ABC – A Tale of Two Soaps

ABC presents the epic “mother of all daytime soap battles”.  It’s General Hospital vs. General Hospital!  I regret to inform you that at this moment,  General Hospital  is losing!  As with Dickens’  A Tale of Two Cities, when it comes to GH:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way…

Melodramatic much? On occasion, yes. Yes I am.  Best of times?  When?  Where?

I get where you’re coming from, but bear with me, please.

The best of times, unfortunately, comes in infinitesimally smaller doses than do the worst of times.  The dark mostly swallows the light, and despair too often triumphs over hope… but still, there are moments like these that remind me of the best of GH as it is now, without having to dig into the archives of the GH of the 80s and 90s:

Robin and Patrick’s participation in Karaoke Night was especially poignant for me  because 1 – Even if only for a short time, our SCRUBS get to be the example of a couple that is as close to perfect as any (non mob-related) GH couple can be. I’m sure they’ll have stiff competition when Mac and Alexis finally make it off the ground and when Maxie and Spinelli finally get it right, but right now they add a pretty  glorious shine to this show ; 2 – I miss the Nurses’ Ball and I think this is a small scale way of giving us what the Nurses’ Ball did.  It lets the audience get closer to the show’s  characters.  The karaoke scenes humanize the characters and reminds us that they do more than sneak around with one another’s husbands and wives.  It’s a great compromise almost making up for the absence of the Nurses Ball -very clever; 3 – These sort of scenes give fans the opportunity to appreciate the additional  talents of the show’s actors.  I also appreciate the courage it takes for each of them to step out of their traditional roles.  No criticisms from me!  I thought they were all magnificent.; 4 –  They’re just FUN!  There are so few GH scenes that are FUN.  Most of them are about death, betrayal, hatred, jealousy, adultery, and many other vices.   It’s nice to watch GH and just smile on occasion.

How adorable were Morgan and Molly?  How funny is it  that in that room full of women,  of those who weren’t his children – at least half of them has been in bed with and/or impregnated by Sonny Corinthos?… and by funny I mean ‘pathetic’… That brings us to:

The Worst of Times

Forgive my  opining (nay whining) over the current state of General Hospital, but  I’ve experienced my first true soap heartbreak – one that had nothing to do with the cancellation of a beloved show, that is.   I’ve said, previously, that I’m done with GH, DONE!  KAPUT!  FINISHED!  FINITO!  For the most part that’s been true.  I did watch Liz run to Luke’s to beg Lucky to return to her.  I watched Ethan and Lucky chatting about Liz and enjoyed the flashbacks of a young LL2, even if I did feel as if I’d been kicked in the soft tissue watching the clips of a very young Liz and Lucky declaring their love.   I miss who they were to each other.  I got the writers message to the fans, via Lucky’s dialogue, about seeing people as they are now and not how you use to know them.  Bite me.  I’ll never see LL2 as having ‘moved on’.  They’ll forever be viewed by me as having been destroyed by the writers’ reckless impulses and self-indulgent excesses.

I was annoyed by  the writers use of  Liz’s rape as part of the casual conversation between Lucky and Ethan – the brother Lucky barely knows.  It was both a sacred moment  (to LL2) and profane  moment (on the part of Liz’s attacker) that began their relationship.  It was all reduced to drunken banter and  gossip by two people who could have just as easily been strangers.

Outside of those scenes, I know that I’m not missing much.  Basic daytime storylines in daytime haven’t changed – just the players and the severity of characters’ reactions to events in their lives.  There’s clearly no possibility of missing anything ‘big’ by largely tuning out this show or any other daytime program.  It’s not like there will be major revolutions in daytime storytelling any time soon!  (Get it?  Dickens?  Tale of Two Cities? Revolutions?)

Finally: Belief vs. Incredulity

I thought back to the situation that caused me to want to fully walk away from both General Hospital and the entire genre of daytime.  When Dante refused to tell the police that Sonny shot him, I was stunned.  In that one moment, the writers’ deconstructed a potentially marvelous character and destroyed the beautiful and inspiring backstory they’d created for him. This past year we had a reason to believe that it just might be possible that the writers would bring a true hero back to GH, one in the same vein of Mac Scorpio, Anna Devane, Robert Scorpio, Sean Donnelly, Frisco and Felicia Jones, the entirety of the WSB).  That’s now gone.   I never expected Dante to send Sonny to prison – no one ever has no matter how guilty he was.  I just never expected him to cave to the magic of Sonny’s mojo so quickly.  With a different set of paternal DNA and a uterus, Dante would  have borne Sonny another child by now.

As if ignoring the ‘attempted cop killer’ charge wasn’t enough, Dante commented that he thought Olivia, who’d become pregnant at 15 (rewrite?), slept around so much that she didn’t know WHO his father was. <gasp>  That line left me feeling utter revulsion for the character.  Whatever the case, he was angry at her for not telling him sooner that Sonny was his father.  Sonny “attempted cop killer” Corinthos was also angry at her and blamed Dante’s near death on her decades long lie.

“W-T-F”, I thought.  I’m sure the writers, who must be bored writing the bi-annual “Who’s the Daddy?”) storyline for Sonny and his small village filled with offspring, must have thought they were writing a unique twist on yet another telling of that storyline.  That ‘twist’ reads more like ‘twisted’ and this storyline deserves comparison to other Who’s the Daddy? storylines, when the good guys really were good.

I thought about the clip I’d posted of Robert, Robin, and Anna, in a prior blog:

I know that there are significant differences:

1.  Robin was an adorable child.  Dante is an “angry” adult male (even if his anger truly is righteous).

2. Robert knew early on that Robin was his child.  Sonny didn’t find out until it was ‘too late’.

3.  Robin wasn’t sent to try to destroy Robert.  Dante was.  For whatever reason, some see justifiable anger in Sonny’s attempt to kill Dante, the cop, for doing his job.  It seems plausible to accept the argument that Sonny would never have tried to kill Dante if he’d known that Dante was his son.

If the writers are consistent, I can’t say that I believe that the above assertion is true.  Sonny was more than willing to hurt his own brother when he thought he could justify it, or if he felt the need to save himself over Ric.   Sonny never gave a damn for Ric, the person who shared his DNA.  I can only believe that the writers would have been consistent and gone the ‘Lansing Route’ had they decided to have Dante found out without having Sonny shoot him.  We would have then been treated to ‘dead to me’ scenes between the father and son, with  Dante working like a mad dog to make amends for having the audacity to hate crime and criminals now that he knows he’s genetically linked to a mob boss.

In the end, the issue isn’t really about the difference between Robin and Dante as the long lost children of high profile Port Chuckles citizens.  It’s about the differences between writing teams, and the radically different approaches they’ve taken to trying to get the audience to buy into newly developed families. The GH writing team of the 80s wrote for a real hero and wrote for real emotions.  I can’t tell you what the current writing team writes for.  For it it feels as if they’re writing for a hopelessly lost villain that they continue to want to sell as a hero and writing cheap ploys masquerading as real emotions.  The legacy of the introduction of characters like Anna, Robert, and Robin is that fans still want MORE of their story.  There’s are still stories to be told that have the ability to help fans recall the old GH – when light pushed back the darkness, hope triumphed over despair, and we had everything before us.  I don’t think we can say the same for current storylines.

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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?

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!

Motherhood makes me soft and gooey…

On the surface, DAYS’ Nicole Walker Dimera and GH’s Robin Scorpio Drake have nothing in common. Nicole is a lying deceiving backstabbing manipulator… soapgod love her. What would we do without her? Robin Scorpio Drake is an accomplished physician who has dedicated herself to saving lives.

Nicole? Insecure, distrustful, and femme fatale able to make grown men shake with fear in her presence.

Robin? Quiet, meek, disarming in other ways, but she’s no femme fatale. She’s more the romantic heroine type.

So what do they have in common beneath the surface? Something about both women makes fans weep puddles. Both are daytime mothers who have far more love and compassion than most characters are allowed to express, even when they are in their darkest moments.

Nicole Walker Dimera

There are times when I want the writers to ease up on the ‘femme fatale with a heart of gold’ twist on this character. It can wear on you. It’s almost impossible to believe that Nicole has so much anger and hatred for Sami Brady when they’re so alike in so many ways. You’d think they would be best friends, tearing Salem apart, instead of arch enemies. Then there are times when being a femme fatale, with or without a heart of gold, works for her.

The writers fooled me for just a brief while. I thought they’d skip having Nicole take Sami’s baby to replace her own deceased child. How many times have we seen that storyline play out in daytime? Faked pregnancy, stolen child, countdown to discovery. She already found a child to replace her own, after all, why would she need Sami’s. That she ended up in the same clinic at the same time that Sami was giving birth was a kick in the creative heart. Nicole did exactly what so many of you were sure she would do – set herself up to take Sami’s child.

If that’s all there was to this storyline, I’d already have pulled DAYS out of my recording line up. I haven’t because the writers have done something extraordinary. They’ve opened a vulnerable side to Nicole that will eventually make us feel all the sadder for her, and even more hatred for EJ, when her scheme is found out. She didn’t fake a high risk pregnancy after her miscarriage just to hang on to EJ. She did it to stop him from feeling the grief she felt when their baby died. She couldn’t stand the thought of him having to live with the intolerable pain she experienced.

Given the hatred she has for Sami, Nicole couldn’t bring herself to wish death on Sami and EJ’s daughter. She stood over her and prayed for her as the doctor worked to revive her just minutes after her birth. She couldn’t stand the thought of EJ losing that child, too. No one has loved that man, as much as Nicole has – not even his own father. That she puts his happiness ahead of her own is both an improvement, and a setback for Nicole. Other than her brother Brandon, Nicole has been written as a woman incapable of putting anyone else’s feelings first. It was just never in her nature. She’s fought to survive the hardships life has thrown at her (a psychopathic father who kept her drugged so that she would shoot porn videos, allowing HIM to profit). I’m waiting for her to be punished by being dumped by Ej, even though her actions were motived by her love for him. EJ is obsessed with Sami, the woman he raped and has now twice impregnated. He’ll see Nicole’s faked pregnancy as the big issue that has to be addressed, not the fact that Sami’s plan was to give the daughter he knew nothing about up for adoption.

Despite her harsh, brash exterior, Nicole is ultimately one of daytime’s most sympathetic heroines.

That’s what the two women have in common. Robin Scorpio Drake is also one of the most sympathetic heroines in daytime!

Robin Scorpio Drake

I was a fan of young Robin, the wonderfully adorable child who was full of smiles and sunshine. Anna, Robert, and Robin were the perfect daytime family. By the time her relationship with Jason Morgan was in full swing, she’d lost me. For me, the relationship with Jason was a abject rejection of who the character had been to that point in her life, and the writers’ rejection of her heritage as the daughter of daytime’s greatest super spies. (At this point you’re probably thinking about Anna and Duke, and Robert and Holly – but even those storylines were redemptive in nature and not about accepting the lifestyles of Duke and Holly).

Something in her relationship with Jason made her too motherly for such a young character. She was too busy defending and protecting him. There was no character development for Robin and the character fell apart. The cute kid with the big smile became a lightening rod for fans, seemingly turning off as many fans as she delighted. She’d become clingy, needy, and self-righteous. She’d lived her life in a bubble and that bubble was shrinking, having only enough room for her, and Jason.

The writers seemed to realize the problem. Robin hadn’t changed when she returned to help Jason, by saving Sam. Newbie Patrick Drake voiced the criticisms of the fans – Robin’s shrill meddling and discounting the lives of the ‘imperfect’ (read as ‘anyone who is not Robin Scorpio) drove commitment phobe Patrick mad. Patrick taught Robin that love didn’t mean controlling everyone, and everything around her. He taught her that love and desperation to hold on to a partner were mutually exclusive. Robin’s relationship with Patrick was true love, and the most meaningful relationship she’d had in her young life.

I’ve wondered if the positive feelings I have about Robin were more about her relationship with Patrick, if she could stand up in a storyline about just her and not about Scrubs. The postpartum depression storyline has answered that question for me, with a resounding YES!

This storyline was MADE for Kim McCullough’s Robin. It plays to all of her strengths. The excessive desperation Robin felt when trying to hold on to Jason during the ‘Carly-Michael’ period was uncomfortable to watch. The quiet desperation Robin feels when dealing with Emma is painful, too, but for different reasons. Robin loves Emma more than she loves her own life. She dreamed of being the perfect mother to her – even when she contemplated being a single parent. She wants nothing more than that child’s happiness and now can’t bring herself to believe that she can make Emma happy in any way.

What amazes me most is how much more subtle Kim McCullough is as an actress. Gone are Robin’s exasperated sighs and eye rolls. In their place is just the right look, or a tensing of her body to display her fear and anxiety. Her reliance on nonverbal communication is the hallmark of all great actors. I love actors who can communicate with an audience without saying a word. The audience could hear Emma crying through the monitor Robin left on top of the table. Robin looked at the monitor with terror in her eyes – it was heartbreaking. You could almost hear her wondering what she would do to ‘fail’ Emma, this time. You could feel the misery that made her reluctant to answer Emma’s call.

Not only did I want to hug the poor child, I couldn’t believe that the writers haven’t thought to have Anna and Robert around to try to help her. I want to see the heartbreak in their eyes, knowing neither of them was around long enough help her gain the confidence she needs to help herself and Emma. Neither has raised a child from infancy to adulthood. I want that Scorpio family moment I wrote about earlier where their past comes back to haunt them. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching Maxie and Robin bond as cousins (especially as a counter to the Lulu-Carly relationship), but there’s something missing without Anna and Robert. Even still, KM carries this story beautifully. This is the year that I think viewers can drop the phrase ‘former child actor’ in association with her name. There’s nothing childlike about her performances. It’s some of her best work, yet!

The Scorpio clan pic was found at the Faces of GH website.

Scrubs – Warm Fuzzies

Now that’s how you write for a cornerstone couple you can build the show’s future around. While Robin and Patrick are FAR too young to become the show’s matriarch and patriarch (as Lila and Edward once were), they do feel like a matriarch and patriarch in training.

They’re fun and playful and their loving moments are real and honest. I thoroughly enjoyed watching their playful banter about Patrick’s commitment phobic – skirt chasing days.

Score one for Robin, by the way, for seeing what Matt is all about and warning him to back off of Maxie. Matt is a less entertaining version of hottie Patrick – I’m not interested in watching his pale imitation of Patrick.

Robin handled the situation between Matt and Maxie with Lila’s grace – something sorely lacking on GH. I’d hoped that Laura would finally be allowed to come back and serve as Lila’s spiritual heir, but no. While I don’t mind Robin and Patrick temporarily filling the matriarch and patriarch roles, it would be a mistake for the writers to steal their youth and make them old before their time.

Keep them as they are – for a while longer. Watching them today only steels my resolve to see Carly and Robin bury the hatchet (see the blog below regarding the link between these two women). Watching them today made me love Scrubs even more.

Well… it’s MLK Day and while the soaps have largely ignored the day, I’m off to a celebration and to do work that will hopefully make a difference!

Godspeed!

GH – Robin Scorpio, Welcome Home

What’s that, you say?  Robin has been home for years now?  No, dear readers, only Robin’s body has been showing up on screen every day.  The REAL Robin Scorprio is finally back home and she’s now part of ABC’s bid to become the Anti-SoapFather network.  OLTL’s Starr Manning has told her ‘baby’s daddy’ that he’s treating her fetus as if it’s HIS family.  Now GH’s Robin is actively fighting to take away Patrick’s right to see his child because he was unsure of being a father in the first place, something he told her he wasn’t ready for, long before she became pregnant.

The Robin who’s given Patrick hell over seeing his child?  THAT’S the real Robin, as far as I’m concerned.  Is Robin treating Patrick’s fears about becoming a father as a personal rejection?  Most likely.  It’s in Robin’s history, and her nature, to do so.  Robin has a sordid history when it comes to infants and their fathers.

Some of you may recall that Robin revealed the truth about Michael Corinthos’ paternity when he was just an infant.  Why?  According to Robin, it’s because she felt that AJ had the right to know that HE, not his brother Jason, was Michael’s biological father.  That would have made sense and not seemed so self-deluding if the scenes just before Robin’s ‘attack of conscience’ weren’t of her and Carly arguing about who should raise Michael.  Robin felt that she and Jason were best suited to care for him, since they were a couple and weren’t as ammoral as Carly – yes, despite Jason’s role as a mob hitman.

Carly, being Carly, scoffed at the idea and taunted Robin by telling her that Jason would also be bonded to the two of them (Carly and Michael) and that there was nothing she could do about it.   Carly was wrong, Robin’s next move was to call Aj.  She effectively made sure that Jason could not and would not be Michael’s father.  If she couldn’t have Jason and Michael to herself, there would be no need for Jason to raise that child.

That was the day I began to despise Robin and didn’t care if she ever graced the screen again, until Patrick!  For me, Robin hadn’t redeemed herself, Patrick made her tolerable.  That poor, dumb, hot-as-hell, bastard!  If only he’d known about Robin’s past – or at least known the full story.   I know that many GH fans have fond memories of Robin as a child, but she lost her ‘cute quotient’ for me shortly after she began dating Jason.  The shrill, self-righteous, moralizing woman some of you see now, as she attempts to cut Patrick out of his child’s life, is the Robin I’ve been annoyed by for years to come.

Believe it or not, I’m glad the issue was resolved without a court ruling,  and that Patrick and Robin found their way back to one another.  I like Patrick, and not just because he has abs you can eat off of, but because he’s honest -even if you don’t like hearing what he has to say.  What a rarity for daytime males.  I also like Patrick because he’s not afraid of saying to Robin what others have been either too afraid to say or too reverent and all-worshipping to say to her – she’s a pain in the ass who sits in judgment of others far too often!  I like Patrick because as much as I don’t want to, he gives me a reason to want to like Robin again.  Well done, Patrick, well done.