Say What? The 2008 Emmys Had No Class

By Marlena De Lacroix

The star of the 2008 Emmys was a body part your mother blushingly called your “backside.”  Stars couldn’t stop talking about derrieres, and wound up acting a lot like them.

“Oh, oh, I love your butt,  what a cute little butt, I’d take that cute little butt,” All My Children’s Rebecca Budig (Greenlee) squealed as she checked out Bryan Datillo’s on the SoapNet Emmy PreShow, which Budig was co-hosting with Ricky Paull Goldin (Jake, AMC).Tyra Banks

And then there was Tyra Banks’ acceptance speech for Best Talk Show:  “When you have a dream, there are going to be many people that tell you that you cannot do it, that you are not good enough. And I want you to tell them to kiss your dimply, fat, juicy, booty-licious, skinny, jiggly, saggy, fat ass.”

Marlena isn’t ordinarily a prude about language.  But these are the Daytime Emmys, the once a year gathering that is supposed to salute excellence and reward the very hard work talented people do in daytime drama every day.   Generations of producers, performers and journalists have fought to make sure the Daytime Emmys remain respectful both to the soap world, and intelligently inviting to the outside world, where soaps are  [Read more...]

Marlena’s Emmy Picks in 2008′s Humpty Dumpty Soap World

emmy

By Marlena De Lacroix

I’m not overly excited about this week’s Daytime Emmys. I could be fluffy and say it’s because they moved the ceremony  to L.A. several years ago and I don’t get to go and to buy a dress, and to me (I attended here in New York 23 years in a row) the Daytime Emmys was always about The Dress.  But the truth is, daytime drama, which I’ve spent most of  life my loving,  is a collapsing industry, and I just don’t feel very celebratory.  Glitz and glam be damned, wouldn’t the time and money spent on the Emmys be better spent gathering everyone in the industry together to meet and intelligently discuss  finding a way to put Humpty Dumpty back together again?

Oh well ,brighten up,  Marlena! Friday night is the Emmys broadcast (8 p.m. EDT on ABC) and you must make award picks.   As Irving Berlin wrote [Read more...]

I’ll Take Manhattan(ites)

By Marlena De Lacroix

My friend Roger Newcomb, who is the editor of  We Love Soaps, invited Moose and me to attend a Tribeca screening of Manhattanites, the film he co-produced with Lyle Kaminer. We really enjoyed  it, and I think you’ll like it too, especially if you are a soap fan.

Manhattanites tells the story of a group of young people whose busy lives intersect toward the end of the film in a fiery coincidence.   The hub of all this activity is a downtown coffee shop where everyone, sooner or later, seems to end up.

Gretchen (Caroline Hay), an ambitious waitress at the coffee shop, longs to leave her job to become a television news reporter, a dream [Read more...]

Losing “The Natural” — An Appreciation of Beth Ehlers, Guiding Light’s Irreplaceable Harley

By Patrick Erwin

Beth Ehlers is on her way to ABC and All My Children‘s Pine Valley, and they’re all damn lucky to have her. But for the second time in just a few months, P&G and CBS have made the boneheaded move of allowing someone who was woven deeply into the tapestry of a show to walk away. P&G clearly hasn’t learned from the loss of As the World Turns‘ Martha Byrne (the definitive Lily) and made the same mistake twice! They’ve let another beloved performer walk away with the audience’s heart and a big chunk of the tapestry of the show with all of the history and memories attached. This is something few recasts can ever replace, no matter how hard they try!

It’s hard to not be nostalgic and mournful. How do you let years of history and connections walk away? Harley — and Ehlers — had a connection with nearly everyone on the Guiding Light canvas.

Harley was one of the most complex [Read more...]

General Hospital’s Monstrous Lies, All My Children’s Truthful Memories

By Marlena De Lacroix

Yesterday, I was trying to write my long promised column against the most perversely inhuman, possibly most disturbing soap storyline of all time, but the words just would not come out.  I’m talking about the General Hospital storyline written by Bob Guza that began with 12-year-old Michael getting shot in the head and climaxed with his parents Sonny and Carly screwing in the back seat of a limo after delivering their comatose son  toAMC trio a long-term care facility. That I felt paralyzed and couldn’t write was very odd because I’d been angrily “writing” the words of the column every day in my head since that day six weeks ago when a shot meant for Sonny rang out in the coffee warehouse and mistakenly hit Michael.

Still searching for my muse, I decided to switch gears and tune in to All My Children.  And there was Larry Lau as Greg Nelson, returning after nearly 25 years for the wedding of Angie and Jesse. Great friends during their days as high school students,   Greg and Angie and Jesse reminisced about the very, very sweet love story of Greg and his now long-dead wife, Jenny, who [Read more...]

10 Merry Mid-Month of May Questions

By Marlena De Lacroix and Patrick Erwin

1.  When you saw John-Paul Lavoisier as Rex in his recent pre-wedding scenes on One Life to Live, wandering around a bar drunk, shirtless, and disheveled with a wild head of hair, didn’t he remind you just a little of Bamm-Bamm from The Flintstones?

2.  Have you been lost in the maze of brunettes on As The World Turns? When we watched Noelle Beck as nuLily, she looked a lot like Marie Wilson (Meg). Who also looks a lot like Julie Pinson (Janet).  Janet also has a [Read more...]

Daytime Emmy Noms 2008: The More Things Change, the More They Remain the Same

emmyBy Marlena De Lacroix

I first attended and wrote about the Daytime Emmys in 1980 and I should be over them by now.  But I continue, year after year, to be exasperated by the fact that two things never change.  1) No matter how many times they have been revised or have been updated over the years, the nomination and award processes are still inequitable and unfair.  2) There is always one irritating thing that happens along the way with either the nominations or awards that’s so egregious, Marlena explodes with rage!

This year it happened right away, as the nominations were announced on The View.  The person interviewed on the show as a daytime awards expert/prognosticator wasn’t anyone from the soap press or a soap publication or blog.  Instead, he was a senior writer from People magazine.  I’m sure Marc D’Agostino is a capable  guy, but does he dedicate 100% of his working time and career to the soaps, the way soap journalists do, day after day, year after year, decade after decade?  Marlena, who has moved on to teaching, was born and bred in the soap press and has great respect for young soap magazine writers and editors who have full-time jobs doing interviews and other reporting on soaps. They deserve the spotlight!

This is not the first time ABC has gone for a big time magazine writer over a poor soap press scribe in publicizing its show.  Years ago [Read more...]

When Cliché Stories Go Startlingly … Right!

By Patrick Erwin

Soap fans and critics alike complain loudly when we encounter the overused soap plotline. We can see most of them coming from a mile away!

We know, for example, that one woman, plus two men, multiplied by a short period of time = ”Who’s the daddy” story. It seems like a good third of all soap characters have discovered heretofore unknown children, and some lucky lottery winners (Guiding Light‘s Reva, One Life To Live‘s Viki, All My Children‘s Erica and As the World Turns‘  John Dixon) have found more than one along the way!

And yet, every once in a while, even the oldest cliché in the book really works as a story. Recently a  few shows have put a new shine on old chestnuts, with entertaining results.

Back from the Dead: Jesse, AMC. Characters coming back from the dead is one of the oldest soap clichés, and one that often doesn’t work. AMC tried to revive the formerly-dead Maria, then Dixie, with far less success. And I couldn’t imagine a character less likely to be revived than Jesse, who had been “dead” for more than 20 years.  We saw die on screen!  And yet, despite all those potential negatives, this story just worked beautifully  for several reasons. One, of course, was the great performances by Darnell Williams and Debbi Morgan. The writing was also beautiful and historically accurate (and as Marlena has theorized, was perhaps guided by [Read more...]

Who Created All My Children’s Erica and Sugar on the Run?

Elizabeth Rodrigues

By Marlena De Lacroix

You ever think you’re going to hate something and you wind up liking it?  I certainly chortled when I heard jail-bound Erica Kane on All My Children was going to escape  from the cops during a  police van crash and go on the run handcuffed to a  bank robber named … Sugar.

Susan LucciSome AMC writer has to be an old movie fan, I thought!   The Defiant Ones is a 1958 movie in which convicts Sidney Poitier and Tony Curtis go on the run chained  to one another after escaping following a train crash).  And Sugar?  Darlings, how many times we all seen Jack Lemmon/Tony Curtis in the 1959 drag comedy classic  Some Like it Hot, in which Marilyn Monroe plays a sexy/sweet band singer named … Sugar.

I have a theory who that 1950s movie fan/AMC writer might be … but more on that shortly.

I actually thought Erica and Sugar were quite fun together all of last week. The Rosie Perez-flavored Sugar (whose given name is Carmen Morales) is a real shot of energy for AMC and the debuting Elizabeth Rodriguez a refreshing acting partner for Susan Lucci.  Anyone who thought [Read more...]

The Daring and the Cowardly: Four Sweeps Surprises

By Marlena De Lacroix

With spoilers, there are no storyline surprises on soaps anymore.  That’s not to say that the ways in which storylines are presented can really come as shockers — especially in the February sweeps that just wrapped up, the sweeps in which we expected little to nothing interesting because of the Writers Strike.  So here are four soap stories/sweeps events which really shocked moi this month, either because they were so daring … or so cowardly!Ameera

Daring — As the World Turns Introduces an Iraqi character:  When Ameera, the hijab-wearing newly arrived ward of Colonel Mayer (Noah’s murderer father) turned up at the Snyder farm to get to know Noah and Luke, I was truly shocked.  A Muslim woman on daytime! We’ve never seen that before!  I usually like social issue stories and this could either turn out to be wonderfully humanitarian (demonstrating how hard it is for a Muslim woman to blend in to the U.S. in this time of war) or it could merely be a device to further a writer or producer’s liberal political agenda.  How long will it be until Bill O’Reilly is on to this?

Attaching Ameera into a story with fellow “societal outcasts” Luke and Noah can [Read more...]