Archive for the Soaps in General Category

Guiding Light: Have I Been Too Harsh?

Posted in Soaps in General with tags on February 19, 2009 by Jeff

Driscolljustin-deas1You read my take on Guiding Light when I watched it for a week last month.  You know that I loved Guiding Light back in the 80’s and 90’s.  You know I don’t love it now. I complained, I ranted, I just wasn’t happy about watching five episodes of a mediocre show that was once great.  I continued my rant when I was asked to comment on the state of soaps in an article on the entertainment blog The Chronicles of Von Klapp.  

And then Coop died.  

Who would have thought that bringing Phillip (Grant Aleksander) back, tying it to the death of Coop (John Driscoll), and letting Justin Deas (Buzz) act his butt off all at the same time would create soap opera magic? That is exactly what happened when all of this came together on GL. I watched GL just for the hell of it on the day Grant Aleksander came back to the show.  I was expecting more Peapack propaganda – all hype and no delivery. I was wrong. I was really wrong. The writers crafted several storylines including everyone from Bill and Lizzie (Daniel Cosgrove, Marcy Rylan) to Natalie and Olivia (Jessica Leccia, Crystal Chappel), and of course Beth and Alan (Beth Chamberlin, Ron Raines) all tying around Phillip’s return.  What made Phillip’s return so powerful was that is was playing out against the death of Coop.  

The episode where Coop died was classic soap opera.  The writing, directing and acting was spot on.  The producers even cut the opening sequence to show the only the title card with the sound of Coop’s blaring heart monitor in the background.   The flashbacks of Buzz and Coop’s history, featuring Fiona Hutchison as Jenna, Coop’s mother and the love of Buzz’s life, only made Coop’s death more achingly powerful.  Justin Deas should pick out a space on his mantle for the Emmy he will win for this episode.  

So, here we are: more than a week after the day I was going to watch GL for “one day” to see Phillip return, and I haven’t missed an episode yet.  Was I too harsh in my judgement of GL? Was one week enough time to judge a soap? If I was wrong about GL what other shows should I take a second look at? Let me know what you think.

My Return To Daytime

Posted in Soaps in General with tags , , , , on November 22, 2008 by Jeff

My name is Jeff and I have watched soaps most of my forty years.  Some of my earliest memories involve Erica Kane, Rachel Cory, Mike Bauer, and John Dixon.  All throughout my formative years, soaps were my favorite entertainment genre.  When everyone else was glued to Charlie’s Angels, I was wondering if Iris was going to split up Mac and Rachel on Another World.  When others were giggling at Three’s Company, I was waiting for General Hospital‘s Laura and Scotty to get married in the park.

Like all good friends, sometimes soaps disappointed me.  Some stories work, and some don’t.  However, for most of the eighties, I was a happy soap fan.  Then along came the nineties, or as I call it, “The Soap Killing Decade.” Sure, soaps enjoyed somewhat decent ratings during the Clinton administration, but things were going in the wrong direction.  I know the Iran-Contra hearings in 1987 and the O.J. Simpson trial in 1995 pre-empted soaps and that caused a ratings to dip.  I also know that the onslaught of cable channels didn’t help matters either.  But in the end, it was the writing that drove me away from my once dear friend, the daytime drama.

I have watched every soap currently on the air at one time or another in the last thirty years.  The shows that I watched the longest were All My Children, As the World Turns, Guiding Light, and One Life to Live.  The last soap I watched on a daily basis was Guiding Light. I stopped watching watching daily at the end of 1998, although I have tuned in occasionally here and there.

Now that it’s been ten full years since I’ve had a daily commitment to a soap, I’m realizing that I miss my old friend, the daytime drama.  Can any soap out there win me back?  Starting December 1 and over the following eight weeks, I will watch one soap per week; every day for an entire week.  Starting with All My Children the first week and ending with The Young and the Restless on the eighth, I will watch each one for five consecutive days with a new and fresh perspective – and I will report my findings here.

Will any of them hook me? Can I be a soap fan again?

Tune in and find out.