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« Days of Our Lives Couple of Weeks in Review | Main | Fabulous or Hideous? »

November 06, 2007

Our Latest Soap Opera Digest Column

We hope that all of you managed to get your hands on the 11/6 issue of Soap Opera Digest which featured a preview of the upcoming sweeps storylines and Halloween inspired interviews with the soap stars who made horror movies, which confirmed our theory that Megan Ward is, in fact, made of adorable. It also featured our October My Take/My Take, Too column we critique the happenings of Genoa City, Port Charles and Salem.

Mallory has a brief moment of doubt and wonders if she's too critical about The Young and the Restless but, in a coup for the cynical and mean-spirited everywhere, realizes that she's not, while Becca ponders the sorry state of young love on Days of Our Lives and General Hospital (and manages to make one final insult about her nemesis, Jeremy "Horton").

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My Take
By Mallory Harlen

There are times when I wonder if I'm too critical about YOUNG AND RESTLESS. Like, when the show recasts Colleen for no apparent reason in the middle of a storyline, my first impulse is to be annoyed (okay, my first impulse is to wonder why the New York/Wisconsin bred Colleen sometimes speaks with an Australian accent). And when Brad publicly reveals Sharon and Nick's secret kiss, I roll my eyes. But, I keep telling myself, the show just won an Emmy for Outstanding Daytime Drama and it's still the ratings leader, so they obviously are doing something right.

The more of the show I watch lately, though, the more reasonably certain I am that my first instincts are correct.

The "Who Killed Ji Min" murder mystery is silly on all fronts. Much like the "Who Killed Plum" murder mystery of three weeks ago and the "Who Killed Carmen Mesta" mystery before that, we’re being asked to get invested in a character we barely know, and to treat long term, nonviolent characters as suspects, when we all know the murderer is going to be someone completely random (I have my eye on GCAC Patron No. 4. He looks shady). We’re also being asked to take Jill’s grieving over Ji Min seriously, which I just can’t do. I’m sorry! I can buy almost anything Jess Walton sells, but this is asking too much. Their romance had all the potential in the world, and she seriously sparked with Eric Steinberg, but we were never given the opportunity to see it: it almost completely occurred off-screen.

If only Phyllis’s imprisonment happened off-screen! If we're not being shown Phyllis in jail, we're hearing people bemoan her incarceration. Here’s the thing, though: when a character is convicted of a crime they actually committed, it’s hard to swallow them being treated like some sort of martyr who has no reason at all to be in that horrible prison. Just because Phyllis is a mother doesn’t make her above the law, and just because the crime was the relatively minor blackmail (minor compared to her unpunished crimes like falsifying paternity tests and running people over) doesn’t mean that she doesn’t deserve to be in jail.

I’ve railed against the plot holes and dropped stories on the show before, but they are getting harder and harder to ignore. Does Nick have amnesia or not? Why did Jeffrey tell Gloria that he and William weren’t close, only to inform her later that they actually hard secret signals and he received a package from William? Why does Noah love Phyllis all of a sudden? And, for that matter, why are all of his plots lifted directly from "Family Circus"?

The show has all the necessary components to be stellar, but it’s not using them. Until it does, I am going to feel pretty justified about complaining.

My Take, Too
By Becca Thomas

It shouldn't be difficult to write good stories for attractive, young, capable actors, but if the younger couples' storylines on DAYS OF OUR LIVES and GENERAL HOSPITAL are any indication, it's harder than trigonometry and organic chemistry combined.

DAYS's young couples are a mess. Nick and Chelsea had potential, but they weren't together long enough to get viewers really invested. Chelsea getting involved in the middle of the abysmal Touch the Sky Airlines story didn't help, and Jett was the least viable interloper since...I don't know, when were soapy interlopers invented? Stephanie and Jeremy irked me from early on--could the alleged son of Mike Horton be any skeevier?--so their breakup couldn't come fast enough. I am trying to get past the fact that Steph and Max are related because the actors play well off each other, and maybe it will mean Max finally gets in an actual relationship and talks about something other than cars or being broke.

The Belle/Shawn pairing in particular is just not working. The actors have little chemistry and the characters seem to have no reason to be together other than the kid that they don't even remember conceiving. I often wonder what Hogan Sheffer's debrief on this couple was like. "Shawn and Belle are meant for each other. We know this because they dated in high school, when the characters were played by different actors. They have a child from when they had sex while unconscious in a burning barn. They are currently married to other people, but we're in the process of torching those relationships via a storyline involving a disembodied gloved hand. They are clearly a couple for the ages, so make sure you keep them together!" I imagine there was a lot of blinking and gulping and maybe a Hogan-shaped hole in a door from a cartoon-style attempted escape.

GENERAL HOSPITAL is trying to make about the same number of romantic pairings work, except they're all with one character. I think Julie Marie Berman is fantastic and Lulu is on her way to being a great character, but must she attract every man that comes within her orbit?  Every guy under 25 that walks on set seems to get handed the "lust after Leslie Lu" script.  Josh Duhon's Logan really sparked, but the stages of a relationship that should have taken place over a year or so instead took about three weeks. Hopefully the writers can undo some of the damage they did to that pairing and write a true, soapy young romance for a character that deserves one and also spread the suitors around a bit more.

The rest of GH's younger set is almost nonexistent. The budding Georgie/Spinelli relationship leaves me cold. The actors are good but really, no human being actually acts like Spinelli does and if he did, he certainly wouldn't be attracting a girl as great and level-headed as Georgie. If they start writing Spinelli as less of a caricature and more of a real character, I might be able to get on board. Well, if the character development is also accompanied by a haircut and regular shampooing.

Comments

Excellent column, Mallory!

LOL @ "I imagine there was a lot of blinking and gulping and maybe a Hogan-shaped hole in a door from a cartoon-style attempted escape."

Love it!

You are absolutely spot on, Becca. (I'm sure Mallory is right too, but I don't watch Y&R, so she could just be making stuff up too and I wouldn't know).

Days, however, is getting better, at least with the college gang. They put Chick back together again in great way and in record time. They are building a pretty decent potential triangle between Morgan/Max/and Stephanie where the supposed interloper (Morgan) is actually very likeable, sympathetic, and kind of awesome. There's much more potential there than there was in anything going on last summer.

Your analysis of Shelle is spot on and, unlike the college gang, there is no potential of any kind anywhere in that pairing or the stupid never-ending triangle with Philip. Worst of all, it leaves JKJ's awesomeness trapped in a hellhole of suck. The show would improve immensely if they just shipped Shelle off to Downtown Europe.

You are absolutely spot on, Mallory!

Y&R is all over the place, nothing is interesting and they shove us that drivel and call it sweep!

Do they want us to quit in drove an lose their ads! Did LML bet that she can run this show down? She is winning!

As for Becca, Logan is the worst actor I saw in a while he does not sell anything, no vulnerability, no charisma, no brain, nothing! He only shout and manhandle woman, he is a wife beater in devenir!

Becca, love the Hogan-shaped hole in the door comment! You hit the nail on the head with your Shelle observations. Ditto Jett. I think the college crowd is improving, and hopefully, Nick and Chelsea get a better chance than they did the first time around.

I couldn't have written anything better to explain Shelle than what you just did.

These two make absolutely NO SENSE and if there parents weren't supercouples, would have been ditched ages ago.

I hope Hogan has woke up and shmelled the coffee and ditches this high school crush immediately.

Days could perhaps take the time to develop pairings with potential such as Chelsea/Nick or Max/Morgan if they'd stop with the blinkered obsession with the ever smug and omnipotent EJ and coming up with new ways for him to stalk Sami and force her to marry him. Two days a day a week without EJ, EJami, and the stupid, never ending vendetta and Days would have a little time to devote to stories other than the rapist and his ever sobbing victim.

Days is made of awesome right now! LOVE IT.

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