June 21, 2007
When I Wasn't Looking
As most of you know, I am one of the old timey soap viewers who enjoys the "duh duh duhhhhh" moments before the commercial break and the interpersonal drama of romance and intrigue and secrets and subterfuge and all that fun stuff. It quickly became evident, however, that the acquisition of ABC by the Disney Corporation would immediately bring about intense micromanagement from power overlords with titles like "President of ABC Daytime." So, as Dylan would sing if he happened to be an ABC soap fan, "the times, as they were, were a'channnnggging." In order to continue watching soaps (and I would) and not blow a gasket, I was going to have to change my expectations and become comfortable with what our network was willing to give.
When I was growing up, before the internet brought us all so uncomfortably close together, "Tales of Far Away Lands" mesmerized me and my little kid colleagues. We knew if we dug a hole deep enough, we'd end up upside down in China, talking to a cute little Asian child in a coolie hat who would feed us rice. Oh yes, stereotypes abounded in our limited childhood experience. If we went to Arabia (not knowing it had ceased to exist on paper and would later be blown to bits by our own country), we could fly around on magic carpets and open caves full of ill-gotten treasure with magic words. If we went to England, we could have tea with the Queen and be conned by Puss 'n Boots. That's what other soap networks are to me now. I hear about people like "the Bells" and exotic places with names like Salem and Harmony and Springfield (where the Simpsons live!). I hear of remarkable ideas such as stories about friendships, actors who are female and over 40 and *gasp* heated, passionate relationships.
I can hardly imagine such a thing to be true, but I know people who have traveled to these faraway channels and swear it's the case. For myself, I am too old and set in my ways to switch, so I will have to live vicariously through the adventures of others who brave the rocky network seas and return with these unbelievable tales to share.
On the coattails of my frustration over The State of Soaps came an apathy that I could hardly shake. Whereas I used to break out in a sweat and have a full blown anxiety attack if I missed an episode, now I sometimes forget to turn on the TV at soap time at all. The end result is that I usually watch about 3-4 episodes of each soap a week. It keeps me current, but lets me have some breathing space so that I'm not swinging quite so far back and forth over that fine line between my homicidal and suicidal responses.
But what? What is this? When I wasn't looking, all kinds of crap changed and now I am having to play catch-up!
When I wasn't looking (although I looked later on youtube.com and saw it), snotty Colby was baptized in the amniotic fluid of the Martin Christ Child as she received it from the sacred womb of the Blessed Mother and was transformed from a petulant, whining, manipulative brat into a sweet, level-headed, generous natured young lady. If only Krystal could cheat on some more adoring husbands for no reason whatsoever and have a few more children she passed off as someone else's, we could bottle that stuff up and market it world-wide to desperate parents and make a fortune. Maybe they could even dash a little bit over Paris' prison issued Shredded Wheat.
What's this? What's this? Someone told AMC that if you take a sixty year old woman, tighten her up enough surgically and have her speak in an affected Southern accent while fondling a pool cue suggestively, that ABC will suddenly be redeemed from its very serious age-ism problem? Oh Erica, Erica, Erica, I can't believe that you don't have anything better in your bag of tricks than this ridiculous routine, more appropriate to the Lavern DeFazios and Shirley Feeneys of the world. She should know that if you want to really make her soon-to-be-ex jealous, choosing the town whore to do it with doesn't really say much for her marketing skills. Bring Dimitri or Chris back from the dead or find their identical twins. THAT should get him going. The whole point is for him not to KNOW it's a set up, right? Give him something he really feels like he needs to fight against. Erica getting Tad to be her mark just goes to show that soap characters don't know how to do jack shit because they don't watch soaps.
And I ask you, would you not just fire the hell out of that Pam chick who produces Erica's show? This is a serious case of "Who's the Boss?"
While I love the idea of Zach duping Adam out of everything he owns (Palmer should get some good screen moments over that one), I am troubled by how stupid Adam continues to be. Even with new writers well underway, it appears that Adam's brains never went back up into the big head once they left the little one.
Like several others that I have read, I have really enjoyed the Prom Night Musical, although I have found that Marcie is no less irritating in that capacity than in her usual one. While I wasn't looking, I started enjoying the teen stories. What's up with that? I like what's going on with the younger set on GH and this new take has actually made the teens on OLTL quite tolerable. Markko and Langston are fantastic together and honestly, I wish Markko could stick around. Seeing Starr and Cole go through their struggle of not being together, then have her drop her guard and give in to her heart was exactly the type of thing I wish I could see done well with the adult characters. Had Jessica and Nash's romance played out with the integrity shown by Cole and Starr, I would have supported the pairing enthusiastically. The scenes of Jessica telling Antonio that she loved Nash would have been so much more heart-breaking if Jessica had maintained her own integrity and not given in to baser instincts. Leaving Jamie out of the mix would have kept the relationship clean and much less tarnished and ugly. Sure, Jamie was already invested in Jessica as her mother, but what this story needed was a good old-fashioned "I can't go through with this" wedding altar scene.
In a dramatic break from typical soap fare, although Jessica's new half-a-liver fixed her up in no time flat and she's all ready to go home (poor Antonio not faring so well and looking like complete dog mess), she still looks sick, a minor attention to detail that I appreciate greatly. She might want to dye her hair brown or red when she gets her strength back because I think she's seen well enough yellow for the foreseeable future. Also, anyone knows that when you're going through a painful divorce, even if you already have a consolation prize like she does, you absolutely have to change your hair and this will give her a fine excuse to lose the topaz coiffure.
Although I am not at all one for nicknaming characters (it chafes me painfully and puts my teeth on edge profoundly, to be honest), I did enjoy our Musewriter Sandi's choice for Marty. STFUMarty. ShitforbrainsMarty is also quite good, but the brevity and straight-to-the-pointedness of STFUMarty cannot be denied.
David Vickers, thou art a god, and that's all I've got to say about that.
How...odd. This is how last week's freaky deaky conversation between Sam and Elizabeth went in my head:
SAM: "We're the SAME now...you've lost a baby...I've lost a baby...*dissolves into incoherent mumbling*"
LIZ: *stare* "We are NOT the same. You lost a baby as in it DIED. I literally lost a baby as in I MISPLACED IT. Do you really think we should be having this conversation?"
I was, as the conversation went, quite pleased that Liz quickly evicted Sam from her house. What a whack job.
While I wasn't looking, Lucky turned into even more of a jerk than I remembered. Did this guy lose all redeeming factors when he was on the pills? Would I feel differently if Jonathan Jackson played him again? I can't believe he was almost badgering Elizabeth into believing that SHE did something with Jake. "Did you go to the bathroom? Maybe you laid him on the floor while you peed. Did you get a Pepsi? You know how much you like Pepsi. Maybe you paid with him instead of your ATM card! Let's check under the seat of the car. Remember when you dropped your keys down there, you silly girl?"
If I were Tracy, I'd go see an exorcist. Alan is the most pain in the ass ghost since The Bell Witch.
While I wasn't looking, I guess Epiphany and Dr Ford went away. Pity. I liked them.
Guess I should look more often. *shrug*