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« General Hospital: Disney Promotion Day | Main | General Hospital: An Adult Mean Girl Kicks It Up a Notch »

December 31, 2017

2017 Soaps Round-up(ish) and Round Table(ish)

I thought about trying to do some sort of year-end post since I've been a much more active viewer this year, but then I realized... not enough. I looked back through posts and I checked in on General Hospital in January and then again in May and I truly can't remember how much of The Bold and the Beautiful I watched because it's so repetitive that's it confusing to track time. And I believe I've been watching Days of Our Lives since late October. So I'm going to half-ass it, with just some random thoughts and the major disclaimer that this is by no means thorough. But let's take a look at a few bests and worsts.

 

WORST STORYLINE

GH: Did someone say "Ask Man Landers?" There's really no need to expand on that.

 

BEST STORYLINE

DAYS: Will's not dead. It involved so many people and Alison Sweeney, Deidre Hall, and Chandler Massey gave truly incredible performances. The best part was that it was told with compassion.

Ye4

Honorable mention goes to GH for Jason's return, but points were deducted for the ridiculous preparation for it in which all the characters started announcing Jason just hadn't been the same since his new-faced return from the dead (in stark contrast to literally everything we saw over those years), and even more points deducted for playing it safe-and-boring by having Jason completely the same and unaffected by his five-year ordeal.

 

MOST UNDERUSED CHARACTERS/ACTORS

This one's surely a tie between two shows.

GH: Are you freaking kidding me with how little you use Dominic Zamprogna? There are literally dozens of ways Dante could be involved in every storyline, and they have one of their best actors just standing around delivering support and exposition.

B&B: Avants and Avant-adjacent people. Are Maya and Rick on this show anymore? They friggin' should be! And then they have actual legends playing Maya's parents and barely bother, because lord knows we need to see more of Steffy and Bill for some reason.

 

BEST COUPLE

B&B: Katie and Wyatt. Don't even act like it's scandalous, it's a smaller age difference than most of the couples on that show and they are hot as hell. Now let's just give them more screentime.

Ye1

GH: Hayden and Finn. They knew they were writing her off and all of a sudden knew how to write a great couple. It's a shame they ended it, but pretty quickly we'll get to why we can live with it. Kevin and Laura are an honorable mention, but The Olds don't get much attention. Drew and Sam are another honorable mention, but they only seemed to heat them up in service of the oncoming triangle with the Holy Hitman.

 

WORST COUPLE

GH: Carly and Sonny. The full-on smug has returned and it's unbearable.

 

MOST DISAPPOINTING FALLOUT

GH: Nelle's scam. Months and months and months of the poor (very good) actress having to play virtually no context, and then it turned out she was just mad because her dad had also been Carly's adoptive dad and abandoned Carly? Huh? "What goes around comes around, bitch" should've been a line for the ages but it just sort of sputtered. We want "chickens coming home to roost" stories for Carly (and DEAR LORD FOR SONNY), but they never actually follow through. Even since then Nelle is a cipher. Here's hoping she and Ava actually become confidants so we know anything real.

B&B: Literally anything that happens with Bill. It's a friggin' joke.

 

BEST ALMOST-COUPLE

GH: Anna and Finn. They are classic soap, and the build-up is so great. They feel so old-school, not forced, just having fun. And the actors are delivering, big-time. 

Ye2

DAYS: Will and Paul, who have way more chemistry than Sonny with either fella. And just watch the way Will looks at Paul. It's hot.

 

BEST DRESS

GH: Lulu. They (blissfully) did not write Emme Rylan's pregnancy into the show and made good visuals of it. God bless.

 

HOTTEST PEOPLE THE SHOWS DON'T SEEM TO TREAT AS THE HOTTEST

GH: Curtis.

Ye3

DAYS: Eli. Eve.

 

There's a lot more to discuss, like why we hate brunettes again or why GH and B&B so love to pair women with abusive men and ask us to swoon, or why DAYS attempted a "ripped from the headlines" type story about an unarmed black man being shot by a cop and focused it on all the white people in the story, or why B&B's 30th anniversary didn't do more nostalgia and sort of ruined Sheila's return. Feel free to discuss in the comments! But...

I also want to do a round-table topic. I was thinking about the scorn I've gotten over the years as a soap viewer. We all know people think we're ridiculous for it, and while (yup) some viewers are overinvested lunatics who yell at actors or tell writers they are bad people, those of us who have some brain activity have our own appreciation. So share your stories! Who has given you crap for being a soap viewer? Who have you hidden it from, and did they ever find out?

(And I remind you, you don't have to use your real email address to comment even though it asks for it. Just make something up!)

Comments

I am so in love with Finn and Anna, it's not even funny. They and Wyatt/Katie get my nods for best pairings of 2017. Great examples of writing and chemistry and talent being used in exactly the right ways.

When I tuned back into GH last month, my first observation was how hot Curtis and his gray beard are. Eli is also stunning. It's really a shame that neither man has a more prominent story arc. Or at least more prominent shirtlessness.

My favorite soap thing this year was finally, after years of begging, seeing a grown-up Serena Baldwin with Scotty and Lucy on GH (but don't get me started on Kevin not getting a moment with her when even Laura got one). Carly Schroeder was great and it mystifies me why the show looked at the positive reaction her visit got and didn't sign her up to stay, there's SOOO much they could do with that character, she's in an age group that needs fresh blood, and it would give Lucy and Scotty (AND Kevin) more story too. But no, I guess she's only allowed in the Port Charles city limits when there's been a real-life death! #eyeroll

HNY Louise! Been enjoying your posts and tweets!

My husband used to give me a lot of crap for watching soaps, and before that my then-boyfriend, and before that, my entire family and one of my best friends. After a while, I just gave up because it really hurt being made to feel bad about myself ALL THE TIME. My husband would tell me things like, "You're better than this," and, "You could spend that time creating something instead of just wasting brain matter." Why do other people get to decide how I relax or have fun? Why is a creative endeavor apparently inherently more valuable? I don't need to make more stuff; I have enough. I had a blog for a while, and had a decent audience with whom I happily interacted, and I made some real friends. I just don't have some need to share my every thought with everyone nor do I need constant validation. Let me be a crazy cat lady, with my soaps and snacks of choice. I define my happiness. And even though I don't watch soaps regularly, I do half follow GH and occasionally Days, and I don't feel one bit bad about myself. My husband has even apologized for being such an arrogant, judgmental dick.

I watch GH on Hulu and I’m loud and proud about it! Thought, to be honest, there’s a fair amount of fast-forwarding (anything involving Nathan).

I stopped watching GH a while ago, so I can't comment too much on that show, but I will say that there are SO MANY underused characters or actors. I agree with you about Dante, but I'd also add a lot of the 30-and-under crowd that isn't Nelle and Michael. Where are the gays? I feel like their story is told entirely off screen. The Parker/Kristina/Valerie triangle could have had so much potential. And Dillon just vanishes without a trace? I realize a lot of this is probably because they needed money to get Steve Burton back, but still. They have so many excellent actors that they're not writing for, it's kind of ridiculous.

I've only been watching Days for a couple months, but I agree with all of your assessments, both here and on Twitter. I'm not thrilled with the resolution to the Theo shooting story, but otherwise, I'm on board with pretty much everything else going on there. It's clear that Ron knows how to write good soap, and he just needed someone to temper his wilder impulses on GH (though I never really hated anything he wrote there).

John, I'd rage all day about the invisible gays on both B&B and GH if I could, I assure you.

I dated someone who was always like "are you still watching that crap" and then I wrote a whole play about it. It was fun.

I have to say this about the round-table topic: Once upon a time, I was much more likely to be open about watching soaps--because for every stupid cliche people could possibly point out and deride, I could point out multiple examples in which the soaps had become so much better than that, and in doing so expose the intellectual dishonesty of the criticism (because people who made it practically NEVER had watched enough of the soaps to offer anything other than rehashed, stereotypical criticisms and yet had no shame about criticizing people who watched them). But lately? (And by lately, I mean the last 15 to 20 years?) Not so much. Because the soaps have reverted to (mostly) a collection of those same cliches that I once could have solidly shot down. They're largely plot driven, with characters who are far too often devices simply to advance the storyline du jour rather than the full-bodied, three-dimensional, fascinating creations of years gone by (say, mid-70s to mid-90s). There's not a single soap on the air (and hasn't been for a while, though the last two years or so of One Life to Live were reasonably close) that I could point to and say, "Watch [show] for a week and then come back and talk to me about how bad soaps are"--because they'd do so, and then come back with concrete evidence supporting their dim view, and they'd be right in doing so. So mostly I don't say too much these days: I appreciate what's still there, when I can, but there'd be very little to be gained from advertising that I'm a soap viewer. If somebody asked me, I wouldn't run away from it, but I'd qualify the acknowledgmentwith the (truthful) caveat that I only view occasionally. (And in fairness I'd probably feel obligated to point out that TV in general has deteriorated markedly in the last two decades, not just the soaps. But that wouldn't change the fundamental truth that much of what I see on my soap screens is no longer worth defending.)

I think we have WAY more good TV, which is part of soaps' problem, sadly. We like to binge now. Soaps are the ultimate binge but they're not catching up.

I think you're probably right, Louise, about "way more good TV," if you take into account all of the cable and streaming channels; I meant network television (and should have said so--but I'm old enough that in my mind, "TV" means "network TV"; I need to shake myself out of that thinking). I do think soaps' problems predate the proliferation of soap-substitute programming, though; we do like to binge (and have for a while, even with older technologies; I remember binge-watching As the World Turns a week at a time in the late 80s thanks to my VCR, before we even had the term for what I was doing), but it's been ages since I have found a soap really binge-worthy.

And I still think there's a market for that if they (TPTB) could fix what's wrong with the soaps. Even with other sources available for the needs I used to fill via soaps, I don't think anything really comes close to the intimacy of the 5-days-a-week form, with characters we've sometimes known for decades. As you said, soaps are (potentially, anyway) the "ultimate binge."

I've watched soaps since I was a wee child who shouldn't have been allowed to watch soaps, and I've gotten a lot of flack for it over the years. But I'm old now so I don't really care anymore and since we're down to 4 soaps, I'm going fly the soap flag for as long as possible.

Also, I have to add Jordan to the list of hottest people on GH. And the worst story line on GH for me was a tough call. Sure Ask Man Landers was stupid, but I also hated the way they wrote Hayden out (and don't even get me started on how they wasted Rebecca Budig for 2 years. Why make her Liz's sister if you didn't plan on bringing on Jeff Webber so we could see that fallout) but also the Kristina/Parker story line that wasn't really a story line. If we had actually watched Kristina say date or have more than 1 scene a month yelling at Alexis about Julian, I might have cared about this story line but it was the worst. Kristina and Parker go on one real date and then the next you know, they are moving to Oregon.

LOL at Digest naming B&B the best show when it's clearly the worst. Too many craptastic stories to even list.

Shay, no joke. My jaw hit the floor when I saw B&B named as the best of the year.

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