Rating The Young Uns: Why Soaps Could Use More Actors Like Blake Berris And Less Hair Models




Okay you knew it was coming. Now that the Idiots In Charge of The-Soap-Opera-Formerly-Known-as-Days-of-Our-Lives have let the phenomenal Blake Berris go, I decided to start out doing a Wishful Casting about where Berris should end up, but it turned into more of an analysis of which soaps are managing to set things up for their next generation the right way, and which ones are getting it wrong, dead wrong.

Much of the daytime industry is experiencing a serious drought in terms of talented, young stars who can actually, you know, act. Save for The Young and the Restless, One Life to Live and General Hospital, the under 30 set at most soaps is pretty much comprised of rejects from the Pamela Anderson School of Acting and Pantomime.  I’ll start with the soaps in most need of help and work my way up.

Guding Light

While GL is surprisingly getting better with each passing day, the younger cast is still, for the most part, absolutely abyssmal. Save for future superstar Marcy Rylan (Lizzie) and promising, but not-yet stand outs  like Mandy Bruno (Marina) and John Driscoll (Coop), GL is hair model central.

EJ Bonilla (Rafe) and Lawrence St. Victor (Remy) are botrh growing on me, but with the overly-loud and (sorry) overrated Caitlin Van Zandt screaming onto the scene at any given second and that poor child Bonnie Dennison (Daisy) somewhere starring blankly, it makes it hard to concentrate on what’s right about the young Springfielders.

An actor of Berris’s caliber would help balance things out. What if GL cast Berris as Zack, the son of Phillip Spaulding and Harley Cooper? With Grant Aleksander on his way back, now would be the perfect time for his son with Harley to be SORAS’ed. If not Zack, Berris could play Phillip’s other son James, the one he sired with Beth atop a snowy mountain, during a plane crash on the tropical principality of San Cristobel. 

Berris and Rylan would have amazing brother/sister chemistry and if the soap found a suitable actress (read: one whose resume doesn’t say "strikes a mean pose") to star opposite Berris as Vanessa’s daughter Maureen, the show could have a promising young adult couple on its hands.

As The World Turns

As The World Turns actually has an amazing younger set, which is why this show frustrates me to no end. They put the brakes on the smoking hot Emily and Casey May/December romance featuring one of the best young adult newcomers in years (Billy Magnussen), that brought up 10 years of history with Emily, Tom and Margo, so they could put Emily back into the same old tired orbit with soap opera kill joys Paul and Meg. Meanwhile, Magnussen’s fire is being wasted on perhaps the most boring recast in the last decade, Marnie Schulenberg as Alison Stewart.

Former hair model-turned-decent younger leading man Agim Kaba  (Aaron) has grown leaps and bounds since first appearing on the show. Now that he is finally ready to anchor the show’s 20-something set, what do they do? Put him on recurring to bring on new hair models with their training wheels still on.

Don’t even get me started on how ATWT has wasted the opportunity to lure in the affluent cable audiences that watch Logo and Bravo, by refusing to pen anything even seemingly resembling a decent storyline for their groundbreaking gay teen couple Luke and Noah (Van Hansis and Jake Silbermann).

After seeing all of these examples in print, I’m almost reluctant to suggest Berris for any role on this soap, since ATWT has proven it doesn’t know what to do with the amazing young talent it already has. That being said, I think it would be awesome if a fed up Noah finds comfort in a new coed at at the university. While Drunk Luke is busy tongue wrestling his Paw-Paw, maybe Noah and a new character played by Berris can actually do more than jump up and down on the bed when they have a moment to themselves?

The Bold and the Beautiful

Sigh. B&B, often times my guiltiest daytime pleasure, is another soap that doesn’t have a clue how to write for hot, interesting younger characters. This show has had in its employment Mario Lopez, Antonio Sabato Jr. (okay they aren’t young, but they still look it. Latino and Italian respectively don’t crack) and currently Texas Battle and Brandon Beemer, yet have failed to utilize them. Maybe if Berris joined the soap as core family member Thomas Forrester that could change things? If not Thomas, what about a young lover for Lesli Kay‘s underused Felicia? Did you see those Obama-on-my-drawers photo shoots featuring Kay and Berris? Talk about chemistry!

19 Responses

  1. Avatar of daisyclover1938
    daisyclover1938

    Am I the only one that thinks Pam Anderson isn’t that bad of an actress? I always thought she had real potential, she’s likeable (onscreen), is comfortable in front of the camera (no self-consciousness which is a real killer), and showed some comedic flair. If she had really worked at it, I think she could have been good. Besides there are *much* worse out there…

    Well I agree with most of what Jamey wrote. My ratings/grades for the Younger Crowd:

    B&B: D
    AMC: C-
    OLTL: B+
    GH: B
    Y&R: C+ (the low grade is in part because I resent the show trying to convince me that 30 year old Amber is still a dippy little teeny bopper.)
    DAYS: D

    Can’t grade ATWT or GL because it’s been waaaay too long since I’ve seen them.

  2. Avatar of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    LMAO Daisy I too used to gripe about Adrienne Frantz, who is older than I am, being stuck in teen storylines, but it works for me now. She has basically been in one teen story after another since 1997!

  3. Avatar of JaSamLover
    JaSamLover

    Great article Jamey. I agree with everything you said. When new young characters are brought onto soaps, or new kids are born, I always think of what they’ll be like in the future and how the soap one day might revolve around them. Unfortunately, many soaps fall short in that area. But not GH (as I will alwaysdefend it no matter what ;) ) and OLTL has done a tremendous job paving the way with Starr,Cole,Langston,and Markko.

    Also,”Soap Find of the Millenium Bradford Anderson”? YES!!!! I am so gonna start calling him that, lol.

    Sam McCall’s favorite accessory? A shotgun :).

  4. Avatar of Jamey Giddens
    Jamey Giddens

    LMAO I love (to hate) me some Sam…and that’s a good thing! Soap need those characters. The Sams of Soapdom help point out the sanctity and virtue of noble heroines like my beloved Elizabeth! :p

  5. Avatar of Mark
    Mark

    Don’t know about the other soaps, but you’re right Jamey, ATWT has a great younger set (I even like Marnie! :P). They just need to write better stories for them. Something I really hated was when Will, Gwen, Casey and Maddie were always around each other while they kept Luke seperate from them (we barely saw Luke for 7-8 months after he came out and before Noah arrived. That’s why I’m loving the Luke/Noah/Alison/Casey interaction we’ve been seeing. I really love Luke and Casey’s friendship.

  6. Avatar of ssjohn
    ssjohn

    Okay being a teen do kinda watch the teen stories and i am supposed to care about them….

    Almost none of the shows have real ‘teen’ storylines, ATWT, YR and OLTL is about it, the rest are all 20 somethings trying to find there way in the world.

    Shockingly all three of those teen sets i love.

    Lets go soap by soap thou.

    AMC — There is a teen set? ohhhhhhhhh you mean That Robot and that other kid…yea don’t really care, the actress has gotten better but the storylines still suck.

    ATWT–

    Awesome youth set, love to watch everyone on, my main problem with that show is the inbetweeners (Peg,Craig, Dusty, Fake Jen, etc).

    B&B –

    You really want more of their ‘youth’ set????? I am Thankful every day they are off (though i did like the little i saw of Thomas) I want Felicia and Owen on more but thats about it the rest can go.

    DAYS–

    They need some actual TEENS on that show, but the ‘young adults’ that we have are currently a mess, Stephanie and Chelsea i kinda ‘like’ at the moment but thats about it. ((I find watching the destroyed Nick painful at the moment))

    but if they want to keep me watching they have got to at minimum recast Molly B, she’s got to go.

    Gh–

    Again not really teens, they are a good set thou.

    GL–

    Same problem, decent set, get rid of Grady though ( I like Daisy…..)

    OLTL –

    Love the cast, Cole really grew on me lol.

    YR–

    I didn’t mind the teens, look forward to recast Eden and glad Noah is pulling double duty :)

    Home and away –

    AWESOME teen set, few minor but whatever

    Eastenders –

    Bloody Brilliant

    Hollyoaks –

    Amazing

    Neighbours –

    Wickedly good.

    :P had to promote those shows will good teen/YA sets :)

  7. Avatar of LIASONADDICT
    LIASONADDICT

    LMAO I love (to hate) me some Sam…and that’s a good thing! Soap need those characters. The Sams of Soapdom help point out the sanctity and virtue of noble heroines like my beloved Elizabeth!
    _____________________________________

    So true jamey

  8. Avatar of east.west
    east.west

    Maybe Tika Sumpter could be the new Lily Winters?
    ***

    I think Tika is highly overatted and not that good of an actress.

    Blake should ditch Daytime, but if here wants to still stay in this mess of a field he should be on the best shows.

    I can see him OLTL as a legacy character or even a new character.

    On Y&R he would work as Kyle Abbott.

  9. Avatar of east.west
    east.west

    Maybe Tika Sumpter could be the new Lily Winters?
    ***

    I think Tika is highly overatted and not that good of an actress.

    Blake should ditch Daytime, but if here wants to still stay in this mess of a field he should be on the best shows.

    I can see him OLTL as a legacy character or even a new character.

    On Y&R he would work as Kyle Abbott.

  10. Avatar of Heidi
    Heidi

    Y&R needs to get rid of that dead-weight “actress” portraying Colleen and get Adrianne Leon back in the role. There’s a reason Crapleen hasn’t been on the show for the entire month of November. I wish TPTB would do something about this problem; hopefully they are and that’s why she hasn’t been on in a month.

  11. Avatar of east.west
    east.west

    Y&R needs to get rid of that dead-weight “actress” portraying Colleen and get Adrianne Leon back in the role.
    ****

    Yeah and hopefully if the HSM ripoff becomes pop. she’ll leave, b/c she just has been awful as Colleen. I mean if Tammin was playing a new character I would’ve been OK, but she isn’t Colleen Carlton and the off accent makes it even worse to watch her in a scene.

  12. Avatar of ssjohn
    ssjohn

    @Daisy –

    You know i gotta pimp out those soaps any chance i get :) also its kinda hard to ‘remember’ that they have a teen/youth set because they are just ‘part of the show’ they dont stick out like our Teen/YA storylines do.

  13. Avatar of daisyclover1938
    daisyclover1938

    Exactly ssjohn!! I just take for granted that EE’s younger actors are good, that the characters are likeable (I actually *care* about them), their stories are relevant and they’re naturally integrated into the rest of the show (like you said, they don’t ‘stick out’)

  14. Avatar of season1217
    season1217

    “Twenty-something couples like Rex and Gigi and Natalie and Jared are also equal parts romantic and visually stimulating.”

    ________________________

    Did I miss something? I must have gotten off at the wrong stop because I don’t see it!

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