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…]

Sunday Reflections 3: The Young and the Restless, General Hospital, Days of Our Lives

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

The Young and the Restless: Finally a soap does what I’ve long advocated for this era of desperation:  perform a radical life-saving change to save itself.  Y&R has sent in then Marines in the form of new executive producer Jill Farren Phelps and new headwriter Josh Griffith. And Marlena says Semper Fi!  Fresh from their triumphs on Hollywood Heights and Phelps’ latest Emmy for Outstanding Show (General Hospital), these two soap vets certainly have just the skills and genuine talent needed to pull Y&R out of its deep pit of, as we French say, ennui.

And already the fans have started flinging tomatoes at the choice of Phelps, who we all took to task for her cooperation with Guza on GH and other foul acts on One Life to Live.  Forgive and forget, Marlena says, because darlings, this is war!  With 30 plus years of continuous executive producing service to five soaps (Santa Barbara, Guiding Light, Another World, One Life to Live, GH) Phelps certainly has the octane needed to quickly change Y&R.  Similar negative things were predicted when the much skilled and experienced Paul Rauch (whose track record  fans did not love) first came to produce Y&R  a few years ago, and look at what an effective job he did. 

Tony Geary

General Hospital: Marlena is still swooning over the GH scene this week in which Luke and Anna were privately reunited in the hospital after Luke’s taking a bullet for Anna and his long abduction by cray-cray Heather. No crying, screaming or carrying on, it was just a conversation between two mature people revealing their deep romantic feelings for each other without words.  The script said that Anna was questioning Luke about his long abduction by Heather, and later telling him that the arrested Heather said Robin was alive. Yet, bravura Tony Geary and Finola Hughes played the scenes’ subtext — two very adult people (yes!) in love — so quietly and with so much subtlety, the scene was a thing of beauty. Luke spoke slowly and clearly, and in a low voice, while Anna listened, receiving his unspoken love with just a touch of a tear in her eye.   What creativity and worlds of experience these two actors bring to their work!  Whoever thought we could see such adult emotion portrayed so realistically on a soap opera?

This was a wonderful couple of days this week, for we who (try to) watch GH without spoilers. The previous day, insane Heather (surprise!) appeared in the doorway of the cabin in which she held Luke, shooting Luke after Anna (yay girl!) had punched her out and [Read more…]

Daytime Emmys 2012: Respect Was Surprisingly Shown

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

Today I’m going to use a word I’ve never used in a decade of viewing the Daytime Emmys (but nearly always used when I attended the 22 years previously).  I actually “enjoyed” Saturday night’s Daytime Emmys on HLN.Don’t freak out — there are “excepts” which I’ll get into later.  You see, Marlena is a great admirer of the traditional award show format on TV.

“Marlena,” Moose exclaimed during the show, “this show really knows how to play to its own community, like the Tonys (and theater).  And you’d never even know that soaps were dying!”  He didn’t even seem to mind forgoing the competing Yankee-Mets baseball game, clicking over only during commercials.

Yup, the Daytime Emmys 2012, were very up.  No more tacky Las Vegas promotion, as in the last two years. The show felt like it was aimed at me, a soap viewer, despite the myriad of other categories (game, talk shows, etc.), Plus, it was done with — gasp — actual respect for [Read more…]

More General Hospital: Outrageously the “M” Word

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

When Moose came home from work yesterday, he thought he’d have to dump a bucket of cold water over my head.  I couldn’t stop yelling, over and over again,”No, they really didn’t do this!”  General Hospital had a scene where Carly and Todd flirted/talked, and Todd was bare-chested. 

But … but … he’s a rapist!

I’m not making a personal comment on Roger Howarth, roger howarthwho is buff enough (great arms). But to feature the man who infamously gang raped Marty Saybrooke on One Life to Live  in 1994 (and “re-raped” her again two years ago when Todd and Marty “made love”) in the semi-nude was just outrageously misogynistic.

Sure, it’s been a tradition on soaps for more than 25 years that boys/men show off their pecs in the summer heat.  And I really think Todd and Carly, who are in the beginning of their “‘courtship,” make a great couple.  Les miserables deserve each other!  But still, do I really have to [Read more…]

The Daytime Emmys: Happy At Last

newFor another view of the Daytime Emmys, read the post following this one by Marlena’s longtime friend and colleague Ed Martin.  A veteran TV industry journalist and analyst, Ed is a columnist for JackMyers.com.

By Marlena De Lacroix

From out of a dying soap industry, from out of a cable network I never watch, last night arrived the most unexpected shock of my decades-long soap watching/journalism life: a Daytime Emmys that was pretty good.  Who know that after most of us gave up the fight and moved on to other lives that daytime would finally get what we (the actors, the press, and hopefully the fans) had fought for forever: a Daytime Emmys that wasn’t condescending to daytime soaps!

Hooray!  No soaps-are-stupid jokes!  It’s taken the always awkward Daytime Emmys since 1974 — the year they were first broadcast by themselves — not to make fun of what they’re celebrating.  Even though this year’s ceremony was on 

Best of all, without the traditional sneering and disrespect for soaps, many moments of actual warmth emerged.  It’s called professional showmanship with heart, and the producers of the Emmys this year have it! Yes, yes — emotion — that’s what daytime soaps are all about.  And used to be about. 

such a small scale, it grew large because it finally treated soaps with dignity. They are not, as most people in the world think, and we soap fans know in our hearts — a punch line!

Unlike in past years, the host wasn’t sleazy or smarmy (like Bob Barker) or totally miscast (as Eric Braeden and Melody Thomas Scott unintentionally were [Read more…]

Ask Marlena: Whatever Happened to the Marlena Awards?

cowardly lionBy Marlena De Lacroix

Hi everyone! I’m ecstatic to be snowed under with the many, many Ask Marlena questions submitted by all of you in the past week.  They are all intelligent and thoughtful and I am so flattered to hear from so many Thinking Fans I’ve gotten to know over the past year. I’m starting with just one great question today, and will try and answer many more in the days ahead. Plus, the letters have given me ideas for new features (see below). Feel free to submit more questions as soap events warrant.

Hey Marlena, I’ve been a fan of yours ever since the very first Critical Condition column in Soap Opera Weekly and I have a (hopefully) great question for the new column.  The month of March used to always mean two things to me:  the (blessed) return of warm weather, and the annual Marlena Awards.  Thankfully, the sun still shines, but questions like “Who was the best stand-alone actor of the year?” and “But who will win the always coveted Marlena Marlena?!” have sadly gone unanswered for years now.  So, my question for you is:  Whither the Marlenas?

Love always,
Brandon (your #1 fan!)

Thanks for remembering, Brandon, dearest darling.  I invented the Marlena Awards because I was so frustrated in the mid-late 90s by how out of the touch the Emmys were with the kind of soap opera [Read more…]

Marlena’s Emmy Picks in 2008’s Humpty Dumpty Soap World

emmy

By Marlena De Lacroix

I’m not overly excited about this week’s Daytime Emmys. I could be fluffy and say it’s because they moved the ceremony  to L.A. several years ago and I don’t get to go and to buy a dress, and to me (I attended here in New York 23 years in a row) the Daytime Emmys was always about The Dress.  But the truth is, daytime drama, which I’ve spent most of  life my loving,  is a collapsing industry, and I just don’t feel very celebratory.  Glitz and glam be damned, wouldn’t the time and money spent on the Emmys be better spent gathering everyone in the industry together to meet and intelligently discuss  finding a way to put Humpty Dumpty back together again?

Oh well ,brighten up,  Marlena! Friday night is the Emmys broadcast (8 p.m. EDT on ABC) and you must make award picks.   As Irving Berlin wrote [Read more…]

Daytime Emmy Noms 2008: The More Things Change, the More They Remain the Same

emmyBy Marlena De Lacroix

I first attended and wrote about the Daytime Emmys in 1980 and I should be over them by now.  But I continue, year after year, to be exasperated by the fact that two things never change.  1) No matter how many times they have been revised or have been updated over the years, the nomination and award processes are still inequitable and unfair.  2) There is always one irritating thing that happens along the way with either the nominations or awards that’s so egregious, Marlena explodes with rage!

This year it happened right away, as the nominations were announced on The View.  The person interviewed on the show as a daytime awards expert/prognosticator wasn’t anyone from the soap press or a soap publication or blog.  Instead, he was a senior writer from People magazine.  I’m sure Marc D’Agostino is a capable  guy, but does he dedicate 100% of his working time and career to the soaps, the way soap journalists do, day after day, year after year, decade after decade?  Marlena, who has moved on to teaching, was born and bred in the soap press and has great respect for young soap magazine writers and editors who have full-time jobs doing interviews and other reporting on soaps. They deserve the spotlight!

This is not the first time ABC has gone for a big time magazine writer over a poor soap press scribe in publicizing its show.  Years ago [Read more…]

General Hospital: Looking Back on 45 Years

(A note from Marlena:  It’s General Hospital’s 45th anniversary!  Here’s a celebration of the event by my good friend and journalistic colleague Ed Martin.  Ed and I have been happily debating General Hospital over coffee now for almost ten  years — and believe moi, we’re not always happy about the current state of the show.  Still,  Ed is clearly very sentimental about the show he once dearly loved.  Read Ed’s authoritative column TV Buzz at www.jackmyers.com.)General Hospital

By Ed Martin

General Hospital today is marking its 45th anniversary. The daily drama about the residents of fictional Port Charles, New York isn’t the oldest soap opera on television – CBS’ Guiding Light and As the World Turns have it beat – but it is still a vital and important show. It is the centerpiece of ABC’s afternoon lineup and remains the most talked about serial on daytime television – a distinction it first achieved 30 years ago this year when a young character named Laura Vining, who began on the show in 1976, moved to the center of the show’s narrative. Laura, one of the most messed-up kids in the history of soap opera, was played by Genie Francis, who was then only in her mid-teens. She had a [Read more…]

Soaps’ Scab Scripts: Seinfelds They Ain’t

By Marlena De Lacroix

We’ve just passed New Year’s, and a certain ennui has set in this week on soaps.  This winter of Marlena’s discontent is made worse by the arrival of scab-written scripts. Are they here so soon?  On General Hospital and The Young and the Restless, this would seem to be the case.  Are there more?  Perhaps.  I’m listening closely, trying to take some small amusement in detecting that moment when the generally bad writing we’ve all gotten used to turns a corner and actually gets worse.

[Read more…]