Our Soap Shrink Wonders: Why So Many Bloody Brides?

Thinking Fans Comment Update: Jason laments, “I think the problem with soaps these days is they try to distance themselves from what they should be centered upon, which is love and romance, and turn to violence” … while Deep Dish,  favoring balance, suggests, “I think there’s room enough on soaps for both the traditional romantic weddings as well as the bloody bride interruptus ones” … and more.  See Comments below. 

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BrideBy Damon L. Jacobs

Savvy daytime fans know the value and vindication of the classic soap wedding.  But more and more this great tradition is being replaced with a trend that promotes gore and carnage:  The iconic bloody white wedding dress.

I, for one, fail to see the benefit or payoff for covering our heroines in blood.  It certainly can’t.t be for shock value, since anyone old enough to remember Sissy Spacek in Carrie is no longer surprised by the contrast of innocence and red liquids.  In my opinion, this trend is one of many ways the current shows are sending a message of defiance into the faces of long-term viewers, as this once sacred and uplifting wedding episode is now frequently mired in violence and bloodshed.

And yet I can’t help but wonder how others perceive it.  It used to be that viewers would get to witness a couple spending several years coming together, making up, breaking up, then [Read more...]

Soap February: Blame Executive Malfeasance!

Thinking Fans Comment Update: BL avers, “I have to say the line (on AMC) about how lesbians don’t kiss men was perfect, because why would they?” … Carl posits, “GL has been so much about nasty thugs over the past few years, Phillip’s return is a way to bring a more heroic character back into the spotlight” … while Melanie warns that GH “is on Maxie Overload and needs to quit before there’s a serious Maxie backlash (hello Sonny!)”  … and more. See Comments below.

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By Marlena De Lacroix

Fans usually blame headwriters when soaps are bad.  But ultimately, the real blame lies with daytime network executives who have the final power of approval over what we see on our screens.  Last month, judging by the very questionable, sometimes downright All My Childrenillogical and nonprofessional quality of the drama I saw on screen, I’d venture to say that these daytime execs (and their publicity and marketing minions) are very sloppy, asleep at the wheel, or just don’t care at all what they put on screen everyday.

She who gets smooched on All My Children

Why present a heavily publicized lesbian wedding if the whole plot leading up to it is going to greatly anger lesbian viewers?  In an earlier column on All My Children‘s headwriter Charles Pratt, I naively got excited over the acting possibilities of a Bianca-Reese-Zack love triangle. I received dozens of letters from female fans who said they didn’t want either gay character to get involved with a man.  D’Oh!  Of course they don’t!

So why did AMC, which knew this already (as proven by having Bianca angrily tell Reese when Bianca broke up the one day marriage that [Read more...]

Guiding Light’s Olivia and Natalia, Part 2: The Kiss and Beyond

Thinking Fans Comment Update: Cate points out All My Children’s gay storyline initially caused a furor that later died down as viewers “warmed up to the character” … adds Blake, “I hope GL does not get my hopes up about this great couple only to break them up” … and more. See Comments below.

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Guiding Light’s “Otalia” pairing — Olivia and Natalia — are garnering a lot of buzz. Soap fans, as well as sites like the lesbian entertainment-themed AfterEllen.com, are watching to see if that friendship potentially becomes something more. This week, the story takes a step in that direction when Olivia and Natalia kiss.

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OliviaBy Patrick Erwin 

Regarding: The Kiss,  it looks like Guiding Light is testing the waters. To me, the upcoming scenes — done in a clever way that lets the show “have it both ways”, so to speak — scream “test run” with the future direction of the story depending on the audience’s reaction.

Personally, I’m torn about the story. On the one hand, I want there to be visible LGBT characters on our screens and it Nataliawould be great for GL to tackle that sort of story, since it has not done so to date. I appreciate that GL is really taking a risk and embracing a really progressive, emotional topic.

My minor concerns about this story come from the fact that we haven’t seen ANY suggestion of ambiguous sexual orientation from either character.

Many of the gay and lesbian storylines on daytime that we’ve seen thus far have worked because the characters were young characters and we saw their coming-out process. All My Children‘s Bianca is a great example of that. And a late-in-life coming out [Read more...]

Guiding Light’s Olivia and Natalia: Women in Love? — Part 1: Why They Have GL’s Best Friendship

Thinking Fans Comment Update:  Dayna says Otalia is “a modern romance told with beautiful soapy writing” … Levi says Guiding Light is getting better, and “I am finally happy to tune in every day” … and more. See Comments below. 

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The friendship between Guiding Light’s Olivia (Crystal Chappell) and Natalia (Jessica Leccia), two women who live together with Olivia’s young daughter, Emma, is generating a lot of favorable buzz among fans online. Viewers are responding positively to the duo’s friendship — and are talking about those rumors that these two are more than just friends. Our own Patrick Erwin takes a closer look at this story in this two part series. Today, he talks about what’s making this a hit. On Monday, he’ll address the possibility that the characters may be more than just friends.

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By Patrick Erwin

The most engaging story for me on Guiding Light right now is the crisscrossed lives of Natalia and Olivia. GL‘s latest production model (overall storyline design) is to showcase a more “realistic” view of Springfield. The “Otalia” story is one of the first stories GL has done that really gets the mixture of realism and drama right. Here are the reasons why I think this story is hitting all the right notes:

Realism: It’s a great story about two people becoming family to each other — three, of course, if you count Olivia’s daughter Emma (played wonderfully by young Jacqueline Tsirkin). Only love can save the world, indeed! These days, friendships [Read more...]

He’s Back: Paul Rauch for Real!

Y&R

Thinking Fans Comment Update Sept. 20:  Christian in Boston loved Rauch’s OLTL except for the lighting (bring sunglasses!) … James expresses respect … but Cherry Ames lists Rauch’s soap sins, chapter and verse … and more. See Comments below. 

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By Marlena De Lacroix

Paul Rauch. That name may send you screaming from the room if you ever worked for him unsuccessfully, if you judge a man in totality by his bad soaps (Santa Barbara, Guiding Light) or if you are a typical internet poster who relies on rumors, innuendo and chapters of  tell-all memoirs.

But now that Rauch is back as co-executive producer of The Young and the Restless (at the age of 74, after recovering from a heart attack) I’d like to offer some first person testimony. And I can do it freely and ethically because I am a journalist, and don’t have to work  for him.  I knew and interviewed Rauch regularly from 1980-2001

I’ve always maintained that despite his stormy temperament and the people he is said to have hurt, Paul is a genius.

when he was in New York executive-producing Another World, TexasOne Life to Live and Guiding Light.  Like everyone, I had terrible, terrible times with him (I have stories — let’s just say [Read more...]

From Bad to Good or Good To Bad: Seven Soap Characters Who Changed Before Our Eyes

Melissa Claire Egan

Thinking Fans Comment Update Sept. 9:  Sina nominates Maxie Jones … Greg would include Vanessa Chamberlain …  Aaron misses Annie Dutton … and more. See Comments below. 

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By Patrick Erwin

It’s been interesting to watch recent scenes with Melissa Claire Egan as Annie on All My Children. Once a good girl, Annie has turned into a manipulative witch. She may not be a nice person anymore, but Annie no longer comes off as a Greenlee-wannabe and is far more interesting to watch.
 
Most soap characters serve a purpose and stay in their designated slot: heroine, villain, rouge, or temptress. But every once in a while, a character will undergo a major metamorphosis and make a dramatic change, redeeming their wicked ways or shedding their goodness to get in touch with their inner bad seed.

Here are seven examples of characters who radically changed in front of our eyes.
 
1.  Annie Dutton, Guiding Light: Speaking of Annies, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this one. When she was [Read more...]

Soap Surprises: Five Holy @#%! Moments

Marlena killer

Thinking Fans Holy @#%! Update Aug. 14:  Melanie picks Wayne Northrup’s return as Roman on Days … B3 loved Gwyneth as the killer on Loving … Carl recalls five faves from Santa Barbara … and more.  See Comments below.

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By Patrick Erwin

Soap plots have many twists and turns in them, but we rarely get to see a complete “bombshell” surprise, like the ones we’ve seen in The Sixth Sense, The Crying Game, or The Usual Suspects. The “reveal” of a surprise on soaps usually happens a little bit at a time, with a character or two here or there. And unfortunately, the appetite for news and spoilers has spoiled the element of surprise for many viewers (and that isn’t doing the shows any favors, either).

But there have been moments of complete, utter surprise on the soaps. Here (in no particular order) are five examples of fantastic, goosebump-producing, oh-no-they-didn’t moments.

NOTE: The moments I am talking about, and have listed below, were stories where we the audience, were totally surprised when these scenes played out. There are many, many moments, like [Read more...]

Soap Shrink: Why Can’t Women Be Allowed to Age Naturally on Soaps?

Thinking Fans Comment Update August 5:  Ryan offers kudos to the bigger but still sexy Kim … esther wants to see more age appropriate attire … Aaron says the issue isn’t pounds, it’s Reva’s “white trash” look … and more. See Comments below.

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By Damon L. Jacobs

There has been a lot of discussion on the boards about Guiding Light these days.  The shrinking budget, the shrinking ratings, the shrinking cast list.  Yet there is one thing obviously not getting smaller in Springfield: Reva Shayne’s waistline. 

And for this the Soap Shrink couldn’t be happier!

Personally, I am exhausted by the pressure in daytime (and all media) for women to stay skinny and unhealthily thin.  It alarms me to know the lengths some of these great actresses will go to in order to [Read more...]

Do You Love or Hate it When Soaps Repeat Their Histories?

Thinking Fans Comment Update July 31:  How to repeat soap histories? Melanie counts the ways … James cheers the Reva/Josh movie wedding … while esther is generally unimpressed by retreads … and more. See Comments below.  

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By Patrick Erwin  

Each of the eight daytime soaps on American network TV these days has a substantial history. The Bold and the Beautiful is the youngest at 21, Guiding Light the eldest at 71. Collectively, this is a rich history. And I’m all for calling on the past to inform current storylines.

But there’s a curious trend emerging this summer, and I’m not sure what to make of it. A few shows have gone beyond revisiting history — they actually seem to be reliving the stories in a way we haven’t really seen before. The stories we’re seeing are often [Read more...]

Why Today’s One Life To Live Reminds Me of the Glory Days of Guiding Light

One Life to Live

By Patrick Erwin

I’ve been writing about soaps for a while, but  I am a relatively new daily fan of One Life To Live. Yes, as Marlena has observed, some of us soap viewers are boarding the OLTL lifeboat, and I, for one, have bought my ticket!

Guiding Light logoI watched OLTL a bit here and there (especially during the first Malone years), but I  am really drawn to the quality of the show now. What could I possibly say about OLTL that has not been said before — about the writing, the characters, the pacing? Nothing, that’s what. So instead of trying to recap OLTL, I decided I’d try to tell you why I’m loving OLTL so much … by talking about Guiding Light.

Huh, you say? Work with me here.

With apologies to The Golden Girls‘ Sophia Petrillo, I say: picture it — Springfield, 1990. The show was slated for some major changes. Pam Long was running into network interference, and she and GL parted ways. At the same time, several of GL‘s biggest stars were [Read more...]