How are soaps doing finding balance on screen? Check out what Digest columnist Carolyn Hinsey has to say about what’s happening across the daytime dial.
Soaps do a good job balancing stories and screen time, but there’s always room for improvement, right?
GH needs more drama and humor to even out the illness. Curtis’s paralysis, Molly’s infertility, Sasha’s catatonia and Gregory’s ALS are too much even for a show set in a hospital — especially when two or more medical downers play in the same episode.
They rebounded with Sonny’s arrest.
Sonny (under arrest): “I am a coffee importer.”
Diane: “Not just coffee. The best coffee.”
Take that, Feds! And while some shows are drowning in business stories (cough, Y&R, cough), the battle for Deception is firing on all cylinders because they give it just the right amount of screen time and it features A-listers we care about.
Lucy: “I am not going to give one single share of the company I built with my own two hands to that snobby, arrogant, entitled, selfish, spoiled heiress Tracy Quartermaine.”
Martin: “What if the company goes bankrupt?”
Lucy: “Good thing I kept my real estate license.”
Lucy fretted that Tracy was “trying to get back at her” so I got unnaturally excited that we were going to see flashbacks of Lucy’s hilarious wedding to Tracy’s brother Alan in 1990. But, no. Memo to GH: There must be a way to use classic flashbacks the way all the other soaps do — especially since so many current stories would benefit from a raucous blast from the past starring the same beloved characters.
DAYS uses flashbacks to perfection. Their problem is too many stories built on new-ish characters who don’t have the rooting value to carry them. Sloan lost a baby she schemed her way into carrying with a clueless Eric whose true love Nicole is actually pregnant with his child. Sloan knows this, so her sobs ring hollow. Ava is a psychopath who freely admitted to Harris that she “kinda blew up the church with Marlena in it” but then got her own on-the-run story. Talia poisoned half the town yet was hired at the hospital by Kayla (of all people).
Gwen cost us the entire Deveraux family and now we’re supposed to be all “Boo hoo, she’s getting scammed by Dimitri”? Pass. Gwen is getting what she deserves, like Leo dressing up to impersonate her in order to con some British lawyer into giving Dimitri his inheritance.
Leo (falsetto voice as Gwen): “No one understands what Dimitri and I have.”
Lawyer: “Very moving. The problem is you’re not Gwen Rizczech. I’ve been to drag shows.”
The lawyer had it right that it was a “terrible archaic system” forcing Dimitri to marry a woman to get his inheritance, but these are not the right characters to gain sympathy when a gay man can’t love who he loves (especially since Leo is a proven scammer). Tell that same story with Will Horton, Sonny Kiriakis, even Craig Wesley, and you’ve got something.
The balance toward baddies was even more glaring when DAYS brought back A-list faves for Victor’s funeral, like Philip Kiriakis. Xander bumped into his presumed-dead cousin (who used to date Xander’s now-fiancée Chloe) and was like, “Wait, what?”
Philip: “I was sick to death of hiding.”
Sick to death — get it? Take off your attitude and stay awhile, Philip!
B&B divides its half-hour well between Hope/Liam/Thomas, Steffy/Finn/Sheila, Brooke/Ridge and Eric’s welcome story with R.J., but there’s too much repetition — especially within the same episode.
Finn: “What are you doing here?”
Sheila: “I needed to see you. I miss my son. We have a deep connection. Please don’t turn your back on me. I can see it in your eyes. We are so much alike. I was your first love, your first home. We have the same blood flowing through our veins. We have an opportunity to be together again. Please don’t cut me out of your life. Don’t turn your back on your mother.”
Ramble much, psycho? Steffy stood silent instead of going off on her murderous mother-in-law, which would have been much more entertaining. Long monologues can work, but not every day and not when the speaker should logically be interrupted.
Personally, I’m with Steffy’s granddad.
Eric (to Ridge): “If your mother was here, Sheila would not be.”
Which brings us to Y&R: Too much business and not enough pleasure, especially with the unholy triangle of ex-marrieds Adam, Nick and Sharon.
Victor: “You’re bickering, not solving problems. What’s the matter with you?”
Sharon: “The three of us do not work well together.”
Ya think? We even got a special episode devoted to Newman Enterprises and its subsidiaries, including fantasies of the players defeating each other.
Enter Nikki to throw cold water on them all.
Nikki: “Where do I begin? You, Adam, are one of the most ungrateful people I have ever known. My precious Nicholas, you always have one foot out the door. And my darling Victor, if you put Adam in charge I will be angrier than you have ever seen me.”
Victor: “I hear you loud and clear. You, my darling, will run the damn company.”
What is this, Business 101? They reeled it in a bit when Summer told her glam grandma Nikki — a.k.a. the new CEO — about her husband Kyle bedding Audra.
Nikki (to Audra): “Leave Kyle alone or your future at Newman Media is over.”
Bringggg! HR on line one for you, Mrs. Newman.
Nikki’s unlikely rule for Audra’s employment aside, the entertainment value of the new CEO having everyone’s number should make up for all those Newman family business gatherings, hirings, firings, org charts, and “chance” meetings in the park we’ve been forced to endure for months.
Brace yourselves for some improvement, kids — Nikki’s in charge now!
Hey. It’s only my opinion.