“Why I Hate Tamara Braun So Much, Part 2”
(Or, “Die, Duke Lavery, Die!”)
I wrote a column last week giving my critique of Tamara Braun’s portrayal of Mrs. Sonny Corinthos. For those who didn’t read it, you can probably guess from the title that my opinion was not a positive one. While, as I mentioned in my previous column, I don’t hate Tamara personally, especially since I don’t even know her, I do hate her portrayal of a character on my favorite soap opera.
I got a lot of e-mail about that column, so I decided to write a “Part Two.” I figure if there can be twenty spin-offs of “Law & Order,” then I can write a follow up column. First of all, I want to thank everyone for their responses. There were five or six e-mails I accidentally deleted because they went directly into my spam folder. I was heartbroken because I couldn’t get them back. I will assume that those were all good letters, singing my praises. Aside from the accidentally deleted mail, the vast majority of mail I received was very positive, from people in agreement. Of the mail I got from people who disagreed, most of them were very gracious and seemed to be people living in a world where they understand an opinion is simply what one person thinks and is no more important than what anybody else thinks. I thank them also. They read my column (despite its title), disagreed, wrote me to share their feelings politely and passionately, then moved on with their lives. I consider their letters to be positive as well. Tamara Braun, without a doubt, has some good fans who reflect upon her very well.
With the exception of about four people who seemed a little too upset, everyone seemed to get who I am when I write a column and what my purpose is. I am an acidic, smart ass out to entertain by mostly bitching my heart out. That’s my “shtick.” Tamara has her shtick and I have mine. I bitch. That’s pretty much it. If bitching’s not your cup of tea, then I’m probably not either. I can’t please all of the people, all of the time, so Tamara and I have something else in common in addition to our “shtickiness.”
I am writing this follow up column now because of a specific question I was asked in one of the e-mails I received. It was a pretty good question, even though it came from a place I simply can’t relate to. That is to say, it came from the point of view that, if I don’t like Tamara’s acting, then how could I possibly like anyone else’s acting? This person said they were “amazed and aghast” and wanted a listing of who I do like so they could have a better understanding of what I use as a “gauge of talent.” Why on earth this person would need to know how I gauge soap opera talent kind of creeps me out, now that I think about it. Maybe she wants to start some sort of top secret dossier on me? Maybe she’s going to stalk me or dispatch minions to beat me about the head and neck with throw pillows, Corinthos style? Or maybe I’m reading way too much into this now? Most likely, “Amazed and Aghast” was only trying to make the point that I don’t know great talent when I see it and that I’m a big, ole’ meanie. Maybe I don’t know great talent when I see it, but I never claimed to. So, “Amazed and Aghast,” find some great talent for me to see. Then ask me.
But, I digress (and, seriously now, folks, at least somewhat)…
I started thinking about what “Amazed and Aghast” said and while I do mention here and there who I like when I’m bitching about something or someone, perhaps I don’t mention it often enough. Maybe there are other people who read last week’s column who are now, even as I type this, frozen at their computers in an amazed and aghast condition? We simply cannot have that now, can we? I feel their pain, for I have been amazed and aghast at GH’s “Carly” and Tamara’s portrayal of her for four, long years. The “amazed and aghast” state of mind is simply one I would not wish upon anybody.
I can’t name every actor I like and admire because there are simply too many people who fall into this category, so I will stick to “General Hospital” since that is the show Tamara is on.
Anthony Geary would be one I enjoy. I’m not always impressed, but I like him as Luke. Even when given some of the most ludicrous dialogue possible, he somehow pulls it off with attitude, even if he fails a little on delivery and the writers fail big time on original story.
Maurice Benard (Sonny) is a performer I admire off and on. Sometimes he “shows up” and sometimes he doesn’t. He can knock it out of the park, or strike out completely. I get tired of seeing Sonny Corinthos so often, but I think Maurice is a good actor overall. I have bitched about his acting and slammed him personally more than anyone else on GH and that’s because I know he’s capable of so much more than he sometimes gives.
Rick Hearst (Ric) I adore. I think he is a marvelous performer and really gets inside the head of his character. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him perform poorly. Plus, he’s gorgeous, so that’s always a plus.
Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis) is one I admire. Once upon a time, I couldn’t stand her. There was something about her acting “ticks” that had bothered me since her “Santa Barbara” days, but suddenly one day I realized I was enjoying her thoroughly and wasn’t annoyed by a thing. I’m not sure how I went from not being able to stand her to really liking her and finding her to be a great actress. I only know it happened. She crept up on me.
I absolutely love Constance Towers (Helena). That woman can pull off all kinds of magic, and has proven that to me in some of the ridiculous Cassadine stories there have been. She also does wonders with dialogue delivery as well. She plays her villainous part to the hilt.
Robin Christopher (Skye) is a joy. She is as talented as she is beautiful. She simply “clicks” with me and I like to watch her.
There are others I mostly like. Ted King (Lorenzo), Tyler Christopher (Nikolas), Rebecca Herbst (Liz), etc., are a few of them. There have been times when I thought each of them did a bad job, but there have been more times when I thought they were good. Then, there’s that “clicks with me” thing again.
That’s really the bottom line, I guess. Who clicks with you? I like whom I like and that’s all there is to it. Some performers are good actors and I like their character portrayals. Some performers are good actors, but I don’t like the characters they play at all. Lane Davies as “Cameron Lewis” is a good example of that one. Some performers are bad, but I still like to watch them, for whatever reason (especially if it’s a handsome man). Then last, but not least, some performers are bad and I don’t like the characters they play, either. This is the case with Tamara Braun; I think she’s been a bad actress, mostly, in her time on GH. I also think the writers, producers and directors have done a horrendous job of marrying Tamara to the character of Carly and, yes, part of that job is their responsibility. They have never utilized Tamara’s strong points. Instead, they seem to have embraced her weak points, resulting in a performance that is excruciating for me to watch.
Without going into specifics at this time, there are several parts on GH right now being played by people who should probably go away. They may have talent, but the writers aren’t playing to their strengths and are coming up with some pretty crappy stories besides. There aren’t many performers in the soap world who can take tedious, ridiculous dialogue, written in such a way that their weak points as performers are constantly being tapped into, then perform it so that it’s good and makes sense in a plotline that is haphazard and illogical. I don’t expect many performers to be able to do that, nor should they be expected to do that every damn day.
I also don’t expect that bad acting should continue on a constant basis without someone in charge finally doing something to correct it. It’s like going to your favorite restaurant and always getting that one, horrible waitress who always gives you bad service. You complain to the management (because she’s that bad) and you know you can’t be the only one, yet she is still always there and she is still always horrible. Eventually, you don’t go anymore. Why should you? While it may turn out that everyone else loves her (though doubtful), you don’t and it’s your dime, so in the long run, for you, it’s only what you think that matters. Whether the waitress is really trying or not becomes irrelevant, it’s the management that’s failed.
That’s how I see GH more and more, as management that’s failed. The Co-Head-Master-Lord-King-Writers currently there (Bob Guza and Charles Pratt) should be long gone by now. They suck and have what I can only call an apparent hate and loathing of women. The current producer, Jill Farren Phelps, has almost destroyed every show she’s produced and also seems to dislike women. Because of her, I stopped watching “All My Children.” Also because of Ms. Phelps, I stopped watching “One Life to Live.” While I have recently returned to OLTL, I’ll be damned if that woman is going to run me away from GH. Mark my words, she will go before me. It’s kind of silly, but my soaps are special to me and I’m holding on to this one. I don’t care how many long lost sisters or poisoned tattoos she has on the show, or even if she brings Timothy Gibbons (ex-Kevin, OLTL) to GH (Don’t even get me started on him!), I’m staying. I was here first. So, nana-nana-boo-boo to Jill.
I have nothing good to say about the President of ABC Daytime, Brian Frons, that won’t involve a lot of profanity and major ranting, so just take my word for it, I blame him, too.
So where will talentless Tamara go from here? Maybe she will prove me wrong? It’s happened. Remember Ian Buchanan, who played “Duke Lavery?” Oh, goodness. I could not stand him. I absolutely hated Duke and Ian’s portrayal of him, so yes; I hated Ian as an actor with the frenzy of a thousand psychos on fire. Duke and Anna were one of the most obnoxious soap couples of all time in my book, even though I adored Anna. Apparently, not many agreed with my perceptions, for they were a very popular couple. When Ian left, I did a little dance of joy in front of the television. Since then, everything I have seen that man in has amazed me, because I have absolutely, one hundred percent, loved him in everything else. I just hated him as “Duke Lavery.” Of course I didn’t know at the time that I would love him in everything else I ever saw him in. I wasn’t “aghast,” but I was certainly “amazed” when that turned out to be the case.
So, I will solemnly swear here and now, if I start loving Tamara in other roles, I will admit it. I have no problem with that. Regardless of my feelings about her acting on GH, I wish her well. I prefer never to see her again, based on my current assessment of her abilities, but I am also blaming “management” for a lot of it, too. Once she’s away from them, who knows? Maybe she’ll be my next, pleasantly surprising, Ian Buchanan?
Tams might amaze,
And not aghast,
I will outlast.
So goodbye Tams,
And good luck,
I wrote a whole column,
Have a nice day!
And yes, I am a big, ole meanie.