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« In Which We Prepare For The End of Night Shift | Main | Nothing Was Beautiful and Everything Hurt »

October 21, 2008

Our Latest Soap Opera Digest Column

In the October 14th issue of Soap Opera Digest, we turned our attention to the happenings in Genoa City and Port Charles. After the jump, Mallory expresses hope that the powers-that-be at The Young and the Restless are trying their best to move the show in the direction of "good", while Becca vents about the special brand of stupid that is General Hospital.


My Take
By Mallory Harlen

I’m experiencing these weird pangs of being optimistic about YOUNG AND RESTLESS, which I have not felt since Cassie was alive. The show has been laying the groundwork for some potentially outstanding stories, and if these stories are half as good in execution as they are in theory, the show will be better than it has been in months.

Granted, that’s not a particularly hard feat when one considers that Y&R in recent months has been a mess. I mean, the show has been mostly about Victor and people talking about Victor, which is bad enough on its own, but even the secondary stories verged on awful. Between the grade school shenanigans at Restless Style, Jana’s evolution into a supremely irritating hippie, and the ham-fisted introduction of Ana, the musical prodigy, there has been almost no reason to tune in. And it seems like even the writers knew it, since they began running flashbacks of what happened the day before, almost like they were admitting that the show was too boring for someone to watch faithfully.

The powers-that-be are trying to change that and the choice to focus on the show’s other core families is a smart one. The Abbott family was decimated in the past few years, leaving Jack and Colleen as the sole Abbotts on canvas, and, well, the less said about Colleen, the better. Bringing Billy Abbott back, and this time in the form of the brilliant Billy Miller, was a stroke of genius. I adored him on ALL MY CHILDREN and talked about how great he was to anyone who would listen. AMC, obviously, wouldn’t listen and fired him, but I am hoping that Pine Valley’s loss is Genoa City’s gain. The show is also righting one of its more boneheaded wrongs and bringing Eileen Davidson (Ashley) back, which is fantastic news . Davidson is far too talented and way too pretty to be a glorified extra. I mean, she’s the only person this century who has made Victor bearable.

It’s always nice to see Jill and Katherine on-screen, and their involvement in Cane and Chloe’s marriage has been great thus far. Jeanne Cooper (Katherine) could teach a master class in reaction shots and I’m really enjoying seeing Jill in a story that doesn’t revolve around her being second fiddle to Gloria. I also love the revelation that Chloe is actually Esther’s daughter, Kate. It’s nice to finally have an explanation as to why Chloe is so awful. Crazy for craziness’s sake is fun for a while, but it’s always nice when the unbalanced lunatics roaming around soapdom have some sort of motivation. And this is using the show’s history in a reasonable way, which, frankly, I’m not used to (I’m still burned by Cane’s convoluted origin story. Stolen and switched at birth and now Australian and 10 years younger than he should be? What?!). Since Kate has been off canvas her entire life, the writers get to give her whatever back story they want, without rewriting decades worth of show’s history.

The show has the raw materials right now to regain its status as the best show on daytime and I’m crossing my fingers that it doesn’t squander them.

My Take, Too
By Becca Thomas

I’m used to soap characters doing stupid or nonsensical things.  Honestly, it’s one of the things that makes soaps interesting.  “Did she just seriously dive off that cliff?!”  “How is he the only person in town who doesn’t know that’s not his kid?!”  “Did she really think that his sixth marriage was going to be the one that worked?!”  “Is she wearing a cocktail gown to a business meeting?!”  “He is a police commissioner, yet he’s never solved a single crime…?”  But it’s usually in a fun way; characters being silly or slightly dim in an entertaining way.  Lately, however, GENERAL HOSPITAL has taken stupid to a whole new level.  And the only thing it sparks in me is a desire to hit the fast-forward button.

There are any number of dumb things I could choose to highlight, but I’ll pick just a few. Jason, the hitman who is the main romantic hero of the show (a bit of longstanding stupidity in itself), has a life too dangerous to allow the woman he loves or his son to be a part of it, yet allows the police commissioner’s daughter to move in with him.  Jason’s resident computer hacker, Spinelli, speaks in cartoonish gibberish and yet I’m supposed to buy him as a romantic prospect for the awesome Maxie.  Jason’s former boss, Sonny, gave up the “job” of running a mafia family in order to keep his kids safe, then went back into the same business with a different mob family within weeks.   

And Johnny Zacchara’s trial was whatever you get when you multiply stupid by infinity.  The prosecutor was the victim’s father.  Jurors knew the defendant, the victim, and/or the witnesses.  Edward Quartermaine – who was selected as a juror after he announced to everyone that he thought Johnny was guilty – regularly spouted off from the jury box about just how guilty he thought Johnny was.  And let’s not forget that this whole trial came about for a stupid reason:  The idea that Johnny, an organized crime figure, would be better off getting charged with murder than Lulu, a young woman without any criminal record who killed her ex-boyfriend, who busted through her door with an ax after trying to rape her colleague.  And that incident led to more stupidity, with Lulu and Johnny “on the run” about an hour from home, complete with Lulu “sneaking around” without a disguise.  Yet somehow the ridiculousness only increased, with Logan appearing as a ghost to torment Lulu about what she had done.  Oh, and he’s not alone, because there have been at least three ghosts on GENERAL HOSPITAL in the last year.  That sentence is chock-full of ridiculousness.

Lately it seems like the people writing GH don’t care that the storylines and dialogue are nonsensical in the non-soapy, non-entertaining way.  What a waste of a great cast and a long, rich, soapy history. One might even say that kind of wastefulness is . . . stupid.


Brill work as usual, ladies. I'm especially fond of the "one might even say ... stupid." Heh. It still confounds me that the soap press allows you to actually, you know ... criticize when historical SOD and SOW have simply been mouthpieces for the latest Guza/Frons press releases. But hey, if you can get them to print the ACTUAL status of these shows??? There's a special place in heaven, I'm sure. Oh, and any time Mallory sings the praises of Billy Miller? All is truly right in the world. Y&R is squandering any fun we had with Adam but so far (fingers crossed) Billy Abbott seems to be a breath of fresh air. (And I love, love LOVE that Cloe had a total stalker crush on him. Much more fun than her strange desperation to be with Cane. NOW it all starts to come together and be fun!) I'm sure Hogan S. will screw it up ... but I take these rare moments of joy in soapdom where I can find them and try not to mourn when the characters are inevitably decimated. ;o)

I have not been this optimistic about Y&R in ages. I enjoyed Adam's addition but he has been wasted but now Billy Abbott(B Miller) - casting genius. And you're right. I can see stories being setup for the long haul and I'm excited and hope hope hope it happens.

GH is a big fat mess, nothing redeemable, not even the wonderful Genie F could make me tune in. I wish I knew what direction, stories were being told because it is a disaster of a show with a HW and EP who have long outlived their usefullness.

My favorite part of the trial was the DEATH PENALTY aspect. Did the very simple fact that NY abolished the DP years ago... This of course, in addition to the insults to viewers intelligence already mentioned above!

You all are one of the few things keeping me tied to GH. I don't know if I should thank you for that or not. . . .

I do thank you for getting me turned on to Night Shift, though, so I suppose we're even.

Mulitply stupidity by infinity might be the newest way to express frustration in my office....just so you know. I am all for ANY published notice of mocking the stupidity of the town hitman also being the romantic hero and personal Jesus of the town so you were both already sainted for that alone....but that...that was just poetry.

Your columns give me a teeny weeny slice of hope every month that maybe the soap press is a sick of this crap as I am....then they let Guza speak and its dashed yet again..but still for that split second..I have hope.

You'd think tbtb at GH would get the hint when even Becca runs out of creative ways to insult them and their stupidity. I don't blame you for not trying to think of a more creative word, why waste the energy on such a hopeless case.

I'm going to go back to my happy place where the only GH is on Tuesday nights and the Scorpios have an actual storyline that doesn't make them or the writers look stupid.

I've stopped watching Y&R. Victor disowning Adam and Adam becoming "evil" (with the equally "evil" Jack there in a pathetic attempt to make Nikki/Nick/Victoria sympathetic) was just the laziest plotline ever, and Eric Braeden is shamefully bad these days. Add in Eden's atrocious acting, the sickest Gloria storyline yet, and the dreary, plot-driven return for Billy (who looks about 45), and I just don't care.

Becca you forgot to mention Luke and Tracy and their "Mexican" hijinks. This show is akin to Chinese water torture. I never experienced Chinese water torture, but I bet it's less painful than watching this show.

the less said about Colleen, the better
Isn't that the damn truth but here goes anyways: I've got to say it, get the horrid 'Aussie' Tammin Sursok off my screen already and bring back Adrianne Leon for God's sake. Between the atrocious writing and the terrible acting of Sursok this character needs saving now. This egregious casting decision needs to be undone immediately! *Whew* I feel better now having said that!!

I LOVE Billy Miller's addition to the cast, wonderful casting!! He's excellent as Billy aka mini Jack.

Re:GH--Becca raises valid points.However, I was quite willing to go with a "willing suspension of disbelief" re: the accepted jurors at Johnny Zacchara's trial. Watching Edward with his over the top comments was super comic relief. Watching Epiphany's reactions--priceless.

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