Soaps: Where Intelligent Women Still Rule

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

Jane Ellliot’s Tracy Quartermaine is one of soaps’ leading Brainy Ladies

Women are still the core of soap opera.  They are what the plots are about and they make the stories go.  An overwhelming number of women on soap operas are very intelligent, assertive and masters of their own fates.  Here’s a round-up of the most intelligent and sometimes devious women on soap opera right now:

Quinn Fuller, The Bold and the Beautiful (Rena Sofer):  Quinn came onto to the show as a jewelry designer more than a  year ago.  She is sharp as a tack.  She will do anything to make sure her son Wyatt lands up with Hope, instead of his half-brother Liam, with whom Quinn has frequent arguments. This week Quinn bribed Bill Spencer into giving Liam the Spencer name, her leverage being sex pics of herself and Bill, which she threatened to show to Brooke.

Katie Spencer, B&B (Heather Tom): Katie fancied herself a regular girl until husband Bill cheated on her with  Brooke.  So she stepped up, using all her intelligence to run Spencer Publications, and at the same time obtaining custody of son Will.  Recently she lost it all because of supposed lost ownership and custody papers she previously signed, but wound up with soap’s ultimate prize: the love of and engagement to rich and handsome Ridge Forrester.

Jill Foster Abbott, The Young and the Restless (Jess Walton): Jill started her Genoa City life as a hairdresser, but grew into a more prominent position as she got older.  She married John Abbott and went to work at his company. Recently she married  charming Aussie  Colin Atkinson, but strongly assumes he only married her for Katherine’s inheritance.  This week she handcuffed Colin to a pipe in the attic and made him sign divorce papers.

Leslie Michaelson, Y&R (Angela Conwell): Leslie is a lawyer who represents unpopular causes and equally unpopular people like Ian Ward.  Recently she spurned the love of crybaby and general pain Neil to make a fast marriage to Dr.  Barton Shelby.

Alexis Davis, General Hospital (Nancy Grahn): Alexis is the smartest woman on daytime television, a very good lawyer and a strict mother. Only a smarty like Alexis could  keep criminal Sonny out of jail all this time.   Alexis’ problem is that she always gets involved with bad men like Sonny and her current crush, Julian Jerome.

Tracy Quartermaine, GH (Jane Elliot): Tracy has always been the smartest of the smart, a leading Quartermaine since the rich family came to town decades ago.  Her Achilles heel is Luke Spencer, to whom she has been married three times.  These days a secretly criminal Luke wants to wrest control of  the Quartermaine company ELQ to himself.  Will Tracy catch on and ward off his evil efforts?

There are more, of course. Who are your nominees for the Soap Opera Brainy Lady Hall of Fame?   

The Young and the Restless’ Big Baby Reveal: Well Worth Waiting For

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

The Young and the Restless may be the best soap when it comes to dragging out its storylines.  Because this week, it was more than worth than nine month wait when it was explosively revealed to Dylan MacAvoy  that Chelsea’s newborn baby Connor isn’t really his, but the child of Chelsea’s ex-husband Adam Newman.  As you know, baby Connor is experiencing signs of retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic disease Adam himself inherited from his blind mother. 

Steve Burton’s Dylan: The baby he loves so much isn’t really his

In addition to the suspense, what made the storyline high point worth waiting for was the performances.  As Chelsea the lifelong con woman, Melissa Claire Egan always sustains a nice element of hysteria, and that worked well in the revelation scenes.  But it was Steve Burton as Dylan who stole the show with Dylan’s tearful and very sensitive reaction to the news, as his character loves what he believed to be his baby very much.   Dylan had even married Chelsea and made a whole new life with her believing he had fathered Connor.   He even bought Genoa City’s coffee house Crimson Lights to support the family.

As evidenced here, Burton has improved greatly as an actor since the days when he played Jason Quartermaine Morgan on General Hospital.  As Dylan, he has found layers in his character, who has always been a guy almost too good to be true since his introduction last year.  Now Burton has many opportunities to add more shades of gray to Dylan, a hero in the war in Afghanistan. This will be challenging if the spoilers are correct – they say he’ll go against character type by kidnapping baby Connor from his mother.

Of course, Michael Muhney who plays Adam was great as always in the scenes in which Adam  found out that baby Connor is his son.  Now in what will become a continuing storyline situation, he has threatened to take Connor away from the baby’s mother.  Muhney is so terrific at being mean, this is a storyline worth looking forward to.

And what do you think of the spoilers/rumors that Dylan is really the long lost son Nikki gave birth to as a teen and gave away?  The ages here don’t really match up — Steven Burton is too old to be Melody Thomas Scott’s son.  But as Dylan has no relatives as is in Genoa City, this would tie him into the main Newman family, making him Nick and Victoria’s brother and Victor’s stepson.

What didn’t work for me was having Avery, Dylan’s ex,  be late to her own cancelled wedding to Nick so she could listen to Dylan’s anguish at finding out the baby isn’t his.  What real life bride would be late to her own wedding?   As we’ve said in the past, Avery is also too good to be true, and this time she was tripped up by her own good nature.  Will Avery and Dylan wind up getting back together?  Will Avery ever marry Nick?  The baby reveal certainly has launched many good future storylines for Y&R.     

Sunday Reflections 15: Presto Chango — How the New Production and Writing Regime Reshaped Y&R in Only One Week

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

If you are a soap opera watcher who loves the soap opera behind the soap opera (as I think most Thinking Fans are), this was a tremendous week for watching The Young and the Restless.  The show’s new head writer Josh  Griffith and new new executive producer Jill Farren Phelps  made the fastest changes I’ve ever seen in Week One of a new regime.  The thing is: do you admire how efficient they were at making storyline fixes? Or as a fan who watches soaps just for the on-screen entertainment, were you confused or a bit annoyed by the sudden radical changes? To wit: 

– In the presto chango department, the instant dismissal — in one episode – of the long anticipated trial of Phyllis for attempting to run over The Bug and Paul 20 years ago by a new judge (the old one had suddenly taken sick) was the craftiest (in a good way) soap opera writing [Read more...]

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...]