By Marlena De Lacroix
I usually don’t read a lot of previews or spoilers. But what I’ve seen this week and what I’ve read for the rest of the month of September alarms me. The ABC soaps seem to think its sweeps month, staging stunts and attention-getting storylines that are de rigueur in crucial ratings-measuring months. September isn’t one of them. Dance marathons (All My Children), a carnival that concludes with a bloody accident (General Hospital), a Russian drug dealer holding citizens hostage (One Life to Live) — these scream, “Look at me, pay attention to me, love me-me-me!” Kind of like the stunts my little puppy Nigel stages at least three times a day!
Now why would ABC Daytime be making all this extra effort now? Can it be because Guiding Light on CBS plays its last episode next Friday, and ABC wants to attract their soon-to-be soapless fans. The mainstream press, such as this Sunday’s 60 Minutes‘ report on the end of GL, is also shining a light on the whole soap world. Why not take advantage of that spotlight to attract new viewers?
Now, I ask you Guiding Light fans: what will you be doing in the next week, beside crying? You’ll be remembering 73-year-old show that was mostly about family, love, problems of the heart, faith, friendships and romance! Now, GL has had a few nutty
This month, the month that Guiding Light sorrowfully goes off the air. How totally the ABC execs misunderstand the minds and hearts of the soon to be soapless GH audience they are trying to vamp.
out-there stories (Nola’s fantasies, the clone) plus some fist fights and murders, but it was mostly a thoughtful, soulful show. It was mainly about us, America, our character, our social problems, and how we live. When Irna Phillips originally named Guiding Light it didn’t mean a lighthouse. It meant God.
So isn’t it ironic that two of the three ABC soaps are spotlighting ultra violence-filled storylines right now? Do they really think these kinds of stories are attractive to heartbroken GL fans? Here are two stories that are airing this week:
General Hospital: Wednesday I put on the set to see a hit squad of mafioso mistakenly pointing their guns at … Spinelli. But the Main Event was when a drugged Edward had a heart attack and depressed the gas pedal, driving his car into the crowd at the carnival. This was “inspired” by real life instances of older people driving cars into crowds (one such happened in Santa Monica, CA, not far from Hollywood) and injuring many (like a little child, Jake and Sonny’s son Dominick/Dante) in a mega Jilly-produced sequence. Now you know Jilly and Guza don’t pour on their special spicy sauce unless it is sweeps month (remember February 2008’s “The Metrocourt”?) or a time crucial to saving their repetitive, violent, misogynistic show. This week’s carnival sequence was well produced but proved again that neither Jill nor Guza seem to have any other weapons in their personal “creative” arsenals but the endless “reworking” of the violent, bloody aspects of E.R. and The Godfather respectively.
One Life to Live: I actually like most of the stories (such as Kish, Greg-Rachel-Sean) running those month. As you know, Sean was shot by Sergei and his henchman. Doesn’t wise-cracking Sergei remind you of the Russian hitman Paulie and Christopher ran off into the New Jersey Pines on The Sopranos? LOL. However, I’ve read that policeman Brody in a fight with Sergei’s men gets IMPALED. According to the dictionary impaled means when a body or body part is pierced full through by a sharp object (pole, arrow, fencepost) with the object being stuck in the body. OMG, OLTL! Don’t do that to Mark Lawson, the best chest in daytime history!
All My Children is oh-so opportunistically staging a dance marathon which starts September 21, the Monday after GL‘s last episode. The details are unclear, and I don’t know if its 10-day run contains violence It’s supposed to be about a group of characters dancing for Erica’s charity. In the movie it’s based on — They Shoot Horses Don’t They? — a group of Americans starving in the Depression enter these marathons, desperate for money.
This month, the month that Guiding Light sorrowfully goes off the air, feels to me as if AMC and all the ABC soaps are equally desperate — for ratings! And how totally the ABC execs misunderstand the minds and hearts of the soon to be soapless audience they are trying to vamp.