CBS Daytime's The Young and the Restless managed to pull itself out of the crapper ratings-wise the week of Oct. 10-14, following a Nielsen cycle that saw the sudser hitting new lows in total viewers and households the week of Oct. 3-7 (Source: Soap Opera Network).
Y&R gained an impressive 282,000 total viewers over the previous week and went up three-tenths of a ratings point in households. Y&R went up two-tenths of a point among women 18-49 and inched up one-tenth of a point among women 18-49.
In story, paternity predicaments led the way, as Devon (Bryton James) faced off with his new Big Mama, Katherine (Jeanne Cooper), over her deception and Tucker (Stephen Nichols) held a press conference acknowledging his newfound son. Meanwhile, Devon's adopted family was dealing with Sofia (Julia Pace Mitchell) going into labor with either Neil's (Kristoff St. John), Malcolm's (Darius McCrary) or the postman's baby.
Elsewhere in Genoa City, Victor (Eric Braeden) continued to keep Villy apart and Colin (Tristan Rogers) decided to have Gloria (Judith Chapman) and Crazy-Vieve (Genie Francis) eliminated. Here's a little gospel ditty to illustrate how I would feel if Colin's threats were made good:
Oh happy day,
Oh happy day,
When Jesus washed,
He washed those hams away.
Y&R's sister soap, The Bold and the Beautiful, went up 125,000 total viewers over the previous week. B&B also climbed two-tenths of a point in households and posted a one-tenth of a point gain among women 18-49. Among women 18-34, B&B held steady in last place.
While the Steffy/Liam/Hope triangle is hella contrived and rushed, the Aspen stuff was pretty damn good! Love him or hate him, Brad Bell can turn a story on a dime. If you managed to suspend your disbelief that like last month Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) would have rather died than give up married man Bill Spencer (Don Diamont), yet the week in question she was scheming with Bill to keep Liam (Scott Clifton) and Hope (Kimberly Matula) apart, you were able to get a splashy, dramatic location shoot out of it.
The best story on B&B right now isn't the one featuring the young un's. It's the powerful saga that kicked off the week of Oct. 10-14, featuring cancer patient and series-long, frigid ice queen Stephanie Forrester (Susan Flannery) refusing to let her perennially randy husband Eric (John McCook) have any of her *****.
Stephanie's self-awareness that the abuse she endured in childhood, coupled with fears about her mortality have likely rendered her feeling less-than-romantic, juxtaposed with passionate, designer Eric announcing he will no longer let Stephanie's puritanical moral views shame him, provided B&B with the kind of taboo, psychosexual drama that first put a show called Days of Our Lives on the map in the 1960's under the stewardship of Brad Bell's father, the late William J. Bell.
The remaining two ABC Daytime soaps managed to post increases the week of Oct. 10-14, despite their lineup-weakening, unwanted neighbor. One Life to Live went up 162,000 total viewers and added one-tenth of a point in households. OLTL also went up one-tenth of a point among women 18-49 and women 18-34.
Storywise, Kristen Alderson (Starr) and Kassie DePaiva (Blair) did God's work by literally teaching Andrew Trischitta (Jack) how to act before our very eyes. As Starr tried to force Jack to admit he lied about seeing "Scarface"—aka Classic Todd—(Roger Howarth) at the scene of Todd 2.0's—aka Victor—(Trevor St. John) murder, and later Blair tried to love some sense into that fool boy's head at the cemetery, you finally saw the first glimpses of what could one day be an actor.
I don't say any of this to diss Trischitta, because Lord knows he isn't the first soap actor to be green early on, but it's just frustrating as heck when ABC Daytime benches amazing, natural young adult actors like Carmen Loporto, Drew Garrett, Eddie Alderson and Lexi Ainsworth in favor of slightly-animated paper dolls. Pretty faces and hard abs are okay, but don't throw the young thespians out with the soapy bathwater. As an aside, Shane (Austin Williams) making Jack piss himself, by holding a gun on him was hilarious, sudsy camp.
Cutter (Josh Kelly) is quickly becoming my favorite daytime rascal. Loved him blackmailing his way into possession of the Buchanan holdings. I just hate that he and his equally entertaining sister Kim (Amanda Setton) have to be stuck in this Stacy/Gigi (Farah Fath) doppelganger debauchery. If I've said it once, I'll say it 3,000 times, this type of tired, rehashed, warmed over storytelling helped put a nail in soaps' coffin on daytime just as much as any housewife heading to Monster.com to find a job outside the home.
In all-too recent times we've had Patty and Sarah vs. Emily and Lauren on The Young and the Restless, two Rafes on Days of Our Lives and two Erica Kanes on All My Children. When are daytime writers gonna finally realize this shiz ain't fresh anymore? Seriously, guys and gals, enough.
Enough of the damn doppelgangers, mind control, returns from the dead, baby switches, altered paternity tests, etc. I swear only soap scribes are still being entertained by this crap! It worked in the 80's because it was groundbreaking. It worked in the 90's because late, wackadoodle genius James Reilly put a fresh, tongue-in-cheek spin on it, and while Ron Carlivati is definitely a student of the campy fun, school-o-Reilly, not even he (or Sarah Michelle Gellar for that matter) can get me to enjoy another doppelganger saga at this point in my soap viewing career.
General Hospital had 99,000 new viewers, but a bitch ain't one. Sorry, Jay-Z and Kanye are coming to my town to perform next weekend! Let's try this again, GH went up 99,000 total viewers over the previous week. GH also went up one-tenth of a point in households, among women 18-49 and women 18-34.
GH was a pit of depression and despair for this viewer the week in question. The increasingly-douchey Lucky (Jonathan Jackson) royally dissed the mother of his children by likening their love to a disease, prompting me to wonder, where is this Garin Wolf whom everyone screamed writes so well for women? It's like the brass made some decision to punish the character of Elizabeth Webber because Rebecca Herbst's fans rose up and refused to let them fire her.
In almost every episode of GH these days, some character is harping nastily about Liz's past sins.
"She has children by three different men."
"She climbed up 16 flights of stairs to screw Jason."
"Lucky had to rescue her as a kid and he's been rescuing her ever since."
"She's responsible for the hole in the Ozone layer and How To Make It In America getting another season on HBO!"
Um, agenda much? There isn't a character on GH who doesn't have a shady past. I don't see the fact that Carly (Laura Wright) has three kids by three dudes being brought up constantly. Carly and Sam (Kelly Monaco) do trade barbs on occasion about each other's past dirty deeds, but that's organic and natural. When the guy who changes the oil in Liz's car at the Port Chuck Auto Center is like, "Damn, you a nasty ho!" then we have a problem.
Lulu (Julie Marie Berman) was her selfish, sad self this week, suddenly deciding she can't be a cop's wife because it would be too hard on her. Isn't this the same girl who offered up the good-good to a mob prince a few years back, despite warnings from half the town? Now she's concerned about being with someone whose life is constantly in danger? Lulu needs a life coach, a pet psychic and a resume builder, STAT. What Dr. Robin Scorpio Drake (Kimberly McCullough) needs is a Smith and Wesson, because that bat shiz crazy heffa Lisa Niles (Brianna Brown) done woke up!
The high point on GH the week in question had to be the simmering romance of Shawn (Sean Blakemore) and Carly. GH is moving painfully slow with this pairing, as Carly would have usually had grief sex with four guys by now, but I am liking it — especially since they crashed the JaSam honeymoon! I just hope TPTB don't chicken out with this love story.
The only soap to lose ground for the week was DAYS, which sucks because it's the best soap on daytime right now. Jack Deveraux's (Matthew Ashford) return to Salem has provided meaty story for Jennifer (Melissa Reeves), Daniel (Shawn Christian) and Abby (Kate Mansi). Speaking of Mansi, this girl can ACT! Who knew?! After months and months and months of seeing Mansi get nothing to do but have boring conversations with Jenn over chowder at the Brady pub, we're finally seeing what this young woman is capable of in an actual storyline and quite frankly she's phenomenal.
As Abby conveys her rage over Jack being back in her and her mom's lives, Mansi is hitting all the right emotional notes. One minute she's a sorrowful daddy's girl, the next a vicious, snarling, she-wolf cub, attempting to protect her wounded matriarch from a perceived predator. While Jenn has been fairly quick to accept Jack's excuse that he was away so long because he had been kidnapped in Afghanistan, Abby isn't trying to hear it, providing great father/daughter/mother conflict for this soap opera.
Troubled tycoon John Black (Drake Hogestyn) shocked Marlena (Deidre Hall) by demanding a divorce, in order to spare her his not-so-private hell, leading to some intense scenes for the supercouple. Loved Doc confirming she meant what she said when she made her wedding vows to Salem's answer to Jason Bourne. Austin (Patrick Muldoon) and Carrie (Christie Clark) also saw their marriage believably strained as a result of John's legal woes, as the husband wife duo continued to find themselves on opposite sides of the timely case.
Then you had Sami (Alison Sweeney) in a story millions of viewers in Mad Ave's most coveted demo can relate to, that of a mom trying to balance a career with tending to home and hearth; as her ex-hubby EJ (James Scott) debated Abe (James Carver) in the Horton Square. Come on people, watch this doggone soap opera!
DAYS is the best it's been in over a decade. Post reboot, this soap is giving us almost everything we've been saying we wanted soaps to evolve to (though it could use a smidge more sex and a quickened pace!). At this point in time, DAYS is telling relevant, character-driven, history-rich, romantic arcs. If we don't watch, then before we know it, there will be baby switches, microchips, space aliens, goons and goblins galore and we won't have anyone to blame but ourselves. See you next Ratings.