For those of you who have been living under a rock, new to the online soap experience or haven't visited Daytime Confidential.com before you may have not noticed it but All My Children is in the midst of a big controversy over the use of the term "The Real" when referring to the return of Rebecca Budig as Greenlee Smythe instead of using "The Original". Now there are rumors that All My Children is considering using the same type of campaign if they can get Alexa Havins back as Babe Carey Chandler.
This whole thing got me to thinking about where we as fans draw the line and what we would or would not accept from our favorite soaps or networks.
However, before I continue I just want to say this is all hypothetically speaking and I am a big fan of all three of the actresses being used in my example. I could have just as easily used the four actresses who have portrayed Carly on General Hospital, the two actresses who portrayed Jessica on One Life to Live, or one of the actresses who portrayed Lizzie Spaulding on Guiding Light. If you aren't a Days of Our Lives fan then insert the name of a character who has been portrayed by more than one actor or actress on your favorite soap. I'm using Days of Our Lives' character Billie Reed portrayed by three actresses; Lisa Rinna, Krista Allen, and Julie Pinson.
Lisa Rinna is the original and arguably the most popular portrayer of the character. However, she hasn't actually been on the show in years and could be considered today more of a fond memory than an actual possibility to return.
Krista Allen was the second actress to portray Billie Reed but is considered by many to have portrayed the worst version of Billie Reed. As one person I was discussing this topic with pointed out. Krista Allen is the Austin Peck of the Billies. She's really improved as an actress after leaving Days of Our Lives.
Julie Pinson is the latest actress to portray Billie Reed and if I might add a bit of personal bias to this discussion I think she's done a bang up job in the role. However, her Billie has been saddled with two major problems. 1) She hasn't gotten any real good storylines to showcase her talents. 2) She went through a major rewrite in order for Chelsea to exist. (Billie lost a baby in the swamp that was a stillborn and was buried. How, the baby survived to become Chelsea is a bit dubious). Unfortunately, Julie Pinson was recently let go from Days of Our Lives.
Hypothetically speaking, how would Days of Our Lives fans feel if somehow Days of Our Lives pulled of the virtually impossible (you can thank DWTS for this) and somehow brought back Lisa Rinna as Billie Reed and then in all the promo for her return used "The REAL Billie Reed Returns to Days of Our Lives"?
How does this trend impact daytime and its fans?
1. Is it ok for fans to use "the real" but not a network or show? If so is there a double standard?
2. Is it ok for networks or shows to use "the real" but in moderation?
3. If no actor(ess) is currently portraying the character is it ok for "the real" to be used?
4. If it is an original actress, is it better to use "original" instead of "the real"?
5. Is this a trend that we'll see more of future?
6. If so do you think that we as fans will become jaded to it and after a while won't care or pay attention?
7. Do stunts like this hurt the show that uses it or is "bad press" from those of us online still good press?
8. Will there be a ratings payoff? (we're about to find out about All My Children)
9. Is it easier for us to accept this type of thing for an extremely popular actor(ess) who has been gone for a long time like a Lisa Rinna vs. a popular actress like Budig who has been gone a shorter amount of time?
10. Is it right to use such a campaign when another actor(ess) is still in the role?
Online vs. "Regular" Viewers
My last question is this. Is "The Real" campaign being used by All My Children or that could hypothetically be used by any soap such as Days of Our Lives something that outrages us in the online chattering community but that has little or no impact on those who are just reading the magazine's off the stands or seeing the promos on their TV's? Does this issue even register on their radar and is it possible that we're taking this to seriously?
I'm not sure where we'll be as an industry or how much this campaign by All My Childen wil affect the promotional strategies of other soaps but one thing is forsure, it's highly unlikely this is the last time we'll face this issue.
What are your thoughts on this type of campaign?