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Pissed off….

Hey folks,

I haven’t written in a long while…and really haven’t felt compelled to by the storylines.  The one that’s gotten my attention (and not in a good way) is the Kevin-Angelina storyline.  It’s really irking me.  The logical gaps in the story are astounding, and more than anything, it just makes me feel uncomfortable.  I really wanted the Kevin-Chloe relationship to work (and I’m sure it still will), but there is nothing redeeming about Angelina.  She has what is called in wrestling “go away heat,”  where you don’t like her, not because she’s a bad guy who’s intriguing, but rather just annoying and a cartoon character.

Here’s a list-y breakdown of my issues with it:

  1. Angelo goes from comic relief to Don?  Yeah, I can’t understand how this one note character goes from bit part to getting more screen time than Lauren Fenmore and other characters I’d like to see more of.  Further, when he was first there, he was the least intimidating gangster in history.  He’ll always be the guy with the ulcer in Dumb and Dumber to me.  Now all of the sudden he’s murking cats?  GTFOH
  2. Kevin suddenly becomes a punk?  Kevin’s a little cray, a little creepy, and generally a good guy….but Kev’s never been a punk.  How in the bluest of hells does this guy who stood up to comic relief Angelo let himself get manipulated by Angelo now?  Especially when he’s done books for him…especially when he has info on Angelo’s secret island…especially when the powerful Victor Newman owes him a favor….especially when he knows what Angelo did to Jeffrey?  Kev could blow Angelo up in 50 different ways, but first he does this bodyguard crap, then he runs off, then he marries Angelina, then he apparently lets Angelo intimidate him into staying in the marriage.  It’s not true to character at all.
  3. Bullying: I’m not a big fan of this whole Angelo’s a big shot and gets what he wants…and so does Angelina.  Angelo is a joke to the power structure of GC, yet he’s running roughshod over the son and grandson of billionaires, and the brother of the consigliere to the most powerful man in the town.  Shut this cat down.
  4. What Angie wants, Angie gets!  I know it happens, but it’s still irksome to see a talentless hack bogard her way into whatever she wants, including a committed relationship where the guy isn’t interested in her.

The sooner this storyline is over, the better.

A few other random thoughts:

  • Yeah…..I’m kind of over “Harmony” talking like a runaway slave and using slang from 10 years ago.  It’s like that parent who’s trying to be hip and can’t quite get it.  You know the type….the guy who’s still raising the roof or “Getting Jiggy with it”
  • I feel kind of bad that Deacon Sharpe is the only person in jail over Diane’s murder.  Y & R apparently hates blue collar folks.  There could really be a place for him as sort of the conscience of the show.  He was absolutely right a few weeks ago when he pointed out the hypocrisy of all these dysfunctional folks.
  • Can Jack catch a break?  Ever?  The last slimy thing dude did was the Victor diary thing and throwing Adam under the bus for that.  But he’s generally a good guy.  I root for him.
  • Adam is another cat I want to root for.  His family has treated him like pure-d garbage since he arrived in town.  Can we finally get the Adam redemption/Newman family reconciliation storyline?   I’ve long advocated bringing back a common enemy to unite Nick and Adam like Cameron Kirsten.
  • I really liked Nick and Avery together.  I really like Avery.  Naked.
  • Am I crazy or did they not explain why Ronan left?  Further, why show that clip of him in the hospital bed doing a crossword puzzle with an evil grin while saying suckers and not follow up on it?

That’s it for now folks!  Take care.

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2012 in Episode Commentary, Gumbo

 

The Inexplicable Return of Evil Adam?

So….I’m sure somewhere in my first 70 posts, I’ve mentioned somewhere in the neighborhood of millions dozens of times about my failed grad school experience.  How I have 10s of thousands in loans, but no Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology to show for it, due not to my grades, but rather the worst case of writers’ block in history.  (Sidenote: If you’ve paid attention to my blogging patterns, you can see how streaky and undisciplined I am…shut up, Rashid!)  I say all this to say that those thousands of dollars spent on my graduate psychology education are about to pay off for you.

I’ve previously compared Adam Newman to Darth Vader, especially in that Lord Vader had one speck of light in the darkness that consumed him, his love for Padme’.  Similarly, Adam’s one shining light was his love for Sharon.  However, did I mention how Darth Vader’s last encounter with Padme’ went?  No?  Yeah, he killed her.  Similarly, Adam figuratively killed Sharon, luring her into a false wedding, then leaving her at the alter, and more importantly, thowing away the evidence that could clear her of murdering my Skye. 

Adam’s actions simply don’t make sense on the surface.  Sharon has slept with Nick since her and Adam have been together.  Why such a violent reaction to Sharon falling in with Sam, who Adam has no confirmation of her sleeping with?  It seems like killing an ant with a sledgehammer, until it occured to me that Sam is what Adam was raised to be by his mother.  Simple, country values…a good man.  We know that the only thing that truly draws regret from Adam is how his mom would have viewed him, as evidenced by his breakdown on the stairs in the ranch during his gaslighting of Ashley.  He went ballistic, not because Sharon betrayed him, but because she betrayed him with a man he KNOWS is better than him, and is what he should be.  When you come face to face with the best you, it’s jarring.  It completely shakes your foundations. 

When you know that, Adam’s actions make perfect sense, in his twisted mind.  Making Adam more one dimensional again limits him as a character.  I’m curious to see where they go with him now, because his one redeeming quality is gone.

On another non-Y & R note, I’m falling in love with wrestling again.  All because of one man…CM Punk.  CM Punk has apparently been given some latitude to go off-script, single-handedly reviving WWE, and making Raw seem must see again.  It started with a worked shoot promo (reality based, but not entirely real)

and culminated with the most scintallating, organic outpouring of emotion in recent wrestling memory two weeks later, when CM Punk won the WWE title at Money in the Bank

I’ve often lamented the too slick, sports entertainmenty feel of wrestling today.  I’ve said their booking is horrible and there are no great characters, because they’re all written by the same people who write scripts for everyone.  If this saga has shown nothing else, it has shown that the wrestlers need to be unleashed again and given a chance to shine.  CM Punk has done what I thought was impossible;  he has made Raw must see TV again, returning last Monday night.  I only hope it can be sustained.  However, I’m enjoying the ride for what it is….not that I watch that kind of thing!

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2011 in Gumbo

 

I can relate…


I know, it’s been a minute.  I’ve thought about writing stuff, but after a few weeks of inactivity, it gets harder and harder to get back on your horse.  Truth be told, even with major story lines and payoffs, I just haven’t felt compelled to write…until now.

Though they’ve done it before with him (just in December!), the Billy Abbott downward spiral is the most compelling thing on Y & R right now.  What gets you into just about anything is feeling that you can relate to the characters.  With soaps generally being written for women, it’s not too rare of an occurrence for a woman to find a character to whom she can relate.  However, it’s exceedingly rare for a guy.  I have a hard time relating to Victor Newman….yeah, I’ve always liked Victor and thought he was cool, but I never saw a lot of myself in a ruthless billionaire meglomaniac.  Same thing with Jack, to a lesser degree….though his admiration for his father and obsessive drive to make his father proud is something to which I can definitely relate.  However, I see a lot of myself in Billy Abbott right now.  If I had everything that had any meaning taken from me, I can’t say 100% that I wouldn’t react like Billy.  Moreover, I’d be truly hurt by people always thinking the worst of me.  I’m violating manlaw by revealing this nugget, but the surefire way to wound a man to his core is to make clear that you don’t believe in him.  One of a man’s greatest purposes and motivators is knowing that people believe in you and rely on you.  It truly separates boys from men because a real man rises to the occasion or dies trying.

Billy has lost everything and desperately needs someone to believe in him.  Preferably, that person would be Victoria.  Again, from my personal experience, if no one else but your wife and kids believed in you, I think most men would be okay.  He’s brought out even more humanity in a character who desparately wants to do the right thing, but the universe isn’t cooperating with him.  As a consequence, his character is more fully developed than most….Nick is a caricature at this point…he’s a one note lunk.  Adam has the potential for great character development, but then they have him do inexplicable things like throw out the memory card. 

A few random notes:

–The Adam thing really irks me…I liked the grudging relationship Adam was developing with Noah.  I liked that this complex, dark character had but one shining light within him, his love for Sharon, which I believed was authentic.  However hurt or jealous he may have been, throwing the memory card that could clear Sharon of murder in the river was inexplicable.  It made no sense storyline-wise, at least in terms of Adam’s character arc.  The only way it makes any sense is that it made Adam uncharacteristically act out of emotion. 

–Diane and Ashley have been looking sort of hot lately.

–Thumbs up to Nu-Eden…I like the actress playing her, I like how they realistically SORASed the character, and I’m intrigued by the future.

–Is it me, or does it seem like someone different is writing Chloe as of late?

–The Cane saga feels like such a re-hash. Cane lies, the Winters men close ranks to “protect Lily”, yada yada yada.  I’ve written my disdain about treating Lily as some delicate, well, Lily for a while now.  And putting Daniel and Lily back together?  That makes sense how?  The cat who divorced Amber and gave away his daughter because he didn’t want kids is messing with his ex-wife, who is the mother of twins?  Lily goes back to her porn-addicted husband (that may well have been the DUMBEST reason to divorce someone in soap history, but I digress)?  I don’t like it…get back with Cane, let them have some peace for a while.

–Speaking of Cane, is it me, or has his mother’s performance been incredibly over the top? It’s not necessarily bad, but she reminds me of Gloria Bardwell quite a bit.

–Where have Paul and Nina been?

 

That’s all for now…not that I watch that kind of thing.

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2011 in Episode Commentary, Gumbo

 

Ambivalence Reigns…

Real life is rarely black or white; it’s often in that vast gray area between. Sometimes, the great thing about soaps is that it gives you the clarity that doesn’t exist in real life. For better and for worse, The Young & The Restless has never been one for that, which gives it more of a realism than other soaps.

Once again, this week, ambivalence reigned. I just don’t know how I feel about two of the major storylines going right now.

First up, we have the Ashley-Abby-Tucker deal. Part of me understands where Abby is coming from and she is right about her mother’s choice in men. Granted, you have to show due respect and deference to your mother, but I get her. Another part of me is just like “let it go”….Ashley’s a grown ass woman, and can do what she wants. The main thing that gets me is the vitriol with which Abby is approaching this situation. Her level of hatred doesn’t really match anything Tucker’s done, to the point where Rashid (BloodyAfrikaans) asked me if Tucker raped Abby or something.

The second storyline that I’m really ambivalent about is the Diane-Victor marriage. Part of me feels bad for Diane. Victor treats her like garbage….he always has. He discards her whenever she becomes inconvenient. The other part of me has no sympathy for her. She went into the marriage for the wrong reasons, she was warned about Victor and has experienced Victor discarding her before. She’s foolish for entering into a marriage with Victor again.

What do you think? What’s your take on these issues?

BTW,on a completely unrelated random note, if Republicans can’t accept Common and think he’s a thug, there’s no hope for the rest of us….

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2011 in Episode Commentary, Gumbo

 

Strong performances, crappy writing, and…more death!

Housekeeping

…so today is the first day since my surgery on Monday that I’m not a) high on percocet and b) not feeling like 10 people just kicked me in the guy.  Prior to that, I just haven’t been that inspired by Y & R to write about it.

Onto business…

This week has had the weirdest juxtaposition of Y & R.  There have been so many strong performances this week that I’m almost scared to list people for fear of leaving people out. But I’m an idiot, so I’ll do it anyway:

  • Billy Miller (Billy Abbott)-In the strongest terms possible, Y & R can not let this man go.  He is playing the hell out of his role.  At this point, he may be the best actor on the show….no one else can pull off funny, serious, sad, angry, and depressed like he can right now.
  • Judith Chapman (Gloria Bardwell)-They only give her material sporadically, but whenever she gets something, she knocks it out of the park
  • Marcy Rylan (Abby Newman)-She nailed her role this week too, showing a vulnerability with Lily that makes her more endearing and a strength with her mother, who she is 1000% dead on about.
  • Elizabeth Mitchell (Chloe Mitchell, with her fine self)-The range of emotions she’s displayed has been great….I got where Billy was coming from, but in the scene at the jail, you really just wanted to hug Chloe
  • Greg Rikaart (Kevin Fisher)-Excellent as always….he’s one character the writers have done right by, showing him growing and becoming stronger.  They should use the same blueprint for Sharon
  • Emily O’Brien (Jana Hawkes)-Y & R has had some evil folks over the years.  None of them scared me like Jana this week.  She was completely believable as she descended further into madness.  <spoiler alert!>  Of course, Y & R had to ruin that by killing her off, which brings me to…

Crappy Writing

Before I get into the death issue again, let me show exhibit A of crappy writing:

http://www.veoh.com/watch/v20960988jewh9Tcx

Did they decide to hire writers from “The T & A Team” or “Riding Miss Daisy?”  You can almost hear the boom chicka wow music start playing. That was porn-quality bad dialogue.  Dialogue aside, Y & R has a serious writing problem right now.  They’re writing some horrible stuff, becoming repetitive (Malcolm and Neil fighting over the same woman, mistaken murderers, custody battles…rinse, lather, repeat), fanciful (Cane and Lily, though I’m thinking that they’re going the evil twin route, and just plain lazy (deaths, never explaining who killed Richard Hightower).  It’s like there’s no overall direction, like they just throw plots on a board to see what sticks.  As I’ve stated before, they overuse death as of late.  With Jana’s demise, they wasted a good performer and an interesting character (one could argue they’ve wasted her since the kidnapping, but I digress).  I would have preferred for Jana to get brought to justice, spend some time in the Loony Bin, and leave town.  Then maybe you bring her back a couple of years down the road and have her be like Director of Social Media at Newman Enterprises and completely over Kevin a la how they rehabilitated Phyllis’ character. 
Random thoughts:

  • I didn’t have a problem at all with Luke Kleintank as Noah Newman, but it’s nice to have Kevin Schmidt back.  Lose the Bieber-esque hair, though.
  • I can get into the Neil-Malcolm-Sofia storyline. Not their fault, but it’s so “been there, done that”
  • Devon is at his most annoying when trying to “protect Lily”
  • That guy in the cemetery?  Clearly not Cane.  Lily’s too dumb to ask questions that only he’d know
  • More Leslie, please and thanks
  • Did they really need to “temporarily recast” Jeff Bardwell?  Why not just send him on vacation?  He isn’t crucial to any storylines right now
  • Did anyone else throw up in their mouth a little bit seeing the Silver Chipmunk mask?

The Sublime:

So I was watching Dumb and Dumber in my convalescence and thought that one of the characters looked familiar….

That’s right…the guy in the middle is Angelo.  I didn’t recognize him without the dog.  Not that I watch that kind of thing….

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2011 in Episode Commentary, Gumbo

 

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