DC #713: EXCLUSIVE — Michele Val Jean Reflects on #GH50 and Career in Soaps

She made television history when she was named the first black person to serve as head writer of a daytime drama. On today's episode of the Daytime Confidential podcast, Michele Val Jean joins Jamey Giddens, Luke Kerr and Jillian Bowe as that soap opera, ABC Daytime's General Hospital, celebrates its 50th anniversary on April 1. 

The veteran scribe, who also wrote for Generations, Santa Barbara, Port Charles and currently pens scripts for The Bold and the Beautiful, dishes about her historic career and so much more on today’s Daytime Confidential podcast!


15 Dysfunctional Soap Opera Families We’d Go Home With For The Holidays

No. 15: The Graysons, Revenge

Retribution is a dish best served over the holidays, if you're a member of the Grayson clan on ABC's smash primetime soap Revenge. Blackmail, corporate espionage, insider trading and not-quite-fatal tumbles off balconies could all be on the gourmet menu, but for the chance to break holiday bread with Queen Victoria (Madeleine Stowe), we'd risk it. 



Bernard’s “World” View: In Defense of Christopher Goutman

Several days ago, I posted an entry about the fallout from the death of Dr. Reid Oliver (Eric Sheffer Stevens) on As The World Turns. There were three central ideas in that piece. First, despite the very legitimate complaints that any given fan might have, ATWT is providing great human drama here at the end of its run. Second, Reid’s tragic passing and donation of his heart to Chris (Daniel Cosgrove) encapsulated that goal mainly by thrusting the Hughes’— the show’s core family since its very debut— front and center toward its conclusion. Third, given the soap opera wrapped production months ago, the idea of kicking a dead horse with unrelenting criticism isn’t going to make it win the Kentucky Derby.

I have not budged one iota from any of those positions and I am about to incur the wrath of a whole lot more of you by making what I know will be a very controversial statement to many: I believe that in these final days, executive producer Christopher Goutman has made mostly the right decisions.

Edge of Night’s David Froman Dead at 71

Another daytime great has passed away. David Froman died Feb. 8. He was 71. While the beloved character actor was a staple of such prime time series as Simon & Simon, TJ Hooker, Trapper John MD, 21 Jump Street, Diagnosis Murder and Matlock, Froman was probably best known for his stellar work as Gunther Wagner on the legendary Edge of Night.

Although Gunther (who's real identity was Bruno Wagner, Gunther's identical twin) was a villainous thug, who once attempted to rape Jody Travis (then-newcomer Lori Loughlin) and was later murdered in one of Edge's signature byzantine plot twists, Froman was so popular among fans he was brought back later to play the real Gunther, a lovable lug who was snarky before snark was cool. Froman played the latter role until the end of Edge's run in 1984.

After Matlock (on which he appeared for its entire run) ended, Froman retired from acting and taught drama at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College in Oklahoma until the time of his death from cancer. Froman will be missed by his fans, who can visit his Facebook memorial page.  Check out a clip of "The Murder of Gunther Wagner, Part 1" from  Edge of Night after the jump.
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Generations: When Sistahs Attack!

All the bad press daytime has been getting of late has had at least one positive side effect. Pop culture bibles like TV Week and Entertainment Weekly are paying attention to the genre again and even reminiscing about it's rosier days. EW.com posted the above clip, featuring a classic, bitchtastic cat fight between Maya (Vivica A. Fox) and Doreen (Jonelle Allen) on NBC's short-lived Generations. Maya and Doreen battled it out over ice cream heir Adam Marshall (Kristoff St. John), whom the late-Bill Bell smartly snatched up for The Young and the Restless shortly after NBC foolishly cancelled the groundbreaking soap. What I wouldn't give to see this show released on DVD or aired online. After you watch the clip, check out my exclusive interview with Fox last fall where she talked about her soapy past.

The Great American Soap Opera

Every soap opera has one element in common: conflict.

Conflict, internal or external, is the engine that drives all great dramas, all great rivalries, all great love stories, indeed all great passions from affairs of the heart to affairs of state. The great dramatic conflict that has threaded the entire fabric of the history of the United States has been the relationship between this great country and it's citizens of African descent.

This is not to belittle the struggles and triumphs of any other groups who have felt the sting of discrimination or oppression throughout the course of American history. Obviously, people of various ethnic and religious backgrounds have their own tales to tell. Women have unique testimonies to share. Japanese Americans were unfairly and unjustly treated by the American government during World War II, having since been granted reparations. No one can dispute with any shred of credibility the shameful horrors visited upon Native Americans, casino revenues notwithstanding.

If you think this is the part where I go into a lengthy explanation of how and why African Americans are unique as an aggrieved class, think again. Intellects far superior to mine and history itself makes a far more compelling argument than I can. Besides, Daytime Confidential is not the appropriate forum for such a discussion to take place either. As an African American man on the cusp of middle age who has loved soaps for the bulk of my life however, I feel there are a few salient considerations to be made of the importance between soaps and the inauguration of the first African American president in this nation's history. In order to look forward, I must first look back.

“Celebrity Family Feud” Features Daytime Alum

Are you ready for a family feud? The new season of Celebrity Family Feud will be featuring several daytime alums and their families. 

Episode One: Christopher Knight (Another World and The Brady Bunch) and Adrianne Curry (America's Next Top Model) along with their family will be facing off against the Teutul family of American Chopper fame.

During the second half of episode one Corbin Bernsen and his family (General Hospital, Psych and L.A. Law) will be facing off against Margaret Cho and her family.

Side Note: I wonder if Jeanne Cooper will be joining the Bernsen clan?

Episode Two: During the second half of episode two Vivica A. Fox and family (Young & Restless and Generations) will be facing off against Mo'Nique and family.

Episode Six: Anyone still interested in the lives of Kathie Lee Gifford's family will want to tune into episode six when they face off against Duane "Dog" Chapman and family (Dog the Bounty Hunter)

For the full lineup visit EW.com.

Thanks to LondonMami for the tip!