The Ho-Hum, Overly Violent Carly Kidnapping Denouement

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

Laura Wright’s Carly: Of course she was rescued!

We’ve already said that General Hospital’s Heather-kidnapping-Carly plot was a big ho-hum. Heather tried to blame it on Franco, her son, who had previously tried to kill Heather, his mother. No surprise, the accusation went nowhere and the outcome was predictable: Carly, a central GH character, just had to be rescued. And what of Heather getting loose from the asylum? So what else is new? No institution has succeeded in keeping her locked up for the past thirty years.

Sorry to report that the denouement of the story in which Franco found Carly in the Wyndemere catacombs was every bit a disappointment, despite its excessive violence – calculated, perhaps, to cover the lackluster story in fake blood. First, Franco was shot escaping prison, and then shot again by his mom, a wound not grievous enough to prevent him from stabbing her in the leg.

The rescue of wounded Franco and the trussed up Carly was finally accomplished by Anna and Nathan.  Franco and Carly  were seen declaring their love for one another.  How sweet. We can’t tell you how happy we are that two of the most unsavory characters in all of soap operas have finally found romantic nirvana with one another.

Three Couples and One Friendship to Watch in 2014

Romance is, after all, the soul of soap opera. So, if Franco and Carly don’t : warm your heart, here are three pairings that just might :

Ridge and Katie (Thorsten Kaye and Heather Tom) on The Bold and the Beautiful. These two characters, played by uncommonly terrific actors,  are in love but haven’t declared it yet.  You know that because they have had a recent romp in the park and suddenly Ridge and Katie have developed a mutual interest in poetry. Now they can read to each other, a particular treat when it’s Kaye’s turn, given his English accent and dulcet tones.

Ava and Morgan (Maura West and  Bryan Craig ) on General Hospital.  Who would have thought that a lurid affair between a 19 year old and an older woman could turn into GH’s deepest, most meaningful love story?  Chemistry and very good acting have lifted this pairing from something superficial to something sublime.

Julian and Alexis (William deVry and Nancy Lee Grahn) also on GH. Who would have thought that an almost renewed  affair between grandparents would be indescribably sexy? After all, this pair conceived Sam over three decades ago.  DeVry and Grahn have great chemistry despite what looks to be an age difference of about a decade.

And in the friendship department, keep an eye on Chloe and Chelsea (Elizabeth Hendrickson and Melissa Claire Egan) on The Young and the Restless. These two are best friends and are always refreshing to watch because of the great degree of honesty between them.  Chloe was right when Adam turned out to be a louse, running over and killing Delia.  What Chelsea didn’t count on was that Chloe was so jealous of her motherhood of Connor she’d wind up kidnapping him, as she did on Friday.

General Hospital: Robin’s Reason to Leave Is Unbelievable

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

Is Kimberly McCullough’s Robin leaving again?

One of the bad things about General Hospital  is that it grows so unbelievable at times.  For example, how many would-be killer psychos can one town have at a time?  Right now, we have four:  Heather, Dr. Obrecht, Franco and Ava.

But unbelievably, the unbelievability gets worse: there are ham-handed hints that Robin is about to be written out. What? She just got back, right? And, in one of the best soap storylines in ages, laid claim to the husband and daughter she left behind. Now, Victor Cassadine has returned as the new head of the WUSB and wants Robin to leave her family to help him  resurrect three cryogenically frozen people: Stavros,  Helena and possibly Jason.

Again, WHAT? Why in the world would Robin want to leave Patrick and Emma after two long years away from them?  True, Sabrina is pregnant. But so what? Robin is too major a character for GH to contrive such a careless and improbable second exit for her.

Will smarter heads prevail? Let’s hope so.

FOUR TO WATCH IN 2014

One of the joys of soap opera is the introduction of new talent that constantly goes on as new actors are hired to play new parts.  It’s a pleasure to see how well soap casting directors do their jobs and how well actors fit into the roles.   Here are four relatively new  actors who have worked out quite well.

Ashlyn Pearce — Alexandria “Ali”  Forrester, The Bold and the Beautiful.  Beautiful and a bit understated, Pearce is the perfect actress to play Ali,  the new Forrester grandchild.  She even looks like Ali’s father Thorne (actor Winsor Harmon).  Recently Aly has expressed  interest in Liam.  Can she can wrest him away from Hope, to whom he appears hopelessly attached?

Sean  Carrigan –  Stitch Rayburn, The Young and the Restless. When Dylan needed a former Army buddy confidante,  hunky  Carrigan was cast as his now doctor friend.    Carrigan is an all-around good actor who fills that role nicely, and at the same time has nice chemistry with all the women on the show, especially Amelia Heinle, who plays Victoria.

Ryan Paevey — Nathan West, GH.  Detective West came to Port Charles on the trail of Silas, who supposedly murdered his wife twenty years ago.  Paevey is quite good looking, can act well and plays a police detective quite believably.  

Ryan Carnes — Lucas Jones, GH.  Carnes who plays Lucas Jones, who has just returned to Port Charles, isn’t new to the show.  He played the role last in 2006.  He is a good actor and showed his stuff mightily in recent scenes in which Lucas told his biological father Julian Jerome (William deVry) that he is gay.  Lucas has recently Felix’ boyfriend Brad.

All Hail Friday Cliffhangers!

By Marlena Delacroix a.k.a. Connie Passalacqua Hayman

One of the most important and unique of all daytime soap opera conventions is the Friday cliffhanger.   On Friday, at the end of a week’s worth of episodes, either a secret is exposed or something significant happens which creates big suspense, compelling the audience to want to tune in to the show on Monday.  This past Friday, our shows sprung some masterful cliffhangers, propelling viewers to tune in this Monday, which after all is the beginning of February sweeps.

On The Young and the Restless, it was disclosed to Michael that Carmine is still alive, while at the very same time Michael’s son Fen was about to be sentenced on a plea deal for his murder. The Baldwins’ interaction with Carmine, who started it all by having an affair with Lauren, has lasted the last two good years on the show.  Now if Carmine isn’t dead, and Michael and Fen aren’t suspects in his “murder” any longer, what kind of storyline, if any at all, will the Baldwins have?

On The Bold and the Beautiful, looking for a way to keep Brooke away from Ridge, Brooke’s former lover Bill stumbled across some pictures on the internet revealing what exactly Ridge was doing during his year in Paris.  The pictures, which he presented to Brooke, showed Ridge hugging another man while the two grasped a rainbow flag.  Ridge, gay?  Well, that’s a stunner. Kudos to the writers for contriving such apparently unimpeachable evidence of this shocking secret. Could it be a mistake? After all, during more than  twenty-five years on the show, Ridge has always been presented as the most heterosexual of men.  Well, you never know …

On General Hospital, Kiki visited her “grandmother” Heather at the Miscavage Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Only the catatonic blond she saw from the back turned out to be Luke, who had disappeared after confronting the real Heather, who had kidnapped Carly in the Quartermaine stables.  Tracy had just reported Luke missing at the police station. This is quite a shocker and not the most logical of cliffhangers. However, did Heather get Luke into that state and transport him to the insane asylum?   We’ll just have to tune in Monday to see.

The biggest of all Friday cliffhangers, up to which Y&R has been building the last year, might have been ruined by some advance casting news.  As you know Adam and Billy drove off the road after Adam admitted at last to being the hit and run driver who killed Delia. On Friday, Paul and Nick discovered the wrecked car.  Seems one of the car’s occupants –who? — had escaped before the car blew up into a fireball at the end of Friday’s show.

Soap news followers know that Michael Muhney, who plays  Adam, is leaving the show, as is Billy Miller, who plays Billy.  Billy has been recast with actor David Tom, who has played the role in the past. So is Billy is to be the survivor of the wreck ?  What happens to Adam?  Y&R viewers will just have to tune in Monday, and many days after that to find the answer to Adam’s disappearance.

B&B and GH: Real Love and Lackluster Crime in the Afternoon

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

Kim Matula and Darin Brooks: Real love in the afternoon (CBS Photo)

For ages we’ve complained about the absence of romance — real love — in the afternoon.  Someone must have been listening because this week The Bold and the Beautiful gave us a mega dose of love scenes concluding in a real beauty: the carefully orchestrated “first time’ for Wyatt Fuller (Darin Brooks) and Hope Logan (Kim Matula).

The two had been kissing for what seemed like forever against the backdrop of Hope’s oft-interrupted romance with Wyatt’s half-brother Liam, who she almost married several times.   Wyatt and Hope had even chastely gotten through Hope’s supposed Hawaiian “honeymoon” after her latest spoiled wedding to Liam. Wyatt nominally filled in for the rejected bridegroom. Later, Wyatt decided what Hope needed was a memorable “first time,” which he choreographed on a road trip up California’s Pacific Coast Highway.

B&B went all out with this remote. Wyatt bought an antique Airstream trailer for the occasion, and the entire sequence was shot outdoors on location along the breath-taking California coast. The couple, often half-naked, made out copiously on the beach. Their actual first sexual encounter took place, quite beautifully, in silhouette in a closed tent set up on  the beach. It was indeed a memorable “first time,” about love almost as much as it was about sex.

Now, this is the kind of fantasy good love stories — and superior soap opera – are made of.

Meanwhile, over at General Hospital , the storyline of the month — Heather’s kidnapping of Carly — was falling very flat.  All of Port Charles was properly upset over the abduction. But where’s the suspense in this storyline?   Heather hasn’t been caught in 30 years of crimes in Port Charles, and there was no reason to believe this would change. At the same time, the life of  Carly, a central character on GH ,was never really at stake.    Luke couldn’t save Carly after a chance encounter, and neither could the adorable trio of Spencer, Cameron and Emma, who ran into Carly and Heather in the Wyndemere stables.

Heather kidnapped Carly to get back at her own son Franco, who had previously “killed” her with a shank to her side. (She survived, something Franco does not know yet.)  Now, Franco is about to be arrested for Carly’s kidnapping. But we know that he didn’t do it and that Carly is very much alive and surviving.   Again … ho hum.

Young and Restless Is Obsessed With Secrets

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

Watching The Young and the Restless this month is one big wait for the other shoe to drop. Most of the big storylines on the show revolve around a big secret that if disclosed could have dire consequences for the characters involved.  Was the confluence of so many secrets held at once a coincidence or was it all deliberately planned by the writers?

Hunter Haley King

First, Summer (Hunter Haley King) OD’d this week on “energy” pills she had secretly been taking.  She’s had some sort of “heart” episode.   As of this writing she lies in the hospital unconscious (just like her mother Phyllis!).  Of course the big secret here is that Sharon has concealed the fact that Nick is Summer’s biological father, not Jack. Sharon switched the paternity tests. This secret is almost a year old.  Will Sharon finally tell Nick the truth if the facts of her parentage are needed for Summer’s successful medical treatment?

Then there’s Billy’s secret: he slept with Kelly.  Kelly of course is his friend from the grief support group.  Both lost a child and bonded over this experience.  Should Billy’s wife Victoria find out about it, that could spell the end of Billy and Victoria’s marriage.  As a side note, Kelly is also hiding a past relationship with that handsome Dr. Stich.        

Then there’s Adam’s big secret: he is the one who hit and killed Delia.  He has been guiltily of it for months as Delia’s grieving father Billy and the Genoa City police department come closer and closer to finding out the truth.  Adam set up a memorial fund and until recently held the secret that he was the chief donor. Finally, his participation in the fund was revealed to Billy.

But right now it looks like Adam will get away with his crime.  He and Chelsea are planning to get married within a couple of days and start a new life in Paris.  Over at the Genoa City Police department,  Kevin is close to finding out the hit-and-run-driver’s identity via computer investigation.  Billy found a flower from Adam’s apartment at the site of Delia’s accident which is now a memorial.

 It seems only a matter of days (in fact it will happen this week) until Adam is finally named the hit-and-run driver both by Billy and the police.  The resulting drama should be worth the wait as there will be an explosive climax to the story.

 Secrets are fine, but what ever happened to the days when soap operas were all about romance?  Instead, Y&R seems obsessed with using the secret as a plot device.  Sure, secrets bring big suspense and keep viewers tuning in day after day.   But what ever happened to love in the afternoon?    

Is Bold and Beautiful Best Soap?

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

Kimberly Matula: Her Hope stands on her own these days.

With only four daytime soaps left, it seems fruitless to name a Best Soap. It’s all a matter of personal preference anyway.  If you like your soaps slow and full of character, you like The Young and the Restless.  If you like your plots fast and full of surprises, General Hospital  is the soap for you.  Days of Our Lives is traditional soap, full of great twists and turns.

But there is one soap now that is undoubtedly the most consistently excellent — that’s The Bold and the Beautiful.  Ever since Rick settled down with Caroline, there hasn’t been a bum storyline.  Sure, the show is only a half hour and it features only two main storylines.  But both are quite good and full of suspense and interest.

B&B is very fortunate that their “young” storyline works.  Step-brothers Liam and Wyatt’s contest for the love of young Hope (Kimberly Matula) is one that seems to change every single day.  Liam is a bit full of himself and Wyatt is full of charm.  But Hope is remarkably mature, and is making a great show of the fact that she can stand on her own these days.  After all, she has a great career as head of the “Hope for the Future” line at Forrester Fashions.   All three characters in this triangle are strong and attractive.   Hope can most likely keep on bouncing between Liam and Wyatt in a storyline without end. And most likely she will!

The Brooke-Bill-Katie triangle has been a real winner for the show since it was established last year.  Forbidden (now ex) lovers Brooke and Bill are very sexy together and of course Katie (Brooke’s sister and Bill’s wife) suffers better than anyone on daytime television.  But it’s the latest addition to the triangle, Brooke’s long absentee husband Ridge, which promises great excitement in the new year.

We’ve already noted that Thorsten Kaye is terrific in the role of Ridge.  What was unexpected was how much potential his genuine acting ability has added to the show and the storyline he is in.  He’s brought out a new tenderness in Katherine Kelly Lang’s Brooke, and is just brilliant with multiple Emmy winner Heather Tom’s Katie.  It’s just been inferred in the storyline that Ridge may be interested in Katie.  What a complex, complicated, not to mention superbly-acted four-way (Brooke-Bill-Katie-Ridge) story that is going to make!

             So, what’s your pick for best of the four. Is it B&B or another? 

The Young and the Restless: Still the One

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

For the last month or so, The Young and the Restless has been carrying promotional spots celebrating the soap’s 25th anniversary as number one in the ratings.  It is quite an achievement. How did Y&R do it? By being consistently different from other soaps, particularly in its very idiosyncratic story structure.

The pace of the storylines on Y&R is much slower than on any other soaps. It takes forever for things to happen, and especially for secrets to be revealed.  For example, it’s been many months since Sharon lied to Nick, telling him that Summer is not the biological daughter, Jack is.  Too, Chelsea lied to Dylan for her entire pregnancy plus a few months more that the baby was his.  Connor was really fathered by Adam.  And talk about a long time — the oft-interrupted romance between former spouses Nick and Sharon is well into its second decade.

The  idiosyncratic structure of Y&R probably makes this soap very difficult to write. Many of the characters have been around for decades, and their personalities are hard to change to meet story specifications.   For example, how could Victor ever not be a suspicious bastard, never believing what people tell him and causing trouble for others.

Another problem for the writing team is that a lot of characters seem to have a certain fate. For example, neither Adam nor Jack will ever be winners.  Right now Adam seems to be headed to certain imprisonment should the fact that he ran over Delia be exposed. And Jack is a perpetual loser in love.  His latest love, Phyllis, is in a seemingly irreversible coma.

Also challenging the writers is the number of backstage events that must be accommodated for the show to run its course.  For example, last week TMZ revealed that Michael Muhney was accused of sexual harassment and fired.  Thus, Adam must be written off the show, at least for a while until the role is recast.

Further complicating things is the number of departures from the show this year. Billy Miller (Billy) is leaving the show after disagreement over his future contracts, and the role has been recast with David Tom, who used to play the role. Of course, last year Jeanne Cooper (Mrs. Chancellor) died and Michelle Stafford voluntarily left the show, leaving their characters to be written out.

Yet, Y&R continues to succeed, overcoming all roadblocks and remaining number one. Here’s to another twenty years on top! 

Happy New Year: Looking Ahead to 2014

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

Thorsten Kaye: Will he still amaze in 2014?

The new year starts Wednesday, and I have many questions about what’s going to happen on our favorite shows next year. See if you might speculate on the answers, or pose some questions of your own:

1.  How is The Young and the Restless going to fill the terrible holes left by the departures of super talented Billy Miller (Billy) and Michael Muhney (Adam)?   Surely both roles will be recast.

2.  How are General Hospital ’s Patrick and Robin going to react to Sabrina being pregnant with Patrick’s child?  Quite the sticky situation.

3.  When will The Bold and the Beautiful’s Quinn and Donna have the down and dirty catfight they have been leading up to for months?  Both seem to want Eric’s love enough to draw blood to get it.

4.  On Y&R, will Jill ever find out the significance of the music box Katherine left her?

5.  On GH, will A.J. ever find out that he’s clear of Connie’s murder?  And did Ava really do it?

6.  On B&B, will Thorsten Kaye be able to sustain the tremendous acting success he’s already scored on his first few weeks of B&B? My guess, no surprise, is a resounding “Yes!”

7.  Will Spinelli ever come back to GH? Maybe he could return from Portlandia flush with New Age inspiration and open a boutique coffee bar/microbrewery to compete with Kelly’s?

8.  On Y&R, will Dylan ever accept Nikki as his mother? How long will it be until Nikki conquers her biological son’s heart?

9. On B&B, wouldn’t it be neat if Hope rejected both Liam and Wyatt and found herself a new love this year?

10. Sadly, in 2013 we witnessed the faltering of soap opera’s first great digital experiment. All My Children and One Life to Live are gone again, at least for now. Will 2014 bring us any new soaps? As ever; we won’t give up hope.

Moose, Nigel and I join together in wishing you a Happy New Year! 

Merry Christmas, Thinking Fans!

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

Merry Christmas from Nigel

Merry Christmas from Nigel

There I was this week watching The Bold and the Beautiful and scratching my head.  How many interrupted weddings can Hope and Liam have?  After all, Steffy broke up the first wedding with news she was pregnant, and here she was back with the news for Liam that after her miscarriage, she was no longer infertile.  Pre-ceremony, Hope saw Steffy and Liam together talking privately, freaked out and ran away with Wyatt (for whom I am rooting because he’s so charming ) to Hawaii.  But will Liam and Hope ever get together and marry?

It’s something I ponder every week along with questions such as, will General Hospital’s  Patrick and Robin get back together now that she has returned from the dead, or will the plot will complicated by the fact that Sabrina might be pregnant? On The Young and Restless, will I grow to like the mother Nikki and reclaimed biological son Dylan even though they have no chemistry and are two of the flakiest characters ever showcased on a soap opera?

But there’s one question I’m not pondering this week.  Do I want you, my beloved readers, to have a merry and a happy Christmas?  Of course I do and I send you holiday hugs and kisses along with the best wishes of my hubby/editor Moose and our sweet dog Nigel.  We’re ensconced in our country home with our tree, decorations and many good things to eat and we’re celebrating.  There’s nothing we like better than the fact that we can celebrate the holidays along with our own dear Thinking Fans.

So from our family to yours, have the merriest of Christmases!

Love,

 Marlena, Moose and Nigel

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 …