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« The Return of the Queen | Main | Twinsies Sharing Everything! »

August 13, 2010

Our Latest Soap Opera Digest Column

Apologies for our lateness in bringing you our column in the August 10th issue of Soap Opera Digest. It's just that SOD is so small and it sometimes gets lost in the shuffle of the...um, let's just say "many" instead of giving an actual, embarrassing number. It sometimes gets lost in the shuffle of the many, larger magazines we subscribe to. This issue wound up inside Marie Claire! Anyway, read on for our thoughts on General Hospital and Days of Our Lives. --Mal and Bec.


My Take
By Mallory Harlen

GENERAL HOSPITAL's cast is one of the best in all of daytime, and my respect for all of the actors grows every day because I am so impressed that they manage to film their scenes without breaking the fourth wall and apologizing to the audience or holding up little "Help me!" signs. Can I be blunt? The show is a mess.

2010 has been a wretched year for Sonny Corinthos: In a move that was a poor knockoff of a much better story, he wound up injuring his daughter with a car bomb intended for his rival. He also participated in a cover-up that directly led to his teenage son being sent to prison and, you might remember, shot another of his sons in the chest. One of those stories could have been compelling, but THREE of them? That crossed the line from "soapy" into "this kind of off-the-wall ridiculousness is why people make fun of soap operas." And it's not like we got anything like character growth or introspection out of these various traumas: no, Sonny is still the same angry blowhard we all know and abhor, just with new messes of his own making to rant about on-screen every day, every week, every month.

I've been watching Patrick and Robin's storyline from three different perspectives: as a fan of the pairing; as a longtime fan of the soap genre who understands that, like improbably named characters and evil twins, infidelity storylines are part of soaps; and as a soap critic. No matter what perspective I'm watching from, the end result is always me watching while cringing. Having Patrick cheat with Lisa was terrible soap on all levels. Patrick's arc from self-centered playboy to (uh, temporarily) devoted husband and father was great to watch. Why erase all of that by having him hook up with his ex-girlfriend while his wife was off saving the world? And if that was really the only story you could come up with for Patrick and Robin (which I find hard to believe--they are young, hot doctors. ER and GREY'S ANATOMY have told decades' worth of stories based on that premise), why not give Lisa a character trait or two? It was absurd watching Patrick torpedo his life for a bland girl with zero personality. And to do it while Robin was working on AIDS research just makes Patrick seem like the second-worst person in Port Charles (Sonny, as ever, is No. 1).

The advertising department was thrilled that Jonathan Jackson returned to the role of Lucky last fall and heavily promoted it; the writing department seems substantially less excited. After a few great weeks of downward spiraling and angry confrontations about Elizabeth and Nikolas's affair, Lucky has faded into the woodwork with a few scattered scenes at the PCPD or with his siblings. And Jackson is, of course, great in these scenes, however small they might be. But my question is, Luke and Laura's son, played by a multiple-Emmy-winning actor, who has sparks (of the romantic, platonic and adversarial sorts) with every scene partner he has. So why does he not have a story of his own? I know it would conflict with Sonny's pain and Jason's heroics, but please, GH. Throw us a bone.

My Take, Too
By Becca Thomas

DAYS OF OUR LIVES has, overall, been quite good lately. While some storylines are dragging (really, isn't it time for Nighttime Hope to take a permanent nap?), and some characters need fine-tuning, most of the plots are watchable enough that tuning in every day is fun. But that doesn't stop me from complaining--what are you, new?

Amazingly, DAYS is still getting mileage out of the Nicole/EJ/Sami baby-swap storyline, which began more than a year-and-a-half ago. This is impressive, particularly considering the origins of the story were rooted in a tired cliche. However, Sami as the victim has run its course; she needs an edge again. Sami without scheming is like dessert without chocolate.

Daniel/Chloe/Philip is a triangle I hope isn't still going on 18 months from now. A fairly standard-issue Who's the Daddy? story is fine for now, but I've never figured out what I was supposed to like about Chloe, and the writers didn't build up Chloe and Daniel sufficiently as a couple for me to care whether they break up. And I still don't buy the age-inappropriate Philip and Melanie as a couple, so their breakup would actually be a welcome development as far as I'm concerned. I will give the show this: Daniel is much more interesting as a father and husband (and cuckold--a word I have desperately been wanting to resurrect and use as part of soap criticism for years) than as the creepy, older, surfer-talking doctor pursuing near-teenagers.

Nathan and Stephanie are pretty but dull, and Stephanie's recent plot to get pregnant without consulting Nathan made me want to punch things. What is it about DAYS that it can't give its 20-something women anything to do other than get impregnated? I know it sounds crazy, but they could instead have careers and be, you know, interesting. Then again, Salem's 30-something women have a similar problem (what is Sami's job, exactly?). That a show targeted at women doesn't put more effort into making its female characters well-rounded is bizarre.

Speaking of completely puzzling. Justin and Adrienne came back to do what, exactly? I was a big fan of the couple back in the day, but unless their kids are coming to Salem to help out the teen or early-20s scene, or a Hope/Justin romance 1) happens and 2) is at least 10 times more interesting than their "flirting", these returns have not been well-written at all.

Finally, and most importantly, we must discuss the most pressing issue on DAYS right now: the lack of haircuts by two of Salem's hottest men, EJ and Philip. The discussion may occur in the form of a question: WHY?


the clink boom remake was terrible. expecially since they did the fantasy one in the bp storyline and that came across much better.and there was some slight growth that came out of it.

i can't stand that mykill is now being rewritten as the next hero of this show when before the CD recast he was that kid that wanted to be in the mob. and hero mykill is uninteresting. still not seeing whats so special about this recast. it turned the character into another dante/jason 2.0 who gives out advice about topics he really has no experience with

the only thing i like about days right now is how sexy angry brady is for some reason. i should be creeped out and scared but i'm not.

ITA with what you said about JJ/Lucky. You put it better than I could have.

One of the problems with giving Liz/Lucky three kids at 28/29, is that it limits them when it comes to the adventure type stories. I do not want Liz turning into Laura, sitting at home with Lucky runs off on some lame *ss adventure.


Guza backburnered Jonathan Jackson because A) he's never really given a flying fart about the character of Lucky and B) he didn't bring in the super high ratings the advertising department swore he was going to. Also C) DZ clearly became the new younger generation centerpiece they were pretending they see Lucky as.

As always Guza loves to throw the name Lucky out there because he knows how the fans love the CHARACTER...but he never really has any intention of using him.

Oh to clarify my point before the flaming arrows of hatred come beating down my door...I meant GUZA's never given a flying fart about the character of Lucky....I know very well the actors who have played the character do.

The problem with Lucky - from Guza's perspective - is that he isn't directly connected to the mob. At least Dante's daddy is a mobster, so inherently (to Guza), Dante is more interesting.

And head of nail, meet hammer - there is no character development on GH. Hasn't been in years. The only thing that qualifies as character development happens when characters are recast and the change in actor brings a different take to the line readings. Otherwise, characters ping pong back and forth - and back again - between EVENTS (otherwise known as Sweeps), learning nothing, growing not at all, and basically strengthening the argument for saving some money by simply rerunning GH from a year or two ago because it's basically the same story and same lines that we've heard before again and again and again ...

i agree with you mike although i dont call recasts character development more like new characters with the same name/connections
case in point emily when nl took over. i like to call her emily bowen because she was nothing like the emily of the past who was in love with zander
michael corinthos III or as i call him michael quartermiane or michael morgan he turned from mob wannabe to jason 2.0 the day he got recasted

I love the column...that's how I found this site. Frankly, I'm surprised SOD prints it, given how show/actor friendly/positive/can do no wrong that magazine is. Don't get me wrong, I subscribe, but it's been boring lately. I almost choked to death when I was reading the Emmy wrapup and saw the real life couples section with Terri Colombino and Austin Peck. Never a hint did I see/hear. Clearly, I haunt the wrong sites.

Lia - I agree with you, I was basically saying the changes we get from the recasts (good or bad) are the closest things we get to character development in any shape or form. It's not real character development but its the only avenue by which characters actually change on GH.

I just found your site and am digging it. Here's my question -- why are LuLu's outfits so horrible and what is the correlation between her outfits and what her character is doing?

I thought her story line (and the actress' portrayal) was terrific when she was in love with Johnnie. And her clothes and hair were better. :)

She is so lame right now and she dresses like a high school girl from the 1980s who wants to be a stripper. I thought she's supposed to work at a fashion mag?

Well Becca, I'm sure you're aware now that James Scott shaved his head 4 or 5 weeks ago and it's growing in nicely. JKJ's hair, however, still remains.

Lisa is an awful, awful character-and she has made, as you said so much more eloquently than I ever could, Patrick into the second biggest scumbag in all of soapdom-I mean, my GOD, he's competing w/Jason Morgan, Victor Newman, Todd Manning, and Ryan Lavery, for the love of all that is HOLY! And he's WINNING! Who's wife did JT sleep with that they would do this to his character?!

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Dear Penis Enlargement,
I can understand how you would see a post about Sonny Corinthos and associate w/someone in need of your product-however, as many of the readers here are female, we don't really require your services. However, I would like to refer you to someone who probably does-I'm not sure of the exact e-mail address, but I'm sure by Googling "Bob Guza Headwriter General Hospital", you can probably get it.

LMAO! But it's really sad that a post by a marketing troll is more entertaining than the entire last year of GH!


I AM CRYING. LMAO. Thank you for the laugh.

The discussion an on going discussion and analysis of the moral the fact that this is so ought to be an embarrassment to white liberals who are die. Thanks for sharing informative post.

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