Sorry this week’s RRR is a bit late. I was dealing with the loss of a loved one. I dedicate this week’s column to the late Marion Sanders Betts Blackwell, a true heroine if ever there was one, and at whose house I watched quite a few episodes of The Young and the Restless, Days of Our Lives, Another World and Santa Barbara during the summers of my formative years with my cousin Wynette. RIP, Aunt Marion.
Y&R rebounded a bit the week of August 29 – September 2 in total viewers, households and among the women 18-49 demo, however the show hit a new low among women viewers 18-49 (Source: Soap Opera Network).
In story, Jack (Peter Bergman) continued to become even more of the idiot this current regime has turned him into. He accomplished this feat by hiring kooky sociopath Genevieve (Genie Francis) at Jabot. Never mind that Genevieve was just caught up in a peculiar, babynapping scandal with her cattle mobster husband Colin (Tristan Rogers), Lily Winters (Christel Khalil), Cane (Daniel Goddard), his dead Wonder Twin and I think Charlie Sheen; or that Genny clearly thinks she’s Norma Desmond reincarnated. As long as it serves the purpose of giving Maria Arena Bell’s garish creation reason to have overly theatrical, telenovela arguments with Jill (Jess Walton), what’s a little viewer erosion among friends?
Francis has a lot of issues with how the amazing character of Laura was written on General Hospital, many I agree with, but her GH scripts were Dickensian by comparison to the pig trough material she's being asked to perform on Y&R, and her not realizing that proves sometimes actors are truly their own worst enemies.
Walton on the other hand deserves a badge of courage after all the turkey storylines she’s endured since MAB took over this show. If I’m gonna harp—and you know I am—I’ll just stick to the most recent. Can someone explain to me why we had to endure yet another retcon of Jill Foster’s history, having her turn out to be a Fenmore and fight for her birthright against Lauren (Tracey Bregman), only for her to forget about said birthright to go back to work for Jabot? While I admittedly wasn’t a fan of the storyline at first, half sisters fighting over an empire could have been an arc that went on for years, but MAB and Co. are obviously already bored with that particular puppy. Jill leaving behind a department store empire she owns half of, to go work for a cosmetics company is akin to Rupert Murdoch exiting News Corp to get a job as city editor of The Times Picayune.
Elsewhere in Wisconsin, Genny’s son Cane almost left town for Australia (They have better athletic clubs Down Under.), but Lily stopped him, hacking off Daniel (Michael Graziadei). Sofia (Julia Pace Mitchell) still couldn’t figure out who got her in a bad way, as we say back home in Texas, and Kay Chancellor (Jeanne Cooper) was looking up groupies her 65-year-old son might have banged to try to find out who her latest grandkid is. Good times.
Y&R’s sister sudser The Bold and the Beautiful lost a whopping 200,000 total viewers over the previous week. B&B fell one-tenth of a point in households and among women 18-49, tying its all-time low in the latter. B&B also tied its all time low among women 18-34 and was in last place in both demos. It looks like both the Bell soaps are in need of some TLC.
The Hope/Liam/Steffy triangle was front and center again the week in question. I’m just gonna go here, it lacks sizzle. While I love Scott Clifton (Liam), I just don’t buy a vampy, worldly minx like Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) going all gaga over him so soon after jonesing for his dad. It would have been smarter to keep Rick Hearst around for Steffy to make a scandalous play for Whip, her mom’s ex. Steffy clearly has daddy issues and they won’t be resolved by going after Liam.
I also think it’s a mistake having Hope (Kimberly Matula) think of Ridge (Ron Moss) as her dad. He isn’t; Deacon (Sean Kanan) is. Ridge didn’t even raise her. Nick (Jack Wagner) was more of a father to Hope than his half brother was. I think B&B should pull back from that in order to be able to chem test Thomas (Adam Gregory) and Hope without the ick factor of them both calling the same man dad. A Thomas/Hope/Liam triangle would be far more interesting than the current situation they have going on.
NBC’s Days of Our Lives was in last place among total viewers for the week. DAYS was No. 4 in households and women 18-49 and was tied for No. 2 among women 18-34. Sami (Alison Sweeney) was having cysts removed, while someone was still beating up saloon girls in Purple Salem, but…Sept. 26 is almost here!
At ABC, One Life to Live was still tops. The soap was only a mere 3,000 viewers from tying B&B at No. 2 among total viewers. OLTL went up one-tenth of a point in households for a No. 3 finish and was tied with GH at No. 2 among women 18-49. OLTL was still No. 1 among women 18-34.
Storywise, "The Tale of the Two Todds" came to a shockingly abrupt end when Victor Lord, Jr. (Trevor St. John) was killed. Okay, for everyone who calls me a OLTL apologist, pay close attention — this plot twist blows. I know St. John was leaving the show—of his own choosing—but killing this character was a bad, bad move.
Victoria’s (Erika Slezak) younger, twin brothers warring over the Lord estate—which has been integral to OLTL’s mythology since the show began in 1968—could have carried OLTL 2.0 for years. TNT is about to reboot Dallas with a similar conceit, as cousins John Ross and Christopher Ewing square off over Ewing Oil and Southfork, much like their fathers did 33 years ago. Soap fans eat this kinda shiz up. Fix this, Frankie V. Get St. John on the horn and get Victor Lord II back, PRONTO!
General Hospital was No. 4 among total viewers the week in question. GH was tied in last place in households with DAYS and All My Children, tied with OLTL in second place among women 18-49 and tied with Y&R, AMC and DAYS at No. 2 among women 18-34.
I wanted to shoot Lulu Spencer (Julie Marie Berman) out of a canon the week of Aug. 29. This character has turned into the biggest shrew in television, and it hurts me to say that, because I used to love me some Lulu! Why is she all up in everybody’s business? Does Lulu not realize Dante (Dominic Zamprogna) isn’t just her boyfriend and couch sex partner; he’s a cop, who works with Lucky (Jonathan Jackson)? Dante shouldn’t have to alert Lucky “Cry me a River” Spencer’s annoying baby sister ever time the guy takes a cough drop, just because he's sleeping with her. Ugh!
Wishful Storytelling: Bring back Dillon Quartermaine as a sexy, confident, successful filmmaker and do a Taming of The Shrew-Lu storyline.
Across town, Lulu’s equally charming cousin Carly (Laura Wright) rolled her neck as she told Sonny (Maurice Benard) he wasn’t seeing Morgan no 'mo! Unlike Lulu though, Carly is justified in being a raging bitch. Tracy (Jane Elliot) vs. Skye (Robin Christopher) was still good soap and Sam (Kelly Monaco) continued to prove more tolerable (The Jason's Accident: Part Deux stuff should be saved for Monaco's supporting actress Daytime Emmy reel).
I am beyond over this doggone Jackal P.I. foolishness. I'm a big fan of Spinelli and think Bradford Anderson is one of the most talented actors of his generation of young soapers, but he can only play one goof ball on this show. Two is too damn many.
AMC was No. 5 in total viewers and among women 18-49, tied for last in households and tied for No. 2 among women 18-34. Jesse (Darnell Williams) and Angie (Debbi Morgan) dealing with the aftermath of his baby lies made up for all the Lumina, er Orpheus bull ish the week of Aug. 29. I loved the nod to history when Angela recalled how Jesse forgave her for giving Frankie up for adoption without Jesse's knowledge or consent. Not that giving a child up for adoption is on par with lying about the death of your blind wife's baby and burying her in a public park, but it was a nice nod just the same.
I am tired of Erica (Susan Lucci) being written as a 65-year-old debutante. Miranda Montgomery should be getting the kind of whimsical, silly stories Erica's playing out as the show ends on ABC, not her grandmother. The Mike Roy lark only makes Erica look like she hasn’t grown at all as a person in the last 40 odd years. Why would she risk her hard fought life with Jack (Walt Willey) to go traipsing about, looking for some dead lover with only a few weeks left on ABC Daytime?
Why isn't Erica Kane dealing with hysterectomies and menopause, instead of 25-year-old Amanda Dillon (Chrishell Stause), as the show goes off the network airwaves? That could have been a powerful story — a woman whose sexuality defined her and made her an icon, having to face getting older. If Blanche Deveraux on The Golden Girls and Samantha Jones on Sex and the City had to deal with hot flashes and vaginal dryness, why not Erica Kane?
MORE Magazine, The View, Wendy Williams, etc. would have been much more interested in promoting and/or debating the merits of a story like Erica falling into depression, post-menopause, than any of the silly mess they've had the legendary femme fatale do in the 2000's. Say what you will about Reality TV, but Kris Jenner struggled with aging in the spotlight by flirting with a personal trainer, lashing out over not fitting into her clothes, being jealous of her daughters, dealing with a leaky bladder and ultimately having a face lift this season on Keeping Up With The Kardashians. I am sure more women can relate to those soapy issues than having an evil twin or dead family members coming back to life all over the freaking town.
The best thing Prospect Park could do in terms of rebooting this soap opera is to go back to the beginning when AMC really did tackle real life issues, just on a heightened, melodramatic scale. I’ve been reading Gary Warner’s All My Children: The Complete Family Scrapbook and I am captivated by how amazing the show was during its first decade.
The angsty, young adult quadrangle of Erica/Phil/Tara/Chuck; the bubbling over secret of Phil’s paternity, juxtaposed with Amy Tyler’s obsession with her "nephew"; meddling Mayflower descendent Phoebe, terrorizing “That Kane Woman” aka Mona, who had the misfortune of loving Phoebe’s husband Dr. Charles Tyler; widower Dr. Joe Martin’s growing bond with Nurse Ruth Brent, herself trapped in a loveless marriage and the return to Pine Valley of Nick Davis, a man who Mona, Amy, Anne and Erica would all love (or had loved) in very different ways.
What I just described above, dear friends, is called a soap opera. I haven’t a clue what Cameron Mathison, Rebecca Budig, Thorsten Kaye, Jordi Vilasuso and Vincent Irizarry doing on a lab set, shooting fake guns and talking about stem cells on yesterday's episode was, but it was not—I repeat—NOT a soap opera. See you next Ratings.