Archive for December, 2008

As I Saw It… Days of Our Lives

Posted in As I Saw It on December 31, 2008 by Jeff

arianne-zukerWhat in the world happened to Days of Our Lives?  I wasn’t impressed when I last sampled the show during the “Marlena is a Serial Killer” storyline, but at least I could figure out who-was-who on the show.  What made it so hard for me last week to figure out who the new characters are, is because all of the stories on the show appear to be self-contained.  There was no intermingling of stories when I watched.  What was happening with Sami (what was happening with Sami?) had nothing to do with what was happening to Bo and Hope, which had nothing to do with what was happening with Kate and Daniel.  I remember the good old Days several storylines were intertwined and that made for interesting viewing.

Acting has never been one of Days‘ strong suits, and for the most part, the acting by the younger set leaves a lot to be desired.  Powerhouse Arianne Zuker does wonders as Nicole, even in a stereotypical “pretend pregnancy” storyline.  She deserves a better story. 

The budget cuts are clearly visible on the show, which used to boast some of the best sets on daytime.  The show has a shabby look to it, and the lighting isn’t flattering for the actors.  

In the end, I just couldn’t get into the show.  I knew going in that this wouldn’t be Masterpiece Theatre, but I was hoping for some fun. There weren’t any supercouples or quirky stories.  What I found was a lot of filler and no substance.  For a show that has a rich history and has had many creative highs, this is a low point for Days of Our Lives.

This Week: General Hospital!

Posted in Uncategorized on December 29, 2008 by Jeff

generalhospitalIt’s Monday and time for me to set my TiVo to record General Hospital.  I’m scared. I hope I don’t get shot by a mobster.  I haven’t watched the show regularly since the late 90’s so I’m going to prepare myself for the “new” GH.  Please note: GH will either be pre-empted or air classic episodes on New Years Eve and New Years Day, so I will do double duty next Monday and Tuesday when I watch both GH and GL. 

I apologize for taking so long to get my post about Days online, but I promise it will be up by Wednesday.  If you’re keeping track of my viewing habits, Days did not make my permanent TiVo list.

Five Days of My Life… Starting Today!

Posted in What I'm Watching with tags on December 22, 2008 by Jeff

days_of_our_livesDays of Our Lives is this week’s soap as I approach the halfway mark of my “return to daytime” experiment.  I will watch all five episodes of Days of Our Lives this week (even on Christmas).  It will mark the first time I’ve watched the show on a regular basis since 1998.  I’ll give a full report over the weekend. Just for the record, All My Children and The Bold and the Beautiful are still on my “must watch” list. As the World Turns didn’t make the list.

As I Saw It… The Bold and the Beautiful

Posted in As I Saw It with tags on December 20, 2008 by Jeff

bold_and_beautifulMy Bold and the Beautiful went by in a flash.  I enjoyed the half hour format because there were less characters to get to know, quick moving stories that were easy to follow, and a cast of actors who – for the most part – were familiar to this former viewer.  

Speaking of those familiar faces, I can’t say enough about the amazing Susan Flannery (Stephanie).  She takes anything they throw at her and makes it look like it was written by Shakespeare.  She never chews the scenery or tries to overpower her co-stars; instead she uses her talents to add to her scenes instead of stealing them.  What surprised me the most is just how good of an actress Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke) has become.  Maybe I never noticed before because of the redundancy of her past storylines, or maybe I noticed her beauty more than her acting, but she impressed me a lot this week.  John McCook is always great as Eric, and Ronn Moss does a capable job as Ridge. 

The story last week focused mostly on the effects of the death of Ridge and Taylor’s (Hunter Tylo) daughter Phoebe, which was caused by Brooke and Eric’s son, Rick (Kyle Lowder).  Another storyline was about Eric and Donna (Jennifer Gareis) troubled marriage, complicated by Thorne’s (Winsor Harmon) machinations.  

I enjoyed the fast pace of the show.  Some story points were cleared up within the week, while others were left hanging to keep viewers waiting. Although none of the stories were peaking the week I watched, they were interesting enough for me to look forward to the next episode.  Now that the week is over, I want to see more.  And in the world of soaps, that’s the point!

A Bold New Week

Posted in What I'm Watching with tags on December 15, 2008 by Jeff

ridge-and-brookeIf it’s Monday there must be another soap on the horizon.  This week brings The Bold the the Beautiful, with it’s sultry citizens of Los Angeles’ fashion world.  

For those keeping score, All My Children is still on my viewing list. As the World Turns is not.

As I Saw It… As the World Turns

Posted in As I Saw It with tags on December 13, 2008 by Jeff

as-the-world-turnsLast week I went to church.  As a Catholic, I received  Holy Communion and went back to my pew to pray.  I looked up and saw an elderly woman pick up her communion wafer from the palm of her hand and attempt to place it in her mouth.  The wafer flew by her mouth and hit her nose, only to land on her tongue and be eaten – all while her eyes bulged out in horror.  It looked very much like a frog grabbing a fly with it’s tongue.  I know now as I knew then that it wasn’t supposed to be funny – but it was.  I laughed.  I tried hard not to, but I couldn’t help myself.  Why am I telling you this as I begin my tale of a week of watching As the World Turns?  Keep reading.

First off, it was very jarring for me to watch ATWT when so many familiar characters have been recast with familiar actors from other shows.  What is most jarring is that the characters don’t behave as they did when I watched before.  Meg Snyder was a sly schemer who grew into a ethereal heroine. Now she’s really dumb.  The Dusty Donovan that I remember was the epitome of what every mother wanted her daughter to bring home, except for the fact that he had an annoying habit of greeting everyone with a handshake.  Now he’s a criminal.  Paul was a good kid who was tortured by his father’s legacy.  Now he acts like Todd Manning.  It’s hard to root for anyone in this storyline because Dusty (Grayson McCouch) and Paul (Roger Howarth) aren’t very nice and Meg (Marie Wilson) isn’t very smart.  The most recent recast is Jon Lindstrom as Craig Montgomery.  Lindstrom, a  very good actor, is paired with Deirdre Skiles as Dani Andropoulos – the daughter of his first love Betsy.  If that isn’t enough, Dani was born while Betsy was married to Craig and was believed to be his biological daughter until Steve was proven to be her father.  Pairing Dani with someone she once thought was her father is really creepy.  But then again, so is the romance between Lucinda and Brian Wheatley (Elizatheth Hubbard, Laurence Lau).  The age difference doesn’t bother me, but Brian kissing his stepgrandson creeps me out.  Apparently it creeped out grandson Luke (Van Hansis) also, because Luke is on a mission to learn everything he can about Brian – starting with Brian’s ex-wife Carolyn (Marcia McCabe).  Carolyn obviously knows that Brian has a secret and I have a hunch that it’s more than the obvious.  Aside from the overall creep factor of the storyline, I like mysteries and this could be interesting.  However, at the end of Monday’s show, I wasn’t waiting with baited breath for the next episode.  It’s actually a good thing I wasn’t anxiously awaiting Tuesday’s show because when it aired not one character that appeared on Monday’s episode was on Tuesday’s show!   I felt as if I was watching two completely different soaps.  

While Monday was all about the Paul/Meg/Craig/Dani/Dusty situation along with the Lucinda/Brian/Luke storyline, Tuesday was all about Jack’s (Michael Park) impending marriage to Janet (Julie Pinson) despite their financial problems.  Just when I was making a mental note that the show added a dash of reality and current events as Jack discussed not being able to pay for an expensive wedding in the middle of a recession, Carly (Maura West) and Jack’s son Parker (Mick Hazen), aided by Janet’s daughter with the unfortunate name of Liberty (Meredith Hagner), decided to forge Carly’s name on one of his trust fund checks for the tune of twenty thousand dollars. Within the course of one hour, Janet and Jack had realized they didn’t have enough cash for the reception, Liberty and Parker took the check to the Lakeview Hotel, Carly discovered their shenanigans and blamed Jack, only for Carly, Jack, and Janet to find Liberty and Parker and show them the error of their ways. I thought I was watching As the Brady Bunch Turns.  In the same hour, Alison Stewart (Marnie Schulenburg) cheered up job-searching Casey Hughes (Billy Magnussen) by telling him, “Look at me. I was a drug addict and a porn star. Now I work in a hospital!” Casey asked his grandfather Bob Hughes (Don Hastings, who still reminds me of my own dad) for a job and was hired on the spot as a janitor. Casey didn’t need to fill out an employment application or have to go through a background check.  He didn’t even take a drug test.  Within minutes he was mopping floors as Alison checked on a patient.  The patient turned out to be one of the guys who attacked her and she left him unattended – just long enough for him to go onto the roof in a drug induced stupor and attempt to jump because invisible people were telling him to do so.  Casey (mop in hand) saved the day.  I know that attempted suicide is not funny and drug overdoses have no humor, but just as in church last week, I couldn’t help but laugh.  In fact I laughed harder at that scene than I have laughed at any primetime sitcom this year.  Next, Bob checked on Casey to see how he was enjoying his new job.  Casey gleefully told his grandfather, “I just saved a guy who was going to jump off the roof. He was one of the guys who kidnapped Alison and tried to rape her!” Did Bob call the police?  Of course not.  He told Alison to document the patient’s chart, take a break, and come to his office later – while Casey whispered in Alison’s ear that someone might be getting a raise.  This show needs a laugh-track.

As the week progressed, I finally got to see Noelle Beck as Lily.  In the 1980’s, I enjoyed both Martha Byrne as Lily and Noelle Beck as Loving‘s Trisha.  It was odd to see Beck as Lily.  Her take on the character is far more mannered and reserved than Byrne, who played Lily as spunky and full of emotion. Beck is a good actress, but she isn’t Lily.  ATWT has changed so many characters to suite the actors who have taken over roles (Roger Howarth, Grayson McCouch), that one might imagine Lily as an entirely new character after the recast.  The brightest part of the show for me was Julie Pinson as Janet Ciccone.  Pinson is one of those rare performers who generates chemistry with everyone she’s paired with.  Her scenes with Michael Park sparkled despite weak dialogue.  Maura West is always great and her scenes displaying Carly’s utter sadness over Jack’s marriage to Janet were wonderful.  This is what makes ATWT frustrating: just when you think it’s safe to turn it off, they throw in a gem like the scenes of Jack and Carly the night before Jack’s wedding to Janet.  For me, the cons outweighed the pros.  Part of it is because there are so many villians on the show that it’s hard to find enough characters to cheer for, but the bottom line is that ATWT, which boasts some of the best actors in the industry, simply isn’t very well-written.

 

Two Weeks Down… Six to Go!

Posted in What I'm Watching with tags on December 12, 2008 by Jeff

julie-pinson1

Two weeks.

Two soaps.

Six more to go!

Today was the last day of my As the World Turns week.  Tomorrow I will have a complete report of what I thought of the show (here’s a preview: I love Julie Pinson!).

Monday will bring the start of my Bold and the Beautiful week.  LA won’t be the same for me without Sally Spectra, but B&B has kept many of it’s core cast throughout the years so I’m hoping it will be easy for me to follow along quickly.

Stay tuned!