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Monthly Archives: April 2011

AMC and OLTL cancelled….why it’s bad news for Y & R.

The soap opera landscape continues to be a challenging, inhospitable one.  ABC has cancelled One Life to Live and All My Children today.  I’ve never watched either of those shows (actually, no other soaps), but no matter how you slice it, this is NOT good news for The Young and The Restless.

Periodically, tv seems to go through paradigm shifts.  Back in the early 70s, CBS made a conscious decision to shift away from its popular “rural” type shows like Andy Griffith, Beverly Hillbillies, and the like.  They did so largely because the US was becoming more urban and they wanted to attract more urban-type viewers going forward.  Being the monkey-see, monkey-do business that it is, other networks followed suit.  You see it all the time, in the late 70s with crime/mystery shows, in the 80s with the resurgence of the sitcom, and now with reality shows.  Reality shows have the added feature of being relatively cheap to produce.  Why pay stars hundreds of thousands per episode when you can get somebody who just wants to be on tv for free? 

The fact that the replacements for OLTL and AMC are reality shows is telling.  Even more troubling is the fact that instead of watching soaps with their mom like I did, kids today are more likely watching reality shows or judge shows.  Nothing lasts forever, but I just can’t see Y & R being on when my 4 year old and 2 year old sons are teenagers.

Aside from a fight for survival in a world that is trying its best to render soaps obsolete, Y & R has another problem that they may actually consider a good problem.  There is a lot of daytime talent available right now just from As the World Turns’ cancellation.  That pool will only increase.  That’s not good for the performers….if they took a hardline with Eric Braeden last year, no one is untouchable.  When they know the cast has fewer options, they can tell them to take or leave whatever offer.   Many will take it, some will leave it.  I think we’re in for an era of acrimonious contract negotiations.  This will inevitably affect the show, as we’re likely to see more “plastic surgery” and evil twin storylines.  My fear is that the Y & R I grew up with will cease to be, even if it’s still on.  To wit, I’d argue that it’s happened already.  Y & R was always one of the more realistic/plausible soaps.  Lately, it’s been somewhat farcical.

Also, as sports and wrestling have shown us, assembling an all-star roster doesn’t mean success.  When WWE bought the bankrupt WCW in 2001, there were celebrations as dream matches would now occur.  I would argue that the demise of WCW has brought down WWE, as the lack of true competition has made WWE less likely to take the risks that brought them massive popularity around the turn of the century.  In addition, the roster suffered, as it became very top-heavy and crucial role players were often left out of the only show in town.  Those crucial role players were the guys who morphed from lower-card acts to mid-card to main eventers.  Instead, guys are now rushed to the top before they’ve really had an opportunity to connect with the crowd.  If the same thing happens in soaps, we’re in trouble. 

This post is pure speculation, so don’t take it as gospel.  What are your thoughts on the matter?

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Posted by on April 14, 2011 in Gumbo

 

Potentially major casting news (from Soapcentral.com)/New Look

You know I rarely re-post info from other sites, preferring to do original content.  But I wanted to pass on this report I saw on soapcentral.com:

Is Emmy winner Billy J. Miller leaving Y&R?
Posted Wednesday, April 13, 2011 5:51:09 PM
by Dan J Kroll

Wildly popular Y&R star Billy J. Miller could be exiting his role as Billy Abbott later this year. Miller joined The Young and the Restless in September 2008 after a one-year run on All My Children.

Emmy winner Billy J. Miller (Billy Abbott) could be exiting The Young and the Restless when his contact expires this summer. In addition to his Emmy win, Miller is extremely popular with fans, as evidenced by his five soapcentral.com Dankies Awards wins earlier this year.

Word of Miller’s exit was first reported by Soap Opera Digest. Citing sources, the magazine indicated that Miller had chosen not to renew his contract with the top-rated CBS soap. However, Miller’s exit may not be as done of a deal as first reported.

After talking to its own insiders, Soaps In Depth reported that Miller and show executives are still engaged in contract talks. The magazine hints that one of the key negotiations might involve the ability for Miller to do projects outside of daytime. In the past, the networks have been reluctant to let their contract players appear in primetime and movie projects. That’s not the cast anymore, as networks have been working to find a middle ground in order to keep top-name talent.

Another setside source tells soapcentral.com that this might be another case of show brass trying to negotiate via the media. Contract talks are typically closed-door meetings. Y&R, however, has had several very visible and very high-profile negotiation sessions in the past few years, including those involving Eric Braeden (Victor Newman), Melody Thomas Scott (Nikki Newman), and Jess Walton (Jill Abbott).

Miller debuted on The Young and the Restless in September 2008, becoming the fourth actor in six years to play the role of Billy. Prior to joining Y&R, Miller appeared for a year on ABC’s All My Children. In 2010, Miller was named Outstanding Supporting Actor at the Daytime Emmys.

A Y&R spokesperson had no comment.

<!– Photo: crackle.com

–>source: http://soapcentral.com/yr/news/2011/0413-miller.php

In other news, I changed the look a little bit…let me know what you think…

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2011 in Gumbo

 

Eyecandy-fest 2011! (4/12/2011)

 Note:  I changed the original title because I didn’t want to attract porn traffic.  Freaks.

So…one of my first posts on here asked for some eyecandy for the fellas….I got it yesterday!  Before I get into that, a moment of silence for my future ex-wife marrying another man later today.  It brings to mind one of the biggest hater songs of the 80s, before we started using the term hater, which I loathe:

The main storylines for Tuesdays episode were Malcolm and Sofia getting ready for the wedding, Chloe and Gloria in jail, Sharon at her mother’s and Nick and Phyllis with Adam trying to find Sharon. 

I was cracking up at Darius McCrary morphing from his Malcolm voice to his Eddie Winslow voice with nerves from the wedding. But of course, the highlight of the episode for me was Sofia, looking radiant.  She plays so fine, don’t you agree? (c) Mr. Randy Watson and Sexual Chocolate

Have mercy

Also showing her goodies yesterday was Sharon Newman, who in my opinion looks good with her hair darker.  And the tramp look would get old on an every day basis, but it was a nice “y’all must have forgot” kind of reminder of what she’s working with. On the non-caveman tip, Sharon Case delivered a really powerful performance.  You definitely see where her mom is coming from when she says that she’s made her bed and not listened to anyone’s advice, but it’s still heartbreaking, no matter how old you are, to hear that your parent is giving up on you.  The ethos of that scene was well done.  

Speaking of Sharon, it looks like Adam is taking Nick, Phyllis, and the apparent cop on a wild, international goose chase.  It’s weird….I STILL need them to reveal Richard Hightower’s murderer, but I’m kind of rooting for Adam.  I’ve previously referred to Nick as a lunk, and his “I just want to hit someone” line yesterday was further proof of that.  Be like your dad or your brother, go for the cerebral. 

Last but not least, we have the whole Jana-Chloe-Gloria storyline.  With Emily O’Brien on the way out, I’m sure that Jana’s dirt is about to be revealed, but it was nice to see it progressing in that direction with Billy and Kevin working together.  The interplay between Greg Rikaart and Billy Miller has always been good, and I’m glad we’ll get to see more of it coming soon.

Not that I watch that kind of thing…

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2011 in Episode Commentary

 

Wrestling and Soaps

Awhile back, I mentioned that I was going to have to do a post on wrestling and soaps.  Here goes nothing!

When I was a kid, this was wrestling: 

Very cartoonish….larger than life characters, definitive good guys and bad guys.  However, in a parallel universe at the exact same time, my brothers were into this:

which I thought was boring.  But then as I got older, I started to appreciate the harder-nosed NWA moreso than the silly WWF.  As people my age got older, the WWF we grew up with became less and less appealing and we started tuning into WCW.  WWF, the longtime industry leader, fired back by changing to the edgier Attitude era, where cartoonish tamped down to merely over the top, and ANYTHING could happen.  I kid you not, I remember Raws where Triple H re-enacted humping a dead woman in her coffin, where Brian Pillman (RIP) pulled a gun on Stone Cold Steve Austin who was breaking into his house, where an 80 plus year old woman was pregnant and delivered a rubber glove, where a former Olympian fell in love with a transvestite until he discovered Mr. Winky…etc, etc.  In this time period, good guys (babyfaces, faces, etc) and bad guys (heels) became a thing of the past in favor of tweeners who walked in a gray area.  No more was it that all heels were friends simply because they were heels.  The result of the Attitude era (and horrible mismanagement and booking in WCW) was the ultimate destruction and bankruptcy of WCW, the spiritual successor of the NWA.  It was also around the time of the Attitude era when the whole wrestling as “Soaps for men” meme started to pick up steam.  At this point, WWE has stupidly banned the word “Wrestling” and all of its derivatives.  John Cena is no longer a “wrestler,” he’s a “superstar”.  And he doesn’t wrestle, he “entertains.”  That would be akin to Y & R saying it’s no longer a soap opera, but rather melodramatic entertainment. 

I say all this to say that it reminds me of now with soaps, Y & R in particular.  Here’s some similarities:

  1. Good guys, bad guys, tweeners:  Both genres at it’s core are about larger than life good guys (Babyfaces) and bad guys (Heels), and characters who float in between (Tweeners).  That drives the conflict.  There is nothing more dramatic than a heel who redeems himself, or a hero who falls. Think of Michael, who was introduced to us as a rapist, Kevin, who was a STD-infected, homocidal pervert, or Phyllis, who was a murderous vamp.  All of them redeemed themselves and became heroes with a darkside.   Victor, who kept his wife’s lover in a dungeon, started out life as an over the top villain.  One major difference is that there’s no money in heels in soaps, at least not long term.  At best, you can be a tweener, a la Adam, who is not really a heel right now.
  2. Hotshot booking:  Oh yes, I’ve mentioned this before.  Hotshot booking in wrestling means basically doing something dramatic to raise interest at the expense (or lack of!) of long-term plans.  TNA Wrestling is the KING of hotshot booking right now, with their world title changing hands on far too many occasions.   Hotshot booking isn’t always bad when used sparingly, but the overuse indicates a lack of direction.  Thus my beef with Y & R essentially hot shotting with all the recent deaths.  It’s cool for the drama, but it indicates a lack of direction.  Are you telling me that Cassie (who would now be early 20s), Brad, or Skye couldn’t add to the landscape on Y & R?  Hell, you could have Brad essentially in Tucker’s role.
  3. Payoffs: Wrestling and Soaps are both all about payoffs.  Good booking of wrestling and good writing of soaps creates an intriguing story, takes time to develop it, and gives a satisfying payoff.  It doesn’t go too long and makes people lose interest, and it doesn’t go so fast.  It rewards long-time fans with tidbits from the past, it gets fans emotionally invested.   A well-booked storyline in wrestling was Sting vs. Hulk Hogan in 1997.  The hero of WCW, Sting disappeared in 1996 after being accused of betraying WCW and the fans.  He went from this:

 to hanging out in the rafters looking like this:

He didn’t talk for over a year and it was unclear what he wanted or what he was after.  He attacked random wrestlers.  The nWo, a pseudo-invasion of WWF talent, even had a look a like of Sting wrestle for them.  It became apparent that he wanted the leader of the nWo Hulk Hogan.  After a year, Sting got Hulk Hogan in the ring at Starrcade ’97 (NWA and WCW’s Wrestlemania)  and seemingly beat him to win the WCW World Title, albeit uncleanly.  A long build, a satisfying payoff, everyone’s happy, right?  Wrong…the next day, Sting finally talks and is stripped of the title for largely political reasons and WCW begins a 3 year descent into bankruptcy.  Compare….Cane’s death.  It was a long time coming…it was a satisfying payoff…until they made Cane a ghost or figment of Lily’s imagination.  How you follow up on a successful storyline is almost as crucial as a successful storyline.

My geekiness knows no bounds and I’m sure I’ve lost people who came here looking for info on either wrestling or Y & R….not that I watch that kind of thing.

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2011 in Gumbo

 

Evil Women in Cinema (or when I realized that nice guys finish last)

Quick aside:  Please check out my new friend Kristen’s blog!  If you like this blog, you’ll like hers as well:  http://stolensentiments.blogspot.com/

A bit of a change of pace, since Y & R is not really capturing me right now…

So today while the boys and wife were sleep, I was in the Mancave and got to watch Netflix on my Wii for once.  It’s been a while since I had a chance to watch, and I didn’t know they added so many choices.  I notice on there a movie called Lemon Popsicle, which I remembered reading about as the original version of The Last American Virgin.  The Last American Virgin was virtually a scene for scene remake of Lemon Popsicle, except it was set in ’50s Israel versus ’80s US.  I mean, down to shots, facial expressions, dress, etc.  There were two crucial differences:

1.  The Last American Virgin captured the 80s like few others could with their soundtrack.  I didn’t realize how much the soundtrack made the movie for me.

2.  Lemon Popsicle’s main love interest was much more obviously not interested in the main character.  Karen (the main love interest from the Last American Virgin), on the other hand, led Gary (the main character)on HARD!

The Face of Evil

For those who’ve never seen the movie, I highly advise you to get it off netflix or your local video store if it still exists…it was so different than most other teen movies ever made.  Brief synopsis:  Gary, Rick, and David are best friends in search of their elusive first sexual experience.  Hilarity (not unlike American Pie) ensues in their pursuit.  Gary sees a new girl in town named Karen and he’s instantly in love with her.  She’s polite and friendly, but doesn’t seem particularly interested.  Instead, she falls for Rick (aka the Worst Wingman Ever) and Rick goes about trying to smash off Karen.  I can’t remember if Rick knew that Gary liked her or not, but based on Rick’s personality, I don’t think he would have cared.  Rick tries to borrow the keys to Gary’s dead grandmother’s house in order to de-flower Karen there (grimy as hell!), and Gary does some passive aggressive stuff, leading Rick to take Karen’s virginity at the football field.  Karen turns up pregnant, Rick denies responsibility and breaks up with her.  Gary confronts Rick about being a jerk, they fight, and Gary tells Karen he’s going to help.  He sells stuff and borrows money to pay for an abortion and they stay in his grandmother’s house under the guise of going on a ski trip.  He reveals his feelings, they sleep together, act like a couple, and she invites him to her birthday party.  He borrows more money to get a necklace inscribed “To Karen with love.”  He arrives at the party, only to find: (spoiler alert)



And that was the end of the freaking movie….have you EVER seen a movie that ended on more of a downer than that? 

Fast forward 25 years to Karen’s obvious daughter, Summer as in (500) Days of Summer.  I love/hated this movie because I lived it.  Brief synopsis:   Tom Hansen meets Summer Finn,  a free-spirited type of chick and over the course of 500 days, they go from strangers to acquaintences to friends to pretend couple to Summer breaking Tom’s heart.  At the beginning of their “non-relationship,” she says she doesn’t want a boyfriend, then proceeds to act like someone in a relationship headed towards the aisle.  Tell me….does this look like “just friends” to you? 

The movie is presented in non-linear fashion, so it by nature is disjointed, but essentially Summer feels crowded in the non-relationship, ends it, sending Tom into a deep depression, they see each other on the train on the way to a wedding, act like everything’s back to normal, with Summer neglecting to tell Tom that she not only is over her “not wanting a boyfriend” thing, but she’s engaged.  Instead, she invites him to a party at her apartment, which he finds out is her engagement party.  At least this one ends on a hopeful note….Tom goes for an interview and meets (wait for it) Fall!

Where do I start?  My biggest problem with Karen (Last American Virgin) is that she led Gary on, knowing that he was into her.  You don’t let anyone, let alone a high school kid, pay $300 for an abortion without thinking “Man, this guy cares about me.”

At least with Karen, I can write it off to her being young.  Summer was a grown ass woman.  You know how whenever someone says “no offense” or “With all due respect” they’re about to say something either really offensive or really disrespectful?  Same principle at play here….just because Summer told Tom she didn’t want a boyfriend doesn’t give her license to act contrary to that and then get upset when he responds to that stimuli like a boyfriend.  It wouldn’t have been quite as bad if she just ended it and moved on…but to re-kindle the relationship and not tell him that she’s engaged was just plain evil.  How the hell is Tom supposed to feel when she didn’t even want him as a boyfriend, but marries the next guy she deals with?

Gary was more at fault than Tom was.  Here’s a list of Gary’s sins:

  1. Gary fell too hard too fast for a chick who didn’t deserve it.
  2. Gary didn’t tell his best friend how he felt.
  3. Gary assumed they were together rather than talking about it with Karen

All forgivable crimes for a high school kid who is still figuring out his identity.  Gary probably became Barney Stinson after being scarred in this incident.  And he was probably much better at picking friends after having the worst wingman ever.  And he most certainly was not a “nice guy” any more. 

I put “nice guy” in quotes because I really think that the mentality of a “nice guy” is different than that of a guy that’s nice.  A “nice guy” is a boring doormat.  I’ve come to realize that women don’t necessarily like bad boys (only girls do), but they don’t want “nice guys” either.  There’s no challenge there, and more importantly, they don’t feel protected.  I really didn’t find myself as a man until I got in touch with my inner asshole and shed the “nice guy” thing.  I’m still nice, don’t get me wrong, but you have to earn my niceness…and I can be ornery at times. 

They say women are the emotional ones;  my theory is that both genders are emotional, but women are more demonstrative with their emotion.  As men, we’re taught to suck it up.  That repression makes the inevitable release of that energy have a much deeper impact.  Gary was at the least changed forever.  Tom, it’s hard to tell because he was a little older, but at the very least, he’ll be wary moving forward. 

I say all this to say to the ladies out there….you have a power you don’t realize.  You can ruin a guy forever.  So if you’re ever in a Summer-like situation, Clarity is your friend.  If you’re ever in a Karen-like situation, don’t lead a guy on.  Not that I watch that kind of thing….

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2011 in Gumbo

 

Victor channels his inner Tron Carter and Random thoughts part 724

I am so thankful to Y & R for giving me the opportunity to use this clip:

That’s Victor’s testimony from last week. 

On to some other things:

  • I’ve been a little down and very distracted lately, so I apologize to my 10 faithful readers for not being a little bit more prolific.  It doesn’t help that Y & R hasn’t been very compelling as of late, in my opinion.
  • So they’re bringing back Kevin Schmidt as Noah.  He never should have been recast in the first place, but I didn’t think the new guy was that bad.  Hopefully, this means no more corny musical interludes for the time-being though.
  • Am I the only one who would love to see Adam get with Phyllis?  Michael Muhney has a great chemistry with Michelle Stafford, and their characters have similar dark sides.
  • Is Roxy still on the show?  Does she have a last name yet?
  • I thought Abby was past the Naked Heiress stuff….doesn’t make too much sense to me
  • They re-cast little Nate as a Doctor only to make a cameo appearance?  Really?
  • I fear that they are going to ruin a great death (even if I disagree with killing off Cane) by having a long lost twin or something like that.  And when is Lily going to find that damn note?  It has to be a twin, or else Lily is crazy.  Speaking of Lily….
  • I don’t have a problem with interracial dating.  Love knows no color, you can’t help who you fall in love with.  However, can they find just one black guy Lily’s interested in?  I know she’s related to every black man in town except for the DA, but geez.
  • I’m not really feeling the whole “finding Daisy’s baby”  story line.  I did, however, find it interesting that the baby broker is none other than…

I got nothing else for ya.  Not that I watch that kind of thing….

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2011 in Gumbo