CAUTION: My girl, Carol, speaks her mind in a strong, brassy and vibrant fashion. If you are offended by straight talking, adult oriented language (sometimes, there's a "very" in there), please be aware that you may well find it here. Carol shoots from the hip and tells it like it is, pulling no punches and taking no prisoners. That's why I love her & why I hired her. If it's not your bag, let's part still friends and salute our differences in tastes (I'm sort of a strong strawberry flavor...) ~*~Katrina~*~
IT’S THE COMMENTARY, STUPID
My #1 pet peeve amongst online soap fans commenting on the latest scoops, spoilers, news and gossip is this ignorant, petty tendency (by some) of pointing out the obvious, perhaps to further their own online reps as MVP, perhaps to divert attention back on themselves and their two-inch egos.
Make that frustration and rage.
In previous experiences, I’d encounter this ugly attitude amongst many regular posters (and some readers) as they’d rip apart one columnist after another for simply doing his/her (volunteer, thankless) job, serving as primarily the messenger and the acerbic conduit for loads of happenings in the soap world.
Every Monday or Tuesday, when Eye on Soaps’ gossip columnist Sage Bourland would update his page, hundreds of posters would talk about it on SoapZone and elsewhere, ad nauseum, analyzing the spoilers to death, questioning Sage’s sources and agenda (he has none) and – back to my pet peeve – making it look like he did nothing but sit around at his computer all day, every day, hunting around the boards and rival scoop sites for his material, “stealing” from others and merely paraphrasing what is already, by then, old news, appropriating it all for himself, as if originated from his desk.
This is a common refrain of the unemployed, unemployable, lazy, misinformed and/or assorted hangers-on with way too much time on THEIR hands to bother exercising a little common sense, tact and street smarts in what they’re accusing gossip columnists like Sage of.
While the jackals would tear Sage apart, ripping his reputation, his image and his carefully-crafted words to death in full public view, for their own personal amusement and ego gratification (since, after all, they must be on center stage and no one else)... I’d still stupidly wish I could command such controversy; at the very least, get my name mentioned on a semi-regular basis on the boards.
I’d whine privately to Katrina, my Eye on Soaps boss, about my cipher cyber status, the polar opposite of E.F. Hutton, the guilty pleasure, the secret habit of thousands, with a handful daring to post about me then quickly learning a lesson never to do so again, after nobody notices or only a handful of people reply, with the above #1 pet peeve refrain.
For a while there, after I left Nina Gregerson’s SoapTown USA last spring, the feedback ended and the weekly message board threads about my then-FWIW GH column dried up. I missed the notoriety, the feeling that my measly opinions mattered, that my voice was viewed by soap fans as important enough to merit attention on the level of a Michael Logan, Carolyn Hinsey and Marlena Delacroix.
Sure I wrote primarily for my own enjoyment and the faithful readers, most of whom barely have time to spend on the Internet as it is, who’ve followed my work around online for over five years and counting. I wrote for my bosses who never failed to shower me with enough appreciation to make up for a lack of a salary.
But as I watched Sage, SoapBoy, Shirley, Gedstern and Karen receive all the acclaim, their every word passed around like a hot potato scoop of the lifetime, I wondered what it’d be like to be one of them, the bigtime, y’know? There. I admitted it.
Last weekend, maybe it was a Saturday, I didn’t have to wonder for long, because some kind, daring soul brought me up on the SoapZone GH message board, but made it sound like I broke the news and gossip on my own, pounding the L.A. pavement, shaking down my insider sources (ROTFLMAOPMP... yeah, right, the only sources I have are the TV, mags, and the ‘Net), like I’m a Sage – who does have some inside sources – or something.
Two people chimed in with that annoying pet peeve of mine, daring to apply it to me, and I lost my temper. They announced, as if I had something nefarious to hide, that most of my news and gossip came from SID or SOD, and just written with a few different words. Plus, as if this was some duplicitous crime on my part, the stuff was old news and gossip that everybody already knew about and that many posters already broke on the boards a week or two ago.
I could’ve been worse in my reply, but I fought to keep calm as I explained slowly, patiently, as explicitly as I could, in case there was any chance of misunderstanding, that I am not nor ever said I was in the business of out-scooping the competition, making and breaking news, or remotely acting as if I came up with SoapZone’s News & Gossip on my own with my alleged battalion of reporters on the prowl all over the U.S.
Here’s a little history for anybody inclined to bother with my facts on how I even came to write for Jeff Jungblut over at SoapZone.
Over eight years ago, a nasty board war erupted on his Community Board over his definition of a clique. He wanted posters to cease and desist their clique-ish behavior, and I sided with him. Subsequently, a few members of the unofficial clique decided to make a constant example out of me, harassing me out of a guestbook for my then-homepage and generally following me around on the boards making hateful comments about me. In the midst of this, I offered to help Jeff with his site, maybe help monitor the boards, what with posters going crazy out of control.
Instead, Jeff asked if I wanted to take over the News & Gossip page. Flattered but scared to death, I asked what I was supposed to do, where I was supposed to get the news and gossip from and just basically, how to do my job. He simply replied, “You can get your information from the soap mags. Just paraphrase.”
Later, after a problem arose about quoting magazines and giving them proper credit, we decided to reference the name of the magazine and if available, the date of the issue that the quote came from. So, anytime readers see this reference, it means I used a quote or excerpt.
Since the soap magazine editors and writers do indeed cruise online to augment their info, as well, they’ve read my column(s) and have commented favorably at times or inquired about an item for their own edification. Because I not only paraphrase their published stuff, but the stuff around the ‘Net, and, having been familiar with most of the posting regulars from my hanging around the soap community since 1995, I sort of know the buzz out there, this is sort of a win-win situation for everyone.
Once and for all, I do not have insider sources that provide me with up-to-the-minute confidential spoilers, scoops, news and gossip. Occasionally, and this could be once every six months to a year, someone from the industry will contact me about something, usually to promote his/her next endeavor or simply to thank me for promoting him/her.
That, my friends and neighbors, is what I do for SoapZone’s News & Gossip (and Scoops & Spoilers) in a nutshell. I PARAPHRASE info that’s already out there. I put the paraphrased information together every Friday, then e-mail the contents to Jeff, whereby he puts the updates on his site by Monday, if he has time or is willing. He rarely, if ever, goes in with breaking news and gossip all the other scoop sites have throughout the week. For the most part, if readers want updates, they have to wait till Monday.
(Note: As of 10:46 a.m. today, this Monday, October 25, 2004, Jeff has not updated N&G or S&S on his SoapZone site, so please do not e-mail about why the columns aren’t updated or to lecture me about doing my job in a timely manner. It’s not up to me when or if the updates are on the site, it’s up to Jeff, who’s the site owner/publisher. The last time I missed a deadline, I was laid up in the hospital after a surgery.)
So when these two posters tried to point out the obvious, they were actually inadvertently pointing out EXACTLY WHAT I DO WHEN I WRITE THE NEWS & GOSSIP PAGE. Much of the information reads like it came from the soap mags, reworded, because most of the information did come from the soap mags, reworded, otherwise known in journalism circles as, paraphrased. And much of this information has already been released to the public, discussed by the public, belabored by the public, because Jeff doesn’t update everyday, usually just every Monday, or tries to, no exceptions on hump day, or to keep up with the Gedstern’s.
Despite some posters’ (thankfully, a few and far between) assumptions, I’m not out there trying to be something I’m not. I’m not hiding any agendas or tweaking my job title. I’m not fake or false or pathetic in any way, and it pisses me off to no end when people presume that about me.
Hey, it’s flattering too, to be thought of as the final arbiter of good taste, a wealth of knowledge, with my finger on the button of the soap industry’s movers and shakers. It’s amazing, that to this day, a lot of people assume that about me.
Whatever the boost to my needy ego, the assumption is wrong and probably more a testament to my ability to paraphrase well, strongly, with all the info that’s fit and unfit to print in one convenient place. Otherwise, Dude... I WISH I were a Sage.
I should be thankful the posters didn’t go after me personally (although, they’ve tried in the past, the early years of my N&G tenure), like they do all the time with Sage and with SoapBoy when he was alive. Christ, you’d these these columnists were trying to take away their livelihoods or something.
The best part of this annoying incident is what followed the next day. I received two heartfelt e-mails from two loyal readers (you’d never believe the second person; she made my day) reassuring me that most people who routinely check out my columns understand they’re getting acerbic, unique commentary on existing news, gossip, scoops and spoilers, and that the boards, especially the GH one on SZ, can be a huge jaded turn-off with many lurkers and sometime-posters. These two reminded me of the majority of soap fans, who come to me for their weekly soap fix, as a comrade sharing a beloved hobby, not a loyal subject to a holy goddess.
I also remembered that only two posters made disparaging assumptions about me as a columnist in the first place, back in that SoapZone thread. The rest of ‘em either could care less or know better.
So, I got a taste of what it must be like for Sage (and the other gossip columnists) on a daily basis, and I must say, THANK GOD I’M A CIPHER IN CYBERSPACE after all.
I fairly like my solid but unspoken standing in the community.
Being a guilty, silent, pleasure sure beats the alternative.
To the posters, wherever and whoever you are, spreading the rumor around that I write fake spoilers for Jeff Jungblut’s SoapZone site, in the “Scoops & Spoilers” page, an FYI: I do not own, nor do I run SoapZone. I am a volunteer writer for Jeff, HE’S in charge, and if I ever intentionally turned in anything fake purporting to be true, he’d have my ass on a brass platter. I do not make up spoilers, news or gossip on a weekly basis. I do not break spoilers, news or gossip. I do not employ a hotshot team of investigative journalists and spies for the latest, original spoilers, news or gossip unreported elsewhere. I do not have insider sources that provide me with spoilers, news or gossip, at least not that I know of. See above for my job description, and give me a fucking break. And, heh heh, since the subject’s been brought up, let’s see what I can personally do about concocting my own FAKE SPOILERS, directly below.
MY VERSION OF NOVEMBER SWEEPS
(Disclaimer: I swear I wrote this wish list either prior to or at the same time as Katrina Rasbold – “As Easy As ABC” – did the same on October 20. Great minds...)
I’ve read over the November Sweeps for each of ABC Daytime’s soaps. Some of it’s pleased me – Brooke back in Adam’s arms? Sonny being selfless about Kristina and Adele? John falling for Natalie, for real? Paul dies! The Santis are done! – but the rest of it’s been a mind-numbing mess. I mean, do I really need to see NEm face yet another external challenge to their fated love? Can the murderer perform a two-for-one package and exterminate faux-Kelly as well?
Without further adieu, here are my November Sweeps, aka What I Wish Would Happen:
On AMC, the following characters are brutally tortured, humiliated and either run out of town or killed outright: Krystal, JR, Maggie, Edmund, Jonathan, Greenlee, Ryan. Put Bobby and Anita on warning until or if they grow personalities. (Even Bobby’s recast portrayer, Christian Campbell acknowledged that his character hasn’t had much to flesh out yet, but he insisted this was a good thing, providing him with much challenge in creativity and ownership.) Put these fairly new characters upfront and make leading actors and soap superstars out of them: Reggie, Danielle, Zach, Babe, Jamie, Ethan, Kendall (without the snark, please), Simone, Aidan. Bring these veterans upfront along with the newcomers and give them frontburner stories: Erica, Adam, Brooke, David, Marian, Tad, Opal, Palmer, Myrtle, Mary. I don’t really care about the remaining – Bianca, Maria, Stuart, Jackson – they’re residuals.
End the baby switch immediately. Have Babe be the one to tell Bianca, after all, fully prepared for the consequences. Have Bianca lecture Babe about her betrayal and selfishness until Babe’s ready for the electric chair, then forgive her as Babe heads off to prison to serve her five-to-seven sentence, while Babe leaves Ace too with Bianca. Ace turns out not to be JR’s after all, DNA results were faulty, but Paul’s, who’s dead by then so who cares. Babe gets off for good behavior after serving her prison sentence for about one month, retrieves her baby Ace with Bianca’s blessing, and marries Jamie. But Bianca realizes that she’s in love with Babe, and fights to win her from Jamie.
Zach and Maria give in to their carnal lust and shack up, having sex every other week and making eyes at each other until viewers want to have sex with them, every day.
Tad hooks up with Simone, the two form their own private detective agency and she gives birth to their daughter, named after Dixie. Dixie returns and a triangle ensues, but this time, Dixie goes to David and Tad stays with Simone, after having decided he really loves this wacky doll more.
Tad and Simone, together with David and Dixie, come across a mystery unraveling at the hospital, and go to investigate. Somehow, Brooke and Adam become embroiled in the mess, along with Erica and Jackson. Erica and Brooke find themselves forced to work together, in disguise, to outwit some bad guys and learn more about the unraveling mystery.
Danielle and Reggie take their relationship to the next level, which displeases Derek and Livia, whose extended families return to weigh in on this situation, including Livia’s successful lawyer son Terrence. Danielle and Reggie elope, she studies to become a lawyer, he a cop, when they run into a criminal and con who resembles Jesse Hubbard. The Jesse Hubbard-type criminal and con goes straight and is a major source of info on that unraveling mystery, which also involves a white supremacist organization trying to infest all of America, via the Internet.
Kendall and Ethan try to work things out, but Ethan can’t help but be drawn to Bianca, hopeless as it may seem. Yet, Bianca is also drawn to Ethan, and cannot discount the possibility that maybe she is bisexual. Kendall and Bianca end up fighting over Ethan, drawing Erica and Jackson, Zach and Maria into the battle.
Zach discovers another DNA truth about himself. He may be British blue blood, uppercrust Caucasian Alexander Cambias Jr., but he also has some black blood in him. This truth figures heavily in that white supremacist mystery unraveling.
Opal and Palmer cease and desist long enough to realize they still love each other, remarry, and must deal with a meddling Mary who has eyed Palmer for her own. In the midst of this, Ted Orsini turns up, very much alive, but it turns out that somehow, he’s related to Opal and has actually fallen in love with Mary, who tries to be noble and decent for a change, because something about Ted stirs something noble and decent in her.
Over at OLTL, everybody can stay except the following: Jessica (she’s too stupid for words; Tico’s like, the third shady character she’s bought into, over the wiser judgments of those she’s known for longer) and Kelly (enough said on the tired subject). Todd, as underwhelmingly played by Trevor St. John lately, is on probation until he can be something more than a whining, flippant bully.
Supposedly, in the real Sweeps, the plot gimmick known as the Santi mob insertion, will come to a merciful head. Now, that could mean it continues into the next chapter, or it’s over when Antonio discovers his steel balls and velvet cape and takes Tico down. I’d like to pull a DALLAS and have Antonio taking a nice, long, hot, luxurious shower, shaking off the after-affects of what had just been a nasty dream caused by too much flan the night before. He walks out and Keri’s sitting on his couch with Jamie, smiling contentedly. Unfortunately, from what I’ve read of the actual November Sweeps, TPTB want the new head writer, Dena Higley, to infuse more romance without adding tons of new unattached, unconnected characters in order to do it, and save Sonia for somebody. Just as long as Sonia’s for someone else, other than Antonio.
It’s also been reported in the soap mags that Kelly finds her balls and some semblance of a soul in deciding to return Ace to his rightful mother, AMC’s Babe. But she must go through a disapproving, unwilling Kevin, who’s thinking more about his politics than ethics. Here’s what I’d like to happen: Kelly drop-kicks Kevin, tells him to go fuck himself, steps over him, drives to Babe’s, drops off Ace, sheds a few tears, takes a deep breath, and keeps on fucking driving until she arrives in Y&R’s Genoa City, where the people there keep mistaking her for Victoria Newman.
Much to my disbelief, the asshole writers plan to continue dicking the fans around with the possibility of a Bo-and-Nora reunion, leaving Daniel, Paige and anybody else in the dust. (Shades of NEm.) If I had my way, Bo would die and Nora would FUCKING. MOVE. ON. if, by that time, any sane guy would even have this trifling bitch.
Rex needs to stop being the town gigolo. Let him build his restaurant/nightclub, with a secret hobby on the side, helping design and build homes and complexes for the poor and displaced. Shannon should be by his side, the two make a cutting edge pair, she brings out his tender side more than Jennifer does, because the two of them are a lot alike, very embracing of their cynical cover, he moreso, but hiding true depth because they’d never known it in their pursuit of the materialistic and shallow.
Throw in the complications of Duke and Adriana, and here’s the foundation from which a genuine post-teen, 20-something youth demo darling can spring forth. Imagine Duke curious about Shannon, Rex drawn to Adriana. Michael and John constantly interfering in cousin Shannon’s love life, same for Natalie and Roxy, Kevin, Asa, Viki, and Kelly.
Max comes back, a millionaire, and falls desperately in love with Roxy and Lindsay. He discovers a family tie with David and Rex. Gabrielle never died. River and Travis return. Nathan Fillion reprises Joey. You get my drift.
Mostly, enough with the externals. OLTL was and is always successful with internals, amongst the familiar.
What GH is doing to Laura’s memory is a travesty. Instead of using a blonde fill-in as Heather’s inspiration, serving as filler plot device for the rest of the bystanders almost stumbling upon her eating, sitting, thinking, shitting and sleeping in her rocking chair, and according to rumors, dying as a result of Heather’s unhealthy, illogical obsession with Luke... kill Laura off, leave her alone, don’t even speak of her again. That’s the least these powers that be motherfuckers should do for Genie Francis, after all the shit they put her through.
After laughing my guts out, in amusement and frustration, at Sage’s storyboard spoilers about NEm, it occurred to me that perhaps TIOC view Nikolas and Emily as a modern-day Luke and Laura, throwing them one catastrophe and obstacle after another in order to showcase HOW these two overcome, not necessarily WHAT is inside to constantly inspire them to overcome and thrive together.
Posters online are keeping a running count of the Noppers (characters used to prop NEm) and the victims (14 so far), people felled as a result of trying to interfere or merely interact meaningfully with NEm. But if I’m to be fair, Luke & Laura had their fair share of body counts in the heyday of the ‘80s. It’s natural, they were a couple viewers counted on to weather the storms and become stronger for it.
I can’t help but feel the comparison is vastly different. Bear in mind my memory could stand heaping doses of Ginkgo Biloba, and I DID do my share of “C’mon! This is bullshit! Get on with the show! Shut up, Luke, get out of the way, Laura!” But Luke and Laura, together, really WERE better and stronger than apart. Luke seemed kinder, more considerate of others; Laura, as Tony Geary was always fond of telling the press, humanized Luke. Laura seemed less uptight, more wacky; Luke loosened her up, as she continually tried to oneup him – as Robert Scorpio did – in outrageousness and moxy. She was the only person who could successfully stand up to Luke, and conversely, the only one Luke didn’t look like a bully yelling at.
As I also recall, Luke and Laura never engaged in syrupy, cornball bullshit that passes for romantic foreplay nowadays. Their conversations were honest, jabbing at times, undercut with double-entendres, and the realism of a hopelessly smitten man and woman from checkered pasts.
Nikolas and Emily, however, always fall short of Luke and Laura expectations. It often looks to me as if Tyler Christopher’s going through the motions, wishing he were at his house fixing it up instead of having to recite this Walt Whitman horseshit, and Natalia Livingston’s just so excited to be there in a steady job as an actress that she’d recite any stupid line to stick around, God bless her (off my screen).
Some of Emily’s lines are just too ridiculously hokey to be believed, and the way Livingston blandly tries to sell it, a rehearsed Avon lady, often has me cringing with underkill.
Believe it or not, GH’s November Sweeps sound killer. Except for the NEm part. But you know me, I’d rather they just be killed.
Sue me, I couldn’t come up with a more appropriate title for the October 23rd 2nd episode of the surprising and riveting, but infuriating and insulting SoapNet reality-TV series, “I Wanna Be A Soap Star.”
For the second time in a row, the three judges – alleged soap acting experts Debbi Morgan (ex-Angie, AMC/PC), Mark Teschner (GH casting director) and Michael Bruno (talent manager) – fucked up and kicked out the 2nd best actor in the final line-up, quirky, “I wanna be a Jeffrey Dahmer soap type” Kent.
They even went through telling him how daytime welcomes quirky sometimes too, after telling hair poseur Michael that he’s on the edge between confident and arrogant, and he didn’t impress them much in the love scene. As Bruno put it, Michael acted held back because of his girlfriend and failed to sell the simulated sex.
Son of a bitch.
Earlier, as the three female finalists went to choose their leading men for the love scenes, everybody wanted either Mykel or Michael, the two buff studs in the bunch, leaving quirky little scrawny intelligent, funny Kent behind. Obviously, the judges aren’t completely out to lunch; most typical (boring, shallow, ordinary) women want Mykel or Michael, on- and off-screen.
NOT ME, YOU FUCKS.
I’d have grabbed Kent and loved the hell out of his quirky ass, turning in more than your average NEm candlelight and moaning. It would’ve been about falling for a guy that could easily go to the dark side, and I ain’t talkin’ ‘bout the mob, I’m talkin’ about sexuality, perversion, self-brutalization, the nasty shit soaps and soap fans would be aghast to witness.
But then, maybe the likes of Kent doesn’t belong on a boring, typical, shallow, ordinary soap. The closing credits included mention of him doing an indie.
Clearly, that’s where my ass belongs at this point.
SHADES OF RACISM
“Shades Of Love” by Elaine G. Flores [SOD, 10/26/04] evoked shame, admiration, fear and loathing. In the special feature about how soaps, soap characters and the soap audience have evolved – or not – in the issue of race and inter-racial relationships, several actors and fans were interviewed for the process.
Not surprising, but very welcome, were the supportive comments of the actors whose characters were involved in inter-racial stories. In particular B&B’s Adrienne Frantz (Amber) scored big points with me by declaring that she didn’t give a damn about the death threats and the threatening, insulting feedback she received when involved in an on-screen relationship with black musician Usher (ex-Raymond). Fans wrote in calling her a whore, white trash, skanky bitch, you name it. But Frantz, with the biggest balls ever, said “I’ll take all the hate mail. It’s about time people got over it.”
The scary part in all this is that Amber and Raymond’s affair happened in 1998, only six years ago, when people should know better.
Judging by the “Color Commentary” sidebar of fans’ views on the matter, it wouldn’t have mattered if it was 1998 or 1898, some of their backwards sentiments remained, couched in subtle terms, but still crying out KKK:
“It’s not that I totally disapprove of interracial relationships. I just would prefer not to see them on the soaps.” –Tammy, Poplar Bluffs, MO
“I do not like interracial relationships on or off the screen. I am sick of this kind of stuff. I do not think it adds anything to the show for me. After all these years, it may be time for me to quit watching these soaps.” –Janet, Vandalia, OH
(Better make a mental note to avoid moving to the Midwest next year.)
Tammy and Janet might be surprised to know that I come from an interracial marriage, my parents too, and that the majority of exotically beautiful people living in Hawaii are the products of interracial coupling; these people are, by far, more beautiful than all the blonde beauty pageant contestants from Texas alone, IMHO, because they represent variety, diversity, expansiveness, hope, and they’re uncommonly beautiful.
But then, maybe they don’t care, since they live in the Middle Ages of Dumb Ass.
It’s so-called soap fans like these that worry me, not just for the health and welfare of my soaps, but for my own health and welfare. I might very well be interacting with them online in various message boards and not realize who I’m messing with. Who knows... if they met me in person with my Caucasian husband Eddie, and our hapa-haole son, they might find cause to spit at us and curse out epithets.
As a minority, the very thought can be incapacitating. If they think so little of interracial relationships in their soaps, what would they think of me, a fellow fan?
If, after 30 decades, we as a society still haven’t learned a fucking thing from the race wars, the Civil Rights marches, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, the integration of minority actors into the framework of Hollywood celebrity (I just saw Lucy Liu kicking Uma Thurman’s ass in “Kill Bill, Vol. 1,” awesome!), etc. etc., then what’s the point?
Janet and Tammy, please do the rest of us a favor and stop watching soaps. Clearly, the genre is out of your league. Assholes.
This was my first soap introduction, and I should be watching it more often than I do OLTL and GH. I really don’t know why I haven’t been. It’s tops in consistency, family relations and use of veterans and character history to tell offshoot stories, still, to this day. It’s improved by leaps and bounds since the early ‘70s, when watching regularly would have one believe the world was on Demerol.
Maybe because of the baby switch story that keeps dragging on, by turns frustrating and enthralling me. Maybe because of the ever-tiring Kendall and her vendettas, although I hear she’s softened somewhat due to Ethan. Maybe because the Ryan and Greenlee soft-porn hour turns me on about as much as watching me finger myself.
But lately, as I’ve tuned in live, in spurts, hand in mid-air about to finish wiping a wet dish, shoes caked with fresh mud from a quick jaunt around the garden out back, the show’s character interactions have compelled me to sit down for a spell, longer than I’d originally, spontaneously intended.
It’s not the stories themselves. I’m still sick of being led on by lame plot devices to postpone the inevitable baby-switch reveal. I still don’t buy Kendall’s soft spot, least of all with Bianca-smitten Ethan. And I still would rather watch old people stick dildos up their assholes than Greenlee opening her mouth on Ryan’s.
But when Adam yells at Tad, demanding to know where Liza and Colby are hiding, or else suffer the consequences on Tad’s son, Jamie, and Tad goes from light to dark in a flash, remembering everything Adam did to his and Dixie’s son, JR, and to Dixie prior, I’m in there 100 percent for the ride. I just love watching Adam and Tad going at it, two masters of manipulation, using their minds, their children, their history.
The same happens when David’s on with Krystal and Babe in his cabin. Even though Krystal’s on a secret mission to recruit Tad to their Operation: Save Ace Without Jail Time, on the auspices of a grocery run, I can’t help but be enchanted and feel strangely comforted when Dr. Death, David Hayward, buys the excuse and does something as sundry as asking her to get some good coffee and a few other household items while she’s out there. It’s like peeking in on a family in a split-second of good times, for a refreshing change, however short-lived. It helps that I adore Babe’s Alexa Havins beyond reason (I haven’t felt that way about a soap actress since Susan Lucci/Erica).
Conversely, I despise JR, even as I’m crowing over another of his outrageously cruel and cutting remarks about his enemies. Pitting pontific beatific Bianca against him, as she tried to lecture some good sense his way, was like watching the Angel Gabriel coax Satan back up to his former heavenly home. JR just kept getting more vicious if possible. This guy says shit that I wouldn’t even think of, much less blurt out in a safe, familiar crowd, and I’ve blurted out a lot of outrageous shit, taking it farther left than any sane human being could possibly imagine, and making Howard Stern blush. For that alone, he’s worth a glance.
When Greenlee’s in a crowd, with family and friends, outside of Ryan’s vacuum, I can more than tolerate her, too. I’m liking the goofy, truth-blurting nutbar (her “projectile blurts,” btw, sound an awful lot like “Liar, Liar” syndrome... maybe a former rival wished on a genie that Greens must always be honest no matter what), she’s less about spouting license plates and appropriating Carrie on “Sex And The City,” and more about being real. If Reggie arrived, more’s the better. (Btw, word on the virtual street is, Jonathan might be spiking Greens’ drinks.)
Observing guard dog Jonathan defending his guilt before an unmoved, dignified Ethan is always good for a voyeuristic chuckle as well. The scenes with them have been priceless in dichotomy, shadow and light, selfish and giving, pauper and prince. And, later, as Ethan prepared to walk away from Zach and the Kane women, he revealed – in an utterly delicious soapy moment – that he knew Zach was really Alexander Cambias Jr. all along, by saying goodbye “dad.” Turn, pan, shock. They don’t do climaxes like those anymore, anywhere else, but on AMC.
Maybe I better start recording this soap again on a more regular basis.
Catching the last two days of the week of October 18th and... MY EYES! MY EYES! Nah, j/k, I actually don’t mind JR with Kendall, they’re sure a sight better than “Let’s shag, then” Ethan and “How’s about some aspirin shaking instead?” Kendall. At least those two are cut from the same cloth, two assholes who purposely think of the worst possible insults for the blackmail occasion, but usually come off like little kids trying too hard to be like Eminem. “Northwest Afternoon’s” talk show co-host Cindi Rinehart, the self-proclaimed “Queen of Soaps” should know better though. She saw the scene and pronounced the French kissing between Kendall and JR disgusting, adding that they should keep their tongues inside their mouths when they kiss. It may have looked like tongue for the cameras, but just as lips touch, tongues are withdrawn, a technique GH’s Ingo Rademacher (Jax) demonstrated on me once (okay, to an audience at some nameless talk show in the ‘90s).
Although, Alicia Minshew (Kendall) did have to learn how to kiss on-screen when she first got on AMC, as testified by Cameron Mathison (Ryan) – her first. He said she just went at him, mouth open, tongue jamming, until he went, WHOA!, uh...
God, I love Babe, but does the girl listen to herself speak?! She goes on to Jamie about why she kept the secret of Bess as Miranda from Bianca, like it was a choice between giving JR happiness or her best friend. NO. IT’S ABOUT DOING WHAT’S RIGHT OR DOING WHAT’S WRONG, plain and simple. All the self-recriminating in the world doesn’t fix the problem. Let’s see some action. Because, what if JR turned out to be a nice guy and Babe never knew Ace existed? Exactly.
Plenty of quotable fun at the characters’ expense in the October 18th show...
Dorian to angry, dark, dangerous Antonio: “I’ve seen that look before. You look like Manuel Santi.” He does? He looks the same to me, just more constipated. Actually, he’s been looking “constipated” for quite a while now.
Duke to stuffed shirt Kevin: “I wonder what your loyal supporters over there would think if they knew you didn’t want your son to hang out with an Hispanic girl.” I’d question what race has to do with Kevin’s politics, except later, Natalie questioned Kevin’s generosity in paying Paul off to leave town as yet another underhanded maneuver to keep a clean, scandal-free image on his candidacy for Lt. Governor. I also had to hand it to Duke to show Kevin some brass balls, so he could continue seeing the lovely Adriana.
Ironic twist to the campaign slogan, on posters everywhere: BROOKS & BUCHANAN, THE REAL DEAL. (Yup, Kevin wins all the votes by this week to claim second-top spot in the governor’s office.)
Jennifer to an already-inebriated Paul: “I just thought you might like another drink.” Girlfriend, another drink won’t make Paul any more appealing.
John to Evangeline on the phone: “It would be nice to come home to someone for a change,” as Natalie overheard, her face a mass of rejection. Ouch. At least Nat didn’t roll her eyes that time; she did earlier and later, and my lord she looked like the devil.
David to Kelly, apparently off her meds for a change and not sporting her usual sour face: “You make me laugh. You always made me laugh.” Correction, dude. The original Kelly, as portrayed by Gina Tognoni made David laugh, not this pill in heels. The laid-back California drawlin’ ain’t gonna pull the pole outta her butt...
Note to the directors: When David talks, focus also on the reactions of others in the room. David giving John and Bo too much information about his and Dorian’s showering habits, catching himself mid-stream... is funny as hell. Seeing John and Bo hiding their disgust and/or trying not to burst into girlish laughter at David’s lazy backpedaling... would’ve been even more funny.
Who else needed a cold shower after Natalie came onto John in front of Rodi’s?... asking the questions every Jolie fan has wondered since he suddenly struck up a physical intimacy with Evangeline when he was supposed to be pining away still for his dead fiancée Caitlin and keeping Nat at bay because of it, “Why Evangeline and not me? What’s wrong with me? Didn’t you feel the same as me, what happened?,” then laid one on him so hot I felt her lips and tongue from here. John returned the favor, projecting his own sense of himself in her, at a younger age, with his intense insistence that she never give up on herself, that she can and will overcome her grief at the loss of Cristian and stop picking fights to forget. Medic!
If for nothing else, I gotta love Daniel for his fatherly devotion. What other soap dad (besides Bo) would skip a long-awaited date with the ultra-busy Nora to be a sounding board and support system, over East Coast-style pizza, for his college-aged son? I kept waiting for Riley to credit Daniel for helping him kick his substance abuse, and vice versa, instead of just Jennifer – getting her ass kicked by Nat at Ultra Violet at the time – but no such luck. Don’t worry, baby, mommy knows you’re special.
During the week of October 11, cast and crew went home, taking a break from filming because of the head writer switch. Michael Malone’s tenure ended, and so did his stories. New stories by incoming head writer Dena Higley would begin anew on October 18. That’s the story they’re sticking to, OLTL isn’t being canceled, heads aren’t rolling (yet), no big deal.
Yeah, R.J.’s been missing. I NOTICED.
I don’t like Paul. I think he’s pond scum, the lowest common denominator of human waste. But the writers are going too far in exaggerating his villainous content. Now, he’s capable of raping Jennifer? What’s next, he brutalizes little ole ladies for spare change, he killed Kennedy, he started the Iraq War? C’mon, let’s not lay all of the world’s ills on the poor guy, who started off as just a money-hungry con artist, and is currently being portrayed as the Anti-Christ. I THOUGHT I saw “666” on the back of his skull when he went after Natalie’s jugs.
October 15 and 18 hosted the attempted hit on John Durant, the fall-out and a not-so little reaction from a child named Michael Corinthos III. Beautifully filmed, almost a poetic montage of flying bullet, fallen bodies, puddle of blood, outstretched arms, Sonny cradling then cramming little Mikey into his chest, Alexis stopping short from a meal run at the hospital to stare in horror at the TV news crew live on the scene in front of Kelly’s.
All the typical soapy elements were in place:
The inhuman manner in which Sonny and Carly’s son Michael handled the hit, after witnessing it on TV with his father and worrying about Carly with an odd shit-eating grin on his face for about 10 seconds, chilled me to the bone.
Judging by the mass hysteria on the boards, I wasn’t alone.
Here’s what happened. Sonny ordered Michael to keep the TV off, to avoid further traumatizing the kid (who must be barely, what, six or seven?), then went off to endure the anti-mob lecture from Alexis, then Ric. When Sonny returned to Michael’s hospital room, said kid with the shit-eating, defiant grin was watching TV, again, against his father’s wishes, big surprise.
Sonny then reminded Michael to turn the TV off and leave it off. Michael still had that insane, shit-eating grin on his face when he then congratulated his father for killing his grandfather with: “Good job. You had Durant shot.” Even Sonny had the good grace to look horrified, maybe a little guilty.
At this point, I had to shut my TV off and take a few heavy deep breaths. Michael, mere child or not, has officially crossed over into a sociopath. And, if TPTB don’t have Sonny leaving the mob immediately after as a result and Carly sending their son Michael to military or boarding school in London... they’re officially sociopathic enablers, completely responsible for perpetuating a dangerous precedent, condoning the abominable behavior of an amoral, disrespectful, disgusting, soulless monster as the cute, wacky antics of a precocious child for fear of offending the S&C fan base, and subjecting such a bad role model for impressionable child and teen viewers everywhere.
The following day, it got worse, as Michael matter-of-factly confirmed for himself that Sonny kills his enemies, justifiably, for a living, and Sonny hiding the fact that yes, he does, by making it about other people trying to take away what was his and defending himself. Their talk of guns Jason and Max wielded further reduced the integrity of the man and the father that Sonny wanted to be. Instead of telling this child that what he did for a living was wrong and illegal, and that he would stop it because of what it was clearly doing to the boy... or say that it’s never right to kill anybody (to Sonny’s credit, he DID say this later to Michael in the only scene that moved me to tears), but he is in the life because he cannot leave or else he and his loved ones WILL be killed.
I’m an advocate for being upfront with your children, so that they can see you are not a god but a flawed human being as they are. But I’m also an advocate for doing what’s best for your children; if that means leaving a lifestyle that’s detrimental, LEAVE.
It would’ve been hilarious had I not been outraged, watching Michael over-simplify a dangerous, criminal lifestyle as a matter of ridding the earth of bad guys that done did his family wrong... And Sonny, his father, exacerbating the situation by reinforcing that simplistic belief with simple, cowardly rationalizations on why his lifestyle isn’t dangerous or criminal, but simply a hero’s errand, to defend himself against his enemies who would want nothing but to take from him what he earned, without going into the specifics of WHY.
Cut to Carly, Michael’s mother, laying into Jason, then – in the second fastest plot turn this week, next to the 27 minutes Jason spent in the PCPD interrogation room as a murder suspect – after Jason laid out the facts, he couldn’t have shot John because he wasn’t that stupid to stick around the crime scene and be caught holding the gun – she did a turnaround and prostrated herself before him.
In that and the previous day’s episodes, I felt absolutely nothing in the face of Carly’s crocodile tears. I should’ve, and I would’ve, had the woman in question been say, Mary Bishop, or Alexis Davis, or the original Emily Bowen Quartermaine, played by a real actress who can convey a multitude of nuanced emotions other than by-the-script basics.
Clap clap on the tears, the sniffling, Tamara Braun’s trademarked whining to get in the whining mood, right on cue, but so what? Her insta-sorrow does little to erase or inform the years and years of arm-grabbing, snarling, growling, browbeating, eye rolling and surface interpretation of nothing but a mob moll bitch and co-dependent bully.
I always get the feeling that, like the many times before, she’s just doing what she’s told, nothing more, nothing less... whether she’s mad, in love, in hate, jealous, content, and now, sad – all with that ugly sense of entitlement so many anti-fans have noticed about her from the beginning.
She can do comedy, granted. And the actress herself is very personable, animated, lively, as opposed to her superficial interpretations AS AN ACTRESS of the soap character. But Braun cannot do Sarah Brown’s Carly any good, because, IMHO, she cannot do complex, conflicted, compassionate, aspects that require subtlety, depth, humility, introspection.
Which reminds me of an October 26th “Ask Us” in SOAP OPERA DIGEST, where Sarah Brown commented on the superficial similarity in herself and her successor Tamara Braun. Brown mused that maybe the two had ancestors that came from similar regions, but in her view, the two share nothing in common with their “distinctively different features. You would never put us side by side and go, ‘Oh, they’re sisters.’” (Girlfriend, in more ways than looks.) Actual photos placed side by side in the magazine proved Brown – whose appearance seemed more quixotic, intriguing, hiding divergent storms barely underneath – right. Whereas Braun is just striking with her strong Aries eyebrows meaning business, meaning strength, and quirky upturned lips; pretty much, what you see is what you get.
Which then reminded me of Shaun Benson and his offbeat remark about playing his character Dr. Steven as this shapeshifter, like Proteus the Greek god, and further tickling my theatre of the absurd by asserting that Steven is working both Carly and John to some extent, with his lies of convenience and necessity, that like John, he too wants to use crucial information to his advantage, in order to win Carly’s affections. Well, when he actually SHOWS me this shape-shifting god playing both angles connivingly, instead of a smiling, curly-haired clown...
Cut back to Sonny, hands clasped in prayer, at the hospital chapel, about to have a little talk with God (since Mr. Corinthos has a direct line and all), me groaning with dread. I listened in while crocheting that afghan. “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. I have sinned knowingly. I have lied. I have stolen. Returned hate for hate, violence for violence. I’ve threatened, hurt people, killed them. I’ve always found a way to justify my actions. The life that I’ve chosen is a brutal one,” and on and on with this list that even Satan himself would admire, and I couldn’t help but drop my crocheting needle, my afghan square and just laugh silently at the blasphemy of it all. I’m surprised Benard didn’t laugh reciting his character’s endless sins.
At least with God, Sonny can be his most honest, but I disagree that a child like Michael would not be able to bear such truth. Such truth – that Sonny is trapped in this dangerous life and is willing to take the repercussions on himself, himself alone – would save Michael from juvenile hall, and a one-way ticket to Hades.
The absurdity continued, “I’ve taught [Michael] to be fair and honest, strong but not cruel.” If Sonny means this by osmosis and not example, yeah fine. Unfortunately, I suspect the little terror’s been taking on Sonny’s more obvious example, learning by watching the lying, conniving, cheating, selfish, misogynistic, petty, coward of a surrogate father in action. Same with his ass of a mom.
“How do I tell him there were circumstances that led me to murder? That’s too much for a child to carry. But what’s the alternative? ... How do I lie to my son?” Is God, the Almighty, actually supposed to answer Sonny to Sonny’s satisfaction? Luckily, we don’t have God, but the next best oracle in Ric, interrupting Sonny’s holy mass with his gutsy indictments, along the lines of, UH, DUDE, YOU’RE A FUCKING CRIMINAL WHO MURDERS AND PILLAGES FOR A LIVING, AND A GODDAMNED PROUD AND UNREPENTANT ONE AT THAT. CHOKE ON YOUR GUILT, YOU JACKASS.
Besides, here’s the answer (since I, too, have a direct line to God): “My wayward, delusional, son, go and sin no more.” Sounds like a clear case for Sonny leaving the mob to me.
And now, a word about Mac. I was there when John J. York took on this sexy scallywag role, ne’er-do-well, philandering younger brother of Robert Scorpio. That Mac and this Mac are like two different animals; they might as well be two different characters from two different shows in two different genres from two different networks.
The only time I enjoy watching Mac at all is when he’s being a dad to Maxie and Georgie with Felicia. There, he’s patient, thoughtful, frustrated, firm, emotionally open and a real honest to goodness human being who remembered what it was like to be teetering on the edge of rebellion.
Otherwise, and this past week typified what’s wrong with the man, I have absolutely no use for him. In what could be a pivotal position to turn the PCPD around into the good guys, the heroes, actively attempting to bring down the criminals with brains and brawn, instead – thanks in large part to the mob-loving writers – Mac provides the worst example of corruption, incompetence, apathy, stupidity and utter disregard for his friends (Jax!), pregnant women who fall (Sam!), and anyone else getting in the way of his Sonny/Jason vendetta.
I couldn’t believe my eyes in the October 20, 21st episodes, as Mac didn’t remotely reflex with compassion for his good buddy Jax as he read him the riot act about aiding and abetting escaped convict, Skye. What’s next, shaking down little Michael and his kindergartener pals for lunch money?
Here’s what I don’t understand about Tracy and the spoilers about her and Helena leading up to last week’s phone call in the elevator: Every indicator pointed to Tracy being afraid of Helena, feeling that she’s gone too far with her NEm vendetta, backing off from the alliance. But every indicator on-screen told me differently, that Tracy either didn’t care what happened to NEm, murder or no murder, or sided solely with Helena, despite returning the curses book back to NEm (the book supposedly did no good anyway, because Helena ripped the key pages out). I suspected Tracy of bringing the book back just to throw NEm off anyway, which failed, because NEm don’t trust very easily.
The emotional scene between John and his long-lost daughter Carly, where she called him dad and they both acknowledged they needed each other after all, moved portrayer Corbin Bernsen so much he did the unusual, he teared up when he watched later, as a viewer ... even though, I felt nothing for Carly myself. He didn’t even need to worry about adhering to his rule against meeting his new co-stars until the actual shoot date, as planned with GH, because he and Tamara Braun – who did phone him up the night before his first day on the set to get acquainted – worked their magic almost immediately. He has only raves for her and the other actors on the show.
I did have to question his idea of a good match for John Durant, some chickie in her 20s, maybe Emily... yuck-ola... while I admired his ability to turn an average SoapNet online Q&A with fans last Friday into a pithier version of Bravo’s “Inside the Actors Studio,” instead of a gang-banging mind-fuckfest, taking each question – mostly raving about that emotional scene with Braun – seriously and really giving intelligent thought behind each answer. To be fair, most of the chosen questions were above the ordinary, into acting technique and choices specific to certain scenes that worked, as well as references to obscure (“The Dentist”) and known (“L.A. Law”) past works.
One question from a fan inspired Bernsen to augment his acting techniques with an extra suggestion within the body of the question itself. She asked the actor whether he considered approaching the John/Carly relationship with an intent to also save Carly from a dysfunctional marriage. Bernsen said he hadn’t thought of it from that angle, but it’s a good angle to consider and he would the next chance he got.
Sure beats the usual, “No comment. Ask the writers,” of 80 percent of the PC soap crowd.