The Young and the Restless: Katherine Chancellor, Always!

By Patrick ErwinJeanne Cooper

The Young and the Restless has a long history of being a solid hour of soap, mostly unmoved by trends or the fleeting fancies that other shows have lived (or died) by. But in the last few years, Y&R has undergone some substantial changes — changes in writers, in producers, and in the pace the story unfolds on screen. Fans are, as you might expect, divided on the pros and cons of all these changes.

I’ve got some very mixed feelings about the new direction Y&R is taking. But I am here today, not to bury Y&R, but to praise it. I’d like to rave about a minor miracle:  that in 2008, these days of budget cuts, demographic pandering, and the supposed death of daytime, a very substantial portion of Y&R’s canvas is (a) over 40 and (b) in a front-burner storyline!

And perhaps the biggest surprise of all is that the character of Katherine Chancellor, as played by Jeanne Cooper, [Read more...]

Guiding Light Today: A Few Flickers of Light?

By Patrick ErwinDaniel Cosgrove

You may remember the last time I wrote about Guiding Light, I shared my opinion that the show was “operating at diminished capacity.”  Those were harsh words for a show that used to be must-see-TV for me.  Now, I don’t know that GL is out of intensive care just yet, but there’re a few additions to the show that I think are promising — and worth talking about.

The biggest addition to the plus column has to be the return of Daniel Cosgrove in the role of Bill Lewis. I always liked Cosgrove, [Read more...]

Rape Stories: Days of Our Lives Shows That “No” Really Means “No” This Time

By Patrick ErwinDays of Our Lives

For all its onscreen and offscreen turmoil, Days of Our Lives seems to have a few stories working for it right now. One of them is Chelsea and Stephanie and the sorority girls dealing with the aftermath of the campus rapist, Ford, who raped Stephanie and Cordy and threatened Chelsea. Initially, the story didn’t seem too promising. The setup of the story was rushed (what story isn’t, nowadays?) and the rapist, Ford, came off as a one-dimensional buffoon.

[Read more...]

From Hank to Luke and Noah: A Personal Journey

By Patrick Erwinheart

Most soap operas are a unique combination of realism and complete fantasy. But every once in a while, there are characters or storylines that transcend the fictional wall, and spill over into real life — one’s own real life — in a very powerful way.

[Read more...]

Back to the Future: Soaps Try to Revive 80s Glory

By Patrick Erwin

The death of the soap opera may have been widely exaggerated — they’re still alive and kicking.  But it’s no secret that the patient is ailing.  Ratings for many of the shows are anemic, and they’ve continued to shrink.

[Read more...]

Patrick’s Hope: Soaps, Scrooge, and Christmas Miracles

By Patrick Erwin

I admit it — I’m feeling an awful lot like Ebenezer Scrooge this year.  Even Saint Nick himself knows that soap fans have certainly had a lot of reasons to say “Bah humbug!”

[Read more...]

Days of Our Lives: A Soap in a Vacuum

By Patrick Erwin

Days of Our Lives can be called many things, but “boring” is seldom one of them.  The show’s twists, turns, and red herrings sometimes make The daVinci Code look like Dr. Seuss in comparison!

[Read more...]

The Bold and the Beautiful: Brilliant and Baffling

By Patrick Erwin

On paper, The Bold and the Beautiful should be the most solid show on daytime.  The show was created by daytime legend Bill Bell and taken over by his son Bradley when he retired.  In an era in which shows seem to change creative teams with the change of seasons, Bradley Bell has been head writer and producer for well over a decade.

[Read more...]

As The World Turns Returnee Scott Bryce: Why is ATWT Wasting This Multifaceted Talent?

By Patrick Erwin

My soap habit was initially formed, as many of our habits were, through hand-me-downs. My mother diligently watched Days of Our Lives, Search for Tomorrow and Another World.  My sisters loved Young and the Restless and were part of General Hospital‘s Luke and Laura craze.  Even my Guiding Light habit came from a neighbor who watched the show every day.

[Read more...]

Sadly, Guiding Light is Operating at Diminished Capacity

Mes chers, today Marlena would like you to meet Patrick Erwin, a newspaper reporter and thinking soap fan who will be posting his reviews here once a week.  Patrick is particularly interested in the Procter and Gamble shows.  First up, his look at Guiding Light, a show we have all loved at one time or another.  How and why has the oldest show in daytime become a shadow of itself? [Read more...]