Thinking Fans Comment Update: Ann demands to know, “Why is Guza doing this to Robin? It kills me to see people on the GH boards calling wonderful brave Robin a slut and a cheat because this PPD is being used to destroy her character” … while Elvira rejoices, “Guiding Light’s creative resurgence (headed by the old-school Otalia story, which is every bit as good as the stories that riveted me during the golden age of soaps) is still going strong” … and more. See Comments below.
By Marlena De Lacroix
I had a really hard time watching soaps during March. My old favorite, All My Children, was a dead bore. My other old favorite, The Bold and Beautiful, went from the ridiculous to out of control, as warring, one-upping “brothers” Rick and Ridge seemed more like those old rival cartoon characters Spy vs. Spy in Mad Magazine than living, breathing human beings. On As the World Turns, 17-year-old Liberty married Parker, who is barely 16. How desperate for story can a soap get?
Marlena is a hardcore soap watcher of countless decades, so my feelings of overall alienation from soaps this month may be part of a much larger trend. Are you a loyalist who didn’t feel so loyal to soaps in March? And how does that make you feel? I feel … homeless.
But here are a few brief comments on soaps I could watch:
One Life to Live: At least there were some wonderful, powerful performances by almost everyone in the Matthew is paralyzed/Shane has leukemia story. But this new Stacy … yikes! She is clearly intended to be a classic soap pyscho/villainess you love to hate. But Crystal Hunt’s abysmally bad acting is so consuming you don’t love her, you hate to hate her Hunt isn’t even skillful enough to be camp. Her Stacy is hollow, a cheap villainess out of a cheesy 1950s horror film, the kind in which an alligator comes up from the swamp and eats the villainess at the very end.
Some may insist Stacy is just tacky fun. But this is soap opera where long term characterization requires acting with depth, soul and authenticity. At first I thought they brought on Hunt to make the awful Farrah Fath (Gigi) look good. But at least Fath has some heart. I’m sure you can guess how Marlena feels now that two idiot sister characters are the hottest stars on OLTL! And will Fronsie make them the successors to good girl/bad girl Viki and Dorian as OLTL leads in 2010? Where’s that alligator?
General Hospital: Robin’s extremely strange case of post-partum depression (leaving the kid all over town, running off to a bar and smooching a stranger) bears deeper examination, especially if you have loved Robin since she was born, as I do. Sure, this is soap opera and this kind of bizarre post-partum behavior must have happened to someone in the reality of a medical textbook. But why give this extreme case to Robin? Since she was a child, her overwhelming personal attribute has been her dignity. So what does Guza do? He gives her a story that literally robs the character of all her dignity! Here he totally, totally undermined Robin — her remarkable and rare intelligence was thrown right out the window.
I smell misogyny, and we all know from the history of women on GH that Guza is a terrible misogynist! What an awful thing to do to both Kimberly McCullough and us viewers who watched Robin over last two years desperately wanting and trying to have a baby! My friend pj remarked that this storyline was so wrong and misdirected, it seemed like all through it the Robin we knew and loved literally was not there. To go from the richly mature, soulful Robin Sri Rao wrote in last summer’s GH Night Shift to this brainless “postpartum” loser is so Guza, so ABC Daytime, it’s beyond contemptible.
The Young and the Restless: Historically, I haven’t always been a big fan of this show, but right now it seems to be the only soap that realizes there are still intelligent soap fans out there. It pleases us by using classic (don’t say old fashioned) soap production elements: high quality acting, writing and direction. Kevin’s trip back to his childhood of abuse via his abduction was a showcase of both excellent acting (Greg Rikaart) and writing, and just super intelligent production (it seemed very Rauch to me.) The result was real drama and truly chilling.
Today’s episode, in which Kevin “attempted” to hold up a bank, a la fellow Stockholm Syndrome sufferer Patty Hearst, was just brilliant. I loved the show in which “dead” Marge sat up in her coffin and narrated the entire episode in her typically wry, funny way. At the end Murphy asked Katherine to marry him — the one moment of authentic sweetness and love I saw on soaps all month. I guess that’s better than none.