The Young and the Restless: Katherine Chancellor, Always!

By Patrick ErwinJeanne Cooper

The Young and the Restless has a long history of being a solid hour of soap, mostly unmoved by trends or the fleeting fancies that other shows have lived (or died) by. But in the last few years, Y&R has undergone some substantial changes — changes in writers, in producers, and in the pace the story unfolds on screen. Fans are, as you might expect, divided on the pros and cons of all these changes.

I’ve got some very mixed feelings about the new direction Y&R is taking. But I am here today, not to bury Y&R, but to praise it. I’d like to rave about a minor miracle:  that in 2008, these days of budget cuts, demographic pandering, and the supposed death of daytime, a very substantial portion of Y&R’s canvas is (a) over 40 and (b) in a front-burner storyline!

And perhaps the biggest surprise of all is that the character of Katherine Chancellor, as played by Jeanne Cooper, [Read more...]

On Soaps, Multiple Suspect Murder Mysteries are So-o-o Done!

 By Marlena De LacroixStephanie shot

I have grown so tired of the soap opera convention known as the multiple-suspect murder mystery storyline.  Of late, they’ve become meaningless, predictable or, even worse, totally incomprehensible.

The multiple-suspect murder plot was only done to perfection on the old full-time soap mystery show Edge of Night.  But the plot only became really popular on other soaps around the time [Read more...]

Guiding Light Today: A Few Flickers of Light?

By Patrick ErwinDaniel Cosgrove

You may remember the last time I wrote about Guiding Light, I shared my opinion that the show was “operating at diminished capacity.”  Those were harsh words for a show that used to be must-see-TV for me.  Now, I don’t know that GL is out of intensive care just yet, but there’re a few additions to the show that I think are promising — and worth talking about.

The biggest addition to the plus column has to be the return of Daniel Cosgrove in the role of Bill Lewis. I always liked Cosgrove, [Read more...]

Marcie Surrenders Her Son on One Life to Live: A Rare Soap Opera Grand Slam

By Marlena De LacroixMarcie

While we were all bitching and moaning about Budig, I for one almost missed the soap opera story of the year.  This is the denouement of that Marcie-on-the-run story on One Life to Live, in which Marcie had fled Llanview with her “adopted” son (newly handed over by the court to Tommy’s biological father, rapist Todd), eventually ending up in Paris, Texas. 

The concluding scenes in which Marcie held Viki and later her own husband Michael hostage in the Bon Jour [Read more...]

Rape Stories: Days of Our Lives Shows That “No” Really Means “No” This Time

By Patrick ErwinDays of Our Lives

For all its onscreen and offscreen turmoil, Days of Our Lives seems to have a few stories working for it right now. One of them is Chelsea and Stephanie and the sorority girls dealing with the aftermath of the campus rapist, Ford, who raped Stephanie and Cordy and threatened Chelsea. Initially, the story didn’t seem too promising. The setup of the story was rushed (what story isn’t, nowadays?) and the rapist, Ford, came off as a one-dimensional buffoon.

[Read more...]

All My Children’s Over-hyped Return of Rebecca Budig

By Marlena De LacroixRebecca Budig

A member of our family has been ill, so it’s been hard enough to post.  And so at the end of  tough days,  I turn to where I have always turned since I was a teen for a bit of relief, comfort and a sense of belonging:  to daytime soaps.  Right now — late Saturday afternoon – what’s going on is SoapNet’s  ”Welcome Back Weekend,”  a festival of old episodes of All My Children and a repeating promo special welcoming back the characters of Jesse, Angie and Greenlee, as played again by veterans Darnell Williams, Debbi Morgan and Rebecca Budig.

[Read more...]

From Hank to Luke and Noah: A Personal Journey

By Patrick Erwinheart

Most soap operas are a unique combination of realism and complete fantasy. But every once in a while, there are characters or storylines that transcend the fictional wall, and spill over into real life — one’s own real life — in a very powerful way.

[Read more...]

Soaps’ Scab Scripts: Seinfelds They Ain’t

By Marlena De Lacroix

We’ve just passed New Year’s, and a certain ennui has set in this week on soaps.  This winter of Marlena’s discontent is made worse by the arrival of scab-written scripts. Are they here so soon?  On General Hospital and The Young and the Restless, this would seem to be the case.  Are there more?  Perhaps.  I’m listening closely, trying to take some small amusement in detecting that moment when the generally bad writing we’ve all gotten used to turns a corner and actually gets worse.

[Read more...]

Back to the Future: Soaps Try to Revive 80s Glory

By Patrick Erwin

The death of the soap opera may have been widely exaggerated — they’re still alive and kicking.  But it’s no secret that the patient is ailing.  Ratings for many of the shows are anemic, and they’ve continued to shrink.

[Read more...]