Thinking Fans Comment Update: BL avers, “I have to say the line (on AMC) about how lesbians don’t kiss men was perfect, because why would they?” … Carl posits, “GL has been so much about nasty thugs over the past few years, Phillip’s return is a way to bring a more heroic character back into the spotlight” … while Melanie warns that GH “is on Maxie Overload and needs to quit before there’s a serious Maxie backlash (hello Sonny!)” … and more. See Comments below.
By Marlena De Lacroix
Fans usually blame headwriters when soaps are bad. But ultimately, the real blame lies with daytime network executives who have the final power of approval over what we see on our screens. Last month, judging by the very questionable, sometimes downright illogical and nonprofessional quality of the drama I saw on screen, I’d venture to say that these daytime execs (and their publicity and marketing minions) are very sloppy, asleep at the wheel, or just don’t care at all what they put on screen everyday.
She who gets smooched on All My Children
Why present a heavily publicized lesbian wedding if the whole plot leading up to it is going to greatly anger lesbian viewers? In an earlier column on All My Children‘s headwriter Charles Pratt, I naively got excited over the acting possibilities of a Bianca-Reese-Zack love triangle. I received dozens of letters from female fans who said they didn’t want either gay character to get involved with a man. D’Oh! Of course they don’t!
So why did AMC, which knew this already (as proven by having Bianca angrily tell Reese when Bianca broke up the one day marriage that lesbians don’t like other lesbians who kiss men), persist in playing out a pre-wedding storyline for two months where Reese secretly flirted with and smooched Zack, which infuriated the primary audience for the story.
Falling back on that all-purpose justification for any story-telling faux pas, AMC executive producer Julie Carruthers declared “It’s a soap opera!” in a foot-in-her-mouth magazine interview, smugly adding that gay women weren’t the only viewers of AMC. Honey, as a veteran daytime producer, you know you can’t have it both ways! Didn’t anyone upstairs at ABC Daytime catch this? In the Nixonian/Broderick days of AMC, social issue stories were thoroughly thought through!
Guiding Light launches a publicity campaign for the wrong actor
The return of the always great Grant Aleksander as Phillip Spaulding was a big hit in a great month of improved drama that makes everyone hopeful about Guiding Light‘s chances of survival. Telenext and CBS did a tremendously expensive advertising campaign trumpeting Phillip’s return. So why did the show write a storyline — the death of young Coop — which entailed such an excess of superdramatic material for Coop’s dad, Buzz? In his bravura, heart-wrenching, totally original reaction to the death, Justin Deas upstaged Aleksander, not to mention the rest of the GL cast, plus all the other actors on daytime during February.
Get a clue, CBS daytime VP Barbara Bloom and the advertising folks at Telenext! Don’t you know Deas has won six Emmys, more than any other actor in daytime history (my female fave, Erika Slezak, also won six.). Buzz isn’t just a little, balding nerdy guy who holds every kid’s hand in Springfield and marries all the middle-aged women! As we who loved Deas on Ryan’s Hope, As the World Turns and Santa Barbara and in the early days of GL could have told you, this man is a genius! The 60-year-old Deas is the one who reached out from my TV to bring me back to Springfield after a year away, not the new production model, and certainly no amount of advertising or publicity.
General Hospital produces the Waterloo of all soap special episodes
What was ABC Daytime thinking when they let General Hospital produce — and actually put on the air– their What-If-B.J,-Didn’t-Die-and Maxie-Did episode? Jill Farren Phelps once produced magical special episodes on GL and One Live To Live, but this one looked and felt like it was done during a hangover of from one too many Beverly Hills lunches! Produced as Maxie’s dream, it starred Kirsten Storms in a bad dark wig so phony she reminded me of my Midge doll from back in my Barbie doll days! This 100th soap retake on It’s a Wonderful Life wasn’t really about B.J, but all about what life in PC would have been like without Maxie. Everyone — Robin as a lonely spinster, Mac as a drunk — would have had a lousy life it weren’t for Maxie.
Who died and made her Queen? The whole episode was incoherent, lacked unity and worst of all contained no wit whatsoever. Cruelest of all was the little bit of business, which my pal pj, a lifelong GH fan, caught and bitterly pointed out: “Marlena, did you see when (hospital administrator) Patrick handed Nurse Bobbi (the seldom seen and always beloved 30-year GH veteran character) a small piece of paper and she opened it up and it said, ‘You’re fired.’ As if GH hasn’t been trying to get rid of Jackie Zeman for years …”