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« And The Heavenly Choir Sings "Hallelujah" | Main | Days of Our Lives Couple of Weeks in Review »

January 19, 2008

Who Needs Women In Their 40s Anyway?

I don't think anyone has ever been under the impression that it's easy to age as a daytime actress, but oy vey, what a run we're having of shows letting talented middle-aged actresses go.  I don't know what's going on on other shows, but on the two I watch anyone with boobs over the age of 35* has got to feel a bit uneasy.  (* This phrasing may make it sound as though I believe there are any boobs on daytime that are older than 35, which is of course crazy talk.  There are still a few women who have passed that landmark, however.  A few.)

[A couple of these exits haven't happened onscreen yet, so if you believe that kind of info is spoiler-y, don't check out the rest of this post after the cut.  There is no detailed plot info.]

General Hospital recently dropped Jackie Zeman (yes, I know she's beyond her 40s...) to recurring, which to be honest didn't really bother me much.  Bobbie hasn't been front and center in ages, so the showrunners might as well be honest that she's peripheral now.  (Plus, there's the scary surgery thing.  Seriously, it's traumatizing.) 

Then this last week Robin Christopher's Skye left town.  I read, I think in Soap Opera Digest, that Christopher asked to be let out of her contract in order to spend time with her husband (the dreamy Matt Crane -- Another World 4evrOMG!!11!!1!) and kids, but I wonder whether she would have done that if the writers had let Skye do anything interesting in the last three or four years.   (Before anyone points out my hypocrisy, in that over a year ago I suggested GH throw Skye under the bus in favor of bringing back Laura . . . In my defense, Luke and Laura make me do crazy things.  For example, my lingering affection for those two characters is probably the only reason I still watch this horrible show.)

At least Robin Christopher will no longer be subject to the whims of the GH wardrobe department.  Because damn, they were out to get her. So have fun being all gorgeous and familial in clothes made of natural fibers, Robin Christopher!  You were way too good for this crap-pile anyway.

And other than the last couple of weeks (love you, replacement writers!), GH has a whole slew of non-20ish actresses they don't utilize well enough, with Jane Elliot's Tracy and Nancy Lee Grahn's Alexis (never forget how much Grahn rocks) at the top of the list.  If I have to write a "they've been auf'd!" post about either of them anytime soon, I am going to get out the pointy-toed pumps and head to LA.

And then there's Days.  Oh, Days.  Siiigh.  Is this show out to get me?  First they bring back the highly irritating John Black (though now he's bitchy and hates Marlena, so we may be on our way to being BFF), then I read in SOD that they've let the crazy-gorgeous and talented Julie Pinson go.  We just named her daytime's Most Underused Actress in our best and worst of 2007, and then bang, she's canned!   In my little imaginary world I'm going to pretend they decided they couldn't continue to employ someone who had such intense chemistry with every single guy she ever shared a scene with, including the two dudes playing her brothers.  Perhaps the show had been threatened with an Inappropriate Chemistry letter-writing campaign.  Hopefully Julie Pinson and her hot husband will both end up with juicy roles on shows where they are better utilized.  (Though I think Billy Warlock has now been on every single show, hasn't he?)

But Days wasn't done yet -- per SOD, Judi Evans is also off the show.  I was so excited for Adrienne's return, and I think Evans did a great job in the role.  She and Stephen Nichols are one of the best brother-sister combos I've ever seen on a soap.  But since Justin wasn't part of the deal and their four kids remained invisible, I suppose she wasn't long for Salem.  Why not, though?  There is a great story or twelve to be told involving Victor and his attempts to control his many heirs.  Maybe the recently freed up by GH and ATWT** Wally Kurth could have returned as Justin, to become Victor's greatest rival?  (My other idea, to bring Tom Eplin on as Justin, will sadly now never happen either.)  In conflict maybe even with one or more of his kids?  You can never get enough of Kiriakis angst or John Aniston's mustache.  I think that was one of Doug Marland's rules, wasn't it? 

Anyway, farewell, Judi.  May you land somewhere else in daytime, this time preferably somewhere without a talking dog.

Friday, news broke that one might think throws my anti-middle-aged-woman hypothesis out of the water:  Per Soap Opera Digest's website, Days has hired Tamara Braun,*** to play "Ava, a woman from Steve's past."  Fortunately, this actually doesn't prove me wrong at all, since Tamara Braun is a mere 37 and she looks like she's about 24.  It would appear, however, that Pinson and Evans (and perhaps others?) had to be removed in order to make room for the return of Hogestyn and the Days debut of Braun, which is unfortunate.  I get that the budget is tight, but couldn't the show have first tried paring down Kate's Forever 21 and drugstore hair color allowances, or -- as one of our readers once suggested about Jason Thompson as a GH cost-cutting measure -- eliminating James Scott's wardrobe altogether?  As a viewer I would be willing to accept these tough choices.

** Per forums posters CarlD and smirks, ATWT is in the midst of a bloodbath of its own -- men, women, children, and pets being cast aside with abandon.  What gives?  People keep telling me this is actually a decent show.  Is that maybe really just residual affection over the cute gay boys?
*** It is worth noting that when I emailed Mallory about this casting news, she responded entirely in exclamation points and jibberish.  I still haven't decided if that was a positive or negative reaction.

Comments

I'm still upset about Drake's return and given their big time problems with budget, letting JP and JE go so they could hire him back is quite possible (and probable).

Not sure what to think with TB, I'm going to wait and see what they say will happen with her character and Steve's. Being a part of Steve's past leaves a lot of room of where to go, including being his freaking daughter from his merchant marine days. I for one hope they use her in the younger generation of EJ/Sami/Lucas where new blood is desperately needed. She sounds like she could fit in there and I bet she would be hot with either JS or BD.

None of this surprise me, except that Robin Christopher is so freakin beautiful and talented that I will never understand how her age has anything to do with why GH couldn't figure out how to use her...other than the fact the show is ran by utter retards, which turns out to be the answer for most things soap related.

As far as Days goes, I'm just so exasperated with the show that I stopped caring, and since there is very little mockery appropriately thrown their way, I've lost all but any interest.

Thank god for (or maybe, curse!) the internet for it's bitterly funny soap viewers and selective clips. Without it, soaps would still be a pleasant memory tucked away in the back of my head.

GH notoriously shuns their seasoned actresses, at least in Guza's regime. OLTL is MUCH better utilizing experienced actors and actresses. And guess what...the stories are interesting and surprise, surprise, these veterans can actually carry the show! At least they are giving Leslie Charleston a storyline...she deserves it!

You're not watching it, but the trend you describe is nowhere in sight on One Life To Live.

The women who play Blair, Dorian, Lindsay, Nora, Roxanne and Viki are all over forty. All of them have had, are in the middle of, or appear to be on the verge of front burner stories. They count many Emmy awards and nominations among them. And they're all great.

The women who play Viki and Dorian are in their sixties - and not only do they get stories worthy of their abilities, they get ROMANCES.

Women over forty are indeed getting their due on daytime. You just need to look beyond GH and DOOL to find evidence of it.

Note: God knows this could all change when material written by the union writers runs out, sometime in February.

If a vet ever deserves to be unceremoniously canned, it's Drake Hogestyn (and Deidre Hall). I'm still so pissed that he's back, and I can't believe they're getting rid of the fabulous Julie Pinson to make that possible. She's so much better than this show deserves.

I'm extremely excited about TB. I never saw her on GH, but Days needs new blood, and I especially love that she's over the age of 25--the college crowd does not need and new members.

Oh Mazz, mad props on the truth about OLTL. But the bit about Leslie Charelson getting a story? Sorry, FALSE. After every 197 insipid sad dumb mob scenes Monica will become a sad malpracticing alcoholic. It's not a story, it's character asassination and a way to get rid of another Quartermaine. It won't be organic, well written, or even thought out. One day she is in mourning, the next time we see her she is an incompetant surgeon, and now as of Friday she has a flask hidden in laundry cart at GH to keep her buzz buzzing. It's a joke and a slap in the face to LC and MQ. I mean alot of her life was ruined by addiction, Alan's, AJ's, Emily's, etc..... It's how JQ died for shit's sake. If this were a real story wouldn't we see her have ONE scene debating whether or not drinking her pain away was a good idea?

ooh i am excited about TB on Days. floved her as Carly (the only one that could make me like Carly) and Days has been getting better. although, now that John's back that could really change.

i won't spend my energy about GH...they are beyond hopeless.

I think what I'm most shocked about is that Tamara Braun is almost 37. What the hell is she using?

Wow, I got mentioned (I'm CarlD on the forum). It's a real honor, thank you!

ATWT has written so many characters into a corner, sadly, and focuses on the wrong people, always. They are letting some people go (like Grayson McCouch, now Dead Dusty) because they wouldn't take a pay cut. Others probably left of their own volition. What they did to Cady McClain was the worst. They brought her back as Rosanna and had her once strong and fairly moral character become nothing more than a simpering twit who was more than happy to switch paternity test results and moon over a man who had no interest in her. Then months after this disastrous story, they fired Cady. And now poor Cady has fibroid tumors. Not that ATWT (or AMC) caused her to get fibroid tumors, but the whole thing is just so sad :(

ABC's response to your spot-on criticism would be, "Debbi Morgan! Debbi Morgan!" Well, I love Debbi, have followed all her shows, but I will be shocked if she is still on AMC within a year, or if Angie is not destroyed beyond repair. I'm tempted to take a restraining order out on Tad just so he can't involve Angie in any future paternity-lying or coffin-torturing-death schemes.

Sorry, I hit post too fast.

About ATWT, not to take the post off topic, but I think you have a point about praise for the show being residual affection for the gay story. Of course that story was at one time really good. They even allowed the characters to passionately kiss and to lust for each other. Now they hug, at the most, and when they did kiss at Christmas, right after saying they loved each other, the camera cut away before their lips met. How pathetic is that? Now they're on the show once every few weeks. The spoilers I have read about them, when I read any at all, are not too good.

ATWT is also the show that had a good, kind, legacy character, Adam Munson, return and for no apparent reason he began setting his brother up for crimes in order to get his brother's wife. He then tried to rape her. The show offered no explanation for this drastic personality change, other than some lines that Adam must have become bad because he had moved out to California.

Hmph! You needn't tell the whole internet that I speak nonsense when I'm excited!

I am actually quite happy to hear about Tamara Braun going to Days. I really like most of the actresses who played Carly (Jennifer Bransford excepted because, you know...seriously), even if I haven't liked Carly herself since, like, 2000.

They fired Julie Pinson??? Damn, I don't even watch Days and that pisses me off. Especially in favor of the spectacularly untalented Tamara Braun. Ugh.

I really enjoyed Alexis' and Diane's roadtrip. It started off with the usual bitchy women cliches but then it got real good when the cliched biker bar patrons left the scene.

Here were two 40-something women showing how comedy can be combined with pathos and bonding, and be very entertaining.

Haven't these people (the powers that suck)learned that good acting trumps good looks every time? There is a reason why these people are still in the business in their 40's. They know what they are doing.

I'm always interested to see that in the English soaps, which have gone on forever, many of the most popular characters are not good looking at all, but they have character. The American soaps could really take a lesson from those shows.

Alice, James Scott did an interview within the past year and addressed the differences between American & English soaps... it was quite interesting.

Yay! I found the link (click on my name)

TB joining Days? OMGOMGOMG!!!!!!!

sorry, im a TB fanboy...

as for other days stuff, i dont think JE & JP being let go were to bring back DH or bring on Shirley Jones or Tamara. I thinbk they just blame budgett for lazy ass writers.

and OMG! wtf? BB & MM have been fired!

Becca,

On GH, the bias isn't just against women in their 40's - it exists against men in their 40's, too, unless they're Maurice Benard ot Tony Geary (or Steve Burton, who isn't too far away from 40, himself.)

Witness the dismissals/firings/diminution of status/lack of screentime for Stuart Damon, Brad Maule, Billy Warlock, John Engle, Wally Kurth, John York, Tristan Rogers, Ted King, Lane Davies, Rick Springfield, Kin Shriner, and, most recently, Rick Hearst.

Ach, du lieber. I didn't actually realize how long the list was until I typed it out!

And Robin Christopher was probably doomed since they never ever paired Skye with Sonny and had her bond with AJ...and therefor you know was Jason's enemy....why would we want to watch the sister AJ loved go all out against the two that destroyed him? Why that would imply what Jason and Sonny did to AJ is BAD...

And yes...now I won't really cry about Tony Geary getting airtime he wants whenever he wants (Serious Tony fan girl here. I did nothing at SSW but sit outside for eight hours so I could just look at the man. I'm a loon. I admit it.) But if you want airtime and you are nearing the 40 mark...get your butt over to the mob...cause unless you are Steve or Maurice or their newest enemy...you ain't getting near the camera.

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