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« Such A Waste of a Pretty Dress | Main | All Hail The Queen »

May 19, 2013

Our Latest Soap Opera Digest Column

We have been terrible at posting these, but they are still happening! Check out our monthly column in Soap Opera Digest, where this month we sounded off on our thoughts on GH as well as the returns of OLTL and AMC.

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My Take
by Mallory Harlen

I’ve become increasingly concerned for the citizens of Port Charles. And not just because of the dangers they face on a regular basis: constant mob wars, plans by supervillains that throw the entire town into chaos, the constant threat that you’ll catch Carly on a bad day and you’ll be collateral damage in her latest vendetta (or, worse, that she’ll start to confide in you about her problems). No, I’m more worried about what will happen to them once they are admitted to General Hospital, likely for injuries sustained in any of the aforementioned situations, because the medical care they are likely to receive there is questionable. Does anyone really feel comfortable right now putting their lives in Patrick’s hands?

It’s not that I object to Patrick being trapped by a crazy woman claiming to be pregnant with his child—well, actually, I do object to that because of all people on this show, Patrick should be most aware of having protected sex! Not that I think for a minute that Britt is actually pregnant with his child, but still!—because that is one of the most famous tropes in all of soapdom. And this particular crazy woman has an even crazier backstory: she’s the daughter of Faison and Dr. Obrecht, making Robin’s fake-death a huge part of the story. Plus, if I’m being perfectly honest…anything that complicates Patrick and Sabrina’s relationship is all right by me. I say that not as someone who refuses to see Patrick move on with anybody but Robin, because I think there is a boatload of potential for a really good Patrick romance (Jason Thompson is off the charts charming, after all); I say it as someone who is consistently amused at just how ridiculous Sabrina can be. She’s a grown woman, with a professional career who excelled in nursing school and she has the personality of a sixth grader; an immature sixth grader whose idea of romance is based purely on Disney movies and fairytales. She’s cloying and uninteresting and I have no idea why Patrick is interested in her at all, aside from the kudos she’s received from Emma.

So, clearly, I’m on board with this in theory. It’s just that I would be much more on board with it if I hadn’t seen it already, with Lisa Niles in the role of “Crazy Woman Obsessed With Patrick”.  It’s following the same script so closely that I guess we can all pencil in a “Who Killed Britt Westbourne?” murder mystery for 2014.  Britt’s surely upped the ante with the pregnancy and the textbook manipulation of Patrick’s baby-related emotions, but we’ve all seen this before: a seemingly sane woman is interested in Patrick, which leads to obsession, which leads to his loved ones being in danger. We could all see it coming—the instant Britt stole the DVD Liz had gotten for Cameron and Aiden, we were all racing each other to come up with a Fatal Attraction joke the fastest. And if we could see it, shouldn’t Patrick? Sure, he doesn’t have the benefit of seeing the psychosis we glimpse when Britt’s off on her own, but his experience with Lisa should have made him very wary of intense women. The fact that he’s so totally clueless makes me wonder about his ability to perform surgery—and also makes me think that he might actually be good for Sabrina after all. 

 

My Take, Too
by Louise Schwarz

There is a brave new world right now, ladies and gentlemen, as we can talk about ALL MY CHILDREN and ONE LIFE TO LIVE again in the present tense instead of the past or the future. I had been waiting for April 29th with such gleeful anticipation that it had barely even occurred to me that there would then be an April 30th and a May 1st and so on. Four new episodes a week? And I can watch them while I’m getting ready for work in the morning? (Although I hope to never again subject myself to that first day’s 4:00am alarm, but adrenaline got me right out of bed! Once.)

We can talk about Blair and Viki and Téa and Bo and Nora and Clint and Todd as characters for whom anything is possible rather than characters whose stories have ended. We can talk about how hot Natalie’s looking these days and how refreshing it is to see her possibly finding empowerment through getting back in touch with her inner bad girl. We can talk about what a bummer it is that David had to turn back to reality television since his career as a film star never really took off. We can wonder if Dorian’s CIA troubles are related to Victor’s non-death somehow and we can root for Cutter to clean up his act just a little bit while always, always retaining that edge.

One thing I loved the most about the premieres of the reboots was how each was really true to its original brand: AMC was about home and about loved ones and small, honest moments with family and friends in its more classic and traditional soap opera fashion. OLTL was about trouble and heat and passion and danger and was a little darker and louder in tone in its more boundary-pushing and risqué style. And of course both shows made it clear that if you’re afraid to see a little skin, you’ll want to turn away. But if you like that (and most of us do, right?), there are some serious goodies in store. (Are these casts filled with fabulous eye candy or what? I’m not complaining.)

Doesn’t it just feel like everything is right in the world again? I even like being angry about storyline! I’d much rather see an episode I dislike than never see an episode again, and in many ways the year-plus absence of both shows made the heart grow fonder and the pulse race quicker at the idea of them. (That said, both my heart and my pulse are going to be having problems soon if so much of OLTL’s score continues to be pulsating techno. I’m way too middle-aged! That kind of music is not for sobriety or daylight!)

And am I the only one who’s starting to feel like the networks soaps all of a sudden feel too long? This really is an entire paradigm shift, and I love how supportive everyone in soaps has been about these reboots. Competition is always a healthy thing to make sure all our existing shows keep striving for the highest quality. Plus, don’t we always need new plots and characters to yell at strangers about on the internet? 

Comments

Louise, I agree GH is way too long and has too many characters in comparison to OLTL and AMC.

Patrick was a player and a player knows when he or she is being, played. There is no way that Lisa or Britta would have scammed old Pattyboy.

Sorry, I agree about Patrick.

But I don't want them cutting GH to 23 minutes or whatever those online soaps are. The format is not exactly cutting it--so let's not hold it out as a shining example of what networks should do.

GH has suffered in comparison to the reboots of AMC and OLTL. Both those shows, of necessity, have become tighter. It seems to me that they're making the most of what they have. GH could stand some of that. BUT we also know that GH is under the burden of ABC's heavy hand and has less freedom and MUCH less interference.
But seeing what OLTL and AMC has been able to do with less makes me hopeful for GH's future, if this show too has to make the transition to the internet someday. And, it will, by then, be able to benefit by what OLTL and AMC learns along the way.

What the networks should do - but won't - is verrrrrrrrrrrrrry old news. All they'd have to do is take a look at how their management stayed out of storylines in the 70's, 80's, and early 90's when the shows were at their peak. But the dinosaurs at the networks won't get that till a meteor bonks them on their thick skulls.

I could not care less abut Patrick and his pretty princess, Sappy Sabrina. Patrick is dumber than a bag of hammers and it makes me think if he's that stupid, he deserves whatever he gets. Sabrina is just mildly annoying. I want to love her but I can't. And dear god, no more of that relish , please. The shelf life on that whimsy expired at least a month ago.

I find GH silly since OLTL and AMC returned. These shows are smart and treat the viewer as smart. And yes! The entire cast on both shows look great. Wow! Melissa Archer in particular is drop dead gorgeous and sexy!

It makes me wonder how Ron Carlivati could write really meaningful story without the interference of the ABC network bean counters. Personally, I love the 30 minute format. Fewer characters that I care more about and 100 percent less filler and fluff. I am concerned re: the decrease in epi's but I'll go with the flow.

Bravo!! I couldn't agree with you more about Patrick's story.

The pairing with Sabrina is a total mismatch and I can't believe that they are choosing to waste one of the best actors on this show - Jason Thompson - in this story. The old Patrick wouldn't be caught dead with either Sabrina or Britt (although Britt's family connections instantly make her a helluva lot more interesting than the insipid Sabrina) and he certainly wouldn't exist solely to interact with them and be the ball in their ping pong match. Patrick looks totally clueless. Even worse than in the Lisa Niles story. Has he learned nothing from that debacle?

The addition of Felix into the mix is terrible. I continually ask myself why Patrick wouldn't just tell him to butt out of his life and why all of this is any of his business? That Emma now calls him Uncle Felix is just ridiculous. Why can't Emma buy a scene with actual family members like Anna, Mac, Maxie?

Like both of you, I have watched soaps a long time, and if they are not bringing Robin back, then Patrick has to move on if he is staying on the show. But he also needs to move on with an adult, a pairing that makes sense for his character and creates dramatic story. This pairing is nonsensical for Patrick.

Sabrina aside, the writers IMO made a huge mistake by continually showing Robin being tortured as we simultaneously saw Patrick moving on. It makes it near impossible to root for Patrick or to root for him in any pairing while the audience believes that heroine Robin is suffering and that her family doesn't remember her. If Robin had just been shown once after the funeral it might have been easier to eventually move Patrick on, but in a pairing that made sense.

I really hope the writers see what a mess this is and fix the story. Either bring Robin back for a bit to wrap things up or remove Patrick from the current story and put him in another story with characters more in his age/maturity group. Right now, this story is so bad that it causes me to FF through my favorite character and to actually root for the villain in this story. I don't think that is what Ron is going for.

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