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~*~
I’m not too comfortable with how the AMC writers escorted Bobby Warner out of Pine Valley, rewriting his character from a mere reformed playboy into a blackmailing criminal, berating his soon-to-be-ex-wife as if she were the tax collector.
But look at how the OLTL writers did worse with Paul Cramer. They transformed him, overnight, from a pathetic, money-hungry loser and a weak-willed, whiny wimp that even Marcie could beat up, into an attempted rapist, serial blackmailer and hardcore criminal deserving of a bullet in the gut.
And, how about GH writers trying (in vain) to make Mary Bishop the heavy for daring to (successfully?) come between the show’s hand-picked beloved couple, Nikolas & Emily (NEm)? With one fell swoop of her garden weapon, Mary’s entire, short history was destroyed, as well as her hard-earned reputation as merely a grieving, tormented widow who, through her loneliness and – it turns out – Nikolas’ startling resemblance to her husband Connor, committed a heinous act she herself could bear no longer to perpetuate. In the end, because she could not remain on an already full canvas – who could?, with the Sonny hour in progress – and certainly not achieve rooting value on her own after messing with the hallowed NEm, Mary went on a psychopathic serial-killing rampage.
One would almost surmise from the feeding frenzy of an outgoing deadweight as something personal. In my bad days, I am almost convinced it IS personal; like maybe the depths of depravity in a character exit have more to do with ill will amongst the rank and file. So you wanna leave our hallowed show? Take that! To wit: Genie Francis (ex-Laura, GH).
But in all likelihood, it’s probably a number of factors we fans will never fully be privy to. One explanation could be in the sudden creative freedom to write an exit story without limitations or edicts to focus on a fan favorite. Since the character is halfway out the door anyway, the writing team might be creaming themselves in attempts to go for broke, really affect the entire existing characters with a major murder mystery or a major excuse to justify the other half of a new couple (in AMC’s case, the Anita recast moving on in a new relationship with Aidan).
That’s how I see the OLTL murder mysteries surrounding both Paul’s and Tico’s deaths. These two were never very popular with fans, due mostly to TPTB’s inability to form a firm characterization for either of them. I always got the sense the writers were hedging their bets, depending on clues they derived from watching the actors and their interactions with other actors. I also got a strong sense that both Paul and Tico weren’t meant to be such cut-and-dried villains at first, but that the writers were so inept, confused and desperate to strike a hit within the confines of such strict upper-management edicts that they felt they had no other choice but to vilify these two for the fortification of the show’s beloved mainstays, Jessica, Antonio, Natalie, John, Evangeline, Kelly.
After Paul took up with Natalie, many fans saw this as his chance to redeem himself, be worth her taking a chance on him. Between their hooking up and the obvious still-remaining sparks between Natalie and John, the vilification of Paul was merely a matter of time and convenience. Even Paul’s recast, David Tom, seemed surprised by the maneuver, as he’d hoped throughout for glimpses of a redemption to signal complex layers, not the stripping of everything but a black hat.
If Tico was always slated to be “El Tiburon,” I’d be surprised. I thought for sure his foster sister Sonia was the evil-minded of the pair. The actor, Javier Morga, always played his intro as a good guy, well-meaning, earnest. So when writers twisted him around as this violent, duplicitous slime, Morga didn’t seem to fit his role anymore; in fact, many soap critics commented after the fact about his being an ineffectual bad guy.
While I’m on OLTL, I have a sneaky suspicion another outgoing character will go bad...none other than the gifted actress who plays perennial bad girls, Kimberlin Brown (Dr. Paige Miller). Last week, as Dr. Paige exuded an undercurrent of evil around Dr. Michael McBain following the murder of Tico under his watch, news leaked online that she, too, would be axed as the new head writer, Dena Higley, took over. While Brown always makes for believably sinister and menacing, and the prospect of her Paige going after Nora for butting in on all those dates (all of, maybe three) thrills me to no end... it’d really be a welcome, improved change of pace, however, to see her in a role that stretches the box a little.
When confronted with a choice in how I’d prefer the outgoing to go, I’m not sure I’d be against them going with a noble bang... like GH’s Mary did at the end when she saw Connor in Nikolas’ face, angelic again, poignant in her romanticized madness... better yet, in a flurry of bullets as one last-ditched effort to save a damsel in distress (something I sense GH’s Connor about to do), ala Zander Smith, the final act of a saint from a sinner.
That’s a far sight better than the way GH’s Keesha, OLTL’s Shannon and AMC’s, which son was it that belonged to the Martins who went up the attic and never came back?... went – without a trace.
What’s even more interesting is that a lot of the time, when a new character fails with the audience, by the very act of that new character leaving, somehow the audience’s own first impression is called into question. It’s happened more times than I care to remember on GH especially, Lisa Vultaggio’s Hannah hit it big when she attracted the attentions of Billy Warlock’s A.J., the two of them could’ve really made waves as a soap couple. But by the time anybody noticed, it was too late.
It happened again with Jessica Ferrarone’s Lydia. This one tanked right away, fans unable to give the brashy approach, crooked smile, and humongous hooters a chance to have an effect, so TPTB immediately pulled the plug, replacing her with a less-than-moving J Robin Miller, who, ironically enough, started looking better when she paired up with A.J. But then again, Lydia was supposed to be one of the first NEm spoilers, so her fate was doomed from the start.
There should be even more departures coming up on all three ABC soaps, from what I gather. AMC might lose Natalia Cigliuti (Anita), a male veteran and a young established female actress. OLTL, for sure, will see more recurring heads roll when its new head writer fully takes over this week. GH has suffered an embarrassment of riches, but that might soon end with the new year as many contemplate a future in primetime pilot season and films (or just plain taking a break), including Tamara Braun (Carly), Alicia Leigh Willis (Courtney), Ted King (Lorenzo), Ingo Rademacher (Jax), John J. York (Mac)... for sure Tony Geary (Luke) will leave, the show can’t afford him anymore.
Let’s just hope that when these people go, their writers don’t go too overboard, stretching the imaginative boundaries of our already over-taxed, reduced estimation.
I mean, can you really see Luke joining the monastery after going on a killing spree at Ferncliff?
“MAKE ME GAG. LOOKS LIKE SATAN CAN STILL KEEP A BEAT.” –DAVID (to TAD while watch JR sing on TV)
If it was at all possible, I managed to stay sane and keep my foot from crashing into my TV set during the baby reveal last week.
No, sweetheart, it’s not what you think.
While the rest of the AMC fans pumped their fists and shouted along with Binks as she lit into Babe about the betrayal of the century, I felt sorry.
Well, one of the problems – and there were many – is the ineffectual attempt to redress almost an entire year of wrongs in one night. I’m sure head writer Megan McTavish will drag this retribution of Bianca’s into and throughout the new year, that’s not what I’m saying.
The confession and confrontation in a Florida hotel room felt rushed, certainly not thoroughly thought out. I could’ve used a good, old-fashioned “Step into the parlor in the middle of a festive cocktail party and blurt this out in front of everybody” moment, a little wrestling by the primary players (Bianca could use a character upheaval) with the conflict between their justifiable outrage and their human instinct to make things right, right back.
I don’t know about anybody else, but I found myself wanting Bianca to ease up on Babe already KNOWING WHAT I KNOW about Babe’s self-centered tunnel vision.
It wasn’t as if everything Bianca lodged against Babe rang false. Far from it, Bianca had Babe’s number all the way up to the part where she called her former best friend on the fact that she’d only relinquish this secret once she knew she had a son safe and sound.
But all that needed to be said, didn’t need to be said in a one-night, one-note rush, and not from Bianca in such a typically self-righteous Bianca manner.
For all the sanctified ranting about missing her Miranda, she sure didn’t give the toddler much thought, cooing in her playpen, a few feet away. But if I think about it, she never gives that child a second thought, unless it suits her martyrdom. She has spent so much time wailing and whining about her missing, dead baby, that it ceased being about a baby and all about, again, Bianca, how Bianca has mourned, how Bianca has fought through demons, how Bianca still has to fight.
A little-known, but now-revealed confession from me: I could never truly sympathize with Bianca’s plight the way I eventually learned to with GH’s Sam’s stillbirth, because Eden Riegel never convinced me that it was about anything else but surface affectations, “How to appear grief-stricken and slowly mad in five easy lessons – for the Emmy reel.”
JR had her number alright, later on, calling her self-righteous when she refused to believe he’d want to take her along on his private jet back home, with baby “Bess.” Bianca is forever plagued with the reputation of a saint, a reputation she never hesitates to play into at every opportunity. At crunch time, she’s first to lecture, condemn, judge, issue ultimatums based on her version of right and wrong in the universe, she’s worse than Stalin.
Need I remind anyone that only when Kendall practically fell to her knees, ripping herself open as unworthy, ugly, putrid, genuflecting before the altar of Binks, post-rape, pre-birth... did Bianca look twice at the sister she’d always manipulated, belitted and thought little of than a waste case?
Last week, here we have a case where Bianca has every right FOR ONCE IN HER LIFE to pontificate, berate, condemn, judge and be Bianca-like with her summations from on high. Yet, it would’ve served her better to step down from on high to surprise me a little by not completely going off on Babe, by seeing that Babe did do the right thing, face to face, after all, whatever her excuses, that the eight months of their so-called best friendship counted for something more than a flip-off.
But then this woman was willing to give up her sister Kendall for her new best friend based on nothing but a guess.
Such superficially based relationships, while typical in today’s soaps, do nothing to encourage my support where it counts.
I can’t bear Bianca on a good day reading some poor, helpless, wayward soul the riot act. But Babe, too? Poor, pitiful, LIKEABLE Babe who should’ve been given the chance to tell Bianca right from the start, instead of left to bizarre stalling devices.
A little less self-righteous Bianca, a lot more indignant Erica, Kendall, Maggie, others who might better shed light on the depths this betrayal cost her.
After the first five minutes, Bianca’s unrelenting attacks, sarcastic belittlement and tit-for-tat cruelty became too much for me to take. Then again, I’m not the kind of person who can stand by and witness a willing victim be continually flayed open, which IMHO, is what happened last Tuesday in the special four-character episode.
Babe didn’t put up a fight. She just stood there taking it, begging for more, leaving her most vulnerable parts open for more abuse, as was her just punishment – an admission Bianca derailed for further caustic admonishment. Maybe that makes me just as apologetic as Babe, but truly, in the real-life face of such a heartfelt, tormented confession, my first instinct would never be as self-centered. The sap in me would’ve gone to Babe, tried to understand, and tried equally to impart to her how much this hurt me. I’d have cried, holding my baby the entire time.
Heck, I’d have gone for my baby the second “She’s yours— ” came out of Babe’s lips. I might’ve even walked out of the hotel room, telling Babe I need to be alone with my baby and think about what happened.
Instead of beating a dragging plot device to death with the flagrant use of the questionably sainted Bianca icon, relieved for the final outcome, breathing fire for the demonic plague known as the Carey women... I came away feeling only compassion FOR the Carey women and the men they charmed.
The good-bye scene at another hotel room rang truer, more poignant. I barely stifled a few sniffles of my own as Krystal honored the man in Jamie, raised by honorable parents who taught him well; as Krystal and Babe embraced with their souls, remembering as much of their shared lives as possible within a rushed span of two minutes; as Babe gently admonished David to say a good-bye to his grandson James, while her child-like eyes filled up with tears.
I don’t know whether it’s the actors’ inherent decency at play, or their superhuman efforts to infuse likeability in their characters despite their characters’ often unfathomable crimes, but their “you and me against the world, kid” mood cracked my usually cynical facade.
Their good-bye served as the reward for sitting through Bianca smiting Babe in typical form – as if reading every message board post online verbatim – but what happened way earlier, between arch enemies Tad and David, served as blessed respite.
If it weren’t for this unspoken power gay couple, I wouldn’t have made it through last week, least of all that dark Tuesday when the writers saw fit to add more godliness to an already ungodly creature.
Tad’s tied up in the bed at a motel. David’s watching TV, JR singing and playing guitar for the benefit, cracking wise, warning Tad to knock it off without even glancing over his shoulder, then when he spots his prisoner breaking free, jumping on top of Tad, rolling from the bed onto the floor – I laughed so hard, I almost spilled a two-liter bottle of Coke while pouring it in my glass on the nightstand.
Cut to David fielding a call from Babe (to help with Jamie’s head injuries), well, his voice from behind the bed, as he yells at Tad to wait a minute, he hears the phone ringing – they’re still in the middle of tussling over the ropes – and I’m on the floor myself in hysterics.
I’d much rather see Tad and David cutting each other down verbally than what they used to do over Dixie with fists and pure hatred in their cold beady eyes.
If it means I have to sit through another reason to worship at Bianca’s feet, so be it.
“I HAVE A GOOD SENSIBILITY FOR WRITING WOMEN BECAUSE I AM ONE.” –DENA HIGLEY, NEW HEAD WRITER
God, I hope Ms. Higley writes soap stories as expertly and soothingly as she gives interviews.
The one with TV GUIDE ONLINE’s Delaina Dixon on December 7 impressed me. I almost believed she – and the boss/long-time colleague who hired her, ABC Daytime president Brian Scott Frons – meant every promise to return OLTL to its core families, familiar faces, romance, a stronger female perspective, a heightened sense of the broken man saved by the love of a good woman, more couples and matriarchs ... IMHO long ignored for trendy plot devices and new youth demos.
Former executive producer Jill Farren Phelps aside, the very fact that Dena Higley is a woman, a wife, a mother to two boys, knows her scrimmage from the online community, self-deprecating about her brief moment in the sun over at DOOL and about her taking over from the more established writers at OLTL, and talks a scintillating game about the bad boys already controlling the hearts of viewers everywhere (that’d be Todd and John)... tells me that maybe, just maybe, this flagging show that has yet to rediscover its elusive personality, can be saved by the likes of her.
“As for men, the truth is I sort of married a Todd, a bad boy who's been redeemed by love. I love to write that kind of man because I love that kind of man. Todd will be heroic, but in a Todd-like way. He's never going to stop being the funny scoundrel. John McBain is an antihero. He's filled with integrity and tries to do the right thing, but inside he's broken. The balance of that type of man and a strong woman makes for good romance.”
Unfortunately, nothing else rings my bells... not the continued focus on Jessica and Antonio (you guys know my feelings about Nu Canadian Jess), the approval of crazy Margaret as a way to highlight Todd and Blair’s trust issues (can we put a moratorium on the insanity offense, please?), holding steady on the Bo and Nora reunion (Bo might pull something heroic that’ll screw up Nora somehow, but this is supposed to draw them closer or some nonsense), and of course, the double-talk regarding the lack of a love life for Viki.
Higley swears Viki is due for romance, but it won’t be forced. Social issues also will arise organically from pre-existing contract players. When the time is right, she said, then she’ll introduce stories to address these separate needs.
Until then, I’ll keep barely tuning in with most of my attention on this afghan I’m trying to finish before the new year begins. I know I won’t be missing much, and will only need to glance up and hit pause, rewind, pause if Natalie wakes up in another see-through negligee with a half-naked Cristian, Trevor St. John and Michael Easton decide to pull one of their prop-related stunts outside the script, or David and Dorian are in ANY scene, big or small.
Otherwise, what’s to keep my eyes glued to the TV set? Viki doing nothing but lecturing her two idiot daughters, breaking up fights between her son and her brother? Duke nagging his :: cough, cough yeah right :: father Kevin about every wrongdoing, real or imagined, while Kevin tells him to SHUT UP!? Morose, sour Kelly trying to be goofy, hysterical, gutsy, improved Kelly again? Jessica caring about something other than the voluptuous ratio of her parted lips and Antonio’s welfare?
Save me, Dena Higley. You’d better be on the level, or this show’s history.
“IF YOU LOVE ME, THEN YOU’LL HELP MY HUSBAND.” –EMILY
You guys would’ve admired my restraint.
I tried. I really tried. But TPTB are so intent on pushing Nikolas and Emily’s latest catastrophe – to prove their law-defying love – that I had no choice but to drop my first choice of a subject matter for this week (about the best casting decision in GH’s history next to Billy Warlock’s recast A.J., the hiring of Kari Wuhrer as federal agent Reece).
Call it, “The selfish self-centered self-interested obsessive concentration on self,” or something, but it’s a huge obstacle to my ever caring again for anybody on this show for longer than two commercial breaks.
The vanity, the absolutely dismal level of self-esteem by some of the featured women on this show is abominable.
First, Sam, as a prelude to the narcissism to come. She’s trying to get Diego to tell her, Jason and Courtney why he and Brook Lynn tried to break into Sonny’s penthouse (did I miss that scene?). Diego won’t cooperate at first, so Sam says, as if to convince him further, “I am trying to help you here and it’s not in my nature, so I wouldn’t push me right now.”
Then, Sam goes off to Jake’s to get wasted and hit on Coleman (not that I blame her), repeating the same self-destructive pattern of leaning on another available guy until someone better comes along with more money. Acting like a slut must be in her nature. She’s supposed to shape herself up this week, but I’ll believe that when she can go three months without hitting up someone for a better identity instead of discovering her own, on her own.
Then there’s Emily, yelling at everybody who isn’t 100 percent in her corner, meaning, willing to give up their lives for Nikolas’ freedom, and thus, her happiness, because then they can be together forever.
I swear the only concern in her head, heart and what remains of a soul not already given up for a sexy prince of a boyfriend – the street cred of young girls like her who feel they must make up for some inner lack by latching onto a guy – is hooking up with Nikolas, screwing Nikolas, showing Nikolas off arm in arm, living and breathing for Nikolas, worshipping at his altar.
Think I’m kidding?
In the Friday, December 10th episode, she’s sitting piously in the hospital chapel, praying ... not to God Almighty (that is HIS dwelling place, is it not?), but to her precious Prince Nikolas Cassadine Almighty. She’s praying to him to beat this bullet in the vital organs thing, returning the favor when he, not so long ago, single-handedly saved HER from the after-effects of breast cancer.
The doors to the chapel open wide and in the heavenly fog appears the Almighty Himself... at least as close to Christ as Emily wants, Nikolas (maybe his lookalike Connor, come to sacrifice his life on the altar of NEm).
Not moments earlier, at the courtroom, Emily’s practically hyperventilating in a panic over the new judge’s oddly prejudiced life sentence (maybe he’s not a NEm fan). Ric strides over (oh yeah, she went after him until Alexis told her that Ric almost slit his wrists to save Nikolas from Officer Murphy’s bullet), asks if her family is on board with being character witnesses, to possibly stave off the life or death sentence.
Without hesitation, an ounce of gratitude, or any hint of love for the family who gave up their extra time to adopt her, Emily growls: “They better be.”
Even Tracy looked like she was gonna piss her pants.
Emily’s reaction to this entire messy murder rap strikes me as rather immature and delusional. She doesn’t see the morality called into question in a man who simply shoves his grandmother off a cliff when he could easily have dragged Helena off to the cops, handcuffed Helena to a tree, grabbed Emily and run for it, set Helena up later, shoved Helena off the cliff when Helena was actually an imminent threat. In any event, this is a crime, whether the victim deserved it or not.
Instead, all Emily sees is that Nikolas loved her so much he was willing to risk prison for her and shouldn’t that count for something, judge? She honestly expects the entire world to drop what they’re doing to honor her and Nikolas’ eternal, superior love. In her warped vision, murder has nothing to do with it, even if Nikolas murdered a schoolyard full of children because one of the tykes gave Emily a raspberry.
I see Elizabeth steadfastly by and on Emily’s side. Lucky too. When the roles were reversed, Emily could not be bothered to help either of these two alleged best friends out, not with Nikolas around as her first and only priority. It was only several months ago that Emily had Liz twist in the wind with Ric on suspicion of murder, in her blind obsession to protect Nikolas. And I can’t count how many times she kept quiet while Lucky gave himself up, risked his job as a cop.
It’s the number one reason why I never take any of this NEm stuff seriously. They don’t care about anybody else but themselves and each other, so when they make noises outside their sphere, it’s so much duplicitous posing, so they can play-act how generous they are in the big, bad messed-up lonely world without their love to beautify the project.
The selfish characters handicap this show’s ability to draw me in and engage me in their many problems. They often act as if they’d rather be with their significant others (or pine away for the one that got away) than engage in society as a fully functioning member. (That means caring about people other than the person they’re humping at the moment and the person who gives them some identity, a reason to live, outside their own ability to carve a niche for themselves in this world.)
Generosity, unbidden, is not in any of these characters’ natures, like it used to be. That’s the problem with GH in a nutshell lately; which is why, in stark contrast, I fall so quickly and easily when any one of them exhibits anything remotely resembling concern for others: Luke on the phone, “Yes, I’m her [Laura’s] next of kin. She has children!”... Jason agreeing to help Diego decipher his parentage and the mob’s connection, if any, without guns blazing...
If the writers would only remember that a little kindness now and then could go a long way...
I have been a little negligent in praising your columns lately, but that doesn't mean I haven't loved every word, and I definitely don't "grade" your writing, LOL. I really enjoy your column much more than GH, and just reading your comments on Carly [week of Dec. 6, 2004] further reinforced my disgust with the show. I cannot imagine that anyone can actually like this character, sympathize with her or even root for her. I agree that TB has done her best to bring out the worst in her and the writers haven't helped either. When Sonny spouted off to Alexis yesterday that SHE had bullied Carly with the secret of Kristina, I so wanted Alexis to get in his face and straighten him out. I absolutely cannot stomach Sonny anymore either and he is really killing my beloved show, which I have watched on and off since it first began. NEM is also killing this show, and the potential mismatch of Carly and Steven is not something to look forward to. Thanks for the great read.
WOW! I just had to write about your criticism of the character of Carly AND the actress, TB.
First off I too read/heard that TB was brought in to "wrap up" Carly's story. Personally I am a fan of the CHARACTER, and therefore was glad that Carly lived on on my screen.
Sure, we can go through comparing "Carly scorecards" about how SB did this and TB didn't...but that's not my point. After reading your column, I thought..WOW...is TB to blame for global warming too??
Most of the "critiques" that you impose on TB are not her fault, she's the ACTRESS, it's the WRITERS that write Carly. I frankly, have been very disappointed with many of their characterizations (Stefan, Laura, Jason). But to put the blame on an actress who just is doing her job...well that's unfair.
You also mentioned a scene where TB and NLG were talking about Sonny and giving him access to Kristina. I remember the scene well...and I LAUGHED when Carly "snapped" at Alexis. It was great! WHY? Because from DAY ONE Alexis has treated Carly like someone she should scrape from the bottom of her Prada shoes. Just when has she EVER talked WITH Carly. She TALKS DOWN to her. I have seen her eye rolling, sighing "acting" every time she approaches Carly.
Now in that scene Cary wanted her to listen...and Alexis was in another world. Sure Carly didn't care about her mental state, but Carly was going to make damn sure she LISTENED to her! Was it an acting choice by TB?...WE DON’T KNOW...yet, you suggest that if an actress would of done this or that...then whatever Carly says would be taken better by Alexis?...by you perhaps?? I don't know?
By Alexis?? Really??? Because I have seen not a semblance of empathy or understanding for Carly by Alexis...just sheer pompous arrogance.
As for Carly carrying the "poor Sonny" cross, did you expect anything less? Come on, Carly has always been blind when it comes to her loyalty towards those she loves. Yes, she's selfish, she's self-absorbed and mean, but I never expect anything less than devotion to those she loves! And...last time I checked, it's still Sonny's world...we just live in it for the hour.
The Steven and Carly relationship...again NOT HER FAULT. In fact there were rumors that TIIC wanted Carly and Lorenzo...but SOMEONE (MB) pulled his weight and got that story scratched. How dare the other pairing make such a popular appeal WITHOUT his consent!
Facts are....sure I can blame MB, MBu, KM and the rest of the crap that's shoved down my TV tube, but in reality the MAJORITY of the blame lies in those idiots that are in charge...NOT IN ACTORS...especially those that had little say in the direction of the character.
Thanks for listening,