Tuesday, January 23, 2007


I am a regular watcher of four daytime dramas (soap operas): Days of Our Lives, All My Children, One Life to Live and General Hospital. I proclaim my enjoyment of this entertainment genre with no embarrassment and no apology. At least the viewer is not subjected to reruns! I do, however, have a few comments to make:

Days of Our Lives
Since the arrival of the new writing team, the quality and pace have improved dramatically. Even more dramatic, the men on the show actually have cojones again! This is a very welcome change. However, couldn’t we have at least one happy couple on the show? As far as I can recall, Tom and Alice were the last happily married and long-term couple on the show and HE has been dead for how many years now? Is it really necessary to play “Who’s the Daddy?” with Sami’s new pregnancy? Isn’t that cliché just a tad overdone – including recently with Bo and Hope’s new (unnamed) daughter?

All My Children
It’s time for Erica Kane to stop being such a sanctimonious pain in the butt (the same could be said of Jackson Montgomery’s character). Considering her romantic (and marital) shenanigans over the years, Erica has absolutely no business claiming moral superiority over ANYBODY! And her rampant and never ending interference in her children’s lives would have normal children cutting her out of their lives entirely.

It’s also time for her portrayer to start wearing more CLOTHES. Erica Kane has aged, at least chronologically, and while Susan Lucci is a beautiful woman, she is looking pretty stringy these days around the neck, poitrine and arms. Keep on putting her in skimpy tops in the middle of winter, or at any other time, and no illusions can survive. Bear in mind, the actress is six years OLDER than the character she plays. Age appropriate folks is all I'm asking.

And while we're on the subject, normal women do not parade around the workplace dressed the way the women of All My Children are attired, not at any time of the year, unless of course they work at "Hooters" or some place of that type.

There is fan criticism of the transgender story. I won’t join it. Despite my reservations about the story itself, the actor playing Zarf/Zoe is REMARKABLE. And Jeffrey Carlson is drawing out some amazing performances from Alexa Havens, Jacob Young, Michael E. Knight, Colin Eggelsfield, Eden Riegel and a brilliantly snarky performance from Alicia Minshew (who never disappoints).

There are some very talented people in the cast who are frequently underutilized (You permitted Julia Barr to get away in favor of an Ambyr Childers? Are you NUTS?) and some truly annoying and primarily useless “newbies” are now on board. When you have the masterful Thorsten Kaye, Cameron Mathison and Jeff Branson, why in the name of hell do you need the inept services of the actresses playing Colby Chandler (Childers) and Sydney, not to mention the unnecessary services of Sean Montgomery’s character and whoever the amateur is that is playing him? The City of New York is wall-to-wall with really talented performers seeking a break. And you already have some truly gifted people on the show (David Canary, Justin Bruening and so on) – so why these three wastes of time in human form? Write better storyline for the talented actors you HAVE and quit taking on training projects at the viewers' expense.

One Life to Live
Enough already with the brooding hero schtick of John McBain! The character is played by a talented actor who is capable of so much more nuance and range than he is being given to portray. Natalie started out as a feisty, strong-willed, intelligent character. When did she become a whining, needy weakling? And why, if a woman has Antonio Vega in her bed would she give even one look at the character of Nash? Particularly when he is played by an actor whose hair is forever hanging in his face (NOT a good look) and who seems to be perpetually engaged in doing the “potty dance” in all of his scenes?

When oh when are we going to get rid of that smirking and evil buffoon Dr. Spencer Truman?

Finally, why in the name of heaven is that boxing promoter Vincent still hanging out in town? And why should we care? Buh-bye Vincent! Why they kept you and killed off the character of Hugh Hughes is beyond me!

General Hospital
I really think it’s time to get back to doing what you’ve always done best. Center the stories around the hospital and get back to your basics. You’ve made a start in that direction with the storylines involving the return of Robert Scorpio, Robin Scorpio, Anna Devane, Dr. Noah Drake (the still dreamy Rick Springfield, whose appeal has matured along with his fans) and the bittersweet return of the Luke and Laura saga. But now Luke is out of the picture temporarily and there’s no Robert Scorpio to be seen, while Bobbie Spencer and Dr. Noah Drake are seldom on view. Instead the writers are sliding toward the road more easily taken and relying again on the Sonny/Jason/Carly/Sam characters. There is no doubt that these four characters bring a delightful edge to the program. There is also no doubt that the core families and the hospital setting are also vital to the arc of the show.

In their favor, GH has managed to make some really brilliant casting choices: Julie Marie Berman as the legendary Luke and Laura’s daughter, Lulu, was sheer genius. Laura Wright as the 4th incarnation of Carly Corinthos makes you wonder who played the part before – that’s how good she is. Pairing Julie Marie Berman with the outrageous and delightful Scott Clifton is inspired. And regardless of what others may think – Spinelli IS hilarious!

And yes, the Corinthos crime family needs conflict, but the Alcazar storyline has become tedious and utterly boring and makes me grateful for my fast forward button.

Finally, when oh when is someone going to insert a much-needed shiv between the ribs of D.A. Rick Lansing and put all of us out of his misery? A truly remarkable actor is being wasted as his character’s traits are being subverted in a direction they should never have gone. Yes, the character has always been despicable, but he was always permitted a certain level of vulnerability as well. Now he’s just pure evil. Here’s a thought – let Ric eliminate Alcazar permanently and be himself eliminated during his escape attempt! Clean, simple and efficient!


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