Happy New Year from Marlena, Moose and Nigel

Nigel

Connie, Anna and the late real Mr. Moose at the Museum of Natural History (above); The Nige (right)

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By Marlena De Lacroix

Happy New Year 2010, everyone!  Hope you had as joyous a holiday season with your family and friends as Moose and I (a.k.a. Connie and Ed) did. My beloved step-daughter Laura and step-granddaughter Anna visited us here in Manhattan for a few days around Christmas from their home in Michigan.  They loved our seven month old beagle Nigel.Nigrlnigel  Our Nige has become quite a character, as we used to say very affectionately in the Queens of my youth.

As I served my Italian grandmother Concetta’s manicotti to Laura and Anna for Christmas dinner, I said, ”Mange figlias, mangia figlia” (“eat daughter, eat.”).  That is

Only stories that are about love — and tell logical emotional truth about the characters we have long known and loved – can save daytime soap opera now.

what was my late grandma and father Cosmo always said to me as a girl.  Having the love and continuity of family around me really did a lot to soothe a difficult year and renew my spirit and hope.  (Originally, soaps taught me that!)  

I want to wish you, my beloved readers, a renewed spirit and much joy as we enter 2010.  Although I haven’t been posting a lot lately, I want  [Read more...]

As The World Turns: Love and Family in the Heart of America

newMy friend Ed Martin weighs in, too,  on the loss of As the World Turns in a new post immediately following this one.

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By Marlena De Lacroix

I broke into tears when I heard that As the World Turns was canceled yesterday. I’m sure many of you did, too.  ATWT has been a part of all our lives for so long.   ATWT logoI learned so much from it over the years about universal values of love and family.  Since its 1956 premiere, it has so reflected the true heart of all Americans.    

When I first started watching as a young teen in 1969,  I was growing up in Queens, where everyone in my neighborhood  was either Jewish or Italian (I was both!). My Italian immigrant grandparents, who loving fed me lasagna on holidays, knew little English.  My Jewish immigrant 

CBS President Les Moonves apparently doesn’t think TV is about the hearts and minds of Americans anymore.  Yesterday he had the gall to say that the day of daytime soap operas like ATWT is over. Well, to hell with you, Les Moonves.  Love, family and soaps will outlast you and your insults to those who have supported CBS for more than 60 years.  ATWT lives!

side all worked in a family movie theater chain and absolutely  lived for latest happenings in the entertainment world.   My own parents constantly [Read more...]

As the World Turns Outrage: Another National Treasure Bites the Dust

ATWT logoBy Ed Martin

The ‘00s may be the new Golden Age of primetime drama, but for fans of daytime serials they have truly been the Dark Ages, right up until the very end. With only 24 days left until the turn of the decade, and just three months after the last episode of Guiding Light, a historic franchise that spanned 15 years on radio 

I wonder if any daytime soap operas will remain when the next decade comes to a close. I wouldn’t count on it. All I can really say at this point is that I’m glad I was around to enjoy them when they were at their best, and even when they weren’t.

and 57 on television, CBS and Procter & Gamble Productions yesterday confirmed what had been a chilling rumor circulating for months on the Internet: The cancellation of As the World Turns, currently the longest-running scripted program on television and, like Light, one of the medium’s few remaining national [Read more...]

Happy 20th Anniversary, Soap Opera Weekly!

By Connie Passalacqua Hayman

Happy 20th anniversary, Soap Opera Weekly!  Congratulations to the generations of writers, editors, production, art and business people who have worked on the magazine over the years.  I was  lucky to be one of them, from its launch on November 21, 1989 through the magazine’s first eleven years. Each http://www.hollywood-dreams.com/images/uploads/sowsept595.jpgweek, under the pen name Marlena De Lacroix, I wrote Critical Condition, the magazine’s  ultra popular, original critical/humor column — 543 of them!  

Some say SOW was an instant success because soaps were so much better then or because there were so many more millions of soap viewers in 1989.  Both are true. But I think  SOW‘s success can be attributed primarily to the fact that it was a timely, excellent, fair-minded, professionally done magazine. It became a legend because in its first 11 years, it demonstrated courage and integrity in being absolutely honest about the soap opera world.     

Jon-Michael Reed‘s break-though Daytime TV Serials Magazine in the 70s pioneered the serious view of soap opera and a few other soap magazines had periodically done the same in the 80s.  But it was [Read more...]

One Life to Live: Still Surprising After All These Years

By Ed Martin

One Life to Live showed me something last week that I haven’t seen in 30 years of soap viewing: A mass wedding of two dozen gay couples. This show has pushed the envelope in a number of crazy ways since the ‘70s, sending its characters to heaven, to an underground city and careening through time. What a pleasure it was 

OLTL‘s comedic elements are greatly appreciated and should not be taken for granted. Daytime executives and show-runners seem to have forgotten that funny characters and comic set pieces were de rigueur during the glory years of General Hospital and Days of Our Lives, the two soaps that commanded the largest young audiences (while keeping veteran viewers engaged, as well) during the genre’s heyday.

to see the show execute a storyline that was out of the ordinary without being out of this world. It was a stunt, to be sure, but despite [Read more...]

General Hospital: Making Michael a Monster

By Ed Martin

Everything about General Hospital that I have come to loathe during the last ten years was on proud, pungent display last week, to such a degree of extreme outrageousness I could not look away.

I must admit that there was an infectious lunatic energy to it all, which could account for my deep fascination with what I was watching. Wasn’t the tumultuous birth of baby Jocelyn a kick, with poor kidnapped Carly helpless on that cabin couch

How grand would it be if Michael’s real father, A.J. Quartermaine, returned from the dead and found a way to destroy Sonny, now that he has turned Michael into an axe murderer?

and crazy Claudia helping her with her difficult delivery? How about the part when Michael stormed the cabin, saw Claudia holding the baby and killed her with one mighty swing of his axe? Good times — though not as satisfyingly violent as the time Sonny accidentally shot Carly in the head just as she [Read more...]

A Letter to Marlena De Lacroix (a.k.a. Connie Passalacqua Hayman)

Dear Ms. Passalacqua Hayman: 

I wanted to write to tell you how much I enjoy reading your columns and your insights into the soaps.  You are the reason I started buying Soap Opera Weekly so many years ago and I was sad when you left.  I bought that magazine every week, at first for your columns, but then cause I just loved it.  I would not get a subscription

I hope something comes along and saves our shows from themselves, but that alarm has been ringing for a long time.  Why can’t those in charge hear it?

because I wanted to buy it every week so the cover would not be damaged with those damn postal stickers.  Their covers used to be so good — those were the days!  I was pleasantly surprised to find your web site recently and am excited to read what you have to say about the state of soaps today. 

I, too, am just saddened by the state of the soap business these days.  I, of course, do not pretend to know all it takes to make soaps or [Read more...]

JJ and the Rehabilitation of General Hospital

By Marilyn Henry

There already have been big discussions on the internet about Jonathan Jackson returning to his role as Lucky on General Hospital. Newer viewers who don’t know his work are jolted; other long-time viewers are thrilled. I don’t know whose bad   

In the last few weeks, the show seems to have turned a corner. Good grief, did they lock mob-obsessed Guza in a closet and allow someone else to spin actual soap tales for awhile? Who knew it could happen?

taste decides the direction of the insulting promotional ads, in the vein of “The REAL” Lucky is back, or whatever. They got so much flack over Greenlee ads you’d think they would learn, but obviously TPTB are basically without taste.Jonathan Jackson

That aside, I am loving having Jonathan back on the show. The character of Lucky has been stunted for so long. Suddenly what I’m seeing now is an excellent actor giving the part of Lucky some intensity, depth, naturalness and truth. Amazing. JJ makes the role rich, worth watching – with face, voice, body language.

Greg Vaughn was indeed handsome, but there was never a moment I believed he was Lucky Spencer. He was too old for the part, too unexpressive, and they wrote him as a stiff-necked, up-tight type, and not [Read more...]

Ten Happy Halloween Questions

By Marlena De Lacroix

1.  Isn’t it most curious that two of the most intelligent women characters in daytime — Dr. Marty Saybrooke on One Life to Live and fashion mogul Jackie M on The Bold and the Beautiful – have gone from brunette to blonde in the last few months?  Fashion, or just another attempt by the networks/shows to “dumb down” smart female characters?  Regardless, Susan Haskell and Lesley Ann-Downe continue to look gorgeous and act with integrity!

2.  The great, the one and only Eric Braeden; my revered and beloved Robin Strasser — am I the only one l who feels used and tired out by … Continued below

Halloween Marlena

MARLENA AND NIGEL’S HALLOWEEN POOCH PARADE

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Continued from above … being drawn into their public contract negotiations?  Sure, they don’t deserve pay cuts!  But can’t they keep the drama and tragedy private?  The press gets [Read more...]

The Downward Soap Spiral Accelerates

By Marlena De Lacroix

Bonjour, everyone.  This November will mark 20th anniversary of my becoming Marlena De Lacroix, soap critic. Marlena’s mission has always been to write the truth as I see it, no matter how impolitic.   

But now, for me — I repeat, for me — it’s clear that we’ve reached the end stage of network daytime soap opera, a medium we have watched forever and loved so much.   Perhaps that’s why I find watching soaps and writing criticism so difficult

For years, we’ve watched and believed plots that would be unlikely or even ridiculous if they actually happened. But the secret of great soap opera is that the best and brightest writers knew how to craft and pace storylines so that they were EMOTIONALLY believable.  Not any more.  Not now!

right now.  Fans, posters and columnists are angry and hurt.  A critic can beat soaps with a baseball bat every single week, but what’s the point?  I used to write about soaps because they were fun to write about, sheer joy!  Now, [Read more...]