Good Times, Happy Times…

From The Bold and The Beautiful:

What makes JOWEN work? Daytime has finally gotten it right.  While older men have been seducing and romancing younger women for decades, soaps have treated older women involved with younger men as desperate and emotionally weak women who cling to men who could never really love them.  Older women have served as bedmates and bank accounts to their younger lovers and little else (AMC’s Marian and Tad, ATWT’s Lucinda and Craig, for example).  Jackie Marone is a woman who is vivacious, seductive, and powerful.  She’s also in charge of her emotions and her bank account.  Owen is with her because he loves her, not because she pays for him.  I was most proud of the moment when Jackie realized that not even for Owen was she willing to attempt to become a mother again.  She was well on her way to becoming a grandmother and expected Owen to be the man he said he was when he married her – not someone who’d suddenly developed a passion for parenting.  She held firm to her desire to enjoy life and be the woman she’d always wanted to be and Owen realized that loving her was his only real passion.

What does JOWEN helps me forget? Pretty much all of the rest of the BnB – emasculated Forrester males genuflecting before their bitter ex-wives, the  Forrester family penchant for pimping their young (my 20 something kid can’t come home with spare change in his pocket without explaining where it came from – Steffy brings home a multimillioin dollar company that no one else could win back and everyone celebrates?).  Jowen helps me forget the inconsistency in writing – Stephanie Forrester is now a ‘heroine’ for ‘saving’ the company she gleefully helped Bill Spencer destroy?  JOWEN helps me forget the new lie that the Logans have ‘ruined’ FC when even Steffy bragged about how the company made money hand over fist thanks to the ‘Royalty’ collection beating out the JM’s ‘Indulge’ line.  JOWEN even helps me forget that the writers have been trying to find a place to force Sarah Brown’s “Sandy/Aggie” (Saggie) to fit and are undoing months/years of great work in the process.  In the end, even if Nick doesn’t end up with Sags – everything will have been undone for no reason at all.

From General Hopsital:

What makes Mac and Alexis work? Despite Alexis’ lapse of sanity leading her to sleep with Sonny Corinthos, both Mac and Alexis have both maintained their integrity in the long term.  There’s something so likable about both characters that the combined effect of their presence pushes my happy meter off the charts!  The writers have picked up on whatever the genuine quality is that John J. York and Nancy Lee Grahn lend to their lovelorn, law and order loving characters.  Scenes with Mac and Alexis tend to be a mixture of being sweet and funny.  While the couple doesn’t get nearly the screen time they deserve, they make you grateful for the screen time they’ve been given.  If the writers ever figure out that we need less of the doom and gloom, and more of the ‘heeeeyyyyyy’, this show could be on to something HUGE.  I’m most looking forward to the possiblity of Mac and Alexis bringing their families together -and opening the Scorpio home once again. Kristina and Molly would have a father/stepfather they could respect.  Kristina, especially, shows promise of joining Robin in being the future of soap heroines on a show that desperately needs them.  To have the Scorpio-Drake-Davis clans coming together could just give us the ‘balance’ this show has been lacking.

What does the Mac and Alexis pairing make me forget? Other than Scrubs, Maxelli, and the powerhouse acting of JJ’s Lucky and RH’s Liz… pretty much everything else… the soapgods have been good to me.

From the Days of Our Lives:

What makes Rafe and Sami work? What DOESN’T work about this couple?  I’ve been cautiously optimistic about Rafe and Sami.  I’m an old Lumi fan.  No one knows like a Lumi fan how Sami is capable of throwing real love away for the horror of a relationship with a man like EJ.   Rafe is one of the few men in Sami’s life (Lucas included) who actually loves her and wants nothing in return.  The writers have sold me on the idea that Rafe is the man who would love Sami even if she didn’t love him in return, and would never stop fighting for what’s in her best interest. With a man like EJ, loving her if she didn’t love him in return would mean forcing himself on her.  With a man like Rafe?  It means loving her from afar, protecting her at all costs, and laying his life on the line because the thought of a world without her in it is something he just couldn’t bear. I’m SOLD!  Count me in as a ‘SAFE’ fan!

AS IF that’s all DAYS had to offer:

What makes the Phillip/Melanie/Nathan triangle work? Each potential pairing impacts me as a viewer in different ways.  Why does Phillip even deserve a second chance?  If you made it to 7:40 into the video, you’d hear Phillip say, as part of his vows, that if she’d said that he was going to marry her about a year ago, he would have told her she was crazy… BINGO!  That’s the Phillip I’ve hated while Mel loved him.  That’s the man who always thought he was too good for her and that she was nothing more than a consolation prize whenever he lost ‘the good girl’ (Stephanie).  Mel, in return, admits to loving him from the beginning.  Despite the lopsided relationship they share, this is a couple with HEAT!  They are moths to a flame, and it’s hard not to watch when they’re together.  Mel and Nathan on the other hand?  What a delicious redux of Mel and Nicky.  This time, the smart and ‘geeky’ guy should win.  Melanie and Nathan remind me a great deal of Sami and Rafe.  Nathan is a man who knows Melanie at her core, and loves who she is – warts and all.  This triangle works because it seems possible for Melanie to be happy with either.  In the end, I have to give the edge to Nathan.   I tend to root for the good guy, and heaven knows that in soapdom, the good guy is always the underdog.

What do  Sami and Rafe as well as this triangle help me forget? Bo and Carly.  Carly’s incessant whining.  Hope being destroyed to try to force Bo and Carly. Carly and Daniel (See where this is going?)  That’s about it, though… everything else about DAYS simply ROCKS!

One Life to Live

While I’m generally not a fan of rap, something about Snoop is AMAZING and I love to see most of the cast together enjoying themselves and allowing us to enjoy them, the show, and this performance.

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The first thing we do? OLTL?

Copyright ABC (2008)

Let’s rid ourselves of all of the bad editors!  (if you don’t mind the turn of phrase).Most of what took place on OLTL this past week pleasantly surprised me.   Even my well worn remote would like to take this moment to thank the writers for relief.  It pretty much had the week off with One Life, since I don’t remember hitting FF once this week.  The only big shocker for me this past week  were several pretty lousy editing choices, one in particular.  I’ll get to that in a moment.

Soap-heaven help me, I still like John and Marty.  The only thing that’s harder to take than a dark and brooding John McBain is John McBain in love.  ‘Happy’ John and ‘Brooding’ John are pretty much one in the same.  It’s just at times tough to watch a man who SHOULD be filled with joy behave like a man whose problems could all be solved with the help of  a good laxative.  Wardrobe, could you PLEASE at least put on a brightly colored shirt under his dark suit jacket and dark coat, to go along with his dark pants and dark shoes so that we know the difference between Brooding John and Joyous John?  Thanks!

John’s reaction to Marty as she flashed back on her the manipulated-rape sex with Todd was a reminder that there are soap writers who still realize that it’s so much easier for fans to root for good men – we get so few of them in daytime.  Many of us still love men who are sensitive to the needs of others, rather than focus on themselves  and their own pain.  LOVED that moment when John reminded Marty that he was always willing to wait for her – she’s worth it.  LOVED that the writers didn’t follow that scene up with John immediately running to someone else to flirt with or have sex with while Marty was working on her recovery.

Copyright ABC (2009)

The only thing that made the scene even remotely awkward was watching Blair seduce Todd at the same time Marty had difficulty being touched by John because of Todd’s assault of her.  If the writers wanted to make some of us squeamish about Todd and Blair, job well done.  Otherwise?  Bad editing job on this one.  It made Todd and Blair seem completely disconnected from the world around them, belligerently insular.  They seemed to not care about how much damage had been done to others in their time apart.

Blair, who was disgusted by Todd’s treatment of Marty, seems to have absolutely no qualms about his actions, now.  She was disgusted enough before to want to keep his children from him.  Now?  She can’t keep her hands off of him.

I would much rather have had long soulful talks between the two rather than strip scenes and “shame-filled” sex. The problem with the writing for the once magnificent Todd and Blair is that that the writers don’t seem invested in having them break the inch deep-mile wide pattern they’ve established as part of their courtship.   OLTL writers have seem to always bank on the hard work of Kassie DePaiva and Trevor St. John in winning back fans to the ‘Todd and Blair corner to bring romance back to the show.  I think they’ll have to reconsider, this time.  Too much damage has been done and an instant reunion most likely won’t give them the bump they’re looking for.  How instant is instant in their case?  Todd/Blair reunions can be summarized by the following dialogue:

“You hurt me” (Todd to Blair, Blair to Todd, it doesn’t matter).

“I’m sorry” (Todd to Blair, Blair to Todd, it doesn’t matter)

“Stay away from me” (Todd to Blair, Blair to Todd, it doesn’t matter)

“You don’t mean that” (Todd to Blair, Blair to Todd, it doesn’t matter)

They have sex… AND SCENE!

Where is the discussion about what they want and why they want it?  What about some insight into why they dragged Marty and John into their psychodrama?  How about some part humorous/part dramatic couples counseling for them?   What about real consideration about Tea’s feelings?  It’s bad enough that Todd cheated on Tea after she put everything on the line for him, her life included, but he then lied and said that it meant nothing that he’d had sex with Blair.  If it wasn’t a lie that having sex with Blair meant nothing to him?  It makes his actions even worse.  The writers rubbed salt in fans’ wounds by having Todd coldly state to Blair that he was leaving her to go after Tea ‘because she’s worth it’.

Hells bells, people, you know that despite Tea’s fault, I’m a fan of the goddess of grand bitchery but for TODD to state who is ‘worthy’ and who isn’t?  Well that just burns my grits.  I would have loved watching Blair  get up off the chaise lounge and slap Todd back to his infancy (which would finally allow his external state match his internal state)!   Marty, Tea, Blair, his sister Viki, and even his own daughter, Starr… just how many women in Llanview are going to end up emotionally scarred thanks to this guy?  Taking Todd down the dark road for the sake of pimping “Starr and Cole” is a decision that still haunts this show.  The writers haven’t been able to find their ‘Todd mojo’ and get anything right with this character since then.

Despite the detour and bad editing, I enjoy Marty and John.

What else was there to love?

Copyright ABC (2009)
Copyright ABC (2009)

1.  Greg turned out to not be a big a jerk as he originally seemed.  I liked that he experienced pangs of guilt about running out on Destiny and realizing that he’d hurt her with his actions.  I still don’t like the guy enough to have Rachel walk away from Shaun and fall into Dr. Dork’s waiting arms.  I just like the idea of Shawn and Greg working out their differences for their sister’s sake.

Lovin’ the OLTL writers for giving us this little family.  It’s so unconventional and I can’t wait to see where they go next.  Don’t make me eat those words, writers.

2.  I uh… liked Destiny last week.  If you’re shocked, imagine how I feel.   I’m starting to see what the casting directors saw in this kid when they cast her.   She’s growing in the role and learning to convey a vulnerability that’s refreshing in a teen character, given the rash of adult-themed storylines daytime writers have been pushing for young characters, lately.   It will be interesting to see where the friendship between Destiny and Matthew goes.

3.  I uh… liked Starr last week.    Still in shock here!  The discussion between Starr, Cole, and Jessica was so rational and thoughtful, I have to classify it as the high point of my soap watching week!  Alderson held her own in scenes with Buddy and Williamson.   Scene chewing is not her thing so this emotionally low-key scene felt genuine and believable.  I have to admit that the discussion between Jess and Cole sparked my interest most.  Er, NO, I don’t want to see them as a couple.  I’m giving kudos to the writers for creating such a layered scene.  Both made the connection that they were both ‘in recovery’ and made poor choices because of an inordinate amount of pain, but that they both needed to take responsibility for their own actions.  Both Jess and Cole realized that they had to forgive others as they needed to be forgiven.  For a brief and shining moment, I felt that I could honestly tell my friends who don’t know that I watch soaps about the show … well done, writers, well done!  It was good enough for prime time… 😉  Ouch?

4.  Wish I could give a crap about the Stacy storyline, but I don’t.  I don’t even care who Rex’s father is any more… just.not.interested!

While Starr moved one step closer to being a ‘real mom’, Gigi took a step back for me.  (Wait, I’m getting to it… there’s something I like about this storyline, hang on)… It was odd to watch her encourage Shane’s hatred of  Aunt Stacy no matter how much of a low life Stacy has been.

I had to wonder if there wasn’t a unconscious attempt to warn fans about the perils of being a young mother – since it appears that they’re avoiding that ‘lesson’  of young parenthood with Starr and Cole.   Gigi applauding Shane’s comic book character (skanky Stacy?  Sleazy Stacy?)  REEKED of an immature mother dragging her child into her baby’s daddy drama.  A mature mother would have told Shane that his feelings of anger are appropriate, but that it’s also appropriate to feel sorry for Stacy for what she’s become and to hold out hope for her.   The Gigi-Shane scenes skeeved me out a bit, I gotta’ admit.

SO, here’s what I loved

A –  That the ‘secret’ is finally out in the open.  I was tired of this storyline about a month before it began (damn you spoilers!)

B – That there’s a possibility of a Schuyler-Gigi pairing – the actors have an amazing onscreen chemistry.  Rex and Gigi have been terminally cute.  Schuyler and Gigi have the potential to be hot!.  Having Rex sleep with Stacy and lie about it after treating Gigi like such dirt for so long makes Rex and Gigi a dead pairing for me, for now.  No matter how many things didn’t add up, Rex refused to believe the truth and painted the Scarlett ‘A’ on Gigi’s chest – clearly tempted to use her own blood to do so.  Let Big Rex, and little Rex, sit on the sidelines and watch Gigi happy with someone else for a while.

5 –  I’ve never been much of a Bo and Nora fan… but they’re reeling me in.  Poor Clint… Sorry guy, I think I want to see a Bo and Nora reunion.  Clint and Nora seem to have been killing time for a while now.  Send Clint home to Viki (sorry Charlie!)

Which one of you BITCHES is my mother!?!?

Why is it that the best ‘soap’ moments don’t come from daytime soaps at all?  If you got goosebumps reading the subject header, you remember the infamous scene from ‘Lace’ in which celebrated wild child, Lili, confronts Pagan, Maxine, and Judy.  The latter three have been best friends since their days at boarding school, so much so that they hid a pregnancy – refusing to tell which of the three was pregnant.  Together they placed the child for adoption.   Lili is that child.  While adopted by a lovely couple, Lili’s childhood was miserable following their untimely death.  She  was forced to ‘survive’ in the most unlikely of ways.  Though now incredibly wealthy and successful, Lili is equally angry at the three for having abandoned her  (they believed she was killed in the war along with her adoptive parents).  Lili sets each of the three women up to lose everything they hold dear, unless they answer the long-held hair raising question… one of entertainment’s soapiest moments is found 1:28 into the video:

You really want to know which ‘bitch’ is it, don’t you?  Fine… here you go:

Where is the same level of camp/drama/intrigue in daytime?  Where  is the lovely but infuriating clever ingenue who steals your heart, but makes you lose your cool all at the same time?  She is not alone in being missing in action in the soap genre.  Daytime is woefully short in offering two types of characters that have typically driven soaps in the past:

1.  Empowered women. The empowered woman’s motto is, ‘If they screw with you, pay them back tenfold’.  The empowered woman in daytime is unapologetic for being smart and in control of her own destiny.  She does not suffer fools gladly.  She  knows what she wants and she’s not afraid to go after it.   Her strength is a true strength, and not psychotic and controlling behaviors reinterpreted as strength – as with bat crap crazy BnB’s Stephanie Forrester and GH’s Helena Cassadine.

 She’s equipped to stand her ground in the boardroom, in her romantic relationships, and in all other aspects of her empowered life.  Take, for example, OLTL’s Rachel Gannon.  She’s a second generation empowered woman (as far as we know).  Daughter of the legendary ass-kicking Nora Gannon Buchanan, Rachel fought a drug habit, served time in prison, is now a drug treatment counselor,  and a woman slowly falling in love with a good man – the damned sexy and cuddly Shaun Evans .. who has a rich, powerful, sleaze for a brother.  You can see where this is going, can’t you?  Hang on a minute.

Empowered women still exist, they’re just often revamped to play ‘weak’ and ‘whiny’ women who have to beg forgiveness when they’re mistreated by the men in their lives, or by others.  If they’re not completely destroyed, they’re placed on the backburner once daytime writers decide that they’ve had enough with all the ‘grit’ and ‘courage’ and they replace her with knuckle-drooling counterpart – weak women whose claim to fame is compliance and acquiescence – deference to the mindless soap male.  It’s why I’m sure that in short order, Rachel Gannon will fall for the sleazy brother, Dr. Gregory Evans.  She’ll want to ‘save’ him from himself, and she’ll hurt sweetheart Shaun in the process.  

The dialogue that follows?  “We didn’t mean to hurt you!” … “It just happened”….” If I could take it all back”… and then the years of affairs, maltreatment, excuses, and bitter triangles in which she’ll have to fight off Greg’s other ‘great love’ begins… for you dear soap fans, not for me.   As I’ve taken the BnB off my playlist, the OLTL is soon to follow should the storyline play out as it seems.  What is it with OLTL and the siblings/shared lovers storylines?  Layla/Cristian/Evangeline – Bo/Nora/Clint – Stacy/Rex/Gigi,  and now, most likely, Shaun/Rachel/Gregory.

2.  The Vixen.  Unlike the empowered woman, she fights from a position of fear, anger, and insecurity.  Her motto is ‘Get them before they get you’.  She’s more likely to wreak havoc and create hell in the lives around her  and not because she’s necessarily evil, but more so because she doesn’t know any other way of existing.  DAYS’ Melanie comes closest to a real live ‘bad girl’ in the mold of the daytime classic over-the-top troubled vixens, but I need more. 

Remember GH’s Lucy Coe when she was first introduced?  Oh.Dear.Soapgod.  Who could have seen that one coming?  That Lucy was involved with bad boy Kevin was a given… it was clear that the mousy librarian was protecting him.  That the ‘mousy’ librarian wasn’t mousy at all, but a studded collar short from being a dominatrix?  SAY WHAT?  No one I knew who watched soaps then had ever seen anything like it.  Sadly, I suspect we’ll never see anything as off the wall wonderful as Lucy Coe again, not in daytime (OH, and SHAME ON YOU, GH.  In  a recent interview, Lynn Herring (Lucy Coe) reveals that she made it clear to TPTB that she was open to reprising the role… they weren’t interested.  GH’s loss is As The World Turns’ gain.

I’d hoped that  OLTL’s Stacy would become Lucy-esque, she had such potential – but the writers took it one step twenty steps too far.  Not only did Stacy drug  and try to seduce Rex Balsom, the object of her obsession, her sister’s fiance, and father of her only nephew  (pretty tame for daytime vixens, however), she went as far as allowing her sister, Gigi, to believe that she would allow Gigi’s son, Shane,  die unless her sister turned Rex over to her.  That’s pretty psychotic for a daytime vixen.  If there was ever anything to root for as far as Stacy was concerned, that storyline killed it.   Had the writers had Stacy fake being the donor, with Roxy and Kyle’s help as she was already doing,  Stacy as a vixen could have survived.  She could have then played off of Rex’s gratitude to slowly seduce him away as  Gigi was heavily focused on Shane’s recovery.  The writers could have set a trusting Gigi up to ask Rex to play ‘nurse maid’ to her recovering sister.  Allowing a mother to believe that you would let her son die, for a roll in the hay?  Bad.  When the child’s mother is your own sister?  EVIL.

Without it’s heroic empowered women and mischief making vixens, daytime has me tuning elsewhere for interesting characters (real or fictional).