Points to ponder – All Soaps

*YnR’s NuMalcolm?  Not workin’.  I’m trying, folks, I really am, but as good as it is to see Darius McCrary on screen again, this was just the wrong role to cast him in. Though… given the choice between keeping him as Malcolm and keeping KC’s Lily, he wins hands down!  Malcolm Winters was an iconic character and unfortunately, McCrary’s interpretation falls flat.  I’ve seen McCrary’s work in other projects (including CBS’s Cold Case) and he’s been very good.  Something about this role just doesn’t seem to translate well for the actor.

* If GH’s “Franco” came to town because he’s totally obsessed with Jason:

1.  Why was it necessary to have Maxie pimped out and risk her relationship with Spinelli?  His focus has been Jason the entire time.  The side story involving Maxie just doesn’t make sense and seems to be an awful waste of a couple (Maxelli) and a character (Franco).  It served no purpose.

2.  How can Jason be considered a ‘good guy’ when his actions capture  the imagination of a ‘psychotic’ killer?  Jason’s murderous exploits have made him an international icon for blood thirsty criminals?  Some hero!

3.  Why didn’t TPTB just name him Franco Guza?  It would make sense of Franco’s obsession with Jason and the Suckpranos.  It would have felt more honest.  It’s art, seemingly, imitating life.

* Why aren’t the BnB”s Logan women allowed to confront sister Katie with her penchant for betraying her family for the love of  her latest squeeze?  Katie is 2 for 2, right now, and I’m getting tired of her whining and moaning about how SHE’S been betrayed.  Put that attitude away Katie, and if you need help figuring out where to put it, just ask!

*  Does anyone else think that ATWT’s Simon and Henry would make a far hotter couple than Luke and Noah?   I’m so tired of the on-again-off-again nature of the Nuke relationship that I’m ready to see ATWT’s PTB replace them, NOW.  Pay attention ATWT’s writers.  OLTL’s writers are separating the men from the boys and writing a real relationship between two characters – who just happen to be gay. Watch and learn… Speaking of OLTL:

* Why the hell did OLTL’s Bo hand Dorian back the only piece of evidence that could convict his niece of stabbing Mitch Laurence?  Was that supposed to be a sign of his honesty and integrity?  It felt more like evidence of his sheer stupidity,  especially since it’s becoming painfully clear to others that Dorian is Mitch’s puppet.

As for Dorian Lord, she is nothing if not devious.  I’m not too thrilled with the image of a helpless Dorian Lord constantly caving in to Mitch’s demands.  At what point does she put her years of mischief-making to use and takes Mitch down?  I’m shocked by the fact that I like seeing Dorian on top, Mayor and chief power broker in Llanview, but I do.  Why have that ruined by having her behave like a skittish child, jumping at the sight of her own shadow?  MORE kick-ass Dorian, LESS kiss-ass Dorian, please.

* Doesn’t anyone else  ever get tired of hearing the BnB’s taylor whine about how Brooke stole her life, and made her miserable?  Even I can agree with her that that situation with Jack was traumatic.  I sure as hell wouldn’t have wanted to give birth to the biological child of a woman I hated.    Taylor didn’t sign on to be a surrogate.  She had in vitro in order to have a family with Nick.  The child she carried was supposed to be HER child.  I get it, but the problem with her whining is that Brooke didn’t cause taylor to ‘lose’ her son.  Taylor chose to give him away.  She also chose to continue to try to compete with Brooke for Ridge – even when Ridge  made it CLEAR that it was Brooke he loved.  You can’t ask the woman to stay out of your life, and then constantly throw yourself in the middle of her life and call yourself a victim.

* Why do DAYS writers continue to make my skin crawl by having EJ touch Sami?  Yes, yes… he was only comforting her after she received a call from Sydney’s kidnapper…. it’s just that every time he goes near her, I see him holding her at gunpoint.   I hear him  telling her that the only way to save  Lucas is to let him violate her.  Every touch makes my skin crawl.  Has Sami forgotten how she ended up pregnant with  EJ’s spawn (cutie that she is) and the one before her?  C’mon writers,  give Sami her dignity back and have her tell EJ to keep his gun-toting rapist paws off of her.  Her confused ‘feelings’ are degrading and humiliating to watch, speaking as a woman.

Hey, if the actor involved can admit it was rape (comment below from a James Scott interview),

I would be lying if I said I didn’t worry about my future on the soap. I don’t think they handled the rape very well, and I’ll tell you why. EJ raped Sami, and then afterwards, he’s hanging out in her house — alone with her. It’s irresponsible on so many levels. However, had it been handled well, I think it would have been an interesting story choice. Now the story focus has shifted to her pregnancy and the classic soap story of paternity. Having said that, I chose to believe that EJ is in love with Samantha — he just can’t communicate it.

and TPTB can admit it was rape, it was RAPE.  He forced her to have sex with him to save the life of the man she loved. You can read a decidedly pro EJami Wikipedia entry with Scott’s comments HERE (that is until someone decides to try to delete the comment).

As for DAYS increasingly dwindling ratings fortunes, is it any wonder that the new  focus on Sami and EJ is linked to a rather rapid ratings slide for the show? Good luck selling Ej and Sami as anything other than what they really are:  a victim and her obsessive, stalking, rapist.

* For most of the year (plus), All My Children has been largely unwatchable.   Color me surprised when I got gooey and nostalgic for Hayley and Mateo’s return (more Hayley than Mateo).  Watching Adam soften while talking with Hayley and joke about knowing something about raising  ‘difficult children’ was the most priceless moment of that episode for me – Hayley of the dyed dark punk rock hair, now a mother with a wild child of her own.  I thought about Brian Bodine,  Uncle Pork Chop (Trevor), Natalie down the well, Janet from another Planet, Adam’s dark dark days (which really were different from just his ‘dark’ days), Stuart and Cindy, scheming Arlene Vaughn, the Santos family – even preachy mom and dad, Edmund and Maria, Erica and Dimitri, Bad girl Kendall and sweetheart Del Cooney, The Martin clan, Jeremy, Laurel and her brother Michael, Cliff and Nina,  Palmer and Daisy, The Montgomery Brothers and their feud, Brooke English, Phoebe and  Langley, Chuck and Tara,  Beloved Mona and Myrtle, Ellen and Devon, Mark Dalton, Tom and Sean Cudahy, and so much more… sheesh).  I know that not all of the above mentioned characters were on screen at the same time but just those few moments with Adam and Hayley opened a stream of AMC consciousness  and I felt warm all over.   I miss All my Children – the real All my Children.

* At some point, BnB’s Brooke Logan’s children are going to have to acknowledge (or learn) that there was NO WAR between their mother and Stephanie Douglas.  Stephanie has been on the attack against Brooke almost from the moment she met her.  Brooke has tried in vain to make peace and keep peace.  Brooke does not seek Stephanie out to hurt her or make her miserable as Stephanie has done with her.  Brooke hasn’t made a point of trying t0  publicly expose Stephanie for whatever her wrongdoings are – and there are many.  Brooke hasn’t tried to turn Stephanie’s children against her, as Stephanie has tried to do with Brooke’s children.

To allow Brooke’s children to continue to think of Stephanie as ‘human’ feels like one of the daytime’s biggest lies.  Theirs has been daytime’s biggest farce of a rivalry.  A rivalry would require TWO participants.  It would require balance.  It has neither.  In any other galaxy, Stephanie would be acknowledged as the psychotic villainess -bully she’s always been.  Calling Stephanie a victim of Brooke’s would be the same as calling GH’s Helena Cassadine a victim of Alexis Davis… Hels only slit Alexis’ mother’s throat in front of her when she was a child and threatened her life every single day from that moment on.  The warm and toasty moments between Brooke’s children and the dragon lady leaves me switching channels.  When a crazed bee-yotch hands your mother an unregisted gun, while wearing white gloves, and tries to get her to take her life, she’s not your friend.  She’s not like a mother to you, she’s not human.  When that same woman facilitates your mother’s rape, you’re not suposed to ask her to be a part of your children’s lives.  Come on BnB writers, get a grip.

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In for a Penny, in for a Pound: Diversity in Daytime

Victoria, Rowell, the ex- Drucilla Winters. This image may be subject to copyright - all rights retained by the original owner

The SON commnunity has been having  a wonderful discussion about diversity stemming from Christel Khalil’s interview.   I thought I would post some ‘final thoughts’ (HA!) about the matter:

YnR writers aren’t writing ‘color blind’ storylines, in my opinion. I would love to believe that CK’s Lily is the perfect example of  ‘post racial’ storyline telling.  It would make sense if it were true of all storylines regarding all characters.  As it stands, only Lily is the ‘integrated character’… and for what reason?  To what end?  Not in the history of daytime has any non-minority character shared screen time almost exclusively with minority characters, to the exclusion of all other non-minority characters.  That’s not ‘integration’.  That’s not ‘color blind’ storytelling.  I think it’s a travesty and it sells the audience short to think we wouldn’t notice.

Bear with me as I do something I rarely do in this blog, at least, and that’s comment on my perceptions of an actor’s talent.   I find the writers pushing CK’s Lily to the exclusion of almost all other multicultural characters especially  troubling because, in my opinion, I find CK’s performances LIFELESS!  I honest to goodness don’t know how anyone avoids holding a mirror to her face to check for breathing whenever she’s not speaking.  Her inflections feel wrong in pretty much every scene and I think her acting choices leave A LOT to be desired.  I think CK’s Lily sucks the breath out of every scene she’s in.   Any male paired with her becomes the same walking sleeping pill she is.

Kristoff St. John probably whizzes away more talent after a stiff drink than CK will ever have – pardon the coarse expression. Victoria Rowell could sleepwalk and do a better job.  Yet, neither actor is around to do a darned thing, with the exception of KSJ’s far too infrequent appearances, because the writers seem to believe that their ‘diversity standard’ is set by Lily and that the diversity the Winters family once provided is no longer needed.

The Winters as a family was beloved and embraced by fans because they were authentic in representing the spectrum of life that most families have, including African-American family-  Bless Bill Bell for knowing that and giving us:

  • Neil, straight-laced high achieving all around good guy.   He is sometimes a little too impressed with the sound of his own voice and his own magnificence, but he means well.
  • Dru, reformed from her bad girl days, criminal record, rejected child acting out.  She was a screwed up child who became an extraordinary woman.  I could EASILY cut away three or more characters from YnR to have her back… EASILY.  She was worth every one of them PLUS!
  • Olivia, another high achieving privileged first born.  Olivia was  a bit of a judgmental prig and the thought that Liv and Neil would have eventually gotten together was enough to make me shudder.  They would have been daytime’s first African-American stuporcouple.
  • Malcolm, wild child, playboy/sexgod/work in progress and still a man with a good heart.  I never knew whether to root for him to be redeemed or for him to continue on in his naughty naughty ways!
  • Mamie, loving and devoted aunt, not a lot of money or education, but she’s gives all the right things. She takes in the unwanted, unloved Dru and helps her turn her life around.  When the writers focused on her relationship with Dru and Liv, she was the middle class version of ‘Auntie Mame‘.
  • Nate, a good guy who had a rough start in life but turned everything around.    Nate had ‘rootability’ from the beginning, in my book.  He had to be Dru’s hero, and I’m glad that he was.  Each of us probably knows a RL ‘Nate’, a man who took back his life and ‘made good’.
  • I’m still wishing for ‘Little Nate’s’ return.  I wonder what he would make of his family, now.
  • And now Devon rounds out the family (not sure if he was Bill Bell’s creation or not, but I’m glad he’s on board).   College student, survivor, a little screwed up, but he completes the family.

Nate Sr. has died, Malcolm is off in the world,  and I have no idea where Mamie is (forgot).  Devon and Neil are occasionally  seen.
Everyone else? Traded in and we’re left with  LILY.
What a slap!

Regarding MarkH’s insightful question of whether Dru’s presence made  Olivia’s introduction possible?  Was Olivia more acceptable because of Dru?

Dru wasn’t the ‘default standard’, for me. I loved the way the two sisters complemented one another. I wouldn’t have wanted EITHER woman, alone. Liv, the accomplished doctor, who was still a little too ‘sorority girl’ (along with Ashley – they were so sappy sweet together, I developed cavities when they were on screen together). Then there was Dru, the street kid.

Dru was never ‘good enough’ for her mother.  Her mother never wanted to have another child after the perfect LIV and didn’t so much as notice that her daughter couldn’t read.   Liv was the heir, Dru was the spare. It’s such a classic ‘family’ story (not just “African-American” story) and it was wonderful to see these two sisters play off of one another, genuinely loving one another but being divided by the strife their mother created.

Minorities/underrepresented groups so rarely get to have the balanced portrayals that non-minority groups do that we’re caught struggling with our feelings about the few characters who are supposed to represent us.  Drucilla alone feels like a cruel joke – daytime writers once again indulging their fantasies about who black women are. Olivia alone feels somewhat like a different kind of repudiation of culture (much like Lily). Bill Bell was master enough to appreciate that and I think he really understood that in both simple and complex ways that the current YnR writers are ignorant of, or seem to be.

OLTL writers ” got it” and provided balance with the ‘good sib’ and the ‘troubled sib’. It’s how they wrote: Nate and RJ Gannon, and Cristian and Antonio (as well as Vicki and Todd, and Natalie and Jessica).