Daytime’s worst psychiatrist: Or why the BnB is a little like watching porn

You’re probably thinking of DAYS’ Marlena Evans.  In her defense we should remember that when Marlena was a venom-spewing cold-hearted, mean- spirited psych0, she was possessed by the devil.   The ‘Worst Psychiatrist’ award goes to someone who is supposed to be ‘healthy’, and has yet to show a reasonable example of good mental health.  For my money, The BnB’s Taylor Hayes tops the list of daytime’s professional mental health  malcontents.   While daytime demeans the work of almost all individuals in all professions, you’d think that daytime writers would be more careful about the portrayals of those in the helping professions.

Instead, police officers are ‘stupid’ and never catch real criminals – unless the guilty are  recurring characters or day players.   Nurses are typically women who are looking to move up the social ladder by latching on to a hot eligible physician, or his married  successful ‘businessman’ brother/father – all of whom are  usually womanizers (how very 1960s).  Mental Health professionals typically need more help than they’re capable of dispensing.

Which brings us back to Taylor Hayes.

It makes sense to me that the writers have penned the new Forrester Creations campaign ‘Hope for the Future’.   Near death experiences, actual death, Alzheimer’s, sexual assault, physical attack, lost love, miscarriages,  public humiliation, you name it and the Logans have experienced it.  Those experiences have made them stronger,and  they push forward after their greatest calamities, continuing to love life and rebuild from what’s left – seeking happiness along the way.  It’s why they resonate with fans in a way the writers haven’t been able to understand as they’ve tried to push them to the margins as the show’s bad girls, but not being able to take the audience along for the ride.  We see them for who they are and the term  ‘bad girls’ doesn’t describe them adequately.  It doesn’t describe them at all.

The Logan women are a lot like many of the viewers who’ve been knocked for a loop on occasion and have had to fight their way back up.  Many soap fans have had to bootstrap after losing someone they love, a home they cared for, children who weren’t theirs by blood- but by deed.  In real life, you do it without complaining about how horrible life is, or moaning that you’re a victim.  So, we have very little patience for people who do pretty stupid things and then whine that they were the victims of others.  We don’t like those who can’t take responsibility for their bullspittle, especially when they keep piling it higher and deeper – or when they fling it at others .

While the writers reveled in the ‘mean girls’ storyline this past year with Stephanie and Taylor plotting to destroy Brooke and Ridge’s happiness, viewers most likely remembered the ‘mean girls’ in their own lives who spent more time tearing others down rather than building themselves up.   These mean girls aren’t ‘pretty’ women frustrated by boredome.  They’re not ‘smart’.  They’re not even likable.  They’re just mean.   Every time Stephanie ‘mean girl’ Douglas, Taylor ‘mean girl’ Hayes, and now Steffy ‘mean girl’ Forrester-Marone starts attacking the Logans as ‘whores and sluts’ with no redeeming value, they remind us of who they are at their core.

The writers can try to tell us that they are women of good character, but the picture they paint through the characters’ actions tell a different story.  I find myself doing one of two things when they’re on, lately – turning the channel or muting the sound.  What can they say that tthey haven’t already said a million times before?  The writers aren’t even creative at coming up with new ways for this legion of doom and gloom to refer to the Logans as ‘cheap’.

Taylor is the worst of the ‘mean girls’ legion for the obvious reason.  She’s supposed to know better!  As a psychiatrist, she’s supposed to be the one who helps her children realize that their irrational fears  are no threat to them.  Her job as a mother, if nothing else, is to help  them become better  and happier people.  For Taylor to encourage Steffy’s asinine sniveling over the ‘Forresters vs. the Logans’ is a true travesty.   At one time, she considered herself  ‘another mother’ to Brooke’s children, and taunted Brooke with that view.  After having taken a huge  Oedipal leap into Rick’s arms, and into his bed, taylor has decided that Brooke’s children are ‘the enemy’ and that Brooke’s children are replacing her children at Forrester Creations and in Ridge’s heart.  She’s decided that it’s ok for her to encourage discord in the Logan-Forrester household by supporting Steffy’s delusions of entitlement and calls to hatred.  She’s doing exactly what Brooke’s accused her of doing, helping to spread poison to the next generation.  Stephanie Douglas couldn’t do it with her own children – who had no quarrel with the Logans, so she created a ‘proxy’ in taylor who helped pick up the call to arms.

If your son is a car bomber, your daughter slept with her ‘uncle’ and is now foolish enough to think that her ‘sweet sweet lovin’ will make a billionaire give back the family company he stole – if she could only get him away from his wife – you might not want to encourage  volatile levels of uncontrollable rage in your children.  You might remind them that while they’re screaming about being ‘outnumbered’, there are actually more Forresters than Logans and even then it doesn’t matter.  You might want to remind them that the children they’re railing against are as much part of the ‘Forrester clan’ as they are – given the fact that their biological father is not a biological Forrester – but  a biological Marone.  Ridge is a Forrester out of love, as are Brooke’s children.  You might want to remind your children that if they pull together as a family – they’re stronger, and more likely to kick Bill Spencer’s butt out of the company.  Rather than helping her children step outside of their self-pity and other- loathing, Taylor would rather encourage them to despise their own siblings.

This storyline has shown us why taylor will never be anything more than window dressing.   She’s a club the writers pull out of the closet to hit the Logans over the head with, and then put away.  The writers don’t care to give her depth, and that’s the real tragedy of the Bold and the Beautiful wasting the fan’s time with a gravely unbalanced show.  Given the fact that the BnB is the second highest rated show in daytime and the most watched soap in the world, I would expect more from the writing.  For  whatever reason the BnB’s dialogue writers have remained the weakest in the field for my money.  I don’t know if their hands are routinely tied by the head writer or if they’ve figured out that the BnB has survived almost purely on the shock value of its plots, and that the dialogue may not matter.

Whatever the issue, watching the BnB is like eating empty calories.  Sure, it’s a thrill at the moment, but when it’s over, you’re still hungry and a little less healthy for the trouble.  I’ve always maintained that the BnB should be the most watched soap in the U.S., as well.  It has all the elements: great production values, iconic actors and characters,  fabulous costuming whenever wardrobe is prevented from going too wild, and a neverending supply of lust filled story arcs.  Lust filled?  WAIT!  Forget the ’empty calories’ analogy.  Watching The Bold and The Beautiful is more like watching soft core porn.

I don’t watch porn, but I understand what it is.  Lots of sex, weak plots, incomplete dialogue that does little more than lead the characters to the path of lots of sex?  Why is that NOT like the BnB?

Rather than make the Logans  passive (which the writers treat the same as passive),  and willing to take all the crap the mean girls throw at them, why not allow them, and those who love them,  to respond with a truth meant to break the mean girl delusions?

Examples?

Steffy:  The Logans are taking over this place!  There’s no room for REAL Forresters.

Rick:  You mean Forresters  like Bridget, Felicia, Thorne, Kristen, their children and Me? Since our father is Eric Forrester and YOUR father  is a Marone?  What else do you have to say about REAL Forresters, Steffy?

*****

Stephanie:  You stole my husband you BITCH!

Brooke:  Sure, because you were happily married before I came along… unless you’ve forgotten that Eric was engaged to my mother after he left you, he dated a slew of Forrester models, and didn’t tell me he loved me until AFTER he was done with you for good – you hateful spiteful miserable self-deluding liar.

I didn’t steal your husband, you pushed him away with your hatred and he did the rest by refusing to allow you to draw him back in.  You blame me for losing him, but you haven’t explained why he turned to every other woman in L.A. BUT you when we were no longer together.  It’s time you stopped blaming me and started looking at why Eric has chosen everyone but you!

and then she walks away!

*****

Taylor:  RIDGE!  our children feel unloved.  They feel replaced and you’re not doing anything to make them feel better.

Ridge:  No taylor, YOU’RE not doing anything to make them feel better.  My relationship with our children hasn’t changed.  Why would you encourage them to believe that they have to fight to be loved?  What’s in it for YOU?  When will you put our children first?

*****

Steffy to Thomas:  If only I could get Bill away from Katie.  I could get him to give the company back.

Hope (who overhears them):  That trust fund you freely spend?  My mother and father’s hard work put that money in your account.  My mother made this company the success it was when she ran it, one of the most successful fashion houses in the history of the business.   She’s forgotten more about this business than you’ll ever  know, Steffy.

The next time you even think of calling my mother a whore, think about the fact that the only contribution you have to offer the company requires you to get on your back to do it.

And SCENE!

Wouldn’ t it be grand to have the mean girl characters get back the hell they give back to others?  We instead get BnB porn:

Steffy to Brooke:  You’re a whore.

Ridge to Brooke:  She made you feel bad?  (Disrobes her) let me make you feel better.

Taylor to Rick:  I’ve lost my child.  I had to give him away.

Rick to Taylor (as he disrobes her):  Let me make it better.
See? No logical response.  No exchanged heated enough to burn the remote out of your hands making it impossible to change the channel.    Bad psychiatry and almost-porn.  If you like either, you’d LOVE the BnB.

DAYS, again: Suzanne Rogers is breaking my heart!

I am mesmerized by this storyline.  The death of Mickey Horton is one of the most well crafted storylines I’ve seen any soap offer in some time – at least as it relates to a character’s death.  Some death scenes are gimmicky (as with Ann Douglas dying on a bed on the beach with her daughters at her side, on the Bold and the Beautiful).  Some are not worth mentioning – but when you kill off major characters, they deserve to be remembered well, and you know who you are you guilty soapgods!!!!

Just when you think that Suzanne Rogers has touched on every form and level of grief possible, she amazes you and hits yet another pitch perfect note:

I’ve been drained watching DAYS this week (uh, these last few days – it hasn’t been a week yet).  I almost feel guilty, as if I’m peeking in, uninvited, on a family’s private moment of pain.   Ms.  Roger’s gives Mickey’s death such realism that I can hardly believe that it’s possible for her to lose an Emmy, in any category she chooses to be nominated in.   This last set of episodes are good enough for DAYS to be considered the coming year’s ‘Best Drama’, in my book.  Unfortunately, I don’t get to hand out the Emmys.  Damn!

Despite the brilliance of her work this moment has to be bittersweet for Ms. Rogers.  John Clarke was her acting partner for decades prior to his retirement in 2004.  While Mickey returned, as portrayed by several notable and laudable actors – including General Hospital’s John Ingle, it was never the same.  No one was ever  able to replace Mickey, as the fans knew and loved him.  It had to have been one hell of a task for  Ms.  Rogers to first have to say good bye to  her long time friend, on set, and to then have to voice Maggie saying  good bye to her long time love, on screen.  She’s risen to the challenge admirably!

Watching Maggie’s scenes with Lucas was especially heartbreaking since Bryan Dattilo will soon vacate the role of Lucas Roberts.  Lucas is a Horton, by birth, and given Mickey’s death and Alice’s absence, it  would be redemptive of the writers to allow DAYS fans to watch Maggie, Hope, and Lucas rebuild the Horton clan.  Lucas Roberts Horton.  It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?  Without Lucas and the others, it feels like the death of an era.  Given the loss of two soaps in one year, I’d love for daytime’s  soapgods to give us MORE of our core families and core characters on the remaining daytime serials.  Soap fans, I think, need the consistency.  If the old adage is true, let’s hope that ‘every good-bye ain’t gone’, and that Lucas (portrayed by Dattilo) will return soon!  Aunt Maggie needs him!

DAYS: Mickey Horton/EJ DiMera, emphasis on DiMera

Before discussing the EJ issue, I’d like to them to say:

Good bye, Mickey Horton

(and I hope John Clarke is happy with Mickey’s send off).

Suzanne Rogers, you help to give the show it’s heart.  I hope you’ll stay with us for whatever time is left for the daytime serial.

Thank you, Days writers, for the decades of love and compassion you allowed Mickey and Maggie to bring to screen and share with the rest of us.

Click HERE for a link to a Mickey Horton Tribute site.

On to EJ DiMera, Emphasis on DiMera

Anyone reading this blog for longer than a week knows that I pretty much despise EJ DiMera.  He’s among the lowest form of soap life around, in my book.  Having said that, I LOVE the twist in the kidnapping story.  So EJ was Anna’s accomplice?  It just make sense, even if I didn’t see it coming!  Very clever DAYS writers.  So many writers claim they’re writing mysteries that will shock and amaze fans.   You actually pulled it off.   There’s a lot of good potentially coming out of this storyline.  There are also some problems with EJ’s actions beyond the fact that he’s a kidnapper.  Let me  start with the things that concern me before I tell you what I love about this plot.

The big concerns (EJ/Ejami fans, you may want to skip this):

EJ  threatened poor Faye Walker (Nicole’s mother).

He manhandled Ari Hernandez (Rafe’s sister).  He far to abusive with women.  Only a coward behaves with women the way he does.

He’s fought with Rafe.

He accused Sami of being a bad mother.

He framed Kate and his father for kidnapping.

He had Nicole physically harmed and then jailed for something she didn’t do.

He raised hell with the Salem PD and anyone else who would listen.

All of the above would be classic deflection and brilliant scheming AND make me  fall completely in love with the villain responsible for such evil machinations if it weren’t for one small factor.  EJ was merely victimizing Sami all over again!  How many times  does this man get to victimize her before the writers have her finally cut ties with him?  Isn’t it time to conduct new DNA tests and sever the blood ties Sami’s children currently have with EJ?  Shouldn’t Johnny be Lucas’ child?  The writers could certainly find a way to make Sydney ANYONE but EJ’s kid.  Geez, folks!  Nothing good comes from keeping Sami in the same room with EJ for longer than a minute.  She’s trapped by circumstance.  She shares children with a loon who manipulates her and hurts her repeatedly, for his own amusement.  EJ is sadly sadistic.

So what’s the outcome?  He forces Sami to marry him (or rather has Anna do it) before Sydney can be returned?   He gets her into bed, again?  Has he ever been able to do that without a weapon or without manipulating her?  Is he going to torment Sami until she snaps and then he takes custody of all of her children?  He sets Rafe up to be murdered when Rafe tries to recover Sydney? EJ swoops in to save Sydney in order to impress Sami?  It’s possible that his series of actions are all about undermining Rafe as a partner, as much as they are about punishing Sami, or manipulating her into relying on him.

I don’t want to see them together as a couple – she’s still the woman he raped.  The fact that the writers tried to bury her rape and have her ‘get over it’ to try to force the audience into buying this lackluster couple bears no weight with me.   In fact, the kidnapping storyline strengthens my resolve that Sami should NEVER be with him – their relationship has never been based on anything other than her victimization.  Ej enjoys Sami’s pain far  too much.  It’s too late to undo the damage done in forcing Sami and EJ together.

What I like

This storyline is a shot in the arm to the long drawn out kidnapping fiasco.  Without Ari Zuker’s (Nicole’s) participation in this storyline, it had become little more than an expensively produced sleeping pill… until now!

I’m actually curious about what happens next. It would be great if the writers allowed Sami to be the person to put the pieces of Sydney’s kidnapping together.   I’d love for her to get Sydney back and recognize the scent of EJ’s cologne on the child’s toys and clothing.  Maybe she remembers the sound of a toy in the background during a call from EJ.   She could then set a trap for him, one that leads to his arrest and punishment (whatever that means on this show).  Let it be the beginning of Sami cleansing herself of the hell EJ’s brought into her life.   For all of EJ’s anger at Nicole, his  actions are far worse than hers in my book.  Nicole gave him the chance to know the child Sami planned to give away (still wrong).  EJ has taken a child Sami held in her arms, one she loves, just to torment her.  He is one heartless bastard (which in daytime can be a good thing;  where good = interesting).

We know that most soap characters will never do jail time no matter how heinous the crime  unless the actors portraying them need release time or are leaving their shows for good.  I’m guessing that this storyline was designed to lead to a huge custody battle between Sami and EJ, rather than EJ wearing a matching orange jumper with Nicole.  His desperation to save his rights as a father could lead him to him rely on his father’s help, despite the fact that he may not want to. Will the reunited DiMera men lead a brand new reign of terror in Salem?  That leaves Kate in a pretty strange predicament.  Either Kate would join them – or she would at least allow them to believe she was joining them and secretly work against them if Phillip – through Stephanie, decided to help Sami.  In a war of any kind against the DiMeras,  I could see Victor supporting Phillip  and joining ‘Team Sami”.  He wouldn’t join them because he cares – that’s not who our Victor is.  He’d do it to help get the upper hand on the DiMeras in business by keeping them distracted in the courtroom.  The  Kiriakis-DiMera feud could continue for generations, but don’t worry soap fans.  DAYS will last long enough for you to watch it all unfold.  With  SORASing, great great grandchildren on both sides will be joining the Kiriakis and DiMera matriarchs and patriarchs, in heading into the fray by next Spring!

Too much?  You could be right, and if you are, the writers’ focus could (and should) just as easily be in reconstituting the Brady clan.  A custody battle would be a perfect opportunity to bring the Bradys back together and strengthen the family bond.   Sami has been too passive for far too long when it comes to EJ.  It’s time to unleash the real Sami Brady and watch her lead her family in protecting her children.  Watch out, EJ!  Sami shot the last man who violated her, right in his zipper.  You could be next, and you’re a repeat offender!

EJ vs. JS

While I have no love for EJ, James Scott is a powerful actor who brings so much to DAYS.  I wish the writers would hang up their ratings killing  ‘EJami’ obsession and let this character flourish without the baggage of that storyline.  They can never undo what’s happened between Sami and Ej, so why not let EJ feel true remorse and move on with his life?

His rivalry with Phillip was fun, before it became muderous.  Revive the rivalry.  Let these sons of privilege have a (somewhat) honest but brutal corporate battle.  Doesn’t Victor have a niece who wants to come to town and help run the family business?  EJ is too easily use to being around women he can dominate – he gets that from his father.  What happens if he meets a woman who isn’t afraid of him, who doesn’t think he’s ‘just dreamy’, and who’s capable of serving his backside on a silver platter?  When he’s truly realized the horrors of his past actions with women and is finally redeemed and ready to move forward,  he and Victor’s niece could be a part of a modern Romeo and Juliet storyline – minus the tragedy.  I’d like to see JS transform EJ into a truly viable romantic lead at some point in the future,  though  I’d love for EJ’s life to be about more than the women in it and what he does to them.  Scott  has the ability to play a far more complex character than he’s been allowed to play.  As a DAYS fan, I feel cheated that he’s limited to the role he’s currently playing.

Whores of the world, UNITE! Women in Daytime, Vol. 2

Women in daytime = whores.  At least, I think they’re the same.  I dunno.  It’s hard for me to figure it all out since I’m just a woman.    Either I’ve been watching too much daytime or it’s the peyote… (just kidding on the last part, though given what some shows are doing to daytime women and viewers as a consequence, a little peyote might make daytime shows go down a little easier).

General Hospital

I’m all about the ‘I told you so’ lately and I want to hand one out to the writers of GH.  I’ve never been impressed with the casting of James Franco in the role of ‘Franco’  and have been horrified by the drooling and self-congratulating  linked to the casting of JF in the role.  The fact that the character was named  Franco was enough to tell me about the lack of creativity  attached his development.  It seemed to be all about stunt casting and the hope that a primetime/big screen actor could save GH from falling ratings.

It feels as if  GH’s PTB were so convinced that negative stereotypes about daytime viewers were real, the stereotype that we’re just a bunch of sex-starved panty-clinching rubes, who lick our screens whenever a hot male actor is featured, that casting JF as ‘Franco’ made sense!  As if we don’t already have enough testosterone filled doom and gloom on screen! (As for that screen licking part, I freely admit that I do think about licking the screen when Jason Thompson’s Patrick is on, but hell, who doesn’t?) The idea that “Franco” would cause us to swoon was as big a fallacy as almost everything else the GH writers have offered us by way of propping the Suckpranos storyline.   I don’t want to see one more character, stunt casting or otherwise, sacrificed on the altar of the mob boys.

  • Give Olivia her brain back.   She was such a strong vibrant character for so long and now she’s a walking-talking mess.   All the daydreaming about Sonny  makes me ill.  If I had to worry about Sonny putting a bullet in my kid’s head because my kid was a cop working to make the world safe?  I wouldn’t be able to daydream about having sex with the guy or daydream about him holding my hand. I wouldn’t even daydream about spitting on the guy if he was on fire!  What’s wrong with this woman?  What’s with her libido?  Sonny rocked her world over two decades ago, bedded and nearly wedded her cousin – swore his eternal love for Kate before the world while barely noticing or remembering Olivia, and she’s still lusting for him?  STOP! IT!
  • Quit making Carly an idiot who treats Jax’s child as Sonny’s future ‘kidnapped bait’ child.  It’s disgusting.  Notice that when Carly was listing off the children who were protected by Sonny’s grace, she included Josslyn, and not Molly?  STOP IT!
  • STOP making Lulu fall for the mob boys and/or supporting them to the point of even trying to convince the police that they really deserve to be set free instead of in prison where they belong.  Stop making her fall for anyone connected, even tangentially, to the mob boys.   Whatever those mob boys have going on below the belt must be some powerful mojo!  And it’s demeaning to us all.
  • Quit making me feel sorry for Rebecca “NotEmily” Shaw by having her actually be the voice of logic and reason before you ship her off.  I really resent you for this one, GH writers.  I’m an avowed ‘Remily’ hater and to leave me cheering for her is one of your worse offenses, yet.  Even still, I grew tired of the “Liz is a slut’ mantra she had going – not that I disagree with the sentiment, just the constant expression of it.  I did enjoy the fact that she continued to remind Liz that her house of cards would soon fold.  The sendoff for Rebecca, the Emily- clone was perfect, by having her make friends with a Zander clone… Chad Brannon was pretty darned delicious looking.  When his clone character drops  Rebecca off in Paris, have him come back!   Patrick’s stalker ex could use a good hook up – then again, so could Matt Drake, who spends far too much time trying to convince Robin that her marriage is in trouble!
  • Maxie, Maxie, Maxie… REALLY?  She’s gives herself to Franco for the sake of getting him to agree to help her out professionally?  Then she tries to pimp out Spinelli to make herself feel better?  She gives relationship advice to Max and Diane about ‘balanced cheating’?    Maxelli, Scrubs Love, and Jax and Carly were the only interesting things GH had going in its favor and the writers are slowly dismantling all three.  Speaking of…
  • For the love of all that’s soap-holy… give me a Scrubs storyline that has nothing to do with old girlfriends crawling out of the woodwork!  Yeah, yeah… Patrick puts it on ’em… they can’t get enough… once you go Patrick, you never go back… Even though I can believe that his arrogant aloof treatment of women made them want him more, I’m getting tired of women who are attracted to him on that basis.  The writers made the courageous decision to make him a happy family man, now I wish they’d make the courageous decision to create family driven storytelling around the Scorpio-Drake clan.  What makes Patrick attractive is that he’s a man who loves his wife and child.  Having him betray them would destroy that.  Leave something that’s still a little pure and  just for us.

I’d love it if the GH powers that be would stop treating women (onscreen) like a bunch of ‘spare parts’ waiting to be traded by GH males, as they’re needed.  Bringing on stellar actors like James Franco can’t  cover the holes in plots, the obsession with the dark  arts of the mob boys, or the weak female characters who aren’t just damaged- they’re damned deranged.  Treating your viewers like sex-starved fiends who’ll gladly buy what you’re selling won’t help either.  I know it’s not just my perspective that GH has lost what made it great… I’ve seen the ratings.  GH is hemorrhaging viewers and the great ‘Franco’ (onscreen Franco) doesn’t deliver a big enough draw to stop it:

Ratings for the week December 7-11, 2009 (when the character Franco’s arrival and work should have made a difference)
HH
1. Y&R 3.7/12 (+.2/same)
2. B&B 2.4/8 (+.1/-.4)
3. DAYS 2.2/7 (+.2/+.1)
4. AMC 2.0/6 (+.1/same)
5. ATWT 1.9/6 (+.1/-.1)
5. GH 1.9/6 (same/-.3)
7. OLTL 1.8/6 (same/ -.2)

Week of December 14 – 18th)

HH
1. Y&R 3.5/12 (-.2/-.3)
2. B&B 2.3/8 (-.1/-.4)
3. DAYS 2.1/7 (-.1/same)
4. AMC 2.0/7 (same/-.1)
5. GH 1.9/6 (same/-.3)
6. ATWT 1.8/6 (-.1/-.3)
6. OLTL 1.8/6 (same/-.3)

Week of December 21 – 25
HH
1. Y&R 3.5/11 (same/-.2)
2. B&B 2.3/7 (same/-.3)
3. DAYS 2.0/6 (-.1/-.1)
3. AMC 2.0/6 (same/same)
5. ATWT 1.8/5 (same/-.1)
5. GH 1.8/5 (-.1/-.4)
7. OLTL 1.7/5 (-.1/-.3) <—— ties low rating (Last time: August 31 – September 4, 2009)

Ratings courtesy of Soap Opera Network:  SON

So why am I still watching? I don’t think soap fans like me want too much.  We just want a balance.  How about  2  smart women for every woman who is lobotomized for the sake of the dark storylines?  I’m hoping Scrubs will survive and find a real storyline and that the writers will give us a storyline about them that will engage the audience without either of them cheating, I’ve FINALLY gotten the Mac and Alexis pairing I’ve been pimping for, through 2009  (don’t think I’m not grateful, just realize I’m not fully satisfied.  They’re off to a great start, and I need MORE).  Dare I hope that Mac/Alexis/Robert/Anna/Robin/Patrick  would be able to restore law and order to PC and that they turn the town around and take down the real bad guys?  I’m hoping that smart, funny, and strong-if-not-neurotic, women like Robin and Alexis (and yes, even Diane) will be allowed to lead the way.

One Life to Live

Nora Buchanan.   Nora is the woman who slept with her ex, Sam Rappaport, and passed his child off as her husband Bo’s child.  Even better is the fact that she did it for Bo– whose son was recently killed.  That was the rationalization she gave for betraying her husband, she most saintedly did it FOR his sake – all the while knowing that Sam was deeply in love with her and knowing what the emotionally fallout might be.   Fortunately (or unfortunately)  for all involved, after Bo and Sam’s deep pain, it turns out that Matthew was Bo’s son after all.  Now we have Nora, who’d been warned/pleaded with/begged not to marry Clint because she didn’t really love him, has now left Clint to be with Bo – during a dark time in Clint’s life.

Once again, another ABC male refers to the cheating lying woman who betrayed him as a whore – I can understand Clint’s rage and his willingness to throw Nora’s past in her face.. I just wish I hadn’t already been overwhelmed with the use of the word ‘whore’ from almost every other ABC male before that.  Nora’s reaction was still priceless.  She’s rude and judgmental and has made a habit of telling others why they’re so unworthy of being loved or trusted.   She was stunned that anyone would dare give her the same treatment.  I wasn’t crazy about Clint’s choice of words, but I’m glad that the writers finally allowed someone to point out to Nora what a hypocrite she is.

True to form, Nora didn’t let a little thing like the truth stop her from being who she is.  A full scene later, SHE referred to Kim as ‘that slut’, the ‘whore in her husband’s bed’, a ‘tramp’… uh huh… Sweet irony!  She was talking to Bo, Clint’s brother, the man she’d been having an emotional (almost sexual) relationship with and lying to Clint about it when she said it… YIKES!  Something about the way Bo and Nora are getting together and the pain it’s causing Clint that’s causing me to want to root for Clint and Kim (a couple I’d previously referred to as the reincarnation of Asa and Blair).

Somehow, the writers managed to give Clint and Kim depth.  Kim was fixated on her ‘plan’ to get Clint into bed to help him forget Nora.  She’d treated Clint like a feeble and emotionally dependent ‘old man’ who would be felled by a little bit of a wiggle and giggle.   Kim would have loved Asa – being felled by a wiggle and giggle was more his speed.  Clint had already had her investigated.  He knew about her stripper past, and didn’t care.  He also knew that she thought she was gaming him, and he didn’t care.  He knew that her plan to ‘drink him under the table’ was about taking advantage of him… and he didn’t care because he also knew three other things:

1 – He had the truth on his side and still had the upper hand.

2 – That being involved with the town’s  ‘sainted woman’  isn’t a guarantee that you’ll end up with an honest woman who’ll treat you well.

3 – That Kim isn’t all bad.   Her bark is worse than her bite.  Despite the fact that there is a risk of turning Kim into a ‘hooker with a heart of gold’ stereotype, the writers have so far avoided taking her quite that far.

The storyline seems to be shaping up into one in which the person in need of rescue may be KIM, not Clint.  He’s as intent on using her as she was on using him.   I hope that doesn’t happen, because despite my exhaustion with female-male May-December romances, there’s something about this pairing that I like. Nice touch, writers, on having Kim’s plan fail when she underestimated his ability to hold his liquor.  BRAVO for letting Clint walk away despite Kim’s offer to let him spend the night and having him warn her to quit while she was ahead.  I could root for them as a couple – with Melissa Archer’s Natalie fighting with Kim and making her work to prove her love for Clint.  I could <gulp> just as easily  root for them developing a strong father-daughter relationship (Oedipal, I know) or have them remain as good friends.  Either way, I’m hoping to see far more of Clint and Kim than Bo and Nora.  SON’s  CarlID offered this observation:

It’s interesting to see the fallout of the Bo and Nora reunion. They were a beloved couple many years ago but not only have times changed, many of the people who were in their lives at that time have changed. It’s like, what if you reunite a supercopule and no one cheered? I don’t mean the fans, I mean the characters in their lives. You don’t have a lot of people endlessly going, “You’re fated to be together,” as you do with many other couples on the show. I also think it would be an interesting writing choice if Matthew wasn’t thrilled they were back together and preferred them apart.

I’ll add one other observation about this storyline.  I found Nora’s reaction to seeing Clint with Kim unusual.  Kim was the whore in her husband’s bed?  Why did she care, she was dumping him!?!?! You’d think she’d want Clint to find someone, ANYONE to take the heat off of her betrayal of Clint.  Is it possible that Nora will wake up and realize that her rekindled love for Bo was based on their mutual concern for Matthew and his health issues?  Could Nora wake up and realize that she was happier with Clint than she imagined?  What happens then?  Where does she turn?  Does anyone care?

BTW, folks, is it just me, or did Jerry Ver Dorn make Clint his own with this bend in the storyline?  JVD’s left me breathless!

Tea Delgado/Blair Manning… not whores, they’re just written to allow Todd Manning to treat them as if they are.

Days of Our Lives

Two words:  Carly Manning.  Two more words:  EPIC FAIL.  There are some soap staples I can’t get enough of:  scheming liars who are eventually figuratively  beaten down and forced to eat their own misery.  Bad boys who are only clever by half and outwitted by their victims, victims they eventually fall in love with.  Anything to do with corporate intrigue.  Good old-fashioned romance.  Deep dark family secrets – that have nothing to do with long lost children.

The one plot I’m pretty freaking tired of is the damsel in distress who can’t get enough of the man she left behind and (oh gosh) if only he’d choose her over his wife and family.  He (being the real ‘whore’ in this scenario) decides that he can’t leave her to her own fate and risks losing his wife and child/children, while keeping secrets with the damsel in distress.  It’s not a stretch to believe that daytime writers typically set this storyline up to do one of two things:  try to make us root for our damsel in distress and if that fails, we’re to hate her as a home-wrecking ‘whore’ who broke up a perfectly happy and  loving family.

You’d think that watching her ‘get hers’ would be satisfying – assuming that the lunkhead goes back to his family and treats his wife as his equal partner, and not his potential mistress.   It’s not.   In reality, for fans like me, it only causes us to dislike BOTH partners – the cheating spouse and the idiotic woman who finds his willingness to betray his family a ‘thrill’ and further evidence that she is the object of his desire, not his wife and family. She’s only the next woman to be betrayed when his former victim/spouse becomes the damsel in distress. It’s all less satisfying because he’ll never ‘get his’.  He’ll just become the object of desire for two women – who’ll continue to fight over him until one of them is exhausted or dead.

Isn’t it time for daytime writers to leave iconic couples alone and find new ways to make them relevant to the audience?  Haven’t we seen these storylines play out a million times before?  Viewers exiting daytime in droves isn’t enough evidence that we want something more?  When did daytime become a genre about deconstructing and destroying rather than building something new or building better and higher on the strong foundation already in place?  Where are the powerful female characters who leave us feeling unashamed of being daytime viewers?

If you’ve made it this fair, I’m sure you’re wondering why I’ve left poor embattled CBS off the list.  Am I sympathetic to the network that’s lost two soaps in two years?  Nope.  I just don’t have the room to continue with CBS’ list of maltreated women in daytime.  This blog would have to be at least three times as long as it is now.  I’m saving that one for a later date.

Suffice it to say, if daytime really is dead -running on fumes,  kicking the bucket, headed for the big one, living on borrowed time… I’d greatly enjoy being able to celebrate women in daytime before it goes.  What do daytime writers have to lose?

Nuke countdown… 5 4 3 2….

Comparing individuals who are part of minority groups is usually a bit paternalistic and as a person of color I try to avoid it whenever possible.  There are times, however, when  comparisons are useful to illustrate a point.  I remember watching Day of Our Lives, not long after learning about the cancellation of As The World Turns and watching Crystal Chappell at work in the reprised role of  ‘Carly Manning Alamain’.  I immediately started thinking about the reported deleted scene from the last episode of  The Guiding Light, one in which Olivia gave Natalia a kiss on the cheek as Rafe boarded the bus on his way to basic training, and to begin his new life.  It was  cut – for some unknown reason… uh huh…  As I thought about that deleted scene, I wondered if As The World Turns writers would follow The Guiding Light’s lead; specifically, are  As The World Turns writers running out the clock on Nuke?  Despite the numerous opportunities to make Otalia a full-fledged couple, like any other, Guiding Light writers waited until the last episodes to let fans know that the couple  would, off screen, make it while building their new family.  I suspect that Nuke is headed for the same fate.

Luke and Noah’s relationship started as a  groundbreaking event in daytime – U.S. soaps first openly gay male couple.  Unfortunately, there seems to have been more smoke for the couple on paper than anything that approximated fire onscreen.  Onscreen, short of an occasional kiss and the implication that  sex had occurred, it would have be pretty difficult for those who are sporadic viewers, or viewers flipping through channels,  to not mistake Luke and Noah for siblings (right down to the scary proposition that Lily and Damian ‘adopt’ Noah, making Luke his lover’s legal brother).  To think that Jerry Springer doesn’t even write for As the World Turns– at least not in his own name.

When I think about the difference between the way the One Life to Live writers approach the Kish (Kyle and Oliver Fish) relationship, I’m both in awe, and feel a bit of bitter disappointment about Nuke.  The problems with the Kish storyline have  nothing to do with character  sexuality.  The writers have potentially weakened the Kish dynamic by glossing over Kyle’s earlier blackmail of Natalie Buchanan and Jared Banks, and his willingness to torment a fragile Jessica Buchanan with the loss of yet another child.  They’ve glossed over his involvement with Stacy in deceiving Rex and Gigi regarding Shane’s treatment and recovery.  Of course, Stacy is still an evil bitch, and  Kyle has been redeemed as a misguided and desperate pawn.  The writers have glossed over the batshit crazy  Kyle’s sister brought to screen and dropped any possible exploration of whether or not he’d been covering his involvement with her all this time.  Right now it seems to be the case that he genuinely had nothing to do with her – but shouldn’t there be some lingering doubt?

It would have been quite an interesting dynamic to watch the above board, letter-of-the-law Oliver Fish reconcile his regard for law and his deep love for Kyle.  (Yet another common thread with As The World Turns.  I immediately began thinking of Carly Tenney and her “G Man” Jack Snyder.)   I’d love to see a more nuanced relationship in which we’re rooting for Oliver’s happiness and wanting Kyle to be the right man for him, but never knowing if he should or  would ever, be able to trust Kyle.  Is Kyle with Oliver because he loves him, or is he with Oliver to fool everyone into thinking that he’s turned over a new leaf?

The role that should have gone to Kyle is now being played out by seemingly devious Nick – who listens at doorways and seems to always be involved in some underhanded plot.  Oliver is still the good guy – trusting, hopeful, willing to believe in his love with Kyle and the bond he’s sure they share.  I’ve been ambivalent about the rush job on Kish, for the reasons mentioned above, and yet still find myself rooting for them and wanting to kick Nick’s backside right out the door.   If only there was some audience participation software that would have allowed me to give Roxy (and by extension One Life to Live writers) a high five when she observantly figured out that there’s something not quite right about Nick and that he could spell big trouble for Kish.  The writers rarely allow our girl to be that observant!

What I appreciate most about the Kish/Nick storyline is that it’s a formula  linked to a tried and true daytime staple.  We’ve seen it a million times before, the lover on the outside wants in.  An illness/injury/spat of amnesia leads the lover on the outside (Nick in this case)  to use the condition to keep the unsuspecting target  (Kyle) close. Only the target’s partner (Oliver) realizes what’s going on while the target repeatedly sides with the lover on the outside.  Sooner or later Kyle and Oliver will end up fighting over Oliver’s not-so-insane jealously over Nick and mistrust of Nick and Kyle together.  The distance between the young lovers will grow while Nick stands in the background smirking and plotting even further.  Just when it seems that our young lovers will work their way back to one another, Nick will probably figure out that Stacy is pregnant with Oliver’s child and break the couple up ‘for good’, picking up the pieces and moving on with Kyle for as long as they last.

The writers have very quietly and cleverly done in months what years of pseudo-activism on As The World Turns has failed to do with Nuke.  Carlivarti and crew have made it clear that Kish is just like everyone else, in all the ways that matter.   When it was evident that As The World Turns writers would create a teen pregnancy storyline with Liberty, I’d hoped that Luke and Noah, with a little magical same-character-SORASing, would step in as the child’s adoptive parents.  I wanted them to be a family, together, and to learn that it wasn’t as easy being in love as they’d thought, but fighting to remain committed to one another and growing stronger together.

Instead, it was one series of missteps after another for the couple.  Nuke has yet to be integrated into the cast in a way that makes us identify with them as people. The writers have only allowed us to identify with them based on their sexuality.  They are that – and so much more and it would be nice, before the show ends, for the writers to tell us who they are.  Pessimistically, I hear the ticking of the clock, and suspect that the writers are more interested in running the clock down as we approach 2010.  No family for Nuke, no lives related to their work  or other accomplishments, not even a  kiss on the cheek at the end, justa  good bye, and what a pity that would be.

The Future of Daytime – AOL’s Inside TV

Interesting article about the further eroding of daytime, and how DAYS is leading the way in winning viewers back:

…’Days’ not only doing well, but also gaining viewers?” Bruno asks. “That’s something people didn’t think could happen anymore.”  …

‘Days” increase could be attributed to the return of such fan favorites as Crystal Chappell (Carly), Louise Sorel (Vivian) and Wally Kurth (Justin). (Ratings soared back in 1993 when Vivian buried Carly alive.) Bruno advises shows seeking to maintain and rebuild their fan bases to copy ‘Days’ methods. “I’d bring back Genie Francis to ‘General Hospital,’ Victoria Rowell to ‘The Young and the Restless’ and Cady McClain and Julia Barr back to ‘All My Children,'” the manager says.

AMEN, Michael Bruno.  Read the full article by clicking HERE

Ratings – sometimes it sucks to be right!

In the last blog entry, I noted that I fully expected the BnB to lose the ratings race to DAYS.  Here are the ratings for the week in question (and many thanks to the folks at SoapOperaNetwork – SON, for posting them):

Ratings for the week November 16-20, 2009
1. Y&R 3.5/12 (-.1/-.2)
2. DAYS 2.3/8 (+.1/+.3) ——–> (Last time in 2nd place: June 7-11, 2004)
2. B&B 2.3/8 (-.1/-.3)
4. GH 2.0/6 (-.1/-.2)
5. AMC 1.9/7 (-.1/-.1)
5. OLTL 1.9/7 (-.1/-.2)
7. ATWT 1.8/6 (same/-.2)

The problem for DAYS is that they’ve never been able to sustain dethroning the BnB for long, and I don’t see it happening this time, either.  The focus on Rafe, Gabby, and LH’s Arianna is a HUGE mistake – but who am I to say it?  Rafe as a solo character is  likable and worth the airtime.  Arianna and Rafe onscreen together brings back awful memories of the PASSIONS’ Lopez-Fitzgerald clan.  Adding Martsolf’s Brady Black only triples my pain (sorry, I was NEVER a Theresa and Ethan fan.  They made my skin crawl.)  By the time you add the snooze producing Gabby (who is awfully reminiscent of Paloma Lopez-Fitzgerald), I find myself bored silly!  I’m not even intrigued by the idea of Theresa/Arianna working with Roman to get rid Salem of its criminal element.  Kill off the Hernadez clan, other than Rafe and bring on a brother for him instead of the family he currently has on screen.

Hey, if  I must continue in committing soap heresy (as I’m sure Terror/Ethan fans will accuse me of), I have to admit that I’m not terribly interested in Vivian Alamain’s return.  L-O-V-I-N-G Louise Sorel, I’m disappointed that the writing for her has made the character of Vivian so quirky and annoying.  This Vivian is a caricature of Vivian 1.0 – who was always clever, conniving, and dangerous.   Vivian 1.0 would be thinking of ways to make a tough business move to establish herself as Salem’s lead power broker, instead of focusing on how to woo a cantankerous and verbally abusive curmudgeon like Victor.   As currently portrayed, I fully expect Disney to write a theme song to be played every time Vivian enters view and to watch small puppies tremor in fear in her presence – hey, those coats won’t make themselves, people!  Vivian 2.0  … 3.0?  4.0? is focused on gaining power by ‘merging’ with Victor Kirakis.  I hardly recognize Viv!

On a positive note, DAYS should be applauded for daring to focus on a quadrangle featuring an over 40 crowd, as well as its 40 something quad featuring Bo/Hope/Justin/Carly.  Kate and Stefano (a match made in hell) tangling with Victor and Vivian (another match made in hell); with Kate displaying  jealousy?  Nice, though a bit odd given Victor’s emotional and verbal abuse of Kate.  He hasn’t been quite as cruel to her as he has been to Nicole and Chloe, but still nasty enough that he’s given her enough reason to want to see him alone and lonely.   All is forgiven? I guess.  Despite their past behaviors and betrayals of one another, what makes this potential quad work is that each of the four characters (and their portrayers) are incredibly strong in their own right and only enhance this storyline.  The idea of Kate and Vivian along with Victor and Stefano locking horns is as good as it gets in daytime.  There will be blood, and the ‘fun’ part is not knowing whose blood will be spilled.  There are all equally capable of ripping the others in half.  I hope that the writers will respect the history of all four characters and leave them strong – most especially Vivian and Kate.  More than anything else, daytime needs strong women and these are two of the strongest, fiercest warriors in daytime – if not a bit psychotic, much like the men they’re involved with.

If I was a  DAYS writer/producer thinking about how to keep the ratings rock rolling up hill instead of down, there would be more focus on both quadrangles and even exploit the overlapping relationships between the two quads;  I’d kick up the Brady and Nicole storyline until Zuker goes on maternity leave.  Brady would actually be on the run with Nicole, trying to get her to return to Salem but all the while knowing that he is willing to betray his family to be with her;  I’d realize how much more interesting Stefano is without EJ and yes, Virginia, if there really is a Santa Claus – EJ would be history; Rafe’s family would also be gone;  I’d avoid making Maggie the collector of lost souls – her relationship with Melanie worked because it was unique.  With Mia it’s just old hat and a little tired.  Why not a role reversal with Maggie having relationship problems and Melanie serving as her sounding board?;    and finally,  I’d think about what it would need to happen to make Abe and Lexi and frontburner and interesting couple.  The writers need to do more to challenge themselves on what to do with the Carvers to enhance the show’s diversity in a way that’s meaningful.  Too much of what happens with the Carvers feels like an afterthought.

Are The Bold and The Beautiful’s DAYS numbered?

I expect the prior week’s ratings to be TOUGH for the BnB when they’re released on Thursday/Friday of this week.  DAYS  has just ended a year long arc with Sami Brady finding out that Nicole Walker stole her child (Sydney) and replaced her with a child who ended up dying only months later (Grace).  I fully expect DAYS to kick Bold’s fanny in the next set of ratings.  If it doesn’t, shame on the viewers for missing one of daytime’s truly great moments!  Sami put the smackdown on Nicole, literally and figuratively, after finding out that Nicole stole her child – and Nicole turned it around and made herself a sympathetic character, in the end.

4:35 into this clip (also posted below)  shows you what DAYS has going on that Bold can’t touch, right now… but the whole clip is worth the watch!  *Thanks MrBreaksoap for posting this vid… check out MrBreaksoap’s channel on Youtube

DAYS is amazing and Arianne Zuker is hitting it out the ballpark.   I don’t know who to credit for the success of this storyline.  Is it the writers who seemed to know how they wanted to tell this story from beginning to end?  There were no weak moments (other than the uninteresting teens – and even then the writers seemed to know not to give them too big a role in this storyline).  Does the credit go to Ari Z, whose every inflection, facial expression, and gesture seemed perfect?   Is it a strong  partnership between the two, one not working without the other?

The Bold and the Beautiful (only .2 of a ratings point ahead of DAYS)  hasn’t offered a storyline that comes even close to anything as exciting as the Sami and Nicole exchange.   While the BnB feels like the show you watch just before you go to sleep at night,  DAYS is the show you rush home to watch because missing a single day means you’ll miss something good!  If DAYS isn’t theEmmy winner for ‘Best Drama’ next year, I’ll be shocked.  The carefully choreographed dance between the writers at DAYS, and Ari Z is the perfect example of what writers can do with a show when writers write to the strength of their actors, instead of faulting good actors for bad storylines and awful direction (see: Kyle Lowder).

What the BnB lacks in terms of the  disciplined continuity shown by DAYS writers, it makes up for in sheer number of storylines directed at the audience.  Stephanie’s childhood abuse storyline ended as quickly as it began and then morphed into a storyline about her facilitating the rape of Brooke Logan.  Eric woke up out of his coma to find his wife in the arms of another man and all was forgiven mere weeks later.   Owen was a schemer (or appeared to be) when he first arrived on canvas – only to be transformed into a ‘hero’ just months later and transformed again as a toyboy-to-true love shortly after.  Brooke’s rape became a storyline about reclaiming the love of her life, only to have her nearly throw him away again with the birth of a child she never planned for (more on that later).   BnB storylines are  like the weather pattern in most places, wait ten minutes and they’ll change.  The Bold and The Beautiful needs a storyline arc that draws fans in and one that  lasts longer than a couple of months.  The ‘baby drama’ centered on Nick, Bridget, and Sandy/Agnes is the perfect opportunity for the writers to tell a cohesive storyline.  Right now the storyline is hit and run.  Pieces of it show up, when the writers aren’t busy shoving less interesting storylines (like Steffy going psycho stalker and creating an affair from a weak kiss – all in her head).

I think that BOLD’s Ashley Jones’ appeal is severely underestimated – mainly by the BOLD writers since prime time writers, directors, and casting agents ‘get it’, given Ms. Jones’ string of successes in prime time appearances.  Between Ashley Jones and Sarah Brown, the baby surrogacy storyline, added to the Logan/Forrester takeover,  has the potential to give fans a reason to become excited about the show.  SB’s Sandy  is clearly playing the Nicole Walker role, but are her intentions are as pure as Nicole’s?  It’s doubtful given Sandy’s fixation on the happy couple, the fact that they have everything, according to her, and that she has nothing.   Could she have been targeting Nick and Bridget all along?  Maybe it wasn’t her plan to become a surrogate, but that she’d planned to take advantage of Nick’s reputation as an unfaithful man.  The guy slept with Bridget’s mother and her dying aunt, after all.  How hard could it be to have him fall into bed with her?  That the happy couple needed a surrogate might have been a happy coincidence for her.  It would give her a chance to get closer to Nick, without Bridget needing to be around, and it set the stage for her making Bridget feel inadequate – or to at least try to.

Bridget has already suffered untold grief and misery and would be easily blindsided by someone like Sandy – but it shouldn’t take her long to see through Sandy and figure out what’s going on.  It would require a paradigm shift from the writers who would have to let go of bad habits.  By the time your husband humps your mother just months after your child dies, and jumps your dying aunt – being written as ‘naive’ only makes a character look stupid.   I’d rather not see that happen this time.  Why not have a cat and mouse storyline with the two women?  Why not add a new angle?  Sandy only THINKS she’s the cat.  It turns out that she’s the mouse and that Bridget relies on Sandy’s knowledge of ‘poor, pitiful, naive, betrayed, Bridget’ and plays to it… while working with her mother and mother-in-law, to make sure that Sandy doesn’t get her child – even if she takes her husband.   Maybe Bridget will prevail and win them both!  Is it even possible for the writers to have Nick keep his pants up when presented with the opportunity to cheat?  Let’s hope.

If you’re a BOLD viewer, I know what you’re most likely thinking?  The last BnB ‘baby drama’ story  (Brooke/Taylor surrogacy) didn’t work.  Fans were bored silly and the ratings dropped.  Why torture fans with another ‘baby drama’ storyline?  Why pick up with another ‘two mommies’ storyline?  The problem, in my opinion, wasn’t the type of storyline, but the players invovled!

The Brooke and taylor angle was wretched, because:

1 – taylor is a dud of a character and it would be easier cheering on a root canal than anything to do with her.  There are times when the writers need to realize that some characters really are damaged beyond repair, and cut bait.

2 – of fan fatigue with the rivalry.  It was tiresome watching Brooke dragged down into a storyline with taylor and Nick all over again.  Taylor has been at Brooke’s throat for over two decades, soap time.  They’ve battled over Ridge.  Both have loved Eric.  Both have bedded Thorne.  Each has referred to herself as the mother of the other’s children.  Both had bedded Nick and placed Bridget in the most uncomfortable of situations watching them move on with him while she still loved him.  By the time ‘Jack’ came along, the only fan response left was  ‘who cares?’

3 – the Brooke/nick link was DISGUSTING.  Given the death of Bridget’s child with Nick and the writers added insult to injury by having Bridget implant  Brooke’s fertilized egg into Taylor’s womb.   That’s a move that sounds good in the echo chamber of the writers’ room, but EGADS, wasn’t there a focus group to float that one by?  I can’t imagine anyone who wasn’t intimately connected with the show who loved it.

Moral of the story?  KISS!  (Keep it simple, silly!)  The DAYS baby swap/two mommies  storyline worked because it was interesting and  because it wasn’t clogged with too many agendas.  You didn’t get the feeling that the baby swap was just a prelude to something bigger, something worse – that the writers were committed to the storyline.  The BnB storyline, by comparison, was a fiasco.  The storyline appeared to be one more back door attempt to try to force fans to root for a Nick and Brooke pairing, a pairing that failed four times before.

In the appropriate writers’ hands, the Nicket storyline could help awaken this show.  Speaking for viewers like myself:  NO ONE gives a crap about taylor’s blind date. We’re SICK of Steffy’s desperation – and she is as equally damaged as Rick.  The Douglas “drama” puts me to sleep.   Give us more Nicket intrigue with Sandy and let us watch the Forresters fight their way back to the top, kicking Dollar Bill’s butt along the way! Let Ridge, Brooke, and Thorne take the lead on the big return.  Explain Felicia’s absence as having her tracing back  DB’s steps and digging up dirt on the guy.  After helping her family successfully reclaim the company, she and Dominic/Dino can visit Dante in Europe (until LK finishes her stint on ATWT).

When the Bold and the Beautiful is on, it’s ON.  When it’s not, it’s the most confusing show on daytime.  The inconsistency and character/plot shifting isn’t serving the show well.  I’m hoping there’s a time when the show will play to the strength of it’s  actors and rich history,  and do so consistently.  If DAYS does surpass the BnB in the ratings, who knows it will last?  DAYS has also had problems with past writing teams being inconsistent and confusing.  It’s hard to know who will ultimately prevail in this battle,  but given the richness of the BnB, it seems that the BnB has the edge. The writers just need to wake up and wake the rest of us up as well.

As an aside… DAYS writers?

When will you have Nicole wise up to the fact that the only real difference between EJ Dimera and Paul Walker  is that one is the devil with whom she shares DNA, and the other is the devil with whom she was willing to share her life?  Outside of that, the differences between the two men are minor.

All Soaps: Women in Daytime, Vol. 1

As the World Turns:  The mess that is Molly Conlan!

The biggest mistake the BnB writers made is under-utilizing the skills of Lesli Kay.  It’s almost as if the writers had forgotten why they risked  squandering the show’s credibility to bring ‘Felicia Forrester’ back from the brink of death – after she’d been diagnosed with a metastasized form of late stage colon cancer.  The character was worth saving because of the new life Kay breathed into the character – literally and figuratively.   Not only had Felicia made the most miraculous recovery known in soap history, but she was then ushered to the backburner almost as quickly as she healed.  I’d count the Felicia-Dante-Bridget triangle as a frontburner storyline if it hadn’t ended so aruptly.  Most of Felicia’s time, following that,  had been reduced to a limited string of appearances at Forrester Creations, her family’s company, whining and crying about her father’s marriage to Donna Logan and wanting her parents to get back together for the sake of the family.  Not exactly an appealing storyline for a woman heading into midlife.

Along comes ATWT to the rescue!  The writers there had big plans for LK.  Reprising her role as Molly Conlan would bring a bit of new blood through a familiar face to the show, and allow Molly to serve as the linchpin for bringing Jack Snyder and Carly Tenney Snyder back together.  Jack would find Molly in an awful mess of her own making, and have to call Carly to help her.  Our Molly was involved with a shifty politician who promised to leave his wife and children to be with her.  She finds out that he lied (shocking, a lying politician, I know!).  Instead, he plans to run for Governor for the state of New York, relying on his ‘valued family’ to help him get elected.  Like any person scorned, Molly has to decide whether to let go or get even… and because her name is Molly Conlan, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that she decided to get even.

Delicious, right?  It would have been except the writers took the cheap route with this storyline.  Molly whined, and cried (poor LK!) and then decided to throw away a successful career as an evening anchor by outting the guy as a liar an cheat while on air.  It felt petty, and cheap, and that Molly hadn’t taken any responsiblity for the fact that of her own free will,  she’d become involved with a man who was cheating on his wife, and demeaning his relationship with his children.  It’s not that I wanted Molly to suck down her humiliation and move on with her life, the guy was a jackass and deserved to have his ass handed to him.  It would have been sweet, however, to watch an intelligent, calculating  Molly take him down instead of a vengeful, childlike Molly getting even in the worst way possible.    Why couldn’t she have called ‘Mr. Big’ back to her office to show him the videotape footage she has of the two of them together?  She could have warned him that the video would become public if he ever decided to seek office, anywhere, at any time.  She could have packed her bags and taken off to Oakdale to start her life over, wanting to get away from the stinkin’ memories she had of her life there.

Instead, the writers gave us an image of an ‘unsuspecting wife’ and blameless children, followed by Molly making them all victims of  their affair – out of anger and impulse.  Even worse, we’re to believe that Molly is so clueless that she doesn’t understand why she was losing her job, spewing allegations of an affair that her bosses hadn’t had time to substantiate.  I think we were supposed to view that as evidence that poor Molly was just a helpless woman living in a man’s world; she was betrayed by her married lover and then fired by a station manager when she was only ‘reporting the news’.  I gotta’ tell you, whining and crying Molly has me already longing for the return of whining and crying Felicia.  LK may get more airtime on ATWT, but her character on BnB was at least a little more complex.

I’m willing to give the ATWT writers time to prove me wrong… PLEASE!  LK is a spitfire and we need another smart, tough woman on the show.  Let NY Molly leave the weak  behavior behind.

Days of our Lives:  Team Nicole Reporting

Who didn’t know this moment had to happen?  Even as part of Team Nicole, it was clear to me that this day was coming and that it was only right that Sami found out that Sydney was her baby.  The only mystery left was whether EJ would stand by Nicole or turn on her for her duplicity.  When it comes to Ej, Nicole is like: a moth to a flame?  A fly clinging to poo? (my vote is the latter) WHAT does Nicole see in the guy?  She made HIM a better person.  He did nothing for her but make her feel inferior, as if she was only the understudy in a marital play he was producing.  He was only waiting for his ‘lead star’ to return.  Still, much of this storyline will be about Nicole begging Ej’s forgiveness.  You know… Ej.. the man who ordered a hit on Phillip Kiriakis , one that nearly cost Stephanie (Brady) Johnson her life.  Yes, Nicole has to hope and beg, and pray that the man will forgive her and still love her.  She has to worry whether Ej, the man who raped Sami the first time he got her pregnant, and then lied to get her into bed the second time he got her pregnant, would forgive HER for trying to keep his child from being raised by strangers.

I’ve always tried to figure out the logic behind that storyline.  It’s not like Sami doesn’t ALREADY share a child with Ej, one who spends time with him.  Why would she give up a second child with the man?   Sydney-Grace would be the ‘safe’ child, but their son would be the damaged one?  It’s ultimately this bizarre act that led Nicole to concoct the scheme to steal Sami’s (then unwanted child).  In the dark spaces that fill Nicole’s tragic mind, she believed that she could help Ej by making sure he got to raise a child he would otherwise have never known.  Nicole cried holding Ej’s baby, and vowed to love her as if she’d given birth to her, and she kept that promise.  She cried because she didn’t want EJ to know the heartbreak she’d felt by having him lose a second child.  Unfortunately for Nicole,  Sami later decided to keep ‘her’ child and the die was cast.  It was too late, she felt, to go back and admit what she’d done.  Grace’s death only made it even more impossible for Nicole to step up – when it should have in fact made it easier.

It’s at that point that Nicole’s behavior was no longer ambiguous.  It’s at that point that Nicole could have stopped worrying about Ej running off to try to be with  the woman he violated, and cared more about easing his pain over the thought of having lost a daughter he’d never had the chance to know.  it should have been the confession that would have freed her soul.  As twisted as Nicole’s actions were before, it was esaier to bleieve that she was protecting her husband and that her concers for saving her marriage was only secondary to her need to make Ej’s life easier, happier ,and filled with sunshine even as her own life crumbled.

In the end, losing Ej would be a blessing in disguse – I don’t think anyone expects Ej to stand by Nicole for long – if at all.  A complex character like Nicole Walker (soon to not be Dimera) makes you want to root for her in spite of yourself.   Losing Ej would mean that Nicole would be free to be with someone who would want to make HER life easier, happier, and filled with sunshine.   She could be with someone who would love her first, and not be willing to toss her aside for the fantasy of living a blissful married life with the object of his obsession.  I’m still part of team Nicole, and hope there’s a payoff for those of us who are tired of watching Nicole demean herself for men who were never worthy of her.

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!