Our Latest Soap Opera Digest Column
The October 19th issue of Soap Opera Digest featured our latest column and our thoughts on All My Children, Days of Our Lives and General Hospital. Mallory takes on all of AMC's recent casting changes and makes a public plea for the return of David Canary, while Becca wonders if she's on crazy pills because she's not at all enjoying some of the popular stories on Days and GH.
By Mallory Harlen
Even though I temper it with criticism, I do have to give credit where credit is due, and lately that credit is directed at ALL MY CHILDREN. Perhaps the powers-that-be tuned in to their own show and, like the audience, found themselves asleep before the opening credits. Or maybe they read an episode synopsis and thought to themselves, horrified, "This exact thing has been happening for weeks on end! How do I make it stop?" How they came to the conclusion that something needs to give isn't important; I'm just grateful that they are making some changes. And, naturally, because I'm the helpful sort, I have some advice for them while they're making these changes.
The casting department has been the busiest. Adam Mayfield (Scott) and Brittany Allen (Marissa) are out so that the characters can go in a different direction. Well...for Scott and Marissa, going in an interesting direction would definitely be different. Mayfield and Allen both seem like competent performers, but they couldn't bring life to these relentlessly bland characters. One of them was sold at birth, both of their fathers were murdered and they're part of an illicit love quadrangle, yet I forget about them as soon as they're off-screen. There's just no reason for that! He's Stuart's son and she's...well, Marissa was a poorly conceived character from the beginning. But can you imagine how much more compelling the JR/Marissa/Annie/Scott quagmire would have been if two characters hadn't been so dull?
Soap veterans Lindsay Hartley and Jordi Vilasuso are coming to Pine Valley as new characters. Word is that they'll be in Jake and Amanda's orbit, and while Jake and Amanda are overdue for a story of their own, are new characters really necessary? Especially when characters we love have zero to do, like Bianca. How does she go from being a part of some of this decade's biggest stories to just standing around Fusion and hanging out with Caleb? Christina Bennett Lind is a great recast and has the acting chops, so why won't AMC give her anything to do besides showing off her shiny hair?
No matter how many recasts or new characters the show gives us, I can't help but feel like there's something missing in Pine Valley: something tall, silver-haired and dapper. I'm still feeling (and mourning) Adam Chandler's departure from the show months later. It's so disappointing watching stories unfold that Adam should be a huge part of. Wouldn't Scott and JR's battle for Chandler Enterprises be much better if the senior Chandler was there to observe it? Can you imagine the reaction he'd have to David's murder? And what on earth was the point of introducing Caleb's seething hatred of Adam if Adam isn't in town for him to spar with? It figures that the show gives Adam a worthy adversary when he's not even around to enjoy it. David Canary is a daytime icon and has more than earned a happy retirement, and I hardly expect him to consult me about his career moves, but if I had the chance, I'd beg him to come back.
My Take, Too
By Becca Thomas
Am I the only Opposite Girl when it comes to soaps? Or are there also people who hate beach vacations? Who think DANCING WITH THE STARS is unbearably cheesy in a bad way, instead of fabulous, way? If so, these must be the people who love everything I hate on DAYS OF OUR LIVES and GENERAL HOSPITAL.
On DAYS, Vivian is plotting to bury alive yet another rival, and Brady flipping the table (or the coffin lid, as the case may be) on her does not make me clap my hands with glee the way it does many others. That kind of stupidity reminds me of an era in Salem that's better left forgotten, particularly because it will invariably lead to discussing Marlena's demonic position, and that conversation makes me twitch. Yes, I'm glad Brady has something to do besides pine after yet another emotionally needy woman, but did it have to be this? And I know lots of people who continue to love the back-and-forth with Sami and EJ, but I'm done.
Now, in what I'm sure is not an opposite position, I adore Victor and Maggie. But that's because 1) The combined awesomeness of John Aniston and Suzanne Rogers is simply too intense to ignore, and 2) Seriously, there is just no possible way to dislike this budding romance.
In Port Charles, I am used to being Opposite Girl when it comes to, you know, virtually the entire premise of the show. I hate Sonny, I don't think Jason (a hired killer) should be the romantic heart of a soap, I find the mobsters-as-heroes shtick revolting and so forth. But lately, somehow, there are even more things I am supposed to like that I hate, or vice versa.
The idea of Sonny "romancing" (quotes because really, should romance routinely involve gunplay?) anyone makes me uncomfortable, but the fact that it's the criminally unappealing Claire (Get it? Criminally? Because she's a prosecutor? Oh, God, I am reduced to puns. I hate myself almost as much as I hate this pairing) makes me actually queasy. At least when Sonny was with Kate--the last strong, professional woman the writers sacrificed at the altar of Corinthos--I could enjoy their interactions because she was such a great foil. Claire is just...What's worse than awful times 20?
On a topic of characters I actually like, I love Patrick and Robin and hate the terrible writing the characters have endured for...ever. Nonetheless, I ADORE crazy-pants Lisa, whose whole goal is to break them up. Her ridiculous plots (Boiling a child's toy!) make me smile.
And another thing I love: Carly's torment at Sonny and Jason paying attention to Brenda instead of her. Carly may be the show's leading lady, but I'm sorry, she's insufferable and her being unhappy makes me giddy. Welcome back, Brenda, indeed!