Sunday Reflections 12: Young and Restless’ Blah 10,000th Episode … General Hospital’s Sabrina and Her Fantasies, and Connie and Her Body Shot

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

The Young and the Restless: So, what did you think of Y&R’s 10,000th episode, aired Thursday?  This was the one in which a “dead” character came back for his own funeral. In this case, it was Victor Newman, in what seemed to be his 438th resurrection.   (It was actually his third).  Well, in the episode’s defense, it did feature the entire cast, including characters like Esther, Traci and Danny, albeit in overcrowded group scenes.  The relief at seeing Victor alive (in a $10,000 suit, after months of grimy togs) along with such Newman family characters as Victor’s daughter Abby was kind of sweet.    And Victor and Nikki had an episode-ending reunion love scene, a rarity in the history of soaps:  a scene where a couple actually ends up happy.

Victor and Nikki, together again
Eric Braeden and Melody Thomas Scott

This celebratory episode was a treat for viewers who have never seen a soap before, but longtimers who had seen it all before were probably left feeling blasé.  For some, it may even have bordered on soap self-parody, as was accurately predicted by former Marlena contributor Patrick Erwin in a letter last week.  The over-arching problem with the episode was that it was pedestrian soap opera.  And a Y&R special shouldn’t be that un-special after 10,000 episodes!  The episode was also emblematic of the last two years or so of the inexplicably top-rated Y&R, which may be summed up with one word:  blah.  Both the show and the special episode were produced and co-written by the recently fired Maria Arena Bell. [Read more...]

Winter Thoughts and a Book Review

By Marlena De Lacroix

Bonjour,  everyone.  Still watching.  I’ve particularly enjoyed One Life to Live‘s sweeps, with the downfall of Clint, and his acid confrontations with that bitch Aubrey.  Pine Valley seems to be emptying out and you have to ask yourself how long Alicia Minshew can carry the show on her boney shoulders.  I’m rooting for Sonny and Brenda  — how many brides and grooms can boast that they’ve both killed people?

As you know, the fare is so limited these days, the snowy afternoon ends much earlier than it used to. So what’s a girl to do?

How about browsing through a good new book on soap opera.  Whether you are a fan or a soap scholar, you’ll enjoy [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.

______________________________Crystal Chappell

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...]

Merry Christmas, Cher Thinking Fans!

This our second Christmas here in our home on the Web. By now, we feel we know most of you by name, and are more pleased than words can express to welcome your regular visits. So many of you Thinking Fans have been frequent correspondents, and have enriched our site with your thoughtful, heartfelt commentary.  Thank you, thank you, for investing so much of your time and sharing your ideas.

Here’s hoping each of you has a joyous Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

Marlena and Moose

I want to wish all the wonderful Thinking Fans out there a happy and safe holiday season.  Thank you so much for all the support and intelligent comments  you have shared with me this year.  As we begin 2009 with much uncertainty in our soap worlds, it eases my nervousness to know I will be sharing the next year’s highs and lows with such a wonderful community. 

Please take care of each other out there, and come back to visit me, Marlena, and Patrick, as often as possible.

Love,
Damon L. Jacobs  (“Soap Shrink”)

Merry Christmas from crisply cold Chicago, the cradle of soap operas, and the home of Irna Phillips and Bill Bell! May you and yours have a warm Christmas and a prosperous 2009! Here’s hoping for blue skies, a healthy economy … and a story with a happy ending every now and then!

Patrick Erwin

As The World Turns in 2008: The “World” at Warp Speed

Thinking Fans Comment Update: James wonders, “Where’s the happiness in Oakdale?” … likewise, Steve says Oakdale has become “a bitter, mean-spirited place” … and more. See Comments below. 

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ATWT logo

By Patrick Erwin

As The World Turns may be the second oldest soap, but this year, the show burned through storylines at warp speed. There has been a tremendous amount of action onscreen, as well as behind the scenes, in 2008 at ATWT.

But interestingly enough, the general mood of the show seems to be back to where it started in 2008 — in a cloud of darkness.

Back in February, I shared my opinion about how incredibly dark the mood on the show had been. It was almost a chore to watch at that point, with classic characters who [Read more...]

Listen to Marlena and Company on In the Zone Blog Talk Radio!

in the Zone logo

Join us, Thinking Fans, as we continue our first anniversary celebration! Our Soap Shrink Damon Jacobs, Patrick Erwin and I will be guests Friday night, 10 PM EST, on the  In the Zone Blog Talk Radio Show . We’ll be talking about our site and reviewing the many events of the last, tumultuous soap year.  We’ll all be pleased to speak with you on the air and answer your questions.  The call-in number  for the 90-minute show is (347) 996-5978.  Let’s talk soaps!   

                        Marlena

                         XXXOOO

Dee-A-Palooza, Day Two: Days’ Marlena’s “Cool Intelligence and Warm Sensuality Hard to Ignore”

Deidre Hall 2

Thinking Fans Comment Update: James sees Deidre’s departure as another nail in Days’ coffin … and more. See Comments below. 

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By Patrick Erwin

I’ve watched Deidre Hall as Dr. Marlena Evans on Days of Our Lives since Marlena came to Salem in 1976. By some miracle of good living and genetics, Hall looks almost the same now as she did then. (I, on the other hand, have far more crow’s feet and far less hair than I did then!)

Like all good soap opera viewing habits, I got hooked on DAYS because it was one of Mom’s favorites. Her two favorite characters were a study in contrasts. There was Julie, whose ability to suffer was so [Read more...]

Our As The World Turns Expert’s Reaction: Jon Lindstrom Cast as the latest Craig Montgomery

Scott Bryce

Thinking Fans Comment Update October 10:  James thinks Lindstrom is a worthy successor … but Dawn worries that he’ll join the dumpees. See Comments below. 

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Last December our Patrick Erwin did a very, very perceptive take on the very strange state of the character of Craig Montgomery on As the World Turns.  Earlier in 2007, Scott Bryce,  the brilliant and very popular actor who originated that role in the 80s,  had returned to the role after an absence of more than 15 years. (Other actors had played the role in the interim.)  In his analysis, Patrick maintained that  ATWT was misusing  the character and wasting Bryce’s talents.  The same month this article ran, Bryce was indeed fired for reasons that were never clarified by the show.  Fans were outraged — and remain mystified as to why such a valuable actor as Bryce could have been fired. Yesterday, it was announced that Jon Lindstrom, the versatile and well-liked actor who played Kevin and Ryan on General Hospital and Port Charles has been hired to take over the role of Craig.   Here is Patrick’s reaction:

                                                                                                            Marlena

                                                                                                            XXXOOO

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By Patrick Erwin

There’s a big mystery brewing in Oakdale — or at least in Brooklyn, where As The World Turns is taped. It’s more mysterious than figuring out if James Stenbeck is alive, dead, or vying to be a contestant on Dancing with the Stars:  It looks like ATWT is bringing on daytime vet Jon Lindstrom to play Craig Montgomery.

My question is: Why? [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...]