Two More Soaps are Down/The Guessing Game

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 Most of you have heard or read, by now, that  U.S. soaps are one step closer to being a part of our American past.  I have been saying for some time that I wish that the powers that be (TPTB) at the networks would either fix daytime or kill it off, but that anything in between is unfair to fans, and a clear disrespect for the genre.  I am not celebrating the loss of All My Children and One Life To Live.  In fact, it saddens me for two reasons.  The first is that I believe that both shows were a damned sight better than General Hospital and were far more ‘history rich’ in their current forms than GH.  The second is that I believe that both shows could have lasted years longer if ABC had the courage to infuse the genre with new writers and executive producers/energetic writers and executive producers who would have respected the genre’s history, but not become bogged down in the repetitive storyline telling, and the lack of attention to detail that drove fans away.

AMC and OLTL were the ‘class acts’ of daytime, and to lose these two shows won’t  improve the chances of the remaining shows to survive by picking up their audiences.  The loss of these two shows will only serve to illuminate how much weaker the plots and plot devices of the remaining shows are.

The Young and the Restless:  The actress replacing Drucilla (whose name I’m not even motivated to look up) once gave an interview stating that most Drucilla fans were fans of the show first, not of the character.  Uh… ok.  She also stated that she wasn’t hired to create a character to replace Dru… and how’s that workin’ for ya?  Where is the character she plays now?  In Dru’s old storyline… pregnant, by one of the Winters brothers and she’s not exactly sure which.  Adam, who burned a fetus in a damned fireplace, never giving its mother the chance to grieve its loss is a romantic hero, involved with a woman whose child he stole.  Go. AWAY!

The Bold and the Beautiful Where to begin?  There are so many problems with this show that between it and DOOL, that either could be the next to go (yeah, even over GH)!  I wish Bell’s ‘bad girls’ weren’t so one-dimensional, like Steffy and her faux ‘good girl’ mother, Taylor- who is as much a daytime bitch as ever there was one.  Both Steffy and Taylor highlight the weakness of Bell’s writing for bad girl characters.  I miss the real bad girls, women with a method to their madness and whose actions were explained through their backstory (pain, unhappiness, abuse, abandonment). You always knew that their desperate actions were about fighting back in the only way they knew how and it left you hating them and loving them at the same time. Steffy is just a selfish, pampered, snotty little girl who thinks life owes it to her to give her whatever she wants – even after having such a privileged life and a father who sacrificed his happiness for hers.

Her constant attempt to draw a distinction between herself and the ‘human trash from the valley’ makes her as useless as her grandmother. Most soap bad girls didn’t offer the social class argument for their superiority and since social class is the only type of class Steffy has – any argument she makes in her favor is moot. She is everything she despises in others… the ultimate hypocrite.

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Steffy’s character lacks depth and a backstory gives definition to her character.

She’s just mean, nasty, and whiny-bitchy instead of fun bitchy. It’s this sort of anemic storytelling that’s killed so much of daytime and makes the genre unwatchable.

Days Of Our Lives Rape is NOT SEXY!  EJ? NOT SEXY! I don’t care how attractive EJ’s portrayer James Scott is.  JS is not EJ, and EJ is a rapist with no redeeming qualities.  His sole mission in life it to own and manipulate the woman he raped, to control her life and to continue to impregnate her through violence and/or deceit.   I gave up on this show a very long time ago.  DOOL, and EJ as a character, are better suited to a soap titled, “The Land that Time Forgot”.    The titled references a book, screenplay, and several movies.  Why not a soap?  Women are smarter, better educated, focused on informing themselves and their daughters and sons about sexual assault — yet, sexual assault is still the foundation for romance and ‘good times’ on Days of our Lives.  Not.  good.

General Hospital Need I say more?  Nice guys really DO finish last.  OLTL and AMC focused on family ties, the ups and downs of relationships, and in the end the mob boys and weak guest appearances win out.  Sorry, James Franco fans, I thought GH’s artist Franco sucked and that the actor treated the character as a caricature.  His vision of what a soap character was supposed to be left me cringing and I was shocked that TPTB backstage allowed it to happen.

Daytime writers and executives of the four remaining shows have to become more protective of the genre.  They have to remember daytime’s illustrious history and send the remaining four shows out as a bright flame, and not sending it up as a weak puff of smoke.  They owe the fans no less.

Oddly enough,  I was a daytime fan who, when this blog began as a column for  Darcy Fourier’s “The Soapscope” website, watched more daytime than primetime television.  My primetime viewership was nearly non-existent.   When I became disenchanted with daytime, I switched to primetime viewership almost exclusively.  Even still, I will miss soaps for lots of reasons, but primarily for their history in total.  I can’t say that  I will  soaps in their current incarnation, I hated and still hate most of what’s airing in daytime.  I will miss daytime for what it was, and for the missed opportunity to make it something great, again.  I’m not interesting in more daytime talk, more scripted reality, or more game shows and can’t imagine their appeal over even the worst of daytime dramas, much less the best of it.  To the Cast and Crew at All My Children and One Life to Live, thank you for the decades of memories.  You are irreplaceable and you will be missed.

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