Sage Uncensored is NOT a spoiler column and does not represent itself as such in any way. It is not intended to proved "new," "out-scooped" or otherwise groundbreaking material. This column will discuss news, rumors and spoilers already in circulation, so if you are here to bitch that there is no new material, don't say you weren't warned. Those of you who enjoy Sage and his writing will likely appreciate the column. Those of you who are just here for your spoiler fix are probably in the wrong place.
For those of you who choose to continue on and share time with Sage, welcome!
March 29, 2005
After the outrageous support I received for last week's set of interviews, I have decided to continue on in that vein.
It doesn't take much to get these folks talking about our favorite ABC soaps. Like the rest of us, some love'em, some hate'em and others are just damned well puzzled.
But then, if you love ABC Daytime Drama, being puzzled is part of the package.
Let's see what this week's batch has to say:
I was walking around Descanso Gardens in La Caņada Flintridge, California early last summer just as the roses were coming into full bloom. It was had been raining lightly early in the day and there was a fine mist hanging in the air, which carried the pungent scent of the roses like a secret message.
"You know, this is one of the few places where you can still smell roses," someone said behind me in a gruff voice. I turned to find a familiar face behind me, Al Pacino.
I didn't want to seem all fanboy or swishy, so I asked why he would say something like that (already knowing the answer, but I figured I'd play the game). "It's the botanists who are cross-breeding the roses. They've been so invested in the perfect design that they've bred the actual scent right out of them. Go into any florist or grocery store and you'll smell every other plant there except the roses."
I agreed this was true. "But these... these roses have been here, carefully preserved in their own authenticity for decades. You know, E. Manchester Boddy, publisher of the Los Angeles Daily News, purchased these gardens in 1937 and was the one responsible for developing the grounds. 'Descanso' actually means 'repose' or 'rest.'
"You don't say," I said wistfully, drinking in the ambiance, the heady aroma and the fact that Al Pacino was giving me a history lesson.
"Wait a second," he said, "You're that guy... Stan or something."
I was stunned but worked hard not to show it. "Sage," I said softly, my heart pounding in my chest. "My name is Sage."
"Sage! That's right! I've read your work. It's good! Hooooowah! You did the write up on the whore blouse, didn't you."
I smiled. A three year body of work and I'm remembered for "Carly Gets a Whore Blouse." "Yes, that was me. You watch ABC soaps?"
He chuckled deeply, "For over twenty years now, Sean. I watched General Hospital for the first time when Luke and Laura got married. 'Dog Day Afternoon' was showing on Cinemax and I wanted to check out the competition. Saw Elizabeth Taylor and figured if she could be on the show, I could at least watch the show."
"For real." I agreed. "So what do you think of it now?"
"Bah! I hate that Sonny guy. There's something about the way he talks, his mannerisms and his demeanor that hits me the wrong way."
"He's hard core," I whistled under my breath. "It's an acquired taste, but the ladies love him."
"Ha!! I don't know why, he doesn't know how to treat them! It's uncanny how a good looking man, and let me tell you, that Maurice Benard is one hot cookie, can play a wholly deplorable character and still dampen the Tuesday panties of every woman watching. He treats his wife like shit. He has temper tantrums that are out of control and his standards are so doubled I had to check my glasses."
"Well, the ladies like a bad boy, you know."
"It's the goddamned dimples."
"Must be. He is a member of the Actor's Studio, you know."
"So you don't like Sonny, who do you like?"
"I like Mac. Macaroon. Macaroni and Cheese. The Big Mac Attack. Mac the Knife. I don't see nearly enough Mac. Gotta get that Mac on."
"So you like Mac?"
"I do! Hooowah!"
"Do you watch any other soaps?"
"No, soaps are for pussies. I only watch General Hospital. It's a daytime drama."
"Want to go get some java, my friend? I know a little place over in La Candita that actually makes coffee instead of this flavored, iced, blendered bullshit."
"Do they have Danishes?"
"Ha!!" He slapped me soundly on my back and led me out of the gardens. "I like they way you think, pal. They do indeed. Straight from Denmark. Let's go, Sam."
"Let's go," I said, and flung my arm over his shoulders, hoping someone I knew was watching. It's probably best that they didn't. If anyone had approached me, I'd feel it incumbent upon myself to say, "Say hello to my li'l frien'." I don't think Al would have liked that.
Comedy is a mainstay of my entertainment diet and after a few well placed phone calls, I was able to connect up with one of my favorite stand up comedians, Jerry Seinfeld. It is a little known fact that during my college years, I took a semester at Queens College, where Jerry, whose real name is "Jerome," was also a student. I was studying World Religion and he was studying the inside of a gin bottle. I came across him passed out under a bar in downtown Queens and hauled him back to my place to sleep it off. Some other guys were getting ready to start some mischief with him and I thought it was my civic duty to keep this little guy safe.
The next morning, he woke up draped over the chair in my hotel room and sheepishly asked if anything had happened. Feeling peckish, I told him that I knew now why they called him "Little Jerry" and he blanched white. I reassured him that as far as I knew, all he'd done was fall off a barstool and nearly get pulverized by some meathead jocks out for trouble ("Alpha Beta.. ooh, ahh!") and that we nerds had to stick together. He thanked me and said he had to get going, but avowed that he "owed" me and if I ever needed anything, to let him know.
I didn't see him again until I was watching "The Tonight Show" with Ma several years later and there was the kid, "Little Jerry," that I'd scraped up off a bar floor. The rest, as they say, is history.
Now, in present time, here he was, retired from "The Show About Nothing," and I figured that Little Jer needed to make good on his Sage voucher.
It took some doing, but soon I was on the phone to Jerry Seinfeld, reminding him of my favor to him and that by his own admission, he owed me. Finally he either remembered or pretended to, but the end result was the same: I got to pick his brain on soaps.
After some prattling talk about Dynasty and Falcon CreZzzzzt, I got him onto AMC.
"You know, what is the DEAL with Isabella? She looks different every time I see her! And she hasn't slapped anyone in forever! The way she was bitching into Maria, I was sure she was going to whack her one."
"I've had the same impulse, believe me."
"And when everyone was taking a stab at screaming at her, I was reminded of that scene in the movie 'Airplane' where the woman was panicking and the flight attendant slaps her, then a line forms behind her to beat the shit out of her."
"Do you think we could pay to get in that line?"
"One could hope."
"So who do you think is the hottest woman on AMC"?
"Simone. No doubt. I'd love to scratch her itch for a while. Lovely, delicate, but adventurous and sex-crazed. Admirable traits, all."
"Admirable traits all, indeed. Who do you miss most from AMC?"
"Jack Scalia. Always did like him. Manly yes, but I like him too."
"As do I."
"And what is the deal with that name? Where do they come up with these character names? Chris Stamp. It's a girl's name. Chrissy Stamp should be a cheerleader, not a rough and tough FBI agent."
"I think it's short for Christopher."
"But did they ever call him Christopher? I think not. They called him Chris. Did you know that Antonio Sabato, Jr, arguably one of the most effeminate men in show business, was named Snapper on his show? Snapper is a slang word for a woman's vagina... and everyone was good with that? I ask you, what's wrong with this picture?"
"Well, Antonio was actually Jagger on GH. Snapper was David Hasselhoff on Y&R."
"Absolutely. Sabato was on GH ten years after Hasselhoff left Y&R."
"Get out. But really, that just makes my point. These guys get cool man names like Snapper and Jagger while one of the most testosterone blessed alpha males in daytime gets a sissy name like 'Chris.'" [He said it with a lipse, like "Chrith"] "Why couldn't he have a rugged name like 'Rock' or 'Stinger'?"
"None of which are slang words for a woman's vagina."
"So true, my friend, so very true."
"If you could change one thing about AMC, what would it be?"
"I'd have it on at night," he said without hesitation.
"Do you have Soapnet?"
"A network dedicated to mostly ABC soaps with some Days of Our Lives thrown in."
"You don't say...online?"
"Well, they have a website, but it's on TV, cable, satellite, and such."
"Amazing. And they show the episodes at night?"
"So I've been told."
"How very... American."
"Isn't it just?"
"I will have to look into that."
He had to go, so we parted our ways, his debt paid in full.
Dale from The Home Depot would only say that he really, really wished that Sweet Natalia would come back to the plant and garden section. He said he missed her glowing smile and laughing eyes.
I told him a lot of us agreed with him.
Barbara Walters called me to ask if I would be willing to sit down with her and talk about the upcoming Daytime Emmy Awards. She'd read my recent commentary on the nominations and wanted to get my further input. Since I was the one who'd been doing the interviewing lately, I thought the change was just what I needed.
After we went through my list and comments, she asked me what I thought about the announcement that Jennifer Bransford had been cast as the third Carly Corinthos. This was actually the first I'd heard of it (but then, she's Barbara Walters) and I felt a shiver up my spine.
"Jennifer Bransford? You mean Georgie Phillips from OLTL? You've got to be kidding me."
"The one and the same, what kind of scoopster are you if you didn't already know this?"
I bristled, then counted to ten and calmed myself. "I'm not a scoopster, I'm a columnist. I write about what I see on the shows and the gossip that floats my way."
"Bransford. What's your take?"
"Just off hand? I hated the character of Georgie Phillips, not because she was a thorn in the side of Bo and Nora, but because the character was poorly written, not well thought through and badly rendered. How much of that was the fault of the lame-ass writers and producers of the time and how much was an ineffectual and poorly acted delivery by Bransford, I can't say. I suppose I'll give it a chance and see how it plays."
"She seems older than both Sarah Brown and the now departing Tamara Braun. Your thoughts on that?"
"Well, Bransford is about 35 or 36, Brown is about 30 and Tamara Braun is 34, so it's not really a huge age jump."
"Interesting, I thought she was older. Braun is credited with giving Carly a softer, more maternal and loving edge. What do you think Bransford will bring to the character."
"I'm having to push hard to remember much about her, but my guess would be that since Bransford is given to playing conniving characters, we will probably see the writers working to capitalize on that and bring out the shifty, plotting Carly that Brown amplified. I believe we'll see Carly more as she was before she came back from the dead."
"What do you think GH has in store for Sonny?"
I thought for a moment. "Romantically, I think Kristen Minter as Jordan Baines is going to fade away and won't be a player where Sonny is concerned. Maybe she'll pop up from time to time when Sonny needs a lawyer, but overall, I'd say she's a goner. She didn't go over well with fans, partly because the character was a complete mess and partly because it was too soon after the break up of Sonny and Carly for either to be interacting romantically (as far as the fans were concerned). When a super couple falters, the fans need time to warm up to them making new connections and the test runs between Carly and Stephen and Sonny and Jordan were just too soon. On soaps, it's inevitably that couples will break up, but the writers haven't yet learned "the rules" that allow viewers and especially fans of the couples to regroup and honestly, to grieve that loss. It's too bad, because Minter is a really, really great actress and has never been given the chance to flex those muscles on GH."
"And what about Kari Wuhrer as Reese Marshall?"
"They seem to be moving forward with this Sonny/Reese romance, but I'm not feeling the chemistry. My boss, Katrina, said it felt like Sonny and Hannah all over again and I have to agree. I'm just not getting the buzz from it and I am more than open to Sonny and Carly having other relationships since the writers seem to have written them into this one note symphony for a long time. I enjoy change on my shows and feel it often breathes some new life into the canvas, even if the same characters just get mixed up a bit. I can't seem to invest in the character of Reese because she comes off as very one-dimensional and cardboard. Having Sonny invest himself sexually or emotionally into her when there has been so little contact doesn't feel plausible. If she is being presented as simply a whore for Sonny, that's one thing, but my impression is that they are going to attempt to convince us that Sonny and Reese are the next super couple and are going the distance. I think they will pull out of it and not follow through. I don't see it working. But," and I chuckled at this one, "you can personally call and ridicule me when they are celebrating their 20 year anniversary on the show."
"So that would make Maurice Benard just over 60 then."
"Hey, Joe Martin is still really hot and Tony Geary is almost 60. Men are given that privilege on soaps."
"And women are not. Do you think they will let Kari be part of a super couple at 58?"
"Ha. Not a chance. You have a point there. But she does look good now for 38, doesn't she?"
"Another subject. If Sonny were a tree, what do you think he'd be?"
"And ash. No doubt."
"An interesting choice. Why an ash?"
"It's inevitable. He can't seem to stop making an ash of himself." I laughed at my own cleverness and it took a minute or two for me to realize she wasn't laughing with me.
She stared at me, hard, from across the table. I decided to make my observation verbal instead of just having it bang around in my head.
"Your questions seem to be very Sonny-centric. Is your interest purely journalistic or is there a personal agenda here?"
Her cheeks flushed almost imperceptivity. "I assure you, my emphasis on Sonny is merely a reflection of the 'Sonny-centric,' as you call it, slant of the show itself."
"I see. I stand corrected."
"May we please continue?"
"So you were a hair dresser for twenty years, Mr. Bourland, what kind of hair treatment do you suppose Sonny uses."
I stared at her blankly and blinked a few times. "I'd say Sonny is every inch a Dapper Dan man."
Who knew Babs was a Sonny fan?
And that's my gig for this week, folks. Take care and have a stunning week, my darlings.
NOTE: Celebrity voices are impersonated. I made up all of this shit. If I really walked through Descanso Gardens and had coffee with Pacino, I still wouldn't be able to form words.
Note: Sage gets a fat ton of mail every day and regrets he can't answer everyone personally. He loves ya, he just might not get a chance to write to ya! Besides, he writes to you every week in a column whether you write to him or not! Needless to say, if you are an asshole, he just for sure isn't going to write back. If you're inclined to writing hateful things, pretend he wrote back and said, "That's just like, your opinion, man."
If your writing to ask about future storyline happenings, figure he answered, "Pfft, I dunno." Sage truly does not have info on upcoming storylines except what is posted on the EOS Spoiler Commentary pages!