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« The Day's Dumbest Dialogue | Main | Seriously, I Hate Him More Than Gauchos »

July 17, 2007

Our July Soap Opera Digest Column

Our editors asked us to weigh in on the Emmy results, and you know what they say, be careful what you wish for!  Becca rants about Jill Farren Phelps' continuing dumb comments about why Genie Francis isn't back on General Hospital.  Mallory discusses the evening's biggest surprises, and sticks with her opinion that The Young and the Restless shouldn't have been nominated, much less won, for Best Drama.  And there are other highly educated and important opinions thrown in there too, of course, including about pretty dresses.

(For those who want more in-detail Emmy posts, see our red carpet arrivals live-blogging, our ceremony live-blogging, and our best and worst dressed awards.)


My Take
By Becca Thomas

It’s hard for me to comment on the worthiness of the Daytime Emmy winners because I only watch two soaps.  So I could be tempted to say, hypothetically, “Julie Marie Berman was robbed!”  But in fairness, I’ve never seen any of the other performances. Therefore basically I have to be content with 1) critiquing attendees’ fashion, and 2) relishing those few occasions when a show I watch won something (more precisely, when GENERAL HOSPITAL does, since DAYS...doesn’t). 

So I had two nonfashion-related bright spots during this year’s ceremony:  Rick Hearst and Genie Francis winning.  I’m happy for Hearst, who I think is a great actor (even if the writers have pretty much destroyed Ric Lansing), but I’m absolutely delighted for Francis.  As a bonus, she looked fantastic—she and Julie Marie Berman topped my best dressed list.  If only the two of them could regularly be on-screen together.

Luke and Laura’s return in the early '90s was one of the reasons I started watching GH, and the show’s refusal to bring Laura back is one of the things that makes me want to stop watching now.  I think GH Executive Producer Jill Farren Phelps should stop saying she’d really like to bring Genie back, but just can’t quite figure out a way to do it.  You run GENERAL HOSPITAL and you can’t find a way to work Luke and Laura into the show, for heaven’s sake?  That’s like saying you’re having trouble working the hospital into your storylines.  (Hey wait, they are having trouble doing that!)

Instead of something simple like “We’re thrilled for Genie,” after the Emmys, Farren Phelps said: "We'd love to have her back. It's just that our business is very different than it used to be. It's not quite as simple. If ever there were someone we'd bring back, it would be Genie."  This on the heels of her comment last year that they “would love to have Genie with us, but we have to be able to afford it."  I suppose these would be fine statements if they seemed sincere.  (A side note to daytime executives:  The “things are different now” refrain that’s gaining popularity may be true, but it just sounds like you’re dodging the fact that your shows aren’t as good nowadays.)  Anyway, it’s just not true that if GH could bring back any character, it would be Laura.  Recently, they brought back several veterans.  Granted, GH completely blew those opportunities and wasted a ton of talent by casting aside incredibly popular legacy characters to instead focus on the ongoing Why Mobsters and Whoever They Are Sleeping With Are Heroic and Better Than Everyone Else stuff; the point is that other veterans have returned.  Plus GH brings in lots of newcomers.  Many of them are hot guys, so I won’t complain too loudly, but I just find the idea that a show with a cast that big can’t possibly make room, even on a part-time basis, for one-half of the couple that put it on the map to be a bit ridiculous.

My Take, Too
By Mallory Harlen

If the success of an awards show is judged by the number of times a viewer at home stares at her television in disbelief, the 2007 Daytime Emmy awards were a stunning achievement.  For all of its faults (the lame viewer input clips and far too much Tyra Banks chief among them), the last thing I can complain about was the evening's predictability.

The most surprising moments all revolved around YOUNG AND RESTLESS. Bryton McClure winning for Outstanding Younger Actor came out of left field, especially when you consider that there are times I forget that he's even on the show.  I'm hoping that the Emmy win reminds those in charge that they have a great actor in their cast who is deserving of doing more than just being the sounding board for Lily. The entire Winters family has been marginalized lately;  I think that the brief glimpse we got of Kristoff St. John in the audience was exceeded the amount of time he's been seen on-screen in the past three months. I really want them to be on the front burner this year.

Christian LeBlanc winning was a complete shock. I had started referring to Peter Bergman as "2007 Outstanding Leading Actor Peter Bergman" last September, and I thought that if anybody had a chance to beat him, it would be Anthony Geary.  Still, Christian LeBlanc is always amazing, and I had forgotten how heartbreaking he was at the beginning of the year when he was mourning Lauren. It's too bad that all Michael's done lately is get wrapped up in Gloria's web of lies and animal print clothing.

I feel somewhat embarrassed that the show I was convinced shouldn't have even garnered a Best Drama nomination wound up tying for the win. This is why I don’t gamble. But really? Tied for the best in all of daytime? I'm still not sure. (And, frankly, a little miffed about the tie: There's no tying in awards shows!). It's dispiriting to think the show didn't win last year for the brilliant episodes about Cassie's death, but took the gold for a year that was hopelessly uneven.

The show did have its highlights, of course. Genie Francis finally winning was the feel-good moment of the night. GENERAL HOSPITAL didn’t get Best Writing, which will hopefully hint to the powers-that-be that everyone is just a little bit sick of their repetitive storytelling. It was great to see Lee Philip Bell get recognized for her contribution to the daytime industry (but, really, it seemed a little cheap to not let her give a speech or go up on stage!).  Even the fashion was more good than bad. Marcy Rylan and Michelle Stafford were perfect. Seriously, is there anything Michelle Stafford can’t do? Drama, comedy and couture? I’m pretty sure that she’s my new role model.


Wow! I am FLOORED! Not that you ladies spoke the truth (I have come to expect that from you) but that SOD had the guts to print it. A big shout out to the folks at SOD. My favourite part - "the ongoing Why Mobsters and Whoever They Are Sleeping With Are Heroic and Better Than Everyone Else stuff". Brilliant!

Now maybe I'm being overly optimistic, but there are times when it appears that the "showrunners" are starting to get the point. Sometimes (when Awesome Writer is allowed out his/her cage) it seems as though he sneaks in dialogue that could be taken directly from your comments. Oh, if that were true.

Once again, great job, ladies, and I sincerely hope that SOD continues to support you and your "truth hurts, don't it" approach to critiquing a genre that I love so very much.

Add my vote to Beltane's. I'm so glad that SOD is not forcing you to toe the party line. Who knows, maybe your plain speaking will inspire (jolt) Carolyn Hinsey out of her complacency and she'll hop off GH's payroll (or is it Maurice Bernard's?). Her condescending little rant a few month ago as to why fans had to accept (and admire) beloved vets being dumped read less as a Fan "Come to Jesus" meeting and more like a direct press release from Brian Frons. Hey, the new influx of actors seems to have brought Mo back to actually ACTING some days rather than phoning it in -- maybe your addition to SOD will similary inspire the editors and Ms. Hinsey.

Thanks, ladies! SOD has been really great. With the exception of a few word-choice issues every column, they hardly alter our drafts. Our editor is awesome and supportive. I didn't know much about the soap press before we started this gig and if I hadn't heard a bit since then I would have no idea that criticizing the shows had been verboten!

I don't think it has anything to do with us, but Beltane I do agree that GH seems to be turning around a bit. Maybe there was enough noise out there that the powers-that-be finally had to listen. Or maybe, more realistically, it is all due to Megan Ward's fabulous hair.

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