Forums General Hospital Carolyn Hinsey’s Afternoon Delight – A reader’s review
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    Profile photo of sodsince16sodsince16
    33 Posts

    First, allow me to establish some credibility on the subject. When I was 16-years-old, I was left at home alone for the weekend for the first time our family’s history. Most teenagers would have a party, but I went out and bought Soap World by Robert LaGuardia (and a Sara Lee coffee cake) and stayed up all night to devour both of them. Since that time, I have collected books on soap opera history, anniversary books and scholarly articles on the genre. I’ve also read the histories of the British soaps including, Eastenders, Emmerdale, and Coronation Street. In addition I have read every edition of Soap Opera Weekly since it was published as well as Soap Opera Digest. In fact, having lived abroad as a teen, as well as in boarding school, there was a time that one could follow a soap opera storyline strictly from the magazines. Today SOD’s synopses are filled with nonsequitur that makes it impossible to use as a supplement – i.e. Mary opens the door to a big surprise (and then no follow up on what was the surprise).

    Getting back to the review

    Carolyn Hinsey was present for the death of the soaps from the perspective of a journalist. She had two choices when writing this book, either name names or be a sycophant. Ms. Hinsey does not name names. In fact, she laments that stars won’t go on record to discuss Chris Goutman, then she inserts a story about first hand knowledge of actors feuding during the AMC Puerto Rico filming, but she doesn’t name the actors. The gossip that is included has been well documented elsewhere, including in her magazine. What interests me, as a soap fan, is how did the magazines choose to deal with the information. What were the struggles to report the story? However, this is rarely mentioned.

    Most informed soap fans will remember that Ms. Hinsey was once the editor of SOW and now writes for SOD. When she was fired from SOW there was huge response on the New York Magazine website noting that she was difficult to work for and demanding. However, her personal struggles are never included in the book. As a result, I feel that we have missed out on hearing about a unique part of the genre.

    In addition, the tone of the book is odd. At times she sites sources, although far too often the sources are her own magazine, than at other times she writes in first person personal. As a result the book reads like a long blog post written by a petulant teen.

    I also don’t understand who this book was written for? It seems to be written for fans, but as a fan I don’t really care if networks want to use Ms. Hinsey’s plan for more product placement or long dissertations about the failings of the neilson rating system. I’m a fan, I have no control over whether CBS chooses to use social media to promote their soaps. Network executives are not dumb as they are portrayed and I am sure that they are well aware of the limitations of the current rating system. So, I am unsure as to whom Ms. Hinsey had in mind as the audience for this book.

    Overall, the feeling that I had when I finished the book was that the experience was akin to reading an 8th grade book report. My experience with middle school book reports is that the student stretches to fill the required number of pages. This book felt like Ms. Hinsey had to stretch her weekly column from one page to 300 pages and she simply could not complete the task. Although I am sure that Ms. Hinsey had no control over the size of the font or the spacing, these factors as well as the endless use of lists that are printed elsewhere and poorly printed black and white photographs feel like filler. It also reads as if it were written last week. I’m sure that if I go back to read this book in a year I won’t remember Rafe-2 but the story is referenced without any context. Furthermore, it is horribly organized. There seems to be no rhythm or reason to why the chapters are in this order. The center of the book has a review of the recent soap opera history, but the selection is odd. Another World is covered but neither Sunset Beach nor Passions is mentioned in that section. Later in the book we are “treated” to Ms. Hinsey’s review of the current shows but rather than consider their place in the history of the genre; each soap is critiqued based on its performance in the last twelve months.

    Lastly, while it may be nit picking (although some would consider an email review this long to already be subject to nit picking) – there were facts in the book that were just wrong. For example, I know that the first gay storyline was attempted on Y&R not AMC as written. Also, Ms. Hinsey makes a joke about how social storylines aren’t used on B&B because they don’t translate well in other languages. In order to make the joke Ms. Hinsey remarks that it would difficult to translate for South Africa, because nobody knows how to say “Lithium in Swahili.” It is not enough that the joke is not funny but I remember that B&B is broadcast in using Afrikaan because I read about it in the article about Brandon Beemer visiting South Africa in Soap Opera Digest.

    Profile photo of Ryan-ScottRyan-Scott
    156 Posts

    Thank you for this. Nice to get a reader view on it.

    I have a copy of Soap World too! And I have every issue of Digest since 10/89 although I always tell myself I am going to have to purge some issues at some point. :)

    Profile photo of alstonboy4315alstonboy4315
    853 Posts

    Carolyn Hinsey owes me a free copy of this book. I won a trivia game of hers that she operated on her Facebook page, so I am waiting to receive my copy! And there’s no way in HECK I am going out to buy it. As much as I love Carolyn, homey don’t play that………..

    I know there’s a ton of controversial stuff in that book, so I will reserve judgment until I have read it myself. That’s considering the book actually ARRIVES………..

    (waiting impatiently while looking at watch!)

    Profile photo of SmittySmitty
    877 Posts

    I bought the book this past weekend. I enjoyed it. I liked hearing a lot of the historical information about soaps and the beginning. I totally understood where she was coming from with everything…some I agreed with and some I didn’t agree with.

    I personally think every soap fan should check out the book. She covers a lot of topics (blacks and gays) that are very interesting. The only thing I didn’t like about the black issue was she kind of excluded Victoria Rowell, Tonya Lee Williams, and Nathan Purdee when discussing Y&R’s black issue. She kind of gave credit to Shemar Moore but I don’t think he’s the only one responsible for the success of the black folks on Y&R, but that’s just my opinion.

    As far as the gay issue, she made me look at it in a new light. I understand her point that gays will never be successful in daytime because it’s hard to tell some of the basic concepts of soaps, but it can be done. I think one of the main problems with gay characters is that the fans today just won’t let writers tell the story without going crazy if the pairing breaks up or has an issue. That’s a problem with most soap fans today. The fan bases don’t want their couples to break up and if they do they act like it’s the end of the world. Look at every supercouple in daytime and you will see that they break up to make up. Now days fans lose their mind if their couple breaks up and go crazy on message boards. A lot of this I have seen with gay characters and couples.

    I will say every soap fan should read the book. It’s interesting and if one thing it will make you think about soaps.

    Profile photo of alstonboy4315alstonboy4315
    853 Posts

    Smitty, I agree. Shemar Moore was basically a GLORIFIED hair model his first few years on the show who most people only tolerated b/c he was pretty. Victoria Rowell, Veronica Redd, Tonya Lee Williams and Kristoff St. John basically CARRIED the black storyline on that show in the 90s.

    I feel that people are giving Shemar too much credit, just because he has had some success in primetime and film, they are overexaggerating this contribution to the show.

    Profile photo of al0792al0792
    22 Posts

    Alstonboy.. I think we finding common Ground. I to think Moore was overrated. two days in a row I agree with you.

    Profile photo of alstonboy4315alstonboy4315
    853 Posts


    :) :) :) :)


    @alstonboy4315: Well it is true that Shemar was the highest polling actor on the show and that it lost around 1 million fans after he left. So he may have not been the greatest actor the entire time on Y&R but his numbers made up for what he lacked in talent. No actor on Y&R since he left the first time has been able to take anywhere close to the amount viewers he took with him. So he deserves his due. And Although he was not the driving force behind the black storylines on the series the numbers in this case beat out the rest. But I do believe that she needed to mention the others as well, because it was not a one man game there.

    Profile photo of alstonboy4315alstonboy4315
    853 Posts


    I agree with you, but we all know that many actors simply aren’t worth their high sticker prices or the hype behind them. Shemar Moore sets my loins on fire (I am a gay man, what can I say? ;) ), but I will never understand why so many people tuned out when he left. It will never make any real sense to me. He’s a great actor, but he ain’t no Victoria Rowell. :D

    And after Vanessa Marcil-gate on GH, I believe that most soaps need to stop bringing back expensive stars who have had success in primetime and trying to recapture magic that they had back in the day. It usually doesn’t work. In Vanessa’s case, it was a boring, dreadful MESS. I still have nightmares about Brenduh’s shrieky, hoarse, whiny voice, which I have been forced to subject for months on GH. :Sp


    @alstonboy4315: I don’t think this writing regime could utilize him in the role of Malcolm anyway. Plus he ain’t working on the 1st and the 15th he demands more screen time. But yes Vicky was a better actress and was the top female on Y&R. But in those days these men had the women and some men (you…lol) wagging their tongues.

    I say the trick to making him work if he were to come back as well as others is to pull a AMC. You need writers who know and understand Y&R to make it work. So having a Kay/Sally combination as the sole Head Writers would put things into prospective.

    the thoery of opposites
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