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~*~
IF MYKEL CAN WIN...
How can TPTB invest in diversity without accusations of quotas and tokens, and without sacrificing quality of storytelling? Is it a curse to not be born white?
Every other week, I receive an e-mail from a reader complaining about the lack of diversity in soaps. There’s one regular reader in particular who makes the e-mail complaint a bi-weekly habit. At one point, she got mad at me, because I’d stopped bringing up race in one of my columns and she naturally assumed that I, too, dropped the ball.
As a minority in this country, race has been an issue with me whether I wanted it to be or not. I grew up the only Korean-American in an entire school/neighborhood of mostly white and black kids in Kentucky and New Jersey, who grew up with parents raised on the post-Korean/Vietnam Wars, with so many assumptions and stereotypes – none of which applied to me.
Because I lived just a fraction of what blacks have lived with for eons, I will never drop the ball. However, I just can’t keep talking about race when it’s the farthest issue on TPTB’s minds and the last thing they’ll put on the TV screen. Sometimes, it’s impossible for me to discuss what doesn’t exist, families that need to be introduced but aren’t ever mentioned, story ideas including core minority families when I’m not a soap head writer type and frankly, I’m tired of beating my head against the wall.
A lot of the time, I simply can’t explain to the faction of well-meaning, non-racist but anti-minority-only fans why I want more diversity and why I am not a racist myself for insisting on it.
There’s always the risk of appearing extreme, obsessed and just a tad NAACP for diversity-minded people like me. Questions arise in the race debate: “Do you just want a quota of black people to show up in the background?” “Diversity is not my reality, I hardly ever encounter black people in my area.” “Are we supposed to be forced to like a core black family just to prove we’re not racist?” “What if a major black character, like GH’s Keesha, is boring to us, does that make us racist?” “When they have a black character involved on the canvas, it’s never good enough. If OLTL’s Evangeline is with R.J., she’s being limited and isolated from the rest of the cast. If she’s thrown in with John, she’s an Uncle Tom. She can’t win.” “Isn’t it enough that Sonny on GH looks Latino, why must he constantly be talking Spanish to make race a big deal?” “If a show introduces a black family, should they ignore their blackness and blend in with the white community? Or address their black culture and be in your face all the time?” “Do you want to address their race in a storyline or ignore it and treat them just like white people?” “More black representation? What about Latino? Asian? Pacific Rim? Haitian? Samoan? When will it end?”
Whenever I try to differentiate between tokens and real people I know in my life in the effort to encourage TPTB and the reluctant fans to give diversity a chance, I draw a blank between extreme choices. Nobody in the discussion wants to give me a gray area, where it’s possible to add realism to soaps with diversity without making it only about race, yet being able to celebrate it as a part of one’s make-up.
It’s the whole versus the parts argument, which was raised during a church choir retreat I attended at Washington’s Deception Pass several weekends ago. Juanita and Terrie, two black women (come to think of it, the only two black women) in my soprano section, were arguing in favor of treating everybody equally; that meant, never singling children or grown-ups out based on race. Juanita, in fact, preferred race never to be a factor, which took me aback slightly because that had not been the norm on the soap message boards I’d frequent.
Most black people, soap fans included, prefer some acknowledgement of race, racial problems and solutions. They are proud of their heritage and their historic struggles, while asserting their claim on the newest, most PC-appropriate term, African-American, complete with alternate holidays, such as Kwanzaa, honoring their ancestors.
And most white soap fans side with Juanita with the frequent refrain of, “Why can’t we all just be human beings? Why must this be about race?” Juanita herself claimed not to even be African-American, putting the term down as insulting and not as all-inclusive as the black community would see it. She comes from a Creole/Caribbean background, and others from parts anywhere else but Africa.
Unfortunately, minorities, especially black people, cannot simply ignore race. Race affects their lives every single day, whether they’re out shopping for groceries or interviewing for a job. Quite often, in most metropolitan cities, the race awareness is subtle, unconscious, a manager’s eyes following a black customer around as he browses the canned goods aisle, a secret assumption of ignorance, incompetence. In far-off places where Caucasians are not the norm, multi-culturalism is to be embraced proudly, as a badge of distinction. If anything, being from the Mid-West would be a detriment, a kind of reverse racism.
Pride or shame aside, in Hollywood, an actor is what he looks like, right or wrong. Some of the more guilty liberal among us may long to ignore appearances and treat the value of an ever-changing societal view on aesthetics as highly as a penny. That doesn’t change the fact that in entertainment, a performer is judged primarily on first impressions, of the most superficial variety. It may not be okay to accept or deny based on race, but it’s done constantly... so’s judgment based on fat and skinny, tall and short, brunette or blonde, young against old, why NOT race, too.
Just the other Saturday, a 35-year-old struggling black actor (husband and father of one) named Mykel won the coveted 13-week contract role on GH based on his ability to do more than look studly and be charismatic. In the finale episode, he had to show the three industry judges and GH’s executive producer Jill Farren Phelps that he could also take direction instantly and “dial down” his heavy-duty powerhouse performance as an agent appalled at the drastic measures a prodigy takes in a hospital room. In the second take, he dialed it down and revealed more of Mykel, more efficiently than Kimberly and Maya had done.
Not coincidentally, Mykel, Kimberly and Maya were all black, all extremely talented, all distinctly different in approach and personality and all willing to give 100 percent to each and every last-minute scene thrown upon them.
Others less racially-inclined might look at the result and shrug, the better actor won. Me, however, I look at the result and wonder why, if three aspiring black actors (two of whom were over 30) can out-distance the rest of the (white) competition, the soap industry can’t wake up and hire more of the professional black actors who don’t have to prove themselves in a reality-TV competition (and a premiere on SoapNet at that).
I don’t know about any other soap fan, but my favorites just happen to have more going for them than going by the script (note to JFP: Kimberly did more than recite dialogue, she used her entire face to indicate a story behind the words, something you might take note of for some of the actors in YOUR cast). They’re not always in the minority, but they are something special, different from the chiseled, dimpled, liposuctioned mannequins; they’re about complications, drawbacks, demons and hard-fought, hard-won bliss... they’re the R.J.s, Reggies, Skyes, Davids, Jesses, Luckys, Marys, Mykels, Mayas and Kimberlys.
And, because I grew up in America with nothing but Barbie in my face as the female role model, while I secretly wished God would make me over into his blond, blue-eyed image, and everybody black or white would make sure I never forgot how uncommon, unwanted and unappealing my flat face and slanted eyes were to their big-screen sensibilities... I just feel better about myself overall and about humanity as a collective when I see actors on TV and in movies that remotely resemble me and my experience.
They could be black, Hispanic, Hawaiian, Irish, or even homosexual. I see a tattooed, pierced white chick with purple hair taking my order in the eclectic Seattle neighborhood of Broadway, and instantly, I’m relaxed, safe, at home.
Maybe I’m also more than a tad prejudiced myself, a firm believer that the outsiders on the outskirts tend toward the incredibly talented in the arts, just waiting to surprise the bland frightened coddled masses with true shock value: That exotic figure over there on the other side of the room can actually speak perfect English, and with such flair! Imagine someone who isn’t white with the brain, brawn and brass to be as good, if not better, than those good enough to fit ABC Daytime’s youth demographic profile.
That regular reader of mine? She’s not done with me yet. An excerpt from her latest:
How is it possible that soaps have gotten more racist in 2004 than they were in the past? ABC once had soaps with black families; now the closest we get to a black family is AMC and they are a joke. How is it possible in a country that has so much diversity with young people in real life, but in a world of make-believe, I can't get over how racist it is? Yet if you ask people, on some of the boards, not having any black characters is not about race. Mr Frons’ comments have been going around. Did you notice that there was no mention of any storyline for black characters? I don't get it, how is being black considered the worst thing that anyone can be on programs? Described as an escape from reality, the only escape I see is that they want a world where there are as few black people as possible. Which is sad when they have actors like Michael B. Jordan and Timothy D. Stickney on their shows.
The sad truth of the matter is, I can’t answer her. She thinks it’s bad in soaps? She must not have caught primetime lately, or maybe she hadn’t noticed another form of institutional discrimination in the works, against anybody other than black or white.
NBC’s new, fall season primetime drama, “Hawaii,” filled with locals, local stories and local flavor, flopped immediately with Mainland American audiences. It’s now taken over by the b/w world of “LAX,” including the requisite Aussie hunk and blonde bombshell from “Melrose Place.” Yet, “Northshore” on FOX-TV is a massive hit with the young kids, possibly because it’s totally overrun with other impossibly buff, bodacious white kids, with the on-location shots of Hawaii itself merely window dressing.
Two months later, and I’m flipping through an issue of “In Touch,” featuring a pictorial spread of Kahala’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel on Oahu, where much of “Northshore” is filmed, as well as a few celebrity quotes on why Hawaii has become their #1 escape destination. Britney and Kevin frequently take off for Maui. Oprah has a house on that island. Cameron and Justin surf. Hawaii’s good enough for the rich, famous and black & white, its people good enough to serve them in stereotypical hula dancing costume and broken pidgin English... yet not quite good enough to rate on the Nielsen scale. “Just pass the platter of laulau, boy, and leave the entertaining to us.”
The “Honolulu Star-Bulletin” had an article about the refusal of “Northshore” producers to even procure enough locals to be authentic. The ongoing party line was, local talent was just not sufficient enough for primetime. That’s the same argument networks use to this day for why there aren’t enough blacks on TV, including on soaps.
Is that so? I’m sure Mykel – who will probably be relegated to washing Sonny and Jason’s backsides for three months – has something to say about that one.
“DO YOU REALLY WANT TO GO THERE, ERICA?”
I’m totally skipping over last week to focus on the previous week of November 8th, because that was the only time in a long time I actually got to see Erica, Maria, Brooke, Opal, Myrtle, Bianca and was Kendall there too?, in one juicy catfighting scene at the Valley Inn’s bar.
Unfortunately, I missed the Erica versus Maria showdown at the cemetery – written up as the Second Coming in SOAP OPERA DIGEST’s “Scene of the Week” – (from which I derived the above AMC quote) but I can just imagine how juicy THAT catfight was, and quite a long time in coming I’d imagine, since Maria never did fully address the wrongs done by Erica in kidnapping her daughter Maddie. Prison took care of the recriminations back then.
In checking the boards, I was surprised nobody mentioned the scene. They were too busy harping about the guilty parties in the baby-switching story, which, truth be told, I’ve participated in continuously myself. That’s the main story of head writer Megan McTavish, her current bread and butter, and probably the one earning AMC its first rise up to second place in the Nielsens, as well as considerable mainstream buzz (Stephen King? Soap operas?!).
So naturally, the crowd goes to the main attraction.
But you know me, I’m off to the side checking out how gracefully most of the female vets on this show have aged, and wishing against the grain that a story could erupt out of their age-old rivalries.
The history, chemistry and undercurrent of actress rapport already exist. Everybody I’ve mentioned really gets along behind the scenes. Nothing beats an established relationship going places, soaps were built on such a firm foundation that lately, TPTB have tossed aside to constantly reinvent itself with young strangers.
The bar scene alone was worth 10,000 Babes, Biancas, Kendalls and Greenlees wringing their unwrinkled hands over the hangnail of the day.
Maria goes after Erica for tattling to Edmund about Zach. Erica acts bored, slipping in a few well-placed insults herself, based on a warped sense of familiarity with Maria. Enter, Brooke, whom Erica spots, almost clings to for relief and then casually refers to THEIR past together by assuring Maria that Brooke will be on hand to pick up the pieces with Edmund, and speaking of which, Brooke’s always been the recipient of Erica’s personal “leftovers.”
Later – and I’m still leaning forward, waiting for the continuation – Brooke confides in Maria loud enough for Erica to hear not to pay any attention, nobody else does, nobody has for years.
These scenes could’ve ended right then and there and I’d have died a contented woman. But then, MORE women walked in, Opal charged over to defend Erica, Bianca’s tsk-tsking them all, I think Kendall was there too to take Erica’s side, when in rolls Myrtle calling an immediate halt to the altercation and the beginning of a little decorum, since they were all called to the meeting for Bianca’s charity benefit.
If any newcomer is to work out with the old-school AMCers like me, then incorporate them more in scenes like the above. Force the youngsters to watch and learn from the masters, appreciate where they’ve come from and how far along they, the youngsters, have to go, take sides, forge closer bonds in the give and take of daily interaction as deliciously nasty as a mere catfight between old friends and older enemies.
Sure beats watching Bianca wax pontific.
AMC fans who’ve watched since the 1970s will remember just how bad Erica used to be, badder than any of the vixens on today. Self-centered, ungrateful, vain, cruel, materialistic, stupid, socially inappropriate, Erica also committed the first abortion purely for selfish reasons – an act she paid for dearly with the birth of Kendall, from a rape, and the wanted birth of Bianca, which almost resulted in the deaths of mother and baby.
Brooke, believe it or not, first came onto the canvas as another bad one, not quite as cruel, but pretty much a carbon copy of Erica. A party girl who only wanted to have fun and make fun the less fortunate, Brooke grew up fast when she fell in love and had a daughter of her own. Actually, she started showing signs of a soul when Nina moved to Pine Valley and developed a friendship there.
Brooke and Erica hated each other on sight, over a man, but throughout the years – as with OLTL’s Viki and Dorian – grew to reluctantly appreciate each other, as career women, rape survivors and mothers. The most touching scenes from the early weeks of the baby-switching story came from Erica breaking down in front of Brooke, opening up, letting herself be vulnerable in asking whether she was a good mother after all she did and said to Bianca (missing at the time). Brooke came through for her, better than any enabling best friend would. Brooke’s confirmation of Erica’s good motherhood meant more because it came from a former enemy, with nothing to gain and everything to win by using this one vulnerable chance at cutting Erica down.
I see the same rivalry potential between Erica and Maria. For one thing, I never bought the sainted Maria act. When crossed, Maria could be a nasty, self-centered, ungrateful, holier-than-thou piece of work. Sound familiar? Maria never gave Brooke an ounce of compassion for basically stealing Edmund away in the first place, not once but twice. When Maria lied to Edmund about Zach too many times, Brooke went in there fighting for Maria’s marriage, knowing full well there would never be gratitude forthcoming but more lectures and snide remarks about Edmund now being available, just as Brooke always wanted.
Whenever the chips are down, Maria will always take the lowest road and make it look like somebody else’s fault, always somebody else, never her. She did it when she slept with Edmund’s brother Dimitri. She did it when she browbeat Brooke to stay away from Edmund when Brooke had every right to fight for him. She did it when Erica – after having suffering a miscarriage – tried to make amends over Maddie, in vain.
I’d like to see these women in a story together. Maybe include Marian, Mary, Liza, Ruth and Livia. There’s plenty of inspiration. Much of their relations are inter-connected, through marriage, former marriage, affairs, what have you. Most of them have lived a thousand lifetimes a Greenlee or a Kendall would envy, marvel and more than want to emulate.
It’s also amazing how much these divergent older women have in common, and that, too, could work in their favor. Instead of revisiting the tired rape theme in just the young daughter Bianca, why not the impact on these elder rape survivors? Why not another one of them sexually assaulted – instead of, as rumored, the young Babe and Kendall – and the after-effects as Brooke, Ruth and Erica go into mentor mode? Why not redeem someone as irascible and unfathomable as Mary by revealing her childhood molestation, which could explain a lot of her promiscuity?
Unfortunately, what I want and what ends up happening almost always fail to meet up, as I now hear Julia Barr (Brooke) will soon fade away into the woodwork even more, from contract to recurring, in the next several months.
Erica’s been promised a major love story with Jackson in the form of a long-awaited wedding early next year. She may even tangle with the popular likes of Zach, in a triangle with Maria. It’s highly doubtful TPTB would be stupid enough to keep this AMC icon on the backburner as they’ve done so far, much less give her the Brooke treatment.
Maria’s story with Zach will definitely heat up, as the two tangle together with Edmund rumored to be off the show... a clear case of timeless, ageless T&A with classic themes of tormented, star-crossed love.
The rest of these classy dames?
I’ll just have to wait for a forgotten scene that strayed from the baby switching melodrama, and live vicariously in that one rare moment.
“WERE THERE EVER TWO MORE ANNOYINGLY HAPPY PEOPLE?”
The secret’s out: I never liked Nora. I like her even less with Bo.
Since I’m opening up here, might as well go all the way. Back in Bo & Nora’s heyday of the mid-‘90s, I never really understood what made them such a cause-celebre that even today, their fan base continues to clamor for a reunion, a right to justify the wrong of then-executive producer Jill Farren Phelps in breaking up the couple to showcase her good buddy Kale Browne (ex-Sam Rappaport, OLTL; ex-Michael, AW).
I barely paid attention when quiet, unassuming (read: boring) Bo met assertive, take-no-prisoners lawyer (read: obnoxious, conceited motormouth) Nora over a disagreement about a (murder?) case. I think I was too obsessed with Antonio and Todd at the time. But still, c’mon, the two were hardly David & Dorian material, barely Joey & Dorian.
Their supposed wacky rockin’ dance down the aisle to preacher Little Richard’s number did little to move me other than toward the remote control (when I wasn’t trying to keep my gag reflex in check). I still have the look of ecstasy on Nora’s face and Bo’s self-satisfied grin burned in my memory... that whole * Ooh, look at us! How hip, edgy and wacky we are to not do that whole veil and train traditional thing! *
It’s 2004 and nothing’s changed. I still see Nora with her smug, oh so satisfied with herself demeanor and Bo barely staying awake. But it’s worse, because TPTB are determined to revive a corpse of a dead couple that, IMHO, never worked to convince me of their sincerity, much less sincere emotions for each other.
They were either showing off with each other, or Nora was showing off for Bo, when Bo wasn’t rousting himself from a waking nightmare.
The past two weeks have been torture for me, because I can literally hear Lindsay’s rebuke replaying in my head as Nora acts like she’s over Bo and into Daniel, all the while clearly making a play for Bo, despite Daniel, at Paige’s expense. Just take a gander at the photo I clicked above. Does that look like an independent, smart, noble woman who’s learned from her mistakes, moved on and rightly thinks Lindsay is a delusional loon obsessed with making up lies about her and her trifling, flighty tendency to want every available male in creation on her side or bowing down at her feet?
I suspect the only story-related reason Nora’s even interested in Bo again is in reaction to Bo’s being interested in anybody else BUT her. Nora has such an unhealthy, vastly insecure ego that if Bo isn’t secretly pining away for her and her alone, she has to work up these elaborate, painfully high school excuses to show off her colleague knowledge with him for – in this case – Dr. Paige’s benefit.
Paige and Bo are at Carlotta’s Diner, trying to enjoy some lunch and each other’s company in peace when Nora happens along, acting like it’s her and Bo’s son Matthew doing the leading, then sticking around (after shooing Matthew over Starr’s direction) to talk shop with Bo about the Paul murder case, when frankly, she could care less before, during and after. The entire time she’s over-eagerly throwing out her big lawyer verbiage Bo’s way, Paige has got about the same expression as me, * Who is this chick trying to impress?! *
Earlier in the week, Nora made a complete fool of herself by hinting around for Bo’s affection, not forgiveness, batting her eyelashes and half-lidding her eyes. She visited his office, I believe to interrupt his date with Paige (big surprise), on the auspices of begging his official forgiveness for sleeping with Sam and passing off (at the time) baby Matthew as Bo’s when she believed it was Sam’s.
Spoilers and Nora’s excuses indicated that Bo had kept his absolution from her because he still felt hurt by the betrayal, and once the hurt went away, he could be free to let himself love her again.
I saw nothing of the sort.
Bo just looked like a tired old man wanting another nap, or a nice innocent lunch with the more mature, confident Dr. Paige... not Nora’s constant yapping for ego gratification.
Nora even brought up a sore subject, the why. If Bo had, indeed forgiven her as he just said, why wouldn’t he still be with her as her husband then?
The more pertinent question might be, Why is Nora revisiting this tired, old subject when clearly, Bo (and his portrayer) done left it years ago?
Either Robert S. Woods or Hillary B. Smith missed a crucial memo.
“MAYBE READING MARY’S DIARY WAS A MISTAKE.”
Surprise! Surprise! I like Connor’s insertion into NEm’s latest calamity.
Tyler Christopher made good on his promise to do the lookalike plot device (as he did on the amnesia plot device months earlier) differently, better. I completely believe his Nikolas and his Connor are two separate beings, to the point where, in the back of my mind, I’m half-wondering if maybe the Midwestern actor doesn’t really have a twin brother he never talked about.
Every scene strangers Connor and Nikolas share is the kind of scene Lucky (under originator Jonathan Jackson) and Nikolas used to – full of almost comfortable rancor, humorously uncomfortable unease. In one, Nikolas walks into his own living room to find Connor making himself at home in his down-home way, feet up, beer in hand, constantly underfoot. When Nikolas is alerted to Kristina’s grave condition, Connor casually urges the Prince to go on ahead, “kid,” and take care of family. It’s like an older brother vibe.
Connor’s a lot more devious in a well-meaning way too, in how he approaches wooing Emily by pretending to go along with her and Nikolas’ plan to escape him up to Canada (deja-vu, Zander fans). Instead of balking outright or forcibly kidnapping Emily to convince her of his love, Connor simply re-opens his stitches, causing blood to overflow the wound, causing a fever, and causing a headache for NEm’s eventual walk down the aisle as man and wife. The shy, awkward grin playing over Connor’s face was a very subtle, well-thought-out touch on Christopher’s part.
But what stands Connor out from the usual dark doppelganger bent on revenge is portrayer Christopher’s matured and controlled acting choices during what could’ve been a requisite mourning scene, a write-off of cornball extraction. The November 11th and 12th episodes captured the essence of a husband’s grief at letting his kind but weak-willed wife down.
I so admired those scenes, I actually wrote down much of Connor’s dialogue while he nearly swooned before Mary’s tombstone.
Connor: “Being alone was Mary’s biggest fear. She’s alone, in the ground, her whole life thrown away for nothing.”
Emily: “You blame Nikolas for Mary’s death. You want revenge. But is that really the way to honor your wife’s memory, Connor? ... Not the woman that Mary became by the end of her diary, but the one that you fell in love with, the sweet, gentle, unassuming girl that you chose when you were still children.”
Connor: “...a woman who would tear up if you killed a fly became so delusional and desperate that she came after you with a knife. ... she broke.”
In those scenes, Connor spoke for the sane Mary who felt enormous guilt but couldn’t act on that guilt because of a flawed, grieving soul of her own. He also breathed life to the hope in Mary fans everywhere at a second chance, especially when Emily came forward with what appeared to be unprompted empathy, later weeping for Mary through the basically decent, simple soldier who was her husband and who risked a court martial to return her love.
I’m not saying Natalia Livingston did all that much with the stellar material the writers handed her on a silver platter. She failed, as usual, to convey anything but an overwhelming self-interest for NEm, appearing at that cemetery solely to prevent Connor from blabbing to the cops about Nikolas shoving Helena off a cliff. Take a glimpse at that excerpted dialogue above, he’s in agony over the pain Mary must’ve gone through, taking a moment out of his selfish need for revenge to think of what it took for her to go over the edge into the domain of serial killer... and all Emily can do is remind Connor that it wasn’t Nikolas’ fault, to leave Nikolas out of it, Nikolas must remain free and clear to be with her again in matrimonial bliss, maybe after that, she’ll have some tears leftover for Connor.
Emily never addresses Connor’s OR Mary’s pain. She simply turns their pain around back to what she herself could lose (Nikolas) if they interfere – by any means necessary, even a few inexplicable crocodile tears later at the cottage (the continuity editor is not your friend, Natalia), even mouthing a few empty platitudes about the kind-hearted Mary before she went wacko, even bringing out Mary’s diary to read aloud.
a) Who knew Mary had a diary? I never saw her writing in one. I did see her hide all the photos of her dead husband Connor, who, btw, looked nothing like Nikolas, sit around and fret about deceiving Nikolas and Emily, and lots of other private things, but never a diary.
b) What would Emily be doing with Mary’s diary? Especially after Emily, not once, but twice, went in there where Mary lay from a gunshot wound in the hospital, to personally harangue Mary in loud, unrepentant, gleeful, cold, cruel, heavy breathing tones, wishing her to DIE! DIE! DIE! already and leave them (her and her precious Nikolas) alone.
c) Was God the Almighty tending to the sick and the starving in Ethiopia when Emily put her dirty little hands on Mary’s hallowed book of private thoughts, hopes and dreams?... because I waited for Emily to spontaneously combust, and it didn’t happen.
The scenes right after Connor weeping over Mary’s tombstone were weird to the extreme. It viewed like the film editors took an early Thanksgiving vacation, came back from too much turkey and stuffing, and just took off from there. One minute, Connor and Emily were discussing Mary calmly at the cemetery, the next, they’re back at the cottage sobbing hysterically (did Natalia need Visine drops beforehand? :: snicker ::), Connor grabbing Emily for a big wet kiss, then the next day or two, they’re at Wyndemere, as if nothing happened, just mentioning offhand about the kiss and how Emily did nothing about it and certainly said nothing about it to Nikolas.
Regardless, Tyler Christopher (Nikolas/Connor) is single-handedly saving this tired retread of a story (and TPTB’s next lame reason to keep NEm upfront and center) by out-acting his screen partner Natalia Livingston (Emily), as per usual, and by giving depth to an otherwise laughable cartoon obstacle the Road Runner would easily dismiss as another anvil.
It’s too bad, and a bit startling then to have read in various fan accounts from the November 13-14th Super Soap Weekend that he isn’t very thrilled with the Connor insertion. He wasn’t very thrilled with Nikolas suffering from amnesia last spring either, but did the best he could, mission accomplished but, in his words, “... to be honest, I’d really like to see this plot device over and buried.”
If this isn’t thrilled, I’m dying to see what’s overjoyed.
Found your Channeling column, “VIRTUAL WATERCOOLER? (OR DEN OF EXTREMISTS?,” [week of Nov. 15, 2004], utterly fascinating!
You did a great job summing up several aspects of the online soap community phenomenon, and kudos on presenting various perspectives on the topic, including the views of a few soap actors.
BTW, I too have noticed some of the changes that you describe as having occurred on PCO/SZ over the years. (I've been posting since 1996 and lurking since 1995. Some days I can't believe it's been that long...)
... by and large [in the early years] the site consisted of posters who enjoyed GH.
Of course posters back then certainly had bones to pick with particular storylines or characters, but that was only one aspect of the message board.
PCO originated not only as a site where posters critiqued GH and "hated on" couples or characters, but also as a site where enthusiasts discussed their enjoyment of the show and analyzed particular scenes or stories, comparing them to literary or cinematic classics etc. (and spoilers played a much smaller part on the board.
... I tend to think that the more negative tone on the SZ GH board in recent years, and the fact that unhappy viewers outweigh enthusiasts on the SZ GH board, reflect the general deterioration in the show's quality since PCO's early years.
But, if at first the decline in the show's quality led to a shift in the atmosphere on the board, eventually negativity breeds negativity: nowadays, at times, SZ's GH board seems less welcoming towards posts that praise good scenes, unless those posts are part of a particular fanbase gush.
Don't get me wrong, of course there are many, many problems with GH, the writing, the treatment of veterans etc. And I frequently agree with valid critiques of the show written by various posters on the board, whether those posters share my particular views about characters/couples or not.
Still, despite all of my problems with GH and every valid criticism, sometimes I truly enjoy a scene or story, and not only scenes or stories involving my "very favorite" characters, but I simply don't get the sense that there's much interest on the board these days in reading words of praise for a particularly well-written or well-acted scene.
(Plus, I'm spoiler free these days and get the sense that most posters are more interested in discussing spoilers than what actually occurred on screen -- and so many spoilers get blown out of proportion...)
Anyway, just rambling, and waxing nostalgic...
This all started from my desire to praise you on an intriguing and insightful column, so ending with, GREAT JOB!
Hey, even Dickens paid attention to public opinion and gossip when it came to his serialized books. He would alter plotlines to appease his audience depending on what he heard from the street.
But let's face it, the Internet has turned fans into monsters. They are truly fans, like the root word, fanatics, phantasms even. Everyone with an opinion and DSL can become a twisted poster, see their names in print, and increase their own tiny self-esteems by trashing others.
Ultimately it’s all about money, though. Watercooler chat will not necessarily increase one’s Nielsen share. Multiple websites may.
See ya next week.