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Ratings, Rants and Raves: All Soaps Fall; The Stories All My Children Could Have Told For Erica Kane

The week of May 2-6, 2011 was pretty sucky across the board for daytime soaps ratings-wise. (Source: Soap Opera Network). All six soaps fell among total viewers, with CBS Daytime's The Young and the Restless dipping the most, losing a whopping 272,000 viewers. Y&R went down one-tenth of a point in households and among women 18-34, but held steady among women 18-49.


Y&R basically told two stories they've told over and over again the week in question—Crazy Jana (Emily O'Brien) terrorizing Kevin (Greg Rikaart) and the Winters brothers being in a secret paternity pickle over the same girl. I am enjoying the battle for Baby Lucy, as well as Smilin' Jack (Peter Bergman) getting his hands on a block of Newman stock, however so I won't be too hard on Y&R this time around.

The Bold and The Beautiful fell 216,000 total viewers over the previous week. B&B also went down two-tenths of a point in households, tying its all-time low in that demo. B&B also fell one-tenth of a ratings point among women 18-49 and women 18-34, tying its all-time lows in those demos as well.

I guess Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang) and Thomas' (Adam Gregory) island adventure was a bust for most B&B lovers? I dug it (Yes, even the silly, horny berries), but I really think B&B is going to have to take a page from recent fashion-themed entertainment vehicles like The Devil Wears Prada, Sex and The City and The Hills (Which Ellen Wheeler never watched), and make this show resemble the real fashion industry. 

Why not do a location shoot at New York for Fashion Week? How about creating an Anna Wintour-like bitch goddess, fashion bible editrix, who loathes the Forresters? Colleen Zenk's available. While we're at it, can we actually get Don Diamont to dress like Bill Spencer's ever seen an issue of GQ? Even though I like a lot of what B&B has done this year, the show seems trapped in a 1980's time warp. It's time to make B&B as hip and sexy as the half-hour serial's awesome opening credits.

Now for a show that isn't hip, sexy or at all plausible these DAYS. Days of Our Lives was dead last among total viewers again, falling 160,000. DAYS tied its all-time low in households, yet managed to hold steady among women 18-49, tied with General Hospital at Number 2. DAYS was also No. 2 among women 18-34, which is good on the latter two accounts, but certainly not enough to keep you safe from cancellation rumors. Just ask the brass at GH.

I feel so bad for Alison Sweeney. How embarassing must it be to be at industry parties, as the host of one of primetime's most popular series, yet when her day(time) job comes up, she has to change the subject or else share the tales of her riveting story arcs trying to decipher between Galen Gerings.

I think this season's Biggest Loser is without a doubt Dena Higley. Has this woman ever seen an episode of The Good Wife? Grey's Anatomy? Hell, Sesame Street?  I'm just gonna be real, if DAYS keeps telling these dumbass stories I will not be joining any SAVE DAYS campaigns when NBC decides to cut their losses. Serialized drama has evolved beyond these ridiculous, idiotic, genre-embarassing stories and if soap writers keep insisting on telling them then we can't blame anyone for viewer erosion and inevitiable cancellations but the people who are writing and/or greenlighting this poppycock.

What a perfect segue to discuss All My Children. AMC held steady in households, yet tied its all-time low among women 18-49. I don't believe in kicking a horse when it's down, but I'm sorry, Secretariat needs a swift one to the balls for this Erica Kane (Susan Lucci) doppelganger bull ish.

Seriously, why doesn't daytime retire this crap already? The last decent lookalike story on a soap was Lily/Rose on As The World Turns and the concept was played out even by that point in time. I'm sorry, but after Eileen Davidson's  tour de force turn as Kristen/Susan/Sister Mary Moira/Thomas/Penelope on DAYS no soap ever needed to attempt this type of story again. The secret lookalike-who-assumes-your-life was fresh and daring when the late Bill Bell, Sr. did it with Jeanne Cooper on Y&R in the 80's. Now  the doppelganger is as stale, predictable and eyeroll-inducing as Fox News going after rappers.

Really people, ENOUGH with the GOD $@#) Doppelgangers! Why didn't AMC take a page from Oprah, and have Erica Kane dealing with a career-changing moment this past season? Adam Chandler (David Canary) could have returned to Pine Valley with an offer Erica couldn't refuse. He could have wanted to create The Erica Kane Channel and a companion Erica magazine, the catch being Erica's arch rivals Brooke (Julia Barr) and Barbara Montgomery (Susan Pratt) would be serving as the editorial director and CEO respectively. Erica, her finances wiped out due to bad investments, could have had no choice but to make a deal with Pine Valley's favorite devil. if Canary didn't want to come back, they could have always had Adam's daughter Skye (Robin Christopher) deliver the deal, serving as his liaison.

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What if Erica, a woman defined in so many ways by her sexuality, had to face the idea of losing it in the form of breast cancer? Or Erica could have learned there was a spot on her liver, due to her substance abuse issues. Ex-lover David (Vincent Irizarry) could have been the one to treat her, or maybe sexy, young mocha doc Frankie (Cornelius Smith, Jr)? Now that's a cougar story I would have watched, not one involving the father of one of Erica's freaking grandchildren!

Maybe an obsessed fan (one who didn't have her face) could have targeted Erica? Jesse (Darnell Williams) could have had to become her 24/7 bodyguard, much to Angie's (Debbi Morgan) chagrin. AMC could have SORAS'ed Miranda to 15 and made her a scheming, little teen minx like her grandmother before her, with Erica serving in the Mona capacity.

Imagine Erica desperately trying to stop Miranda from following in her Prada footsteps, by reeking havoc on her mealy-mouthed rival for AJ Chandler's affections (Emma Lavery), the very same way Erica reeked havoc on Tara Martin because of her teenage obsession with Phil Brent 40-odd years ago.  

There were so many contemporary, reality-based stories to tell with a character as iconic as Erica Kane, but this is the crap Lucci is stuck with during AMC's fading months? Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda.

One Life to Live continued the distinction of being ABC's most watched soap for the week of May 2-6, 2011, and it's no wonder why. OLTL was also No. 3 in households and held steady at No. 4 among women 18-49. OLTL did dip one-tenth of a point among women 18-34, however.

I get accused of being a OLTL apologist, but screw it. Good soap is good soap, and this show is off the CHAIN right now! It seems like some major story is climaxing every freaking day in Llanview. Kudos to Frank and Ron. If you'e gonna go out, do it with a bang, not a doppelganger, I mean whimper. Granted, OLTL is embarking on what's sure to be an implausible story arc featuring the two Todds, but when it means bringing back someone as popular to the soap's fans as Roger Howarth, it's worth it.  Y&R's "So Long, Sister Killer" fiasco would have been 10 times more tolerable if Kimberlin Brown had made an appearance as Sheila at the end of the arc.

Okay, back to OLTL's storylines for the week in question, Current Todd (Trevor St. John) woke up, causing Tea (Florencia Lozano) to do her laugh-cry combo, then Todd accused her bearded bro of busting a cap in him. Speaking of bros, Clint (Jerry verDorn) told Bo (Robert S. Woods) he was gonna see their Pa real soon on account of his bum ticker and Austin Reed, er Joey (Tom Degnan) and his grifter bride took Messica's (Bree Williamson) baby away from Ford (David Gregory). While all that was good, the Hot Mess of the Week had to be that crazy ass Marty Saybrooke (Susan Haskell). I tell you I haven't seen someone make crazy look this hot and fun since Cynthia Watros on Guiding Light. Haskell as Mad Marty is DA BIZNESS!

Last, but not least (Are you listening, Katie Couric?) General Hospital was No. 4 among total viewers, falling 145,000. GH also dipped in houseolds, tying with AMC. Among women viewers 18-49, the sudser hit a new low, while tying it's all-time low in the same demo for the second week straight. The good news is, GH went up one-tenth of a point among women 18-34.

I gotta be honest and say none of GH's stories has me totally hooked right now. I don't care about Newbie Abby being charged for the murder of some dayplayer. I don't care about Brenda's (Vanessa Marcil Giovinazzo) kid—the real one or the fake one. I don't care about silly Anthony Za-Crazy being out of jail.

Thank the Soap Gods for Siobhan/Lucky/Liz, Jax/Carly/Shawn, Luke/Tracy and Dr. Crazy Pants Lisa (Brianna Brown) or GH would be as much of a chore to get through right now as AMC. I think Bob Guza might need to visit Sonny's island. Buy his wife a nice dress, do some gambling and recharge his batteries, because GH doesn't need to be this blah right about now.  See you next Ratings.

For the rest of the ratings stats visit Soap Opera Network.

Photo credit: ABC