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.

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Bold and Beautiful: The Lost Generation

A discussion began on a Bold and Beautiful board about Phoebe’s death, questioning why the writers decided to kill the character off.  Many of us have been asking the same question.  In the long run, there doesn’t seem to have been any real benefit to having the character destroyed.  There also doesn’t seem to be a formula for determining which characters are killed off in daytime and which live,  is there ever an objective assessment of what the long term impact is of killing off characters?

The ever stellar Lesli Kay’s Felicia was saved after ‘dying’ from stage 4 colon cancer.  Despite the improbable odds that Felicia could be saved and make a full recovery.  LK brought so much to the role of Felicia that her resurrection made sense.  It would have continued to make sense had  the writers then used the character or something other than window dressing for the rest of the  time she was onscreen.

Given the choice, I would have selected at least three or four other characters whose deaths would have better served the show than Phoebe’s death.  The only seeming long term effect of her death seems to have been the long term damage to a generation of  Logan-Forrester  legacy characters. The short term  fall out from the character’s death was marvelous!  Ridge tapped into emotions that even he didn’t know he had.   Brooke and Ridge were tested in a way that seemed to make it clear that they had whatever it took to survive any storm, even one as big as this – Rick is her son, but also Ridge’s his brother/nemeis and Phoebe is his daughter, Brooke’s beloved stepdaughter.  The writers then blew the BRidge relationship to soaphell (later recovering nicely).

The other short term event that played out nicely?  Rick had to face the fact that his hatred and spiteful behavior, contributed to Pheebs’ death. Even if he didn’t cause the accident he was responsible for the pain and anger she was feeling before she died.  It was tragic and poetic, but it went no where fast!  Rick became even more malevolent.  He became angrier and even more controlling and no one connected to feelings of guilt or anxiety linked to his role in Phoebe’s death.  Instead, Rick became a malignant narcissist and taunted his brother Ridge for his pain, he slept with Phoebe’s twin, informed Ridge that twin Steffy’s  ass was ‘his’, he stole from his family, and even told Ridge to say goodbye to his ‘other daughter’.  It would have been  a typical villain’ s act,  had the writers wanted us to view Rick as a villain.  BnB writers have a magnificent penchant for turning characters who would be villains in any other format into simply ‘misunderstood’ people (see Stephanie Forrester, who’s only counterpart is Hels Cassadine, GH).  Only, I consider it confusing and not so maginificent.

It would have been great for this to have been bratty Rick’s transformational moment and for him to have become a better person. I would have liked to have seen a complex, layered Rick struggle with wanting to support his mother, fight for HER happiness instead of her fighting for his – even with a man he couldn’t stand, and feeling troubled by the fact that supporting Brooke could hurt taylor and her brood. He could have been overwhelmed by the guilt of not wanting to cause them any more unhappiness. The guilt could have caused Rick psychological distress and he could have had some sort of genuine breakdown (a soapy approach to DID = multiple personality disorder? Depression and suicidal behavior? or A psychotic break?)

The storyline could have led to some sort of growth for taylor.  Instead of using Pheebs death to try to get back into Ridge’s bed, she could have had a crisis of faith. She could have become openly angry and vengeful and gas-lighted a psychologically frail Rick (rather than the passive manipulator she has always been). Who could blame her for hating him AND herself for letting Rick into their lives? It would make sense of her lie that Rick ‘took advantage’ of her. That lie would have become part of the game. She could have gone so dark that even satan’s handmaiden would have become afraid of her and the twist would have been watching Stephanie protecting Rick from taylor, for BOTH of their sakes.

Imagine, instead of Brooke and Ridge fighting over her protecting Rick, that they fought over Brooke trying to protect Rick from taylor!  Ridge would be too consumed with guilt to worry about whether taylor was actually setting Rick up to become even more divorced from reality and possibly setting Rick up to either hurt himself or at least institutionalized for the rest of his life. Even if he knew she was, his love for Broke would be in conflict for his desire to see revenge and he might let taylor continue on (not caring that she was being destroyed in the process). He wouldn’t help her, he just wouldn’t stop her.

A new woman would be cast for Rick to date many months after Pheebs died, but he would still have a hard time getting close to her because he would believe that he was undeserving of happiness. He’d end up seeing Pheebs dying every time he tried to get close to her. She’s the one would figure out hat taylor was setting Rick up and stop her. Rick would eventually recover, unable to hate taylor because of Pheebs

taylor would end up in the position she wanted to put Rick in and is institutionalized for the next 30 years – where soap time = real time!  Brilliant!

That’s what would have played out for me over the next year, instead of the pimping of Phoebe’s ghost for sex, the fighting between BRidge, Steph setting up her vulnerable son, Tommy boy bombing cars on public lots, Rick and Steffy having sex, and pretty much everything else that played out after she died.  Of the current generation of Logan-Forrester kids, only Bridget is left with the potential to be a heroine and likable.

I’m both excited by AJ’s Bridget being in an upcoming frontburner storyline with Sarah Joy Brown’s Sandy Sommers, and concerned.  The only BnB characters who can remain likable for long periods of time are often those the writers haven’t concentrated on.  With the spotlight on ‘Budge’, I’m going to have to count on Ashley Jones to navigate the character through disjointed dialogue, inconsistent plots, and the most improbable of situations.  Her Bridget is the last of her kind, the last likable character of her generation on Bold.

You just can’t make this stuff up!

Wait, I’m wrong… you CAN!  First, Stephanie catches the woman who soiled her marital bed (Donna), fooling around with another man (Owen) – in their shared husband’s (Eric’s) house.  Donna is cheating in the very bed that Donna and Eric soiled… Um, YEAH, now that’s just all about the soapy goodness, right there!

So how do the writers top themselves?  (Oh, I KNOW, you’re probably thinking, ‘you just can’t top that’… HA!  When the BnB is naughty, it’s very VERY naughty!  It’s when it’s bad that it sucks… right now?  The show is oh so naughty!)

Click HERE!  Eric wakes up out of his coma, and without anyone knowing wheels himself down the hall and it now HIS turn to catch Owen and Donna in a dirty clinch.  Sometimes… I think the soapgods DO love soapfans.  More, writers, I want MORE!

Only a cheat like Donna could think that telling Eric that it’s not what it thinks, and that she cried over him, could make a difference.  That chippie is even more obscene than I thought.  I don’t know whose misery makes me giggle more, Donna’s or Eric’s.  Both are cheaters and both ended up getting a bit of a smackdown… Karma can be a bitch, it’s not just a cliche…  I thought soap moments like that were long dead.  I guess not!

Equally delicious?  The Forrester sibs bouncing Donna out on her ear, giving Owen the heave ho, along with her.  I’m sorry, but what kind of fool is Owen, exactly?  When a man catches you laying lips on his new bride, the last thing you want to do or say as a ‘defense’ is that his children have been trying to do her in from the moment he went under into his coma… Gee, that explains why you’re in his house, trying to sex up his wife in every bedroom in his house.  Shame on you Owen… NOW!  End the Owen-Donna mess and bring on Owen and Bridget!

OH, and if the writers would only resolve the baby Jack issue and get that kid back to its biological mother… Taylor?  Bridget?  ANYONE but Brooke!  Anything that binds Nick and Brooke is a BAD thing… it kills off the audience and kills off the show’s ratings.