By Marlena De Lacroix
When most longtime watchers get disenchanted or downright disgusted with their old soaps, they are usually angry. We’ve all invested years of our lives and our deep feelings in this genre.
Now, it’s gotten to the point where I’m not angry anymore. As we watch the final act of daytime soap opera, I just find myself very very sad to see them all so swiftly decline, and that sadness seems to make an appearance nearly every day when I
The real world could care less. For years non-soap friends have been interested and asked me about soaps. Well, not anymore!
watch shows or check in on news and happenings in our own little soap world. Here’s a rundown on what gets me right in the heart:
Sadness 1 — Of course the worst pain is seeing our shows implode in front of our eyes. How bizarre and tragic it is that top classic shows, still so beautifully produced by solid old pros like JFP and Rauch, put all their resources into storylines that make no sense, are over the top, and are downright unwatchable. Perhaps the saddest to watch is longtime number one, great and classy for decades, but now out to lunch The Young and the Restless: it seems to devolve day by day with its twin doppelgangers and its now unlimited misogyny. These days, Y&R is more like Passions at its most tasteless and excessive.
Y&R Doppelgangers: Tracey E. Bregman (left) and Stacey Haiduk
Meanwhile, General Hospital‘s ENDLESS ultra-hypocritical “hero” Sonny never pays for his crimes saga. (Chapter 242: After Sonny shoots his son Dante point blank, the “selfless” mobster tries to take the fall for his other son, Michael, for murdering Claudia.) This kind of nonsense has canceled out all that still wants to be good on GH. (Like Cristina’s story, the beautiful end of life story of Shirley, played by Michael Learned.) You’re not pulling the wool over my eyes, Guza, by doing noble social messages to camouflage the Sonny mess!
Sadness 2 — Every day brings news of another actor firing, hopeless writing change … or just news that is so ridiculous and downright desperate you can’t believe it. Like Sean Young joining Y&R as Eric Braeden’s brief love interest. WHAT??? What an odd, odd couple — kinda like Clark Gable co-starring with Tallulah Bankhead! Like Tallulah, Young has a host of personal problems that have been publicized — and the last thing daytime needs right now is bad publicity. In her prime, Young was a good actress (for instance, hotly co-starring with Kevin Costner in No Way Out), and who knows, she might be interesting with Braeden. But still … what the hell happened to our Miss Melody Thomas, Braeden’s leading lady of three decades? Since when does a major soap star turn nearly invisible on her show for a still mysterious reason?
Sadness 3 — The needlessness of our losses. The canceled As the World Turns, which goes off in September, has wonderful episodes and characters: The Bob and Kim anniversary episodes, full of love and family warmth. Luke and Reid. Imagine how awful the coming end is if you are an actor on that show with 50 years of experience like Don Hastings and Eileen Fulton. American institutions have feelings, too! Speaking of buckets of tears and bottomless sadness, I can’t even think how we’re all going to cope with seeing the end of ATWT in September.
American Institutions: ATWT’s Don Hastings and Eileen Fulton
Sadness 4 — The real world could care less. For years non-soap friends have been interested and asked me about soaps. Well, not anymore! Why? “Soaps are dead, don’t you read magazines?” said my old beau and now over-the-hill newspaper editor Phillipe L’ Ouef when I mentioned to him the other day that he should do a feature story about the current state of soaps. My old Soap Opera Weekly column readers know what a sweet guy Phillipe always was. But his “who cares?” attitude towards the end of our beloved genre is all too widespread these days. Soaps and their glorious history — even in their demise — deserve notice. Respect must be paid!
Yes, yes, yes, there is still some of what is good about soaps. Our favorite actors, and they are (mostly) still here – -working bravely to enliven awful scripts and storylines. The shows are still on, as of now.
But soaps are living in bizarro world now, as my old boss and friend Jason Bonderoff (now retired editor of Daytime TV magazine) always used to say about crazy plots or backstage soap happenings in the old days. Then we soap reporters all sat around the office or at parties and laughed heartedly. Now it is all sadness.