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.

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GH – Practicing the Dark Arts

I’m trying to get a handle on what’s going on with General Hospital. There are things I like about the show (though nothing I love, right now).

  • I’m THRILLED that Kate is moving on with her life. Her role as Sonny’s avenger was wearing thin. She’s bright, wealthy, beautiful and successful… why would she want to carry water for Sonny? He’s treated her so shabbily since he married Claudia – a woman he couldn’t stand, initially. I like the idea of having a successful woman on the show who worries about her career, and isn’t wasted worrying about dating a man who’ll never be faithful to her. Sonny has the attention span the length of the lifespan of a fruit fly.
  • I thought I wanted Lucky and Liz together, but given her treatment of him in favor of Jason, I don’t think it should happen right away (if it ever happens at all given every onscreen indication that Liz will become involved with Patrick). I’m not crazy about Rebecca and would love to see her GO… away, FAR FAR away… but if that won’t happen, she’s not so bad with Lucky, for now.
  • It’s great seeing Carly and Jax work out their marriage. It’s time for a adult up move between two married people on this show. It’s far too easy to split a couple up to create a new set of pairings. I think it takes more talent to put a couple together and make them interesting from inside the relationship.
  • Agent Rayner makes me want to chew glass, at times. The writers are too heavy handed in making him the chief foe of the Port Chuckles mob kingpins. I think we’re supposed to hate him and root for the mob-boys… NOT SO! I can multi-task, no problem. I am annoyed by BOTH of them, less so with Rayner. That said, I like the thought of an Alexis/Rayner pairing, though who knows how he’d react to having to deal with Sonny should he become Christina’s new step-pappa.  Would he want to jeopardize his career by sharing a child with a mob boss?  Could he handle having Sonny THAT involved in his life?
  • It’s wrong, it’s SO WRONG, but I like Sonny and Claudia. I learned to like Sonny and Carly eventually (when Sarah Brown was in the role) though it broke my heart for Carly to hurt Jason. I wanted Jason and Carly more than anything. There must be some carryover from the Sonny-SB/Carly days. I don’t care what it is, I like them. They’re dark, mean, and clearly pretty good at gaming one another. Sonny has met his psychotic soul mate. What more could you ask for?

The question was rhetorical, I can tell you what more to ask for:

Writers, LEAVE SCRUBS ALONE! For as much as I like the thought of keeping Sonny and Carly Claudia together, it dawns on me that the writers are treating them as the ‘Dark Arts’ version of Scrubs. They’re playful and passionate, and fun to watch when you allow yourself to forget that these are two people who’d just as soon put a bullet in you, as love you.

They are clearly NOT a good trade for the real Scrubs.

I was admittedly excited about the PPD storyline when it was announced. Robin’s history has been that she’s needed to have a sense of control over every aspect of her life. She’d learned to become cautious, possibly overly cautious, after her contracting HIV. She’d lost so much before: Stone, her mother, her father, Jason… order gave Robin a sense of security.

So it makes sense that with her hormones out of wack, a child she wasn’t sure she could care for, and no clear certainty about her future in a career she’d worked so hard to obtain would all lead her to a dark place.

The dark place I thought Robin might go to was leaving home and possibly contemplating divorce, or seeking out support from a psychiatrist and refusing to comply with treatment, or sitting alone in a dark room and refusing to talk with anyone – develping a catatonic state not unlike Laura Spencer’s.  At most I thought that Robin might start drinking or taking drugs. The writers are setting us up for FAR WORSE. Robin sitting alone, drinking in a bar, making up a new identity? Checking into a hotel room all alone? How much longer before she’s sharing that room with another man, who knows her by another name and a different identity?

What next, GH writers? Will this man ‘make a video’? Will he blackmail Robin once he realizes who she is (with or without video)? Will she carry on a longterm affair? Will she leave her family because she’s in love with him?

What the hell is wrong with daytime writers? Why can’t they leave what WORKS alone? Is there an allergy to success in daytime?  I’ve speculated about that before.  I’m sure that there must be, now.  When you have a winning formula, the thing to do is DOUBLE DOWN! Use it to create MORE of the what the audience wants. Don’t destroy one of the best things you have going. Destroying Maximista and Spinelli wasn’t enough (making him her confessor as she talks about her bad behavior with another man)?

The time for experimentation to bring in new viewers was LONG ago in daytime.  Now? The name of the game is survival. Keep the audience you still have left by not insulting us with storylines that we can never, and will never accept.

Much like Carly and Jax, fans can appreciate a couple willing to work out their issues and stay together. Real couples do it every day. There are ways of introducing new couples and new pairings and drawing fans in. Breaking up Scrubs (and that’s where it feels like we’re headed in confirmation of the spoilers out there suggesting it will happen) is the equivalent of playing Russian roulette with the ratings.  You not only can’t tolerate success, you want to beat it into the ground and make sure it never comes near you again!