Soap Surprises: Five Holy @#%! Moments

Marlena killer

Thinking Fans Holy @#%! Update Aug. 14:  Melanie picks Wayne Northrup’s return as Roman on Days … B3 loved Gwyneth as the killer on Loving … Carl recalls five faves from Santa Barbara … and more.  See Comments below.

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By Patrick Erwin

Soap plots have many twists and turns in them, but we rarely get to see a complete “bombshell” surprise, like the ones we’ve seen in The Sixth Sense, The Crying Game, or The Usual Suspects. The “reveal” of a surprise on soaps usually happens a little bit at a time, with a character or two here or there. And unfortunately, the appetite for news and spoilers has spoiled the element of surprise for many viewers (and that isn’t doing the shows any favors, either).

But there have been moments of complete, utter surprise on the soaps. Here (in no particular order) are five examples of fantastic, goosebump-producing, oh-no-they-didn’t moments.

NOTE: The moments I am talking about, and have listed below, were stories where we the audience, were totally surprised when these scenes played out. There are many, many moments, like [Read more...]

Soap Shrink: Why Can’t Women Be Allowed to Age Naturally on Soaps?

Thinking Fans Comment Update August 5:  Ryan offers kudos to the bigger but still sexy Kim … esther wants to see more age appropriate attire … Aaron says the issue isn’t pounds, it’s Reva’s “white trash” look … and more. See Comments below.

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By Damon L. Jacobs

There has been a lot of discussion on the boards about Guiding Light these days.  The shrinking budget, the shrinking ratings, the shrinking cast list.  Yet there is one thing obviously not getting smaller in Springfield: Reva Shayne’s waistline. 

And for this the Soap Shrink couldn’t be happier!

Personally, I am exhausted by the pressure in daytime (and all media) for women to stay skinny and unhealthily thin.  It alarms me to know the lengths some of these great actresses will go to in order to [Read more...]

Do You Love or Hate it When Soaps Repeat Their Histories?

Thinking Fans Comment Update July 31:  How to repeat soap histories? Melanie counts the ways … James cheers the Reva/Josh movie wedding … while esther is generally unimpressed by retreads … and more. See Comments below.  

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By Patrick Erwin  

Each of the eight daytime soaps on American network TV these days has a substantial history. The Bold and the Beautiful is the youngest at 21, Guiding Light the eldest at 71. Collectively, this is a rich history. And I’m all for calling on the past to inform current storylines.

But there’s a curious trend emerging this summer, and I’m not sure what to make of it. A few shows have gone beyond revisiting history — they actually seem to be reliving the stories in a way we haven’t really seen before. The stories we’re seeing are often [Read more...]

Why Today’s One Life To Live Reminds Me of the Glory Days of Guiding Light

One Life to Live

By Patrick Erwin

I’ve been writing about soaps for a while, but  I am a relatively new daily fan of One Life To Live. Yes, as Marlena has observed, some of us soap viewers are boarding the OLTL lifeboat, and I, for one, have bought my ticket!

Guiding Light logoI watched OLTL a bit here and there (especially during the first Malone years), but I  am really drawn to the quality of the show now. What could I possibly say about OLTL that has not been said before — about the writing, the characters, the pacing? Nothing, that’s what. So instead of trying to recap OLTL, I decided I’d try to tell you why I’m loving OLTL so much … by talking about Guiding Light.

Huh, you say? Work with me here.

With apologies to The Golden Girls‘ Sophia Petrillo, I say: picture it — Springfield, 1990. The show was slated for some major changes. Pam Long was running into network interference, and she and GL parted ways. At the same time, several of GL‘s biggest stars were [Read more...]

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...]

On the Soap Shrink’s Couch: Guiding Light’s Joshua Lewis

By Damon L. Jacobs

Look into his eyes.  Those deep blue eyes.  There you may see a man who has great capacity for warmth, generosity and concern for his family and community.

Look a little deeper, however, and you will also see anger, bitterness and an intense fear of being inferior to others.

But let’s back up a bit. Guiding Light’s Joshua Lewis, played by Robert Newman, is the son of Martha and HB Lewis.  Little seems to be known about Martha and her relationship to her children.  But HB was a rigid task master, an old fashioned cowboy who didn’t appreciate sass from his children.  Unfortunately for him, he received a lot of sass from his rebellious, hot-headed rock-&-roll-loving son Josh.  There was much resentment and competition between these two, and at one point HB even married the woman Josh loved (Reva, natch).  Josh clearly was an outsider, and did not [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...]

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...]

Why Guiding Light is Self-Destructing

Guiding Light logo

By Patrick Erwin

The other day I got so fed up, I turned off Guiding Light and swore I’d never turn it back on.  That might have been an overreaction — of course I’ve been watching it so long that  I’ll inevitably  tune in again sometime. But in my up-and-down relationship with GL, it’s time to give it some tough love. My old friend has changed drastically over the last few years, but these days, it seems to be self-destructing.

Lest you think I’m fickle and have made the judgment lightly, let me tell you a few things. I’ve been watching GL since 1980 or so, and I’ve seen a lot of wonderful actors playing fantastic stories.  Despite the clunker stories of the 80s and 90s (Ghost Reva, Amish Reva, walking through paintings, etc.)  I have stayed tuned. Why? Well, [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...]