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Ratings, Rants and Raves: DAYS Climbs; Enough With Preachy Dialogue and Why Camp is Good For Soaps


Okay, full disclosure, I've been on a bit of a soap blogging sabbatical to focus on other projects. I am just now getting re-lathered up, so Ratings, Rants and Raves might seem a tad all over the place this week. I'm also doing low carb again, so that could be a factor. Look for me to get back to more succinct analysis and snarking next week!

The Young and the Restless was up 57,000 total viewers the week of Aug. 4-8. (Source: Soap Opera Network) The CBS Daytime sudser was down year-to-date by 82,000.

Y&R held steady in households and among women 18-49. However, the serial dipped among W18-34 and W25-54.

The Bold and the Beautiful was up 75,000 total viewers (+77,000 year-to-date). B&B held steady in all major demos over the previous ratings cycle.

General Hospital lost 63,000 total viewers over the previous week, but was up a whopping 345,000 year-to-date. GH held steady in the demos.

Days of Our Lives was up 48,000 total viewers over the previous week (+8,000 year-to-date). DAYS was up among W18-49 by a tenth of a point, and held steady in the other major demos.

Overall, I'd say all four daytime soaps are in pretty decent shape in the Nielsens. Y&R seems to be stabilizing after a lengthy decline. GH has been a bit soft for a few weeks, numbers-wise.

I maintain DAYS deserves to be higher in the ranking. The soap continues to hit the majority of its beats. The Wrath of Sami (Alison Sweeney) has been a soapy joy to watch.

I wish I could say the same about Will (Guy Wilson) and Sonny's (Freddie Smith) marriage. Could there be a more boring gay relationship on TV?

Hopefully, the fallout from Will's Dominick Dunne-style article about EJami/EJAbby will spice things up for the couple. I want Sonny to get so pissed, he goes out and does a body shot out of Ben's (Robert Scott Wilson) belly button.

Sidenote: I've written a whole lotta freelance articles in my day, and never has an editor done a house call!

Hope (Kristian Alfonso) and Aiden (Daniel Cosgrove) are adorable. I found the whole charity-gala-held-in-Julia-Sugarbaker's-storage-room painful to watch, but the chemistry the actors displayed salvaged the sequences.

DAYS, Days of Our Lives promo

With Eileen Davidson finally back on screen as Kristen Blake DiMera, DAYS can only get better as we head into Fall. Yep, Salem U.S.A. lovers, super spy John Black (Drake Hogestyn) couldn't get the best of Kristen, but Dr. Daniel Jonas (Shawn Christian) could! Where's my drink?

Here's hoping Davidson can have a similar positive impact when she shows up in Genoa City as Ashley Abbott again in a month or so. Those scenes with the Abbotts telling us how swell they are make my ass itch.

We do not need the beloved dynasty to TELL us, "Yes, we're the Abbotts; we're the bee's knees. We're always there for one another. Why? Because, well, we're the Abbotts!" every freaking time they are on screen together. It's more annoying than Bitchy Ghost John (Jerry Douglas) used to be. Who talks to their loved ones this way? Just let us see them organically interacting.

Kimberly McCullough

There's a lot of interacting in Port Charles. Almost overnight, the fictional town is bustling with potential new couples, triangles, quads and an almost three-way. I guess TPTB paid attention to all the lack of romance complaints online.

Ned/Olivia/Sonny, Sonny/Carly/Franco/Nina, Nina/Silas/Sam, Liz/Britt/Nikolas, Sam/Patrick/Robin/Ice Ice Jason. Whew! I need a scorecard.

GH remains the easiest and most fun of my daytime soap binges. I burst out into hysterical giggle-farts at least once per viewing. With so much ugliness going on the word,  I consider that a win. ABC should give Cartini a primetime deal to reboot the classic sudser spoof SOAP.

I do wish more happened on screen in Port Charles, and that character moments were ramped up. No one currently does umbrella stories better than Cartini, but it's hard to stay invested in some of the minor stories when it takes so long to get back to them.

I need more Lucy Coe (Lynn Herring) and Ava Jerome (Maura West) in my life. And can we get some additional real Quartermaines in that hospital room with Alice (Bergen Williams)? Paging Dillon and Brook Lynn. You're needed in the unit where people with bad hearts are kept. ICU? Send Kiki (Kristen Alderson) off on a coffee run to Corinth.

Back to Ava. I know, I know. my platinum blonde sex goddess drove story for most of 2014. In the words of Joy Behar, so what? Who cares? West should be front and center at all times, preferably reconnecting with Ava's boy stud Morgan (Bryan Craig).

I am not enjoying Morgan being bumped back down into the vapid orbit of Kiki and Michael (Chad Duell). Put Sabrina (Teresa Castillo) in with the post-pubescents, and move Morgan back to the "A" story. Craig is the future of this soap.

Morgan should be with the big boys and girls. Why can't Nina (Michelle Stafford) realize the best way to hurt Ava is by going after the hairy, luscious, young, tanned stud her rival loves?

I am eating up Robin's (Kimberly McCullough) sci-fi arc. Haters to the left!

Robin was such a naggy bore under previous regimes. Now she's a bonafide, Cassadine-fighting action heroine. Girl, hurry up and thaw Billy Miller, I mean, Jason out completely.

What's with all the griping about the story being over-the-top? The same family Robin is now battling for Jason's icy soul, once planned to freeze Port Charles—and the rest of Planet Earth—in one of GH's most popular stories of all time.

Camp has long been a successful part of this genre, whether soap snobs wanna admit it or not. The late Gloria Monty and the brilliant Thom Racina used it readily to keep GH on the air.

Oh, and people can shit on the late James E. Reilly all they want, but there's a reason his sister/sole heir still cashes a FAT check from Sony TV and Corday Productions every single week. Writers don't get those kinds of infinite payouts in their contracts for being unsuccessful.

Did Reilly have his storyline turkeys? Of course. In my opinion, the entire run of Passions was a gobbler.

Although, that supernatural, decade-long yarn did prove teen girls 12-17 was a viable demo before there was a C or a W. It wasn't Reilly's fault NBC didn't know how to sell to the very same demo that cablers like ABC Family and E! now covet.

Moving past Passions, there's no denying the success of Reilly's first run at DAYS; just like there's no denying Cartini has helped keep GH on the air in recent years. Don't believe us? Ask Paul Lee and Vicki Dummer. We have asked them, again and again, and they continue to praise them to Eterna and back. So there!

Before purists race to the comments section to give themselves carpal tunnel by citing Nixon and Bell as anti-camp, riddle me this: Which All My Children clip do they show whenever Susan Lucci is on late night TV? Erica's addiction struggles? Her powerful abortion drama? No. It's always Erica vs. that damn bear.

Agnes Nixon, who I adore and ship as any good soap stan should, wrote some of the campiest stories in soap history. She had a five-foot supermodel try to rescue her lover from prison via helicopter, people!

Don't get me started on the fabulous Aunt Phoebe (the late Ruth Warrwick). Auntie Mame herself would have told the Dowager Empress of Pine Valley to calm her ass down.

As for Bell and camp, I have two words: Brenda Dickson.

Now granted, Nixon and Bell were better at balancing camp and pathos than their peers, but they most assuredly did write camp into their soaps. Anyone who says otherwise is rewriting soap history.

I would love for GH and the other three sudsers to add a bit of social relevance back in, not gonna lie. With everything that's happening in Ferguson, Missouri, I ache for the days of Aggie.

If Nixon was writing ABC's sole sudser, she'd probably have one of Anna Devane's (Finola Hughes) officers gun down TJ (Tequan Richmond), leading to a racially-charged saga in Port Charles.

If Bell was alive, we'd probably see a Y&R business arc ripped from the headlines of a recent New York Times article on pharmaceutical companies scheming to make billions from compounded prescription schemes.

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We have to remember, though, the days of the kind of autonomy Bell and Nixon benefited from are over. Soaps are written by committee in 2014.

It is possible to love both powerful, reality-based drama and high camp. It irks me to no end when people try to speak for ALL soap fans. Some don't like camp, and that is fine, but to try to speak for the entire fandom gives soap message boards and comment sections a bad name.

I live my life for The Good Wife's flawless, elegant storytelling. Doesn't mean I won't cry like a slutty fairy when I have to say goodbye to Sookie Stackhouse and the rest of Bon Temps, Louisiana when True Blood wraps in a few weeks.

Campy, over-the-top stories saved GH in the 80's. They helped DAYS go from cancellation watch to printing money for NBC in the 90's, and yes, they are once again helping to save GH.

Okay, now for a little more ranting. I love me some Spencer (Nicolas Bechtel), but Britt (Kelly Thiebaud) looks stupid as hell, serving as the doe-eyed henchwoman of a five-year-old boy!

Wouldn't the daughter of Faison (Anders Hove) and Obrecht (Kathleen Gati) come up with more sophisticated schemes, like, I dunno, tracking down Lucky Spencer and bringing him back to Port Chuck to come in between Liz (Rebecca Herbst) and Nikolas (Tyler Christopher)?

I give GH mad props for continuing to break new ground with their taboo stories. The near-gay threesome and young, Italian stallion Milo (Drew Cheetwood) declaring his affection for older, full-figured, African-American Epiphany (Sonya Eddy) are inspired twists. Now if we can actually see Milo and Piph's romance develop on air.

I hated Maxie's (Kirsten Storms) insta-triangle with two strangers the entire time it was playing out. However, as usual with Cartini, the payoff has been worth it.

Just as I started to warm up to Nathan (a vastly-improved Ryan Paevey), his rival Levi (Zachary Garred) was revealed to be an Aztec-jewel-thieving con. Such fun!

Y&R is having a lot of fun with their new 20-something vixens. Mariah's (Camryn Grimes) kinky crush on Cassie's daddy, Nick (Joshua Morrow), is straight out of the Bell playbook. Speaking of the Bell playbook, can someone drop Ian Ward (Ray Wise) down a trash compactor? If I see Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott) shaking and hissing about this non-villain one more time...

YR, The Young and the Restless promo

Can we talk about the marvel that is Mishael Morgan? Hilary is everything. Furthermore, Hilary and Devon (Bryton James) are everything together! Their forbidden desire has been the best reason to watch Y&R all summer, along with an increasingly-vicious Lily (the equally-inspired Christel Khalil). Lady Khalil, I am finally a fan!

Neil (Kristoff St. John) better hold a seance with the late John Abbott (Jerry Douglas) and/or H.B. Lewis from Guiding Light to get some insight into how to handle your tenderoni being in love with your son. Kudos to TPTB for realizing a lil' chocolate never hurt nobody!

If B&B didn't go on such fab location shoots, it would annoy me right about now. As it is though, I can tolerate wash, rinse, repeat triangles, so long as I get to see London, France and Dollar Bill (Don Diamont) in his underpants.

Okay, seriously. Hope Logan (Kim Matula) is bordering on asinine. Who marries their fiance's brother just because he's late to an appointment?

In the days before GPS, Hope would have had more husbands than the late Liz Taylor and Erica Kane combined! Enough with weddings every three months, guys. B&B is about more than thwarted nuptials.

Hope B&B

Since I ripped Y&R about preachy, telling vs. showing dialogue centered on the Abbotts, I have to shade any and all dialogue surrounding Hope For The Future and its "Message".

Mother of the Living Christ, we get it. Hope is virtuous! Hope is true! Keep your filthy paws, off her silky, couture drawers, Wyatt Fuller (Darin Brooks)!

I want to staple my ears shut when Aly (Ashlyn Pearce) starts gushing about Hope and her principles. If she's principled, just SHOW us already and stop talking about it!

As much as I am loving Deacon (Sean Kanan) pursuing Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang), if I read the show is going on location to the Caribbean, so that Ridge (Thorsten Kaye) and/or Bill (Don Diamont) can push Katie (Heather Tom) off a hovercraft, in order to stop Breacon from jumping the broom, I'm gonna be really, really cross.

Where is the business intrigue? All the Forrester boardroom set is used for these days, is for those gossiping hens and roosters to talk about Brooke and Hope's various romances.

Why not have Bill create a new magazine for Brooke, as a way to lure her back? Brooke Logan: The Magazine! Move over, Oprah. You just know that hating Taylor Hayes (Hunter Tylo) would subscribe from Paris.

Okay, I think I have meandered across the soap landscape enough for one Saturday afternoon. See you next Ratings!