Ratings, Rants and Raves: OLTL Becomes No. 2 Soap, New Lows For Bell Soaps and Brooke and Erica Forever

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While the week of Sept. 12-16 was a particularly crappy one for all six daytime soaps (Source: Soap Opera Network), the Bell sudsers had us asking the question, “How low can they go?” Both The Young and the Restless and The Bold and The Beautiful hit new lows the week in question, no doubt making Les Moonves rethink his stance on “client soaps.” (That was sarcasm.)

Y&R hit a new low in total viewers, falling 382,000. The troubled soap opera is down year-to-date almost 800,000 viewers. Y&R also fell two-tenths of a point in households, tying its all-time low in that demo. Among women 18-49, Y&R fell one-tenth of a point, again tying its all-time low, yet held steady among women 18-34.

In story, Adam (Michael Muhney), who we were told permanently ruined his eyesight by injecting cooties into his eyeballs, during another terrible Maria Arena Bell prison saga, showed up at Sharon’s (Sharon Case) prison to tell her his peepers were as good as new, thanks to a quickie, out-of-town surgery. Victor (Eric Braeden) tracked Billy (Billy Miller) down to some prison is a foreign land and told him he’d help him get out, to go save his sick child, but only if he agreed to never see Victoria (Amelia Heinle) again. That awful Genevieve (Genie Francis) creation locked Robert Scorpio’s (Tristan Rogers) evil, cow mafia kingpin twin in a wine cellar, and Heather (Eden Riegel) learned that her little hermano Ricky was now a big, old strapping intern, who showed up in town to help Barrister Barbie save Sharon. I simply cannot fathom why so many viewers are tuning out of this show. (That was sarcasm….again.)



B&B dropped 349,000 pairs of eyeballs, also hitting a new low in total viewers. The soap was down year-to-date 551,000. B&B’s dip allowed cancelled ABC Daytime soap opera One Life to Live to achieve the No. 2 spot in total viewers for the week. B&B was No. 2 in households, but was dead last in women 18-49 and women 18-34. I’d hate to be a network exec trying to sell ad time on either Bell soap right about now!

Storywise, the soap began its third attempt to make Thorne (Winsor Harmon) and Taylor (Hunter Tylo) a thing. Ridge’s (Ron Moss) little bro stopped by to inform Doc she had voting privileges at Forrester Creations, then stuck his tongue down her throat. Did Thorne forget about Taylor's drunk ass mowing poor Darla down like a stray blade of grass?

On the other side of SoCal, Sandy (Kimberly Matula) thought Rizzo’s (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) lingerie line was too provocative, causing Riz to question Sandy’s devotion to Danny (Scott Clifton). Paging Jacob Young

As previously mentioned, ABC’s cancelled soap OLTL was the No. 2 soap in daytime for the week in question, even after losing 148,000 total viewers. OLTL was still up year-to-date 341,000, however. The sudser dropped one-tenth of a point in households, women 18-49 and women 18-34, but still managed to rank strong in all three demos.

OLTL could have been subtitled Much Ado About a Porcupine the week of Sept. 12-16, as Rex’s (JP Lavioiser) two mamas (no, not in the fun way) raced all over Llanview to find the stuffed animal they hid Rex’s gun inside of. Only OLTL could pull off a caper this insane and actually infuse it with tons of humor and tension. Kim Zimmer (Echo) and Ilene Kristen (Roxy) are a comedy team for the ages. Josh Kelly (Cutter) isn’t so bad either. Proving he can do more than fill out a pair of black boxer briefs, the future MTV star showed impressive comic chops, and of course the still spot on Kim (Amanda Setton) reminded us why we missed her gold digging, stripper behind in Llanview.

Across town, Todd (Roger Howarth) wanted to bond with his demon seed. While Andrew Trischetta (Jack) is growing a bit as an actor, this is a big story for someone so green to carry. With only four months to go on ABC, that baby's gonna have to round quite the learning curve. I’m not as riveted by OLTL as I was a few weeks ago, but I still find it good, consistent soap. I think they spoiled me with all the edge-of-your-seat “Tale of Two Todds” antics. Here’s hoping the storylines reach a fever pitch again soon.

All My Children fell 212,000 total viewers over the previous week, but was up year-to-date 104,000. AMC was No. 4 in households, tied with B&B in last place among women 18-49 and next to last among women 18-34.

The one thing you can always count on when a soap wraps up, is the return of popular favorites to settle old scores. Well, that is, unless Christopher Goutman is in charge of said soap, but I digress. Brooke English (Julia Barr) returning to Pine Valley and immediately squaring off with her long term rival Erica Kane (Susan Lucci) was one of the best moments in daytime for the week. It’s a pity ageist network executives only allow the vets to be shown when a show has been cancelled.

I’ve made no secret I hate the Orpheus saga. I think rampant returns from the dead are a lazy, tired way to end a soap and/or fix a past regimes screw ups. Storylines like this, along with people having plastic surgery to look exactly like someone else, etc. only perpetuates the very stereotypes that helped tank the genre, so the fact that David (Vincent Irizarry) was still holding someone away in his den of necromancy did nothing but make me roll my eyes.

If Brian Frons hadn’t allowed petty, vindictive hacks, passing themselves off as writers, like Megan McTavish and Chuck Pratt, to kill off beloved characters like Dixie (Cady McClain) and Stuart (David Canary), we wouldn’t have to waste the last, precious weeks of this show on a bad SyFy channel plot about a magical doctor who can bring everyone back from the dead. Death means something in life, it should mean something on a soap opera.

Okay, now that I got that off my chest, in showing that I can suspend my disbelief for a ridiculous scenario, if presented well, I am loving Erica Kane (Susan Lucci) becoming a movie star at 65. As silly as it is that a top Hollywood producer would want to turn the life’s story of a five-foot, Pennsylvania supermodel, who marries a lot and occasionally gets kidnapped by evil twins, into a major motion picture (Janice Dickinson must be mad as hell!), Lucci’s infectious way of conveying Erica’s lifelong ambition to make it to the Silver Screen, makes this the perfect final arc for shallow-yet-courageous sex bomb Erica.

Erica Kane truly was a feminist icon for ABC. Long before Christina Yang was choosing her career over a baby on Grey’s Anatomy, Erica was choosing her desire to “have it all” over a life of faux domestic bliss. I bet a lot of the oh-so-desperate housewives, who followed her every scandal during the culture-changing 70’s and 80’s, wished they only had the guts to live their lives on their own terms as Erica Kane did.

General Hospital fell just 56,000 total viewers over the previous week, but was still the least watched daytime soap on the Mouse House dial. GH was also No. 5 in households, but tied with OLTL at No. 2 among women 18-49. Among women 18-34, GH also tied OLTL, this time for No. 3.

In story, Kate Howard returned to Port Charles in the guise of Kelly Sullivan, who I immediately loved in the role. I adored Megan Ward, but recasts happen. Heck, I was forever getting used to a new Kelly Capwell on Santa Barbara, Ashley Abbott on Y&R or Mindy Lewis on Guiding Light. Only a handful of roles in daytime are unrecastable and let’s be real — Kate Howard wasn’t one of them. So I think fans should chill out and give Sullivan a chance.

Sullivan’s Kate embodies the ice princess, Anna Wintour-in-a-bullet-proof vest vibe, but also has that gritty, earthiness that makes you believe she actually hails from Bensonhurst. Me likes. What I didn’t like was the stupid story that saw Liz (Rebecca Herbst) and Maxie (Kirsten Storms) kidnapped by drug peddling, pastry makers. I do not believe for one second, Elizabeth Webber, R.N. would be foolish enough to follow a massive, scary, drug-stealing thug into a dark alley. This woman just lost a child and has two at home to think about. She wouldn’t be roaming around playing Nancy Drew.

I also think Kristina’s (Lexi Ainsworth) paralysis, as a result of that months ago car bomb, is a bit much. While I’m happy the hospital is seeing more action, I would much rather the drama spin off from the doctors and nurses at GH, than simply having someone in the Corinthos clan in harm’s way every week. Why not watch a few DVD collections of Bones or Private Practice for inspiration?

It was good to see Luke (Tony Geary) back and interacting with “Blaze” (Robin Christopher), but I really hope this doesn’t mean more waterworks for Laura’s crybaby brats. Ethan (Nathan Parsons) is fast becoming Luke's only progeny I can tolerate.

Days of Our Lives was the least watched daytime soap again the week in question, however DAYS did have the distinction of being tied with Y&R at No. 1 among women 18-34.

Storywise, more seeds for the upcoming reboot were planted. Sami (Alison Sweeney) announced to Rafe (Galen Gering) she wanted to get a job, which should be quite hard, considering her resume basically reads: “World’s longest candy striper.” Chloe (Nadia Bjorlin) dreamt of her attacker, as Brady (Eric Martsolf) sat vigil, abs at the ready.

One of the dayplayer pretty boys planted evidence that the other dayplayer pretty boy was the one beating up ladies of the evening. Someone named Dario got shipped off to some foreign country. I don’t think it was anywhere in Africa, ‘cause he ain’t a Horton or a doctor—with or without a border— and Aunt Maggie (Suzanne Rogers) turned down that pervy Victor’s (John Aniston) invitation to shack up. Listen here, Mr. Kiriakis, Aunt Maggie said she ain’t no ho like that Caroline Brady (Peggy McKay). If you want the lactose free milk, you gotta buy the cow, brother! See you next Ratings.