Daytime Emmy Nominations – Marlena Still Cares

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

The Daytime Emmy nominations for 2014 have been announced. Do you care?  After all these years, Marlena still does. So let’s discuss:

Best Actor:  Aside from Jason Thompson (Patrick, General Hospital) the other four nominees all come from The Young and the Restless:  Peter Bergman (Jack), Doug Davidson (Paul), Christian LeBlanc (Michael) and Billy Miller (ex-Billy.)  Miller, who performed with great strength in the storyline in which Billy’s daughter Delia was run over by a car, should be the winner.  Oddly enough, Michael Muhney, who so masterfully played guilt-filled Adam, who ran over Delia, was not even nominated.  (Muhney has since left the show.)

Best Actress:  Eileen Davidson (Kristen, Days of Our Lives) by all accounts had a particularly good year, and she is the favorite in this category.   Also nominated from Days was Arianne Zucker (Nicole).  Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke, The Bold and the Beautiful), who had her big scenes the year before when Stephanie died, was also nominated.  But never underestimate Heather Tom, whose teary Katie on B&B had a stellar year as her character survived her husband Bill’s infidelity with Brooke.  Tom has won the statuette five times before.

Best Supporting Actress:   Y&R’s Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe) and Melissa Claire Egan (Chelsea) had great years as Chloe’s daughter Delia was killed by a drunk driver.  Also nominated from Y&R  as the so-so Amelia Heinle (Victoria).  Kelly Sullivan, whose Connie was murdered on GH also had a very emotional  year.  But the best of this worthy slate is Jane Elliot (Tracy, GH ), who  virtually steals the show in every scene she’s in, and should be the big winner here.

Best Supporting Actor:  Nominees in this category include Steve Burton (Dylan, Y&R), Scott Clifton (Liam, B&B), Dominic Zamprogna (Dante, GH) and Eric Martsolf (Brady, Days). But Bradford Anderson (Spinelli, GH), who had tear-filled scenes as baby Connie’s biological daddy before departing for Portlandia, deserves the win in this category.

Best Younger Actress:  This category is a toss-up.  Nominated are Kristen Alderson (Kiki, GH), Linsey Godfrey (Caroline, B&B), Hunter King (Summer,Y&R), Kim Matula (Hope, B&B) and Kelley Missal (Danielle, One Life to Live).  Each is eminently watchable and has much to recommend her.

Best Young Actor: Another category where there is no clear winner among the deserving nominees.  Nominated are Bryan Craig (Morgan, GH), Chad Duell (Michael, GH), Max Ehrich (Fenmore, Y&R), Chandler Massey (ex-Will, Days) and Daniel Polo (Jamie, Y&R).

Best Show:  Incredibly, GH, which had a relatively good year, was not even nominated.  On the list are the cancelled One Life to Live; Days (which won the Emmy last year) and Y&R. But clearly the winner, à mon avis, should be the excellent B&B, which had a year with virtually no bad storylines.

The Daytime Emmys will be awarded on June 22nd at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.  So far, no network has signed up to televise them, which is quite a statement on the state of daytime. They have been televised since 1974—but apparently won’t be this year as of yet.

General Hospital: Surprise! A Soap Full of Great Surprises!

Sean Kanan’s A.J. Quartrmaine: The jury said “Not guilty.”

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

One of the great strengths of the soap opera form is the element of surprise.  Since we have long lived in a world of spoilers, surprises are few and far between today’s soaps.  Thus we rejoice that General Hospital of late has managed to steer around the obligatory spoilers and give us genuine surprises. Doubtless this has contributed to the great ratings high the show’s been riding these days.  Soap producers, watch and learn.

For example, it was most unexpected that A.J. Quartermaine (Sean Kanan) be declared not guilty of the murder of Connie Falconeri last week by a jury.  After all he was caught almost red-handed: his fingerprints were on the gun, Connie had scribbled “A.J” near her body in her own blood, and cameras had placed him at the entrance to the office where the murder took place.  But … surprise! … the jury didn’t think there was enough evidence to convict him.  As a practical matter, A.J. was probably declared not guilty so that Kanan — one of the great strengths of the show — didn’t have to be written off.  The trial took a long time to come to fruition, and during the few months an incarcerated  A.J. and Kanan were regrettably not even shown on screen. GH needs him back.

Another great surprise registered in the shock arena.  Last week Franco (Roger Howarth)  was shown stabbing his own newly discovered mother Heather (Robin Mattson) to “death’ with a shank. Heather had shown up at Carly’s hotel with the shank supposedly to do her son’s lover in.  Franco was shown burying his own mother in a freshly dug grave.  But not so fast! Does anyone ever really die on a soap opera? Soon we saw a hand reaching out from the grave!  Also surprisingly Franco confessed to the murder to therapist Kevin the next day; but Kevin brushed it off as self-defense.  How long will it be until Heather is shown alive again?  How long will it be until Franco discovers he’s not guilty of murdering his own mother?

The surprises kept coming. Another great one was the upcoming write-out of Spinelli and Ellie (Bradford Anderson and Emily Wilson). As you know, Spinelli was given custody of his and Maxie’s baby Connie.  Well, just last week Ellie was offered a lab job in Portland. Maxie didn’t object to the couple taking the baby that far away because she declared she couldn’t stand being so close to her baby in Port Charles and not being able to see her.   So this week Ellie and Spinelli and Connie will leave Port Charles.

It’s a shock and a shame to see Bradford Anderson go.   He has added so much to the show over the last seven years in which he has played the lovable nerd Spinelli.  From his own special language to his immense tenderness, sweetness and great doses of humanity, Anderson’s Spinelli is a one of a kind soap character.  I, for one, will miss greatly miss the pleasure of his company.

But is Spinelli really going for good?  This is, after all, soap opera …

General Hospital: The Ugly Denouement of the Baby Connie True Parentage Plot

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

Wasn’t it ugly?  Incredibly, the denouement of General Hospital‘s Maxie admitting she is the biological mother of Connie plot was even worse than could have been predicted.  The fact that Maxie – who supposedly mothered the baby as a surrogate for Lulu and Dante — is the baby’s biological  mother  was disclosed by a complete stranger, namely lab tech Brad, right after Connie was christened.  At first Maxie and Spinelli, the true biological father, denied the truth and tried to hastily to exit the church, but detective Dante kept riding the two until they fessed up.  And it wasn’t pretty!

Bradford Anderson as Spinelli: This time an Emmy?

What made this ugly sequence memorable at all was the acting.  Dominic Zamprogna’s Dante was fierce and Emme Rylan’s Lulu practically breathed fire as she found out how her best friend Maxie had betrayed her by passing off her biological daughter as Lulu and Dante’s own. But the most winning of all — as has been so this entire dreadful plot — was the acting of Bradford Anderson as Spinelli.  The loss and pain of the situation have been continuously written on Anderson’s face and in his tears. As you recall, Spinelli didn’t find out that he was a father until after the baby was born.  Anderson  has  given this horrible situation all the humanity it lacks in plotting.

We hope that Anderson, who has been nominated in the past, may finally win a Daytime Emmy for this transcendent performance. If he does, it will be the only good thing to come from a storyline in which no one won, and everyone lost, especially poor baby Connie.  Will Dante and Lulu now fight for custody of the baby that isn’t really theirs?  Does anyone out there know the legalities of surrogacy in New York State?

Speaking of GH … isn’t it great to see Robert Scorpio  and Robin Scorpio Drake  back on the show this week?   Tristan Rogers had denied several times to assorted news outlets that he was coming back and it’s been almost two years since Kimberly McCullough left GH for her directing career.  Does McCullough look a bit different or is it us?  Robin’s renewed life will certainly break the heart of nurse Sabrina, who is in love with Robin’s “widower”’ Patrick.  At least Sabrina will have the arms of her first love Carlos to fall back into.  Speaking of which, the casting of talented, charismatic and  sexy Jeffrey Vincent Parise  as Carlos is one of GH’s best choices this year.  Kudos to super GH casting director Mark Teschner for finding and casting  this intriguing new actor.   

General Hospital: All Hail the Nurses Ball — and ABC Daytime!

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

Aren‘t we just having the greatest time watching General Hospital ’s Nurses Ball, the first part of which aired Friday?   I’d like to congratulate all the performers, writers and the crew who participated, especially those two great showmen, executive producer Frank Valentini and headwriter Ron Carlivati, for putting on such a great production. I’d also like to thank those two great women who created the Ball back in 1994: former executive producer Wendy Riche and former headwriter Claire Labine.

And haven’t the musical numbers in this year’s revived Nurses Ball been wondrous so far?  I especially loved Spinelli (Bradford Anderson) and a glamorized Ellie (Emily Wilson) who did the comic and so imaginative “She Blinded Me with Science.” The introduction to the ball, starring all the nurses spearheaded by Epiphany (Sonja Eddy) was great, and so was the pas de deux by Anton and Sam, performed straight from Dancing With the Stars to you by Kelly Monaco and Maxim Chmerkovskiy.  I found myself sobbing (again) when Frisco sang “All I Need” to Felicia at the cliffhanger of Friday’s episode.  I was never their greatest Frisco and Felicia fan back in the day, but it brings back the old days of GH to us, special days we shall never forget in so many ways.

So we must all hail all General Hospital’s 50th anniversary celebration, which has been on-going seemingly everywhere this past week.  You have to give big kudos to ABC Daytime for publicizing the hell out of the event.  There was Tony Geary’s sentimental appearance on The View, during which they showed the clip of Luke singing “My Way.”)   There was a superbly produced 50th anniversary special edition of the Katie Couric daytime talk show, showcasing many of the actors (Tony, Genie Francis, Kin Shriner, et al.) who made the trip to Manhattan to tape the show. Included were Jack Wagner singing and doing a hilarious kissing scene with Katie.  Last night, GH even offered a very nicely put together hour long special edition of 20/20 called “The Real Soap Dish.”  There were segments on love, sex and the great supercouples of Port Charles.  I even saw a New York City local news report on the anniversary in a screen in the back seat of a cab I was taking to a Broadway show on Friday!

All in all, I can’t remember such a hoopla being made over any show in all my many decades of watching and writing about soap operas.  Do you think ABC finally, finally, sees the errors of their ways in destroying their other two great soaps, the cancelled All My Children and One Life to Live?   By devoting such love and attention to General Hospital, is ABC saying they are really going to stick with this show and make it live another 50 years?    I’m certainly hoping so.

 Altogether, GH’s anniversary celebrations and the Nurses Ball certainly made it a momentous and quite sentimental week to be a daytime fan.    

Moose Says: General Hospital Can Snare … the Soon-to-be-Prized Old Guy Demographic?

Marlena says: Soap fans everywhere are cautiously optimistic that, against all odds, there’s been a hopeful turn in the heretofore bleak fortunes of soap opera. Ratings are strong and even improving for the four network soaps that survived the death watch of the past few years, and Prospect Park is said to be moving full steam ahead to bring two of the casualties back from the dead.

Is it too soon to rejoice? Skeptic that I am, I’m not ready to shoot off fireworks at my country retreat just yet. But I’ve has detected one tiny, tiny bit of anecdotal evidence that audience-building may, indeed, be possible: My recently retired husband Moose, long impervious to the many charms of soap opera that have inundated him daily for so many years, has been espied of late … actually watching General Hospital.

At the risk of frightening him away, I asked him to share with Thinking Fans, whose analytical powers are legendary, after all, what it is about GH that has finally captured his attention. He agreed. Listen and learn, GH producers. Or, at least, have a chuckle or two.

By Moose Goodfellow a.k.a. Old Ed, husband of Connie

I have joined the ranks of the Instantly Irrelevant, filling those weeks between Social Security direct deposits with such typical Old Guy activities as having morning coffee with Al Roker on the Weather Channel, getting haircuts, hauling [Read more...]

General Hospital: Cuddly but Problematic

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

With all the cancellations these past few years, this old soap enthusiast  is thankful to have at least one soap to look forward to, and yes, cuddle up to in my afternoons. That soap is General Hospital, a doomed show I really want to see live on.  I watch

The biggest soap opera of all is the on-going cliffhanger of what will become of GH itself. I still want to have one involving  soap to look forward to every day, no matter how much I bitch about it.

every day, basically liking the day to day writing and production of the  episodes and the  performances . But of course as a critic, I still have objections to some of the overall stories.

For example:  Maxie is impulsive (such as when she slept with Franco) but she is not stupid.  She’s way too shrewd to have gone to trial and to jail for any man, let alone Matt the amnesiac killer of the long dead Lisa Niles. Except for the wonderful Spinelli-ness (fighting to clear Maxie’s name) of our adored Bradford Anderson, this story was a big, drawn out waste.  I’m so glad it’s over. Then we have Jason staying emotionally away so long and being separated  from the pregnant wife Sam, in effect blaming her for rape by his twin-brother Franco.

Do I detect misogyny in that part of the Sam pregnancy story?  Sure, I knew the separation was a plot device to give Sam more time to bond with John McBain.sam and john  And even though Jason eventually came around and told Sam he could accept the baby (after the baby was delivered and “died”) Jason distancing himself emotionally from his wife for so long  because she conceived the child (supposedly!) of his nemesis Franco, via rape, was essentially a whiff of something I never wanted to smell on an ABC soap again.

For a change, Jason is at least paying for something (as of this writing) by losing Sam after she found out that his thugs beat up McBain just after the delivery, causing, as Sam believes, the death of “her” baby. But will Jason ever be punished for his insensitivity to his pregnant wife? How long will Sam and Jason be apart?  Also, do you really think Jason will ever pay for the death of Franco?

Oh well, I can’t help asking this question even in the middle of a friendly review: Think about it — has GH really changed at its core since Guza left? Oui, mes amies, it’s better written, more entertaining and less blatantly offensive.  But Guza still casts a long shadow: witness more misogyny and the same old [Read more...]

On the Soap Shrink’s Couch: General Hospital’s Spinelli

Thinking Fans Comment Update: Karen likes Spinelli just as he is, thank you very much … antmunoz thinks “different” characters reflect the real viewing audience more than the “ultra-gorgeous” do … while S. Woods feels Spinelli “is one of the few redeeming characters on bloody bullet-riddled General Hospital” … and more. See Comments below.

______________________________  

By Damon L. Jacobs 

When the Journalistic One approached the Soap Shrink to offer supposition about the Jackal, he wondered if his recitation may present too capricious or deprecatory.  After all, the Soap Shrink is trained in the intricate branch of diagnosis, and our dear Spinelli appears to disavow and impugn such declarations.  

But then I thought, why the heck not?  

Because behind Damien Spinelli’s strange speech and puppy dog eyes there is a young man coping with classic symptoms of Asperger’s Disorder.  Individuals who carry this diagnosis typically present with impaired ability to socially interact with

In a soap universe filled with perfect looking people,  it is refreshing to see someone stand on the outside and reflect the goings-on around him.  This used to be a staple on soaps …

others, and with restricted and repetitive behaviors (ideal for a computer hacker).  They frequently have a hard time connecting with peers, can’t make small talk, have limited ability to follow social conventions, make minimal eye contact, and may be seen by others as “eccentric” or “strange.” Because of these [Read more...]