BnB: The measure of a woman. The mismeasure of a girl.

Done, Finito, KAPUT!  I’m done trying to find a reason to like the BnB’s Steffy Forrester, DONE!  I usually love bad girls/bad boys in daytime;  although I almost always root against them.  I enjoy watching them unleash fresh hell on others, and later themselves as their plans backfire.  It’s the best of both worlds.  Truly great bad girl/guy characters feed your light and dark sides.  Most daytime writers have a tried and true formula and “get” what makes bad girl/boy characters so much fun.  They’re equal parts exhilaration and exasperation and just when you think you can’t love-to- hate them any more than you already do, the writers pull a twist.  The character you thought you knew, the character whose all-knowing smirks drove you to the brink of distraction suddenly has a vulnerable side.   You find yourself almostliking them!  When daytime writers want you to fall for a character, they know what it takes to make you fall hard:

  • AMC’s writers pulled the ’empathy card’ on Janet-from-another-planet Green when they revealed that she wasn’t simply pathologically jealous of her beautiful sister, Natalie Marlowe, but that she’d been the target of unrelenting taunting and teasing, merciless emotional abuse, all without remorse by a mother who felt justified in the emotional torture of her daughter.  Natalie was her blessing, Janet was her curse. Wilma Marlowe couldn’t wait to remind Janet, every day of her life, that she was the daughter she would have done without and when given the choice, that choice would always be the beloved Natalie.  Janet’s hope was to, just once, be chosen first.  The desire to be someone’s first choice – even Trevor Dillon’s, drove much of Janet’s continued march toward madness. 
  • ATWT’s  writers pulled the ’empathy card’ with Emily Stewart, who spent years dealing with her mother Susan’s substance abuse and emotional distancing.  Emily’s victimization at her mother’s hands turned into a worldview in which she was always the victim of the those around her – even as she drew first blood.  By soapgod, she was going to make the world PAY!    ATWT pulled the double whammy with heartless schemer, Angel Lange, who was the victim of longterm sexual abuse at the hands of her wealthy powerful father.  Angel’s scheming was directed at helping her secure her freedom from a powerful father who seemed unstoppable.   To that end she forced Holden Snyder into marriage, schemed to keep him, and with her brother, stole millions from their father’s company.
  • GH’s Stefan Cassadine’s ’empathy card’ came in the form of dysfunctional parenting as well.  He and brother Stavros were presented as the “Heir and a Spare”. While his parents groomed his brother for greatness (and you can read that as great darkness), he was expected to bask in the shaded glory of the pathological Stavros, accept the cast off crumbs of his parents’ affections.  It was a wonder that they allowed him to keep the Cassadine name.  Stavros was dangerous, but even Stavros was a kitten compared to their parents.   

Stefan never stood a chance growing up.  If it’s possible to assign behavior to soap characters, you could imagine that had Stefan’s parents paid more attention to him in his youth, there would be no need to discuss adult Stefan.  He’d have never nade it to adulthood.  

  • Long before Stefan, there was Bobbie Spencer, who curiously enough became Stefan’s wife.  In her youth,  Bobbie hadn’t met a man she didn’t want to control, nor a woman she didn’t want to destroy to have him.   We later learned that Nurse Bobbie’s early  trauma occurred when she was led into prostitution as a young teen by her Aunt Ruby, not long  after her parents died.  She was just another of the working girls  in Aunt Ruby’s house.   Bobbie’s “protector” was her older brother, Luke, who protected her by making sure she was ‘safe’ on her ‘dates’ with older men.  Bobbie was reminded of her sex worker past, frequently, even as she transitioned from good-girl-gone-bad to bad-girl-turned-real-woman.  The most lasting reminder of Bobbie’s difficult time was the arrival of the daughter she conceived while working for Aunt Ruby.    Unfortuntately for Bobbie, daughter Carly came with an eye on vengence.
  • OLTL’s Todd Manning, in his youth, was anger on a stick and a threat to the safety of women everywhere.   The writers should have taken advantage of the fact that in a field of characters with unusual names (Storm, Ridge, Thorne, Destiny) naming this guy “Trouble” instead of Todd would have been more honest.  If there was a thing that Todd didn’t hate, it was only because it hadn’t been invented yet.  It’s hard to feel sorry for a unrepentent rapist and the writers knew it.  Without the need to try to ‘redeem’ him, the writers allowed the audience catch a glimpse of what was left of the humanity of the character.  The idea seemed to be to provide the audience some hope that whatever was left of his humanity was enought to stop him from victimizing others and to begin dealing  with his own pain.  Todd’s pain resulted from frequent beatings by an uncaring father who despised him.  Todd’s father, Peter Manning, was his maternal uncle and adoptive father.  He was forced to raise the child as his own.   We later found out that Todd was also sexually abused in his youth.
  • BnB’s Stephanie Douglas Forrester (who moved from my love-to-hate column to fully despise) was the product of a vicious wealthy father who presented the image of a perfect family to his business colleagues and friends (including fellow industry titan, YnR’s Katherine Chancellor).  What his friends and and colleagues didn’t know is that Mr. Douglas beat his daughter “Stevie” with reckless abandon behind closed doors.   Stephanie’s cruel childhood treatment was reportedly the cause of the cruelty she expressed in adulthood.  It is something that others around her struggle with until this day — clearly Stepahnie doesn’t struggle with her inhumanity toward others.  She revels in it.

You get the common thread, yes?  Years of emotional, physical, verbal, and sexual abuse.  Whether it happens because of a cowardly parent or a craven lover, there is typically a foundation for the abusive, shallow behavior we witness in our fave bad girls and boys.  Use that as a backdrop to try to understand the BnB’s Steffy Forrester.  She’s the heir to a massive fortune, her mother  came BACK from the dead and re-established the family Steffy always wanted. Her mother also gave her 25% of the family company – trusting her to “take care” of her older brother.  Steffywas raised by a father she adores.  She’s never had to go to college and yet was handed cushy executive level positions in the company after spending only a few months in the mailroom.  AND she had a stepmother who raised her and loved her while her mother was believed to have been in the grave (the same stepmother she still adored just a few years, ago, and with whom she’s had no significant conflict).   She’s traveled the world and has reportedly been loved and in love.

To hear this wanker of a character whine day in and day out about how sad she is, how much she needs a man (any man dating or married to a Logan woman), how hard her life is, how she’s been abandoned, maltreated, unloved… it’s all just too much.  Rather than creating feelings that run from exhilaration to exasperation, my feelings for Steffy run from damned bored to seriously annoyed.  Her rapid shifting from begging her daddy (Ridge) to staywith the family and continue to raise her, to begging her ‘big daddy’ (Bill Spencer) to stay with her for the night and make love to her is pathetic, but mostly jarring.  Is she a needy child or a sexually provocative woman?  She can’t be both, or use both “needs” as the foundation for her aggression toward the Logan family.  Her need to destroy the Logan family because her father loves Brooke, is petty.  It’s surreal at best when you consider how much she loved Brooke as a stepmother, until her nological mother’s return.  It’s absurd when you consider the fact that Brooke is the mother of her youngest brother. 

Steffy doesn’t work as a bad girl because there is no “empathy card” to be played for this character.  The character is made up of all hard angles.  It’s even hard to believe that she’s invested in the people she claims to be invested in. She’s now twice turned on her mother for love of  two different men (Rick Forrester and Bill Spencer).  She’s never bothered to share the stock in the family company with her brother.  She doesn’t care if her YOUNGEST brother (still in late childhood) grows up without a father – as long as their father is in the home she no longer lives in as an adult.  She’s been working to destroy her brother’s family since he was a toddler.  She fell to her knees over twin sister Phoebe’s death, but almost immediately fell into bed with the man her family blamed for her sister’s death.  She defended him even after he used her and used her sister’s death to taunt her father… the same father she can’t live without. 

 The fact that anyone (onscreen) finds her intriguing leaves one feeling dumbfounded.  Steffy Marone-Forrester is a character filled with contradictions, and none of them good. 

She is not likable.

She is not rootworthy.

She is not interesting.

My time is quickly becoming wasted by this character.  My sincere hope is that the writers are planning to give the character depth or to send her packing.  I will accept either, but what I can’t accept is Steffy in her current incarnation.   At some point the writers will  become bored with this character as she is.  I’m looking forward to THAT day.

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Can GH’s Bobbie Spencer save Kristina Davis Corinthos?

Cop Killing and Intimate Partner Violence. The new daytime staples?  Remember when it was considered a bad thing to try to kill a police officer? I do!  GH use to call those people CRIMINALS  engaging in criminal behavior –  not ‘survivors’ trying to defend their lives and teach ‘rat undercover cops’ a lesson.  Port Chuckles law enforcement use to arrest, try, and convict attempted cop killers!  I also remember when doctors who saved lives had no patience for the criminals who tried to take them:

I do have some praise for GH writers.  Robin and Patrick held nothing back in their scenes with Sonny, yesterday!   The THUD you heard during those scenes was me hitting the floor.  It took me a while to get up, I must admit… it’s hard to pull yourself back up off the ground and wipe flowing  tears at the same time.  Patrick slapped down Sonny’s idiotic excuse that Dante would never have been shot if people like Patrick hadn’t helped Olivia lie and had instead told Sonny the truth.  It’s Patrick who had to enlighten the dark Prince (er, the other dark Prince, with all due deference to Prince Dikolas Cassadine) that Dante wouldn’t have been shot if Sonny hadn’t pulled the trigger… Awwwwww…RELIEF!  I was sure my head would explode if Sonny was allowed to tell that deluded lie just one more time without a cogent response!  Could you image Sonny surviving the Robert Scorprio-WSB/Luke Spencer  era?  It would never have happened.  Robert helped take down the DXV,  for pity’s sake!  Sonny would have been child’s play and to suggest otherwise would be, at best, a joke.  Sonny’s ensured survival seems to explain why Robert couldn’t be kept on a viable character.  To keep Robert around would mean that Luke would have to return to his anti-hero ways rather than remain the disinterested, self-serving, preserve-thine-own-ass shell of a character he’s become.

In case you’re wondering who the dark haired ‘gentleman’ is who rolled Luke into the cafeteria, it’s DL Brock, Bobbie Spencer’s murdered  ex husband… and abuser.  He is potentially an indirect linchpin between the old GH, the REAL GH, and  a storyline that’s currently playing out on the new GH. Wouldn’t it be nice to make use of Bobbie’s history with Brock to have her figure out that Kristina in danger?  The most the writers have ever managed to do is to remind the audience, whenever a little ‘tension’ was needed that Bobbie was once a hooker (though they’ve never seemed to make repeated use of Luke’s involvement in helping to pimp his underage sister).  I think the writers could get much more mileage out of Bobbie’s past as a survivor, and possibly move toward an Emmy nomination for a useful storyline rather than the dreck they keep being nominated for (shame on you Emmy panel).  Bobbie has gone on to free herself of her abuser, marry a man who loved her, raised children, moved up in her career, and regained control of her life.

  • What a gift it would be to Kristina to have Bobbie not only recognize the signs, but to be her guiding force out of her abusive relationship with Kiefer.  Sonny’s involvement would be crude, violent, angry,  and far more unrealistic than having Bobbie be there to help Kristina tell her mother, Alexis, the truth about her dating experiences.
  • What a gift  it would be to Molly, for her big sister to show her that you should never stay with a person who violates you and hurts you. Intimate Partner Violence is never about love… EVER.
  • What a gift it would be to Kiefer for a fearless Bobbie to go knocking on his father’s door and tell him what kind of young man he’s raising, and what Kiefer’s future looks like if he doesn’t get the help he so desperately needs.
  • What a gift it would be to real life survivors to have Kiefer actually do it, knowing he can never return to Kristina, but that he lessens the probability of making some other woman a victim of IPV because he’ll learn to take control of and responsibility for his actions.
  • What a gift it would be to the audience to have Kiefer’s family in therapy, figuring out where the violence comes from and learning how to stop it for all their sakes.  Recriminations (self and other), family secrets that lead to new storylines, and reconciliation could be exciting and give GH new directions of growth if handled right.

Rather than have a man run in and ‘save the day’, it would be a gift to fans for GH writers to finally empower their female charcter to save themselves.  With a history as rich as this show’s history is,  it’s a crime against The Arts to bury GH’s past as if it has not connection to it’s present or future.  Writers, you’ve explored almost every possible angle there is on the mob storyline.   Isn’t it time to make room for something else?

DAYS: Chock full of surprises…

Maggie and Melanie… It’s no secret that I’m a Melanie Layton/Molly Burnett fan.  MB brings back some of the best moments of daytime for me.  I think of her portrayal of Melanie as a cross between Lynn Herring’s wicked bad girl Lucy Coe and Jackie Zeman’s vulnerable bad girl Bobbie Spencer.  There’s something fun and light-hearted about MB’s approach to ‘Melanie’ and having removed the dead weight of big brother ‘Max’ makes her even more fun to watch.

As  a BnB viewer… yeah, yeah, it’s back on my playlist, I’m use to a very typical, but sadly misogynistic relationship between older women and younger women in daytime.  Older women in daytime, despite their own questionable histories, become renewed virgins and unreproachable paragons of virtue.  Stephanie Forrester (who in her youth slept with two men in a matter of weeks, lied about it, and passed one man’s child off as another’s) routinely  refers to young women she dislikes as ‘whores’ and ‘sluts’ even if they have a SINGLE partner – men they’re married to or dating.  She gives a ‘pass’ to younger women she likes and whose histories may be equally questionable to if not worse than her own.

On each soap you can name a woman who should be a mentor to women of the younger generation and who, instead, belittles and demeans them.  Not our Maggie.  Maggie knows what it means to be unfaithful to a good man who loves you and to find yourself caught up in a major scandal.  Of course, there were no sex tapes to be distributed on the internet as evidence in her time, but that’s neither here nor there.  Maggie embraced Melanie earlier  on and continues to embrace her.

She’s not concerned that Melanie isn’t good enough for her grandson.  She’s concerned that Melanie doesn’t realize her own value and will end up being hurt by a man unworthy of her love – with Phllip Kiriakis being exactly the sort of trouble Maggie described to Melanie… oh how I thought I’d lose my lunch during his speech about knowing a woman who accepts him for who he is and who isn’t out to change him… Let’s face it, there’s a lot about Phillip that REQUIRES changing.  Now that he’s moving in on Melanie like a heat seeking missile, both Maggie and Nate have their work cut out for them, stopping Melanie from becoming her own worst enemy and giving in to Phillip.  Phillip will no doubt continue to toy with Melanie’s feelings while bouncing back between her and Stephanie.  Let’s hope that Melanie will take Maggie’s counsel to heart.   I love the relationship that’s developed between the inexperienced but headstrong Melanie, and her generous and loving mentor.  Who’d a thunk it?  Women don’t actually hate each other!

Brady/Nicole/EJ. How amazing are Brady and Nicole on screen together?  EM’s use of subtle cues to lead us to realize that there’s still something very real between the pair makes every scene worth watching.  I keep waiting for the next ‘cue’.    While Nicole was crying and begging Brady to be the good friend she’s needed, to help her keep the daughter and husband she loves more than her own life – I thought it was Brady who would collapse into Nicole’s arms.   He seemed to feel every bit of her pain.  Notice how he held her just a little too long as she thanked him for saving her family?   Brady would do anything for Nicole.  When it comes to this woman, clearly his heart allows him to betray his head as long as she needs him.

The big shocker was having EJ tape Nicole’s conversations and learn about the miscarriage through her.  I was prepared for Kate’s move into the mansion to be the catalyst for having Nicole and EJ’s marriage destroyed by Kate…Kate would overhear Nicole and Mia, blackmail Nicole, EJ would catch them.. that’ s par for the course in daytime, but not this time.  Nicole’s own need to confess all to Brady and to keep him involved in her whacked out plan to save her marriage did her in.  Oh the irony!

I would love for EJ, for ONCE, to be a real man –  THAT would be  a welcomed surprise.  I would love for him to love Nicole and Sydney as he should, as much as they love him… but he won’t.  He’s not capable of it.  H won’t care that Nicole, as misguided as her actions were, took Sydney in to protect him, to stop his heart from breaking as hers had.  He won’t care that she wanted to prevent him from losing a child he knew nothing about to complete strangers – given Sami’s  original plan to have Grace adopted.  Sooner or later EJ will try to make his way back to his rape victim, Sami, I’m sure.  He’ll tell her it’s a miracle that their child is alive and that they belong together as a family.  Nicole, the woman who truly loved him, will be devastated – but hopefully not for too long.  Brady is much hotter… and he’s not a in love with the idea of victimizing the woman he claimes to ‘love’ and raising a family with her.

Stefano/Kate... I’ll say it once and then I’ll avoid ever saying it again if I can help it because it creeps me out…I like them together.  I didn’t think I would, especially since Kate was blackmailed into marrying Stefano.  Then again, it’s not like she’s had much luck in love!

Daniel was a lying cheat.  Victor ws just freakin’ cruel. A relationship with Roman could never work because Kate could never stop hating Sami (who might have ended up in that hospital bed instead of Chloe, under different circumstances), and nothing else has panned out.  What does she have to lose at this point?  Neither Kate nor Stefano make apologies for who they are and I like that about them, to some degree.  Stefano has been a part of so many quirky, unrealistic, and embarrassing supernatural storylines that I’d lost the ability to think of him as a romantic lead… I’m starting to see that it’s possible that they could be a real couple, and  I can only imagine the fresh hell they’ll unleash in Salem… as a matter of fact,  I’m looking forward to it… the added bonus of the tension between Kate and EJ and Kate and Alexandra?  PRICELESS!

If it don’t dangle in daytime, we don’t need it.

By ‘we’, I mean TPTB in charge of daytime. Some time ago I was convinced that strong women were making a comeback in daytime. What a fool I was. If the above subject header isn’t a strong enough descriptive slogan for daytime writers, execs, and others, try this one on:

“We hate children and the women who carry them!”

General Hospital

The only woman with balls on this show is the uber-psychotic Helena Cassadine , and she’s carrying the biggest shiniest brass set around! Oh yes, I used the term ‘balls’. Without ‘balls’ you may as well not exist in daytime. Apparently having ovaries makes you weak… and stupid.

Jason/Carly/Jax: I only thought The Bold and The Beautiful was awful when it comes to the treatment of women and children, but more on that later. If you’re associated with the BnB, GH gives you cause for celebration. I’m still processing the idea that Carly would rather share the moment that she finds out she’s pregnant with Jason instead of her HUSBAND. If you’re keeping track? The Mob boys are now practicing midwifery and other forms of OB/GYN arts… Apparently killing the ‘bad’ mob boys is a sideline profession for the ‘good’ mob boys. They’re now jack(asses) of all trades!

Would it have been too much to ask for Jax to know about his wife’s condition BEFORE Carly’s mob pals? Jason even got to read the pregnancy stick???? Good soapgod! How much effort would it have been for the writers to have Carly turn to Bobbie, you know her mother and an expert NURSE!?!?! She could have talked with Bobbie about her fears of losing this baby, received sage medical advice, and bonded more deeply with her mother in the process. Oh wait, I forgot… “Pre-head injury Jason” was pre-med before he got into the ‘kill’ game… that trumps Bobbie’s thirty plus years of nursing. It’s making sense to me, now. Jason’s dangle vs. Bobbie’s experience. No contest. Jason wins.

Jax was always concerned that Carly would never truly put him first in their marriage… She did the best she could to make him feel that he mattered, but when it mattered most? Carly turned to Jason. cShould we bet whether the writers have her name the kid ‘J’ – that’s it, just an initial. She’ll tell Jax it’s to ‘honor’ him, but secretly she’ll know the kid is named after ‘uncle’ Jason, too. Should we bet Vegas odds on whether the kid even makes it through the full nine months? If it makes it nine months, should we bet on how long it takes the writers to make it someone else’s or kill the child off?

If you’re not a daytime viewer, those questions probably seemed cruel. If you ARE a daytime viewer, you probably wish there was no basis for asking such questions. Given how frequently both events happen (child death or misattributed paternity), soap fans are holding their collective breath, waiting to see which of the two events happens. Live births are so rare in daytime, by comparison.

Sonny and Claudia: I’m still counting on the writers to reveal that the hitman who shot Michael was in fact hired by someone else, someone Sonny can kill without having to debate just how or when. That Claudia thinks that being pregnant with Sonny’s child will save her is almost funny. Well, it would be funny if it weren’t so tragic and misguided a belief.

Someone should inform Claudia that Sonny put a bullet in the head of his LAST wife while she was giving birth to his child. Yes, yes… accident! He thought she was in trouble and thought he was firing at Alcazar. The trouble is that he fired off a round in a home where he KNEW his pregnant wife was being held and that she was close to her due date. Obviously, the thought of ‘Sonny the hero’ mattered more than ‘Sonny the father of a live child and husband to a living wife’. Considering how many wives, children, and lovers he’d lost to death before that, you can see how, just maybe, his perspective is a little skewed.

Child or no, I can’t imagine the writers having Sonny kill off Claudia. As much as I try to fight it, Maurice Bernard and Sarah Brown have amazing onscreen chemistry and no amount of time apart has been able to diminish that fact. Personally, I think Claudia is too good for Sonny, but that’s me. If the writers are going to clear Claudia of Michael’s accidental shooting, I hope they do it SOON. There’s nothing ‘sexy’ or ‘romantic’ or ‘thrilling’ about watching a pregnant woman try to figure out how to stay alive after giving birth to the newest heir to the mob kingdom.

By the way, just how when and WHY did the writers decide to make the shift from having every child conceived by Sonny die early in the mother’s pregnancy, to having him populate half of the town’s children? Unless Port Chuckles decides to toss aside the laws against unlawful unions between sibs, SOMEONE else in that town had better start having children and FAST! Ric thinks the child is his? I’m pretty much hoping he’s right though it really doesn’t solve that many problems. He and Sonny share DNA. To my knowledge, this is the first daytime pregnancy created to protect the mother from potentially being killed at the hands of the father/or uncle, whichever Sonny turns out to me. You won’t find THAT in a Harlequin novel! Amateurs!

Robin, Patrick, Emma: First, let me get the chick stuff out of the way right now… O-M-G!!!!!!!! The baby playing Emma is SO CUTE! I’d take that baby in a heartbeat, she’s such a doll! What a sweetie pie! Great casting for a Scrubs baby.

Second? Lucky freakin’ baby – sitting on Patrick’s lap and all. Move over kid!

Third? Oh.HELL.NO…In the neverending quest to turn GH into the barely-modern version of Father Knows Best, who didn’t know that Robin would keep beating back EVERY advancement made in the PPD storyline? Who didn’t know she’d throw out her meds? Who didn’t know that she’d backslide on therapy? What was the point of her lying to Patrick about keeping her appointments? Who DIDN’T know that Robin would make some sort of tragic mistake with Emma? Robin has ovaries, after all.

I’ve hit a new frustration level with the treatment of the Scrubs family. I miss the ABC Daytime that had a longstanding tradition of treating real life social issues with sensitivity, accuracy, and great care. I’d hoped that would happen with the PPD storyline and that it would be treated as both informative and as a showcase for KM’s talent. I thought that much of what we would see is a depressed Robin unable to hold her child, drifting from her family, possibly walking away and deserting her child and husband. I thought we’d have Patrick unable to function, supported by both sets of parents and Mac. I thought we would get to watch Robin’s mother and father begin to help her by admitting their own failures as parents and begging her to break the cycle and fight to be there for Emma. I kept my fingers crossed… but I should have known better.

Writers/EPs/execs who seemingly hate daytime children and the women who carry them couldn’t possibly conceive of a storyline that didn’t include potential harm to a child! Isn’t it bad enough that GH fans began referring to baby Scrubs as ‘the Keebler Emma’ after Robin left her in a tree, this past winter? (Is it a mere coincidence that ABC was also the home of the serial ‘Men in Trees’? Men… Babies.. the viewer’s nerves! All up in trees these days.) Honest to goodness, can you even tell anyone who isn’t a soap fan about that scene? Geez. If it happened on the prime time show Scrubs, it would have been played for laughs and the writers would have made it perfectly clear that they were going for camp.

What’s next? GH fans refer to poor Emma as “Rock-a-bye Emma”? Come on, writers. There’s nothing exciting about watching an infant flipping down the stairs in a stroller because her mom hasn’t taken her anti-depressants and is too busy fighting about NOT being treated for PPD. It’s so horrifying to me that I turned the channel, and I can’t see myself tuning in Monday to find out what happens next. You, dear readers, will have to tell ME. Whatever it is, it most likely includes Patrick leaving Robin and another woman helping him ‘mend’ his broken heart- until the new love’s ovaries cause her to become unworthy of love in some way, too.

Not the only offender

GH isn’t alone in treating women and their children like spare parts; it’s just the worst offender in my book. How typical is it that two women end up pregnant by the same man? One, inevitably, has to lose her child – so that the other can plot to steal the living child and pass it off as her own (Days of Our Lives/Young and the Restless writers, if you’re feeling guilty right now? You SHOULD!). Don’t forget the plots in which women are duped into believing that their baby’s daddies have returned to their spouses and other children, so she has to abort, or attempt to abort, her child to protect HIS happiness (Young and the Restless, The Bold and The Beautiful)’

The Bold and the Beautiful deserves special mention. Anyone who knows me knows that Taylor Hamilton Hayes Forrester Marone is one of my LEAST favorite soap characters, but not even she deserved to be turned into a spare womb! Unable to conceive because her eggs were deemed inviable, Taylor and then husband Nick Marone chose to conceive using a donor egg. Of course, within hours after giving birth, Taylor found out that through a hospital mix-up she’d been impregnated with an egg from Brooke Logan Forrester – a woman she hated. Once she’d realized she couldn’t stay married to Nick, who began developing feelings for Brooke again, she decided to make a clean break from him and leave their marital home. Nick’s response? To call Brooke to come ‘home’ to him and ‘their’ son – before Taylor’s car was barely out of the driveway. He later decided to deny Taylor her parental rights, and Little Jack Marone has had TWO stepmothers since then. One womb is as good as another it seems.

Guiding Light? I can’t tell you how absurd it is that the writers had Reva Shayne Lewis TWICE undergo menopause, only to undergo chemo and radiation and still give birth to a healthy baby boy. Words fail me. A woman is only as good as her ovaries, I guess. <sigh>

As much as I’ve loved As The World Turns‘ Henry and Vienna, Katie and Brad, it was more than just a little uncomfortable watching the four friends share a hospital room as Vienna was undergoing an in vitro procedure to become a surrogate carrying what was supposed to be Katie and Brad’s child. Henry’s reaction was what you’d expect – excessive. Henry was so nervous and uncomfortable that he forced Brad to turn around so that he couldn’t ‘watch’. Henry also accidentally knocked Brad’s sperm sample to the ground. It was supposed to be funny. For me, it wasn’t. Sorry, but all I could think about, while Brad dragged Katie out to help him ‘make more’, was who’d have to clean it up (yeah yeah, no one it’s just a soap, but you know what I mean!) and if everyone was supposed to wait around until Brad and Katie returned.

One Life to Live... good times! Remember when Todd made Blair think their son was dead because he thought she’d cheated on him? Then he had her adopt the son he’d initially placed for adoption after he found out that Jack really was his? OLTL writers have topped themselves in the ‘ovaries leading to crazy grief’ storylines. Jessica now has to learn that the child she conceived with her now deceased husband has also died, and that one of her alters stole her cousin’s baby – born on the same night. Two pregnancies, one dead infant, more heartbreak to come. CAN’T WAIT!

What use to be a joyous occasion has become one of the most depressing events in daytime. The words ‘we’re pregnant’ are my two least favorite words in daytime, lately.

Hookers, Porn Queens, and Chippies, oh my!

Dear As The World Turns writers.

You don’t know me, but I’ve been a soap fan for nearly four decades.  I was a fan during the  glory days of daytime and I’m still around for what have turned out to be the dark ages of daytime.  I keep waiting for a period of enlightenment, but I’ve quickly come to the conclusion that it just ain’t gonna happen.  Any hope I had of a daytime finally getting things right (at least in your part of the soap universe) pretty much died with the current Alison Stewart storyline.

Happy Halloween!  A group of thuggish pinheads dressed in ridiculous Halloween costumes kidnap Alison, strip her down to her bra and panties, begin playing one of the porn films she made a lifetime ago, and then threaten to force her to act out her ‘greatest hits’ from her days as a porn star.  Great.  She gets to be humiliated with standing in a room full of pervs who taunt her while her porn film plays in the background.  All of this for a college student union election?  REALLY?  You REALLY thought this storyline was worth it? Which was this storyline the ‘trick’ or the ‘treat’?

You’ve officially fallen into GH-Bobbie Spencer territory.  Whenever GH needed a way to drum up a little “excitement” for the character, someone had to remind Bobbie that she was once a hooker.  Because, you know, Bobbie might have forgotten that she was just a teenager (15?) when she was hooking for her Aunt Ruby, while her brother was the ‘bodyguard’ making sure she wasn’t beaten up by a john.  Yes, she needed the reminder and so did the audience, right?  Bobbie had to be dragged through the mud for the sake of another character getting through an occasional cheap shot.

What you’ve done to Alison falls far BELOW the Bobbie Spencer threshold.  You presented an image of a young woman who was sexually intimidated and physically harassed and threatened.  Oh that’s right, because of her involvement in a school election calls for it.  Nothing’s too extreme a response for this storyline.  Brilliant! … only not anything close to brilliant.

I haven’t been big on the ‘school election’ storyline for Nuke.  It’s felt every bit as juvenile and yawn producing as anything I’ve seen in daytime.  I’ve waited for you, dear writers, to get a clue and make Nuke a front burner couple with a steaming hot romance.   You, instead, they’re getting less nooky than the 90120 crowd and you’ve decided to add the ‘adult’ content to the school election storyline in a way that bastardizes the notion of ‘adult’ content and horrifies viewers like me.  Alison’s assault and intimidation set to the porn film soundtrack?  Not cool.

Even more?  The focus of this storyline is more clearly centered around Alison and Casey and the Nuke storyline has become secondary to it.  I’m not upset to see Alison in another major storyline, the actress in the role deserves all the airtime you can give her.  I just hate that it’s one more distraction from the Nuke storyline and it’s one more storyline that makes a mockery of Alison.

Alison has been the butt of writers’ jokes (sometimes subtle jokes) for some time now (including her wedding night when Aaron was so ‘shocked’ that Alison was so experienced in bed).  Give it up, writers, give it up.
Here’s what I propose.  Grab a calender.  Check the date.  Watch something other than the show’s dailies.  Take a look at women in the news.  Take a lookat this election cycle for the past 2 years.  Figure out where women are in society and how they live and then STOP WRITING for viewers, most especially female viewers, as if we’re time has stood still.  Even General Hospital had to give up the tendency to drag out Bobbie Spencer’s past as a hooker whenever they were short on storylines.

If I want to see women treated in demeaning and misogynistic ways, I’ll tune in to Mad Men (a more wildly entertaining show, which somehow, while set in the early 60s, still manages to show women with more power and dignity than most women in daytime in 2008).  Shame on you!

Signed,

Viewer checking out the available cable options more and more these days.