Sunday Reflections 17: Hurricane Sandy Made for Spotty Soaps … General Hospital, Don’t Jump the Shark

By Marlena De Lacroix a.k.a. Connie Passalacqua Hayman

What a week!  At the height of Hurricane Sandy, the lights went out in our Manhattan apartent and stayed that way for five days.  Pas d’eau! Pas de toilettes! Quelle horreur! Thank goodness that on Day Two, Moose, Nigel and I fled to our country hide-away and by Day Three the lights (and warmth!) finally reappeared there. We hope other Thinking Fans in the New York-New Jersey area also found sanctuary and comfort. And our hearts go out to the thousands who are still suffering, and particularly to those who lost loved ones.

General Hospital: As if losing light, food, water, warmth and toilets wasn’t bad enough. Minutes after the power went out, I exclaimed to Moose, “But how am I going to see A.J. now?” This typically Marlena-esque alarm left Moose at a loss for words. Nigel, sensing a crisis, looked worried. With any luck, power would be delivered to the country home’s cable system in time!

On the Friday tag of the show just before the blackout, the supposedly dead Quartermaine brother had made his first (re)appearance in mother Monica’s living room.  So exciting!  I really wanted to see what Sean Kanan, who played A.J. from 1993-1997, would do with the role now.

As it turned out we didn’t make it in time. But a very dear Thinking Fan tipped me off to the next three episodes of GH on YouTube.  Kanan turns out to be a major, major (re)addition to GH, with great leading man prospects.  I thought his performances were very striking, warm and realistic.   Once a major screw-up (as we were reminded by many people on the canvas who had formerly known him), A.J. has grown. Now the light of a father’s true love truly shown through during his Halloween confrontation with his son Michael.  The re-introductory sequences gave Chad Duell and that wonderful old pro Leslie Charleson (Monica) a real chance to shine.  I can’t wait to see Carly have the freak-out of her lifetime on Monday.

A word to the GH writers, though: please don’t jump the shark.  That’s what All My Children did in its final months, when the creative team brought too many characters back from [Read more...]

Marlena Returns to Brandon’s Buzz!

Though our Marlena (a.k.a. Connie Passalacqua Hayman) is supposed to be on vacation, an invitation to appear on blogtalkradio’s Brandon’s Buzz on Friday, July 31, proved irresistible.brandon's buzz

So she’s put aside her summer poolside re-reading of Gone With the Wind and has been espied of late poring over the cast lists of the eight surviving network soaps.  As she studies the lists, she laughs, she scoffs, she giggles, she shakes her head in wonder and dismay. What is she thinking? We’ll have to tune in to find out.

Brandon, her old friend and knowledgeable host of the weekly show, promises:

“Her first visit was such a smashing success that she’s coming back for more! Marlena De Lacroix herself returns to Brandon’s Buzz to discuss the continuing disintegration of All My Children, to debunk a series of daytime myths, and to question seriously whether The Young and the Restless lives up to the deafening hype that surrounds it!”

blogtalktadio logoSo take an early lunch and catch the show live at 11 a.m., or replay it later from blogtalkradio’s inexhaustible archive.

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...]

All My Children’s Over-hyped Return of Rebecca Budig

By Marlena De LacroixRebecca Budig

A member of our family has been ill, so it’s been hard enough to post.  And so at the end of  tough days,  I turn to where I have always turned since I was a teen for a bit of relief, comfort and a sense of belonging:  to daytime soaps.  Right now — late Saturday afternoon – what’s going on is SoapNet’s  ”Welcome Back Weekend,”  a festival of old episodes of All My Children and a repeating promo special welcoming back the characters of Jesse, Angie and Greenlee, as played again by veterans Darnell Williams, Debbi Morgan and Rebecca Budig.

[Read more...]