Nuke countdown… 5 4 3 2….

Comparing individuals who are part of minority groups is usually a bit paternalistic and as a person of color I try to avoid it whenever possible.  There are times, however, when  comparisons are useful to illustrate a point.  I remember watching Day of Our Lives, not long after learning about the cancellation of As The World Turns and watching Crystal Chappell at work in the reprised role of  ‘Carly Manning Alamain’.  I immediately started thinking about the reported deleted scene from the last episode of  The Guiding Light, one in which Olivia gave Natalia a kiss on the cheek as Rafe boarded the bus on his way to basic training, and to begin his new life.  It was  cut – for some unknown reason… uh huh…  As I thought about that deleted scene, I wondered if As The World Turns writers would follow The Guiding Light’s lead; specifically, are  As The World Turns writers running out the clock on Nuke?  Despite the numerous opportunities to make Otalia a full-fledged couple, like any other, Guiding Light writers waited until the last episodes to let fans know that the couple  would, off screen, make it while building their new family.  I suspect that Nuke is headed for the same fate.

Luke and Noah’s relationship started as a  groundbreaking event in daytime – U.S. soaps first openly gay male couple.  Unfortunately, there seems to have been more smoke for the couple on paper than anything that approximated fire onscreen.  Onscreen, short of an occasional kiss and the implication that  sex had occurred, it would have be pretty difficult for those who are sporadic viewers, or viewers flipping through channels,  to not mistake Luke and Noah for siblings (right down to the scary proposition that Lily and Damian ‘adopt’ Noah, making Luke his lover’s legal brother).  To think that Jerry Springer doesn’t even write for As the World Turns– at least not in his own name.

When I think about the difference between the way the One Life to Live writers approach the Kish (Kyle and Oliver Fish) relationship, I’m both in awe, and feel a bit of bitter disappointment about Nuke.  The problems with the Kish storyline have  nothing to do with character  sexuality.  The writers have potentially weakened the Kish dynamic by glossing over Kyle’s earlier blackmail of Natalie Buchanan and Jared Banks, and his willingness to torment a fragile Jessica Buchanan with the loss of yet another child.  They’ve glossed over his involvement with Stacy in deceiving Rex and Gigi regarding Shane’s treatment and recovery.  Of course, Stacy is still an evil bitch, and  Kyle has been redeemed as a misguided and desperate pawn.  The writers have glossed over the batshit crazy  Kyle’s sister brought to screen and dropped any possible exploration of whether or not he’d been covering his involvement with her all this time.  Right now it seems to be the case that he genuinely had nothing to do with her – but shouldn’t there be some lingering doubt?

It would have been quite an interesting dynamic to watch the above board, letter-of-the-law Oliver Fish reconcile his regard for law and his deep love for Kyle.  (Yet another common thread with As The World Turns.  I immediately began thinking of Carly Tenney and her “G Man” Jack Snyder.)   I’d love to see a more nuanced relationship in which we’re rooting for Oliver’s happiness and wanting Kyle to be the right man for him, but never knowing if he should or  would ever, be able to trust Kyle.  Is Kyle with Oliver because he loves him, or is he with Oliver to fool everyone into thinking that he’s turned over a new leaf?

The role that should have gone to Kyle is now being played out by seemingly devious Nick – who listens at doorways and seems to always be involved in some underhanded plot.  Oliver is still the good guy – trusting, hopeful, willing to believe in his love with Kyle and the bond he’s sure they share.  I’ve been ambivalent about the rush job on Kish, for the reasons mentioned above, and yet still find myself rooting for them and wanting to kick Nick’s backside right out the door.   If only there was some audience participation software that would have allowed me to give Roxy (and by extension One Life to Live writers) a high five when she observantly figured out that there’s something not quite right about Nick and that he could spell big trouble for Kish.  The writers rarely allow our girl to be that observant!

What I appreciate most about the Kish/Nick storyline is that it’s a formula  linked to a tried and true daytime staple.  We’ve seen it a million times before, the lover on the outside wants in.  An illness/injury/spat of amnesia leads the lover on the outside (Nick in this case)  to use the condition to keep the unsuspecting target  (Kyle) close. Only the target’s partner (Oliver) realizes what’s going on while the target repeatedly sides with the lover on the outside.  Sooner or later Kyle and Oliver will end up fighting over Oliver’s not-so-insane jealously over Nick and mistrust of Nick and Kyle together.  The distance between the young lovers will grow while Nick stands in the background smirking and plotting even further.  Just when it seems that our young lovers will work their way back to one another, Nick will probably figure out that Stacy is pregnant with Oliver’s child and break the couple up ‘for good’, picking up the pieces and moving on with Kyle for as long as they last.

The writers have very quietly and cleverly done in months what years of pseudo-activism on As The World Turns has failed to do with Nuke.  Carlivarti and crew have made it clear that Kish is just like everyone else, in all the ways that matter.   When it was evident that As The World Turns writers would create a teen pregnancy storyline with Liberty, I’d hoped that Luke and Noah, with a little magical same-character-SORASing, would step in as the child’s adoptive parents.  I wanted them to be a family, together, and to learn that it wasn’t as easy being in love as they’d thought, but fighting to remain committed to one another and growing stronger together.

Instead, it was one series of missteps after another for the couple.  Nuke has yet to be integrated into the cast in a way that makes us identify with them as people. The writers have only allowed us to identify with them based on their sexuality.  They are that – and so much more and it would be nice, before the show ends, for the writers to tell us who they are.  Pessimistically, I hear the ticking of the clock, and suspect that the writers are more interested in running the clock down as we approach 2010.  No family for Nuke, no lives related to their work  or other accomplishments, not even a  kiss on the cheek at the end, justa  good bye, and what a pity that would be.

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Out on a limb with Otalia and The Guiding Light

As much as it pains me to say it, I may be done with Otalia.  I don’t know if that’s what the writers want and I’m just being a great big sucker for giving it to them.  Maybe I’m just tired of most of daytime and this current Otalia storyline is hitting my hot buttons.  Once Jessica Leccia returns from maternity leave and I see Otalia back onscreen together, it’s possible that all will be forgiven, and that I will be back to rooting for them.  For now?  Not so much.

GL writers seem to be completely unable to tell a compelling storyline.  Is  it the writers?  The executive producer blocking the way to good storyline telling?  The CBS Execs?  The way JessicaL’s Natalia was temporarily written out for maternity leave sucks – deeply sucks – sucks so bad that it makes ATWT’s writing out Carly Tenney to cover Maura West’s maternity leave look brilliant.  What does THAT tell you? Clearly, the problems with Natalia’s decision to abandon Olivia once she realizes she’s pregnant with Frank’s baby is indicative of the problems GL has been experiencing under Wheeler’s guidance.   First, who DIDN’T know that this would turn into another Susan/Ross/Carol (Friends) storyline?  Who DIDN’T know the writers would force an ‘eternal’ triangle and ‘forced family’ with Frank/Natalia/Olivia, rather than let Otalia just be happy together?  Second, this storyline takes me back to what I didn’t like about Natalia when she was first introduced.  She was introduced as a weak, whiny, mealy-mouthed character, desperate for love.  She stood in the shadows, afraid, insecure, making one bad decision after another that everyone around her had to pay for as she whined ‘poor me’.  Our Lady of Perpetual Pain.  Sheeeeee’s back!

I enjoyed the strength Natalia developed over time.  I loved that she’d started growing up and making decisions that improved her life and brought her happiness.   While I think all individuals should become the people they need to be BEFORE entering relationships, sometimes relationships can help change you for the better and that was the gift that Otalia gave one another.

Now?  Watching Olivia hit the road to track down the woman who dashed her hope for happiness and abandoned her just as Liv gained the strength to face the world made me despise Natalia, and the crap offered as entertainment to GL fans.   Listening to Liv cry, watching her scream out in vain for Natalia to come back made me realize that the writers used the Otalia relationship to weaken both characters.   Not only did the old Natalia return, she dragged Liv down to her level.

How lovely would it have been for Liv and Natalia to have been filmed BEFORE JL’s pregnancy to air while she was away?  How lovely it would have been for Liv and Nat to decide to leave town together, for a while.  Frank could be conflicted on what it means to now be a part of this family and want Natalia to take all the time she needed to clear her head.  He, Rafe,  and Liv could have occasionally made the trip to visit Natalia  – maybe with Rafe staying with Natalia to get use to the idea of his mother having another child and to help her and become reacquainted with her again.  Slowly, they would have accepted their lives as they are and become a modern American family.  Taping the scenes ahead of time would have meant no lost scenes for Otalia, or ending this madness with Frank on the outside/no on the inside/no on the outside/whatever. We could have finally had an end to the angry Rafe-monster… but the concept of lost time is one the GL writers and EP are all too familiar with.

More is the pity because now I say… BRING ON DORIS AND OLIVIA!  Who’s afraid of the big bad Wolfe?  Natalia should be!

Ratings and why CBS should reconsider

Despite the suckage that is GL these days, I STILL think the wrong thing to do is cancel this  show!

Courtesy of Soap Opera Network:

Ratings for the week June 22-26, 2009

HH
1. Y&R 3.5/11 (+.1/-.1)
2. B&B 2.3/7 (same/-.2)
3. DAYS 2.1/6 (+.1/+.2)
4. OLTL 1.8/6 (same/-.2) <—— ties low (Last time: 1.8/6 for June 15-19, 2009)
5. AMC 1.7/5 (-.1/-.2) <——– new low (Previous low: 1.8/6 for June 15-19, 2009)
5. GH 1.7/5 (-.1/-.4) <——— new low (Previous low: 1.8/5 for June 15-19, 2009)
7. ATWT 1.6/5 (same/-.3) <—— ties low (Last time: 1.6/5 for June 15-19, 2009)
8. GL 1.4/4 (+.1/-.1)

ABC soaps are falling like a ROCK! It’s not as if GL is doing so poorly in the ratings, in comparison.

FIRE WHEELER.

HIRE better writers. Several of the current writers would do just fine but new leadership is definitely needed and Ms. Wheeler just doesn’t do it for me.

Maybe there’s a way to get ATWT and GL on soapnet (long shot I know). Lifetime might not be interested in producing GL, but would the network be open to airing syndicated eps if CBS continued to produce and air the show?  Could there be a partnership that eased the financial burden for CBS?

Ride this thing out and let GL stick around with the rest of daytime.  I only say that because I’m still sure that ATWT and GL still have room for improvement, in the right hands.

Pass the Dutchie from the left hand side…

This generation

Rules the nation

With version

Music happen to be the food of love

Sounds to really make you rub and scrub

Chorus:

I say

Pass the Dutchie on the left hand side

Pass the Dutchie on the left hand side

It a gonna burn, give me music make me jump and prance

It a go done, give me the music make me rock in the dance

It was a cool and lovely breezy afternoon

(How does it feel when you’ve got no food ?)

You could feel it ’cause it was the month of June

(How does it feel when you’ve got no food ?)

So I left my gate and went out for a walk

(How does it feel when you’ve got no food ?)

As I pass the dreadlocks’ camp I heard them say

(How does it feel when you’ve got no food ?)

Pass the Dutchie on the left hand side

Pass the Dutchie on the left hand side

Musical Youth

As The World Turns

When it rains, it POURS!  If you’ve been reading me long enough, you know that I’ve been whining about OLTL’s decision to kill off the fabulous Nash Brennan (played by the even MORE fabulous Forbes March).   I’ll whine no more… I’ll just be spending more time watching As The World Turns since TPTB there have had the good graces to cast Forbes in a new role!  YAY!  He’ll play Luke and Noah’s college professor who happens to also be openly gay.  As if it was my birthday, the soapgods of ATWT have also cast Lynn Herring (GH, ex-Lucy Coe) as Henry Coleman’s  mother… DOUBLE YAY!  If she’s anything like Henry before his transformation, or the rest of his family, someone will need to say a prayer for Vienna!  There’s fresh hell headed her way and she’s never experienced anything like it.

Days of Our Lives

Sami/EJ… can’t speak.  Sickened.

Hate.This.Storyline.  Hate Ejami…

One Life to Live

I just saw the most incredible commercial for ABC soaps… it’s an ad for ‘2 Young Mothers’  AMC’s Amanda – a woman in her mid to late 20s, and OLTL’s Starr Manning (Roughly 16 – 17 years old).  Both storylines are about mothers who were supposed to give their children up for adoption.  Both mothers have changed their minds.  They want to keep their babies.

What happens in the upper suites over at ABC?  Does anyone with more authority than deciding who to hire in the mail room get to see the ads for ABC daytime before they air?  Given the fact that ABC had an astoundingly bad week, during the last ratings period:

Bad Week for ABC (originally posted at S.O.N.)

Ratings for the week of May 25-29, 2009

Total Viewers
1. Y&R 4,994,000 (+120,000/+48,000)
2. B&B 3,366,000 (-3,000/-341,000)
3. DAYS 2,663,000 (+136,000/-4,000)
4. ATWT 2,480,000 (+86,000/-126,000)
5. GH 2,454,000 (-96,000/-330,000)
6. AMC 2,430,000 (-88,000/-283,000)
7. OLTL 2,402,000 (-158,000/-299,000)
8. GL 2,022,000 (+71,000/-271,000)

HH
1. Y&R 3.6/12 (+.1/same)
2. B&B 2.4/8 (-.1/-.3) <——- ties low rating
3. DAYS 2.0/7 (+.1/same)
4. ATWT 1.9/6 (+.1/same)
4. AMC 1.9/6 (same/-.2)
4. GH 1.9/6 (-.1/-.3)
7. OLTL 1.8/6 (-.1/-.3) <—— ties low rating
8. GL 1.5/5 (same/-.1)

what would make ANYONE think that a commercial featuring Amanda and Starr would excite soap fans who aren’t currently watching?  Amanda?  Eh… I’ll admit, I have SOME interest in what will happen if she keeps her baby and nutty Dr. Dave decides that he should be allowed to raise at least ONE of his children from infancy.  I just have ZERO interest in Starr and Cole (who are, as we’re told “STARR AND COLE” – as if that has meaning.  When I see ‘Starr and Cole’, I see a ruined Todd Manning who was destroyed to pimp a crap teen summer romance).    I don’t care to see Starr raising a baby. I don’t care to see Starr and Cole reunite.  I don’t care to see them struggle with the difficulty of being teen parents.    For goodness sake’s folks, if you’re going to go forward on this storyline, don’t flippin’ advertise it.

Guiding Light

I understand that Rafe has to adjust to life outside of prison, but YEOW!   Rafe is not only having a hard time adjusting, he’s actually beginning to behave almost as if he’d rather return to prison.   With so little time left for GL (Sept. 18 is the final ep), it’s hard to believe that the writers are looking at spending that much more time on Rafe’s return in order to create unnecessary drama for Otalia.

I’m torn between: 1 – appreciating the grittiness of the prison release storyline, 2 – being annoyed that Rafe won’t get the typical ‘Spaulding’ treatment after creating a crime; in what world would Alan actually listen to Natalia when she tells him that she doesn’t want him helping Rafe?  He doesn’t listen to Phillip or Beth! Why would her give a damn that Natalia wants him out of Rafe’s life!??!; 3 -feeling  disturbed by the fact that the Rafe storyline is getting more attention than the Otalia love story.  Wouldn’t it be better to have Otalia together, living as a family and working to save Rafe from himself and from Alan?  So little time writers… GET A FREAKIN’ MOVE ON!

General Hospital

Shhhhhhh… no one tell the GH writers.  SOMEONE slipped up and the writers are starting to inadvertently focus on romance.  Can you believe it?  That Patrick is so understanding of Robin’s PPD and that he’s supporting her should warm my heart but it doesn’t.  OK, it does, but not the way you think.  It’s to be expected, right?  You have your husband’s baby and he realizes the sacrifice you made for him, for yourself, for your family.  I’m just grateful that the writers veered away from Liz and Patrick flirtation and realized that there are many people out there who love and support their spouses in their worst moments without turning to someone else.

I love that Patrick is a good husband.

Do you know what I love MOST about this reunion?  It’s that Patrick doesn’t think that it’s his role to ‘forgive’ Robin.  I love that he stands back and watches Robin undergo a this period of self-exploration.  He watches as Robin finally realizes what everyone else has been telling her all along.  She’s been so driven, and so obsessed with perfection that it fed her inability to bond with Emma when Emma needed her so desperately.  Robin would rather have not tried, than to have tried with Emma and failed.  I love that Patrick and Robin don’t feel the need to ‘shape’ the other into a better person. They’ve learned to love one another as they are.

Patrick has accepted Robin as is and when she was ready to change, he was still there.  She allowed him to be who he was, when he was a playboy on the loose.  She realized that she couldn’t change him and accepted him as he was.  She was still there, ready to be with him, when he decided to change of his own accord.  She waited for him to become the man he needed to be.

Then there’s Carly and Jax.  They’re the Ken and Barbie version of Patrick and Robin.  There’s been a little more arm-twisting and ‘molding/shaping’ with CarJax than there has been with Scrubs, but it’s all worked somehow.  I love that Jax accepts about Carly what drives others crazy about her;  she has a tendency to obsess on those she loves and cares for.  They become the center of her focus.  Jax realizes that she’ll fight as hard for their family as she has for anyone else.  He finally gets that about her.  Jax is such a patient, kind, and loving man that he and Patrick  stand out as Princes among the daytime frogs!  Robin and Carly are lucky women.  Patrick and Jax are even luckier men.

Add Elizabeth’s fighting Luke for Lucky’s sake, and I’m in GH fan heaven!  THREE good men, Three good women, THREE great relationships… and this is GH!?!??

Pass the  Dutchie, baby!

Where does that phrase come from?  Some of you may remember the UK youth group that sang the song.  The origin of the title was always in question.  Some believed it was a reference to what is the equivalent of a ‘bong party’ (which makes sense of its use for AMC/OLTL/GL… but later it was determined that the origins linked to the notion of a communal experience (passing a dish, eating together as a group/a family)… as in the case of ATWT/GL…

GL: Have you seen this soap character?

Name:  Rafael Rivera (a.k.a. Rafe)

Parents: Natalia Rivera, Gus Aitorro-Spaulding (a.k.a. Nicky, a.k.a.  Nicholas Augustino)

Age:  Approximately 18

Romantic liaisons:  Daisy Cooper (a.k.a. Susan LeMay)

Occupation:  None, currently considering a career in law enforcement.

Other romantic or familial connections:  Rafe is currently uninvolved with anyone, romantically.  Unfortunately, his extended family is currently uninvolved with him.

This kid is a SPAULDING.  You’d never know it because none of the Spauldings bother to speak his name – he doesn’t get to help plan Lizzie’s wedding to Bill.  None of his extended family visited him while he was incarcerated.  There’s no evidence that anyone knows that he’s been released – Well, based on the eps I’ve been watching.  GL IS putting me to sleep these days.  There’s no evidence that anyone cares what’s happened to him, other than his mother, Olivia Spencer, and Frank Cooper.

In the time Rafe was incarcerated, Alan Spaulding has voiced his ‘concern’ for his granddaughter, Emma; has tried to control and manipulate his granddaughter, Lizzie, to stop her from becoming romantically involved with Bill Lewis;  he’s appealed to his grandson, James, to be a ‘family first’ sort of man in order to win favor with him (Alan’s true objective is to butter James up in the hopes of getting closer to Beth – James’ mother).

Not one word – that I’ve heard, has been uttered about Rafe’s care.  He still has diabetes and has not received the best possible care given his financial situation.  What sort of care is he getting now? Does anyone know because it was a plot point with Alan before.  It seems to not matter at all now.  Can’t we have a scene with Rafe running into ‘grandpa Alan’ at Cedar’s?

Given the fact that Alan has lost Beth for good, and was previously obsessed with Natalia,you would THINK that  Alan might try to move in and muscle Olivia out of Natalia’s life – what a battle that could have been!  Instead?  Rafe may as well be dead to Alan.  This glaring oversight is made WORSE by the fact that rather than incorporate the only diversity there has been in the Spaulding family lately, the writers have decided to rely on aimless plot devices that have Rafe deciding that he wants to be a police officer.

When you shoot the town’s District Attorney and then flee the country, joining  the Springfield PD’s finest is hardly a realistic occupational aspiration.  Why isn’t Alan trying to woo Rafe over to the Spaulding side of the family?  He likes to pit his children and grandchildren against one another.  Rafe was falling under the evil spell Alan was casting before he was incarcerated.  He was seduced by the fancy sports car, the big house, the pockets full of money… you name it!   Wouldn’t he have an even greater appetite for success, now?

Wouldn’t Rafe be the perfect foil for James?   I could even <gulp> try to tolerate Daisy if the dueling cousins ended up at odds in part because of her, and not just Alan’s manipulations.  That Daisy has moved on to yet another person who was ‘out to get him’ might cause Rafe a bit of conflict in deciding what kind of response he’d want to make.  He respects Frank and thinks of him as a father, of sorts, but may feel a loyalty to his own grandfather and want to make the lives of the Cooper family miserable.

Once Rafe tires of Alan’s manipulations, James could play ‘favored grandson’ and Rafe would end up on the receiving end of all of Alan’s material substitutions for love.  It would have been the recasting of Phillip  and Alan-Michael in a new generation.  Rafe could pull off the Phillip role,  James as Alan-Michael.  I could see  Rafe growing a conscience and eventually turning on Alan to protect Frank and  the Coopers.  That would be enough for Alan to switch his loyalties and support to James.  Rafe would have to turn to someone else in the family for help.  Phillip?  Beth?  Lizzie?  Bill Lewis?

I’m very disappointed that the writers continue to treat Rafe as the ‘disadvantaged youth’ from the wrong side of the tracks, unworthy of recognition by the Spauldings.   What a missed opportunity, but  then GL has been far too full of those, these past few years.

WHY GL soapgods, WHY? (Spoiler included)

Jeffrey/Reva/Josh

According to the Nelson Branco’s Suds Report, it’s highly likely that Jeffrey O’Neill is Edmund Winslow’s killer.   If that’s the case, WHY is Jeffrey willing to let Reva serve a single day in jail rather than turn himself in?  Are we to believe he’s so angry at Reva for protecting Josh and Shayne that he’d willingly heave her there, separated from Colin –  the son she’s barely spent time with since his traumatic birth and her cancer treatments?

If so, the writers have managed to do the impossible.  They’ve lowered my opinion of Jeffrey.  I once thought of him as a much better man than Josh… I  KNOW!  Crazy, huh?  All I can say is that I was experiencing ‘Cassie Winslow Rage’.  The thought that Josh would prefer Cassie to Reva left me a little soapfan loopy, but I’m better now.  Hey, thanks for asking!

While I no longer believe that Jeffrey and Reva belong together, or that they could come close to ever replacing ‘Bud’ and ‘Sister’, the writers have at least continued to try to sell Jeffrey as loving Reva above all others.  If Jeffrey is the killer, that’s all out the window.  He officially loves himself MORE and would only do what he had to to save Reva as long as it costs him nothing.

OH, and for those of you who aren’t GL fans ‘Bud’ is Reva’s loving nickname for Josh.  ‘Sister’ was Hawk Shayne’s nickname for his daughter, Reva.  If you thought Bud was dating his ‘sister’, you just might be a BnB fan!

James/Daisy/Phillip

“James Spaulding” is such a great character, and the actor (Zack Conroy) is PERFECT. He looks and sounds like a young Phillip Spaulding (Grant Aleksander).  If you told he me was related to Grant Aleksander, I’d believe it without batting an eyelash.  Conroy, if this show had more time, would have been able to turn the character into a real heartthrob! In fact, I have no doubt that he still can.

So… WHY have the writers decided to turn James into a ‘Grady clone’ just for Daisy’s sake!??! In the time that’s left, I’m not interested in a half-wit Bonnie and Clyde storyline for these two characters. When Daisy smarted off to Phillip today, she made me long for the highly unstable  Phillip Spaulding who existed several year ago. HE would have known how to deal with her in a way that might not have been exactly legal or moral, but who’s complaining?  Sorry folks, I know this is harsh, but if only Daisy was holding Grady’s hand when he went off that cliff… <sigh> Problem solved!

Natalia/Frank/Olivia (and Rafe)

Did the judge actually tell Natalia that because there was no male role model at home, Rafe couldn’t go home with her? I feel like I’m hallucinating.  What freakin’ calendar year is this!??!  Frank had to agree to be Rafe’s substitute papa just to help get the kid out of jail?  Of all the contrived plots GL has managed to weave into one continuous joke of a show (at times) this was the WORST.

So what’s next?  A triangle with Frank/Natalia/Olivia before Otalia even gets off the ground?  Rafe leaves home and goes to live with Frank out of disgust that his mother is in love with Olivia?  Frank has to being Rafe and Natalia back together?

If you believe in Otalia, you’re going to have to help me out, fellow soapers.  After the judge’s idiotically sexist and outdated comments, I’m losing faith in the writers.  Shame on you, GL writers.  This one stretches the bounds of credibility and is offensive.  Rafe is LEGALLY an adult.  There’s no reason for him to need a ‘male role model’ in the home to be released.

One.step.too.far.

The Boudreau Clan

Wish we could have had MORE of the Boudreau clan.  I love the closeness of this family and they remind me so much of the core families of the past <SOB!>  (They remind me of the Bauers, most especially).  While I’m enjoying papa Boudreau, I know that not all of you are!

From the official GL board:

I loved Montel as Clayton. He brought an immediate and desperately needed intensity and emotionalism to the Boudreaus and clicked with all the other actors playing the family right away. He made Clayton a compelling presence again, something that hasn’t been the case since Richard Biggs last appeared.Montel’s Clayton wouldn’t be going through all this hand-wringing over the ponzi-scheme, he’d track down the truly responsible party, PunkLoserJames, and teach him a lesson no matter how determined Phillip might be to get that snot-nosed punk out of trouble.    RoseVioletDaisy
And there’s this:
I think with Montel, we finally had a “strong,” father figure on the show, the first since Ross (spaztastic Buzz doesnt count, Josh is too hung up stalking Reva and they wont let Billy be anything then a kind of joke character.) You could believe that Montel’s Clayton would say something and people would stop and listen. He was large and in charge…which is nice to see from a middle aged guy on this show, but also a middle aged African-American guy.

It is too bad, with Ed and Ross gone, that Mel and Rick couldnt have reunited and have her family take on some of the aspects of the Bauers,with Clayton being the Mike Bauer no nonsense paterfamilias, and instead of giving Christina of all people a grandmother, make her Mel’s grandma…and we could use the Bauer kitchen again.  Mitch

I can’t say that I disagree with any of the points above. I just wish the writers were consistent in making Clayton a strong and proactive character no matter who’s playing in the role.  I also love the idea of reuniting the Boudreau and Bauer clans. They’re so both touchstone core families.  I wish.

The problem with GL is this…

I am in awe of fans who love daytime to the point of working to save it, despite what writers and EPs have done by way of making the genre unrecognizable.  Fans are holding on to the hope that not only are daytime brass listening to their concerns, but that they’ll actually do something about them.  It’s not just The Guiding Light.  Daytime fans are in the same position no matter which show they watch.  I’ve chosen to focus on The Guiding Light because of long swirling rumors that the show is on the verge of cancellation (rumors that have persistently dogged this show and its fans for a number of years, now).

Below are five things that I believe have been consistently wrong with the show – five things that are easily corrected. 

1.  Get rid of the ‘live from Peapack’ shots.  Daytime is about fantasy, escapism, and about the impossible becoming plausible.  I have no doubt that Peapack has many homes with lush interiors filled with fine furniture, open floor plans, hardwoods, crown moulding, stainless steel appliances, and custom cabinetry.  It makes sense that the show’s budget doesn’t allow for location shoots in those environments.  Instead, the current interiors are shoddy, and frankly – they’re depressing.  I’ve jokingly referred to Springfield as the land of cheap knotty wood paneling and faux stone.  It’s no longer a joke to me.  I’m distracted by the bad decor and dark interiors when trying to focus on the characters and dialogue.  

It’s hard to see a man like Remy Boudreau  living in a cheap apartment.  His living conditions  make sense for a couple like Daisy and Grady, who have a hard time maintaining steady employment.  On any other show, willingly living in the conditions Remy lives in would be a sign of a character in emotional, psychological or financial distress.  We would ask ourselves if Remy was punishing himself as part of a deep depression, or  an unyielding sense of guilt for some perceived wrong.  The type of decor that’s prevalent on GL usually comes with a liquor bottle and bad attitude on any other soap – and on the GL of the past.

If watching someone like Remy (solidly upper middle/upper class) live in such squalid conditions, think about what it means to see the fabulously wealthy Spauldings live in roughly two cramped rooms, or Olivia live in a tiny farmhouse, or the Lewises wandering from place to place because they have no where to live at all – that we’ve seen.  The exception is Bill Lewis, who lives in a tiny hotel room.  From Remy to the Spauldings to the Lewises –  all are living in spaces that are the sizes of what should be their clothes closets.

Guiding Light is the least aesthetically pleasing show in daytime.  Beautiful people, ugly scenery.  If it’s true that the network is saving money by purchasing/renting the current locations, great!  But there’s a trade-off and given the ratings, I have a feeling that other (former) GL fans are having  a hard time looking at the show in it’s current state. 

2.  Make better use of the big moments and pay homage to your the show’s rich history.  There aren’t a lot of ‘big moments’ left on any show, but GL had the perfect opportunity to grab back some of the show’s glory and to reunite it’s signature couple with this one scene:

As Reva lay dying, Josh confessed his heart and soul to her.  They talked about how long and how deeply they’d loved each.  Josh told her that he  couldn’t conceive of a world that she wasn’t a part of (and we pretended not to remember that he’d already lived through a Reva “death” when she drove off a bridge during the course of her postpartum storyline.  We realized that he meant that he’d already had to live in a Reva-less world once before and that he couldn’t stomach the thought of doing it again).

What happened?  Reva came back to him this time too, and Josh moved on without her.  After all of his tears, his pain, and his comments about not wanting to live without her, not only did he move on but he moved on with her sister.  Both Josh and Cassie treated Reva’s survival as an ‘annoyance’; Josh most especially when Reva let him know that she wanted to save their marriage.  Every moment that took place after the ‘death’ scene made a mockery of Josh and Reva’s epic history. It just did not compute that when the writers could have cleared the coast for this legendary couple, they kept them apart.  The writers were so determined to break them up that Reva defied the laws of  nature.  She became pregnant with another man’s baby after twice undergoing menopause.  You figure that one out.  I can’t and wouldn’t want to if I could.

3.  Allow characters to behave as if they live in the same town.  Either that, or stop having them talk about how much they value family.  Why, dear writers, has Beth put more effort into planning a romantic getaway with her boyfriend than into helping her daughter heal after her kidnapping ordeal?

We’ve seen many more scenes of Coop and Beth pawing each other than we have of Beth embracing Lizzie and trying to help her, most especially since Lizzie has become suspicious that her boyfriend, Bill Lewis, potentially played a role in her abduction.  Is Beth aware of the fact that she’s still Lizzie’s mother?   This is a mother and daughter living in the same house and yet they have very little contact. 

Alan is no angel, either.  He was obsessed with Rafe’s medical care when Gus was alive.  He arranged for Rafe to meet with the top physicians in the country and was willing to pay for advanced medical treatment to control his diabetes.  Now?  Natalia is killing herself to get the medicine Rafe needs by paying for it at her own pharmacy and having it sent to the prison (uh, yeah, that would happen in the real world!).  Why haven’t the Spauldings mentioned Rafe and Natalia?   How has Alan managed to avoid running into Natalia given how many of the same places they both visit?

Why hasn’t Alan already pulled enough strings to have Rafe sleeping in a single cell -with silk sheets covering  his pillow top mattress?  That’s only, of course, until Alan could have him sprung from prison.  Alan has recently gone through a trial and faced prison time.  No sympathy for Rafe?  Is Alan only capable of being obsessed with one grandchild at a time?  Is interfering with Lizzie’s love life REALLY more important than keeping Rafe out of prison, or at least safe while he’s behind bars?  It’s hard to care about Alan’s obsession with Lizzie, given his lack of concern about Rafe.  

4.  Recognize that imitation is not always the sincerest form of flattery.  Guiding Light is working on solving one of it’s biggest problem – the shedding of old school characters and replacing them with newer characters who were meant to serve the same function, but somehow fall flat. In the mad dash to win over the 18 – 24s who were never planning a  mass defection to daytime, great characters like Edmund were cut loose to make room for pale imitations like Kane Manera’s Grady Foley.  Manera is a brilliant actor.  His choices are instinctual and highly consistent.  I like the actor, I just hate the writing for him.  Between the writing and the direction, there was never any hope for Manera’s Grady to become a likable character.  Where David Andrew McDonald’s Edmund was far more nuanced, and more choices about the character appeared to be placed in the actor’s hands, Manera’s Grady was more of a caricature of Edmund and every other GL bad boy.

Grady was never allowed a moment to be ‘human’ (as Edmund was).  Grady was never allowed to develop a backstory that would allow us to see him in a more vulnerable light, as Edmund was.  While Edmund acted out as a way of dealing with the pain of being measured against the impossibly perfect Richard; Grady was just one more sociopath in a family of sociopaths.  I’d like to say that I’ll miss Grady when he eventually goes, but I won’t.   There’s nothing likable or root-worthy left when it comes to this character, through no fault of his portrayer.  

5.  Don’t turn strong storylines and characters into ‘gimmicks’.

Watching Olivia and Natalia this past week, I wondered if the writers have thought about where they’d take the two after their current friendship/relationship ends, and eventually it will.  Will they go back to who they were before?  Are they forever changed?   

Is this only a matter of living in the same home and raising Emma together?  What makes their relationship romantic and not sisterly?  Was Olivia’s lifetime of desperation in every relationship before this related to never feeling loved by any of the men she dated/married.  Was she running from herself?  Does Natalia love Olivia because of who she is? Does she love her because she finally has a feeling of family and she’s been so alone since Rafe was imprisoned and the Spauldings pretend she doesn’t exist?

I like the slow development of their friendship/relationship, but if the writers simply throw them together after a kiss, won’t viewers perceive their relationship as a gimmick of some sort?  It’s already feeling gimmicky with Natalia holding Liv’s hands through the ‘My Two Mommies’ presentation and not ‘getting it’ that the teacher and other parents thought they were lesbians.  A ten year old would have picked that up! 

All it took was a teacher making a suggestion and Olivia has developed new feelings for Natalia?  It feels gimmicky that Olivia can’t use the word ‘lesbian’, but is able to plant a kiss on Natalia to illustrate her point – not long after Frank planted an unplanned kiss on her as well. It’s gimmicky – as Beth’s relationship with Alan was.  It’s becoming as gimmicky as Beth’s relationship with Coop is, or Bill’s amnesia that shouldn’t affect what Lizzie remembers about the kidnapping, or Marina and Mallet and their babymania-out-of-nowhere storyline, or…. you get the point.

If this isn’t a show living on borrowed time, it needs to act like it.  Slow down and take the time to work out the big and the small details.  We’re not going anywhere.