Nobody Does It Better: Look and Learn

It’s not often that I actually praise a soap in its entirety.  OLTL is good, and I enjoy more of the show than I dislike of it… but it’s not GREAT.  Which soap is, in my opinion?  Hands down,  Days of Our Lives has to be the best overall soap in daytime!  It’s such a great soap that the things I hate about it are the things you’re SUPPOSED to hate about a soap or about the show’s characters.   What makes DAYS such a great soap?  Two words:  consistency and BALANCE!

What can drive you crazy about some soaps (YnR, BnB, and GH) is that they lack balance.  On the Bell soaps especially, the soap winds blow in only one direction.  Either most characters are happy, or they’re all miserable.  Bell soaps are tragic drama… minus the drama.  Can you think of a week in which BnB spoilers didn’t suggests that a ‘couple would be torn apart’?  Can you think of  a week, on the BnB especially, in which characters weren’t uttering dialogue that is deeply inconsistent from the week before?  How does Thorne Forrester shift from being tired of always being thought of as a last place loser in his family, to applauding having his ex-sister-in-law/former fiancee becoming a quarter owner in his FAMILY’S company?  The YnR?  Between the cancer storyline, the switched identities, Ashley having yet another breakdown, and the dead-for-live baby swap, watching the YnR could counteract the strongest prescribed anti-depressant.  GH?  There’s hope for the show… just very little of it.  GH may as well have been taped in a dark studio, with night vision cameras.   Given how heavy the show is, the change in lighting couldn’t possibly hurt.  For these three soaps, it’s the same stuff, different day.

One Life to Live,  All My Children and As The World Turns are shows that have balance, but lack consistency.  The storylines change too quickly and by the time you become use to the direction of a storyline, it changes gear – in some  cases that’s a good thing.  I don’t know how many more months of Dorian knuckling under to Mitch Lawrence’s demands I could stand.  Another week of JPL’s ‘Rex’ trying to emote as a ‘troubled and angry’ man and I really would have needed stitches from laughing.  What was the point of introducing Allison Perkins?  On ATWT, the ‘spare tissue’ pregnancy Janet suggested and was then shot down almost immediately?  EH!  (and who doesn’t already know that Janet will end up pregnant, anyway?)  There’s a lot going on with the three shows above, but it’s almost as if the writers are overwhelmed and aren’t keeping track of who said what, and when.

While DAYS held on far too long to the ‘Sydnapping’ storyline, overall, the fact that the show has been consistent and balanced allowed fans, like myself, who were tired of the storyline to focus on something else.  Knowing, last month, that the storyline would continue a while longer, I began tuning it out and focusing on other big onscreen news.  I don’t know what it is about ‘Daniel’ and ‘Melanie’, but I think it’s sheer genius to pair them together as father and daughter (and yes, I’ve been reminded that she once flirted with him when neither knew they were related).  Something about his presence in her life finishes Mel’s character profile out nicely.  She’s been two characters in one during her tenure at DAYS. There is the manipulating and selfish Mel, and then there is the vulnerable and melancholy Mel.  In some ways he softens Mel, but she does the same for him.  Shawn Christian (as Daniel) hit his stride perfectly in the hospital visitation  scenes, after finding out that Melanie was his child.  His eyes were soft and a bit weepy, his tone of voice was relaxed, and it was easy to believe that he was in awe of the young woman in front of him, one he’d only recently found carried his genes in her DNA.  That he was the doctor who operated on her and saved her life made the scene all the more meaningful.  Melanie  looked vulnerable and frail and in need of someone to protect her.  He looked ready for the job. Priceless.

And if it must be mentioned…

The kidnapping storyline is done, sorta’.  Anna will finally wise up and realize that EJ is capable of using and abusing anyone, until he no longer needs them, and she’s included in that number.  When he’s done with you, you’re on  your own.  Too bad for EJ  (but great for fans) that Anna isn’t a willing victim.  For those of you who don’t know (spoiler alert, stop reading here… I warned ya’!), it’s Anna who will make sure that Nicole is freed of all charges and allowed to resume her life in Salem.  Ej, you schmuck!  You had it coming.  So the question is, with Nicole’s return, how does EJ get busted for the kidnapping of his infant daughter?

1.  Rafe, hottie hot hot, to the rescue?  Rafe figures it all out and makes sure Sami knows what a low life EJ is?  Sami tends to forget that fact of life when she allows EJ to play on her desperation.

2.  Nicole is redeemed, to a degree, by joining forces with Brady and they bring the news to Sami and Rafe?  Sorry Arianne Hernandez, with Nicole’s return, I’m hoping your DAYS are numbered… Phillip will probably be free soon – give him a call.

3.  A dark horse candidate emerges.  Stefano learns from Anna – who is by now hiding out in a bunker and out of Dimera reach, about EJ’s dastardly plan.  He realizes that his son was willing to hurt him in among the worst ways possible and decides to deal with EJ his own way…by throwing him to the wolves!

I’m partial to the third option.  I’d love to see Stefano strip Ej of his money and power.  DAYS’ writers have been relatively creative in their storytelling.  What could they do with a powerless EJ, who no longer has the ability to manipulate and/or offend the women of Salem?  The writers could continue to move EJ on to the next storyline but in the end  what good would it do if Ej isn’t completely deconstructed and rebuilt?  He’s currently an (evil) freakshow!  What would life look like from the other side, a man without resources at the mercy of the power brokers?  Nothing could give him greater insight into what his negative influence has been over others  than having him fend for himself against the next ‘Ej Dimera’.  His deconstruction could also lead him to find real love for the first time, a woman he doesn’t have to force to have sex with him.

Other DAYS questions:

Can Chloe and Daniel survive his strong-willed adult daughter?  Chloe isn’t too much older than Melanie and she may not think his penchant for younger women is so cute now that she can’t date him (and excuse me… EWWWW!)   At some point, Melanie will most likely forgive Carly for allowing Lawrence to give her away and leave her at the mercy of her adoptive father.  When she does, will she want to see her parents together and fulfill a childhood fantasy of having a mother and father who love her and are part of a complete and  loving family?

Will the writers break up Phillip and Melanie for Nathan and Melanie, or will Melanie begin to realize that she does love Phillip.  I’m on Team Nathan, but I do think it would be a more interesting storyline to have Phillip be a ‘good guy’ who genuinely loves Mel and wants to save his marriage to her without resorting to going to his ‘dark place’ to make it happen.  The best triangles keep you rooting for everyone involved.

With Hope defending Bo and asserting that he is (professionally) an ethical man, will Bo begin to realize that he may be professionally ethical but that he’s lacking personally?  For most of their adult lives, Hope has been defending their marriage against each of Bo’s new ‘great loves’ and any children that are born or resurface as a result.    He has yet to have to do the same because she has centered her life around him.  Is there some point in his life when he realizes that he’s taken more from his marriage than he’s ever given to Hope?

I could do this all day with Days of Our Lives.  Each storyline offered is one that poetnitally generates an entirely new group of storylines.  Days writers thank you for the use of both veterans balanced against the introduction of newbies.  My only criticism… Abe… Lexie… MORE please!   DAYS is the only show consistently posting large gains in viewership over the year before.  Daytime writers… watch… learn… emulate!

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Ratings – sometimes it sucks to be right!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are The Bold and The Beautiful’s DAYS numbered?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Brooke and taylor angle was wretched, because:

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

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

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

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

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

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

As an aside… DAYS writers?

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

DAYS – post John and Marlena

Somehow I thought the first non-John and Marlena day would be different. Nope, nothing.  Nothing’s changed – the sets are the same; the dialogue is the same; characters are still lying, cheating, and scheming; the sun still shines in Salem; Stefano is still an evil bastard; Sami is still “real” pregnant; Nicole is still fake pregnant… and yet everything’s changed. 

I had a love – hate relationship with John and Marlena, even though they were the heart of the show (along with Bo and Hope, Patch and Kayla, and other core families).   Their  love storyline had it all: romance, realism, surrealism, making up, breaking up, making up again – it was all there.  I hated the possession storyline.  Roman Brady becoming John Black didn’t thrill me either.  Drake Hogestyn’s  ‘John’ was first a Brady, then a man with no identity, an Alamain, and finally a Dimera.  Fans needed to wear a  neckbrace to keep up with the changes in John’s backstory as those changes went whizzing  by.  None of the worst of the John and Marlena storylines, however, came close to outweighing what was good about them. They are and always will be legendary.

It’s possible that DAYS will find the ‘new’ John and Marlena, on the cheap, but will it matter?  The ‘new’ and presumably cheaper John and Marlena won’t be able to provide the show the one thing fans are unwavering in wanting – a link to history.  Their relationship ended the era of the Roman-Marlena relationship that it intially gave rebirth to.  They introduced new legacy characters (including Belle Black, whose relationship with Shawn Brady was legendary in it’s own way).  They helped keep tradition, being part of the Brady-Horton clan. For decades, their marriage was at times as real as anyone else’s.  How do you replace that?  How do you appropriately celebrate their relationship with the fans (and their onscreen  relationship with one another) if you’re foolish enough to think you can replace them?  The uber genius minds at Serial Drama addressed the cheesy send off the couple,  barely, received from Corday and crew.  

Sad, huh?  I wouldn’t be surprised if we later find out TPTB didn’t want to spend the cash paying staff writers to write a more fitting goodbye for the couple.  Four words for you: monkeys, typewriters, locked room.  Makes sense to me!

On Monday, the first John and Marlena free day, the first day we knew they wouldn’t walk on set again, I wondered how the summary writers would describe their last day… behold:

John recovers his memories, but may remain nothing but a physical vegetable from the neck down. Marlena decides that cannot happen. Time being of the essence, Marlena takes charge and decides to go with John to Europe for treatment. John and Marlena share heartfelt goodbyes with Brady, Roman, and Kayla. Even Stefano shows up, and is upset when he is given the cold shoulder. Before leaving, John and Marlena are married once again in an emotional impromptu ceremony.

Let’s hope the summary writers are interns and not staff writers, or we’re doomed!  I thought about how symbolic their last onscreen days were and  wondered if the writers weren’t Freudian slipping all over their own manuscript.   John’s ‘physical vegetable’ state is symbolic of the writers’ own.  He is unable to move and is in need of rehab, as they have bee unable to move DAYS away from the ratings dive it’s been in for years – oh yes, I  also think there’s a strong need for rehab in the writers room.  Might I suggest a creative writing workshop?  Or two?  Or three?  Or…?  Once strong, virile, able to withstand any attack, John was weakened and in need of life support.  Uh huh.. .CHECK!  Ditto on the show.  John remembered when he woke up from his ordeal.  He remembered the glorious times that he shared with Marlena.

That’s where the analogy breaks down a bit.  I have a hard time believing that TPTB can remember how important their history was and still let them go.

As with John and Marlena leaving everything behind, their social support network, the family members who would embrace and love them; the writers and TPTB are leaving behind its offscreen family:  Deidre Hall, Drake Hogestyn, and the viewers who are now experiencing a gaping hole in what was once a strong family network.   For as much as I love most of the Days’ cast, there are at least a half dozen actors/characters I would get rid of before I got rid of John and Marlena. 

 I’m convinced that what’s helped keep the Young and the Restless and The Bold and The Beautiful at the top of the soap genre for nearly two decades is the commitment both serials have shown to their veterans.  Those of us who watch know that those shows ‘feel’ the same in many ways, today,  as the day we started watching them (though the YnR, I think, is risking its status as it continues to add so many newbies – I’m still impressed at the slower integration of newbies by the YnR than by shows like Days Of Our Lives).

Daytime is not drawing in the younger, “hipper” viewers daytime execs and advertisers seem to crave.  It’s time for them to face reality and work with what they have.  To do so would mean to stop killing off and getting rid of veteran characters who have name and face recognition in favor of the pretty-but-pointless.  Stop assuming that we want the ‘new’ John and Marlena, when love or hate them, we’re not done with the John and Marlena we already have.

There’s seemingly no hope for saving soaps.  To get rid of long loved characters at this stage of the game seems senseless.  If you must send off fan favorites to make room for more muck and dread, give our beloveds the proper send off they deserve so that we can think of them fondly, and lovingly, and have fewer negative feelings about the fan loss you’ve engineered. 

It would be nice to see them back on screen, soon.  Whether or not that happens, Thank you, Diedre Hall for giving life to Marlena Evans.  Thank you, Drake Hogestyn, for giving life to John Black  OH! And for the occasional shirtless scene.  I’m still shallow!  I hope to see both again, soon, if not on Days, somewhere in daytime or primetime.  What a loss to the genre they helped keep profitable for so many years.

Bitch goddery

There’s a quiet revolution taking place in daytime and I love being part of it – if only as a viewer. Daytime writers have been slowly kicking up the bitch goddess factor..

DAYS offers the ever deceptive and self sabotaging Nicole Walker Dimera. You can read more about her in previous S&F blogs.

The YnR offers Phyllis Newman – maneater and also a master of the self-inflicted wound. In her effort to manipulate her husband into staying with her, her attacks on his wronged ex-wife will most likely result in his return to said ex-wife Sharon Newman Abbott.

OLTL’s Tea Delgado just helped free Todd, who recently violated his former rape victim. That storyline I could do without. It’s enough to make me want to revoke her bitch goddess status. She is, however, using that bit of tasteless work as cover for going after a different target – another potentially innocent woman who is the victim of a questionable man. Oh Tea. While I don’t like her behavior, it’s been a while since we’ve seen such a powerful and devious woman in daytime. We typically get one or the other.

ATWT’s Carly Tenney is getting back into fighting form. Instead of crying about Jack Snyder moving on, she’s handing his ass back to him on a platter when he attacks her. Watching her stick it to the self-righteous prig this past week was the best gift the writers could have given Carly fans like myself.

GH’s Natalia Livingston is coming back as an angry maniplator instead of the sainted Emily Quartermaine at a time when GH has lost all of it’s truly bad ‘bad girls’ (and still I cry – Emily always put me in the mood to chew glass.). I reserve the right to believe that NL’s return could be interesting and Emily free.

So far, not a whiner in the bunch: just tough smart and dangerous women. If only we could make them sisters on the same soap, the BnB perhaps…and make Pam Douglas their tough-as-nails mother…you know, since her tumor was removed and she’s no longer psychotic. Sorta’

MAGIC! GL-GH-ATWT-DAYS- AMC

Gudiing Light

Crude?  Yes, and forgive me, but what the hell are the Foley boys packing in their pants? It must be magic! Cyrus supported freeing his pathologically criminal brother – Tammy’s murderer, and Cassie finds herself covering for Cyrus, knowing he’d stolen her neighbor’s stereo.  Oh, wait… ‘swoon’… he broke into her neighbor’s house for HER SAKE!  Yes, she was ‘grateful’/’impressed’ that he did it after she complained about the noise the neighbor made blasting the blessed thing all night long.  She even gives Cyrus a key to her home to come and go!  Her son RJDOES still live with her, right?  OY! There’s dumb, and then there’s Cassie. Another move made FAR too soon.  It’s tough enough to not lose lunch over the Cyrus/Cassie friendship, but that she’s not giving him a key to come and go from her home?  I don’t think so.

As The World Turns

Whatever the Foley boys are packing, the Snyder boys must have it too- only twice as much! For the first time in a LONG time, I didn’t feel sickened watching a Jack Snyder scene.  (The Snyder pants magic must be working on me, and I’ve never slept with a Snyder… oh yeah, they’re just THAT good!)  Jack was so sweet and so caring to Carly that I couldn’t believe it was the same man.  I’m chalking it up to Jack being down on his luck and feeling bad about his role in hiding evidence in Brad’s assault case.  The sure sign Jack is packing ‘magic’?  Carly tells Janet that she (Janet) is ‘good’ for Jack even if he doesn’t yet know it.  Sure, the first wife always happily passes her ex on to a woman whose behavior is equally outrageous and who doesn’t have to suffer the same verbal abuse she did.  Carly playing matchmaker to Jack and Janet?  Toothpicks in the eyes folks, toothpicks in the eyes!  Something I hope to never see again!

What I’d rather remember is that there was a brief and shining moment when I liked Jack – when he seemed human again.  Those moments never last long but they’re golden when they happen.

Days Of Our Lives

Bo-Hope fans have been debating about the promotion to top cop and asking why Hope hasn’t finally been advanced to top cop in the Salem PD.   Good question. For some, the answer is simple.  She doesn’t have the same work history.  I thought about how disturbing it is that the writers have been so inconsistent about Hope and her commitment to her job.  She’s been kidnapped, lost her memory, home raising children, home mourning lost children, you name it – it’s happened.  The oddity is that through most of that, Bo was at her side. He hasn’t exactly been on the job much more than Hope.  Putting my two cents in, I would have loved to have seen Hope rise in ranks.  Salem is going to need a tough top cop to deal with what’s coming…. tease tease tease…

Speaking of teasing… so, Days writers, What the hell?  The Nicole Film Noir episode was one of the BEST episodes of the last year (maybe two) in daytime.  It was funny, dramatic, sweet, and all around high brow storytelling… it was MAGIC (had to throw that in there).  I loved that fact that her Film Noir fantasy kept Philip Kiriakis captive.  He couldn’t tear himself away from her tale of lust, love, betrayal, and M-U-R-D-E-R – neither could I!  Nicole, casting herself in the role of loving and faithful wife, EJ as the smarmy cheating husband, Sami as the squeaking voiced addle-headed man stealer… WOW! 

Fan tribute featuring critical scenes:

Direct link for those who can’t play the above video.  Click HERE

Well done.  Was there anyone who doubted that Sami would come to a tragic end in Nicole’s story?  Loved it.  I wish more daytime writers gave their actors a chance to stretch – step out of their traditional roles. If any soap could earn a “Best Drama” Emmy from so few scenes, Days of Our Lives is the odds on favorite!

What does DAYS have going for it these days? Nicole ‘Snarky’ Walker.  Hers are the only scenes you’ll kick yourself for Fast-Forwarding!  Here is a collection of scenes (past and present).  Zuker’s return has brought with it a strong fresh wind!  Whatever TPTB have paid her?  It’s just not enough.

General Hospital

How cute were Dr. Drake and Dr. Scorpio in their discussion about naming baby Drake-Scorpio/ Scorpio-Drake?  If nothing else on GH works, Robin and Patrick always will (though, I probably shouldn’t have written it down).  I have the worst timing and I usually end up on the wrong side of soap history.  The minute I love it, the writers have grown tired of it and kill what I love.  This time, however, I have to believe that the writers aren’t going to shake apart this family tree.  They’ve done enough by destroying CarJax.  They wouldn’t dare touch Patrick and Robin, and baby Scorpio-Drake, would they?  Oy.

I’m tempted to give up on my theory that Laura is a figment of Lulu’s imagination, especially after yesterday’s meeting between Laura and Lulu, and the doctor.  Something was just a little sketchy there, folks.  I guess we’ll find out what that is later.   Ok, even I can admit that it’s FAR less likely to be the case, now.

All My Children

Bianca returns AND she’s bringing back a girlfriend (No, not Maggie).  For those who haven’t heard, Bianca comes back with friend/love interest ‘Reese’, as played by Tamara Braun (GH, ex-Carly Corinthos #2).  Tamara Freakin’ BRAUN?  What, is it my birthday?  Ms Braun was completely and utterly wasted on Days of Our Lives.  The storyline never fit the character.  Ava’s storyline started out pretty bad, and quickly went downhill from there.

Bianca is always a welcome sight for the sore eyes of AMC fans, who love and miss their faves as much as any other fanbase.  I’m most curious about how the fans will receive Ms. Braun, especially given  her ties to Bianca.  Both women, Eden Riegel and T. Braun, are fearless actresses.  Now what they need are fearless writers to give them a storyline bold enough to pull AMC out of the ratings lower deck… hell, ALL AMC characters need a fearless team of writers to return the show to its former glory… DOUBLE HELL, all of DAYTIME needs fearless writers to get the genre out of the ratings basement.