laughing and joking.  How can you still hear the sound of laughter while feeling such pain and fear?  It doesn’t make sense.

The sound of your own crying and the sting of your own tears makes you hate yourself. You feel betrayed.  The tears  make you feel weak and you’d always  thought that you would be stronger -fight back, if it ever happened to you.  It all makes him seem even more powerful in that moment.   There’s that little voice inside of you tells you to listen, and look, and remember everything you can.  It will all  help you help the authorities catch him, if you live.  Maybe you should scratch him, or grab something of his that will leave a trace to prove he was there.  The sight, and the sound, and the smell of him makes you ill and you can’t do it.  The survivor’s voice tells you to get through it, whatever it takes.  The survivor’s voice tells you that it will be over soon so you start to think about something or somewhere else… this is not happening.

When it’s over, you’re supposed to be grateful for having survived it. You’re supposed to be glad that he’s gone, whoever he was.  You pray that you never see him again, but your pain is so great that you almost begin to pray for your own death – anything that makes it all go away.  You’re not sure if you want to survive.  “You’ll be ok”, they tell you. “It may not seem like it, but you’ll be stronger when this is over”.  No matter what they tell you, you know what you feel.

Imagine, if you will, that when he’s caught, you find out that the person you’ve loved, or tried to love but has only ever despised you and faulted you for her own life failings, is the reason you looked up to find a stranger in your living room.  She’s the reason he was there to violate you.  She didn’t tell him to do it, she only told him that he should pursue you, you’re ‘that kinda’ girl.  She tells him how to gain access to your home. The ultimate betrayal.

All for display – Epic FAIL

That, dear readers, is daytime in a nutshell.  Writers at all ages/decades of entertainment write based on what they understand the ‘truth’ to be at the time they create their works.  The truth they seem to keep ignoring, as I see it, is that women are tired of violence against women.  PERIOD.  It’s not entertaining to us, even when it’s supposed to be educational, because we’ve lived it all too often.  If it hasn’t happened to us, it’s happened to our friends, our sisters, our mothers, our aunts, and sometimes our grandmothers.  We’re tired of watching daytime writers craft  ‘rape’ storylines and then treat them as if they have no meaning – that rape survivors move on and live their lives without the context regarding their assault:

DAYS – Sami not only had children with her rapist, she’s now defending him as a ‘changed man’ despite the fact that he’s violated her since the rape.  The writers apparently decided that they liked the ‘chemistry’ between the victim and her rapist and have decided to downplay the fact that he held her at gunpoint and then threatened the life of her fiance to force her into having sex with him.   I’ve written enough about this travesty, I don’t think I could stand to address it again.

GH – Elizabeth Webber, who’d worked so hard to rebuild her young life only to continue to throw it away on illicit affair after illicit affair and is now the mother of three children with three separate fathers, none of them involved in the lives of their children – so far.  This storyline could have been tied back to Elizabeth’s rape, that she never fully adjusted and that no one noticed her still fresh scars, but no.  The idea is that Liz is just willfully self-destructive  without cause. Her life is just charmed, but her morals are weak.  What a waste of a character and a storyline.   The most I/we can hope for is that Lucky becomes the father of two of her children (forgeddabout Jason) and that Liz is allowed to deal with her assault and refocus her life on herself, not the men in her life who treat her like something they own and then discard at will.

BnB – Brooke Logan Forrester.  While the BnB is not alone in writing follow up storylines for rape victims that are disheartening and improbable, the BnB is the worst.  Stephanie Douglas (Forrester) has demeaned Brooke in a manner far worse than any man ever could.  She’s called her ‘whore’ so often that it’s shocking to me that the writers haven’t changed Brooke’s name to reflect Stephanie’s constant name calling.  Stephanie is the woman who facilitated Brooke’s rape by sending Andy Johnson after her.  Afterward, Stephanie admitted that Brooke wasn’t a ‘whore’, that she never was, and that she didn’t deserve to be raped by Andy, or treated poorly by her.  That lasted a few months, maybe a year.

Brooke had to ‘trade’ her evidence that Stephanie facilitated the rape by using the letter with Stephanie’s admission of guilt for her brother’s freedom.  Storm shot Stephanie to protect his sister Donna (a sad, stupid, and sick move on his part).  Being a “free” woman she was free to return to being violently misogynistic toward the Logan sisters.  She was free to pimp her own son, using his drugged and alcohol fueled condition to force him into bed with Brooke’s rival.  She is FREE, period, when she should be in jail many times over for her acts of violence and attempts at murder.

Her freedom has led to one more tragedy.  She’s facilitated Beth Logan’s death.  The Logan sisters are now motherless.  Storm is dead, their mother is dead, Brooke still lives in the home where she was raped – she still bears the scars, and Stephanie will continue on.  It’s hard to believe that the writers can allow one woman to cause so much human misery and not understand that for some of us, when we look at this character, we still see the woman who lacks remorse for the sexual assault of another woman and who keeps inflicting pain on her.

For all daytime writers, these are words on paper.The characters aren’t real so the actions aren’t that serious.   For many women and some men, these are scenes linked to painful very real episodes in their lives.  In the end it is ‘just a soap’.  We get that, but why take the most painful and hurtful things that  could happen to a person (murder and rape) and treat them as mindless entertainment?  You can’t ‘undo’ the ill treatment of serious issues by adding a PSA at the end of an episode.  You can’t continue to heap insult upon injury and expect the rest of us to keep watching.

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April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.  Click the RAINN logo above for more informatin.  Help be a part of the solution!

Remember that time when…?

Why is it that the only time the writers seem to remember to use a show’s history, they use if for the wrong purposes?  The following clip proves two things:

1.  Luke did NOT hate being a father and husband.

2. Luke could have easily gotten Holly pregnant at the same time Laura was just finding out she was pregnant.

DRAT!

Wait for it…

I’ve been trying for a week or so to find something to say about daytime that didn’t make me seem either unhappy about the state of the  genre (which can alternately be translated as ‘brilliant and observant’) or…  unhappy about the state of the  genre. There’s no middle ground when it comes to daytime.    If you’re not bored silly by what’s airing, tell me your secret!  Only two scenes were able to get a rise from me  and both were  related to doom and gloom.  It’s  all daytime seems to have to offer.  This week’s big scene on DAYS was the throw-down between violently psychotic father and son, Stefano and EJ Dimera.  Stefano threatens to destroy EJ, EJ threatens to have Stefano committed to an asylum for the rest of his life.  Let’s hope they BOTH succeed.  I’ve had about as much of EJ’s smirking as I can take.  I’ve wanted to keep him around for a while, to expand on other storylines.  Now?  I’m not really all that interested.  After Stefano smacked Anna and had her marched off to die, the bloom was off  his rose for me as well.

The other big scene involved the BnB’s Stephanie Forrester – who spent the past 20+ years proving that she is EXACTLY the woman she’s hated in Brooke Logan Forrester… the woman Brooke never was.  Stephanie has projected her self-hatred on to Brooke for years and it’s finally reached a breaking point.  Having  confronted a very ill Beth Logan, and Beth’s family, Stephanie has decided that Beth’s presence disrupts her chance at getting close to Eric.  She doesn’t want a little thing like ‘Beth’s Alzheimer’s’  and impending death to get in the way of her happiness.  She also doesn’t wantEric  inviting his wife’s ill mother into their  marital home – the home Stephanie sold to them years earlier, a house whose address she should have forgotten long ago.  If Donna, Brooke, Katie and their respective children wants to visit their ill and dying martriarch, they can do  it elsewhere, according to the dragon lady.  Remember folks, this woman respects marriage.  She’s a pillar of the community.  She is morally above reproach – in her mind.

I think it’s embarrassing that women Stephanie’s age (as well as her sister Pam/”Pammy”) are still spending their days thinking of how to “win back” a man from his wife.  I think it’s pathetic they’re able to qualify their ‘concern’ for Beth… “I’m sorry she’s so ill… BUT… you were getting close to Eric, she shouldn’t be here.”  or “It’s too bad that Beth has Alzheimer’s BUT she and her children don’t have to be around, you need to get close to Eric, you can win him back if  they all just go away”.  If you place a qualifier on an expression of sympathy, it’s not sympathy.  To use ‘BUT’ in a situation like that makes you an ASS.

I get it… Stephanie is the most incredibly self-focused selfish person alive, but the writers are a little too heavy-handed.  They seem to think that they need to reinforce the idea that Stephanie is evil.  They’ve forgotten her rotten past deeds to sell her in each new storyline.  We haven’t .  We don’t need the reminder.  It would be nice, on occasion, to have a break from ‘evil Stephanie’ storylines that go nowhere..  Poor goddess SF looks as if she’s given up on trying to convey any useful emotion in Stephanie.  Her facial expressions are limited to ensuring that the audience realizes that Stephanie is emotionally dead.  She’s amazed that as the Logan-Forrester/Logan-Spencer women are crying watching their mother tenderly lose her grasp that they can’t also see HER point of view.  She only wants Donna out of the home she shares with her own husband.  She only wants Eric to tell Donna that her mother has to die elsewhere,  because she and “Pammy” have plans for him.  GAH!  What’s not to understand?!?!?

Where is the balance in the dialogue?  Why does the BnB have the worst dialogue writers in daytime?  Why hasn’t  someone reminded Stephanie that she never worried about a parade of doctors, nurses, and others running through the Forrester Mansion when they were there to take care of Eric, and she thought it would lead to her getting back into that house as his wife?

Why doesn’t Donna get to tell Stephanie that just as SHE (Donna) took care of Eric and made sure he survived his stroke when her children voted to pull the plug, SHE (Donna) would take care of HER mother in HER home and that Stephanie was welcome to take her bitterness and choke on it?

Wny can’t one of the Logan women remind Stephanie that she was willing to move heaven and hell to save dying Felicia?  They won’t be able to save their mother – they just want the chance to live her last moments on earth, in peace.  To make Beth’s Alzheimer’s condition a matter of  ‘inconvenience’  in her attempts to beg for Eric’s love, to make Beth’s condition a matter of ‘too much’ for poor Eric to have to handle, to have Stephanie lyinging claim that her concern is for Eric’s well-being,  is low, trashy, and very Stephanie.  That doesn’t make it fun to watch.  Get real, it’s not like Eric will be physically taking care of Beth, himself.

Where is the soul who will remind Stephanie that as much as she hates to admit it, Beth was Eric’s first love many years ago and that he’s as invested in making sure she has a peaceful end as Donna is?  Why can’t  the hatemonger be forced to  remember the pain she felt when her own mother died – and she had a horrible relationship with her mother up to the very day it ended.  The Logans have had a loving relationship with their mother.

It’s a terrible move to put Stephanie and Pam Douglas in the same storyline as the show’s resident ‘teens -young adults’,    Hope and Steffy Forrester.  All Steffy needs is a bat shit crazy bitter sidekick , like Aunt Pam, to tell her that her ridiculous actions are ok, and the circle is complete!

The other difficulty with this storyline are the overwhelming  misogynistic under- and overtones of Stephanie’s dialogue – even now.  At what point does that loon STOP lying and claiming that the Logan women only have their sexuality  to get them through!??!?!   These are women who are no different from her and her children (other than the fact that they’re not psychotic, angry, and living to attack others as Stephanie so often is and does).   They live such full and enriched lives, and the only thing Stephanie can ever comment on is the ‘sexuality’ of the Logans.  I see adult daughters crying and grieving their lost mother.  She’s sees them in lingerie, hanging from poles.  I tend to believe that the audience is on the Logan family side.  There are far too many families touched by Alzheimer’s to make it possible to salvage Stephanie after this.  The writers seem to think that hitting ‘restart’ on a storyline for her is the same as salvaging.  It’s NOT.  She still hasn’t recovered as a character from having facilitated Brooke’s violent rape.  Now THIS!?!?!  Stealing away what’s left of a family’s precious moments????

Either the writers have to deal with Stephanie’s insane jealousy of these women, or her obsessive desire for them.  I thought they’d reserve her passion for Taylor, but maybe Stephanie is back to obsessing over her first choice, a Logan, now that taylor is married again – and to someone she can’t control.  The writers missed the boat on putting Stephanie and Taylor together.  The sad focus on being loved by a man who LITERALLY keeps bringing other women into their marital bed is a far worse choice for Stephanie.

OLTL’s Viki Lord is caring for her grandchild and keeping her children’s lives together.  ATWT’s Kim Hughes is running her media empire and holding her family in her loving grace.  Her colleague, Lucinda Walsh, runs an international empire and has been alone more often than she’s been married.  DAYS’ Maggie is mourning the loss of her soul mate, Mickey, and helping those she loves rebuidld their lives at the same time.  GH?  I forgot… they don’t ‘do’ chicks in later life on GH.  The closest we get to a matriarch is Hels Cassadine, and she’s certifiable – like Stephanie, but even SHE has more of a life than Stephanie does.  YnR’s Katherine Chancellor is defending her empire against the child she gave up for adoption decades ago.  Stephanie can’t take the time to feel genuine sympathy for a former rival – a woman whose fiance she got drunk and took to bed, a woman whose fiance raised a child she claimed was his as the result of a lie?  No.  That’s too hard for her.

This does not bode well for what’s left of the BnB and daytime in general.  They’re going to ride the ‘We Don’t Get It’s train right into the daytime grave.  More is the pity.

National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

April is National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.  Watching soaps today, alone,  would make you question, 1 –  whether writers were aware of the  significance of this month, 2 – if they would care if they were aware of it.  According to RAINN, every 2 minutes someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted.   Click the RAINN symbol to learn more about SAAP month, and to find events taking place in your local area. Today, on almost every soap left on air, a woman was nearly sexually assaulted, emotionally assaulted, or physically assaulted – almost none for the sake of furthering a discussion about sexual and other violent assaults.  Almost all for the sake of ‘entertainment’.  Check the ratings, writers, we – your primarily female audience, are not amused or entertained by such storylines.

1.  Days of Our lives. I’ve thought of EJ as a coward for quite a long time.  Today’s episode just made things a heck of a lot worse.  If your father is a murderous psychopath and you’re quickly following in his footsteps, then it makes sense that you don’t care to protect your partner in crime from your father’s tyrannical wrath.   It makes you appear to be less human, as well.   Too busy trying to cover his own arse, EJ has made no moves to stop others from thinking of Anna as a vile kidnapper who tormented a  young infant girl for months after she’d already lost the only mother she’d ever known.    If you were watching today’s episode, you witnessed Stefano Dimera, EJ’s father, physically assault his former daughter-in-law, his deceased son’s wife.  Tony might have killed Stefano for slapping his wife.

The excuse is supposed to be, I’m sure, that Stefano had no idea that Anna wasn’t alone in kidnapping his granddaughter when he slapped her.   My response?  WHO CARES!?!?!  She as alone, half dressed and defenseless against him and the goons he brought with him.  That scene was heartbreaking from beginning to end.   It was in fact EJ, the child’s father, who concocted the scheme and convinced Anna to become his partner in crime.  It was his son EJ, who got the ‘bright’ idea to cover the child’s clothing in blood and make everyone think the infant had been murdered.  Will Stefano slap him across the face?  Will he have his son dragged off with threats of death?  Is that behavior reserved only for women ‘who have it coming’?

While EJ sat home, basking in the glow of being complimented for being a ‘great dad’, Anna was being slapped around, manhandled by Stefano’s goons, and had to plead for her life, as Stefano promised her that she would not be alive  much longer.  DAYS has done a lot of things right, but  this was dead wrong and made it clear how parasitic the Dimera men’s relationships with women are.  EJ professes love, two children later, to the woman he raped at gunpoint, and while he sat with her  trying to convince her he was a new man, Anna faced violence and certain death.

2.  The Bold and the Beautiful. I watched the last 10 minutes of the show, today – apparently ten minutes too many!  It was a continuation of Donna Logan Forrester being treated as if she was disposable by her husband, Eric Forrester.  This follows an earlier discussion in which he screamed at her in front of his ex wife and his former sister-in-law (both of whom have attacked Donna physically and verbally).  Earlier he’d faulted Donna for never being on his side – a full-throated lie.  He’s clearly ‘finished’ with Donna and finds excuses to scream and yell at her, including faulting Donna  for her brother-in-law’s partnership with his WILLING ex-wife, who helped weaken his company before Bill Spencer bought it out from from under him.  Eric accepts no responsibility for being a lousy businessperson.  He also gives Donna ZERO credit for being willing to deceive her own sister to help him get his company back.  He screams at her, demeans her, and then she returns home to beg for his forgiveness for not being tolerant enough of his needs.  If she was a friend of mine in a marriage like that, I would be advising her on thinking about how to get out of it, or at least  how to protect herself from a man like Eric Forrester.

3.  One Life to Live. Schuyler Joplin has been just about as perfect a man as one can be in daytime.  He’s thoughtful, loving, kind, and patient… which means that when he had to be torn down to prop the show’s resident snooze producing couple – the writers took the lowest possible  route to try to make him unlikable to fans.  His soap day started with him being  a loving father who only wanted the best for his child.  He finds out the child he’s been loving isn’t his and just a few hours later he’s holding Gigi Morasco hostage at gunpoint, trying to force her to undress so  they can have sex and he could prove to her that they still have a special relationship.  He doesn’t want to be alone.

Pretty.Damned.Pathetic.

Soaps use to write rape storylines to  sway fans’ sympathy in the direction of ‘bad girls who needed redeeming’.  Now they use rape as a way of trying to sway fans’ ire at male characters they want to get rid of — most of the time.  Sometimes they decide that the rapist isn’t all that bad and try to redeem him or try to get the audience to accept his attempt to get his victim to fall in love with him.  It’s that sort of  clumsy and careless storytelling that makes soap fans ashamed of the genre.

4.  General Hospital. Kristina, after ignoring Ethan’s pleas to not allow the entire town, most especially her murderous mob father, believe that he’d beaten her up- as he was innocent – was beaten again today by her boyfriend, Kiefer.  I’d watched DAYS’ Anna being slapped around, DAYS’ Sami talking about her lovelife with her rapist,  OLTL’s Gigi held at gunpoint and potentially raped, BnB’s Donna beg forgiveness for being treated poorly, and then Kristina.  I am emotionally drained and most especially because it’s clear that daytime writers still don’t get it.

As usual, the storyline hasn’t been about this poor teenage girl who is being harmed, it’s about the adults around her – her mother who took the time to run down her attacker with her car while on the way to the hospital to get help for Kristina, her angry mob boss father, Ethan -the wrongfully accused… but very little about the survivor.

I’m hoping we’ll see more of Kristina, in therapy to learn that it’s not her fault she’s been attacked, or that we’ll get to see her confront Kiefer and make him realize how badly he’s hurt her.  As I’ve written about before, it would be best to see HIM in therapy – helping him figure out why he’s so violent towards  women.

Soaps do a lot with the ‘assault’ part, nothing much with the  ‘prevention’.   Were women victims of assault and violence on the other two soaps?  Probably, I’m just glad I missed it – I’ve had more than my fill in just a single day.  It’s depressing.