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 they expanded from a half to a full hour and their casts burgeoned with many characters of whom to make suspects.  The “Who Shot J.R?” phenomenon on Dallas made the multiple-suspect murder plot more popular on daytime soaps.  But as storytelling on soaps has vastly changed in the last decade due to faster pacing and excessive emphasis on sweeps month mega-events, the traditional multi-suspect murder story has become a much harder one to tell effectively.

Take the recent The Bold and the Beautiful “Who shot Stephanie?” storyline.  In soaps a decade ago, this story would have lasted a good part of a year.  But B&B told it accelerated style in three months!  Members of the old Logan family (Katie, Donna, Storm, Stephen) family were specially brought back for this story, and mostly swept out like old dust  the moment it was over.  At first the wrong person went to jail (Stephen); then it was revealed Storm was the shooter.  Who cares about him?  He’s far from a regular character on the show!  (Anyone who remembers William de Vry as rapist Michael Cambias on All My Children knows he has the word “weasel” carved into his forehead.)  Those who love Steph know she could never die, due to the sheer weight of her Stalin-esque personality.  “Dead” Steph will always regenerate a la Arnold Schwarznegger’s The Terminator!  The whole “Who shot Stephanie?”  storyline, I theorize, was a big excuse for the show to avoid an exploration  of the extra-perverse mother-in-law-Steph-sponsored rape of Brooke!

And take the rather discombobulated “serial” murder story on General Hospital happening over the last six months with victims like Leticia, Emily, Georgie and now, (maybe)  Coop.  Overall this is supposed to be called the TMK murder.  Whenever I see those intials I think of a cough medicine.  It’s actually named the Text Messenger Killer.  Huh?  The scattered way the murders have been committed doesn’t register in my brain that these horrific killings are related.  Most of the murders were sweeps month headlines.  The entire “story” has no urgency at all and no narrative drive.  And lots of red herrings.  Who is theTMK?  I’m personally convinced the real killer is Bob Guza. What other soap head writer is misogynistic enough to kill off lovely young women like Georgie  and Emily,  who had their whole lives in front of them?

Every multiple suspect murder mystery done in the last few years has had serious problems. The Spencer Truman murder on One Life To Live stretched out over a year and a half until no one cared who did it anymore.  Convincted “murderess” Lindsey did a little time in St. Ann’s Asylum  and has now been ordered by the court to live with her legal guardian and former lover Bo.  That’s punishment?  On The Young and the Restless, Jana killed Carmen but got out of jail in record time when it was discovered she has a brain tumor.  Why should viewers hang in there during long murder stories when the criminal is caught but never punished?  Does committing anti-social acts on soaps have any consequences anymore?  You Thinking Fans know the answer to that:  No!

Right now, As the World Turns is launching yet another multiple-suspect murder story:  who killed Dusty Donovan?  It should be interesting because we’ve all known Dusty since he was a baby-faced teenager.  But last night, a friend phoned and told me that an actor who played the minor role of Evan Walsh on the show, Ryan Serhant had posted on his own personal website several weeks before the crime was solved on screen that his character is the killer.  And that there are advance photos of the murderer with the victim on the Internet to prove it!

Ryan Serhart

A murderer’s identity disclosed on the Internet, way before it is disclosed on a soap!   Why should a viewer even bother to continue to  watch the show?  Multiple-suspect soap murders are a sham when,  at  the very least, the key element of suspense is completely eliminated.

ATWT’s Ryan Serhant:  Internet blabbermouth?

Comments

  1. Carl says:

    I agree with you, Marlena. Soap murder mysteries are overdone and done too often. I am glad they are told accelerated-style to get them over with. I remember the who shot Channing? story on Santa Barbara. Like everything else, it was superb. It played out over years, and the payoff was worth it. Looking at it now, I might have seen the denouement coming, but watching it for the first time, it was great. Those were the days when storyline and characters were truly interwoven on soaps. Honestly, if the writing is good enough, I wouldn’t care knowing who the culprit was weeks, months, years in advance. But in these days of plot at the expense of character, soap writers don’t realize the value of quality writing.

  2. Oakdalian says:

    You’re right on the money with the B&B analysis. I still can’t believe what a cop out it was to veer away from the aftermath of Brooke’s rape once Stephanie returned. SO irresponsible! The best mystery I can remember was Roger’s shooting on GL, because Billy swore up and down that he wasn’t the culprit, and then he turned out to be guilty before really going to jail for years. No recurring player predictability. A great risk, for sure, but maybe just a way to lose the character for a while since Jordan Clarke wasn’t in the role then.

    As for ATWT, yes, there was an internet leak. But bear in mind that this column is probably exposing the reveal for people who don’t make a habit of reading spoilers. That’s another issue you should bring up, too. Why does the industry insist on giving advance information to the media? Is there evidence that this helps spike ratings on days with big story developments? I hope you also explore the trend of firing insanely popular actors lately, i.e. Scott Bryce, Martha Madison, etc. It’s quite insulting when money has nothing to do with it.

    Marlena says: Marlena has always been militantly against spoilers and the press spoiling stories ahead of time for viewers. So, it pains me that I may have done that inadvertantly here with the Ryan S. news. As I’ve said, when I was a soap magazine ediotr in the ancient early 80s, we didn’t come out until four months AFTER whatever plot we were writing about.

    I have no direct evidence why shows are dumb enough to fire top talents like the divine Scott Bryce. I guess a lot of it has to do with budgets, backstage politics and jockeying for position in a shrinking medium.

  3. Barb says:

    The issue I have with recent soap murder mysteries is the motivation. Young and Restless’s Who killed Carmen ended up having nothing to do with many of the reasons major cast players wanted her dead. Lindsay killing Spencer for Marcie was so out-of-the-blue fans used to Higley wonder if the story is REALLY done, or if there will be another twist.

    People may get killed for a variety of reasons, but so many killers have little if anything to do with their victims. In OLTL’s Music Box Killer, was killing a major legacy character like Gabrielle warranted? All because Haver, whose stay was so brief (they wasted Matt Ashford?), hated John McBain. Did McBain even share one scene with Gabrielle? AMC’s with Dixie and the peanut butter pancakes being killed to threaten Zach Cambias (and sharing a funeral with the not-dead Babe?)

    Surprise can be done in other ways — as in will the person get away with it? For OLTL, this might be a way to restore Todd to the cunning villain he once was. How long has it been since there was a courtroom drama examing a “reasonable doubt” scenario? Or the prejudice of the press contaminating a case?

    Murder will always be a soap staple — but it needs to be used sparingly, just like baby switches.

  4. Oh yeah soap murder mysteries are so over done. Do you know when I got sick of them? When I wasted time dedicating whodunit lists for Dr. Dorman’s murder for it to be a new character named The Tin Man…hmmm Text Messager Killer, Tin Man…. *rolls eyes*

  5. Brandon says:

    Marlena, I’ve been an undying fan of yours for beaucoup years, mon ami. I first discovered your Soap Opera Weekly column in 1993 (I was a senior in high school), when you loudly panned the Viki/Dorian secret room confrontation that the show contrived to celebrate its 25th anniversary, and I’ve been a fan ever since. (Thank Jesus for eBay, which has allowed me over the years to compile an almost-complete set of Weeklys, all the way back to its 1989 launch, just so I could get ALL your thoughts on the world of soaps; I still pull them all down from the top of the closet once a year or so, just so I can leaf through them and reminisce along with you about the glory days of Doug Marland, Clone Reva, the Gottlieb/Malone minefield, “Santa Babs,” the Labines….) The 1994 week in which you called Victor and Nikki Newman “Godzilla and Mothra” was the week I realized I wanted you to be my new mommy. (If only we could chose our families that easily!)

    I’ll never forget how devastated I was in 2001 when I realized that you were gone (P.K. Waddle and Mimi Torchin are each fine writers — Torchin’s contributions to soap-centric journalism are indeed unimpeachable — but, darling, they’re NOT you, not by a longshot!), and I’ll certainly never forget how thrilled I was to discover that you were BACK, front and center, exactly where you belong! Please know that you are a welcome oasis in the parched desert of crap that has become the current daytime scene; I visit your site every single day without fail, and I hang on your every syllable.

    I can recall several great murder mysteries in my years of soap watching (and NO, “Y&R’s” George Rawlins mess isn’t one of ‘em!). One of the coolest things I ever saw on a soap was the climax of the “Who killed Jason Frame?” story on “Another World” in the late-’80s. (I’ll never forget when Derek drew a sketch of the earring that he saw the night of the murder; the camera zoomed in on a close up of the drawing, then cut away to some party, slicing through to the center of the room and coming to rest on actress Anne Howard’s ear, from which the earring was dangling as we all realized in stunned horror that Nicole was the murderer.)

    I also have fond memories of the first “Who killed Carlo?” plot on “One Life to Live” circa 1992, not so much because of the story (making Stephanie the murderer was *beyond* dopey!) but because of the stunning performance of Grace Phillips as prime suspect Sarah Buchanan. As a massive Jensen Buchanan fan, I was incensed to find out that OLTL had recast the role of Sarah, but the amazing Phillips won me over inside of ONE episode! She was the recast of the decade, and what was her reward? She was axed after only a few months, and her character was killed off! (Also, I’ll always remember that great scene at Sarah’s trial when Herb Callison put the “paralyzed” Julia Medina on the stand and then goaded her into standing up in front of the jury. God bless the brilliant Anthony Call!)

    I think the best murder mystery I ever saw on soaps happened in 1998, when Jill Farren Phelps and Pam Long first took over “One Life” and decided to pull all the canvas’ loose threads into the “Who killed Georgie Phillips?” story. The tale moved SOO fast — it was over in six or seven weeks, if memory serves (you even wrote a glowing column praising it, titled “The Cannonball Express”) — and you literally had to watch the show everyday or you’d miss a crucial plot point. And yes, I know it ended with that ridiculous prime-time special, but it was still an amazing story, and it succeeded in bringing the show back into focus after Claire Labine’s failed attempt to spin her magic.

    Thanks again, Marlena, for a great website and for a keenly discerning eye for quality. You’re a national treasure, cherie, don’t doubt it for a second.

    Marlena says: Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Brandon. I’m so flattered that you have followed my writing for so many years. And for bringing back so many very fond memories of the longago columns even I had forgotten I had written. I love you too!

  6. James says:

    Chere Marlena,

    I’m sitting here scratching my head, trying to remember the last soap murder mystery that truly had me guessing right up until the reveal.

    Nothing’s coming to mind at the moment.

    Now, back in the 70s on Edge of Night, the murder mysteries always had me pondering and wondering the entire time. Of course, Henry Slesar, master storyteller that he was, always had those murders intricately plotted out, complete with red herrings and unexpected twists and, of course, exciting reveals! Remember when Denise Cavanaugh was killed and Nicole was on trial? Turned out to be Denise’s supposedly paralyzed father Gus.. Or when Winter Austin was on trial for killing Wade Meachum? That’s one case where the right person was on trial, but she still got acquitted!! Ahh, those were the days!

    But anyway, back to more recent murders. They really are yawn inducing these days. And more to the point, they’re so standard nowadays, there’s nothing special about them.

    I don’t care who shot Dusty (glad to see him gone since I haven’t liked the character since Grayson started playing him). Could care less about the TMK on GH (one of the many things that’s brought down that show in the last 6 months after such a nice two-year resurgence). And Steph’s shooting actually played out so fast, I never really had time to get into the story before it was resolved (one case where speed destroyed any suspense).

    OK, just thought of a murder mystery that was good.

    On General Hospital in 1996, Laura was on trial for killing Damain Smith. Justis Ward was defending her and he turned out to be the killer. Didn’t see that one coming at all and I was hooked the whole time. Incidently, that was one of Bob Guza’s first storylines at GH (and one of his best), long before he got that permanent hard-on for mob stories.

    And before that , the Will Courtlandt murder on AMC was also pretty good. And that happened in 1992.

    Kinda a sad state of affairs when the most recent murder trials that grabbed me happened in 1996 and 1992.

  7. Leona says:

    Hey James, nice to see a fellow EON fan commenting on the incomparable Henry Slesar! I still admire how the murder of Margo Huntington played out. When asked on her death-bed, “Is Draper innocent?” Margo said NO. It turned out she was trying to say “NOLA” (Nola Madison was the culprit). Simple, yet completely brilliant!!!

    Marlena says: Leona, you know I was a gigantic EON fan. A colleague and I even interviewed the great gentleman and genius headwriter Henry Slesar circa 1982 in Manhattan. He had the biggest, fanciest Park Avenue apartment I ever saw. Throughout the interview the phone kept ringing, and Henry would answer it and say time and again, “Rollover, rollover.” We thought perhaps he was talking to a dog. In actuality, he was agreeing to “rollover” his financial CD’s. of which he seemed to have many. That’s cool, because the intelligent enjoyment he gave us Thinking soap fans over the years with Edge was indeed priceless!

  8. Deborah says:

    What I have always found IMPOSSIBLE to swallow about the soap opera attempt to write “serial killer stories” is that REAL “serial killers” NEVER decide to target the people AROUND a hated object if they want revenge. REAL serial killers — like Bundy — usually killed the person they WANTED to be dead. They did NOT run around — finding out who was CLOSE to that person — and then killing THOSE people!

    However, what is REALLY wrong with GENERAL HOSPITAL — of ALL shows — trying to get viewers worked up into a sweat about a “serial killer” — is that the most OBVIOUS serial killers in town are none other than Sonny and Jason! Of course, I am not sure whether Sonny and Jason would be considered “serial killers” or “mass murderers.” Back toward the end of March 2005, Sonny and Jason sent their goons to the Metro Court, with orders to murder all NINE members of the rival Sandoval family. Sonny ALSO ordered his henchmen to murder ALL innocent bystanders who might be able to later provide eye-witness accounts of the slaughter! This order was changed only AFTER Jason ACCIDENTALLY learned that Sonny’s sister, Courtney, was going to be one of the innocent bystanders who would be murdered by Sonny’s henchmen! And, even though Jason raced to the Metro Court to change the order, Jason arrived TOO late — and the slaughter had ALREADY begun!

    When you count up number of the victims of the OTHER serial killers (or would that be mass murderers; I always get confused by the two) — NONE of the other serial killers have managed to murder as many people as Sonny and Jason have murdered! For example, only ONE person died when “Mr. Craig” took over the Metro Court lobby (the female accomplice who detonated the bomb). And ONE person died later at the Hospital (Alan). Mr. Craig’s TWO victims pale in comparison to the NINE people whom Jason and Sonny murdered at the Metro Court! Likewise — so far — the “text message killer” appears to have been responsible for ONLY four murders! That is five FEWER murders than Jason and Sonny murdered in the Metro Court ALONE. (Over the years, Jason and Sonny have been responsible for many MORE murders — but you need to begin the count with the Metro Court massacre! )

    The only way that General Hospital could impress me with a “serial killer” story would be if the serial killer came in to the Metro Court while Sonny and Jason were BOTH there and murdered TEN people — two of whom would HAVE to be Sonny AND Jason!

    Otherwise GH is just wasting their time trying to get people all worked up about “killers” who “murder” fewer people than Jason and Sonny have murdered!

    And, of course, we KNOW that Sonny and Jason would not even spend as much time in jail — or a mental facility – as Y&R’s Jana or OLTL’s Lindsay! “Getting away with murder” — thy name IS General ‘Hospital!’

  9. I too am tired of the whole TMK (text message killer) storyline. Where is the pay-off? First two core characters are killed, along with the most recast nanny in daytime history, and what happens. Emily is wandering around Port Charles with Nikolas lamenting the fact that if his brain tumor is taken out, he won’t be able to see her anymore, than oh I don’t know, the fact that someone murdered her. Poor Maxie has not only had her baby sister, but two policemen boyfriends murdered. And there are no clear suspects other than trying to pin it on Johnny Zacchara. Now rumors are that the busboy did it or Detective Harper, the day player, or Dull Diego who is supposed to be dead.

    Does anyone care? We all know that Jason is going to be the one to figure it out, since the cops in Port Charles seem incapable of giving out a traffic ticket, thanks to Bob Guza who somewhere along the line went from being a talented headwriter, to a boring hack.

  10. Leona says:

    Oh, Marlena, how I envy you sometimes. I would have loved the chance to meet Henry Slesar!

    And as you well know, Mr. Slesar is the only soap writer who wrote a mystery that nobody could figure out! And he didn’t throw in characters or plot points during the course of the storyline…all the clues were there from the start. My mom and I would watch a story unfold and never be able to figure out “whodunnit.”

  11. Smelly Kelly Jay says:

    Ho boy. We are in total agreement here, Ms. De Lacroix, both about the state of soap murder mysteries and about how good “The Edge of Night” was.

    Do you know that episodes of that show from its later years are available on AOL’s video website (http://video.aol.com/video-category/p-and-g-classic-soaps/103487)? They also have “Texas” and “Search for Tomorrow” available, but those pale in comparison. They started EON around the time the Madisons arrived in town. There’s lots of ‘em.

    I have fond memories of rushing home from school each afternoon to catch the latest episode and how it always left me wanting more. I recall one afternoon when I got off the bus, and my brother ran out all excited and breathless to tell me to hurry in because Nola was confessing to Margot’s murder. The show’s last year was rather lacking, but I was still upset by its demise. As much as I loved it, I think it spoiled me for other soap operas. It was that good.

    Slesar told such great, carefully crafted stories, with wonderful characters. I followed so closely that I got pretty good at figuring out whodunit before it was revealed. I correctly pegged Nora’s and Margot’s killers. But he stumped me with Elliot’s murder, and I will be forever grateful to him for telling that awesome story. And he also was good at making the murder and the deaths matter, following through in showing the aftermath and repercussions. Margot’s murder lead to Draper’s amnesia, which lead to Elliot’s murder, which lead to the Bryson clinic, etc.

    It’s become a soap cliché (at least to me) that murder mysteries presented these days will be lame, if not downright insulting. I hardly bother to try and figure them out, since it’s either so random or so obvious. Stalwart characters who would have to be pushed beyond the brink to so much as slap somebody are considered major suspects. Stable(ish) characters who were minorly insulted by the victim are considered major suspects. Minor, barely over-five characters are clearly brought in as nothing more than the culprit, sometimes after the murder has occurred. Few lasting repercussions of the murder. Ugh. Don’t waste my time.

    I have to disagree with commenter James on the Will Courtlandt murder on “All My Children.” To me, it is one of the many lame soap murder mysteries. I recall “Soap Opera Weekly”’s cover photo on the story, showing all the suspects. Erica was front and center, and I knew good and well that she was not the type to so much as risk breaking a nail to kill someone. For me, the motive wasn’t there. When I saw Janet in the group, it was clear to me that shedunit. Case closed.

  12. Smelly Kelly Jay says:

    P.S. Don’t sweat how you “spoiled” the Dusty murder mystery from “As the World Turns.” I read the recent “Soap Opera Digest” article listing the suspects, saw that Evan was on the list, said, “Who?”, and put down money that he was the culprit. I’m gonna put the money I win down on a new, stronger, faster computer so I can watch old episodes of “The Edge of Night” on AOL.

  13. pjs says:

    A word about ATWT’s mystery. (Who killed Dusty Donovan?) Clean, classic, brief, over-and-out. Mediocre, but it violated none of the principles of decent murder mystery writing: a. A reasonable list of suspects. Everyone had a
    clear motive and opportunity. b. Authoritative follow-up. The police went right to work investigating, determined to uncover the truth about the murder.

    While a mediocre, short-term murder mystery is nothing to applaud, the story does accomplish a great deal for the show. The fact that ATWT didn’t turn it into a prolonged, lurching, halting six month front-burner hash is to the show’s credit.

    ATWT was not invested in telling a lengthy mystery story. What they did was use the murder mystery genre to take care of business, some of it behind-the-scenes (the write-out of a popular character due to the loss of the actorGrayson McCouch) and some of it very much the essence of what this show does best…presenting a strong variety of characters against a backdrop of heightened drama.

    This murder mystery opened provided several strong opportunities for the show: a. A chance to feature the often-underutilized core Hughes family. b. An introduction to the new Chris Hughes and the kind of man he is. c. A re-introduction of Emily as the woman who never ever lets herself make the right decision about a man … and a reminder of her brief and mostly secret career as a hooker. d. A good old-fashioned opportunity to redeem a hero(Holden) who’s turned cold to his heroine of late and to redeem a heroine (Lily) who’s been making mistake after mistake by having them self-sacrifice for one another…which is always and genuinely audience-pleasing. (Whether they become golden again as a couple is, as ever, up to writer’s whim.)

    This story both helped illustrated who the characters on the canvas are in a way that played to their strengths and weaknesses…while clarifying what makes their lives worth living. The murder mystery melodrama was a means to this end.

    Which, of course, is the opposite of GH’s impossibly sketchy and utterly improbably TMK story…which demonstrates nothing about the characters involved. Good characters are offed for no apparent reason. None of the suspects currently under internet speculation (Cooper, Logan, Max, Mike, Harper, Nicholas, or anyone else from A{nthony} to any of the other Z’s) has any previously known motive for this kind of serial killing activity. Everything about this mystery is all-tease, no substance. Nothing was set up to make it happen…and in fact, from a logical try-and-solve-the-mystery-standpoint, it hasn’t happened. Simply put. No one (on the show or in the audience) can solve this mystery because nothing we’d previously been told or shown about any
    of the characters involved goes in the direction of serial killing. It’s a lousy, sensational story that tarnishes or kills every poor soul that it touches while it intermittently meanders along its languid lengthy undeveloped path.

    When SuperJason finally nails the killer and the explanation for the killings is finally concocted and presented (hopefully in that order), the story will make no more sense than it made along the way. Six months (and too many characters) wasted…so far.

    Marlena says: Well argued, pjs. I wonder if TPTB at ATWT are lucky enough to know they have such an intelligent and well-spoken supporter as you.

  14. J.B says:

    Here here Marlena! I am so sick to death of the, “Who Dunnit,” storylines! GH is notorious for dragging those badboys out and for what!? A really crappy payoff! On Y&R, we STILL don’t know who killed Ji Min, who or what was the cause of the Clear Springs distaster and the Newman jet crash. The characters still don’t know that Gloria was the idiot behind the Jabot fiasco and yet we’re enduing all this other stuff on tv?! Give me a break! I wholeheartedly agree with you on when someone like Jana can get convicted of the crime and then as soon as the oh so lucky, “the tumor made me do it,” has been revealed they are out of jail so fast that it even made Nicole Richie’s head spin! Why can’t we have all of the above that I mentioned wrapped up like that?

    You would think that during this writer’s strike whomever’s behind the scenes hammering away would say, “You know what? Enough of this murder mystery weekend-esq storyline! Lets get the romance back onscreen!” Now is the time for people to step up and bring the decedance back into soap watching since there’s nothing to compete with on tv right now. Leave the murder mystery thing to shows like, CSI and Law and Order. Its time to bring the love back into daytime to take our troubles away…

  15. Fabobug says:

    Of course y’all are forgetting the best and worst killer storyline ever – the Salem Serial Killings of 2003-2004. It was fascinating riveting entertainment…at first. All my favorites from nursery school – high school were being popped off. Every week it was getting harder and harder to guess who did it. When it turned out our beloved Marlena was the murderer I was shocked – which was probably the last time I’ve been shocked by anything on screen. But as we know, it was all faked, which destroyed DAYS credibility forever (who cares about John’s “death” at this point?).

    In addition to the “Jason Frame” mystery on AW, I was fascinated by the “Who killed Emma Donovan” storyline on DAYS in early ’87. There were many suspects, but never did I guess Shane’s partner and her secret twin were in cahoots! This was, of course, before there were spoilers to wreck the surprise.

    The “Who killed Phillip” storyline on GL also started good, but dissolved into aimless dreck (sp?) soon enough.

    I liked the “Who killed Georgie” storyline on OLTL, but like so many other “mysteries” there were no consequences after. Rachel seemed to go to jail and then seemed to turn up every now and then after. It had no bearing on any events in the months and years afterward as a good murder story would.

    As for GH, I’m not even touchin’ it. I’m secretly hoping they’ll take a page from DAYS’ worst and “unkill” all their young victims on some Cassadine island somewhere.

    Sorry for the long post, but see Marlena – your great posts get us thinking!

    Marlena says: Fabs, I have to agree with you that the Salem Serial Killers was probably the worst serial killer story ever. Such a monumental clunker that at the time I was thinking Days would be cancelled because it! Of course, I was on hiatus from being a critic at the time (busy in grad school). But I’ve always thought that if I did have this monstrous mess as material for a column, I’d probably stand a good chance of winning a Soap Pulitzer Prize!

  16. bakedghoti says:

    ICAM regarding the botched “Who Shot Steffers?” storyline on B&B!

    The resolution was dopey at best! Stephanie should have explored her demented hatred of Brooke and how Steph, a woman, had become so capable of actually playing a part in Brooke’s rape! While Brooke should have explored her issues with men and her femininity. Instead, those more compelling issues are swept under the rug in favor of a warp-speed “Who Shot Steph” plot where Brooke, to keep Storm outta prison, even uses her rape as a bargaining chip!

    Don’t even get me started on Alley Mills’s wasted return as Pam Douglas. She was divine as psycho homemaker Pam and her dog Tiny was priceless! Calling Donna a HOgan was such a hoot. PAm could’ve given Desperate Housewives’s Bree a run for her money. B&B was clearly influenced by “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” for Steph and Pam’s relationship. Pam’s pent up resentment and off the meds psychosis went completely unexplored. Even Pam and Ann’s Douglas secret was inexplicably dropped as Pam was written outta the canvas and off the suspect list.

    Even the revelation of Storm as the shooter was a complete and utter letdown. The usually dependable WIlliam Devry (Storm) did not deliver the dramatic flair for this scene probably because the script was so bad! Storm didn’t “snap”. He was a cold-blooded, calculated criminal “mastermind.” And Brooke is smarter than the entire LA police squad since she is the only one who caught Storm by looking at a yearbook! Ridiculous!

    I agree that they brought Patrick Duffy as Stephen back to pump up the ratings and draw comparison to “Who Shot JR?” on Dallas. It seems like B&Bloves to act like it’s a primetime soap. But there really was no point in the shooting. Stephen left town first for Storm, and then to find the missing Beth. Storm returned to LA without any rage therapy. Donna is still Eric’s minx. Brooke is still vacillating between Ridge and Nick. While Stephanie is still the cold, vindictive witch of L.A. who is now using her shooting to blackmail the Logans and win back Eric! There was no dramatic aftermath to the shooting. Unless Storm is paired with the divine Lesli Kay’s Felicia (LK was the unsung performer during “Who Shot Steph?”), then there will be no fallout to this shooting at all!

  17. Tom says:

    I can’t believe no one’s mentioned (unless I missed it) my all-time favorite whodunnit: Who Shot Jake on Another World! First, we saw the SLOW descent into desperation of a major character who had always had a dark edge, but became a full-on villain. Then a horrific shooting (with promo videos of himself playing all around the body). Jamie forced to save the life of the man who raped the woman he loves…the women in Jake’s life playing poker for his soul, Vicky learning about the rape on the witness stand, while she’s posing as Marley.

    Jake waking up and actually being forced to come to terms with what he had turned into before the shooting (and that’s the last time I ever saw a rapist truly reformed on a soap) And the most original twist of all – once the shooter was revealed, they weren’t written off the show… they were blackmailed into a loveless marriage that soon turned them into a major AW supercouple! And this was all over the course of a few years.

    But overall, I agree, Marlena — great assessment of the current state of poorly conceived soap mysteries.

  18. BL says:

    I don’t know why soaps don’t do good mystery stories anymore, though I sometimes wonder if part of the reason is viewer speculation. Perhaps they feel if the audience can guess the perp, that the story isn’t well written. I wish I was old enough to watch Edge of Night or had high speed to watch older episodes.

    When did foreshadowing become a bad thing… When is it a good thing that the perp comes out of nowhere (see Lindsey on OLTL who we saw hanging out with Dorian when Spencer was killed.) It is surprising when anyone pays for their crimes on a soap these days. On GL, Phillip’s death was ludicrous especially when I realized the character was alive because of the similarity to something that happened on the show Alias. Zach was playing a turkey in a school play that Thanksgiving when Phillip’s death was faked, and Sydney had played a turkey the year her mom faked her death. I hope it was a coincidence.

    The serial killer story on GH doesn’t work for me (and not just due to the victims), but because I don’t understand how they connect together. Even if we don’t know the murderer, the tie should be obvious to us by now. Random doesn’t make it good. Sometimes a crime story can be good if the “bad guy” is known and we watch how he/she gets away with it and then is finally caught.

    I can’t recall the last crime story I liked on a soap (beginning to end.) Most either are dragged on too long, don’t make sense or written in such a way that it feels like it wasn’t plotted and planned, but just kludged together as an afterthought.

  19. DS0816 says:

    Isn’t this the same Evan Walsh character that had appeared on “As the World Turns” during the 1990s with his sister, Connor?

    I believe so.

    Hey, I haven’t been tuning in to the latest “World Turns,” so I didn’t know they reactivated this character for however long it has been.

    Please correct me if I’m in error.

    Marlena says: From pjs, who is an ATWT expert: “The current Evan Walsh III is supposed to be the son of the 1990′s Evan…which, as one soap board pointed out, based on the previous Evan’s age and history, would make it chronologically impossible for the current and now deceased Evan to be the age he is/was.”

  20. gusj says:

    If only The Edge of Night could be rewritten and redone and brought back to either daytime or nighttime so that we could bring back atmosphere superb twists and edge of your seat drama again!!

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