The BnB’s Celluloid Closet…

ROUND THREE, people, ROUND THREE! This will probably be my last blog on this topic for a while, since I’ve neglected my GH, DAYS, and OLTL duties and have yet to reflect on my new love-hate relationship with all three shows.

One of the benefits of posting on soap message boards and blogging is that posting gives you the opportunity to think fully about fans’ reactions to storylines you may think of as basic storylines. Apparently not! In the last BnB blog I posted, I wrote that I’ve been surprised by two concepts 1 – that Stephanie Forrester and Taylor Hamilton Hayes are ‘too moral’ to become involved in a lesbian storyline. 2 – That Taylor and Stephanie are highly moral, at all. The comments below work if you believe that it’s objectively true that Stephanie and Taylor are ‘moral’.

As the debate continues on the official Bold and Beautiful board regarding the speculated possibility of a ‘Staylor’ storyline, I realize just how brilliant the writing for ATWT and GL has been! Before you burn me in effigy, let me qualify that statement – because it clearly requires qualification. The writers of both shows have done something that would not dared have been dreamed of just a couple of decades ago. They’ve established their respective couples (Nuke and Otalia) with at least one partner in the couple serving as their respective shows’ moral centers.

Luke and Noah resisted the temptation to bed-hop as so many others around them had. Noah’s father was a horror of a freak show and Luke’s parents have likely spent as much time sleeping with other people as they have sleeping with one another. Nuke came together not because they were running from anything else, but because they were running TO each other. They took their time getting there (too much time for some fans’ tastes, but they were worth the wait). Nuke brought a patience, kindness, and caring back to the show that had been missing for some time. They also brought back a sense of old-fashioned romance.

The same could be said of Otalia.WOWZA! Their long-awaited admissions of love for one another was nothing short of ‘supernova’ brilliant! The tone was right, the location was right -oddly enough at Gus’ graveside, Liv’s inability to stop herself from saying the words she’s worked so hard to avoid was gut-wrenching… if I wasn’t already sold on them as a couple, I would have been sold at that moment. I haven’t been as pleased with what followed, but more on that at another time. What immediately struck me was Liv’s comment to Nat that she knew that the fact that she loved her was a ‘sin’ in Nat’s religion, but that she couldn’t stop from loving her. Nat treated Liv’s concern about her religious ideas for what it was, no obstacle. (Not everyone interprets religious scriptures the same way; and not everyone believes that love is a sin). Ok, so you’ve seen the follow up eps by now and know that religion will be an issue for the couple in the future. ARGH! I told you that would happen so I’m not surprised, but ARGH is still the best reaction I’m capable of giving at this time.

As for the original point, I think it’s fascinating that Natalia has become the ‘new Maureen Bauer’. She’s the show’s mother hen who makes easy work of finding the good in everyone, who keeps an open door and open heart to everyone around her, and is a friend to anyone in need. I can’t help but believe that the writers will address the ‘religiosity’ aspect of the Otalia storyline, soon, removing the notion of Natalia as a ‘damned soul’ because of her feelings for Olivia.

I think that the way the writing team from each soap handled the matter of establishing their respective couple as part of the show’s moral core (if such a thing exists on a daytime show) was so subtle that I hadn’t thought of it as an overarching theme for the introduction of gay/lesbian couples in the contemporary daytime setting. It could certainly be considered an extension of the introduction of AMC’s Bianca Montgomery who, at almost every age, has served as the keeper of Pine Valley’s collective moral conscience. She became ‘Grandma Mona’s’ spiritual heir.

The Bold and The Beautiful’s Celluloid Closet

If you’ve never seen the documentary ‘The Celluloid Closet’, it’s a MUST VIEW. The documentary is based on Vito Russo’s book of the same name. Clearly Hollywood did a poor job of supporting diversity of any kind in its early history, but like many others, my self-invested interests kept me focused on the nonexistent racial diversity and problematic portrayals of women. This documentary opened my eyes to discrimination across the board, and how easily societal attitudes about sexual minorities have been both shaped and reinforced by the superficial images presented on screen. When I see resistance to the notion of a ‘Staylor’ pairing, there’s a part of me that wonders if the implicit and explicit messages about the ‘morality’ and ‘sexuality’ as polar opposites taps some unexpectedly uncomfortable space when it comes to two characters who’ve presented themselves as the show’s moral standard bearers.

The questions for me is, given how well the formula has worked on other shows, why WOULDN”T Stephanie and Taylor serve as the most likely couple – should the writers decide to introduce sexual diversity to the BnB audience? Wouldn’t this be yet another variation on the theme?

Opening Segment of ‘The Celluloid Closet:

If the ever noble Luke and Noah, spiritual Bianca, and religious Natalia have led the way in asking fans to reconsider their ideas of sexual minorities as ‘immoral’ wherever those feelings exist, wouldn’t it make perfect sense for Stephanie and Taylor to provide the avenue to opening the discussion for viewers on The Bold and the Beautiful? I don’t know how anyone BUT the incredibly skilled Susan Flannery and John McCook could lead this storyline forward (yes, John McCook, not Hunter Tylo). I can see JM’s Eric reacting to his wife, in her ‘golden years’ – as Steph gingerly calls them, deciding not to spend her remaining time supporting him but deciding to live her life with dignity and integrity and being the person she was meant to be.

A tearful and genuine final goodbye to the drama and turmoil she’s lived with Eric? They part as friends, parents, and long ago partners in success before she moves on with her life? And then in walks Taylor. It’s the only thing that makes sense to me. As they stand now, their friendship doesn’t make sense in light of the Stephanie’s extreme attitudes and behaviors regarding Taylor. In the same documentary, author Susie Bright discusses clues that suggest the possible same sex attraction of Mrs Danvers to the character ‘Rebecca’, in the film of the same name. Her comments are in relationship to the clip from the film, featured below (beginning 5:30 in):

“Rebecca” and Mrs. Danvers:

I’ve been asked why I haven’t thought of Stephanie and Brooke as potential partners or supported that notion.  Easy.  It doesn’t make sense!  If we follow the analogy all the way through, then clearly Stephanie is operating in the role of ‘Mrs. Danvers’ to Taylor’s “Rebecca’, with Brooke serving as “the second Mrs. De Winters”. No no, Brooke is no innocent, as is Joan Fontaine’s “the second Mrs. De Winters”, but Brooke truly loves Ridge (who serves as ‘Maxim’ in this analogy). She continues loving him despite never being able to win over the support of the controlling and overly protective Stephanie/Mrs. Danvers. Because of the unspoken love, and unbroken bond, Stephanie’s Danvers shares with Taylor’s ‘Rebecca” – one that not even death breaks, Brooke will always be on the outside. She will never overcome Steph’s/Danvers’ desire to maintain the MYTH of Taylor’s (Rebecca’s) perfection. Brooke will continue to be psychologically tortured by a false image of the perfect woman that Stephanie/Danvers created out of her own unexpressed desires, an image Stephanie/Danvers uses as a weapon against Brooke/2ndDW, though she knows the truth.

Brooke’s 2ndDW will never benefit from having Steph’s Mrs. Danvers spin her misdeeds into something magical and perfectly acceptable in order to hide those sins from those around her as Stephanie/Danvers has done for Taylor/Rebecca. Note how, in both the film and on the BnB, it was most important to maintain the notion of purity for those who were in the dark about Taylor/Rebecca’s true nature, most especially Ridge/Maxim. Steph’s only loyalty is to Taylor. Her passion and compassion are saved for Taylor. Her forgiveness is saved for Taylor. Why is it so unlikely that her truest love is reserved for Taylor? For those who think of Steph and Taylor as mere friends, I just don’t see it. I think the BnB has been writing from it’s own celluloid closet for these two characters for some time, unintentionally or not.

And so it begins: Otalia/Nuke

Sit down. I have to tell you something and it may be shocking to some of you… most especially those of you who are new to daytime. You’re probably not aware of this, ATWT’s Luke Snyder is gay. GAY, I tell you! NO SERIOUSLY! I’m not making this stuff up! Don’t feel foolish if you don’t already know. It’s been hard to figure out because the writers so rarely allow anyone on screen to mention it. It’s one of the show’s best kept secrets. I mean, they only bring the issue up… pretty much EVERY FREAKIN TIME the guy is on screen. Apparently, the fact that he’s in love with another man and that they’ve had a long term relationship is NOT enough of a clue. I’m starting to think that the writers believe we’re a maze-dull lot, not capable of thinking our way out of a paper bag. That could be true, or they could be projecting. Ouch?

I’ve been longing for a storyline that involves my guy, Luke; a storyline that’s just about him – as a young man moving into the adult world, like Casey, and Allison, and pretty much anyone else before him. As things are shaping up it doesn’t seem to be the case that it’s ever going to happen. Each new storyline is a little bit like the last, with a slight twist.

I want MORE.

I want a storyline in which characters don’t even whisper Luke’s sexuality, or give knowing glances. Let me be clear, I make no pretenses of being an advocate of any sort for gays and lesbians. As a straight woman woman of color, I can only tell you what I prefer in storylines, not whether or not these are the storylines the LGBT community want to have told about Luke and Noah (or even GL’s Liv and Natalia – but more on that, later). I can only tell you that I would be loathe to tune into a daytime program that was still airing storylines about civil rights or if the character of color was still battling rampant racism and trying to adjust to life among those in ‘White America’ as the theme in each and every storyline.. We’re beyond that.

Are we beyond that point in relationship to stories about sexual orientation? Maybe the recent focus on gay and lesbian characters in daytime requires paying more attention to issues of coming out and discrimination of all sorts. I don’t know, but in light of shows like “L word”, “Queer as Folk”, and even “Degrassi: The Next Generation”, it would appear that stories that are multifaceted are equally likely to receive positive fan feedback than three or four years of ‘coming out’ storylines with the exact same characters.

Instead of feeding stereotypes, build a cultural context around them that makes stereotyping irrelevant and anachronistic. Leave stereotyping as a thing of the past, as it should be, and focus on those characters who have moved beyond them.

As a person of color, I understand the need for highlighting activism and focusing on the eternal struggle for human rights, but if that’s the route the writers want to take, then have Luke and Noah take on the marriage issue. It pisses me off, ROYALLY, that ATWT writers have no trouble with storylines about lust and sex and now a half-wit marriage for Liberty and Parker, but can’t figure out what to do with Noah and Luke… color me stunned.

What I see in Luke’s storyline (there’s so little focus on Noah on ATWT – I sometimes forget the poor dear is there) is some of what I see in GL’s Otalia, but to a lesser degree. I’m beginning to get the feeling that the writers on GL are starting to stall the storyline. For several reasons.

1. The most generous explanation is that Jessica Leccia (“Natalia”) is pregnant in real life. She and husband, Brian Malloy, are expecting their first child. The writers may want to wait until after the actress returns from maternity leave to delve more heavily into the Otalia romance.

I can envision a scenario in which, just before Leccia gives birth in real life, Natalia realizes that she has to tell Liv how she feels and then goes away for a while to ‘clear her head’ and come back ready for a relationship. (Or she goes away to clear her head, first, and comes back ready to take her relationship with Liv to the next level).

Given how many times writers have worked around real life pregnancies in other storylines, Leccia’s pregnancy shouldn’t be an issue. Maybe it’s not, I dunno.

2. I began to feel a bit queasy about the issue of Doris Wolfe. What the hell was the point in that? Doris has a ‘coming out’ of her own to deal with – out of the blue? Is there NO creativity in daytime? I can count on one hand how many characters have been openly gay from the start. Everyone else, regardless of age, or life experience, has been closeted. Fuel to the fire? Does every show have to create a closeted ‘anti-gay’ jerk and/or villan character? (Brian, ATWT; Daniel Coulson, self-hating closeted gay male on OLTL… <sigh>)

Now that Doris is one step closer to coming out, will there be a Doris/Liv/Natalia triangle? Will the deliciously ruthless side of Doris appeal to the deliciously ruthless side of Olivia Spencer? Will Doris plot and plan and ruin the Otalia relationship to give herself time to swoop in and claim Liv for herself while Nat ‘hems’ and ‘haws’ about whether or not she should be in love with another woman?

Geez, the more I think about it, the more I like it. Remember the ability Roger Thorpe had to corrupt good women and make them his wicked partner in crime? How about Alan Spaulding and Blake Mahler? Could we have Doris Wolfe and Olivia Spencer rocking Springfield while Natalia is the ‘angel sitting on Liv’s shoulder’, trying to woo her back from the dark side? OH, now THAT could be interesting.

OR

3. Is Doris’ coming out more significant than that? Is it a sign that, despite published reports elsewhere, the writers are reconsidering Otalia? As Josh and Liv flirted, throwing out sexual innuendo so hot my television screen fogged (uh, don’t know how that happened), I had to wonder why that scene was necessary, no matter how terribly sexually exciting! Haven’t we already seen Liv trying to prove her bonafides by hitting on a group of hot young studs, at the SAME BAR? That was only a few weeks back, maybe a month or so. What’s THIS about?

Then the follow up with Doris, in which Liv suddenly starts questioning whether or not she could love a woman, because she STILL loves the power she has over men and the attraction to them. More running away? At this stage of the game?

Maybe it’s nothing, and maybe it’s everything. If the writers think that throwing Otalia to the wolves (get it?) will go unnoticed, they’re wrong. If they think Doris’ offscreen adventures will matter enough for fans and that the ‘closeted adventures of Doris Wolfe’ will replace the Otalia connection, they’re wrong. If they think throwing a Doris/Olivia/Natalia storyline together will get the attention of fans, they’re… ok, they’re not wrong about that as far as I’m concerned. I’d watch, and cheer Nat on all the way!

Again, if those two plot points mean nothing, no biggie. My only point is that I won’t accept a cheap imitation. Ok, and I have a second point: I’m watching you, GL writers, with both eyes!

Luke and Noah’s First Time

From reading fan reaction I understand why there’s a good bit of disappointment in TPTB’s handling the couple’s first time -including the lack of publicity for the scenes, as well as the scenes primarily off screen nature.

Blink and you missed it.

Watch and you missed it – though the shower scene was cute..

That said, here’s what I think is positive in what’s happened:

1 – Luke and Noah saved themselves for one another. I was worried that the writers were headed for a drunken first time for Luke, with Brian taking advantage of him.

Noah and Luke have loved each other too long, too deeply, and too faithfully to give themselves to other people. It would have been heartbreaking if they had. The writers honored their love and respected the fans who love them..

2 – The writers finally took the plunge. Working off the belief that the first time is the most difficult, I can only trust that the writers have more love scenes they’ve been waiting to share with viewers and will now that they’ve taken the audience this far.

Maybe the next love scenes will give us the warm/fuzzy after- cuddle and nuzzling we’re use to with other supercouples.

Truthfully, before this I’d been waiting for the writers to do the unthinkable and find a way to send Nuke off to parts unknown. I no longer have that fear. Nuke’s first time signals a new kind of commitment from TPTB and I’m back to being willing to wait and see what comes next. I’m hopeful, again, about what’s in store for Nuke and think the best is yet to come. The possibilities seem wide open, now.

Love Triangles – When Grandma/Grandpa goes wild!

Remember this:

Bad Day?  Your mother sleeps with the man you love.

Worse Day?  Your GRANDMOTHER sleeps with the man you love (Chelsea Brady, Days of Our Lives).  It sucks to have a hot grandmother, doesn’t it:?  Kate Roberts has never been the type to sit home and bake cookies.

Just be glad that… he didn’t sleep with your great-grandmother.  Dude, you just can’t live something like THAT down.

In the never ending quest to shock daytime viewers, daytime writers are riding the rails, folks!  It began with The Bold and The Beautiful.  The writers had originally planned for Eric Forrester to fall for Caitlin Ramirez,  the young woman his 16 year old had a crush on (btw, the grandson gained two years FAST, in the time the writers started planning the storyline).  We saw the lead in, Caitlin fawning over Eric’s talent as a designer – Eric, being flattered by the young girl.

Fans cried foul, and to the writers credit, they dropped the storyline.  It’s more likely the case that the actor cried foul and had more influence than the fans.  Either way, it died a quick death and daytime was all the better for it.

Days of Our Lives picked up the grandchild-grandparent relationship and ran with it.  Chelsea lost her hot Doc Daniel, to Grandma Kate.  It was a stunning reversal of daytime fortune in which mature women are typically dumped for younger vixens.  Still, it was a little creepy that a grandmother and granddaughter were competing for the same lover.

As The World Turns is taking the storyline one step further.  They’ve thrown a marriage into the mix – and this time, Grandma is ill, having lost the will to live because of the return of the breast cancer she thought she’d beaten the first time around!

At this time, it appears that Brian will share a kiss with a drunk and vulnerable Luke on the same night that he (Brian) marries Lucinda to give her the will to live.  Pssst… writers… seriously… WHAT?  What’s the point of that?  Throwing in Lucy’s cancer only adds fuel to the fire of a child/grandchild betraying a parent/grandparent.  That’s just one step too far.   Without Lucy’s illness, it would be one more storyline in a chain of storylines in which a child has betrayed a parent, intentionally or not.

There’s some precedent for a betrayal by a child (in this case grandchild) being forgiven – with the relationship moving forward successfully.  I’m not aware of any that have survived the betrayal of a ill loved one. There was GL’s Holly (mom)/Blake (daughter)/Ross (shared lover). Blake ended up married to Ross and they eventually had a family. Blake and Ross became one of the show’s supercouples. Holly wasn’t ill, of course.  Just angry.

Why couldn’t the writers simply create a love triangle that focuses on Luke and Noah, without the drama of an ill loved one?   I wrote this earlier, as well:

This kid is as rich as creases. He could fund his own gay film series and end up throwing enough cash around to have the university administration kissing his toes trying to get a small portion of his fortune.  Gimme more, writers, gimme more.

What would happen if Luke suddenly started behaving like the mogul he is?  What if his Lucinda gene (yeah, yeah, no biological tie) kicked in?  How would Noah react to the ‘new’ Luke?  What would happen if another young man from a powerful family came along and tried to woo Luke away from Noah? Noah, the kind and loving, up against an rich and devious snot how has images of merged fortunes dancing in his head?  Ruh roh!

Instead, we get a relationship that’s almost doomed to fail, and writers who’ll have an audience to ‘blame’ instead of a lack of foresight into how an audience would react to Brian and Luke’s kiss.  My hope is that Luke  (or Noah) destroys Brian for betraying Lucinda, the one person who’s loved him unconditionally.

IF Luke becomes so disgusted by this guy that he can’t stand the sight of him, and if Brian harassing Luke leads to Noah and Luke growing stronger, I could easily understand the value of the storyline. Maybe this is the thing that helps Nuke realize how much they really love one another and to move them to the next stage of their relationship.  Otherwise, I don’t know what will happen with the Luke and Brian.

There’s a tiny part of me that sees it as an act of cowardice, that it’s almost as if the writers want it to fail and would love to have the audience to blame for it, if ‘Lion’  (the name given to a possible Brian-Luke relationship) is rejected. I just don’t know what would make the writers believe this storyline would work.  If you have any idea, let me know.

The thing I’m MOST afraid of?  That this will become the new hot trend in daytime.  What’s next?  GL’s Daisy decides to kill two birds with one stone and go after Josh to pay back her mother AND grandmother (both of them having been involved with Josh before).  Oh, it could happen, soap fans, it could happen.

Soul Mates…BnB/ATWT/AMC/YnR

Bold and Beautiful

From the current SOW:

Weekly: So is this Brooke and Ridge’s big reunion, forever and ever?

Bell: It appears as if this is the great reunion. There are always people who may want to get in their way. Stephanie is certainly one. Nick Marone may factor into it. But we’re getting incredibly close. We’re at a point where we just can’t imagine they’ve reached this level. They’ve been through so much. How can this not be forever?

Weekly: In your mind, are they each other’s soul mates?

Bell: So much of this series is about Brooke and Ridge, from early on until now. It’s amazing that we still have Ron and Kelly, that they look so beautiful, that their chemistry has not waned at all. This is an incredible climax to this whole saga.

Well now… from EARLY ON it’s been about Brooke and Ridge?  From EARLY ON!?!?!?  Ah… BINGO!  Anyone who’s watched this show from the day it aired has known that.  It was ‘the look’ that launched Bridge, and ‘the look’ between these characters that has kept so many fans hooked on this show.

The war on love between Brooke and Ridge has left behind a string of casualties, on and off the screen.  On screen we have Eric, Thorne, Grant, Taylor, Ashley, James, and a host of others who came close, but never really close enough to keeping Brooke and Ridge apart.  Off screen?  The fans – those who are still watching, those who gave up on the writers long ago, who are victims of the BRidge tease.   I still have my frustrations with the couple, namely Brooke – she drives me nuts and annoys the unholy hell out of me most of the time, and yet there’s a part of me that can’t get past what Brooke and Ridge are when they’re TOGETHER.

They have been the couple to ‘keep apart’ for over 21 years soap time.  Taylor has manipulated and elbowed her way between them, Stephanie practically sits outside their bedroom door waiting for the chance to run in and steal Ridge away, Nick just sits by – waiting for a moment of vulnerability in order to slime his way in, Eric is always desperate and hopeful and inappropriate in his feelings for Brooke… the list goes on.  In the end, they’ve only ever stood on the outside looking in and the writers have made it clear, far too many times, that the story was about BRidge love and the lengths all others would go to in order to keep them apart.

The big question is, are there enough fans still watching to trust that BRidge really can and will be happy this time?  It’s hard to trust the BnB writers.  Case in point?  The 20th anniversary show.  I’d recount what happened for those of you who missed it, but I don’t want to be responsible for making adults cry (a nod ando condolences to those of you who  did watch it).

ALL My Children

There’s a great deal of maturity in the AMC writing for Reese and Bianca.  I can remember Erica’s one time utter revulsion at the thought that her little Binks was a lesbian.  She was so sickened at the thought that another woman would touch her daughter that it pushed her to the brink of madness.  Now?  Reese, the love of Bianca’s life, is going to get the ‘Kane treatment’.  Oh yes, Reese, someone should have warned you about Erica’s rocky relationships with her childrens’ spouses.
The minute I heard Erica say that Bianca needed help and that she felt Reese was taking advantage of Bianca’s good nature, I knew there was trouble brewing.    At some point, there will be scenes of Zach and Reese sharing a beer, wondering what awful thing they did in their past lives that brought them to the point of finding love and ending up with Erica as a mother-in-law.  Maybe they’ll flip a coin to figure out which of them will get to be the hero(ine), taping Erica’s mouth shut and shoving her in a dark, locked room.

Oh! I do feel a little guilty for saying that.  Erica scored huge mommy points for bringing not one but TWO nannies to help take care of the kiddos.  Freakin’ awesome.  What mother DOESN’T dream about an on-call staff of nannies?

About the show’s other soul mates, I’m still hanging on for the Jesse/Angie arc.  I wish the writers would hurry up and end the Greenlee/Aidan/Annie/Ryan storyline to make more time for Jessie and Angie.  My only remorse about the end of the quad storyline is that there weren’t MORE shirtless Aidan scene.  Oh what a happy girl I would have been had that happened.

As The World Turns

Jack and Janet as soul mates?  Eh!  If by ‘soul mates’ that means that they’re both so vapid and empty that it takes the TWO of them to create something resembling one complete ‘soul’?  Oh, sure.

How about Dusty and nu-sorta-Jen-but-let’s-call-her-Josie-for-now?  Nah, not yet!  Give them time and they will be, I’m sure.

Luke and Noah?  BINGO!  I think that the student election storyline is probably one of the most insipid, yawn inducing storyline the writers could have imagined for these two.  The aftermath?  BRILLIANT.  Noah turns Luke in?  They fight over Noah’s cut-and-run behavior?  They make up and Luke realizes that he needs Noah and tells him so?  Begs him not to leave?  Is their relationships stagnant?  SURE.  It is, I don’t think anyone would deny that Luke and Noah are the show’s longest running “relationship virgins” – kissing cousins Parker and Liberty had sex faster than these two.

So what’s so brilliant about Nuke (Noah and Luke)?   Their scenes are so sweet and tender that they can sometimes make you forget that the couple hasn’t been intimate.  The actors deserve recognition for creating an intimacy that doesn’t require sexual contact between characters to be real.  The strength of the Nuke relationship, and the audience’s overwhelmingly positive reaction to the couple, rests squarely on the shoulders of the remarkable Van Hansis (Luke) and Jake Sillbermann (Noah).  It sure as hell ain’t the writing that keeps fans tuning in.  Van and Jake are able to transform writing best left to an elementary school play and turn it into broadway worthy material.  The writers owe these kids, BIG!  Now… give them more screen time, thank you very much.

The Young and the Restless

Victor and Ashley?  Folks, I’m a Vic-Ashley fan from Waaaaay back.  I hated Nikki for teaching Victoria to call Ashley the ‘wicked witch of the west’.  I despised her even more when she deceived Ashley, making Ash believe that she was dying, leading Ash to abort Victor’s child.  Ashley thought she was giving Nikki the will to live, or at least the opportunity to die in peace, with her family.  Am I happy to see Victor and Ash back together?  YES!  All is right in my YnR world.

Do I think it will last?  No.  Even I know that Victor and Nikki are the show’s star-crossed lovers no matter who else they love or how many children Victor keeps having with other women.  I know it will end, but I will enjoy Victor and Ashley for as long as they are around.

I don’t want to see Ash or Victor stick it to Nikki – it would mean their relationship isn’t real, it’s more about making HER miserable  than the two of them being together, and that would be far too sad for me.  Oh sure, Ashley deserves to have a little fun… but not too much.  I also don’t want to see Victor treat Ash the way he’s treated Nikki – he can be a cruel S.O.B.  I just want a little romance from SOMEONE on this show – a romance worth watching, that is.

I wonder how the mini-mustaches are going to take it when Victor returns with Ashley?  Nick won’t have the room to be too critical of Victor.  Adam would have no room to talk, at all.  Victoria?  After her speech of always feeling loved by her mother, but no so much by her father, I have a feeling that Ashley had better hang on to Victor with both hands.  If she’s written true to form, I have no doubt that Victoria will try to pry Ashley and her father apart.  Let the games begin!

The better angels of our natures…ATWT/BnB

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If you haven’t read MarkH’s blog about applauding the experiments in daytime, you should!  It’s phenomenal and it truly makes me want to see soaps in the same light that he does.  I want to love most of what I’m watching.  As I’ve said before, like so many of you, I just feel burned out.  Every time I want to trust daytime writers, they do something so shockingly bad, that even when they are doing something right, I’m still recovering from the last crappy storyline.

It’s a nasty little carryover effect.
Case in point?  I WANTED to applaud the writers for giving Luke and Noah more airtime this week than they have in quite a while, even before Noah went to Rome.  It’s just that the writers spent so much time giving them a storyline they’ve already played out so many times before that it’s losing its effectiveness.  Luke has a loving, though highly dysfunctional family.  He has great friends.  He has more money than a freakin’ bank, and he’s still fighting the good fight over small (though not insignificant) issues.

Hey, even I thought of another storyline that had them facing a little bigotry, but one that I thought would tackle stereotypes about cultural notions of ‘family’.  My thought was that Puberty would probably end up parents.  (Puberty = Parker and Liberty, non WTers). I’m grateful to the writers that they didn’t go that route, but I thought it was the direction they were headed in, initially.   Cousin Luke and Noah could become parents/guardians/whatever, of the child, but not without Janet objecting for religious and personal reasons.   Janet would learn, over time, that she had little more than stereotypes about gay families and slowly come around.

Now?  Luke and Noah are stuck in ‘older teen hell’ in daytime.  Luke is running for class President (or some such) and the big issue is getting a film series going in what should be, or has traditionally been a safe environment for him. I realize that not all academic environments are open and accepting, but I wanted more for Luke .  I wish the writers had chosen a storyline that had a significant impact on social issues.  This kid is as rich as creases. He could fund his own gay film series and end up throwing enough cash around to have the university administration kissing his toes trying to get a small portion of his fortune.  Gimme more, writers, gimme more.

What would happen if Luke suddenly started behaving like the mogul he is?  What if his Lucinda gene (yeah, yeah, no biological tie) kicked in?  How would Noah react to the ‘new’ Luke?  What would happen if another young man from a powerful family came along and tried to woo Luke away from Noah?  Noah, the kind and loving, up against an rich and devious snot how has images of merged fortunes dancing in his head?  Ruh roh!

I WANT to applaud the Bold and The Beautiful for realizing that it’s the women of the show that really make the BnB world go round.  ARGH, the problem is that the writers are going back to the Brooke-Taylor, and Brooke vs the doubled headed hell hound Stephanie-Taylor.  We’ve been down that round a million times. It’s all the show had to offer for nearly 14 years.

Why can’t Stephanie lighten up?  Why can’t she smarten up?  I’d have love for the writers to follow the storyline that was rumored to take place.  Brooke and Ridge would start their own company.  Imagine Stephanie taking over FC (as she should have LONG ago rather than leaving it to Eric and cheesy Donna).  Imagine Stephanie talking herself into believing that if she ruined Ridge and Brooke’s company, it would bring her baby boy home to her –There’s a word for that!  You might have been thinking DELUSIONAL, and you’d be right.  I, however, was thinking about the word  ‘OEDIPAL” in explaining Stephanie’s constant need to dig her claws into Ridge, dragging him back home to her.

Imagine Stephanie and Brooke ripping  one another’s companies apart, leaving almost nothing standing when they’re done, and forced to join forces against an outside enemy — Jackie M’s!  While they were hell bent on one another’s destruction, Jackie Marone was hell bent on destroying them both to become the top of the fashion heap.

Instead, the writers give us the same old, same old.

I’m going to follow MarkH’s advice and try to appreciate what the writers are doing right.  At the same time, I hope the writers will begin to appreciate those of us who’ve hung in there, continuing to support daytime with our hearts when our heads tell us to RUN!  It’s ok if they want to repeat some of the storylines of the past, but repetitive storylines are always less noticable when the writers give us something else to go along with it.

She’s baaaaaack! ATWT-OLTL-BnB- YnR

Where to start, where to start!  OH!  I know!  I have news, folks!  You may miss the old boards from the now defunct, but much beloved, Total TV Online!  There is still a companion site (message board)  for the “Sound and Fury” blog.  You can access that site by clicking HERE.

As The World Turns

Carly is BACK, the Carly that so many fans have grown to love.  Carly is a cross between one of daytime’s greatest romantic heroines, and a walking disaster.  Today, we got to see a little of both, more of the former than the latter.  I believe that Carly has been sincere in her odd couple friendship with Janet.  There’s no malice between the two women and Carly wants to see Jack happy with Janet, for his sake, and that of their children.

The trouble is that despite her best efforts to do the ‘right’ thing, she finds herself in trouble every time.  I groaned a bit when she found herself getting hot and heavy with Jack.  Other than the family they share together (and yes, I’m including Parker and JJ as ‘theirs’), nothing good has come of Jack and Carly being together.  Each of those brief periods of time when they shared love and happiness were quickly replaced with some wild attack on Carly’s character, by Jack.  A little crying, a lot of clinging, and too much verbal abuse.

Even still, watching Jack and Carly fall back into bed wasn’t as shocking as I thought it would be.  They’re much too addicted to the self-inflicted pain not to keep going back for more.  It’s Carly’s guilt that was shocking.  That she pushed Jack to be upfront and let Janet know he was in the bedroom before he could stay her was brilliant.  That’s the girl, Carly.  Don’t let Jack pull his standard hit-and-run routine.  I’ll give the guy credit, he did score points by admitting that he’s been a judgmental jerk all these years, but he lost those points FAST by trying to sleep with Carly knowing he still had feelings for Janet.

To see him working on Carly, playing on the emotion she still had for him, and to then have him run back to Janet?  What a putz! Carly is much better off without the guy.  Jack thinks of himself, first.  He always has. If only the writers would hire an actor to play a credible love interest against MW’s Carly.   Brian, perhaps? I’m just not yet ‘digging’ this guy with Lucinda.  I think I’d rather seen John Dixon back, and paired with ‘Lucy Walsh’.  I miss John and Lucinda and their passion.  I have na ulterior motive for suggesting a Carly-Brian pairing.

Maybe Carly can distract Brian so that he STOPS telling Luke to avoid being ‘political’.  I find it hard to believe that Luke standing up for himself and supporting the Gay Film Festival would have a negative impact on his foundation.  (Uh, when did Oakadle U become ultra conservative?)  Brian needs a life… FAST!  Rather than telling Brian that she and Luke need him, it’s time for Lucy Walsh, cutthroat businesswoman that she is, to come back.  I miss her.  It’s time for the REAL Lucy Wlalsh to tell Brian to hit the bricks.   1 –  Lucinda has always had such a deep love for her grandson.  It’s hard for me to believe that she can’t see what’s going on with Brian, and what the potential impact is on Luke.  I just can’t see the writers as being true to her character if they continue to allow her to want Brian, in light of his treatment of Luke and Noah.  2 – Lawrence Lau is HOT, and I’d love to see his character out of such a creepy storyline where he’s trying to suppress Luke’s self-exploration.   Luke is finding his voice.  Brian is becoming increasingly less attractive trying to suppress it.

AND, since we’ve seen more of Kim this month than in the last several months (or so it seems), please make sure when you bring her back more frequently, writers, that you bring back the brilliant woman we’ve all loved for so long.  Kim was the victim of a mad stalker (Oh how I miss the days of the Douglas Cummings storyline). Hopefully she recognizes the signs soon, and works to help Katie with the Spencer incident.  Kim’s been there, done that.  I’d love to have her realize sooner, rather than later, that Katie has every right to be concerned.

Young and the Restless

Sharon, Sharon, Sharon, my friend.  You can’t make a good husband out of a man-whore.  Remember those words of advice.  I only regret that I forgot to include Nick Newman on my man-whore list, when I included his father.  (Read that HERE)  Nick hasn’t met a woman, throwing herself at him, that he doesn’t like.  Having said that?  I can’t help loving Nick and Sharon, despite the fact that he’s an unfaithful pig.  Nick and Sharon are their generation’s Nikki and Victor (er, without the pathology that has begun to pervade the Nikktor relationship).

Short of Nick’s cheating with slimey Grace Turner, and Phyllis (serving as Sharon’s ‘placeholder’), there was a genuine love and a sense of family that Nick and Sharon shared that neither has really had with their respective new spouses. For me, Phyllis will always be the woman who went to bed with a man while his wife was still grieving their dead daughter.  Nick and Phyllis’ relationship is at romantic as a zombie orgy (sorry, it’s close to Halloween and the commercials for haunted houses are getting to me).

What happens in Paris stays in Paris?  OH, let’s hope not.  Let’s hope that Nick does penance for being a complete idiot and cheating on Sharon, realizes what a horrible mistake he made, and goes home to his real family.   He needs to be with his true wife, Sharon.

Besides, the only time Phyllis was remotely interesting was when she was a freakin’ bad girl, and during her marriage to Jack.  Outside of that?  She hasn’t had much to offer.

One Life to Live

It’s been so good seeing Viki, so good in fact that I feel guilty having this small complaint:  Are fans to believe, that in a house the supposed size of Viki’s mansion, she wouldn’t notice that her basement had suddenly become MUCH smaller?  If there was enough space behind the sliding wall to build a ginormous room, complete with on suite bath, you’d think she’d notice SOMETHING was wrong.  EH! I don’t care, I’m just glad to have Viki back.  Now it’s time to reunite Viki and Clint… We’ve been so patient.

Viki must love the relationship between her sister, Tina, and “Jessica”/Tess getting along.  Oh, if only she knew! The most enjoyable part of One Life To Live (and dare I say the only watchable part of the show?) has been watching Tina and Jessica go at one another.  The only person tough enough, and devious enough, to handle Tess is Tina, and heaven help the show if/when Tina or Tess goes.

While Grand Dame Titans Tina and Tess are tearing each other apart, maybe the writers will let Viki serve up a little cold hard justice to brother, Todd.  You’d think that Todd would have learned his lesson from letting Blair think their son Jack was dead.  Now he’s planning to do the same to Starr, in order to take her child and raise it.  I get the saying that history repeats itself… I just don’t know why it’s always the LOUSY history that repeats itself in daytime.  Oh Viki, between Todd, Tina, and Tess, you have your work cut out for you.

Bold and Beautiful

Er, what? Taylor’s back to her lying, sneaky, and underhanded ways?  WELL!  No shock THERE folks!  I seem to remember THIS Taylor, the one scheming and plotting to get what she wants, and putting a ‘concerned’ face on it.  Let’s see, she advised Brooke to stay with Eric, for the children’s sake, even though Brooke was unhappily married to the man.  Then she (Taylor) pursued Ridge, the man Brooke loved – knowing Ridge loved Brooke and was waiting for her to leave Eric.
Taylor advised Eric to tell Stephanie their marriage was over and there was NO chance of him returning to her.. after she listened  to her ‘best friend’ cry about Eric not loving her… and then Taylor moved on Eric, herself.  Now she’s telling Ridge that the fates were probably keeping him and Brooke apart because they probably weren’t meant to be together.  Taylor, would those be the same fates that caused Ridge to walk out on YOU and not look back?  Funny how those fates only work against others, never against her.  Ah, hypocrisy.  The REAL Taylor is back… the “me first, me last, me always” Taylor.

My Rachel Maddow Moment: ATWT

It’s rare when when reel and real collide.  I hate when it happens, but not this time.  This time, I’m grateful for the reel and the real.  They inform one another at times, and in the most interesting ways, putting feelings and thoughts in perspective.  The last Brian Wheatley scene I watched made me so incredibly sad, and a little frightened of the character – Lau is the master!  Any actor with that angelic of a face who can create such apprehension and fear with a  single look knows his craft.  He’s one of the few actors who knows how to express more dialogue with a look than most actors can do as part of an ensemble team.  Despite my decades long love of Lau and his work on AMC, ATWT, OLTL, and other projects, I’m not yet a Brian Wheatley fan.  I don’t hate Brian, but I hate what he potentially represents.

My African-American family lived in the pre-civil rights American south.  The legacy of the pre-civil rights south is a living one for me because it lives in the memories of my mother, my father, my uncles, and my grandparents.  I’ve long considered myself Southern bred and Northern born.  I get stereotyping.  I get anger.  I get fear of the ‘other’, the ‘different’.  I get it, and I reject ALL OF IT.

I’ve said in prior blogs that the problem for daytime is that it’s a genre that is stuck between time periods.  It’s trying to move into a modern age but can’t.  It’s dragging along outdated thoughts about certain groups of people and outdated storylines.  Those outdates storylines are  weighing the genre down like an anchor.   The only way daytime execs can seem to ‘identify’ with the modern age and attempt to move soaps forward is to take old plots and up the ‘raunch’ factor on them.  In the last blog, I lamented that Lily Snyder could revenge hump any man she wanted (and the her husband Holden could, too).  In other blogs I noted that Alison is a porn star turned nurse extraordinaire (notice that on their honeymoon, Aaron had to be ‘surprised’ at the tricks she knew in bed – completing the sanitizing of the character).  Emily is a former prostitute dating the younger son of the man she seduced and with whom she had a child.  Leo’s plotting date rape,  Brad nearly killing Leo, the subsequent cover up…the Snyder men sharing enough of the same women between them to produce an Army of pointy headed babies – are, folks, all on the SHORT list of seriously shady behavior). 

At the same time, Luke and Noah can never consummate their love.  They can’t live together.  They don’t spend much time with other couples – except with Luke’s freakin’ grandmother and her date – and I love La Walsh, but not as a dinner companion and best buddy for Luke.  Why is Nuke still marginalized?  Who knows?  But I find it stunning.  I watched television some of “DeGrassi: The Next Generation” when my teen nieces visited this summer.  These are the sort of scenes teen kids watch regularly:

They’re not ‘freaked out’ by stories that embrace all people.  They don’t understand dramas and other forms of entertainment that don’t.  Apparently, the writers at ATWT thinks that the daytime audience is far less adaptable than the DeGrassi crowd.  They’re selling us short and I resent it.

Reading about the big Nuke-Lucinda camping trip made me think about that last scene, the look on Brian’s face.  Was he in that tent because he wanted to show respect to Lucinda, or at least con her into thinking he was respecting her?  Were his interests prurient ( was he curious about Nuke, a bit of a peeping tom)?  Was he there to keep them apart for his own selfish reasons – a crush on Luke, or a crush on Noah? Was he there for another selfish reason- to stop the boys from ‘sinnin’?  I thought about that earlier look on Brian’s face when I read the camping summary.  I’d thought about it just a few days earlier when I ran across this clip on YouTube again (oh, fast forward to 3:50 minutes into the clip if political coverage makes you squeamish). 

If you opted to skip it,  Maddow recalled being 19 when she heard Buchanan’s speech about the raging culture wars and thought about just how much people she didn’t even know hated her, didn’t think there was room for her, how it led her to embrace the Democratic Party because she knew it didn’t want her to disappear (not an exact quote).  Maddow’s comments helped me further realize why Brian’s ‘look’ made me feel so queasy.

The shock (and disgust) in his face when Nuke touched one another was palatable and made me shudder.  It reminded me of so many events in my own life – the number of times racial epitaphs were used.  The extended hand that was met with a cold and/or  mortified expression. Our stories are different on the surface (reel Nuke’s, real Rachel’s) but they’re the same in other ways.  Death to the -isms! 

My hope is that while Noah is in ‘Rome’, the writers are thinking of what they need to do to rewrite the Wheatley character.  My hope is that they’ve decided to not take Brian down  that dark and ugly road.  I believe that the writers meant well when they began the Nuke storyline.  I believe they still mean well, but I also believe that the longer they marginalize Luke and Noah, the more they run the risk of giving an implicit nod to the ‘raging culture wars’.  I don’t think that’s where they want to take this storyline, either.

Luke made a mistake?  Brian wasn’t really trying to shove him back in the closet?  OK, I’m willing buy it.  So take it one step further, writers.  Do something proactive.  Have Brian use his considerable skills to help  Luke and Noah become an advocates and defenders of human rights.  Let Luke use some of that money to set up a shelter for kids who need a safe space when home is no longer safe for them after coming out.  Steal a page or two from ‘DeGrassi’.  I won’t tell.

Why writers? WHY!?!?! GH – ATWT

General Hospital

For a number of reasons, I haven’t been watching much GH (yeah, even if you set aside the writers destroying Carly and Jax, the continued obsession with Sonny and Jason, the putridness of Jason and Liz – I just haven’t had as much interest in GH. Now… if only I could break the habit of watching even occasionally! ) I’m still wondering how the show managed to trick me into actually liking Robin – a character I’ve disliked for so long!  I’m also trying to figure out why Spinelli drives me “less crazy” and why I’m rooting for Spinelli and Maxie.  I love them.

I’ve tuned in enough to wonder what General Hospital writers plans are for Laura’s eventual disappearance.  It seems too easy to simply send her back into a comatose state.  It also seems a bit cruel to do that to fans who love Laura and don’t want to see her go back to that state.  I’ve tried to buy into Laura’s desire to not see her sons because she doesn’t want them to get their hopes up that this time she’s ‘cured’ and that she’ll be home for good. Something just feels false about it. Why wouldn’t Laura want Lulu to have her brothers to comfort and support her if/when she (Laura) goes back under?  Given Lulu’s own fragile mental health, why would she want her to be alone if things go bad, again?

Does anyone else wonder if Laura being awake is a figment of Lulu’s imagination? Considering the fact that the hospital staff is on Nikolas’ payroll, why wouldn’t anyone contact him to let him know that Laura is awake?  Wouldn’t obsessed Scotty make sure the staff notified him of any change?  Do the members of the hospital staff actually ‘see’ Laura or pretend to do so, for Lulu’s sake?  Is that why Laura conveniently disappears whenever someone the family knows shows up (Nikolas, Tracy Q, etc)?   Imaginary Laura would mean that once Lulu is completely well, it won’t be so cruel for her to lose her mother, because she was never truly back.  It was the spirit of Laura Spencer that showed up to support Lulu, and that’s something Lulu could handle.

BTW, Genie Francis, no matter how brief her return, makes it evident that GH can never be the same without her.  Why TPTB are so content to keep letting her go is a mystery to me.  Laura anchors the old GH, the GH fans loved heart and soul, to the new GH.  I’d love for the writers to use the option of having Laura decide to go off on her own adventures for a while, maybe with a plan to track down a permanent cure for her illness – with her family’s blessing and her mother at her side.  They’d stay in touch with her, monitoring her progress and talking with her daily-  in case she needs help.   It’s not ideal, I know, but it’s a darned bit better than letting Luke travel the world and finding love again, while Laura remains tied to a chair, staring off into space for years at a time.  The thought of Laura ‘out there’, happy, living life, serving some greater purpose is far more meaningful to, and respectful of, the love fans have for maintained for the character and Laura’s portrayer, Genie Francis.  When Lulu loses Laura again it will feel as if we’re all losing her.

ATWT

You REALLY don’t have to work that hard to get the audience to dislike certain characters, daytime writers.  Some of you take the line and push it as far as you can take it!  You don’t have to do anything at all to get me to dislike ATWT’s Lily Walsh.  I haven’t liked her since she was a teenaged girl, with few exceptions.

Heather Rattray wasn’t the most popular recast for the character, but I loved her.  Lily had been a whining, sniveling, mewling character before Heather came along – Martha Byrne played her as the spoiled heiress she was.  Heather gave adult Lily an edge.  She was an unapologetic bitch goddess who REFUSED to feel bad for taking what she wanted.  HR gave her the ‘Walsh’ edge.  It was the one and only time I could believe that a whiner like Lily was raised by a cutthroat businessperson like Lucy Walsh.  Sadly, it didn’t last long after the actress left the role.  The writers preferred the ‘spoiled heiress’ approach (and even I missed seeing MB’s face in the role even if I didn’t care for her version of Lily!)

The only other time Lily was even slightly interesting to me was when she married Damian Godofallmen Grimaldi.  True to form, the writers ruined that too.  Lily cheated on Damian with Holden… cheated in the belltower of a CHURCH, no less.  Damian forgave her and Lily and Damian went on to create some of the hottest scenes in ATWT history – during the period of Damian’s recovery.  Sex scenes?  No, Lily and Damian never needed them.  They had a smoldering passion that would have made a sex scene anti-climactic, literally and figuratively.  Slight touches and shared glances were enough to communicate more about the passion they felt, than all of the Holden/Lily sex scenes, combined.

So, what have the writers done to reaffirm anti-Lily fans’ beliefs that the character is more often a waste of space than not? They shove Lily back into ‘revenge sex’ mode.  That woman has had more ‘revenge sex’ than any other daytime (or prime time) character I know.  It’s how she lost her virginity for crying out loud!  She slept with Dusty to teach Holden a lesson.

Imagine that.  Lily has revenge sex for decades, her son can’t get laid by the man he loves.  What a wacked out set of priorities ATWT’s writers have when it comes to telling love stories (Nuke) and lust stories (Holden/Lily/any third partner). 

As much as the character has always annoyed me, it annoys me MORE that viewers are put in the position of faulting Lily for being a careless mother in order to have revenge sex with Mike, after believing that Holden was about to get close with Carly, again.  Seriously, writers?  Incredibly rich women like Lily would  have a staff of nannies on call 24/7.  She wouldn’t have to run off to meet her lover ‘assuming’ someone would show up to take care of them. 

She was so eager to have sex that she was willing to leave a child she nearly lost in the care of a child who’s had a history of emotional difficulties, without knowing that an adult was supervising them until their father arrived?  BULL!  Ethan falling down a hole is just punishment for Lily’s actions?  BULLCRAP! You’re also asking the audience to accept Ethan’s pain as part of Lily’s consequences.

Children are plot devices to YOU, writers, not to the audience – fictional or not.  Yes, yes, Lily’s at fault, and this storyline is awful no matter what the outcome is supposed to be.  Possible outcomes:  A Lilden reunion?  Holden fighting for custody?  Jack, done with Janet AND Carly, running to Lily’s rescue?  Faith going off the deep end?  Lucinda fighting her daughter for custody?  Mike, leaving town out of a sense of guilt?  Whatever the outcome, it wasn’t worth the tactic taken to advance the storyline.  Shame on you, writers.. SHAME!

The other character making the top of my ‘most annoying list’?  Jack Snyder! The devolution of my feelings for Jack moved from: loving the guy, to feeling sorry for him for always throwing love away to save his pride, to becoming tired of his self-righteous prig attitude, and now I’m at the point of simply despising the man most days.  Jack, for all of his talk of honesty and loyalty, has YET to be faithful to any woman he’s loved.  He’s cheated on every woman he’s dated or married.  With Julia1 it was Carly.  With Carly it was Julia2, until he ‘betrayed’ Julia2 and went back to Carly.  With Katie it was Carly.  With Janet, it’s Carly again.  Jack kissing Carly, behind Janet’s back?  No skin off my nose, but there he is sandwiched between Janet and Carly, telling Carly that she was right about him all along.

Jack’s life is so charmed.  Even when he makes mistakes, good things happen to him.  I could only take his position, sitting between the two women, as evidence that soon Carly and Janet would end up in some deathmatch cage – beating the unholy hell out of one another with each believing that SHE was the better woman for Jack.  Jack would sit back, smiling on the inside/feigning outrage on the outside – and telling the world that he was ‘torn’ between the two women.  He always is.  Whenever he cheats, it’s noble.  He’s torn between two women he “loves”.  Any woman who cheats on him?  She’s just loose and/or cheap.  It must be nice to be Jack Snyder.

Even still, it’s time for the writers to beat back Jack’s cartoonish nature and make him a real man, again.  I can only imagine what a relief it would be to see Jack behave like a romantic lead, once more.  If I never hear Jack screaming at a woman, see him scowling at her, watch him tear a woman down into nothingness… it will be too soon.

Daytime’s Parenting Sweepstakes (Updated)

Bold and Beautiful.  Who’s the bigger loser in the deal, Marcus or Donna?  My money is on Marcus.  WOOHOO, you find your biological mother and she’s a former model, rich as creases, and now in charge of a multimillion dollar conglomerate.  What’s not to love?  Oh, just the fact that she’s nutty as a fruitcake (see Forrester Creations ‘takeover attempt’).  Not enough?  Add that she’s dumb as a stone!  How is it that young Marcus knows enough to be suspicious of Owen and Donna is falling for his act hook, line, and sinker?

If Donna loved her ‘honeybear’ as much as she claims, or her son for that matter, Owen would have been out the door.

All My Children – JR and Adam.  Adam is on the losing side, in this case.  Just how many times can JR turn his back on his father and try to make Adam ‘pay’ for (insert incident)?  His attempts to take over Adam’s company and/or fortune are becoming as commonplace as his change in hairstyles. 

He can forgive Babe for every mean and nasty thing she’s done to him, including having one night stands just weeks after they were married, and running off with his child AND his brother, but Adam is the devil incarnate?  What AMC needs is MORE Adam, and even an Adam clone or two (hint there, JR).  Given what’s transpired on this show the past couple of years, Adam is the least threatening person in Pine Valley… so far…but give him time.

One LIfe To Live – Starr and Todd.  It’s a draw!  The mini-me Starr has become is absolutely intolerable to me.  She’s demanding, obnoxious and completely out of control.  I hate it women, in general, are blamed for their children’s behavior, but I think it works in Starr’s specific case.  Blair shares some of the blame.  Carrying Todd Manning’s genes set Starr up for a very difficult life, to begin with – but there was a least some chance of escaping her destiny to make life miserable for as many people as possible.  Blair hasn’t done Starr any favors by having little-to-no guidelines for developing a sense of self control. 

While Todd moves to one extreme, appointing himself Starr’s Lord and Master, Blair moves too far in the other extreme – wanting to be Starr’s best friend.  Hey, Blair, Starr has enough ‘friends’ – they helped get her in the situation she’s in now.  She could use a parent.  She’s sorely lacking one.  While Starr is working hard trying to place her child for adoption, she should be looking for a placement of her own.  Make sure to take Jack and Sam with you, kid!

As The World Turns – Puberty (Parker and Liberty).  Isn’t it grand that their parents have FINALLY figured out that these kids need supervision, AFTER they were caught in bed together?  Before that?  The only parent who made time for either of them, and tried to keep them in line was Liberty’s father, Brad.   Brad is a lone salmon swimming upstream, when it comes to parenting.  He actually focuses on his daughter more than his own sex life.  Imagine that! 

Oh that Carly and Holden, and Jack and Janet.  Theirs are the ‘F’ bombs that just keep giving and taking.  They get their freak on and their 16 year olds get their freak on in response!  Ain’t that grand?  Summer love never seemed so  backwards.  Well, we know the outcome for OLTL’s  Starr and Cole – a child she wants to give up for adoption, one he wants to keep and raise.  The problem is that the OLTL storyline is weak, and without much merit as an example of the difficulty of teen pregnancy ( read more in the blog below “Jumping the Shark”).  All of the issues that make the OLTL storyline a weak one are issues that make a strong case for a teen pregnancy storyline for ATWT’s lusting cousins, ‘Puberty’.   

Both kids are from families that are hardworking, middle class (lower middle, or upper lower for Liberty and her mother, Janet).  Raising a child WOULD be a struggle for Puberty, neither of which has a trust fund, slew of servants, or enormous mansions to raise their child in.  Both are teens who rushed into sex, even while using birth control that neither probably knew how to use adequately or responsibly enough to be protected. 

There was no emotional commitment between Parker and Liberty prior to having sex.  Would they want to raise a child together?   This pair would give a more realistic look at the emotional angst of having made a decision they weren’t ready for and the angst of dealing with loivng a child enough to give it a great home with parents who were ready to love and care for it.  I’d hate for a Puberty pregnancy storyline (if there was one) to become as sensationalized as Gwen’s pregnancy storyline.  I’d love to see daytime portray teen pregnancy realistically and with great deference to the hardships of real life teen parents.  Since this is daytime, and almost no storyline is offered without controversy, let me offer the following:

Parker could turn to cousin Luke to help him.  He’s not ready to be a father, and yet he’s not ready to see his child placed with strangers. At LEAST two options are now available.

1 – Luke decides to adopt his cousin’s child.  He talks it over with Noah, and Noah agrees to give him whatever help he can.  It leads to them spending more time together and getting even closer – even if they’re not ready to be a full-fledged family.  Can they survive Luke becoming a single father and splitting his time between their relationship and his son?

2 – Luke and Noah decide that they’re ready for a long term commitment and raise the child together, as a family.  They agree to adopt the Puberty baby together.  This storyline, by the way, pulls Luke and Noah out of the ‘late teen’ trap the writers have been keeping them in to avoid their emotional and physical connection – which now makes even less sense given the explicit and graphic Puberty romp. 

In either case, Luke/or Luke and Noah adopt the child, agree to help raise him, and end up fighting Janet  and Brad on the adoption.  Janet opposes for religious reasons.  Brad opposes because he wants custody of the child and plans to raise it with Katie.  Both Liberty and Janet thinks it’s too much to have the child raised as Liberty’s sibling and fight Brad.

What’s that, you ask?  Haven’t NUKE been through enough?  I get the point, and understand why it would be hard to watch another ‘anti’ storyline when it comes to these two, but I think a storyline about adoption could be a great way to address the issue of whether cultural ideas about adoption involving GLBT parents is more myth than reality.   This would be an opportunity for the writers to debunk myths and to open the discussion about the more than a half million children in this country who need homes, and are barred from living in the context of a family with same sex parents because of unfounded fears.

I think the writers have exhausted the focus on Luke and Noah as ‘good guys’ with hearts of gold.  I think they’ve done enough to show us the stereotypes about gay males are just stereotypes.  It’s time to move them into family mode.  It’s time to fully integrate these characters and give them a meaty storyline that isn’t just about ‘coming out’ and dealing with ‘being out’.  They’re out.  It’s time for them to become as real as any other character on canvas.

Update:  I’ve just been informed that Noah is roughly 20, Luke 19.  It wouldn’t make much of a difference to have Nuke become parents at such a young age instead of Puberty.  Too bad the writers haven’t SORASed them as they have so many others.  Nuke, mid 20s?  They’d make great parents.  It’s just a few short years away.