So You Want To...
I was recently on a thrift store kick, and found myself distracted by something shiny in the book section. I was shocked to find a completely intriguing and educational* book titled So You Want To Ruin Your Soap: A Guide to Alienating Viewers and Courting Cancellation, written by the good folks at ABC, CBS and NBC Daytime. Once I read it, all of the soap decisions of the past few years have started to become crystal clear, from "So You Want To Make Your Leading Lady Feel Insecure And Horrible" where readers are taught to verbally abuse actresses like Genie Francis about their weight and dress her in hideous muumuus to "So You Want To Make Your Audience Want To Cause Harm to Themselves And Others", which urges soap writers to create aliens who turn out to be the biological children of two core characters.
I will be posting occasional excerpts so that we can all be on the same page! Let's start with "So You Want to Shit All Over History: Part I" by Bob Guza
1. GET RID OF ALL OF THE VETERANS
They served their purpose. They had stories back in the day. But all they do now is remind audiences of the days that the show was actually good. So people like Stuart Damon? Cut 'em loose. What's he going to do, infuse even minor scenes with subtle, talented acting? Make people remember that the Quartermaines were a core family who drove the stories on GH for decades? Please. Who needs that? We have some true acting powerhouses on this show. Uh, does the name Maurice Benard ring any bells? Stuart Damon might have played Prince Charming, but Mo is Prince Charming. KING Charming.
2. START TO DESTROY FAMOUS SUPERCOUPLES
I didn't match Luke and Laura up, so what the hell do I care if they end up together? I don't. I don't like Genie Francis. Ergo, ipso facto, I don't like Laura. So how do I deal with this? I make Luke talk about what a drag Laura is. Because Luke and Tracy are the future. She's his soulmate, just like Sonny and Carly are soulmates and Carly and Jax are soulmates and Jason and Sam are soulmates and Jason and Liz are soulmates and Jason and Courtney were soulmates.
To quote the dude himself: "Ok. Ok. I like being Mr. Tracy. First time in my life there's a woman in it who pushes to the edge of my experience, who challenges me. I am your husband, you're my wife, and it will remain that way until you decide otherwise."
See, because Laura never challenged Luke. She was always harshing his buzz by being so sweet and good, and caring about her kids and not wanting him to be friends with mobsters.
3. DESTROY THE OFFSPRING OF SUPERCOUPLES THEREBY MAKING THEM LESS SUPER
Because he's Luke and Laura's son, everybody expected Lucky to be the next great GH hero. Whatever. I'm not going to have some great stand up character as a reminder of great stand up characters. So I went out of my way to create contrived situations in which Lucky is proven over and over again to be nothing more than a doofus. As a bonus, it makes Jason look even better by comparison. Hehehe.
I decided that the best way to make people forget about how great Frisco and Felicia were was to make their daughter the town tramp with absolutely zero motivation for any of her actions. Who wants to remember their adorability in the face of Maxie's overwhelming skankiness?
4. NOTHING IS EVER "OUT OF CHARACTER"
You think Scott Baldwin always loved Laura too much to let her take the fall for Rick Webber's murder. Well, you're not the one calling the shots, so suck it.
The way I see it, Scott never loved Laura. It turns out that his true love was always Carly. He knew that Bobbie had given birth to a daughter (she told him offscreen) and he knew that Carly would grow up to be brilliant and brave and strong and loving, and he knew right then that toddler was his great love. So he decided that he was going to wait almost thirty years and then frame Laura for murder in an effort to stick it to Luke and get Carly's attention since murderers seem to be her type. Stay tuned for May Sweeps when he gets Carly's attention by playing "In Your Eyes" while he shoots her in the head!
I smell an Emmy!
5. BRING ON THE NEWBIES
Sure, the show might have gained enormous worldwide popularity
based on core characters who have been with the show since the 60s, but
the most important thing you could do is hire
a bunch of new actors--bonus points if they aren't good at their
job--and give them more screentime than the Emmy winning legends you
might have in your cast.
The audience will learn to like them. Eventually...
*albeit completely a figment of my insane imagination
- Promising Ingénue