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« Soap Blog Coalition | Main | The New Neutrals »

February 25, 2010

Our Latest Soap Opera Digest Column

My Take
By Becca Thomas

Two of my favorite daytime characters are seriously trying my patience of late.

DAYS OF OUR LIVES's Hope Brady, played by the gorgeous and talented Kristian Alfonso, has been among my favorite characters since I had big bangs and wore stirrup pants. But recently, Hope has--how can I put this delicately--lost her damn fool mind.

I completely understand the writers' temptation to jump into the Bo/Hope/Justin/Carly quadrangle. All four actors are great, and new couples with old drama could drive story for eons. But Bo and Hope should have split up for a remotely logical reason. As a viewer. shouldn't I think a couple really belongs together in order to be torn between them reuniting versus turning to their respective interlopers? That's not happening right now.

Hope's reasoning for leaving Bo--who she's been in love with for most of her adult life--appears to be "I'm really peeved that we disagreed about a law enforcement tactic you chose that ultimately led to our kidnapped daughter being returned unharmed many months ago." What? Where is the soapy drama in a quadrangle when it's been months since you really liked the female half of the couple at the center of it? A good, slow-burn romance with Justin, followed eventually by reconciliation with Bo, could restore my affection. But it remains to be seen if this show can do a properly paced relationship.

GENERAL HOSPITAL's Elizabeth Webber has probably gotten too many breaks from me over the years. I am swayed by Rebecca Herbst's great portrayal, not to mention her amazing skin and hair that are surely the result of some kind of pact with the devil. I don't hate Liz, even though she's done some pretty shady things lately, including cheating on Lucky (but he cheated first!), lying about essentially everything related to her pregnancy with Jake (but her real baby daddy is a hit man!) and committing perjury (but it was to hide that her real baby daddy is a hit man!). But recently, Elizabeth has gone so far off the deep end that I can find virtually no reasons to root for her. How is this possible?

First, out of nowhere, Liz developed a crush on the brother of her boyfriend/ex-husband. Then she almost immediately slept with said brother. Then she truly immediately accepted the remarriage proposal from her boyfriend. Then she continued to sleep with both the fiance and the brother, telling both of them that she loved them. She lied repeatedly to her fiance. Then she lied some more. Result? I have wanted to reach through the screen and slap Liz for 98 percent of the last six months.

I do have a glimmer of hope that I will once again enjoy making excuses for Liz's poor choices. When Lucky confronted her and Nikolas about their affair, Jonathan Jackson was absolute perfection, and Herbst was stellar, as well. Liz seemed truly gutted by her actions. If she is really repentant about dropping an emotional A-bomb on her family, and continues to have glorious hair,  we can probably get back to a happy soap character/blogger place.

My Take, Too
By Mallory Harlen

It's not often that I'd suggest anybody look to ALL MY CHILDREN and GH for advice on how to do things right, but it turns out that they could each learn something from the other that could change their shows for the better.

AMC has a strange habit of featuring longtime characters in actual storylines, rather than just featuring them for a scene or two in special episodes. Adam and Erica are consistently the centerpieces of major stories. Now whether those stories are actually good or not is a completely different issue (I'm tired of watching Annie possibly play Adam, and the Erica/Ryan pairing is offensive to me--he was sleeping with her daughter this time last year!), but at least they are allowed on-screen! Opal and Erica have one of the best friendships in all of soaps, and I am insanely grateful to the AMC powers-that-be for putting Jill Larson back on contract and bringing her with the show to Los Angeles because she is positively delightful. Meanwhile, new viewers could tune into GH and wonder about Port Charles's demographics. Where are the grown-ups? Sure, the show reliably features Sonny, Jason and Luke, but that's about it. They allow Tracy and Alexis, two of the smartest and funniest women in soaps, to languish on the back burner. And when was the last time Mac had a real story? All he gets to do is curse the day Spinelli was born, and while that is a noble role (too few people in Port Charles do it!), John J. York deserves more than that. A Mac/Alexis pairing for real, not just played for the occasional laugh, would be wonderful to watch.

Still, while GH rarely features characters older than 30, they know how to write for their younger set. The spoiled, troubled son of Sonny and Carly could be a role that makes my fast-forwarding finger itch, but Michael is incredibly compelling. Drew Garrett skillfully navigates the character's drastic mood swings and makes even his brattiest actions seem believable. Michael's brother, meanwhile, has become part of my newest favorite couple. I haven't been interested in a Lulu romance aside form the first six minutes of her relationship with Logan, but she and Dante are fantastic together. AMC, on the other hand, barely even has a younger set. Sure, there is Natalia, but when was the last time we saw her for more than 30 seconds? Franki and Randi are the most boring couple in all of soaps, and Colby...I need someone to explain to me how the daughter of Adam and Liza could possibly be so insipid. Natali Hall has exhibited some great comic timing in her short time on the show, so it would be nice if the writers worked with that and made her, you know, interesting.

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