More Random Thoughts About Five Soaps

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My absence from Daytime Confidential lately has not been due to the usual business of family and work taking up a lot of my time, but rather a certain lack energy to post about practically any of the daytime serials that clog up my DVR from day to day. This is neither a positive nor a negative thing because there are frequent periods throughout the year when shows kind of coast along and do their their thing, usually between sweeps.

At these times, there is little for the viewer — if that viewer is me — to get all worked up about this plot twist, that character's action, some couple or another or even a whole show's direction. Normally, this state of affairs hits one or two shows at a time. Every once in a while like the last couple of weeks, the stars align and all the serials get caught in the same momentum of drift. All that is required of us is to watch and see where it all goes.

In that spirit, my brain plays a little game of soap opera hopscotch, taking in odds and ends big and small. There is no great elaboration on anything here, just a quick rundown of things I like and not like so much. Your mileage may vary...



ALL MY CHILDREN

I hadn't seen Taylor (Beth Ehlers) on screen in so long, I thought she was helping M.I.A. Carmen dust D.O.A. Bobby Martin's skeleton in the rebuilt Martin attic. I do like her potential with Tad (Michael E. Knight), though.

Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs Annie (Melissa Claire Egan) reminds me more and more of Guiding Light's now-classic Nutter Butter Annie Dutton (Cynthia Watros) with each passing shenanigan.

Do they even know what they are doing with Aiden (Aiden Turner) anymore? Have they ever?

I have to hand it to both Chrishell Stause (Amanda) and Vincent Irizarry (David) for the scene where Amanda told the lie that her baby had died to keep David from going in the morgue to see the non-existent body. Both actors were excellent in a scene that almost me believe that his offspring was the 237th dead baby on daytime this year alone. Janet would have been so proud!

Injured Afghanistan war casualty Frankie (Cornelius Smith, Jr.) trying to drink with bandaged hands at the club wasn't supposed to be funny, but I cracked up anyway. I hope I don't get a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs or an always-outraged-at-something Sarah Palin.

The Who Killed Stuart (Not Adam) Mystery is becoming much less irritating and much more boring as time goes on. While certainly seems to be a front burner story, this extraordinarily convoluted tale is turning out to be little more than a sideshow to Zack (Thorsten Kaye) & Kendall's (Alicia Minshew) Penultimate Extraordinary Neverending Epic Story, or for short, PENIS.

Warming Up To:Brittany Allen (Marissa), an actress who can deliver some of the most cornball dialogue on a daytime show not called Bold & the Beautiful with a sense of genuine sincerity.

Cooling Down On: Marissa, a character so saintly that she makes St. Bianca (Eden Reigel) look like Rosie O'Donnell off her meds.

AS THE WORLD TURNS

The apparent dissolution of the fabled and infamous "Vortex of Suck" is making me very happy, a development which I hope is permanent.

Despite the widespread hatred of Meg (Marie Wilson), I actually like her and Damian (Paolo Seganti) together despite the cringe inducing dialogue they are forced to recite. This could be great if it turns into a history-infused emotional rollercoaster between Meg, Damian, Holden (the criminally underused Jon Hensley) and Lily (Noelle Beck). Oh wait, this is Jean Passanante writing....

Rosanna's (Cady McClain) initial return via Green Acres reminded me of Reva's now-infamous return from the dead in Amish country on GL. After that rocky start, I quite enjoyed Rosanna's sparring with Craig (Jon Lindstrom) as hints of the old, manipulative Ro (when played by Yvonne Perry) flashed here and there.

What the hell is up with all the baby fever? Now, despite her explanation to a justly incredulous Susan (Marie Masters), Emily (Kelley Menighan Hensley) wants a baby, too? And her eggs have been stolen? Shouldn't those things have freezer burn by now? And all of this to shoehorn Larry (Ed Fry) into a story that should have solely been about him reconnecting with his daughter? I've lost my taste for omelettes.

Despite the dodgy writing of fifteen minute funerals and just add water and stir faux sons, I love seeing Ellen Dolan (Margo) and Scott Holmes (Tom) back in something that resembles an actual storyline, "resembles" being the operative word.

I'm kind of digging Henry's (Trent Dawson) cross-dressing persona of "Geneva Swift." Not only does "Geneva" remind me of a cross (so to speak) of Another World's "Krystal Lake" (Stephen Schnetzer) and GL's "Marian Crane" (Frank Beaty), but she is a bitter tonic for many of the more rabid conservative blowhards who hate all manner of stuff out in the real world.

It had been so long since we saw Ashley Marie Greiner on screen that Faith grew tall enough to practice medicine with "Dr." Lucy Montgomery.

I'm liking Bonnie (Chaunteé Schuler) and Dusty (Grayson McCouch) together, although I hate the absence of Derek (Benton Greene). The thing I like is it finally took a sista to call Dusty on his shit!

Warming Up To:Alex Cole (Hunter) and Tom Degnan (Riley)

Cooling Down On: The complete lack of surprise in practically any story ATWT tells these days.



GENERAL HOSPITAL

Don't stone me, but I've been loving some of the work that Sarah Brown has been doing recently. Claudia is still one of the single most loathsome characters currently in daytime, but Brown has been delivering performances that are loaded with subtext and double meaning as if she finally has a handle on who Claudia is even if the writers haven't figured it out themselves after all this time. Were those tears of fear of losing the baby or losing her leverage after she fell down the stairs? Is she starting to genuinely like Michael (Drew Garrett) or is she only manipulating him to save her own ass? Plus, I thought Brown was awesome during Claudia's showdown with Olivia; on an acting level, that was truly getting swept up in the moment when she threw that book at Olivia and seemed to have a hard time calming down for real.

Speaking of Olivia (Lisa LoCicero), she and Johnny (Brandon Barash) are hot, hot, hot! Might I add that I'm glad I have a widescreen TV every time her ample bosoms make an appearance, often entering the frame before the rest of Ms. LoCicero.

I'm loving the fallout in the death of Brianna Hughes! This rapidly expanding tale seems to be one of the first GH stories in a long time that is truly an umbrella story for a good portion of the cast not specifically tied to a sweeps stunt! It is not necessary for us to know or care who Brianna was; her death was only a plot device that has been used in the best possible way: to jump start a multi-threaded narrative, the likes of which we haven't seen in ages on this show.

I liked the dynamics and some of the dialogue in the scenes in Jakes the last couple of days, but I haven't seen anything that contrived since the last Rush Limbaugh outburst.

"I'm surprised you don't know who I am." Was that brief entrance introducing Andrea Floyd (welcome back Martha Bryne!) awesome or what?

GH looks absolutely amazing now that they gotten their stuff together in high definition; even the overly tanned actors now look like carrot cake instead of three week old Cheetos.

Warming Up To:Nathan Parsons (Ethan), even when he pronounces words like "alluring" as "aahleeeureeng"

Cooling Down On:Billy Dee Williams (Toussaint), who is more like a soggy croissant

ONE LIFE TO LIVE

Dorian's (Robin Strasser) meltdown/drunk/high tirade at the graduation pool party was as exquisitely acted by Ms. Strasser and everyone involved as it was funny, creepy and disturbing.

I hate that OLTL let A Martinez go just as Ray was becoming a more well-rounded character and started heating up with Dorian, a pairing whose potential I noticed way back when Ray first started airing against Dorian! Truth be told, I liked them together more than Dorian and the soon-to-be returning David (Tuc Watkins). Sacrilege, I know, but that's my burden to bear. Pray for me.

Pairings That Bring a Smile to My Face: Langston & Markko (Brittany Underwood, Jason Tam), Sean & Rachel (Sean Ringgold, Daphnee Duplaix — a true find for the show!) and Destiny & Matthew (Shenell Edmonds, Eddie Alderson).

I want to see more of Markko's parents and his home life.

I don't like the idea of breaking up John (Michael Easton) and Blair (Kassie DePaiva) in order to service a triangle between Blair, Tea (the magnificent Florencia Lozano) and Todd (Trevor St. John) and pair John with Marty (Susan Haskell), who as a couple bore me to tears. Marty/Ray/Dorian would have been a triangle I could have gotten behind.

I love that Marcie (Kathy Brier) & Michael (Chris Stack, who has been at his very best the last week or so) are going to Seattle and that Michael will be working at Seattle Grace, the fictional hospital on Grey's Anatomy! I've always hated that show, but I'd watch an episode if they actually appeared! And Marcie's miracle baby! That is how you write a happy ending, folks!

The baby who plays Chloe/Hope is one of the best actors in all of daytime!

Warming Up To: The aforementioned Daphne Duplaix.

Cooling Down On: The on-and-off again dangling plot about Rex's not-so-comatose, ultra-evil, unseen daddy. Trying to decide if I even care, which more or less answers its own query. By the way, what has he been doing lately? Submitting his resume to AIG?



GUIDING LIGHT

E.J. Bonillla received some justified praise for the scenes where Rafe learned of his mother Natalia's relationship with Olivia (Crystal Chapell), but what truly made those scenes sing was the truth in the writing. Maybe if Natalia (Jessica Leccia) had told him she and Liv haven't "eaten sushi" yet, he might not have run into Frank's (Frank Dicoppoulos) arms..I mean, to Frank's place.

The Spaulding antics and various bits of monkey business have been highly entertaining! Phillip (Grant Aleksander) bribing the judge was awesome!

I happen to like BethAnn Bonner and her Emma Peel 2009 outfits!

Stupid Move of the Week: all the nonsense about Reva (Kim Zimmer) being egged on to confess and then actually considering confessing to Edmund's maybe-maybe not murder. After GL goes off the air (which looks more and more likely), Procter & Gamble needs to give Ms. Zimmer a lifetime supply of Secret to keep the stench of that nonsense at bay.

Apropos of nothing, I thought it was really weird that Kathy Griffin on Larry King, while praising President Obama, jokingly suggested that maybe the president could join the cast of "The Guiding Light."

Warming Up To: The consistently fantastic writing day in and day out.

Cooling Down On: Hope. It really does feel like the show is winding down, bit by bit.