Young & the Restless / Bold & the Beautiful – Crazy Is…

YnR Nikki Summer Ian

The Young and the Restless: Crazy Like a Fox

Crazy is as crazy does, or so they say.  Here’s what I see.  Ian’s days are, for sure, numbered.  Will he end up  dead?  Who knows? If he lives, it is not clear to me that his days will be worth living.  He is one part cocky and two parts crazy!  Than never bodes well for a villainous soap character.

Nikki’s unequivocal F-U to Ian and her glaring declaration that she is not afraid of him is the best thing that could have happened for viewers!  Strength and courage, forget cowering and waiting for the big bad Newman men to save the day!  Oh sure, it was a HUGE thrill to have Dylan and Nick show up at the door at the end – Ian’s facial expression was priceless.  It was more of a thrill to know that Nikki didn’t need them.

Before their arrival, she charged into Ian’s office like she owned it.  She batted his lies like flies.  Someone should have warned Ian that Nikki has been married to Victor Newman, off and on, for more than 30 years soap time.  She has already survived one big bad controlling and scary man (a man who leaves me alternating between hating and loving to hate him).  Sir. Ian is a rank amateur by comparison — no matter how beautifully seamless Ray Wise’s Ian is as a villain.  Someone should tell Ian to stick to mind-blanking young and vulnerable people  who are “confused and searching” as he helps “put them on their paths”.

YnR Dylan Threatens IanSomeone should also tell him to avoid messing with the Newman clan. These people have killed before and they will kill again I’m sure.  There is always the option of leaving him imprisoned in a basement cell where no one will find him!  (What I wouldn’t give for Victor to build a cell for Ian!)  I fully expected this storyline to continue on and on with Nikki being afraid for herself, or Dylan.  Thank you writers, for letting Nikki be proactive in protecting Summer and the rest of her family.

Also, how good is it to see Paul, Lauren and Michael together?  I won’t lie.  There is a part of me that so fondly remembers Paul and Lauren as a couple (as well as Paul and Nikki) that having them find their way back to each other would feel like old home week for me. There are times when I, for a moment, wish for a Lauren and Paul reunion.  I never thought that I could grow to love Lauren after her treatment of Tracy Abbott, but Paul was the beginning of her redemption.  Lauren learned to become human, with Paul.  It helped that Lauren was fed back some of the crap she dealt out to Tracy, in the form of Mary Williams (the working woman version of BnB’s Stephanie Forrester).  Now when I see Lauren, I don’t see the mean spirited young adult who was filled with anger and ill will.  I see the woman who became a wife and mother, who apologized to Tracy for having victimized her for many years, and I love the growth that YnR characters have made Lauren in particular.  I have tried to avoid being dragged back into daytime, but the BnB and the YnR are making it tough for me to stay away.

The Bold and The Beautiful: The Douglas Problem

I’m not sure if it is intentional, but whatever the case, it is certainly interesting that there is a strong connective history when looking at the Douglas bloodline.  Stephanie Forrester’s father was a cruel and nasty S.O.D. who abused and humiliated his eldest daughter for reasons that are still not clear (realistically so.  Many survivors of abuse are left trying to make sense of their abusers’ cruelty – forced to try to give meaning to something so illogical and so vile).  John Douglas was clearly a man who refused to control his impulses – giving way to his anger at his daughter for daring to have her own opinions and  ideas.  It is a tragic behavior pattern that Stephanie followed in her own later life.  The revelation of Ally’s continued difficulties ties so neatly into the troubled Douglas history. Stephanie’s mother was as troubled as John and as troubled as Stephanie and Pam became over time.  Not only did Mother Ann refuse to protect Stephanie, she accepted a lonely Ann’s devotion and watched as Ann gave up all dreams of a family and children to care for her mother.

BnB Douglas WomenAt the time of the confrontation between mother and daughter,  it seemed that Mother Douglas’ only goal was to protect herself and the memory of a perfect marriage and perfect family life.  I now have to wonder if the writers want us to rethink the entire Douglas lineage!   That Ally’s psychological issues are being addressed (and that Ally flips out in the presence of not just Wyatt, but the Stephanie Douglas Forrester jewelry collection was BRILLIANT!)  It makes sense  that a child who lost her mother at such a young age is so badly hurt by that loss and that the pain doesn’t simply dissipate.

Are Ally’s psychological problems the real reason she didn’t continue on to Law school and came home to join the family business?  Had she had a break just before coming home?  This kid has had so much to deal with in such a short life.  Ally’s pain was compounded by the fact that the first woman she allowed to become her new mother was a woman who deceived her, only to try to replace the mother she was still grieving. Ally must have surely felt betrayed by the ease with which her father forgave the woman who left her mother dying on the highway.

Is that why Ally clings to Hope?  An innocent Hope was the only person Ally could rely on and trust in, at that time. Everyone else behaved as if it was normal for your father to marry the woman who killed your mother.   Hope told Ally the truth no one else would tell.  Is Hope’s perfect life one Ally has imagined  having for herself  instead of the crap storm Taylor’s actions and her father’s thoughtlessness left her?  Is she living vicariously through Hope to the point of imagining a happy Hope and Liam living the life that would have made her happy, too?  From Vicious John Douglas, to Mother Ann Douglas to the psychotically violent Stephanie, the murderous Pam, and now the unhinged Ally Forrester. WOW!

I’d jokingly said before that if Ally starts wearing pantsuits and a brooch, I’m  going to cry, and then fear for Hope’s safety.  I now see that I will have to fear for Wyatt’s safety.  I’m not sure what Wyatt triggers in Ally ( his deceit = taylor’s deceit?).  Does watching Hope forgive Wyatt anger her because, as she lives vicariously through Hope, and it reminds her that she accepted Taylor’s lie?  Whatever is it, the writers will let us know soon enough, but I have to say that it is beginning to become deliciously uncomfortable.

I can say that prior to Ally’s explosive rage, it was fun to watch a little innocent romance with #HOTT.  They started strong and ended strong, today.  I can’t wait for the next episode to see where this is headed.  Something tells me to not expect an apology from Ms. Ally.  Who stands with Wyatt if (when) the -ish hits the fan and the Forresters rally around Ally to protect her?  How? Most likely by firing Wyatt to help Ally heal, if the question of whether Wyatt should be fired, posed in the twitterverse to fans,  is any indication.  The only supporter he has ever had prior to meeting Hope?  His mother.  She’s ride or die for her son so I’m sure she’ll stand with him, should it happen. Would Hope stand with him or would her loyalties be divided?  Will his donor father come to his aid?  Given Bill’s consistent trashing of Wyatt, I wouldn’t count on it.  If it happens, I’m sure surprising battle lines will be drawn.

BnB Quinn and BillSoap crazy Part 2?  Bill Spencer.  Seriously, after today, this guy goes on my FastForward filter.  He is such an loser that it’s hard to fathom where the writers feel this character fits in a genre that is about romance, a bit of cheesecake, and the occasional bit of insanity.  How many times in one lifetime will a man get to say, “We’re not family, you’re just the mother of my child”?  It’s a grotesque thing for him to say to a woman with whom he has had no serious conflict and who saved. loved, and nurtured a child he claims to now love, as well.  Even referring to her as a very distant relative would have been better. (and yes, ship docked in the nearby harbor would have still worked).

Bill Spencer is exhausting.  He is a combination low-rent comedic version of J.R. Ewing (original Dallas) and womanizing Don  Draper of Mad Men.  He’s anachronistic!  Everyone else seems to be operating in the 21st century.  Bill is almost 19th century in this thoughts and actions.  I’m sick of his male equivalent “Forever 21″wardrobe, the ridiculously compulsive (and unnatural) grooming, and the  tired juvenile dialogue – what grown ass man has to tell a woman that she’d better not show up in a couple of months pregnant with his child? (If you can’t control it?  CAP IT!)  People, I just can’t with this guy. I.can.NOT!   (My comments are not about Don Diamont, who is a true hottie.  His own  look is so natural and gorgeous.  Google him.)  Bill Spencer  is too much of a put on.  It throws me every time I look at him.

Bill’s comment that Quinn was not his family  was almost as repulsive as his line that Quinn didn’t give him a chance to be a father.  As I recall, she did.  He told her to abort their child.  No matter how good looking he is with his shirt off, he is a little bit of a sidewinder, otherwise, and for a man who is such a misogynist to be treated as either a hero, or a man at all, runs counter to what a romantic lead is in daytime.  Who the hell wants to spend their days battling the Bill Spencers of the world, only to watch them celebrated?  Difficult men? Ok, outright misogynistic pigs?  Keep ’em, you can have ’em.  I have to paraphrase my new fave quote (THANKS @MrJeromeTrammel for articulating my thoughts better than I could have):  “There Is No Shortage Of Good Men, It’s Just That The Ignorance Of No-Good Men Is Promoted So Well.”

Quinn’s dialogue, returning fire for fire, was about the only useful thing to happen in the conversation between the two. I do believe she is right. Bill has never met a woman who is his match. Katie tried to humanize him, but was shut down. Brooke only gave in and gave him what he wanted – physical contact – no attempt to humanize him at all. Quinn is too good for Bill.  I hope the guy either grows up or goes.

Sorry, folks, but as I said above, Bill has hit my FastForward Filter.  He is too much of a bad thing.  I can’t be bothered to watch this guy any more.

If anyone wondered why Ashlyn Pearce was cast in the role of Alexandria Forrester, I’m guessing that’s now officially answered!  SO, in the event that you get out of line with comments or in email?  Remember this face:

BnB Angry Ally Forrester

Don’t make me send Ally after you!

Advertisements

Two More Soaps are Down/The Guessing Game

All rights to this photo are retained by the original owner

 Most of you have heard or read, by now, that  U.S. soaps are one step closer to being a part of our American past.  I have been saying for some time that I wish that the powers that be (TPTB) at the networks would either fix daytime or kill it off, but that anything in between is unfair to fans, and a clear disrespect for the genre.  I am not celebrating the loss of All My Children and One Life To Live.  In fact, it saddens me for two reasons.  The first is that I believe that both shows were a damned sight better than General Hospital and were far more ‘history rich’ in their current forms than GH.  The second is that I believe that both shows could have lasted years longer if ABC had the courage to infuse the genre with new writers and executive producers/energetic writers and executive producers who would have respected the genre’s history, but not become bogged down in the repetitive storyline telling, and the lack of attention to detail that drove fans away.

AMC and OLTL were the ‘class acts’ of daytime, and to lose these two shows won’t  improve the chances of the remaining shows to survive by picking up their audiences.  The loss of these two shows will only serve to illuminate how much weaker the plots and plot devices of the remaining shows are.

The Young and the Restless:  The actress replacing Drucilla (whose name I’m not even motivated to look up) once gave an interview stating that most Drucilla fans were fans of the show first, not of the character.  Uh… ok.  She also stated that she wasn’t hired to create a character to replace Dru… and how’s that workin’ for ya?  Where is the character she plays now?  In Dru’s old storyline… pregnant, by one of the Winters brothers and she’s not exactly sure which.  Adam, who burned a fetus in a damned fireplace, never giving its mother the chance to grieve its loss is a romantic hero, involved with a woman whose child he stole.  Go. AWAY!

The Bold and the Beautiful Where to begin?  There are so many problems with this show that between it and DOOL, that either could be the next to go (yeah, even over GH)!  I wish Bell’s ‘bad girls’ weren’t so one-dimensional, like Steffy and her faux ‘good girl’ mother, Taylor- who is as much a daytime bitch as ever there was one.  Both Steffy and Taylor highlight the weakness of Bell’s writing for bad girl characters.  I miss the real bad girls, women with a method to their madness and whose actions were explained through their backstory (pain, unhappiness, abuse, abandonment). You always knew that their desperate actions were about fighting back in the only way they knew how and it left you hating them and loving them at the same time. Steffy is just a selfish, pampered, snotty little girl who thinks life owes it to her to give her whatever she wants – even after having such a privileged life and a father who sacrificed his happiness for hers.

Her constant attempt to draw a distinction between herself and the ‘human trash from the valley’ makes her as useless as her grandmother. Most soap bad girls didn’t offer the social class argument for their superiority and since social class is the only type of class Steffy has – any argument she makes in her favor is moot. She is everything she despises in others… the ultimate hypocrite.

All rights to this photo are retained by the original owner

Steffy’s character lacks depth and a backstory gives definition to her character.

She’s just mean, nasty, and whiny-bitchy instead of fun bitchy. It’s this sort of anemic storytelling that’s killed so much of daytime and makes the genre unwatchable.

Days Of Our Lives Rape is NOT SEXY!  EJ? NOT SEXY! I don’t care how attractive EJ’s portrayer James Scott is.  JS is not EJ, and EJ is a rapist with no redeeming qualities.  His sole mission in life it to own and manipulate the woman he raped, to control her life and to continue to impregnate her through violence and/or deceit.   I gave up on this show a very long time ago.  DOOL, and EJ as a character, are better suited to a soap titled, “The Land that Time Forgot”.    The titled references a book, screenplay, and several movies.  Why not a soap?  Women are smarter, better educated, focused on informing themselves and their daughters and sons about sexual assault — yet, sexual assault is still the foundation for romance and ‘good times’ on Days of our Lives.  Not.  good.

General Hospital Need I say more?  Nice guys really DO finish last.  OLTL and AMC focused on family ties, the ups and downs of relationships, and in the end the mob boys and weak guest appearances win out.  Sorry, James Franco fans, I thought GH’s artist Franco sucked and that the actor treated the character as a caricature.  His vision of what a soap character was supposed to be left me cringing and I was shocked that TPTB backstage allowed it to happen.

Daytime writers and executives of the four remaining shows have to become more protective of the genre.  They have to remember daytime’s illustrious history and send the remaining four shows out as a bright flame, and not sending it up as a weak puff of smoke.  They owe the fans no less.

Oddly enough,  I was a daytime fan who, when this blog began as a column for  Darcy Fourier’s “The Soapscope” website, watched more daytime than primetime television.  My primetime viewership was nearly non-existent.   When I became disenchanted with daytime, I switched to primetime viewership almost exclusively.  Even still, I will miss soaps for lots of reasons, but primarily for their history in total.  I can’t say that  I will  soaps in their current incarnation, I hated and still hate most of what’s airing in daytime.  I will miss daytime for what it was, and for the missed opportunity to make it something great, again.  I’m not interesting in more daytime talk, more scripted reality, or more game shows and can’t imagine their appeal over even the worst of daytime dramas, much less the best of it.  To the Cast and Crew at All My Children and One Life to Live, thank you for the decades of memories.  You are irreplaceable and you will be missed.

The one who got away…

The one who got away  turned into two… and then two turned into three… and then three …  You get the picture.  OLTLers will most likely feel nostalgic at the sight of Renee Elise Goldsberry (ex-Evangeline Williamson).  REG’s Evangeline was one of the most unique new (female) characters in recent OLTL history, not to mention in recent soap history.   She.Had.A.BRAIN!  Not only did she have a brain, folks, she wasn’t afraid to use it!

Part of me wants to give credit to the writers for making sure that the character was as strong as she was and that they hadn’t decided to shove Evangeline into the deepest darkest corners of crazyland – where they eventually relegate  all female characters.    We were fortunate that there were no huge psychological breakdowns for this character after failed romances.  She didn’t go on drinking binges, no drug use, she didn’t lurk in shady places trying to keep a watchful eye on ‘rivals’ – in desperation to hold on to a man.  What makes all of that even bigger news for a One Life character?  She dated John ”Sanity Killer” McBain, folks!  She survived their relationship and remained healthy.  Who could forget this moment between sisters Evangeline and Layla once it was clear to Evangeline that John was going to betray her:

The sane woman’s anthem when love goes wrong!

Whatever happened, no matter the writing, Goldsberry gave Evangeline a rare sense of dignity and strength for a female character in modern daytime.   My best guess is that the writers got it – REG was a very different actress all together.  She had the elegance and comportment of a more seasoned actress. Writing that may have been translated onscreen as shrill, needy, and whining by another young actress was treated as an opportunity to turn Evangeline into her own heroine – no need for rescue.  The partnership between the writers and the actress gave OLTL fans like myself joy in watching one of the most memorable characters in daytime.  If only the powers that be had been able to convince the actress to stay.  Despite her unfortunate dalliance with John, and her flirtation with the mad-as-a-hatter Todd Manning (which I loved while he was still in the process of reforming and becoming a better person), it was Evangeline’s last relationship – with the  lovely Cristian Vega that sealed Evangeline’s fate as a winner in life, but loser at love.  Cristian walked away once he realized that there was more between Evangeline and Todd than she was able to admit, even to herself.

Rather than kill the character off when REG vacated the role, the writers decided to have the character succumb to a coma.  While it preserved their right to bring her back (and I appreciate that), it’s awful thinking that the character remains there and life in Llanview goes on without her.  I wish they’d thought to let her move on to another city, start a successful law practice and allow Layla to occasionally mention who well her sister is doing in her new life.

Sadly, I’m concerned that Layla Williamson will soon suffer the fate of her big sister.  She’ll disappear from Llanview history with barely a second thought from those who knew or loved her.  Overkill?  Do you remember Rachel Gannon?  Probably not.  She was so rarely featured before the writers decided to dump the legacy character, yet again (and yet FORD remains).  The Williamson family is relatively new.  I have little hope for the rarely seen Layla – who is now dating Cristian Vega.  While you would think that would be the perfect time for writers to wake Van up from her coma (even if they could only convince REG toreturn for a few eps to usher Van off to a new life), such is not the case with OLTL.  The writers instead have Teen Tessica Buchanan, who can’t remember her life beyond the age of 17 returning to high school as a student  (yeah right) and stalking ‘Mr. Vega’.  Where is Layla while all of this is happening?  Who the hell knows?

The more things change, the more they stay the same, One Life.  One Life fans may remember Valarie Pettiford ( Sheila Price Gannon) for delivering a  rousing rendition of ‘Dancing in the Streets’ at Megan’s funeral.  Where is she now?  Doing just fine without OLTL, thank you very much!  She was one of the co-stars of the show ‘Half and Half‘ and ocntinues performing on Broadway and has her own Cabaret act:

Van, Layla, Sheila, Rika (Sheila’s younger sister), and the few very women of color before them.  What a waste, OLTL.

As the World Turns

Smart women and the law?  They seem to go hand in hand in daytime.   OLTL’s Van Williamson and Nora Buchanan, GH’s Alexis Davis and Federal Prosecutor Claire Walsh, ATWT’s Margo Hughes and Jessica Griffin, all of whom helped make it ‘safe’ for women to be smart.  Tamara Tunie’s Jessica was a no frills – no bullshit character who wasn’t exactly shy about telling Oakdale residents where to go and how to get there… of course, she did it in the most elegant way possible.  TT’s Jessica Griffin McKeachnie  brought as much to her show as REG’s did to OLTL later.  Jessica was a beloved character  who was respected by her onscreen peers -, and then the inevitable happened.  Jessica found out where she really  fit in the grand scheme of Oakdale life.  Her ‘interracial’ romance with Duncan McKeachnie led to both heartbreaking and uplifting moments for the character.

She’d feared that her tough as nails, and somewhat conservative friend and client Lucinda Walsh would never approve of her relationship with Duncan.  Lady Lu, CEO extraordinaire would have to protect her business interests from ‘scandal’, right?  Jessica knew that the only person she and Duncan could share the news of their growing relationship with was their beloved friend and supporter, Lisa Hughes.  Lisa was a woman of the world.  She’d done something most women would never have thought of doing in her time – she’d left a husband and child and sought love elsewhere.  She’d dated and loved brothers.  She was a hellion in her youth and didn’t care who approved of her choices.  So imagine Jessica’s surprise when she learned that Lucinda was the one to give the happy couple her blessing and Lisa was the person who disapproved.

Jessica found even greater strength and a stronger voice when she grew tired of defending her love for Duncan and their desire to be together.  She remained a relatively strong character until the writers decided to SORAS’ young Bonnie into an adult woman.   Bonnie brought many changes into Jess’ life, most of them lousy, including having Jessica watch her daugther grow closeto the man she knew raped her mother, and being accidentally shot by her daughter.   When ATWT’s jumps the shark, it chums the waters, first.  Where is Jessica?  Around… somewhere… I hope.

The Young and the Restless

I’ve covered the topic of Victoria Rowell’s Drucilla Winters being absent from screen in several blog entries, most recently (HERE and HERE).  I still can’t get over what insanity leads the YnR’s PLTB refusal to bring Dru back to screen.  No matter how many times TPTB insists there’s no room for Drucilla onscreen, each new weak and snooze producing character they bring to screen in her place says otherwise.

Even worse than the above?  The talented Latina American, American Indian, Asian American, and other actresseses who ever never give the chance to appear onscreen.  It saddens me to realize that as networks are steadily shuttering soaps from the daytime schedule, Executive Producers and other execs don’t appear to be moved to change their practices before all soaps are eventually cleared from the schedule.  There has be some growth when you think of where daytime started and where it is now, but how much growth?  What will be the legacy of daytime and minority characters when all is said and done?

Bonus Clip!

The REG you’ve never seen on OLTL.  Goldsberry in RENT:

It happens in the best of (soap) families…

First the good stuff. I don’t know why it’s never dawned on me before, but why or WHY hasn’t DAYS – which  happens to be in striking distance of the BnB in the ratings, taken advantage of the colossal blunder  made by the BnB’s sister soap, the YnR?  Why hasn’t DAYS hired Victoria Rowell as a new character?  YnR’s  PLTB (Powerless That Be) are  determined to not bring Rowell back to daytime in a role she made iconic.  Why not hire Ms. Rowell for DAYS and tie her to honest Abe Carver.  His image has been a little ‘too clean’ for a soap character.  I don’t want him to become a bad guy, or learn that he was ever a ‘bad’ man.  It might be worthwhile to find out that Abe was once a conflicted man. He was in love with a woman with a shady past and did things he’d never expected to do.   Maybe Abe demands perfection in Lexie because he’s loved a woman who’s driven him down the wrong path before and is afraid to go there again.

TPTB won’t hire her because of money?  I know, I know… but I could name a number of characters – starting with the teens, the show could “clear house”  with in order to afford bringing Rowell on board.  It just  might surprise you to know that James Scott’s Ej Dimera is not on the list!  We’ll need him around for at least a while longer.

Imagine that Brandon returns and wants his father to meet a woman he’s fallen in love with – a woman he wants to marry.  It turns out that she’s

1.  a cougar and

2 – a woman from Abe’s past.

She knew Abe when he wasn’t so sainted- chasing down crooked cops and busting drug rings!  She’s someone who knows where Abe buried the bodies  (so to speak)  and is someone against whom Abe’s defenses are weak.  His attraction to her is chemical, undeniable, and a threat to his marriage and to his standing in the community.  Let’s not mention the fact that a relationship with this woman would be toxic to the relationship Abe shares with his son, Brandon.  It took a lot for Abe to get beyond Lexie’s affair with Brandon, could Abe make the mistake of falling into bed, again, with this woman?  The woman his son loves?  Lexie has spent most of their marriage cheating on Abe and awaiting his forgiveness – now she’ll have to worry about whether Abe will be the one to next break their marriage vows and if she would be able to forgive him.  Ultimately he would remain faithful, though we would find out that he has a lot more to  lose than his marriage by having this woman present.

Not being able to destroy the Carver marriage, being dumped by Brandon – who moves on with Arianna Hernandez, VR’s character would of course form an alliance with DAYS other uber-evil villain, EJ Dimera.  Both characters are matched as  equally deadly manipulators.  EJ relies on her expertise but always makes sure she knows that their partnership is predicated on her commitment to stay away from Abe, Lexie, and Theo… but can she do it?  EJ, torn between his friendship with, love for, and growing reliance on this woman and his love for his  family.  The town of Salem would never be the same again!

Speaking of  Soap Families

Parasites come in all shapes, sizes, and genders.   The three major categories of dysfunctional soap family members  include the non-criminal philanderer, the non criminal self-pitying liar, and the criminal take-by-force loser.

The Philanderer

Every (soap) family has that one philandering dolt who makes you feel dirty just by shaking his hand – which is a bad move since you never know where that hand has been.  You just know that it’s been a lot of places you’d never go.  On the BnB?  That would be Eric “naked on the ledge” Forrester.  Eric’s treatment of women is, and always has been, rather shabby.  He’s been cheered on as a romantic hero, but he’s neither romantic, nor a hero as far as I’m concerned.  I think fans are finally beginning to see Eric as the lowly worm he truly is.  Is he only more clearly viewed as  a Lothario because he has yet to change his behaviors?  A man his age, who still can’t be faithful to a faithful wife is far from appealing.   His actions include:

1.  Declaring his love for his son’s former fiancee moments after leaving his wife of decades.  Let’s face facts, lesser men would have left Stephanie about an hour after she gave birth – after finding out that the kid she gave birth to was healthy.  It would have been hard to blame him for wanting to be a single dad rather than chain himself to a hate-filled harpy like Stephanie.   She’s not exactly ‘lovable’, except in rare occasions and for Eric that has typically meant whenever someone younger and warmer was available.  The problem is that he DID chain himself to her.  So his inability to live  up to his commitment leaves you weary.  The man comes and goes like a rock star on tour – and Stephanie Douglas is his most fervent groupie.

2.  When Brooke dumped him for Ridge, Eric moved on to psychotic Sheila Carter, and after a while on to taylor – who was dumped by the same son who left Brooke earlier, and any other half-wit who would have him.  Each time Stephanie grabbed on to his coattails and begged for crumbs… and he gave them to her.

3.  He returned to Stephanie only to end up cheating on her just before their wedding. He cheated with a woman who was like a daughter to her, Lauren Fenmore.

4.  He tried returning to Brooke.  Later returning to Stephanie when that fell through.

5.   He later married Brooke’s sister, Donna Logan, but only after cheating on Stephanie (who was in hiding after facilitating Brooke’s sexual assault).  What lousy circumstances under which Eric took Donna Logan to bed.  It was mere weeks after finding that that Donna was sleeping with his youngest son in order to use him to tear the Forrester family apart.  A heart-broken Thorne dumped Donna at the altar – Eric slept with her.

6.  After all of the above, I never grew to like Donna and Eric, but it was clear that she really did love the artful dodger.  It was Donna who fought the Forresters to keep Eric on life support when they were ready to pull the plug.  It was  Stephanie who gave Eric a knee to the groin in front of their adult children.  It was  Donna who went along with a plan to regain the company for Eric even if it meant betraying the trust of baby sister Katie… It was Stephanie who was at fault for helping the Forresters lose the company in the first place.  Eric is returning to Stephanie… a woman who tried to destroy his life’s work and tried to turn his children against him.

Whatever unfortunate thing happens to him is all he deserves and more.  By the way, it’s pretty awful when clips for your show fits the theme song to a slapstick comedy.  BRAVO to the genius backstage who put this together!  (At least you have a sense of humor about the show you’re producing):

OLTL writers must look at the BnB’s Eric with a sense of awe.  The Power(less) That Be  must love the guy, because it’s the road I see John McBain taking for as long as the show is on the air.  Loving that man is a no-win proposition for any OLTL woman.  Johnny McBain loves no woman as much as he loves the idea of living in misery… the women he ‘loves’ just end up along for the ride.

Both men should make room for the YnR’s Victor, who treats women as useless if they’re not grabbing pom poms and cheering on his self-indulgent tendencies.  They may as well be packaged in tissues boxes.  Victor uses one, and tosses her aside as he grabs the next.

All three aregoing to find themselves  riding in a crowded car if they have to make room for GH’s loathsome Sonny Corinthos and Sonny’s enormous ego.  I hope that car has a big trunk!  It will have to carry the emotionally and spiritual dead bodies of the women Sonny has loved, maltreated, discarded, disrupted, and left as empty hollow shells.

The Self-Pitying Liar

The BnB leads the way again.  Two words: taylor hayes… ok, two more: Stephanie Forrester… WAIT, two more:  Steffy Forrester (Marone) – That’s three, right?  Steffy has proven herself as taylor’s daughter, Stephanie’s granddaughter.  I’ve never seen writers utterly destroy three female characters by writing them as utterly obsessed with another character – one Brooke Logan.  I could show you a million clips of these women plotting (taylor and stephanie before steffy came along) and if you watched the show’s factual history, you would be shocked to hear them constantly whining about the ‘pain’ Brooke has cost them.  Before Stephanie facilitated the rape of Brooke Logan, she tried to convince Brooke to take her life, and even gave her the gun to do it with… oh yes, that’s right… Brooke is the threat to the Forresters.  Does Steffy has any idea how awful her mother and grandmother are?  Does she care?  She’s lied more since she became daytime’s lead self-pitying liar than any other character has in a decade!

The Take-by-Force loser

Oh come on, DAYS FANS, you knew it was coming!  The scurge that is EJ so perfectly fits this category.  I love that Will has no use for the man who violated his mother.  Sami’s oldest child so clearly understands what kind of man EJ is and wants him GONE. Good boy, Will.  It would be a HUGE mistake, for a show that’s doing so well, to try to sell the audience on the notion that Will wants to eventually become buds with the man who raped his mother and produced one child – and manipulated and violated his mother to produce another.  I know that Sami feels ‘trapped’ in some way because she’s had two children with EJ , but she really needs to let them visit with him at his place.  EJ’s presence is a constant reminder of what he’s done to young Will’s mother and I can’t believe any caring parent would let that happen.

Sorry PLTB, YOU wrote the story.  YOU have to live with it.

Given Will’s obvious (and rightful) dislike of EJ, I wonder what role he will play in this storyline. If the man who raped your mother keeps trying to insinuate himself into her life and won’t stay away… what would you do?  Hopefully Will might have some role in exposing EJ’s lies. It would give him some feeling of being able to avenge his mother’s rape and keeping his siblings safe from their vile father.

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!

Mama is a rolling stone…

The Young and the Restless:  Melody Thomas Scott

Melody Thomas Scott has found herself a  new gig!  She will start in a new online production, The Republic:

Melody plays Martha Alden, a working mother who evolves into a core-of-steel activist fighting against new laws imposed on her family. Singer plays her devoted husband Frank, a civil engineer who, blindsided by the new laws and losses, learns to adapt and thrive in this brave new world.

Good luck to MTS and the best of wishes for a successful run of this drama!

As The World Turns:  Cady McClain

If you had any doubt that Cady McClain was fabulous, before, this should clear things up!  She goes down in my book as one of my favorite celebs, EVER!  Read the full interview posted at Soap Central

It’s not that I don’t support daytime. Sometimes I just get frustrated when there are opportunities and people just don’t want to hear it. People don’t want to hear the truth. And the person who speaks what I see as my truth, certainly, often takes a hit for it.

Why is it that people like Ms. McClain  are never in charge of daytime? Seemingly, the only people  hired in executive roles are those who throw on the cheerleading outfits, the blinders, and who keep cheering on one crapload of bad storytelling after another. I have to wonder if people who are as critical as McClain and others could have turned this genre around while there was still time.  Fans have been speaking truth to daytime for a LONG time… and no one listens.  The ratings fall… and no one listens.  The actors speak out… and no one listens.  I’m gonna’ miss daytime when it goes!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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