Soap January: Bombs Away!

Deidre and Drake

Thinking Fans Comment Update: Steve‘s take on AMC’s “January stunts” is “I don’t know if I can think of a more blatant example of the type of heartless sickness that has wounded soaps” … and S. Woods adds: “The crud on offer from these soaps is giving tastelessness a bad name” … while Twb6y optimistically doesn’t believe John and Marlena are really gone for good … and more. See Comments below.

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By Marlena De Lacroix

Each year, I have January off from school and I snooze, do some quiet reading and graze the minimally eventful pre-sweeps soaps.  Not this year.  Too often I’d see something on a soap that would surprise me, shock me or even out and out disgust me. I’d scream! I’d yell!  Every other day!

What is going on in this soap January?  I have a feeling the approaching end of the genre may have to do with the frantic state of all the soap activity on and off screen this month.  Every soap wants to save itself. Every soap is desperately doing whatever it can to hold on to viewers.  Hence, many soaps may be acting more out of panic and fright than thinking calmly and rationally.  For, how else can you explain the following January soap bombs?

Deidre Hall  and Drake Hogestyn get fired and leave Days of Our Lives for good. Does anyone remember the soap parody film Soapdish from 1992?  In it a soap headwriter played by Whoopi Goldberg is asked to bring back a dead character she

No, no,  not even the freezing winds of January could  render my longtime beloved soap operas … so disgustingly crass!  

had previously decapitated.  “How can I bring him back?” she says, “He doesn’t have a head! How can I give lines to a body running around without a head?” Kinda sums up the absurdity of Ken Corday getting rid of [Read more...]

On the Soap Shrink’s Couch: General Hospital’s Spinelli

Thinking Fans Comment Update: Karen likes Spinelli just as he is, thank you very much … antmunoz thinks “different” characters reflect the real viewing audience more than the “ultra-gorgeous” do … while S. Woods feels Spinelli “is one of the few redeeming characters on bloody bullet-riddled General Hospital” … and more. See Comments below.

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By Damon L. Jacobs 

When the Journalistic One approached the Soap Shrink to offer supposition about the Jackal, he wondered if his recitation may present too capricious or deprecatory.  After all, the Soap Shrink is trained in the intricate branch of diagnosis, and our dear Spinelli appears to disavow and impugn such declarations.  

But then I thought, why the heck not?  

Because behind Damien Spinelli’s strange speech and puppy dog eyes there is a young man coping with classic symptoms of Asperger’s Disorder.  Individuals who carry this diagnosis typically present with impaired ability to socially interact with

In a soap universe filled with perfect looking people,  it is refreshing to see someone stand on the outside and reflect the goings-on around him.  This used to be a staple on soaps …

others, and with restricted and repetitive behaviors (ideal for a computer hacker).  They frequently have a hard time connecting with peers, can’t make small talk, have limited ability to follow social conventions, make minimal eye contact, and may be seen by others as “eccentric” or “strange.” Because of these [Read more...]

Guiding Light’s Olivia and Natalia, Part 2: The Kiss and Beyond

Thinking Fans Comment Update: Cate points out All My Children’s gay storyline initially caused a furor that later died down as viewers “warmed up to the character” … adds Blake, “I hope GL does not get my hopes up about this great couple only to break them up” … and more. See Comments below.

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Guiding Light’s “Otalia” pairing — Olivia and Natalia — are garnering a lot of buzz. Soap fans, as well as sites like the lesbian entertainment-themed AfterEllen.com, are watching to see if that friendship potentially becomes something more. This week, the story takes a step in that direction when Olivia and Natalia kiss.

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OliviaBy Patrick Erwin 

Regarding: The Kiss,  it looks like Guiding Light is testing the waters. To me, the upcoming scenes — done in a clever way that lets the show “have it both ways”, so to speak — scream “test run” with the future direction of the story depending on the audience’s reaction.

Personally, I’m torn about the story. On the one hand, I want there to be visible LGBT characters on our screens and it Nataliawould be great for GL to tackle that sort of story, since it has not done so to date. I appreciate that GL is really taking a risk and embracing a really progressive, emotional topic.

My minor concerns about this story come from the fact that we haven’t seen ANY suggestion of ambiguous sexual orientation from either character.

Many of the gay and lesbian storylines on daytime that we’ve seen thus far have worked because the characters were young characters and we saw their coming-out process. All My Children‘s Bianca is a great example of that. And a late-in-life coming out [Read more...]

Guiding Light’s Olivia and Natalia: Women in Love? — Part 1: Why They Have GL’s Best Friendship

Thinking Fans Comment Update:  Dayna says Otalia is “a modern romance told with beautiful soapy writing” … Levi says Guiding Light is getting better, and “I am finally happy to tune in every day” … and more. See Comments below. 

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The friendship between Guiding Light’s Olivia (Crystal Chappell) and Natalia (Jessica Leccia), two women who live together with Olivia’s young daughter, Emma, is generating a lot of favorable buzz among fans online. Viewers are responding positively to the duo’s friendship — and are talking about those rumors that these two are more than just friends. Our own Patrick Erwin takes a closer look at this story in this two part series. Today, he talks about what’s making this a hit. On Monday, he’ll address the possibility that the characters may be more than just friends.

______________________________Crystal Chappell

By Patrick Erwin

The most engaging story for me on Guiding Light right now is the crisscrossed lives of Natalia and Olivia. GL‘s latest production model (overall storyline design) is to showcase a more “realistic” view of Springfield. The “Otalia” story is one of the first stories GL has done that really gets the mixture of realism and drama right. Here are the reasons why I think this story is hitting all the right notes:

Realism: It’s a great story about two people becoming family to each other — three, of course, if you count Olivia’s daughter Emma (played wonderfully by young Jacqueline Tsirkin). Only love can save the world, indeed! These days, friendships [Read more...]

A Review of Our Soap Shrink’s New Book, Absolutely Shouldless: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve

Shoudless logo

By Marlena and Moose

Midway through January, any New Year’s resolutions you made are more than two weeks old by now.  How’s that going for you?

Has that ceremonially consumed Final Cinnabon of 2008 and Forever More turned out to be the Next to Final Cinnabon, or the Next to Next to Final Cinnabon?  Is your new health club membership still somewhere in the stack of unopened mail?  Is that pile of trendy books in the corner, still unread,  calling out, “We’re still here, dummy!”Damon

Well, there’s someone in your corner who will hasten to tell you you’re not a dummy if you’ve simply failed to meet external obligations you’ve placed on yourself at the behest of the world you live in.  He’ll demonstrate to you that you’re besieged by “Shoulds” — the things we think we should do, the beliefs we think we should hold, the self image we think we should cultivate in order to impress the people we think we should impress.

That someone who’s here for you is none other than our very own Soap Shrink, Damon L. Jacobs, author of the immensely helpful book, Absolutely Shouldless: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve, published by Morgan James Publishing.

Damon has become a mainstay on this site since joining Team Marlena last year. As regular readers know, Damon is [Read more...]

Spinning As The World Turns’ Luke and Noah — Again!

Thinking Fans weigh in on the Nuke “surprise”: Aprioriguy avers “This is about ATWT deliberately not promoting this couple” …  while keie loved the surprise so much, he “literally jumped out of my chair and screamed!” … and Michael thinks “The show is trying to have it both ways — being progressive while trying to appease conservatives.” See Comments below.

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Luke and NoahBy Marlena De Lacroix

I was out of town yesterday and I missed the As the World Turns episode in which Luke and Noah made love for the first time.  Why?  ATWT‘s production company, Telenext chose not to publicize it, in other words, give the viewers any advance notice of the event.  What were they afraid of?  Protestors walking the streets of Brooklyn, where the show is taped?  Or equally abhorrent (to a production company which is starved for soap viewers right now), that advance word of the sex would discourage viewers from watching the show at all?

What cowards!   Every soap viewer knows that advance story information in the form of spoilers is regularly ladled all over the soap magazines and on many, many websites.  It’s the network publicists and, in ATWT‘s case, the production company, Telenext, who give out [Read more...]

On Soaps, Suicide Is Rarely Painless (Even for One Life To Live’s Todd)

Todd

Thinking Fans on the roof with Marty and Todd:  John isn’t convinced Todd jumped out of remorse … Steve cringes at soaps’ attempted suicide for pity stunt … while Damon L. Jacobs (our Soap Shrink), on the serious side of the subject, points out the greater risk of suicide among gay teens … and more. See Comments below. 

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By Marlena De Lacroix

I was truly shocked and remain so by last Monday’s episode of One Life to Live in which Todd attempted suicide by voluntarily jumping into the Llantano River from the roof of the Palace Hotel.  His enraged two time rape victim/love object Marty had lured him there and dared him to jump. He was spared an icy demise, however, when John rescued him.

Suicide for Todd? Pretty radical!  In his decade and a half in Llanview, sociopath Todd has never shown any remorse over any of the awful things he’s done, including his crimes against Marty. What really puzzles me [Read more...]

On the Soap Shrink’s Couch: The Young and the Restless’ Katherine Chancellor, Daytime’s Greatest (Though Most Self-Destructive) Dame

By Damon L. Jacobs

When you think of The Young and the Restless’ Katherine “Kay” Chancellor, what is the first thing that comes to mind?  Is it her fiery take-no-prisoners passion?  Is it her unsinkable resilience?  Could it be her sharp tongue or trademark short blonde locks?  I think we can agree she embraces all of these qualities.  But at the same time this “Duchess” can be incredibly vulnerable, sensitive, and arguably the most self-destructive leading lady in daytime history.  How can all these qualities exist in one person?

When we were first introduced to Genoa’s City premier desperate housewife in 1973 (the celebrated Jeanne Cooper has played her since the beginning), she was increasingly using alcohol [Read more...]